Well met! It’s Newton here again to wish you all a Happy Holidays! It’s been quite awhile since I wrote my last article. This was partially a result of the stagnant meta-game prior to the release of Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion as well as me just being busy with life. Like most players, I play Hearthstone as a hobby so the number of games I play will vary from month to month. However, I did notice that there was not much brewing going on. The meta-game was infested with the same repetitive Hunter and respective counter (i.e. Warrior and Priest) strategies. Being a [card]Tinkertown Technician[/card] myself, I was disappointed to say the least.
[toc]Divine Wisdom Meets Goblins vs. Gnomes[/toc]
Fortunately, the first major expansion to Hearthstone, Goblins vs. Gnomes, brought 123 new collectible cards and infused a breath of fresh air into the meta-game. Innovative mech-themed decks were and are still everywhere! Speaking from my own experience as I saw several friends return to playing Hearthstone, I can imagine the overall excitement players everywhere must have rejoiced.
With that said, I wanted to write about my pet deck, Divine Wisdom, that I finally thought had the tools to be a tier 1 deck. Moreover, Paladin was the least played class leading up to the release of the GvG expansion so I thought it would be fun to revisit the once-dead aggro archetype. (Note: Many players have already adopted Control Paladin again.) Putting my money where my is, I went ahead and played the deck [with its alterations] exclusively this month. This culminated in me reaching Legendary rank quite easily. More importantly, the climb to Legend was a very fun experience as the deck has a lot of nuance to it and is a blast to play in my opinion!
[card]Divine Favor[/card] – Divine Favor is by far the most efficient draw spell in Hearthstone. However, it requires you to build your deck around it. In particular, a Divine Favor deck must maintain an overall low converted mana cost for its cards. Under ideal circumstances, your opponent is stranded with many cards in his hand as you quickly deploy your various threats. You can then re-fuel by drawing anywhere from 4-6 cards to match him on cards while having a much stronger board position. By comparison, [card]Arcane Intellect[/card] nets only 2 cards for Mage players despite having the same converted mana cost of 3.
[card]Blessing of Wisdom[/card] – Blessing of Wisdom acts as the other half of the deck’s namesake cards. One of the fundamental issues of constructing a solid aggro deck is addressing how the deck transitions into the late-game. “Hunter-taker” and “Zoo-lock” variants are popular aggro deck choices because their respective hero abilities give them extra reach to deal the final points of damage as the game progresses. Blessing of Wisdom smooths out your draws during the first few turns of the game, which is critical to establishing early board control. Equally important, it often allows you to draw into Divine Favor, which is usually game-ending against control decks. Finally, Blessing of Wisdom can run away with games when put on a divine shield minion as some decks won’t be able to keep up with your card advantage engine.
[toc]Divine Shield Package[/toc]
[card]Argent Squire[/card] – Argent Squire is the primary 1-drop body to carry the Blessing of Wisdom due to its built-in divine shield. This card also takes care of opposing x/1 minions from other various aggressive decks.
[card]Shielded Minibot[/card] – Shielded Minibot can viewed as Argent Squire’s big brother. For double the mana (2), you get double the stats. He will usually be very difficult for your opponents to remove in the early stages of the game and is often a 2 for 1 trade. He’s so good that even Control Paladin decks view him as a new staple card.
[card]Annoy-o-Tron[/card] – This card does as it says in his name: ANNOY! Your board state / card advantage engine can snowball out of control as a result of him protecting your Knife Jugglers and Blessing of Wisdom minions. He’s a significant upgrade over [card]Noble Sacrifice[/card] because he stops two attacks as opposed to one, which helps greatly in the aggro mirror match. Disclaimer: I apologize in advance if any of your opponents send you hate messages after you draw up your entire deck as a result of Annoy-o-Tron’s attack deflections.
[cardinsert card=”undertaker” float=”right”]
[card]Undertaker[/card] – An aggro deck would be incomplete without the strongest 1-drop in the game. However, I do get questions from friends and opponents trying my deck whether the 6 total deathrattle minions is sufficient enough to grow Undertaker. My answer is Undertaker is usually a 2/3 for 1-mana without a severe drawback (i.e. [card]Zombie Chow[/card]) that often baits a removal spell. In my opinion, that is always good value. Granted, Undertaker is not as good in this deck as in Hunter / Zoo builds but it doesn’t need to be.
[card]Leper Gnome[/card] – Leper Gnome provides another solid 1-drop minion that also doubles as a deathrattle minion for Undertaker. Though not very exciting, it serves its role well by establishing early board presence.
[card]Haunted Creeper[/card] – Haunted Creeper is a very efficient minion (effectively a 3/4 for 2 mana) that happens to play well with the other cards in this deck. It increases the deathrattle density for Undertaker while being very synergistic with Knife Juggler. Moreover, Haunted Creeper also hedges well against sweeper effects due to its deathrattle and is just an overall solid body.
[card]Loot Hoarder[/card] – Once again, Loot Hoarder further increases the deathrattle density for Undertaker. However, it also allows you to draw into Divine Favor earlier while also not necessarily interfering by effectively “storing” your draw. Similar to Blessing of Wisdom, sequencing your plays correctly allows you to maximize your Divine Favor by storing draws for the future.
