Reaching Top 20 Legend: Smashing Aggro, Patron Warriors and Secret Paladins w/ Stats!

Last month, I decided to hit Legend (read the post here) due to the new rewards system (snagged a sweet golden Quartermaster), with Dragon Priest. This month, I wanted to get a little more serious. I started using a deck tracker and a stat tracker. I play Hearthstone on a Macbook (I deleted Hearthstone from my […]

Introduction

Last month, I decided to hit Legend (read the post here) due to the new rewards system (snagged a sweet golden Quartermaster), with Dragon Priest. This month, I wanted to get a little more serious.

I started using a deck tracker and a stat tracker.

I play Hearthstone on a Macbook (I deleted Hearthstone from my phone – it was too easy to get distracted while playing on mobile device), so my options for the trackers were limited. For deck tracking (tracking your cards and the opponents cards) I used HSTracker, and for stat tracking I used Track-O-Bot (available for both Windows and Mac).

Deck Tracker

A deck tracker is a tool used to track not just the card you’ve played (and have left) but also the cards your opponents has played. Once you become familiar with a deck, you’ll be tracking most of the cards in your head. But tracking your opponent’s cards can especially helpful, particularly against Secret Paladins – you can start to lose track since they run up to 8 secrets in some variations.

There is a case to be made whether a deck tracker is good for you the long run – you might depend on it too much, it becomes a clutch etc. Yes, it’ll be a clutch if you ever need to compete at live events and tournaments – but if you’re like me, who has no intention of going Pro, but still enjoy laddering, I say track away!

Stat Tracker

This is the tool I believe every player must have. It’s a way to track your progress and how well your deck is doing. It keeps expectations in check. You may go on a losing streak but if the stats tell you that you’re still above 66.7% win rate, it’s still an excellent deck. Maybe it’s just variance or the meta shifting. Having hard stats will help you keep your sanity intact when your anti-aggro deck gets dumped on aggro decks 3 times a in row with their god draws, and remind you that its win rate is still above 80% against aggro.

You can also set up your deck tracker to recognize key cards and categorize your opponents’ decks to get a even more detailed analysis!

Beating the Meta

I hit Legend last weekend on the back of Echo Giants Mage. Ice Block stops Patron Warrior hard and Secret Paladins don’t run silences – making the Doomsayer really shine.

Echo Giants Mage is the hardest deck I’ve ever piloted. I’m by no means an expert on it, but I know enough how to use it to beat down Patron Warriors, Secret Paladins and aggro decks in general and that for me, was enough to go all the way to the top. Once you enter the mind zone (that zone you sometimes find yourself in while playing competitive games, where you make every headshot in Counterstrike, or know the exact plays and tech timers of your opponents in Starcraft), you’ll fly up the ladder.

And then once you really get going… (excuse the Ramp Druid, was doing the daily quest)

Unfortunately the client got bugged and didn’t record the last game, but I ended up at #18 Legend.

The Stats

So how good is Echo Giants Mage against the other decks? This is where Stat Tracker shines (and builds your credibility when you want to show off your decks/skills)! Here are my numbers:

Crushed Warlocks, Aggro Hunters, Secret Paladins and more importantly, Patron Warriors. One of the two losses against Patrons was my horrible misplay – should’ve Polymorph instead of Flamestrike the Emperor Thaurissan. I was punished a turn later when he flooded the board with 6 Grim Patrons.

Matchups

Great Against

Even Against

Poor Against

Some archtypes I didn’t come across enough to give it a proper assessment yet include Handlocks, Dragon Priest, Mech Mage, Freeze Mage, Oil Rogue and Midrange Paladins.

Surprisingly, I didn’t come across another Echo Giants Mage deck during my climb to Legend and to Legend Top 20.

Hardest matchups is Control Warrior – every game went into fatigue except one. Echo Mage can’t win the fatigue game due to Warrior’s Armor. So we actually need to be the aggressor. How? Hope the Warrior hits your face and drop early giants and bait out the Brawls.

We have a Mastering Echo Mage guide series found here. Principles are the same. But I’ll talk a bit about Secret Paladins and Patron Warrior below.

