20 June 2014 - 02:57

Legend Control Paladin Deck (Rank 5 to Legend)

Dot Esports

Updates!

I've been playing this deck and Handlock interchangeably this season and am getting close to Legend again. I haven' t played all that much because Pokemon TCG National Championships were the first week of July and the World Championships are coming up in August, so I need to test for that as well. I will try to make some videos for this deck, but no promises. I did want to let you all know the updates to the deck I've made since I posted this guide:

-1 Acidic Swamp Ooze: Warrior is much scarcer in the metagame now, Doomhammer doesn't get played as much in Shaman, and Miracle is just losing anyway.

-1 Acolyte of Pain: It's a slow card draw, and as one of the commenters mentioned, it's tough to justify. With new additions, it makes sense to keep one I think.

-1 Blood Knight: The amount of Argent Squire that I play against is way down and I needed some space.

-1 Sen'jin Shieldmasta:  He's still great, but I'm putting in other 4 drops and taunts...

+1 Argent Squire: I like having two of this guy and it makes sense with the addition of Defender of Argus.

+1 Bloodmage Thalnos: The replacement for Acolyte - he is a guaranteed card draw for 1 less mana and acts as a crucial +1 spell damage for Consecration against things like Feral Spirits. You can save your Pyromancers for more important tasks when you have Bloodmage (and don't have the mana for Azure Drake + Consecration)

+2 Defender of Argus: A couple people mentioned this earlier when I played the deck, so I tried it and really like it. Buffing your tokens can be huge and can help snowball some early board control into the mid-game, where it becomes easier to hang on to push through to the end game, where you shine. Buffing Argent Squire is one of the best things you can do in the game as well. Defender also gives you some extra Taunt-age against Miracle, giving you a bit more of a chance in that bad matchup.

Enjoy and comment if you have more questions! I'll be sure to answer them more quickly.

Intro

What’s up everybody! My name is Magnechu and I am a new face to Hearthstone Players. I am a former/current competitive Pokemon TCG player who has placed highly in regional, national, and world competitions. I have written extensively for PTCG sites, most notably SixPrizes.com.

I have been playing Hearthstone since January but have only recently gotten to a level in which I deem myself worthy of sharing ideas. I got to Legend late last month for the first time, but much quicker this month, getting there within the first 10 days of the season and (I believe) one of the first 100 in the Americas.

Last month I used Handlock to reach Legend and hopefully I will be releasing an extensive Handlock guide that will look similar to Blackacre’s extensive Miracle Rogue guide. This month, however, I used a Control Paladin deck to get to the elusive Legend rank and with a much, much higher win percentage. So today I want to talk about that!

General Strategy

This deck was originally taken from a post on Reddit by kingsillygoose and modified slightly to go from Rank 5 to Legend in less than 50 games. The original list had Hammer of Wrath over the Sen'jin Shieldmastaand a second Argent Squireover the Acidic Swamp Ooze. I tried a couple of things over the second Argent Squire – including a second Kodo and Ysera – before settling on Swamp Ooze. The only “trick” this deck is missing is a Silence, so Ironbeak Owlmight be a good play.

The general strategy of this deck is to continuously remove their side of the board and flood your side with strong minions and tokens (your Hero Power minions), keeping your life total high in the process. Over half your deck serves as removal of some kind, whether it’s hard removal (Consecration, Big Game Hunter) or soft removal (Truesilver Champion, Aldor Peacekeeper).

This has the strongest late game of any deck I have played in Hearthstone thus far and fits my play style very well: run the opponent out of resources by having answers to all of their threats and then inevitably win the game with your own threats (check out Blackacre’s latest guide for more on these concepts). This deck is fun to play and, in my opinion, not overly difficult, but it requires a lot of patience. Games can go very long.

If you are used to playing face decks that are usually over by turn 7, this may not be the deck for you.

Card Selection

Argent Squire

Argent Squire provides a solid 1-drop for the first turn or throughout the game to fill out a curve. Since you are constantly summoning 1/1 tokens, Argent Squire acts as two of these essentially. Combined with Equality, it can help clear a board. Its last use is to buff up Blood Knight. Argent Squire + Blood Knight is an excellent 4-mana play any time throughout the game and particularly good earlier on to make them waste removal and leave room for your big minions.

