Deck Guide: Prince Keleseth Tempo Rogue
Hello hello hello! Some of you may remember me as Fireflyer last year but after half a year away from Hearthstone due to a job that took up a lot of my time, I've decided to evolve my persona to a new one to reflect a fresh new start on my Twitch/writing career. But alas, this article isn't about me, so let's just get right into it.
One of the cards that made a recent rise in power over the past month or so has been Prince Kelesethdue to its ability to make decks that use a lot of minions much stronger than before. Decks such as Zoo Warlock and Zoo Druid have both been seen using Keleseth to pump up their deck full of minions as well as comboing well with Patches the Pirateto give you a free 2/2 Charge directly out of your deck. However, the biggest abuse of this power card comes in the form of Tempo Rogue thanks to the insane synergy between Prince Kelesethand Shadowstep. Pretty much any game where you can drop Keleseth on Turn 1 (with coin) or Turn 2 and immediately bounce him back to your hand to be cast for FREE thanks to Shadowstep's cost reduction is a game that will be difficult for your opponent to win.
Let's take a look at the current "top" build for Keleseth Tempo Rogue and discuss some possible alternative cards that can be thrown into the deck as well.
Decklist: Tempo Rogue
The full decklist is available to the right but I'm going to split up the decklist into different sections to better identify the reason for cards in the deck.
This is the main combo in the deck that really makes it truly deadly. I aggressively mulligan for these cards because if you can get the Prince Kelesethtrigger, you're in a good spot, but if you can get it to trigger twice I think it's pretty much impossible to lose thanks to how this deck rolls out.
Shadowstep: While Keleseth is your main target for this card, there are TONS of things you can do with this that makes it such a good card in this deck. Helping combos trigger is one thing but the synergy this card has with things like SI:7 Agentor Bonemareor even Spellbreakeris what makes this deck very versatile and allows it to handle a lot of various decks. Oh man I forgot to even mention Vilespine Slayer! This card is just great for battlecry effects and this deck is full of great ones that you can abuse. Always use it with Keleseth during the first 2-3 turns but if you've gotten to turn 5-6 and you still have one in hand and you just drew into Keleseth, I wouldn't bother comboing with him anymore since the deck buff is pretty much unnecessary at that point and focus on using this with your lategame tempo minions such as Vilespine Slayerand Bonemarefor some really gruesome synergy.
Prince Keleseth: I don't even want to call this card Prince Keleseth anymore because he is a KING now. This card's popularity has gone up so much and after trying this deck out I can see why. Being able to buff Patches the Pirateinto a 2/2 Charge that you can toss into play for free is insane but a single Shadowstepmakes your deck just ridiculous. Even if you're not a fan of this deck I would tell you to try out the other various Prince Kelesethdecks going around because he really has become quite a powerhouse in this current meta. Mulligan AGGRESSIVELY for this guy.
These are the cards that are pretty much a staple in most rogue decks. The cards listed here are the types of cards that you almost will always see pop up in every rogue deck just because of how invaluable they are to have.
Backstab: One of the best removal cards in the game. The 0 mana cost allows you to easily combo off of this if you really need to activate an SI:7 Agenton Turn 3 and also allows you to drop down a huge Edwin VanCleef. One thing to keep in mind is that although you will be tempted to use this to take out your opponent's early game, sometimes a late game Backstabis super handy to try and get out a quick SI:7 Agentor Vilespine Slayerwith the curve so you can tempo out better, which is the focus of this deck.
Cold Blood: I wouldn't say that this card is used in every Rogue deck but the burst potential of this card makes it pretty useful. I like to compare this card to Soulfirein that you can use it to pump one of your minions to deal 4 extra damage to your opponent or pump it so it's big enough to kill something like a Jade Behemoththat might be in your way. The cheap mana cost also allows you to combo off of it if you need to and can also be used to make Edwin VanCleefa big threat. Personally I like to combo this with Leeroy Jenkinsbut there are definitely times when you need to put this on a 1/1 to trade with a big minion.
Hallucination: This is another card that isn't really a staple in EVERY rogue deck but it's a card that I think is valuable just because of two things: First, it's very cheap so it helps you combo cards and also helps with Edwin VanCleef. Second, it replaces itself so you're not actually losing a card when you combo with this like you do with other cards such as Backstab. The decklist I found online was running only one of these previously but I had been running into issues of not being able to combo Vilespine Slayereffectively and an extra one of these really made a huge difference. I personally love the card because it also makes games interesting. Instead of being stuck to the same 30 cards every game, you'll get cards that aren't normally in your deck and will allow you to come up with some fun strategies and synergies that you normally wouldn't be able to play.
