Legend Control Paladin Guide
I'm sipiwi and I'm going to show you the secrets of Control Paladin. First a little about myself. I started playing the game in december and reached legend every season since beta season 2. I have used rogue to reach legend every season (tempo the first ones and miracle the last one).
I made this deck when I was tired of playing the standard decks. My mindset was that I didn't want to play the most popular classes, but wanted to discover something new in the game. This lead to a very slow deck building process because I had to figure anything out myself. I figured out that I liked quite a few things about the Paladin class.
First of all I love their "reduce att to 1" mechanic. It is very strong, but silence will make you swear. The mechanic has strong synergy with Stampeding Kodo.
The second part about Paladin is Equality- just one card, but essential to the class. It has synergy with Consecration, Avenging Wrathand Wild Pyromancerand without these combos Paladin would only be playable as an aggro deck.
The final part is their heals. Paladin has very strong late game heals. This let them recover from bad situations and punishes people when they go for a greedy burst to kill you the turn after.
Now I wanted to figure out what kind of deck I wanted. A deck with great removal and the ability to bounce back when behind. That's basically the definition of a control deck. A control deck needs a way to stall the game and strong late game cards. The most efficient way to stall the game is by using removal, but early game minions can work as well, preferably early game minions that are not useless if you draw them late game. Nowadays all decks need card draw as well and with that in made these things in mind I started creating the deck.
Now I knew what roles the cards in the deck needed. A very important thing in control decks are that your deck contains multi-purpose cards. An example is Aldor Peacekeeper, which can either be used to neutralize a big minion late game or used as a fine 3-drop. By having these cards in your deck your chance of drawing "dead cards" is reduced significantly.
How to Survive (Removal)
The first thing I wanted was to find some cards that let me reach late game. The first ones I chose were Truesilver Champion, Consecration, and Avenging Wrath. These cards usually trades 2:1 and they can also work as damage to the face to end the game.
With those 3 cards in the deck Equalitywas suddenly very valueable, and that made Wild Pyromancera natural choice. Now I had my board clears, which is always important, since single-target spells can't always do the job alone.
Now I had a lot of removal, but I felt I needed something against late game minions. Equalityis good, but it's often needed early to combo for a board clear. This left me with 3 options: Big Game Hunter, The Black Knight, and Aldor Peacekeeper+ Stampeding Kodo. I didn't like that the first two options would often be dead cards in my hand, and the last option offered a strong combo, but also strong single cards. I ended up choosing The Black Knighttoo because there are a lot of taunts in the meta.
How To Win (The Late Game Cards)
Now that I had the cards that would let me reach late game I wanted some threats my opponent's should not be able to deal with. Ragnaros the Firelord, Tirion Fordringand Ysera were all strong, but after having tried all of them for a while I found out that Ragnaros the Firelord often hit something useless being easily removed the turn after. Therefore I chose the other 2.
The other late game cards I wanted were the heals Guardian of Kingsand Lay on Hands. These cards were very good against the decks that wanted to burst you down because they often didn't have the damage to do 30 + 20 healed. Also a card that heals can be played even if you are in the danger zone.
How To Draw
Having chosen the core cards I wanted cards that let me draw the core. These cards had to be multi-purpose cards because anything else would make the deck too slow or too inconsistent. So the cards needed to be healing, removal, or have special synergy with the cards already in the deck.
Acolyte of Paincame to my mind immediately because of Wild Pyromancerand the amount of spells already in the deck. Another positive thing about Acolyte of Painis that he makes your opponent's AOE less valueable.
Azure Drakeis a strong card in general that synergizes with spells - a very good choice that could also fill out the 5-drop spot.
I didn't pick Hammer of Wrathas a removal spell because it seemed too slow. But with the card draw I still decided to use 1.
How To Secure The Early Game
Now I had all I needed, but I still needed to pick 7 cards. Looking down the list I wanted more minions and more early game cards. The cards should be good to fight for board control/force trades in the early game, and they should also be good plays late game to make it easier to spend all many in the late game. I ended up choosing Sunfury Protectorand Defender of Argusbecause taunts are strong in every state of the game. Similarly to healing you can play taunts even when your hp is low and that's important with this deck. For the same reason I chose Sen'jin Shieldmastaand Earthen Ring Farseer
Good Cards That Didn't Make It
Sword of Justiceis a high value card (basically a 5/5 for 3 mana), but it is not very good to play when your opponent has board control. It could be a good card in a slower meta game.
Harvest Golemis a good 3-drop because it is hard to remove. I used 1 of these instead of an Acolyte of Painand I'm still swaping back and forth depending on what decks I face. This card is great against aggro and I would use 2 if aggro was more popular.