Equality

Perhaps the biggest reason Paladin deck is at all viable, Equality is the ultimate weapon in helping clear boards. Whether it is against a faster deck like Zoo or a deck with bigger minions like Handlock, Equality has many uses. Though Equality + Consecration is the standard combo, Equality + Wild Pyromanceraccomplishes the same task but wipes your side as well for two less mana. After turn 10 this allows you to clear the board and then play Cairne Bloodhoof, which is a very strong board swing. Equality + Avenging Wrathis also strong and can be used in a pinch. Lastly, Equality can be used without another spell: your tokens (or other minions) can simply trade up into their nerfed minions.

Acidic Swamp Ooze

This is my 30th card, but seems to fit in with the theme of the deck: counter their stuff and take control of the game. I was having some trouble against Control Warrior so this seemed like a natural fit. It makes the Shaman matchup slightly better by taking down Doomhammerand helps in the random mirror match (I had one mirror match where I The Black Knighthis Tirion Fordringand then Swamp Oozed the weapon!). It also helps against Miracle Rogue to some extent – at least saves you 3 damage and delays Blade Flurry; if you can Ooze an Assassin's Blade, you might have a chance to win the game. I will say that this card is weaker against Miracle than in other decks (such as Handlock) as we don’t have as many taunts.

Wild Pyromancer

Wild Pyromancer

Pyromancer’s main use in this deck is to clear the board with Equality, but we find other uses for it throughout a game. For example, Consecration for 3 damage can help clear bigger boards like Zoo and Shaman might have. Avenging Wrath + Pyromancer is a pretty decent board clear as well. We don’t run that many spells to trigger Pyromancer, so these are pretty much the extent of the plays we can make. Occasionally Pyromancer can be played as a just another minion, but for the most part you want to hold it for one of the above combos.

Acolyte of Pain

Paladin deck doesn’t have much draw outside of Divine Favor, which is bad in this deck, so we include Acolyte of Painto help with that. It doesn’t matter too much if they use removal (Wrath or Frostboltfor example) because that means less removal for later in the game. On the other hand, if they don’t remove it, it can usually draw more than one card and help clear a board after Equality, similar to Argent Squire and your tokens. It has great synergy with Wild Pyromancer, allowing multiple draws.

Aldor Peacekeeper

Another super strong Paladin card, Aldor allows you to slow down the game to a pace that you want to compete at. Against aggro decks you can use this on any 3+ attack minion (ex. Knife Juggler) to reduce the damage you take while simultaneously putting a 3/3 on the board. Against mid-range decks you’ll often nerf something to get you a little bit further into the mid game with more life (ex. Druid of the Claw). Control decks like Aldor the least, as you can nerf huge minions and render them useless (ex. Mountain/Molten Giants).

My favorite play with Aldor is to nerf the first Cairne and then leave it alone. This makes the opponent want to kill their own Cairne ASAP in order to get that 4 damage back. They end up making poor trades to achieve this goal and you can always ensure it happens on their turn, so you can be ready with a response when your turn comes around.

Aldor + Stampeding Kodois a phenomenal 8 mana play to kill any minion in the game. Watch that your opponents can silence their own minion to get rid of Aldor’s effect. Generally, this is okay, as it frees Cairne and Tirion to come into play without running the risk of being silenced. Just be aware that this is a possible play your opponent might make, especially if they are getting close to lethal.

Big Game Hunter

Big Game Hunter

Pretty standard in this meta game, BGH allows another out to big minions and gives us tempo in the late game when we need it. You could drop this if you’re not finding it useful that much, but I worry about the Handlock matchup and the random Rags that are in control decks.

Blood Knight

Another situational 3-drop that makes the list, Blood Knight has synergy with Argent Squire and opposing Divine Shields. If you don’t find a use for Blood Knight throughout the course of a game against other control decks, it may be wise to continue holding it: once you play Tirion, opponents love to Faceless Manipulator it. Blood Knight becomes a cheap 6/6 in the late game and makes the kill on their Tirion much easier.

