2 June 2014 - 13:59

Extensive Miracle Rogue Guide - Black Magic

Dot Esports

Welcome friends! My name is Blackacre and I piloted the Miracle Rogue to Top 20 NA. After receiving numerous requests for a guide on how to mulligan/play each of the major matchups in the metagame I have given in and created a comprehensive guide, containing 11 matchups analysis.

I’ve broken up the match analysis into multiple guides (it’s too much for one guide/sitting). This guide covers the core deck and its cards.

Play Style

I want to preface this guide by telling you that miracle rogue is a very flexible deck. Part of what makes it so strong is that it can adapt its play style to the type of deck it is playing against. Because of this you need to keep an open mind about how to play the deck. I will give some specific advice on how to play certain matchups later in this guide, but even that is only a general rule.

You need to always be aware of how the game has progressed and use that information to inform your decisions going forward. If you only play miracle rogue as a board control deck or as an aggressive deck you will lose many games that could have been won by adapting to the specific circumstance of your game.

Matchups

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Handlock

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Token Druid

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Aggro Mage

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Priest

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Shaman

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Aggro Paladin

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Ramp Druid

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Control Warrior

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Miracle Rogue

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Aggro Hunter

Miracle Rogue Matchup Analysis Vs. Zoo Warlock

Card Selection

The strength of this deck starts with its low mana curve. When you look at the deck list you will notice that it has 20 cards with a mana cost of 2 or less. In fact, it only contains five cards that cost greater than three mana to cast. This is much lower than your traditional midrange deck.

So how does this list have the power level to compete in the midrange? The answer lies with this deck’s ability to draw an abundance of extra cards. The most notable example of this being the draw ability of Gadgetzan Auctioneer, but cards like Shiv, Fan of Knives, Loot Hoarder, and Azure Drake all help fuel the draw engine that powers this deck.

Backstab

With the exception of certain Druid class cards, all turns in Hearthstone are governed by equal mana crystal limitations. The amount of plays you can accomplish during a given turn is subject the amount of crystals you have available on that turn.

This may sounds obvious, but it is important to remember when gauging the value of a 0 mana card like Backstab, because Backstab breaks that rule. By costing 0 mana it represents a pure tempo gain whenever played. The fact that Backstab is also a extremely useful to begin combos for other rogue cards such as Eviscerate, SI:7 Agent,and Edwin VanCleef only adds to its value.

Preparation

Another card that offers a tempo boost. Since there are no spells in this list that cost more than 3 mana Preparation effectively makes any spell combined with it cost 0 mana. While in a vacuum this would represent card disadvantage there are a number of factors which negate that fact.

The most obvious scenario is having a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in play. When this is the case usingPreparation draws you a card and therefore doesn’t represent card disadvantage at all. However, there are other common scenarios as well. Using Preparation on early turns to help stabilize against aggressive decks in conjunction with cards such asShiv and Fan of Knives doesn’t represent major card disadvantage due to the cantrip effect on those spells.

Shadowstep

Shadowstep is an extremely powerful card that is often misused by players new to miracle rogue. Its most obvious use is as a pseudo 6 damage for 2 mana spell in conjunction with Leeory Jenkins. By casting Leeory Jenkins and using Shadowstep twice you can do 18 damage for 8 mana in one turn with an empty board. However, there are plenty of situations where saving Shadowstep for one giant turn is not the optimal play. This list contains other cards such as SI:7 Agent, Edwin VanCleef, and Earthen Ring Farseer which all synergize with Shadowstep. Knowing when to useShadowstep with these other cards can be crucial to victory.

NOTE: It is possible to use Shadowstep on your Gadgetzan Auctioneer to cycle the card and allow yourself to play the Gadgetzan Auctioneer for 3 mana on a subsequent turn. I strongly dislike this play. It should only be used in times of extreme desperation. There is almost always a better use for Shadowstep. The advantage gained by having a 3 mana Gadgetzan Auctioneer as opposed to a 5 mana Gadgetzan Auctioneer is extremely small.

