Hello! I am a Hearthstone player from Estonia. I have played the game since January 2014 when it was officially released. I usually don’t have too much time to play the game and hang out somewhere between Rank 1-5. However, last season I decided to take the game a bit more seriously and hit Legend with my Paladin deck. I am planning to do it again this season in the next few days. I am sorry for any grammar mistakes in this guide as English isn’t my first language.
About the Deck
Lately Secret paladin has been rampant and Midrange Paladin seems to be absent from the ladder. However, I think that Paladin without secrets is stronger than it has ever been in last 3 months. It has great tools to fight for early board control vs Secret Paladin and is a natural counter to Druid. Yes, it has a relatively bad matchup vs Patron, but it isn’t actually a problem for the ladder as Patron isn’t really popular, at least on EU.
This is the list I have played about 220 games with, about 150 last season and about 70-75 this season. Hit Legend last season, this season haven’t had that much time and I am currently sitting at Rank 3 planning to make the push for Legend on Tuesday:
At first glance you are certainly going to notice there is the lack of Tirion Fordring in this deck. But ACTUALLY Tirion isn’t in a good place at the moment as Druid has one of the best tools to deal with it – Keeper of the Grove and as this deck already runs tons of weapons, it even has a slight anti synergy with Tirion. I cut it some time ago and have tested various replacements starting from Deathwing and ending with even Gormok, but I feel that Ysera is what we want. Ysera helps us a lot vs Control decks. It can solely run away with game if your opponent is unable to deal with it. You can’t imagine how many times this has happened vs Control Warrior. He uses all of his removal and then you just play Ysera which sticks to the board.
Also, you can see that I don’t run Defender of Argus. The reason is that this deck really wants to curve out well in the early game, but Defender isn’t usually a 4-drop. The 4-drop minions of my choice are instead 2 Murloc Knight and 2 Piloted Shredder. Shredder is the one you would usually like to play on turn 4, but Murloc Knight is fine play too usually. This is kind of a card that requires to be dealt with immediately and could screw up your opponents curve a lot.
Another difference to some Midrange Paladin lists is that I don’t run Tuskarr Jouster, but opted for Antique Healbot instead. You have tons of early game minions in the deck in form of Zombie Chows, Shielded Minibot, Aldor Peacekeeper and even 4 drops aren’t guaranteed to win jousts against oppenents such as Hunters. I like reliability and that is why I have chosen a reliable card in Healbot over the card with bigger potential, but also greater risk factor.
Coghammer isn’t used in every Midrange Paladin list too, but I have decided to run it just because it is great at fighting for early board control against every aggro deck. I cut 1 Equality for that and I don’t regret that as Equality is much more situational than Coghammer.
Big Game Hunter is included in the deck as it can kill both Avenged Dr. 6 (Mysterious Challenger) and original doctor – dr-boom. Also it is a great card against Control Warrior which is surprisingly popular right now.
Lastly, Loatheb. I haven’t seen people running it in Paladins lately and honestly I am very-very surprised by this. This is a great card to help 2 of your worst matchups, Freeze Mage and Patron Warrior. It can lock up Freeze Mages clear for 1 turn, Freeze Mages lethal for 1 turn or Patron Warriors lethal for 1 turn. And that 1 turn can often be what you actually do need to push for lethal. Furthermore, it is very good against Handlock and Control Warrior too, making these matchups even better for you.
Matchups and Mulligans
Vs Patron Warrior
The key to winning this matchup is to curve out perfectly, hope that he doesn’t have more than 1 Whirlwind effect and just pressure him down. Sometimes if he goes all-in with Patrons, you can Equality-Consecrate for the win.
Mulligan for: Zombie Chow, Ironbeak Owl to silence his Acolytes, Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, Aldor Peacekeeper, 4-drops if you already have a good hand.
Vs Secret Paladin
You have to get the board control early and Secret Paladin will never get it back. Sometimes they will just have the perfect draw which is impossible to beat.
Mulligan for: Early game minions, Ironbeak Owl, Coghammer if you have a early game minion in hand already. Don’t keep Consecration or Truesilver.
This matchup is pretty tricky to play as you have to be careful of his AOE spells. You will win by running him out of resources which seems hard, but it is actually pretty easy if you get Quartermaster value or Murloc Knight sticks to the board.
Mulligan for: Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, Muster, Aldor, BGH, Piloted Shredder
Vs Dragon Priest
I haven’t played this matchup a lot, so I can’t give you an estimation on how good it is. But my personal opinion is that if you are careful of Shrinkmeister-Cabal, you can grind it out most of the times. Sometimes it is good to bait it out with Shredder or Belcher to not have Ysera stolen away.
Mulligan for: Knife Juggler, Minibot, Muster, Truesilver, Piloted Shredder
Vs Tempo and Mech Mage
These matchups are pretty similar. You need to deal with their early board and then you usually win, but doing this isn’t easy at all.
Mulligan for: Zombie Chow, Minibot, Knife Juggler, Muster, Coghammer, Consecration is a fine keep if you already have 2 of the ones I mentioned before.
Vs Midrange Druid
I actually think that it may be better than 60-40 if played absolutely correctly, but playing this matchup absolutely correctly is very hard. You always play around Combo and try to answer Darnassus, but there are some tricky situations you will encounter when playing this matchup. Also, never silence Darnassus Aspirant.
Mulligan for: Zombie Chow, Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, Piloted Shredder, Truesilver if you already have a good curve
Vs Control Warrior
This is most likely the best matchup you have. Paladin has always been known as one of the hardest counters to Control Warrior because of the hero power which is hard to deal with for Warrior. The key in this matchup is usually to be patient and avoid overextending to Brawl. I usually also like to hold onto Ysera until he has used almost all of his removal spells. You can deal with his threats easily by using Equality, Aldor and BGH. Murloc Knight is also great in this matchup.
Mulligan for: Shielded Minibot, Knife Juggler, Muster for Battle, Truesilver, Piloted Shredder
Vs Freeze Mage
The trick in this matchup is to pressure him hard, but not overextend. It is easy to say, but actually very tricky to execute.
Mulligan for: Ironbeak Owl, Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, Piloted Shredder
65-35 Midrange and Hybrid
This matchup is pretty good, especially against Midrange Hunter. However, against Face Hunter, Explosive Traps can be annoying to deal with. The main win condition is just curving out well, not letting a single minion stick for opponent and holding your life total pretty high. Also, be careful of Knife Juggler-UTH, it is the easiest way to lose this matchup.
Mulligan for: Zombie Chow, Owl, Knife Juggler, Minibot, Muster, Coghammer, Aldor
Vs Midrange/Zoo Warlock
I haven’t played against this deck at all, it seems to be as dead as ever. However, I imagine that the matchup is something like 50-50. The key is to win the battle for board control, obviously.
Mulligan for: Zombie Chow, Minibot, Juggler, Coghammer, Muster, Owl
Vs Oil Rogue
This deck is known as your traditional counter, but I feel that with the introduction of Murloc Knight, the situation is better than ever for Paladin. Don’t overextend to Blade Flurry or Fan of Knives. Avoid big threats getting sapped for insane tempo gain to Rogue. Deal with her minions.
Mulligan for: Knife Juggler, Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, Truesilver, Piloted Shredder
Hope you found this guide useful and will give it a try. The season is coming to an end so be sure to start your climb to Legend soon! Please leave comments, feed back or questions in the comments below!