Earthen Ring Farseer

Farseer is probably the most well-rounded 3-drop in the game, so it’s no surprise that it is effective in this deck. We try to keep our life total high using other cards like Guardian of Kings, so Farseer fits pretty naturally in with this idea. We could play two – BGH or Blood Knight could certainly become the second copy – but I have been happy with the single copy and like the situational cards a bit better.

Truesilver Champion

Truesilver Champion

Arguably the best weapon in the game, Truesilver provides a ton of value for this deck. It allows us to remove medium-sized minions in order to gain board control in the mid game (ex. Azure Drake) or just help gain life back while hitting to the face later in the game. This is an awesome turn four play against almost any type of deck and is something I really like to see in my opening hand.

Consecration

Paladin really has some sweet cards – Consecration is probably the most consistent AoE in the game. Many small boards fall victim to the 2 damage Consecration hits for and any board will die to Equality + Consecration. These are valuable cards in a lot of matchups, so make sure to get value out of them.

Sometimes saving Consecration for one extra turn can make the difference between 3-for-1ing and 5-for-1ing, which in a deck that can take some damage and heal it back like this one, is a big deal in the long run. You need to be conscious if you need to save these to counter specific cards – Feral Spiritand Cenariusare two examples where you want to make sure you have Consecration (and in the former, Pyromancer as well) on hand.

Sen'jin Shieldmasta

Though Hammer of Wrath is a better card than I like to give it credit for, I felt like this deck needed a minion in the 4-spot. This deck has no taunts beyond Tirion, so Sen’jin seemed like the best fit. I have been very impressed at how well this works in here. It is often your ideal turn four play against other mid-range or control decks, as it provides a sturdy body and your opponent really wants to remove it (well, they NEED to remove it, at least eventually). While it’s not an ideal turn four play against faster decks, it can buy you a turn of no damage and later in the game can lock them out of it completely.

Azure Drake

This deck needs a solid 5-drop and Azure Drake certainly provides that. It also adds to the much-needed card draw that this deck otherwise lacks. The spell damage can be helpful, especially later in the game (turn 9 or later) in order to get a Consecration to 3 or even 4 with Pyromancer (or both Drakes). This will usually soak up a hit or two from spells/minions and if it doesn’t, be happy and make use of him staying on the board.

Stampeding Kodo

Stampeding Kodo

Another solid 5-drop, Kodo aids in removing smaller minions and taking control of the board as the game gets later. 5 health allows it to stay alive longer than Azure Drake and will help chip down the opponent’s life. Of course, it combos amazingly well with Aldor Peacekeeper, removing any minion that is unlucky enough to get targeted.

Avenging Wrath

8 immediate damage for 6 mana is pretty strong, especially when clearing a board full of low health minions (whether put that way by Equality or not). Rarely do you want to Avenging Wrath to the face, but there are times when it makes sense to. Equality + Avenging Wrath is a strong play as is Avenging Wrath + Pyromancer to clear boards.

Cairne Bloodhoof

The double-Yeti finds a nice home here. The main problem with Cairne in this meta is that it is slow – and it is, at least in most decks. In this deck, however, your goal is to play the long game, and Cairne does that better than any other minion except maybe Ysera. He fits the curve nicely and is a good turn 6, 8 (+ hero power), and 10 (+ any of the awesome 4-drops) play. At its very worst, Cairne is awesome to draw silences out so Tirion can wreck some havoc.

The Black Knight

The Black Knight

Our last 6-drop adds to our removal idea. The Black Knight provides yet another way to deal with minions that are getting in our way and provides a sturdy body at that.

Guardian of Kings

As Reynad talked about in his stream analysis of Midrange Paladin, there are not many good 7-drops in the game. Guardian of Kings gives you a solid board presence as the game starts to progress towards the late game while also giving you a huge boost in health and security in future turns. He can get awkward to play if you don’t play him down on turn 7/9, as it becomes hard to use all your mana, but overall he is a super strong card in this deck.

