Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a deck name. Not only do we have Reno Jackson (the newest legend to join the playable club) but we also have one of the coolest cards to ever hit Hearthstone in Dreadsteed. You can be sure that any deck running both of those cards is going to be a control deck, and that is exactly what this one is. Not just a control deck, a super Warlock control deck that uses all of its cards to lock down the boar, heal up and outlast your opponent. This is by no means a fatigue deck (we will get to that soon) but it does a great job of slowing down the game to its own pace.
This weeks list comes from Bacco_hs who used the inherent power of Warlock to create a mish-mash deck that really shows innovation. Warlock’s hero power allows you to sacrifice consistency for power. While some decks would struggle with 28 one-of’s, life tap can save your curve in so many different situations. Not only that, but this deck is created from catch up options, which are essential in a strict control deck like this one. Every card in this list plays a set purpose, and understanding all of those purposes is key to winning games.
I find that a lot of people who play Dreadsteed play it wrong. This is not because of any one particular reason, but it usually because they understand the card wrong. I have talked about the “best case scenario” trap on end, but I will bring it up once again here. A lot of people see a card and think they have to use it in a certain way to get the most use out of it (i.e. only play a Big Game Hunter if it can kill something). While that is how you should often play a card, it is not the only way you can play it.
In this list you are not going to try and get the most power out of the steed. Yes, there are some really cool combos you want to look for, such as getting multiple with Baron Rivendare or using it with Sacrificial Pact to get some life, but you just play it as soon as you can. Don’t count silences, don’t try and worry about “how am I going to use it?” just get it down. This card is unbelievably powerful in a control style list like this one, and you don’t want to save it. It’s so good it’s the only two of, and that should tell you something.
The AOE in this deck is both sporadic and limited, which is why I am going to discuss two different types of it (Twisting Nether is below). Hellfire is your “soft AOE” that you want to use to clear out boards of swarms or small minions. It can be used to finish off some large minions, but you normally want to pull the trigger on this earlier if the swarms start getting too much. A lot of decks have really good plays for the first three turns of the game, and this allows you to strike back against that. Remember, you are pure control, and a lot of the game will be stretching it out as far as you can.
When piloting this list you have to always remember that you only have one of each card. That is important for a lot of different minions and spells, but it is vital with AOE. Hellfire is a good, but you can only afford to play it in the most optimal of situations. Using it on the wrong board, or using it to clear when you can get a minion down can be a disaster. You only want to fire when you have to or when you can get a lot of value. For instance, while you may be inclined to clear out a turn three Muster for Battle, just getting down a minion that can trade with the 1/1’s might be better. This is even more true against Midrange Paladin because you want the AOE for a Quartermaster.
We’re gonna be rich…in health. While a sleeper pick from LOE, just about everyone knows about how good Reno Jackson is. His body is solid and his ability is one of the strongest in the game. It is even stronger in a deck that not only damages itself, but can also use its hero power to consistently draw him. The rule of this card, like with most Reno lists, is that you want to use him at the last possible second. Due to the way this deck is constructed he is going to be live 99 percent of the time. Taking away his restriction means you never have to worry about holding him.
While you don’t want to play him too aggressively, always know how much burst your opponent can do. Every deck has damage potential, and you need to always be aware of that. If you are in range, you then want to see if you have other healing options. If you don’t and you could potentially die next turn to Druid’s combo or double Fireball, then it is always right to play him. If you are not in burst range, or you are playing against a deck that cannot burst you down, then save him for when your life gets dangerously low.
As stated earlier, good control decks need catch up cards. Cards that let them back into the game should they fall behind as a result of their reactive nature. Twisting Nether[/card] is this deck’s catch up/get out of jail free card that can really swing a board. This card has two modes. The first is a last ditch effort to not die. This comes up a lot, and it really can save you in a pinch, especially if you have a deathrattle minion or two lurking around. The other mode is to use this as a blowout. Sometimes you want to wait until the last possible second to play this, ensuring you get the most value from it. This has won me many games, since people will overextend into this more often than they won’t.
No one, from your rank 1 legend to your rank 20 scrub, is going to play around this card. They might play around Shadowflame or Hellfire, but they will never play around this. It is too uncommon for anyone to have it in their mind. That is great news for you, since people will play a board of big minions they think can’t die. If you can get into that situation and then clear the board you are almost always going to win. The reason is, because you know this is coming, you can play around it, which will allow you to save your cards for the turns that come after it.
Mal’ganis plays a very interesting role in this list. The reason is that the pit lord has a couple of different roles that he can fill. Normally, his place is very simple. Try to get him out on turn four with Voidcaller. That is one of the primary modes here. However, he can also be used as a finisher with Dreadsteed in games where you have a lot of the horses or with imps if you have a swarm. Always remember that Mal’ganis is almost never going to live a turn. That means you need to get effects out of him immediately. While you can use his buff to clear or put your opponent in a tricky situation, I use him as a burst damage more than anything else.
How to play against the five decks I see the most on ladder.
While it is no secret that the numbers of this deck are rapidly diminishing, they still do pack a punch. Luckily for you, that punch is most often going to miss you. Dreadsteed decks have always been strong against Paladin, because the horse can negate their hero power, fight with their early minions or just constantly ping away divine shields. In the same vein, Warlock decks, so heavy on healing and AOE, have also given Paladin problems. Putting both of those together is the perfect blend to taking down Uther and his Christmas tree of secrets.
