This is the General part of the guide. If you want to read about Mulligan or Alternate & Tech cards, check out the second part! For other Midrange Paladin guides, check out the Midrange Paladin section.
Paladin was always a class with a pretty viable token strategy, mainly due to the Hero Power. Most of the decks, however, played only the [card]Quartermaster[/card] to boost the token strategy – most of the other cards weren’t just worth.
TGT introduced two cards that push the strategy a lot – [card]Murloc Knight[/card] and [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card]. Thanks to them, you can make the competitively viable Token Paladin deck. I’ve opted for a more Midrange version and not gone focused solely on the tokens, so the deck can easily work even if you don’t get your synergies and token cards. Most of the cards are great individually, but if you combine some of them and make the deck rolling, you can easily outvalue even the slow, Control decks in the long game.
Big part of the deck is a standard Midrange Paladin. I won’t focus on the staple cards and talk more about the new TGT cards and the more unique ones.
[cardinsert card=”zombie-chow” float=”right”]
[card]Zombie Chow[/card] – Your way to not lose tempo in the early game. Dropping a Zombie Chow on t1 instead of passing is a big deal, especially for Paladin. The deck requires a little early snowballing to succeed and Zombie Chow is really important for that. While sometimes you’re pushing for the damage early, controlling the board is usually your first priority, so the 5 points of healing doesn’t matter too much. Very good against fast, Aggro decks.
[cardinsert card=”equality” float=”right”]
[card]Equality[/card] – A way to deal with enemy board. You can combine it with [card]Consecration[/card] for a full board clear, but if you have the [card]Light’s Justice[/card] equipped and couple of small minions on the board, the Consecration is often not even necessary. Use it either to wipe off the enemy board or deal with enemy minions you can’t kill otherwise, but you need to (like [card]Ysera[/card] – using Equality to deal 11 damage to her is a pretty good deal).
[card]Ironbeak Owl[/card] – Silence. After TGT it’s still very strong – allows you to deny enemy Deathrattles (can be crucial let’s say against [card]Sylvanas Windrunner[/card]) and get rid of the buffs. With the amount of Paladins running around the ladder, it’s great against all the Divine Shields and buffs they have. Can also be used to Silence the Taunt if you’re pushing for lethal.
[cardinsert card=”knife-juggler” float=”right”]
[card]Knife Juggler[/card] – A Paladin staple, because of the Hero Power you always have the “ammo”. It has great synergy with the deck, besides the standard combo with [card]Muster for Battle[/card] he has good synergy with [card]Murloc Knight[/card] and [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card]. Besides being a decent 2-drop, he can serve as a good mid game drop when you combo him with something else. Two uncontested Jugglers on the board usually means you won the game – the deck is able to squeeze a lot out value from those little guys.
[card]Shielded Minibot[/card] – 2/2 for 2 with Divine Shield. It has great early trades thanks to the Shield. Really sticky early game minion is what the deck needs – probably the best thing you can drop on t2 most of the time. It often freezes enemy t2, because he doesn’t want to play 2 health minion into Minibot to just die.
[cardinsert card=”muster-for-battle” float=”right”]
[card]Muster for Battle[/card] – Bread and butter of this deck. Not only it can help you to gain the early board control or get 3 random damage thanks to te combo with [card]Knife Juggler[/card], but if the 1/1’s do stick, you can either buff them ([card]Quartermaster[/card]), draw a lot of cards ([card]Cult Master[/card]) or play a cheap [card]Sea Giant[/card]. You have a lot of options to utilize them in this deck. The 1/4 weapon is also pretty nice – you can let your Hero take damage to protect the 1/1’s when doing the trades or just straight up kill enemy 1-drops with it.
[card]Aldor Peacekeeper[/card] – Follow the rules! Great card. Not really a 3-drop, but in some matchups you want to drop it as a 3/3 for 3. It gets the real value in the mid game or late game – if enemy has the minion with no ongoing effect, you can just Peacekeeper it and render it almost useless. For example, an 8/8 minion is really threatening, but the 1/8 is just your tokens killer. You can also use it when you need to kill some minion, but don’t want your minions to die. Enemy has played the [card]Ragnaros the Firelord[/card] and you don’t want to sacrifice couple minions into it? You can Peacekeeper it and get the free trades.
[cardinsert card=”big-game-hunter” float=”right”]
[card]Big Game Hunter[/card] – Some high attack minions (like [card]Dr. Boom[/card]) are still pretty popular in the meta, Big Game Hunter gives an easy answer against them. In some matchups you can just drop him as a 4/2 for 3 – not the greatest statline, but at least it should trade into some small drop.
[card]Truesilver Champion[/card] – A great mid game weapon, it can deal with most of the early game threats easily. With the help of your Recruits or other small minions, it can clear most of the mid game and even late game threats. The healing is really important against Aggro decks, couple of health points are often a matter of life and death.