Lay on Hands

As stated above, card draw is not this decks strongest suit, so Lay on Hands is quite welcome in here. Add the synergy of healing and we have a strong card to include. 8 mana is quite a bit, so you want to play this on turns where you have already established some sort of board control (even just a token or two vs. an empty board is usually good).

You need to be aware of what is left in your deck when playing this card, as you will often wait to use this until later in the game. You need to know what options are still available and what the percentages are of drawing the card(s) that will help you if you use Lay on Hands.

Ragnaros the Firelord

The big guy himself. This deck needs at least one other huge minion besides Tirion and I think Ragnaros is our best choice. Though he is the only minion in the deck that is prone to Big Game Hunter, I think he is still worth the inclusion.

Ysera may be better in this spot, but I like the immediate impact that Ragnaros has on the board. The occasional yolo Rag is a nice option to see if you can out RNG your opponent to steal a victory. This card also helps against the Freeze Mage deck that has been going around, getting around Ice Block if you trigger it with your attacks that turn.

Tirion Fordring

The REAL big guy himself. Tirion is probably the best class legendary and in this deck he truly shines. Though in most matchups I’ll save him for last, there are other times where I will plop him down on turn 8 and essentially say “deal with it.” His weapon is so strong (15 damage!), so sometimes having it earlier can lead to a victory. Be careful of Blood Knight and Faceless Manipulator when playing him.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer

Matchups - Vs Miracle Rogue

Unfavorable

The meta at the top ranks is mostly Miracle Rogue, various forms of Druid, and Handlock. With the results of Dreamhack, I predict we will see a rise in Freeze Mage and Druid decks.

Early game: This mostly consists of you summoning tokens and the Rogue player using its weapon to clear them. You can sometimes play a 3 drop – Blood Knight is fine, Farseer is okay but usually won’t be healing anything. If you can get a Blood Knight at 6/6 they will usually waste a Sap, which will be huge later in the game. Similarly, sometimes they will play a 3 drop, which can help them with board position going into the mid-game. Overall, this is pretty unexciting and there’s not a whole lot our side can do to gain an upper hand.

Mid-game: We need to play a 4-drop on turn 4. Either Shieldmasta or Truesilver are acceptable, as both provide tempo going into this stage of the game. Truesilver will be used to take out two minions (Earthen Ring Farseer/Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer) and Shieldmasta gives us a minion to hide behind for a while. If you play Shieldmasta, the best play the Rogue can respond with is Bloodmage Thalnos + Eviscerate, so I usually prefer to play Truesilver if given the option.

Edwin VanCleef

From turn 5 on you want to be playing as many threats as possible. Azure Drake, Aldor Peacekeeper, Shieldmasta, and tokens should be your ideal plays. Keep track of how many Saps they have used, because that will help determine if you should play Cairne, Guardian of Kings, Ragnaros, or Tirion. Guardian of Kings and Ragnaros are a bit better to be Sapped, as they have immediate effects, so I usually try to bait Saps with those (if I can’t bait them with smaller minions).

Keeping your life total up is the most important thing during this phase of the game, as they have so many ways to burst you and can easily hold board control with strong removal and sturdy minions. A big Edwin VanCleef, especially if they Conceal it, can be disastrous if you don’t have Aldor Peacekeeper ready. A 10/10 VanCleef, for example, spells death with the rest of their burst damage in Leeroy Jenkins/Shadowstep/Cold Blood.

Of course, we have tricks to deal with situations like these, but you need to draw them at the right times. Equality + Consecration or Equality + Pyromancer can clear a board if you’re being threatened at lethal, but it is much harder to play minions on that same turn. Against Miracle, this usually puts you in a similar situation the next turn. Your lack of taunts really hurt you in this matchup. Equality plays are also appropriate to get rid of Concealed Gadgetzens, as stopping their infinite draw can allow you enough time to catch up in board and card advantage going into the late game.

Leeroy Jenkins

Late game: If you can get here, you are actually in decent shape. They will have gone through most of their deck by turn 10 and hopefully a lot of resources at the same time. If you have drawn your removal and their beefier minions are out-of-the-way AND you have kept your life total >20 (or more), then they might not have enough firepower to win the game at this point. If they have used their Saps, now would be a good time to try to get Tirion to stick, as it is quite hard for the Miracle player to remove (it’s out of boosted Evisceraterange AND requires them to Hero Power/Shivit). Lay on Hands will be a huge card if you can play it when you need the life and are not too behind in board position.