SI:7 Agent: Another staple card in rogue decks that allows you to control the game by removing small minions, dealing damage to your opponent's face if they are super low, and also getting a minion body that allows you to attack/trade. This card is extra handy in this deck because of things like Shadowstepand Shadowcasterwhich allow you to really abuse the combo mechanic it has. I love using this minion to kill something small like a Radiant Elementaland then Shadowstepit back to hand, replay it to deal damage to another minion and basically get its full health back. Definitely a great card for this deck.
Vilespine Slayer: A fresh new card in the latest expansion that found its place in every Rogue player's heart. Assassinateused to be in its place but once this card came out it quickly took over that spot since it allows you to effectively do the same exact thing while also having two extra benefits: one, of course you get the 3/4 body which is even better in this deck since Keleseth will make it a 4/5 or even a 5/6, and two, you can target otherwise untargetable things from effects like Adapt which can't do. I would be surprised to see anyone use Assassinateever again since this card is just so damn good. Just remember, try to save your Backstabs so you can tempo into this minion effectively or at least hold back a Hallucination.
Pirates and Friends
These are your staple "small" minions in the deck that allow you to dominate the early game and dominate even harder if you can get Prince Kelesethto trigger and make them bigger/deadlier minions.
Fire Fly: This is your answer against most of the pirate mirror matches and also against hunter. It effectively takes out 1/1s quite well like Alleycatand Swashburglarwhile also tossing a free 1/2 into your hand to combo off of or to drop next turn for more early game trade potential. It's a simple card that does its job early on in the game.
Patches the Pirate: What can we say about Patches that everyone doesn't already know? Combined with the power of Prince Kelesethhe is now a 2/2 Charge (or bigger) that comes out of your deck for free. If you're using Southsea Captainto pull him out he's even BIGGER than that! Cannot be replaced no matter how many decks are starting to run Golakka Crawleras a counter to pirates.
Southsea Deckhand: Another amazing pirate that works best in rogue thanks to the hero power that allows this to be pretty much a 2/1 Charge almost always. I rarely play it without the Charge effect just so you can at least guarantee 2 free damage so don't drop it on Turn 1 unless you really feel you need to because a lot of decks have some sort of removal that will easily take it out. Examples: Potion of Madness, Mortal Coil, Maelstrom Portal, Mage Hero Power, Druid Hero Power, Paladin Hero Power trades, etc.
Swashburglar: I would have preferred to put this card up with the "Rogue Necessities" but because it is a pirate it belongs with its pirate buddies. Unlike Southsea DeckhandI do play this card immediately unless I have Prince Kelesethin hand because you don't want Patches coming out as just a 1/1 if you can make him bigger. He's basically like a Babbling Bookthat also makes your game interesting because like I said above with Hallucinationyou will always get random cards that can create interesting synergies or surprise your opponents with something they don't see coming. This guy pretty much belongs in every rogue deck, in my opinion.
Southsea Captain: The king of pirates, he pumps up your other pirates and makes them survive small board wipes while also adding to their damage and helping them either deal massive damage or trade up with bigger minions.
The rogue legendaries are just so good on their own that it's hard not to throw them into every deck. They don't even have much synergy in this current decklist but the sheer power they provide for their low mana cost makes them better than anything else you would put in their place.
Edwin VanCleef: Unlike the old Rogue decks that ran Counterfeit Coinand Preparation, your VanCleef isn't going to be a giant 20/20 anymore but I have still had games where he comes out as an 8/8 or bigger on Turn 3 thanks to the Coin and things like Shadowstepon Swashburglar. A personal rule of thumb though, I don't keep him in my opening hand unless I have the coin since the coin basically provides you with a free +2/+2. Otherwise just mulligan him and go for Prince Kelesethsince that is the focus of this deck, not Edwin.
Shaku, the Collector: Just a powerful card by itself, you're almost always guaranteed a single attack and a free card from your opponent (see Hallucination/Swashburglar above, don't want to keep repeating myself). Occasionally I'll use Shadowstepafter attacking in order to replay and get the Stealth again but that's only if I've used up my entire hand and I need to refill it with more card advantage. Usually you'll just play him, attack, get free cards and use those to keep your tempo going.
