Hi! I’m Asmodeus, multiple times Legend and infinite arena player. I’m also the author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Today I’m going to share with you everything there is to know about [card]reno-jackson[/card]. From the way it works to decklists and counters.
The influence of [card]reno-jackson[/card] is already significant on ladder and after few weeks, once we see all League of Explorers cards in play and people refine their decks better, we’ll be able to tell if he’s the real savior of control or just a false prophet.
With the development of [card]reno-jackson[/card] decks, we will also see many people trying to counter it. They can do it by playing hyper-aggressive decks, that can punish the inconsistency of a deck with mostly one copy of each card. They can also go the opposite way and try to bring even more greedy deck, that takes advantage of slower metagame. Lastly, they can use specific cards and mechanics which are supposed to counter the use of [card]reno-jackson[/card] and I’m going to talk about them near the end of this article.
Let’s first take a look at the card itself and explain how does it work.
[toc]How Reno Jackson works[/toc]
[cardinsert card=”reno-jackson” float=”left”]
First of all if we look at the card without it’s effect, the stat distribution is extremely good. 4/6 is normally a five mana cost card with additional, small benefit like Taunt in [card]druid-of-the-claw[/card] or being untargetable like the [card]spectral-knight[/card]. Which means that we pay one additional mana for the game changing ability. There is of course the downside of a special condition you have to fulfill, which balances it out.
The effect is a battlecry which means that it will go off before enemy secrets are triggered, allowing you to heal even if the minion is destroyed by [card]sacred-trial[/card]. It puts it in one category with other battlecry minions which currently might be a downside due to expected metagame shift after release of [card]brann-bronzebeard[/card]. Some people might attempt to counter decks filled with battlecries by playing the [card]nerubar-weblord[/card] as a tech card.
The condition of [card]reno-jackson[/card] battlecry uses a key phrase: “If your deck contains”. In this case it refers to the current state of your deck in game. Which means that it only counts the cards you have left in it, rather than looking at your entire decklist. This allows you to run duplicates of certain cards and still be able to benefit from the healing effect.
If you want to run multiple copies of some cards in your [card]reno-jackson[/card] deck, I recommend you either bring a lot of card draw, to dig for them early on, or only use copies of the cards you will always want in your opening hand, so that you can increase your chances of drawing them through mulligan.
[cardinsert card=”youthful-brewmaster” float=”right”]
To my big surprise, not a single [card]reno-jackson[/card] decklist that I’ve seen shared up to this point, included what I consider to be the single, most important card in a [card]reno-jackson[/card] deck. The [card]youthful-brewmaster[/card].
Because you’re forced to run a single copy of most cards in your deck, having the ability to play something twice, gives you incredible flexibility in how you can utilize your deck. Are you facing against a Handlock? Return the [card]big-game-hunter[/card] after killing a giant for another use. What about a Priest that keeps buffing his minions? Use your [card]ironbeak-owl[/card] twice. Having trouble against a hunter? Play [card]reno-jackson[/card] twice! You can also replay [card]antique-healbot[/card] to buy more time, while waiting to draw [card]reno-jackson[/card].
Because of all those applications, the late game legendary of choice should be [card]ysera[/card]. Just the chance to draw [card]dream[/card] is enough to justify using it. That’s why you should prioritize it over other late game legendary cards.
[cardinsert card=”ice-block” float=”left”]
Another card that works extremely well with [card]reno-jackson[/card] is [card]ice-block[/card]. Not only it can bait your enemy to waste his damage in an attempt to break your block, but it also ensures that you can use [card]alexstrasza[/card] offensively because you don’t have to save her for healing anymore. Restoring your hero from a single point to full health after your enemy expended much of his resources to proc your [card]ice-block[/card] is extremely satisfying.
Remember that pretty much every [card]reno-jackson[/card] deck will need more draw than the usual deck. Either to draw the cards of which you have duplicates in your deck, or to make your deck more consistent and increase the chances of actually drawing [card]reno-jackson[/card]. It would be a shame to build a deck around a card that you’re not even going to draw.
SuperJJ Reno Freeze Mage
The first deck also happens to be the first list which utilized [card]reno-jackson[/card] in competitive play. It’s a Freeze Mage deck, used by SuperJJ to win the Seat Story Cup IV. The deck has many duplicates of the same card and you can get away with it because you will increase your chances of getting them in a couple of ways.
Firstly, the deck has a lot of card draw and the Freeze Mage normally wants to just control the board and draw as many cards as they can early on. Secondly, you will want to mulligan for some of these cards anyway ([card]mad-scientist[/card], [card]arcane-intellect[/card]) and that increases your chances of drawing them.
- [card]forgotten-torch[/card] is the only card that hasn’t been played in a Freeze Mage deck before other than the [card]reno-jackson[/card] himself. The torch gives you an option of another cheap removal for the early game while increasing the total damage of your deck which compensates for running only one copy of [card]fireball[/card]
Reno Control Warlock Example
This deck is a first of two examples of a [card]reno-jackson[/card] control list. I wanted to show different ways of building a slower deck. The first one will disregard the [card]big-game-hunter[/card] threat, while the next one will play around it completely. This Control Warlock is close to what I’ve been playing on ladder to test [card]reno-jackson[/card] while also getting my golden portrait, which I can now proudly display.
Warlock is a perfect fit for this kind of deck because of his incredible hero power – [card]life-tap[/card]. In a deck where you don’t run duplicates of your cards, consistency is always going to be an issue. The simplest remedy to it, is drawing more cards and warlock can always do it. Unless playing around fatigue damage, always use [card]life-tap[/card] before playing [card]reno-jackson[/card] because the damage is going to be healed anyway.