Argent Protectorhas the same issue as Sword of Justice- it is only good with board control. It could be a good card in a slower meta game.
The situational cards should always be considered. The Black Knightis in this deck, but Blood Knightcould be good when aggro becomes more popular (maybe swap in 2 at the same time) and should also be considered, but it is often hard to remove more than a dagger from Rogues and other weapon classes aren't popular enough for me to use this card.
Strategy and Mulligan
The strategy has been mentiond before. You want to survive the early game without losing too much hp and without giving your opponent a strong board that you can’t clear. In the mid game your minions start trading efficiently and this should continue until the game ends.
The way you want to mulligan depends on the matchup. You have a few cards that are great against each matchup and most of the times you want to mulligan for them. In addition to those matchup-specific cards you want a nice mana curve and with early game drops.
In this deck the 2-drops are hero power, Sunfury Protectorthat I like to play turn 2, and Wild Pyromancerthat I prefer to keep in my hand and play hero power instead.
The 3-drops are Acolyte of Painthat I play turn 3 against slow deck or if I have nothing else, Earthen Ring Farseerthat I often just play turn 3, and Aldor Peacekeeperthat I play against aggro decks or sometimes if I have nothing else.
I don’t keep 4-drops when I mulligan and I don’t have a 2-/3-drop, the only exception being if they are particularly good in the matchup.
Silver Hand Recruit
This hero power is quite strong. It secures that you have a minion to play even though it’s not very strong. (It’s close to being a Novice Engineer). Some other hero powers trade with it, but you are the one who forces the trade. You can use this as an advantage. En example is that you have the coin and you hero power turn 2 against a mage. If the mage wants to trade he has to use hero power turn 3 wasting a mana.
In general you want to hero power as much as you can afford to. It helps you create a board without committing anything. However, using hero power is very slow so in many situations you can’t afford to.
The Early Game
In the early game you want to play minions that can trade with your opponent’s minions. It’s usually easy to play because your options are very limited. The most important thing is to figure out if you want to play a minion or use hero power. The case where you don’t want to hero power is if they are aggro, if you know they have a no-cost way to clear a 1/1, or if you want to get board control.
The Mid Game
The mid game is much harder than the early game because you have a lot of options. A common decision is if you want to play card draw or not. The obvious answer is that if you have good plays the following turns and a good alternative play this turn you don’t want to play card draw. An example is that you can play Azure Drakeor Stampeding Kodowith a target.
A second thing to keep in mind about the play above is that Stampeding Kodois a combo card in this deck (Aldor Peacekeeper). Depending on the matchup you may or may not want keep this in your hand. Against Handlock I would keep it, but not against Aggrolock. Other combo cards in the deck that you may or may not want to keep are Aldor Peacekeeper, Consecration, Equality, Wild Pyromancer, and Avenging Wrath.
The Late Game
In the late game you don’t want to lose. That’s basically your goal. You have your late game cards that should secure that you win if you don't lose when trying to stabilize. If you are in danger of losing remove as many minions as possible, heal, and taunt up. If you have board control you want to figure out the only ways you could lose and avoid them.
For example you don’t want to spend your entire turn playing Tirion Fordringagainst a shaman because a Hexcould turn the game around. Instead you usually would want to play a ~5-mana minion and hero power so you don’t play into some huge AOE. These guidelines don’t apply if you could be killed easily. They are meant to describe the scenario where you are in the lead and need to close out the game safely.
A last thing to keep in mind is fatigue. This deck has a lot of card draw and in some matchups fatigue can be a problem. If you think the game will go all the way you want to play your card draw before it will be a disadvantage and you want to make sure that you don’t have your hero power only for the rest of the game.
There are some things that this deck can’t do and some things that the deck only has few answers to. The deck only has few ways to remove big minions – Equality. The deck can’t be aggressive in the early game. The deck is very strong against decks with less late game threats that aren’t full aggro. Let’s take every matchup step by step.
This is one of the better early game matchups. If you survive until you can play your late game heals you will win. If possible use Sunfury Protectorto taunt other minions, but it is fine to play turn 2 as a way to kill your opponent’s early game minions. Remember that your hero power can give them an extra dog before you use it. Truesilver Championis a card I often mulligan to get because it is very strong against Animal Companion.
When you face rogue it is Miracle Rogue almost every time. This is one of the harder matchups. It is hard to pressure them early and they remove your minions pretty easily, but play as many as possible to force out spells. Remember how much damage they used (Eviscerate, Cold Blood, and Shadowstepare sometimes used early.) because you can often heal up again making it impossible for them to kill you.