Overall, Miracle Rogue is not a good matchup for this deck. They are so fast and your strong removal strategy is not as effective in prolonging the game as it is against other decks, as Rogue does not attempt to control the board with its minions as much as other decks. The match is dependent on how you draw much more than how they draw, as they will often get to see their entire deck while you attempt to drag the game out as long as possible.

But don’t be too discouraged! I’m probably about 40-60 vs Miracle, and even higher when playing against non-Legend players. Coldlight Oracleover Acolyte of Pain might help this matchup, possibly over drawing/fatiguing them and giving yourself more draw in the process. Another thing I have been trying is Noble Sacrifice in the Argent Squire/Acidic Swamp Ooze spots. Noble Sacrifice can reduce a lot of the damage taken to your face, dragging out the game longer, and even kill a Leeroy if the opponent has no other option.

Mulligan Cards

Great: Argent Squire, Sen’jin Shieldmasta, Truesilver Champion

Good: Equality, Consecration, Wild Pyromancer, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Aldor Peacekeeper, Earthen Ring Farseer, Blood Knight

Wild Growth

Matchups - Vs Druid

Favorable

There are a few different Druid variants running around now – namely Token, Ramp, and Midrange. Watcher Druid seems to have fallen out of favor and I consider it to be the easiest of the four variants, so let’s focus on the first three.

Early game: Ramp variants will look to Wild Growth early on and get out a big 4 or 5 drop before you can establish a significant board presence. You will Hero Power until turn 3 or 4. Aldor Peacekeeper shines in this matchup. Nerfing a Chillwind Yeti or a Druid of the Claw can slow them down significantly, giving you enough time to start playing your 4 and 5 drops as you approach the mid game. Truesilver Champion plus your tokens that survive the first few turns can help kill similar minions if Aldor is not available. Shieldmasta is a strong play on turn 4, but Truesilver is usually preferred.

Token and Midrange might have an Innervateplay early on, but otherwise will probably play minions like Harvest Golem. If they Innervate, then Aldor is still a fantastic play. Otherwise, you’re looking to get to turn 4 and play Truesilver or Shieldmasta. In the Token matchup, Shieldmasta is actually better most of the time, unless they play Violet Teacher, in which case you want to get rid of that ASAP with Truesilver + token.

Druid of the Claw

Mid-game: As the game progresses, we will fight with the Druid for board control. Our life total is not of much worry to us until turn 9, where we need to be above 14 at all times to avoid the Force of Nature/Savage Roar combo. If they have other minions on the board, however, you need to be careful as they can do more burst damage.

Knowing when to play our board clearing combos is key during this time of the game. Against Ramp, we always want to keep a Consecration for Cenarius. If you can identify the Druid as Token or Midrange, you can be a bit more lenient with your Consecration uses. Usually you’re not going to get much more value than three minions on their side of the field, so don’t get too greedy.

Pyromancer + Equality is usually best kept until you can play a Shieldmasta, Azure Drake, or Cairne on turn 8, 9, or 10, respectively. Regardless of the variant, we need Equality for Ancient of War. 10 health is a lot to take down for this deck, so utilizing Equality and Black Knight on Ancient of Wars can make or break the game.

The Black Knight is worth talking about on its own in this matchup. While Ancient of War is certainly going to give us the most value on the surface, if given the opportunity earlier in the game, I will often use it on a Druid of the Claw. Why? Because the tempo that this can give you is immense. If they play DotC on an empty board turn 5 and you follow up with Black Knight on turn 6 (or turn 5 with Coin), you have board control and Druid doesn’t have a good way to get rid of Black Knight immediately. That means Black Knight is helping you take out Druid’s next minion as well, which will allow you to play Cairne or Guardian of Kings the next turn without much worry. Essentially, Black Knight is a swing card that early in the game can snowball into an easy victory.

