The Verdict and Analysis of TGT Impact on Rogue

Analysis of Druid, Hunter and Mage Analysis of Paladin Analysis of Priest Analysis of Rogue (you’re here) Analysis of Shaman, Warlock and Warrior (in development) In this series I want to talk about how TGT cards have impacted each of the classes. Analyze the new cards, see whether they are seeing play or not and judge […]

Introduction

In this series I want to talk about how TGT cards have impacted each of the classes. Analyze the new cards, see whether they are seeing play or not and judge whether the class was improved with the TGT or not, as well as the latest sample deck lists of these classes. I’ll give one of the three final verdicts:

  • Positive – The class has significantly improved with TGT – either the new, very strong archetypes were created or the old ones has became better.
  • Neutral – The class received positive changes, but they are rather small – no new archetypes created or they aren’t very strong and the old ones were only slightly boosted or got cards that are similar in strength to the current ones and can be used as a tech/alternate choices.
  • Negative – The class got close to no good cards, no new viable archetypes were created and the old ones also didn’t get a lot of alternative card choices.

The 6th Analysis is Rogue. Sorry for being a little salty in this one, but I just don’t like what Blizzard is doing with the class. Next one is going to be Shaman!

Summary

Rogue is probably one of the most weird classes when it comes to their strength going through two last years. In the early stages on the game, class was really broken and got nerfed. Then across the vanilla and Naxx, it was broken once again thanks to the Miracle Rogue. After it was nerfed and considered trash, it didn’t take too long for people to make the current Oil Rogue after GvG. But I think Blizzard still doesn’t like Rogues. It’s not like Oil Rogue was nerfed, no. But the problem is that… Rogue, as a class, got pretty much nothing good since the GvG. And even in GvG they didn’t get a lot. Besides the standard neutral cards that every class is using (Piloted Shredder, Antique Healbot) the only cards that Rogue got is Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil. Oh, and maybe Goblin Auto-Barber to some extent. And that’s it, two expansions later and nothing new. I mean, both BRM and TGT added a lot of Rogue cards – but their quality is… questionable. Or they just don’t fit the only viable Rogue archetype. Blizzard is trying to push the Control Rogue archetype in this expansion, but honestly, Rogue isn’t a great class for a Control deck. Maybe let’s just go through the cards and you’ll see what I mean.

TGT Rogue Spells/Weapons

  • Burgle – I like this card. It’s interesting. However, in reality, it’s usually a worse version of Thoughtsteal. Getting random cards from enemy’s deck is usually better than doing that from his class. A lot of the class cards are bad – people aren’t generally putting bad cards in their decks. Still, the card has good sides. It gives you card advantage, and a card advantage that doesn’t come from your deck. It’s sometimes important in really slow matchups, where you both go into fatigue. If you play 2 Burgles, you’re 2 cards up in the fatigue war. Also, it might sometimes give you a clutch card you need. Not to mention the crazy scenarios like getting 2x Tirion Fordring against Paladin. But it’s all about the RNG – you can as well get 2x Eye for an Eye, the chance is the same. A fun card, but it definitely doesn’t fit any of the tempo/combo archetypes. You want to play card like that in slow, Control deck. Is there a viable Control Rogue? No.
  • Beneath the Grounds – Another card that is fun, but not really viable, because of all the RNG. It’s a little similar to the Warrior’s Iron Juggernaut – in theory really strong, 6/5 for 6 that deals 10 damage to enemy on the Battlecry? But in reality, the bomb often doesn’t matter – the game might even finish before it’s drawn. It’s similar when it comes to Beneath the Grounds – you have no control over it. You sacrifice tempo and you don’t even gain any instant value. You just hope that enemy is going to draw those and give you free 4/4’s. Overall, the value is great – 3x 4/4 for 3 mana is insane. And once again, in crazy scenario enemy might just draw 3 of them in a row on turn 4 and you win the game. But that won’t happen to you. To play this card, you want a slow deck. Either a Control one, so you can afford to play the long game and lose some early tempo. Or the Mill one, so you’re going to make sure that enemy draws all his cards eventually. A very fun card, but once again, too random to be viable in Constructed. Might work in a Control Rogue, but is Control Rogue viable? No.
  • Poisoned Blade – This card is a joke. It’s like the Blizzard slapped Rogue across the face. So, you pay 4 mana and a card for a 1/3 weapon. Then, you can increase it’s attack by 1 for 2 mana. So, for example, if you spend 10 mana and 3 turns (one Equip + Hero Power, 2x Hero Power) you have a 4/3 weapon. I mean, what? There is no scenario where this thing is good. Assassin’s Blade is already too slow to be played in Constructed (most of time) and Poisoned Blade is even slower. You can just spend one more mana for Assassin’s Blade and have an instant 3/4 weapon instead of 10 mana and 3 turns to have a comparable Poisoned Blade. Not to mention that it’s a weapon you want to sit on for a long time. You don’t want to attack with it until you increase the attack couple of times. But as a Rogue you want to attack with your weapons, that’s the point. You can just sit on this weapon for 5 turns, wasting a lot of tempo by not attacking and Hero Powering each time and it can be destroyed by Harrison Jones. Don’t play this card. It’s probably the worst card in the expansion, and I’m serious about it.

