Legend Tempo Rogue
Hello everyone! I'm Spark, Legend player from Hearthstone and today I'm presenting my Tempo Rogue Deck. I've been working on it for very long time. It helped me climb to Legend rank as well as achieve third place in a recent Managrind Tournament.
The deck focuses on maintaining the control of the board throughout the game, thanks to the efficient tools the Rogue has at its disposal. The deck then allows you to close out the game with the acquired board presence and some good burst potential.
The term Tempo means you are looking to make your opponent's turns inefficient by nullifying their plays and adding board presence that they will have to deal with before thinking about their own board presence.
Playing the deck efficiently requires the ability to clearly identify the deck you are facing and recognize board states throughout the game to make decisions accordingly. In addition, you also have to be comfortable with Rogue mechanics.
Deck Difficulty : Advanced
Mulligans and Early Plays
Because the deck runs a limited but somewhat consistent amount of early drops to be more resilient during the mid game, you really need to dig for those early plays. They will bring you to this stage of the game where the deck really shines.
Cards to always keep in your starting hand:
Backstab is an amazing early removal tool. You are generally looking to start some combos with it while clearing a 3/2 minion such as Knife Juggler. A turn three Backstab into SI:7 Agentis often a winning move against Aggro decks. It has strong synergy with Spell Power and it can also help deal with larger minions when followed by Eviscerate.
Argent Squireis the perfect 1-drop for this deck. It helps clear the opponent's minions thanks to the divine shield and can start combos pretty well thanks to its low mana cost. It's also a superb target for Defender of Argus.
Deadly Poisonis used as a removal. The cheap mana cost allows you to start some combos if you already daggered up. It's combined 3 damage is a perfect addition to your clearing tools. You really want to optimize your hero power, so this card affects 2 turns. It also has strong synergy with Blade Flurryfor board clearing.
Loot Hoardercan start combos well and helps give you some board presence while cycling through the deck. The opponent will generally waste some time and 2 mana crystals in order to hero power on it. This gives you the card draw and results in a good tempo play for you. In case they don't clear it, you are given the opportunity to trade it with a larger minion or pressure their life.
Defias Ringleaderis mainly used to deal with Aggro decks because it gives you two minions to trade. It can also put some pressure early on against Control decks or bait some AoE spells. For example, a turn four [tooltip card="loot-hoarder"] into Defias Ringleader will result in a 1-for-1 trade if they do so. A turn one Coin into Defias Ringleaderis a strong play if you're not looking to save the Coin for an early SI:7 Agent. In some situations, it would be wise to start a combo with it because the 2/1 body is not always relevant. I don't run both of them because I still find the card to be situational and weak to AoE or 1-damage hero powers.
SI:7 Agentis a strong tempo play because it allows you to get a 3/3 body while clearing an enemy minion. The only downside is you need to combo it to get the effect, but the previous cards and smart planning of your turns will give you the full value of it. A turn two coin into SI:7 Agentis a strong move against Aggro decks that will allow you to get the control of the board.
Perdition's Bladeis like a third SI:7 Agent, but with a 2/2 weapon in it instead of a 3/3 body, its main purpose is to deal with Aggro decks. The great thing about it is it can usually kill 2 minions right away and another during the next turn. It can also make good use of Blade Flurry. Sometimes, using it without the combo can still be relevant. The card is versatile enough to get some value in many match ups.
Harvest Golemallows you to keep a moderate board presence for the same reasons as Argent Squire. It is difficult to remove entirely and gives you minions to trade and potential targets for Defender of Argus. It is a really great turn three play on an empty or weak board that gets some good value out of trading.
Cards to consider keeping depending on the match up :
Blade Flurryis obviously kept against Aggro decks such as Zoo Warlock, especially when you have a Deadly Poisonor Perdition's Bladein hand. Also, you may want to consider keeping it under those circumstances against some Mid Range decks. Deadly Poisoninto Blade Flurryis a huge swing against Shamans to deal with Feral Spirit. It can also clear swarm decks loaded with 1-toughness minions and benefits from Spell Power for stronger board clear. Remember that the damage is also going to the opponent's face, so it helps to burn down the opponent's life. This can sometimes allow you to close games against strong taunts.
Evisceratehas to be kept against slower match ups to deal with their Mid Game threats. It will deal with the Shaman Unbound Elementaland the Warrior Frothing Berserkerwell. Against Druids, it can be combined with Argent Squireor your hero power to get rid of a Chillwind Yeti, or with Backstabto kill a Druid of the Claw. You may keep it against other match ups, depending on the other cards in your hand because it's a strong removal overall. It also benefits from Spell Power to kill those kind of threats.
Bloodmage Thalnoscan be kept if you have a Backstabin hand or if you choose to keep an Eviscerate, because it helps start combos, empowers your spells and then draws you a card like a cheap Azure Drake. A turn four Bloodmage Thalnosinto Eviscerateis a clean Chillwind Yetior Sen'jin Shieldmastakill.