Vs Patron Warrior

  • Patron Warrior wins by bursting you down in one turn with Frothing. With Iceblock, Molten Giants and Antique Healbot, we take that play away from them.
  • Their second strategy is producing Grim Patrons. We take that away with Flamestrike.
  • We save Polymorph for their Emperor.
  • If you want to get cute, drop an Explosive Sheep (on empty board, which will happen if you are controlling the board with Doomsayer plays) when you feel like a combo is coming up. Watch them burn the rope, trying to decide if they want to use that 4/1 Death’s Bite, a Whirlwind or Inner Rage to remove that sheep. You just bought yourself another turn.
  • The longer the game goes, your win chance goes up.
  • Don’t be shy playing Belchers – if they want to use a Warsong Commander + Grim Patron to take advantage of that 1/2 Ooze, let them. It’s exactly what we want when we clear the board next turn.
  • If they’re using weapon charges on your face, that means they need to Execute your Belchers. If they’re executing your Belchers, Doomsayer + Frost Nova will punish them hard.
  • A lot of Patron Warriors go on auto pilot mode – trying to draw and thin their deck with their Acolyte of Pain plays. Help them along with your Hero Power ping if you can burn their cards.

Vs Secret Paladins

  • Drop the Doomsayer when he opens with a Shielded Minibot, Knife Juggler or Secretkeeper. Early board control is crucial.
  • If you have a Explosive sheep, plan your plays. Don’t drop it right away if he opens with a Juggler – Muster might be coming down right after. Blow them all up at once. (Same with Aggro Hunter. Save it for the T3 Huffer that we all know it’s coming down)
  • I haven’t come across a Secret Paladin that runs silences. Frost Nova + Doomsayer is sexy time (Back to back Mysterious Challenger won’t even faze you).
  • Manipulate Paladin secrets with your Hero Power. ie: Kill that 1/1 so it buffs that 6/6 into a 9/8 and Big Game Hunter it, bypassing Noble Sacrifice. Or kill that X/1, activate Avenge and Redemption, then Frost Nova + Doomsayer. 7 mana combo, just in time to welcome the T6 Mysterious Challenger.
  • They have no reach. They can’t kill your smaller minions (triggering Duplicate) without going through your Belchers. Keep this in mind playing against decks that do – like Druids.
  • You don’t have to attack when he has secrets in play. It’s perfectly fine to sit back and let him do the trading (so secrets won’t trigger).

General Mulligans and Tips

  • Always keep Doomsayer and Mad Scientist. Explosive Sheep against Aggro decks.

Not getting those cards doesn’t mean it’s an auto loss. The mulligan phase is pretty straight forward. Your tactics will be fluid depending on the subsequent draws.

  • Your health will go down quicker than other decks and that’s okay. Don’t panic and make sure to time that Antique Healbot properly.
  • You’ll defeat countless opponents with the double Molten Giant and Alexstrasza combo. Sometimes your opponents tunnel hard, ignoring the giants and trying to pop that Iceblock and that they feel safe with 30 health.
  • Setting up lethal is quite different from other decks. You have to plan it 2-3 turns in advanced. Buying turns with Doomsayer and setting up your Giants.
  • Be careful of your Duplicate. If you play Duplicate but with no follow up like Thaurissan or Belcher, that means you’re locked down from playing other minions that might not be suitable Duplicate targets. That also means your hand gets filled up even more, risking cards getting burned.
  • Duplicating Doomsayer early and playing them on empty board is totally fine if you can lock down your opponent from playing anything.
  • 7 is the magic number. If duplicate is on the board and you have more than 7 cards, you’re going to burn a card if Duplicate triggers.
  • Explosive Sheep + Mad Scientist + Hero Power is a legit move to pull a sorely needed secret.

Closing

Echo Giants Mage is a really fun deck and this is the 2nd time I’ve reached Legend with it (1st time pre-BRM I believe). As you can see from the data and my climb, this deck really shines in the current meta, thanks to the dominance of both Patron Warriors and Secret Paladins.

Hope you enjoyed this short ladder report and the stats. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, be sure to leave in the section below! I look forward to some new shinies come October 1st!