Their perfect curve can be scary (as always) but you only really have to worry about turn six. You have ways to fight their early minions, and you also have enough hard removal to deal with most big threats. Losing board going into Mysterious Challenger is the way you lose. Just use your removal early and trade often. Save Lord Jaraxxus for healing and use Reno Jackson whenever you can. The last rule is to save Ironbeak Owl for Tirion Fordring at all costs, since you never want to take fifteen over three turns if you can avoid it.
While very powerful, it seems that Aggro Druid may have joined Mech Shaman on the list of “Hearthstone’s greatest one hit wonders”. However, that does not mean the class is bad by any means. Midrange Druid is still a powerhouse to deal with. This is a matchup where you want to be very careful about your removal and keep their board clear at all costs. Any minion represents their fourteen damage plus its attack plus three. That can be a huge problem, because this deck has a lot of healing, but not enough to sustain being above the combo. Rather, your removal is the way you save health, clear out all of the midrange minions you can.
As you can imagine, this is one of your hardest matchups due to their burst potential. Your games are going to go long, which means they are always going to draw into their combo. You just need to battle that by being very defensive. Druid has a lot of dead lategame cards, and if you can get to that stage at a comfortable health total you should win. Once again, Reno Jackson[/card] is your best card here, allowing you to heal and putting a very solid minion on board. You always want to use him around twenty health when possible just to climb back to full. In addition, if you have an opportunity to taunt during the later stages, do so without hesitation.
This matchup comes down to two words: Lord Jaraxxus. The lord of the burning legion is one of the only cards you have that can really put the hurt on Control Warrior. Your removal does a very nice job at chipping away at their big minions, but they control better than you do. You need to be aware of that, and know you are almost always going to win through a never ending army of 6/6 infernals. Beyond that, also understand that Dreadsteed also does a lot of work here. Control Warrior often runs no taunts, which means they will lose to an army of the steeds. This is perhaps the only match where you can save the demon for the combo since you usually want to get three or four onto the board as a way to add pressure and clear the board throughout the game.
We have finally come full circle. Hunter often goes in cycles, moving from Face to Midrange to Hybrid back to Face. The ladder is back at Face, which means most Hunters are going to be a pretty big breeze. You have a ton of healing and taunt options, all of which just keep you out of range of Hunter’s burst potential. Not only that, but you also have a slew of early game minions which make it so you don’t have to tap and prevent you from just getting overwhelmed. This is a match where you want to just stick to your gameplan, clearing, healing and making it go as long as you can until you play Lord Jaraxxus or Reno Jackson to ice the deal.
This is a match where you don’t want to accidently die, which can happen quite easily if you aren’t being careful. Play to your healing if you find yourself getting too low, and never depend on taunts to save you if you can help it. Ironbeak Owl exists and it will crush you if you aren’t careful. Also, never trigger Explosive Trap if you don’t have too (it’s never worth giving them an extra bow charge). The final rule here is to not extend into Unleash the Hounds. You generally want to only have two minions out at a time, unless you have a taunt, then three is fine.
Even besides the list Reynad took to legend (which is so cool I almost covered it this week) Zoo is all over the ladder. It has never been a particularly bad deck, and the inclusion of Dark Peddler may have finally pushed it right back to the top of the meta game. This is a game where you want to just stall and slowly grind your opponent out of cards using a combination of remoal and AOE. Dreadsteed is incredible here since Zoo lives off of a cleared board. Even without the horse, your early minions battle theirs really well, which will get you to your larger threats.
Though Zoo is still a board control aggro deck, you have to realize that is has evolved. This deck runs a ton of giant minions, and you want to be ready for them. Big Game Hunter will always hit Dr. Boom or a Sea Giant, while you need to save Siphon Soul for Doomguard and the like. Force them to fight through your minions by popping their deathrattles. If you can do that successfully you will be able to set up a giant Twisting Nether. Stay alive to when Zoo starts topdecking and you should be fine.
Just like the Reno deck I covered last week, you want to mulligan towards a good curve rather than certain cards. Yes, Warlock has a little more leeway due to its hero power, and this deck does have a lot of good ways to catch up, but the goal is to always start out strong. As such, you want to keep all of your one, two and three drops that you can play during the first turns (sorry Big Game Hunter). That idea will usually keep you in the game and enable you to start out in the way that you want.
A quick run down of the basic rules. Always keep Refreshment Vendor and Voidcaller with the coin. Never keep Power Overwhelming, Sacrificial Pact or Defender of Argus. Only keep Deathlord against aggro, Explosive Sheep and Hellfire against swarm decks, and Doomsayer when you don’t have good turn two removal. Ironbeak Owl is for any deck running Mad Scientist. Beyond that, keep your other early game cards and never keep anything that costs five or more.
The only large rule I have for mulliganing here, and I am not 100 percent sure if this is right, is to always keep Dreadsteed. The horse is just so good that you always want to see it on turn four. Not only that, but having one in your hand means that Reno Jackson will always be live. Dreadsteed is not the most important part of the deck, but it will help you go long (which is really the point) in many different situations against many different opponents.
I absolutely love LOE so far. Even though it has only been two weeks, it has given us some amazing cards and I have no doubt even more are on the way. This is my favorite adventure to date, and there are so many cool things you can do. This deck is a testament to that, and shows that Blizzard does know what they’re doing (sometimes). I hope you’re loving all of the cool new content, and I hope you all are looking forward to December (I know I am going to play some Murlocs to legend). Until then, may you always heal for twenty nine.