Cold Blood

Cold Blood is a cheap spell which has value in and of itself in any deck relying on Gadgetzan Auctioneer for card draw, but it gains additional value from the fact that you can sometimes get additional attacks from a minion buffed with Cold Blood by casting Conceal to protect it for an additional turn.

The problem with Cold Blood is that it has no effect on the board if you don’t have a minion in play that is able to attack. This is why I chose to only run 1 copy in this deck. We only want to have Cold Blood when it comes time to output massive damage, and running 1 copy lowers the downside of having the card in your opening hand where it has very little value.

Conceal

Conceal is a cheap spell which is always something this deck is interested in. However, what makes Conceal extremely powerful is the synergy withGadgetzan Auctioneer. By protecting the Gadgetzan Auctioneer for a turn with Conceal you are able to have a full turns worth of mana with theGadgetzan Auctioneer in play. This will often lead to the miracle rogue player drawing enough cards to build an insurmountable lead. Conceal can also act as a damage spell of sorts.

As noted previously it synergizes with Cold Blood to help give another attack step with a buffed minion, but this also applies to any other minions on board. This can be especially powerful if you have a large Edwin VanCleef on board.

Deadly Poison

Deadly Poison acts as an efficient damage spell. For 3 mana (1 for the spell and 2 for the hero power) Deadly Poison will give you 6 damage output. That is a fine conversation rate which is only improved when you consider the synergy with Blade Flurry which can turn your Deadly Poison into board clearing AoE damage.

Blade Flurry

Blade Flurry is a very powerful card when combined with Deadly Poison. It gives the miracle rogue deck the AoE necessary to combat swarm strategies such as Aggro Paladin, Zoo, and Aggro Mage. However, it is much less powerful when you don’t have access to Deadly Poison, which is why we only run 1 copy in order to minimize the potential to draw only a Blade Flurry.

Eviscerate

When combed Eviscerate is an extremely cheap and efficient burn spell for 4 damage at the cost of only 2 mana. It is also an extremely flexible card as it can simply be used to remove a 2 health minion on turn 2 if the need arises.

Sap

Sap can be a confusing card to new players. On its face it appears to be pure card disadvantage because after casting it your opponent will still have all of his/her cards and you have 1 less. While this is true, the tempo based nature of the miracle rogue deck negates this drawback to a large degree. Because the miracle rogue deck has the potential to end the game very quickly, removing a minion from the board is often the same thing as destroying the minion, as your opponent won’t have the mana to recast it.

The optimal way to use Sap is after you have developed a board presence with minions of your own. You then use Sap on high mana cost minions of your opponent to gain additional tempo lead while doing damage with your minions. An extreme example of the value of Sap comes from a card like Ancient of War which would require a large investment of resources to remove from the board in any other manner, but with Sap you are able to remove the 7 mana minion from the board at the low cost of 2 mana.

Shiv

Shiv is a low impact card on its own, but what it does do is act as a combo enabler. Often times you will have a hand full of cards that need to be combed for full value and Shiv acts as the card to help start the turn. It is also valuable as an early game play to help you draw to your key cards. Don’t hesitate to Shiv your opponent in the face on turn 4 if you have no other plays.

Note: Shiv is not an optimal play on turn 2. You are almost always better off using the 2 mana you have on turn 2 on your hero power because you hero power does 2 damage with that 2 mana while Shiv will only do 1 damage. The only exception to this rule is when you are in need of one card in specific and feel like you need to get an extra draw.

Edwin VanCleef

Edwin VanCleef is probably the most complex card to use correctly in the entire deck. You will often have the option to invest significant resources into the card to make it very large, but that is not always the best choice. You need to be hyper aware of the type of deck you are facing when you play this card and what answers they are likely to have.

For instance, if you know you are facing a deck that is likely to run Big Game Hunter it is often correct to play Edwin VanCleef as a 6/6 even when you could make it larger without additional expenditure. In many matchups it is simply right to play Edwin VanCleef on turn 2 with the coin as a 4/4, but there is no golden rule. An entire article could be written on this card alone.