Another important thing in this meatchup is that you can kill minions through stealth. Mulligan for Equalityand early game minions. Truesilver Championis a very good card too because the Rogue minions are all 3/3 or 4/4. Keep a charge on the weapon for their 4/4 5-drops if possible.
When you face Tempo Rogue the first thing you want is to put on a big smile. This matchup is much easier and should be played like the hunter matchup. Remember that some Tempo rogues has a huge burst so try to have max health or at least a taunt out.
It is hard to mulligan against Warlock because of the two very different popular decks. I mulligan depending on what cards I get. If I get Equalityor Aldor PeacekeeperI keep it for the Handlock matchup and throw everything else away to get an answer for Aggrolock/Murlock. If I get ConsecrationI keep it and mulligan for good answers against Handlock. If you already have answers for both matchups try to get early game minions. None of the matchups are heavily favoured or unfavoured.
Handlock is all about their draws. If they draw too many big minions you can’t do anything, but if they don’t you are in good shape. Especially if you happen to have an Equality. Use it well! Don’t just burn it on one big 4-drop if you have other options. You only have 2 good answers for giants so try to get maximum value out of them. Don’t bring the the Handlock below 10 health if you don’t have Equalityor spell damage that kills them the following turn. Aldor Peacekeeperis a good answer to giants, but remember that they can silence the effect away. If possible kill them the same turn that you reduce their attack.
Aggrolock is all about your draws. You need you board clears. Calculate if you can survive without using you board clear before you do it to get more value out of it. If you have more than 1 you can use one of them to stay safe or to bait out all his minions. Try to keep your board clears if the Aggro player has many cards in his hand. Aldor Peacekeeperis the only strong card early except for the board clears. 2-drops are fine too.
The shaman is a fairly slow class that uses a lot of minions/totems. This gives the board clears huge value making the matchup favoured. The Shaman doesn’t have as many late game threats as our deck either, but has a lot of answers so make sure that you don’t lose all your cards to a big spell damage Lightning Storm. Use hero power a lot and try to get board control as fast as possible. Try to bait out Hex. I often see my Shaman opponents use it on cheap minions because they don’t know that I have bigger minions in the deck.
Control Warrior is a tough matchup because of their removal and the amount of late game threats. You have to apply pressure as fast as possible and you need to safe your removal for late game. Try to destroy their armor before you play your big minions. Truesilver Championis a very good card in this matchup. You want to mulligan for this because it always goes 2 for 1 against the Warrior minions. Acolyte of Painis also a good card because of the many 1-attack minions the warrior has. In the late game you need an answer for Alexstrasza. A good answer is Guardian of Kings+ Aldor Peacekeeper. If you heal up after he has reduced your health to 15 you have a chance because his win condition is gone.
Aggro warrior is a different story. Our deck has many taunts and heals making this a fine matchup. The strategy is simple. Taunt and heal! Get board control as fast as possible.
Druid is a pretty good matchup. The Black Knightgains huge value in this matchup, but don’t keep it in your starting hand. It will be a dead card a lot of the game maybe all of it if you face Token Druid. Druid can be played in many ways these days, but the way you play against it is simple. Get board control. It is all that matters against Druid. A druid with board control is hard to deal with and before you know it you are dead to one of the many combos involving Savage Roar.
This is another good matchup. Priest is a reactionary class = a class that needs to counter the opponent’s plays. Our deck doesn’t make many plays early and late game they come too fast to counter. Thoughtstealis our worst nightmare, but usually we can deal with what he gets. Mulligan for a good early mana curve, but consider keeping Azure Drake(4 attack) if you already have an early game drop or two.
Control Paladin is all about taking board control early to force his Equalityout. This is important because that's his only way to clear your minions even the 4-5 drops. You want to throw out your biggest minion every turn and spend all your mana.
Aggro Paladin is a fine matchup if they don’t get a huge Divine Favor. Try to destroy their divine shields because of Blood Knight. This matchup is like other aggro matchups. You need board clears, heal and taunt to survive until your big heals come out.
Against both matchups the only thing to care about is their removal combos.
Mage is usually aggro or an Archmage Antonidasdeck. Against aggro you must play like against all of the other aggro decks, except for the fact that taunts will not help you if you are below 12hp. Try to heal up and use board clears when they have many minions out or when they don’t have a lot of cards in their hand.
If you feel that the deck is a slower type try to keep your ways to remove 4+ health minions because it’s very important to remove them right away. The fastest decks don’t run Polymorphor Flamestrikebut play around them if possible.
Hope this guide will be help you climb the ladder or at least be a lot of fun. I went from #700 legend to #80 legend without losing, but that obviously only happens with a bit of luck. Most bad decks can’t do it even with some luck though. Give it a try. Ask questions in comments, on facebook or on my twitch channel when I stream! Good luck.