So… Two spells that are pretty gimmicky and fit the Control Rogue much more + a completely useless weapon. It doesn’t look too good for the Rogue. Maybe minions?

TGT Rogue Minions

  • Buccaneer – Besides the Control Rogue, it seems like Blizzard is trying to push the Pirate Rogue deck. And I mean, it’s not the worst thing ever, but is definitely not a top tier deck. Just like any other Aggro deck, with good draws you can just rush enemy down and it’s gonna work. But there are a lot of better options. But, about the card. 2/1 for 1 are the standard statline. The effect is actually quite nice. You can play this on turn 1 and then have a 2/2 weapon on turn 2. It’s similar to Goblin Auto-Barber, but it’s more proactive. But, there is one big problem with the card. Pirate Rogue is a fast deck. Fast decks don’t want to Hero Power on turn 2. They want to play minions to push for damage. Playing 2/2 weapon is nice, but is it better than just playing a 3/2 minion? Later in the game, it’s actually not that bad. When you want to Hero Power anyway, having a 2/2 weapon instead of 1/2 is a nice addition. So, all in all, if you’re making a Pirate Rogue the Buccaneer is not that bad. But the better question is if you want to make a Pirate Rogue anyway?
  • Cutpurse – The card is not terrible. But between the bad statline and the effect being situational, it’s not that great. So, first of all, the 2/2 for 2 needs to have really great effect to be played in Constructed. Something like Mad Scientist or Shielded Minibot. This one doesn’t have any good Battlecry, Deathrattle, it’s very easy to remove. And if removed, it gets no value. You need to attack with it to get some value. And the effect is quite nice – getting free Coins in Rogue is big. But the effect specifies that you need to attack enemy HERO. Enemy plays a Knife Juggler into your Cutpurse. If you want to remove it, you won’t attack face, so you won’t get any more value. Yes, in the best case scenario when you play him and enemy skips first two turns, he might be good. Getting a Coin or two is nice, but it would be so much better on a Battlecry or Deathrattle. In reality you usually won’t get a single Coin, not even talking about more.
  • Undercity Valiant – A mini version of the SI:7 Agent. A worse version, though. There is a big difference between 1 and 2 damage in the early game. 1 damage can only clear certain 1-drops. So yeah, if you go second and enemy opens with a Leper Gnome, it’s very good. But besides that, not that much. And I don’t mean the card is bad – it’s just that 1 damage on the combo is usually not enough. Another problem is that it’s in the same mana slot as Goblin Auto-Barber, which in my opinion is superior. While it requires a weapon equipped, it has potential to give more damage and it can combo with Blade Flurry. Undercity Valiant is okay, but okay is usually not enough to be used in Constructed.
  • Shady Dealer – Another Pirate synergy! But this one is kinda missed. So, the standard 4/3 for for 3 might become 5/4 for 3, but it requires you to have a Pirate on the board. I mean, 5/4 stats for a 3-drop are cool. But it does nothing more. Cards that are just pile of stats usually aren’t played in Constructed. Like, Sylvanas Windrunner is 5/5 and Boulderfist Ogre is 6/7 – why the second one isn’t played? Because it’s just a pile of stats without any effect. Shady Dealer might actually work out in a Pirate deck, because if it stays on the board, you can push for a lot of damage. Probably the worst thing about it is that it’s not Pirate itself. Ship’s Cannon for example also isn’t a Pirate, but if you compare the effects, the 2-drop is so, so much better. Generally a viable choice in a Pirate deck, but once again. Is the Pirate Rogue viable?
  • Shado-Pan rider – It’s the Nightmare in Arena right now. A turn 5 Boulderfist Ogre – awesome. Is it good enough in Constructed? I’d say that in a proper deck, yeah, it might be. If you Coin it out on turn 4, you have a 6/7. That’s crazy. On turn 5 you can combo it with Backstab – 6/7 on turn 5 is still very strong. The problem that the later into the game it gets, the weaker it becomes. It’s a great tempo play if you get it out as early as you can. But if you get it out on turn 8 or 9, you could play the Boulderfist instead most of the time. 1 mana difference doesn’t matter that much later into the game. And Boulderfist, as we all know, isn’t Constructed-worthy. This once again pushes less spell, more minion-heavy Rogue decks. But even in a perfect deck it might not be an include, so basically it’s bad in every currently viable Rogue archetype (Oil Rogue).
  • Anub’arak – Sigh. A big minion with a crazy effect. IN ROGUE. No, it won’t work. But let’s talk about the minion itself. 8/4 for 9 seems really bad when it comes to the stats. The effect however is really good. Not only it gets back into your hand after it dies (and well, it dies pretty easily with 4 health), but it also leaves a 4/4 behind. In a Control vs Control matchup, it might be a good win condition. There are however quite a few problems with this. First of all, it’s completely countered by Silence. If you thought that Tirion Fordring sucks against Silence, think again. A plain 8/4 minion for 9 mana is as bad as you can imagine. The second thing is that it’s so very slow. Even in Control matchups, spending your whole turn on replaying this guy may cost you the game. It has no instant board impact, so it’s very hard to find a turn to play him. And finding two or three turns to play him is even harder. In the late game scenario, it’s very, very good. When the game goes to the fatigue and you have Anub’arak, you pretty much won the game. Against Aggro or Midrange deck, it’s useless. A lot of the games won’t even last to turn 9 and if they do, you won’t likely have enough time to play a 8/4. Ysera for example at least has good starting stats – 4/12 can get you a lot of nice trades and getting Ysera Awakens might turn the game around. In case of Anub’arak… well, no.