Baiting out Keeper of the Groveis also huge, both for Cairne and Tirion. Hitting Azure Drakeinto Harvest Golem or Aldor Peacekeepers into nerfed minions, for example, presents opportunities for your opponent to use KotG for 2 damage and taking a kill on those minions. Tirion is super, super strong against Druid if they have used their Silences. It’s much harder to bait their Black Knight with Shieldmasta, but if possible, also sets you up for a huge swing as you approach the late game.

Ancient of Lore

Other strong plays during the mid game include: Aldor Peacekeeper + Stampeding Kodo on any minion, most notably Ancient of War; and Aldoring Cairne. As mentioned in the card selection, nerfing Cairne puts them in a very awkward spot and you have more control on when the second Cairne comes out.

Late game: Like almost every other matchup, if you can make it to the late game with a life total out of burst range, you should win the game. Though Druids tend to run a lot of big minions, you run just as much removal and as many big minions. I’ve played many matches against Druid where both of us draw our whole deck, so that is something else to consider as your deck gets thinner. Ragnaros should be used as a finisher as much as possible, as they will almost always have a Big Game Hunter. However, you can often hold Ragnaros so long that they will drop their BGH thinking you don’t run anything they can target.

In the end, this will come down to who can keep minions out longer. Any Druid list running double Force of Nature/Savage Roar combo will be more deadly than other variants, so watch your life total, especially in the late game. Force of Nature/Innervate/double Savage Roarcan and will happen, so if you notice that this is a possibility, get your life above 22.

Mulligan Cards

Great: Argent Squire, Aldor Peacekeeper, Truesilver Champion, Sen’jin Shieldmasta

Good: Acolyte of Pain, The Black Knight

Twilight Drake

Matchups - Vs Handlock

Favorable

Early game: This is pretty uneventful for both sides – Turns 2 and 3 will be spent Hero Powering, unless the Handlock has Coin and decides to play Earthen Ring Farseer/Twilight Drakeon turn 3. In any case, you will be going into turn 4 with two tokens on your side of the board (barring a Mortal Coil, which you’re fine with) going into the mid-game.

Mid-game: Once turn 4 and 5 begin, things begin to get interesting. You have a ton of removal outs for whatever they throw at you, so hopefully they end up in your hand by now. If they play a Mountain Gianton turn 4, it’s best to Big Game Hunter it, with Aldor Peacekeeper your second best move. You’d rather hold Equality for later in the game when they have at least two big minions on the board, but sometimes you need to Equality early on if you have not drawn other removal. Since you have tokens on the board, it’s not the worst play. If they play Twilight Drake, Equality is almost never worth it. Shieldmasta is your best response to a turn 4 Twilight Drake.

As the game progresses, they will attempt to keep plopping down minions to put pressure on you. If you can keep removing them and keeping minions on your side of the board – even if they’re small – you will win the war of attrition. They will eventually hit a turn or two where they don’t have a big minion to play, in which case they will likely play Sunfury Protector/Ancient Watcher/Earthen Ring Farseer. This gives you an opening to play your bigger minions: Guardian of Kings if you need a health boost, Azure Drake or Cairne if you do not, or Stampeding Kodo to easily remove a minion like Sunfury or Ironbeak Owl.

Molten Giant

Late game: Once you hit turn 10, you do need to be above 20 health to avoid the Leeroy Jenkins + Power Overwhelming+ Faceless Manipulatorcombo. If they have not used their Soulfire, then you need to be above 24.

With your removal and healing, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Keeping their life total out of Molten Giantrange is important unless you have Equality/Consecration. However, if you do have that combo, then having them drop both Molten Giants and taunting means you win the game outright. If they have used Ironbeaks on their Ancient Watchers or Giants (to get around Aldor) then Tirion has free rein and will often win the game. The most important thing during the late game is weighing what options they still have with what you still have.

Overall, you have too much removal for Handlock to stand a chance. They rely on their Giants and Drakes eventually sticking around and you can almost always ruin that reality for them.