- [card]twilight-drake[/card] and [card]mountain-giant[/card] – In this kind of deck, you will often end up with a lot of cards in your hand. There are a lot of expensive cards which you can’t play early and you want to tap as much as you can. This makes the standard Handlock threats also playable in this deck.
- [card]dark-peddler[/card] – In a deck that can have some trouble with consistency, being able to choose what you draw can be very important. By sheer chance or deliberate design of Hearthstone developers, the one mana cards which you can get through this discover card happen to frequently be very useful. There is additional damage from [card]mortal-coil[/card] and [card]soulfire[/card]. There are many taunts such as [card]voidwalker[/card] and [card]goldshire-footman[/card]. You can also get [card]power-overwhelming[/card] to buff a minion for [card]shadowflame[/card] or to kill off your [card]sylvanas-windrunner[/card].
- [card]master-jouster[/card] – I’ve found this card to be very consistent. Your curve is very high, which gives you good odds of winning the Joust, but even if you don’t happen to win, the body is big enough to taunt it up using either [card]sunfury-protector[/card] or [card]defender-of-argus[/card]. It’s a good card to include when you can’t play a second [card]sludge-belcher[/card]
- [card]emperor-thaurissan[/card] – This card is incredibly powerful in a control warlock. As I mentioned before, you will often have a very big hand with this kind of deck and the new combinations of cards it enables can be ridiculously strong. The comeback ability provided by cards like [card]shadowflame[/card] and [card]reno-jackson[/card] means that you can stabilize your situation and continue the game with incredible tempo advantage through discounted late game power cards.
Reno Control Paladin Example
This is a second example of [card]reno-jackson[/card] control deck. This list is here to give you ideas about how to counter a [card]big-game-hunter[/card] metagame. Currently people are starting to think if they shouldn’t play two copies of it because of how many targets for it are played in other decks. If people play a lot of [card]big-game-hunter[/card], it means people are also playing a lot of high attack creatures. That is an environment in which [card]eadric-the-pure[/card] can shine.
This list doesn’t have a single target for the [card]big-game-hunter[/card] yet it brings an incredible amount of value to the table. In the late game, paladin hero power – [card]reinforce[/card] – is possibly the strongest one. Certainly against other classes aiming to excel at the late game such as warrior and priest.
- [card]equality[/card] – this deck is all about stabilizing and before you can play [card]reno-jackson[/card] it helps if you’re not hopelessly behind on board, because then your enemy could just bring you down to low health again. That’s why it’s important to run two copies of this card here.
- [card]youthful-brewmaster[/card] – the real MVP of this deck. It will let you get double value out of anything you want. Imagine playing [card]eadric-the-pure[/card] twice against a Handlock! You can use it in so many different ways. Replaying the [card]defender-of-argus[/card] against a Face Hunter can be all it takes to win the game. You can also use it to return silenced minions to your hand and play them safely afterwards.
- [card]solemn-vigil[/card] – I’ve found [card]lay-on-hands[/card] to be too slow to matter in this kind of deck. By the time you can play it, you usually don’t want to draw more cards because of possible fatigue damage. It’s much better to get a cheap draw from [card]solemn-vigil[/card] after clearing the board or trading few minions so that you get to your important cards in time.
- [card]tuskarr-jouster[/card] – depending on your exact decklist you might want to include this card as well. In control matchups it gives you a valuable body of a 5/5 minion and against aggro decks you will be able to benefit from healing effect most of the time. The slower your deck, the better this card is compared to [card]antique-healbot[/card]
[cardinsert card=”beneath-the-grounds” float=”right”]
In a couple of weeks we will see more refined [card]reno-jackson[/card] decks and then many of you will want to counter this card as well as decks built around it. Let’s talk about the counters then.
Using [card]beneath-the-grounds[/card] will force duplicate cards into your opponent’s deck. The issue with this card is that it’s usually very bad by itself but now the drawback of not getting any [card]nerubian[/card]s out of it is also a benefit because your enemy can’t use his [card]reno-jackson[/card]. This card could be potentially played in a Mill Rogue deck and as it happens Mill decks seem very good against slow control lists which incorporate [card]reno-jackson[/card]. Every[card]reno-jackson[/card] deck will have more card draw than a usual deck and their curve tends to be very high, which makes it hard to get rid of the cards from your hand. This makes it easier for Mill Rogue to burn their cards and potentially deny the healing.
[cardinsert card=”alexstrasza” float=”left”]
Another way to deny your enemy an ability to play [card]reno-jackson[/card] is to play [card]deathlord[/card]. Minions summoned on the board from his Deathrattle, don’t use their Battlecry. But you have to be careful, since many [card]reno-jackson[/card] decks will play other expensive minions, which can put you in a very bad spot if they’re summoned for free. The opponent can also use [card]youthful-brewmaster[/card] to return the card to his hand and benefit from it’s effect after all.
The more common counter to [card]reno-jackson[/card] is [card]alexstrasza[/card]. When you identify the deck you’re playing against, you can just save it as long as you need and play it after your opponent heals himself to full. This means that decks which normally rely on the [card]alexstrasza[/card] coupled with additional burst damage from other cards to finish the game in a two turn combo, will have an easier matchup against [card]reno-jackson[/card] lists.
As the next wings of League of Explorers get released we will see the metagame develop and shift a lot. By the end of the year we will have some refined [card]reno-jackson[/card] decks and we’ll know for sure how good he really is. Interestingly the wording on [card]reno-jackson[/card] leaves open doors for new mechanics which could increase the maximum health of a hero. Does the use of “fully heal your hero”, instead of a numerical value mean that we will see an ability to increase your hero’s hp in the future? Only time will tell.
Let me know what you think. Share your opinions and post your questions in the comments, I’m always happy to answer them.
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