Fan of Knives

Fan of Knives is a card that is included to help combat aggressive decks. It will often have low value against controlling strategies, but it is too important against aggro to leave out of the deck. One thing to note is that it has a particularly strong synergy with Bloodmage Thalnos, the two cards combine to make a 5 mana 2 damage AoE effect that can be particularly valuable against matchups such as Shaman where the board will be cluttered with smaller minions/totems.

Note: There are times when it is correct to simply cycle Fan of Knives when you have the available mana. However, the decision to do this is very complex. You need to consider three major variables. 1st: The type of deck you are facing. If you are likely to get value out of the Fan of Knives at a later point you are more likely to want to save it. 2nd: The texture of your hand. If are choked on expensive spells and are unlikely to have mana to resolve the Fan of Knives in the next few turns then cycling is more likely the correct play. 3rd: How aggressive you need to be with dealing damage. Spending 3 mana on a Fan of Knives can be foolish if you are in a matchup that boils down to a race. In that case you would be much better off just using your hero power for the additional 2 damage it represents.

SI:7 Agent

SI:7 Agent is an extremely powerful anti-aggro tool. Combing out this card on turn 2 or 3 with the Coin or a Backstab can be devastating to any deck that is trying to flood the board with small minions. It is much less valuable against control strategies, but still absolutely worthy of inclusion.

Bloodmage Thalnos

Bloodmage Thalnos truly shines in the miracle rogue deck. This deck runs 8 damage based spells which are affected by spell damage. That combined with the ability to cycle through your deck with its dearthrattle makes Bloodmage Thalnos a card that is extremely useful.

Loot Hoarder

Loot Hoarder is all about stalling the opponent. Miracle rogue has few plays during the first couple of turns of the game, and in order to survive to the midgame where the deck begins to shine, we need cards that slow down the progression of our opponent. Loot Hoarder is exactly what the doctor ordered for this job. It gives us an early board presence that demands an answer from our opponent.

If the opponent uses his/her hero ability to remove the Loot Hoarder that is perfectly fine for us because that means our opponent spent 2 mana removing the card that you spent 2 mana casting… So what did that accomplish? It stalled the game for us! If your opponent spends a card to remove our Loot Hoarder that is even better!

Earthen Ring Farseer

Earthen Ring Farseer is a very useful card in matchups that end up turning into a damage race. The mirror match, Zoo, and Face hunter are all examples of matchups where this is often the case and Earthen Ring Farseer can really shine. Don’t forget that Shadowstep can be used withEarthen Ring Farseer to gain additional life when necessary.

Leeroy Jenkins

Leeroy Jenkins is the finisher in the deck. The vast majority of the time you will only cast Leeroy Jenkins turn you are going to win the game. However, there are narrow circumstances where you will need to cast Leeroy Jenkins in conjunction with other cards such as Blade Flurry orConceal in attempt to get additional value from the card. However, this is the exceptions to the rule and you should only make those moves when the traditional useage of Leeroy Jenkins with Shadowstep is not a viable route to victory.

Azure Drake

Azure Drake is the first of our 5 cost cards in the deck. This spot is very important as the miracle rogue deck does not have much room for high cost cards. Azure Drake provides us with a relevant 4/4 body and spell power to work with our 8 damage based spells while also cantriping us deeper into our deck. Some lists sacrifice 1 Azure Drake for an Assassin’s Blade but I strongly disagree with this choice.

While the Assassin’s Blade can output additional damage in a longer game, you aren’t trying to play a longer game. Azure Drake helps you dig to your key pieces while providing you with a strong board presence and that is what you need.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer

Gadgetzan Auctioneer is an extremely powerful card. In a deck such as miracle rogue where you have more than half of your deck as spells, it provides incredible amounts of card draw. You don’t want to just run one of these out on turn 5 without a way to protect it. This card is what gives miracle rogue a strong chance of winning against control decks, so you want to make sure you get value out of it in those matchups.

Closing

Hope you guys find this matchup analysis helpful! I’ll be adding and creating more guides of other matchups.

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