[card]Equality[/card] – There are going to be games where Equality is somewhat awkward. However, the role it plays in this deck is absolutely critical. Equality is the deck’s only way of dealing with nasty giants (i.e. [card]Molten Giant[/card] and [card]Mountain Giant[/card]) and other obscene taunters such as [card]Ancient of War[/card]. In addition, Equality is a big enabler for some nice one-sided board clears (see below).
[cardinsert card=”knife-juggler” float=”right”]
[card]Knife Juggler[/card] – You can’t mention Equality in this deck without mentioning Knife Juggler as well. Though technically listed as a 2-drop, Knife Juggler is at its best during the mid/late game since you’ll want to combo it immediately with one of your other cards. When used correctly, you should be able to completely wipe your opponent’s board.
[card]Argent Protector[/card] – Argent Protector is Knife Juggler’s best friend. In most instances, you’re going to want to use Argent Protector’s divine shield grant on Knife Juggler. This allows you to play Knife Juggler earlier because your opponent may not be able to cleanly deal with its divine shield during the early turns of the game.
[card]Muster for Battle[/card] – Muster for Battle gives the deck a second way behind Divine Favor to rebuild quickly from a devastating sweeper. It can also force your opponent to pre-maturely play his sweeper card as failing to do so can result in Quartermaster coming down the following turn.
[card]Truesilver Champion[/card] – Tempo. Check. Card advantage. Check. Life gain. Check. Win. Check.
[card]Quartermaster[/card] – Quartermaster’s role in the deck is pretty cut and dry straight-forward. He punishes opponent’s for ignoring your Silver Hand Recruits and combos very nicely with new all-star Muster for Battle as a mini-[card]Bloodlust[/card]. Overall, he provides some much needed burst since all minions in the deck have 3 or less power.
One of the main reasons why I enjoy playing Divine Wisdom over another aggro variant such as Zoo-lock is the numerous cool interactions/combos in the deck. The relevant combos are listed below.
[cardinsert card=”blessing-of-wisdom” float=”right”]
Blessing of Wisdom + Argent Squire: Though existing even before the release of Curse of Naxxramas, playing Blessing of Wisdom on Argent Squire turn 2 still feels very good. Bread and butter, ’nuff said.
Blessing of Wisdom + Shielded Minibot: If you like Blessing of Wisdom on an Argent Squire, having one on Shielded Minibot feels twice as nice (see what I did there?). Control players will have fits dealing with this combo.
Blessing of Wisdom + Argent Protector: This combo is very similar to the two above it. Another minion with divine shield gets to carry a Blessing of Wisdom.
Equality + Knife Juggler: With lots of mana available, you should be able to completely wipe your opponent’s board with this.
Equality + Muster for Battle: Playing a Muster for Battle after an Equality will allow you to immediately remove your opponent’s biggest threat with the new 1/4 weapon while potentially taking out the rest of his minions the following turn.
Knife Juggler + Haunted Creeper: Triggering the deathrattle on a Haunted Creeper with a freshly played Knife Juggler should allow you to “trade” with the rest of your minions pretty favorably due to the extra damage. Hunters and Zoo-lock also use this combo to great success.
Knife Juggler + Muster for Battle: If you like Knife Juggler in conjunction with Haunted Creeper, you’ll surely like Knife Juggler with Muster for Battle. Value!
Muster for Battle + Quartermaster: Though still new, this new tag-team pair has already made waves in Control Paladin builds. For 8 mana (over 1 or 2 turns), you get a minimum of one 2/5, three 3/3s, and a 1/4 weapon. Even excluding the weapon and other Silver Hand Recruits from your Reinforce hero ability, that’s already 25 total points of stats.
There are no legendary cards and only two epic [Quartermaster] cards in this deck. As a result, the deck should be fairly inexpensive to build and thus won’t cost you much dust in the process. For those who don’t have or don’t want to spend the dust on Quartermaster, I personally think one copy should be fine. The other can be replaced with several alternatives. Here are some options below:
[cardinsert card=”loatheb” float=”right”]
[card]Loatheb[/card] – Loatheb needs no introduction, as many players consider him the best card in the game. He also just happens to be the same converted mana cost as Quartermaster so the change should not affect your mana curve. Loatheb is included in other aggro builds to prevent your opponent from playing a devastating sweeper or removal spell (i.e. [card]Brawl[/card]). He can do the same for you in this instance.
[card]Consecration[/card] – I’ve debated including a single copy of Consecration to deal with other aggro decks. The obvious downside is that the card is not very good against most control decks. However, the synergy Consecration has with Equality can’t be understated. It can also be used to deal the last two points of damage past taunt minions late in the game.
[card]Defender of Argus[/card] – I cannot stress how strong diverting your opponent’s attacks from important minions (i.e. Knife Juggler) to your vanilla minions is. Bonus: This card was an all-star in my pre-GvG builds with [card]Echoing Ooze[/card] to stall out even the fastest of blitzes from Hunter decks.
I hope this article has been entertaining and has thus inspired you to give the deck a try. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to legendary rank with this deck like I did! Good luck! Thanks again for any feedback and comments. Please stay tuned for the match-up analysis and tips section in part 2 of my guide during the next few days.