Deathrattle Rogue is one of the newest decks on the Hearthstone scene. It has proven to be reliable, strong and very consistent. As such, it is a great choice to bring to the ladder. When storming the ladder you need to be ready for any deck that comes your way, from aggro to midrange to heavy control. Deathrattle Rogue fights all of these decks differently, with different threats, in different ways. This guide will help you with that by analyzing Deathrattle Rogue in one of its trickiest matchups, Dragon Priest.
When playing Deathrattle Rogue you want to always sculpt the deck to what you are currently seeing on ladder. When making a deck you don’t have to play the same list as everyone else. That is especially relevant for a deck like Deathrattle Rogue that has so many different versions available. One of the things that make it so powerful is all of the different cards you can switch in and out. If you want to be aggressive, Leper Gnome and Loot Hoarder are great low curve cards. On the other hand, if you want to play slower then stick to the middle game cards such as Sludge Belcher and Sylvanas Windrunner. To help you figure this out, the core deck, along with a deck building guide, has been linked below.
Dragon Priest makes most of its money during the middle game. This means you have the luxury of mulliganing a little higher than you normally would. While you still want to keep your early game cards, this curve can go higher than it normally would. For instance, keeping Piloted Shredder with the coin but no curve is usually a bad play, but here it is fine since they start out slow. Deathrattle Rogue is a deck that thrives off of its curve, but in this matchup you don’t need to stick to it as rigidly as you do against other decks.
Cards to KeepBackstab Leper Gnome Abusive Sergeant Haunted Creeper Eviscerate Loot Hoarder
Unearthed Raptor is good with the coin or with a strong opening.
SI:7 Agent should always be kept with the coin or Backstab
Piloted Shredder is a good keep if you have the coin or a strong opening curve.
Defender of Argus can be kept only if you have sticky deathrattle minions (Nerubian Egg, Haunted Creeper) to play before it.
How to Win
The way to beat Dragon Priest is to run them out of cards. While Priest has a very high amount of solid minions and strong spells, they depend on board much more than their hand to win games. That means if you can eek value out of every play and drown them in card advantage they will not be able to come back. This is a match where you want to try and force Priest to use multiple cards to take care of each of your minions.
Priest is a class that loves to back up its minions with solid removal spells and AOE. Deathrattle directly fights that plan by making them kill things twice. You want to almost always keep your cards in their first form during this game, since it forces them into very awkward situations. Any time you let Priest clear the board you will fall behind. Avoid that from happening at all costs.
The last thing you need to be aware of here is the way Dragon Priest curves out. They are a deck that really likes to play certain cards on certain turns and then let their opponent answer those threats. Wyrmrest Agent is their two drop, while Twilight Guardian commonly comes down on four and Azure Drake and Blackwing Corruptor are their turn five plays. If you can predict what they are going to drop, you can properly sculpt the board and save your removal to answer their plays.
Early Game Strategy
Dragon Priest is a deck that lives off of the high-health minions that slot into its curve. In the early game, those minions are Twilight Whelp, Northshire Cleric, Wyrmrest Agent and Blackwing Technician. Each of those has health above the curve, and can trade with multiple minions. You are going to spend the first turns of the game fighting through those cards, and you want to make sure to kill them in the most efficient way possible.
You want to aggressively clear during the early turns for two reasons. One, the first turns are going to be spent building towards the all-important middle turns and you want to have board when that time comes. Whoever controls the board on turn four is at a huge advantage in this game. The second reason is because of Velen’s Chosen. In a game of trading and minion-combat, any buff can be hugely important. You want to restrict their targets as much as you can.
Never hesitate to play Unearthed Raptor if you can trigger it. Getting two deathrattles is much better than getting one, and just helps you build into turn four very, very well. In addition, a 3/4 is very strong in the first stages and allows you some extra damage to clear out their annoying early minions.
Most of the game happens here. These are the turns where Dragon Priest will attempt to pull away, and you will fight that with large minions of your own. They have access to Azure Drake, Blackwing Corruptor and Cabal Shadow Priest. All of those put pressure down in their own way.
While it is hard to plan for the corruptor, you do want to be able to take out four health. Eviscerate is great during these turns, but having a solid minion count also does the trick. When it comes to the Shadow Priest you want to be very careful. Deathrattle minions are great to fight AOE with, but you also don’t want to give Priest too much value.
As usual, Sylvanas Windrunner creates huge problems for Priest. She is probably one of your best weapons and should be played on curve as soon as you can get her down. Even if they can clear her out, she will usually eat their entire board, which gives you priority back. The only thing you need to watch out for is Entomb. Though it is not run in every list, Priest’s version of Recycle can just shut down the windrunner. Try and bait it out before dropping her if you can.
Piloted Shredder is also a very strong against Priest. When discussing value, this is the exact type of minion you want to play throughout the game. It requires two different removal spells to get rid of and also gives you some extra board presence. Not only that, but it trades with just about everything they have and cannot be touched due to the four attack. This card is so strong it is always worth keeping if you have the coin.
The biggest card to watch out for here is Lightbomb. While Holy Nova cannot touch any of your minions, Lightbomb will ruin your board if you aren’t careful. The board wipe is the number one reason you want to keep your deathrattle count high. This card does not outright lose you the game, but it makes it very, very hard to recover. You have to be ready on turn six forward to get hit by the giant blast.
Late Game Strategy
Despite the power you have during the middle turns of the game, you don’t have a lot of end game cards. Understand this, and know that as soon as you switch to the later stages you are going to get run over.
While your deck is more midgame focused, Dragon Priest runs a couple of big finishers that you can do almost nothing about. Ysera is basically unkillable, Chillmaw will wipe your board and Chromaggus generates insane amounts of card value. Since you cannot accurately deal with any of their finishers, you want to be aggressive towards the end. Threatening their life total is the only way you can win if the game goes long since you will rarely be able to contest the board.
Never underestimate the power of taunt. Defender of Argus may seem like a low-impact minion, but it is actually really important in this match. Not only can you use it to enable better trades, but you can also buff your minions out of AOE range and protect your life total. Dragon Priest only can do damage through minions, which means if you are low on life but give two things taunt it is going to make it very hard for them to kill you.