Xaril, Poisoned Mind: Another amazingly powerful card by itself that gives you cheap spells to use for combos or Edwin VanCleef. I wouldn't use Shadowstepor Shadowcasteron this minion though, just play it and get your two potions/spells and that is good enough for 4 mana.
Leeroy Jenkins: One of the best finishers in the game. Combine this with Cold Bloodand you'll usually end your opponent before Turn 8+ when they can get their Death Knight cards and such going. Can also be combo'd with Shadowsteplate in the game for even more burst damage! Cannot be replaced, best high damage Charge minion finisher in the game.
These are the minions that didn't really fit into any of the other themes in the deck.
Spellbreaker: A great singleton that allows you to negate Taunt minions or disable effects such as Doomsayeror Spikeridged Steedthat will wall you off from hitting your opponent. You really only need one in the deck since Shadowstepand Shadowcasterwill allow you to abuse the same battlecry effect multiple times if you use it properly.
Shadowcaster: Another great singleton that lets you abuse the battlecry effects in your deck. Making copies of Vilespine Slayeror SI:7 Agentto remove your opponents minions are the best way to abuse this card and then if possible, use Shadowstepor if you're lucky, Xaril, Poisoned Mind's potion that does the same effect, to return the 1/1 back to your hand and it will revert back to its old regular stats, thus giving you a free FULL card as well as another opportunity to abuse the battlecry effect again. A fun card to play around in this type of deck full of fun battlecries.
Bonemare: The king of tempo cards, you're getting a 5/5 minion while also making another one of your minions HUGE as well as giving it Taunt which means you can attack into your opponent and force them to attack into your minion instead of racing you to see who can kill the other first. Another battlecry effect that you can abuse with Shadowstepor Shadowcasterbut don't forget to attack first and eat minions so you can return it and put its health back to full.
Mulligan: AGGRESSIVE Keleseth
Your main priority during the mulligan phase is to get Prince Kelesethsince his deck buff is only handy if you're getting him out early to buff up things like Patches the Pirateand then getting them into play before your opponent can develop a board.
Priority #1: Prince Kelesethand Swashburglar.
Swashburglaris another card I like to get early on because if you don't have Keleseth, you can play him early to start aggressively attacking while also getting the free card to try and work that into your curve as well. However, if you have Keleseth in hand make sure you don't cast him on Turn 1 since you'll want the buff to hit Patches the Piratefirst.
Priority #2: Shadowstep.
Shadowstepis important mainly if you have Keleseth but also because there are just so many things you can abuse with it. Things like SI:7 Agentcan really wreck early game boards with a proper Shadowstepplay. Remember, eat a small minion, bounce, play again with combo and deal damage to basically "heal" your Agent.
Priority #3: Fire Flyand Backstab.
These are your answers against most early game boards. Fire Flycan eat and trade small minions while also giving you that extra little bit of damage to kill 2 health minions with your hero power. Backstaballows you to get rid of any threatening minions such as Northshire Clericor Flametongue Totemand also provides you with the best combo card for things like SI:7 Agent.
Conclusion: Powerful AND Fun!
Like I mentioned at the beginning of my article, I took a bit of a break from Hearthstone as my last job was draining the life out of me and I could barely find the time to really keep up with the current meta. But during my return, I saw this deck being played and wanted to try it out and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! Last month I barely played at all and was able to reach Rank 5 quickly at the end of the month for my monthly rewards. If you're looking to climb ranks with a deck that won't bore you out, thanks to cards like Swashburglarand Hallucinationgiving you a variety of different cards to play with, I recommend using this deck as it is powerful yet also really creative to play.
Well that's it for me today, I hope you all enjoyed the decklist and for the time being I should be back around writing articles again for you all! I might even be able to revive my old Reddit Clips articles so if you're the type that likes seeing funny or educational clips of popular Twitch streamers, keep your eye open for that as well.
If you want, you are always welcome to follow me on Twitter @whoisfuskee to see what I've been up to and I'm usually not the type to do this, but I'm begging for follows on my Twitch stream at twitch.tv/whoisfuskee so I can try to get up to Partner status and really give this Twitch thing a shot! I play a lot of Arena and my videos are full of me talking to myself and explaining my thought process so you can get an idea of how I play. Please drop by and give me some love and keep me company if you're bored, I do my best to engage with anyone in my room. :) Thanks for reading and I will see you all again soon!