Rogue TGT Minions… No of them is seeing high level competitive play. And don’t get me wrong – they aren’t all bad. Maybe they will be viable in future. But right now they don’t have a deck to be put into. Maybe neutral minions?

TGT Neutral Minions

  • Skycap’n Kragg – Since Blizzard is pushing Pirate Rogue so hard, how about the Captain? If the deck was viable, Kragg would definitely be a consideration. If you already have some board presence, the card is pretty good. A 4/6 Charge is very similar to the Doomguard (-1/-1, but without the obvious negative effect) – if it’s played for 4 or 5 mana it’s nice way to push for some extra damage or to protect your smaller minions. The problem with this card is that you rarely have a lot of Pirates on the board. Even if you play Pirate deck, not all your minions are Pirates. And even if a lot of them are, Pirates are generally pretty small and they don’t stick into the board very well. Pirate Rogue is an Aggro/Tempo deck, so enemy is busy removing all your stuff. Having more than 2 Pirates at the same time is really rare. But you might still try it in your Pirate Rogue deck and see if it works.
  • Silent Knight – Just like some Rogues tried using Shade of Naxxramas for some time, Silent Knight is another option. The problem with Rogue’s burst is that they really need a minion on the board for Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil to get the full potential. They’ve tried using Stealth minions, but they still might be cleared by certain AoE spells. With Silent Knight, it’s much harder. It won’t die to a single AoE – enemy would have to use at least two to clear your one minion. You can set up the Knight before your combo turn for 5 additional damage. And even if it’s not your lethal turn, a 5/2 with Divine Shield is pretty good stuff. You can get great trades or just keep it in Stealth waiting for a good opportunity.
  • Argent Horserider – This one might be used in a Aggro/Tempo deck. Divine Shield makes it good for trading, but also a great target for buffs. Rogue has some nice attack buffs – it’s a very good target for Cold Blood (a 6/1 with Charge and Divine Shield for 4 mana) or Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil. Divine Shield on a Charge means that the base attack has to be low – it makes the attack buffs much more efficient. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’ve seen couple of people on the ladder using it and it worked quite well.

Verdict & Closing

Final verdict: Negative

In my opinion Rogue got a short and of the stick this time. No new archetypes has became viable. The Pirate Rogue is semi-viable, but it’s still not a strong deck. The Control Rogue is a very, very average deck and is definitely not a thing you see on the ladder. It seems like Blizzard doesn’t know the direction they want to push the Rogue in. TGT’s general theme of Hero Power and Inspire already screwed Rogue, because it’s the class that has least incentive to use Hero Power every turn. Not only it doesn’t need to (the dagger has 2 Charges), but also it often can’t, because of the weapon buffs. Poisoned Blade could have been an answer for that problem, if the card wasn’t so bad. If you have always dreamed about Control or Pirate Rogue, then yeah, the expansion should work pretty well for you, because it’s step in that direction. But it didn’t introduce any viable card for the currently best (and only competitive) Rogue archetype: Oil Rogue. The semi-viable Aggro/Tempo Rogue also didn’t really get anything. So all in all, Rogue didn’t get anything good this expansion. The cards it got may be good in the future – maybe in 2-3 expansions the Control Rogue is going to be good. But besides pushing new archetypes so hard, they should give some incentive to play the currently viable ones. Because when everyone is getting stronger and Oil Rogue stays at the same level, in reality it’s getting worse and worse.

Example TGT decklists: Oil Rogue, Mill Rogue, Pirate Rogue, Aggro Rogue

That’s it for the Rogue’s analysis. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the section below!