Mulligan Cards

Great: Argent Squire, Aldor Peacekeeper, Big Game Hunter, Sen’jin Shieldmasta

Good: Equality, Acolyte of Pain

Feral Spirit

Matchups - Vs Shaman

Even

Although you have a ton of board clearing ability, Shaman has just as many ways to refill the board. Therefore timing your Consecrations and Equality plays is vital. They will try to bait your plays with lots of minions before using Feral Spiritand you will try to draw out their Feral Spirit before using your board clearing abilities. Truesilver gets a ton of value in this matchup, allowing you to kill Unbound Elementaland s if you don’t want/have a Consecration play. Azure Drake + Consecration is a super strong play late in the game if they have board control (which they often will).

Luckily, Shaman does not put a ton of pressure on us. Fire Elementalis usually their strongest minion outside of Al'Akir the Windlordand Leeroy Jenkins, so Aldoring it is very important. They can Earth Shockit to put it back to 6 attack, but again this allows Cairne and Tirion to come in later in the game. Hexis something to watch out for and attempt to bait with Guardian of Kings. They do have strong removal to match with us, so playing your minions in the right order is important.

Stampeding Kodo can be a strong play depending on what their board looks like – you want to time it so you take something out like a Feral Hound, Unbound Elemental, or Harvest Golem. Blood Knight can get a lot of value in this matchup, either early in the game vs. Argent Squires or late in the game vs. Al’Akir. Acidic Swamp Ooze is absolutely crushing if you can play it on a Doomhammer; I’ve had some Shaman players just auto-concede after that play.

Mulligan Cards

Great: Argent Squire, Truesilver Champion, Sen’jin Shieldmasta, Consecration

Good: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Acolyte of Pain, Blood Knight

Knife Juggler

Matchups - Vs Aggro Decks

Even

This includes Aggro Mage, Paladin, and even Zoo. These matchups are pretty straightforward: if you can get past the first four turns with a decent life total and a clear board, you will win. All of your 4-drops are super strong: Truesilver clears minions and provides some life buffer, Shieldmasta will usually take two hits from minions to clear, and Consecration will wipe the board.

If you have Coin, if you can play two 4-drops in a row, you will usually win. It’s a bit tougher going first. Your 3-drops become more important as well: Farseer is okay to gain a bit of life and provide a body to trade a minion, Blood Knight can become big early if they have Argent Squire, and Aldor can save you some damage by nerfing a 3-attack minion like Knife Juggler.

Once you get past turn 4, your ideal turn 5 play is Stampeding Kodo or another 3-drop + hero power. Turn 6 you either want to clear the board again with Avenging Wrath, Consecration, or Pyromancer + Equality or play Truesilver/Shieldmasta + hero power. Turn 7 you should play Guardian of Kings for the life boost. If you get to turn 8, you’ve likely won the game, as they will be running out of steam and your big threats at this point will be too much for them to handle. Lay on Hands turn 8 is usually the dagger that crushes their hopes of still stealing the game.

Mulligan Cards

Great: Argent Squire, Aldor Peacekeeper, Earthen Ring Farseer, Truesilver Champion, Sen’jin Shieldmasta, Consecration

Good: Equality, Wild Pyromancer, Blood Knight

Match ups - Conclusion

There are a ton of other matchups I could cover, but these are certainly the most popular, and I wanted to cover them a bit more in-depth, so I hope I did that. The only other big deck right now is the Freeze Mage deck that RDU won Dreamhack with and Otter popularized – the matchup is pretty straightforward: save your healing for after Alexstrasza and you will almost certainly win. Guardian of Kings + Earthen Ring Farseer/Big Game Hunter after they play the dragon down will boost you up out of OTKO range, and you can follow-up with a second Guardian of Kings or Lay on Hands. Since they don’t put pressure on you early game, you can slowly build your board up and take them down.

Overall, this deck is very strong against other control decks and most mid-range decks. Aggro decks depend on your draws and Miracle Rogue (in a class of its own in my opinion) is rough and draw dependent as well.

Closing

Well, I hope that my first article helps some of you out there. If you have any questions about the deck, or would like to see something different in my next article, please comment below! I am just starting streaming, so you can check me out on my Twitch channel as well. Good luck!

By Mike “Magnechu” Fouchet

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