Planning your early plays according to your hand is key :
When am I going to hero power? If I have Deadly Poisonin hand, should I keep my weapon at 2 durability or go for the face with it? How will I start the combo for this SI:7 Agent?
Those answers depends on what you're planning to play the next few turns and what you expect from your opponent.
You are generally looking to make your turns mana efficient as well as thinking about your next turn possibilities to not mess up your combos and weapon's durability.
The nature of Rogue implies you need to get used to it to be experienced and comfortable with what you're doing. In short, you need to practice a lot before you'll get good results and be rewarded for optimal plays.
Generally, I tend to not go to face with my dagger unless I know I won't have a play for next turn because it is mainly a removal tool and I also want to optimize those Deadly Poison. Remember your hero power is different from other classes because it affects two turns, so it is a real part of your early plays just like a normal card!
You'll also have to learn how to manage your combos. Having a Backstabor in hand will help, but sometimes you won't, so you need think about how you will activate the effect to take the most out of your cards.
Last tip about the early plays; you will notice that the Mana Curve has a gap at the 4-drop. There is a reasoning behind it. At turn four, you are usually looking to either Defender of Argusif you already have a strong board presence, or combo something out to gain board control. That can imply any form of 1-drop + 3-drop or 2-drop + 2-drop or any other combination that nullifies your opponent's plays. This could include your hero power if needed, because you won't have many opportunities to dagger up the next few turns as you will be looking to put your strong mid game minions on the board.
Mid to Late Game plays
At this stage of the game, you probably used some of your life total due to weapon's clearing but achieved a decent board control, thanks to your early plays. You are looking to keep control of the board with your remaining removal tools and reinforce your board presence with some resilient mid game minions while pressuring the opponent's life to close out the game.
Spiteful Smithis already an amazing body for its cost. It comes one turn later than common 4-drops like Chillwind Yetior Sen'jin Shieldmasta, but deals with them pretty well. The enrage effect is the icing on the cake that can make the card shine because it has a natural synergy with the Rogue class and made me choose it over a 4-drop. It acts like another Deadly Poisonwith all the synergies previously explained: board clear with Blade Flurry, standard removal or simple damage to the face. Don't be greedy on this effect though, as the body itself is great for 5 mana crystals. I don't recommend using Backstabto enrage it because you might lose the great body that you paid for plus a card, unless it allows you to finish the game instantly. Sometimes, it is good to use the battlecry of Perdition's Blade(without combo) on it to give a 4/2 weapon while still having a 4/5 body on the board. It is also a superb target for Cold Bloodif your opponent runs out of hard removal and a strong body for Defender of Argusto prevent the finishing blow from Aggro decks.
Azure Drakeis a really standard 5-drop because it helps you not running out of cards, gives a decent body and empowers your spell. A turn five Azure Drakeinto Backstabcan clear a remaining minion and a turn seven Azure Drakeinto Evisceratecan deal with larger threats such as Fire Elemental. The synergy with Blade Flurryworks exactly like Bloodmage Thalnosdoes.
Cold Bloodworks like a third Eviscerate, but for 1 mana crystal, the downside is that you need a minion on the board. However, you eventually get the chance to keep this buffed minion on the board for the next turn or force your opponent to deal with it. It is an amazing removal tool when used on some divine shield minions and can also serve as a finisher like Eviscerate, allowing the deck to have unexpected burst damage that can help close out the game against resilient decks.
Argent Commanderis the perfect 6-drop for this deck because its versatility allows you to either finish the game or deal with an opponent threat like an Azure Drakewhile forcing your opponent to deal with the remaining 4/2 body. When paired with Cold Blood, it can deal with a 8/8 Giant or Ragnaros the Firelordor burn the opponent for 8 damage.
The Black Knightis here to deal with late game Taunts in order to hit for the finishing blow because I don't run Assassinateor Sap. This card is better overall because it deals with the Taunt while giving a 4/5 body. It usually has a huge tempo swing against Druids because this class loves to run many Taunt minions and Ancient of War, which can be painful to deal with.
Cairne Bloodhoofis a value engine that allows you to trade efficiently and keep minions on the board. The card may seem a bit slow at first, but the deck is more control oriented overall and makes a great use of it.
Ragnaros the Firelordis a simple finisher and can also help with removal in tight situations. It is your last answer to slow decks and can finish the game instantly as you are beginning to run out of cards.
The best thing about this deck is its versatility. If you can identify the archetype you're facing, you can adapt your play style by switching between control and pressure. Recognizing the board state and card advantage is also important to make the decision of going for the face or keeping control of the board.
Most of the time, your efficient tools will be enough to play the control game in order to build a stronger board presence until you can strike for lethal damage. That's why this deck is especially efficient against Aggro and Mid Range decks. Against Control decks, you'll play the aggression game and threaten their life as much as possible. The addition of some late game power will help close out those games.
I hope you enjoyed the guide, don't hesitate to post a comment below if you have anything to say or ask about it.