[card]Consecration[/card] – Your only real AoE board clear. Against fast decks, one of the best cards – you can easily get at least 3 for 1 with it. Clearing whole board against Aggro decks is its main role. Against slower decks it’s not that good – you mostly use it to help with the trades or as a combo with [card]Equality[/card] for board wipe.
[cardinsert card=”cult-master” float=”right”]
[card]Cult Master[/card] – A great source of card draw in the deck running so many tokens. Usually it’s not a 4-drop – you want to wait with your Cult Master until you get at least 2 or 3 card draws. One good Cult Master can seal the game because of the huge card advantage you’re getting. It’s also a high priority target for the enemy – he can’t afford to just let it live. When you hide it behind [card]Sludge Belcher[/card] enemy is often forced to use an important removal (like [card]Execute[/card]) on the minion that already got its value or give you even more cards. In the worst case scenario, you might just play him when trading 1 minion away and let him die – at least you cycle it for something else and it might get a trade on the board. The only problem with Cult Master is that it’s weak when you have no board presence. But if you’re even a little ahead on the board, it can lead to a crushing victory.
[card]Defender of Argus[/card] – Buffing your minions is always nice and you pretty much always have the target for it. Even if it’s just a Silver Hand Recruit you’re getting from the Hero Power, you are never left without something to buff. But buffing part is not the most important one here – getting two Taunts is crucial. Obviously it’s good against Aggro – you save your health and force enemy to trade. But even against slower decks, hiding your important minions behind Taunts might win you the game. Especially great against weapon classes – buffing two 1/1’s means enemy has to waste whole weapon on removing them. [card]Shielded Minibot[/card] is probably the best buff target because of the Divine Shield. A 3/3 Taunt with Divine Shield can be incredibly hard to get through.
[cardinsert card=”murloc-knight” float=”right”]
[card]Murloc Knight[/card] – Even though you have no other Murloc synergy in the deck, the Knight itself is really great. He basically gives you free minions every time you use your Hero Power. The average value is not that big, because Murlocs are usually small, but even getting a free 3/2 or 2/3 is good enough. And the biggest advantage of this card is that it needs to be dealt as soon as possible – one activation rarely gives you a lot of value, but 2, 3 or even more activations usually lead to outvaluing enemy by a long shot. Some of the outcomes are especially good – [card]Old Murk-Eye[/card] can instantly charge into something. [card]Siltfin Spiritwalker[/card] puts enemy in hard spot, because he often has to choose between removing Knight and giving you a card and removing Siltfin, leaving Knight to get more value. [card]Murloc Warleader[/card] buffs your Knight to 5/5, which can put it outside the removal range or put you into lethal range. And possibly the best outcome, you can actually get another [card]Murloc Knight[/card]! If 4 out of 12 outcomes are really great and even the worst ones aren’t completely bad (getting two 1/1’s is rarely game-losing), the card is auto-include into Midrange Paladin decks right now.
[cardinsert card=”quartermaster” float=”right”]
[card]Quartermaster[/card] – One of the strongest cards in your deck, especially if you’re ahead on the board. Once opponent identifies you’re Midrange, he’s gonna try to remove your Recruits all the time. But sometimes he won’t kill all of them – hitting the buff on 2 is already really good, and 3-4 will be the common outcome in this deck. Quartermaster can alone transform a really weak board into a real threat – the difference between let’s say 3 and 9 attack is really huge. The 2/5 body is pretty weak itself, but can be a nice [card]Defender of Argus[/card] target or help you with some trades. On turn 8 you can instantly summon three Recruits with [card]Muster for Battle[/card] and buff them with Quartermaster – really strong combo.
[card]Sludge Belcher[/card] – Your defensive option. Which funnily enough, also spawns a token. If not Silenced, it’s pretty hard to get through for the Aggro decks. And against Control, again, you can hide the more important targets behind it plus it’s just a 3/5 you can trade with. It can also stop some combos – it’s great against Druid’s [card]Force of Nature[/card] + [card]Savage Roar[/card] for example, because without any other board presence on the Druid’s side it can tank 10 damage from the combo.
[cardinsert card=”justicar-trueheart” float=”right”]
[card]Justicar Trueheart[/card] – Very, very strong card in Paladin. Not really good against fast decks, but it can win you slower games by itself. The 6/3 body for 6 is pretty weak, but it actually often trades for enemy mid game drops. Opponents rarely have the early game removals by the time you drop it (you have a lot of high priority targets for them), so the 3 health often doesn’t even matter, the 6 attack can trade nicely with pretty much anything they drop up to turn 6. But what’s important about this card is not the body, but the effect. Summoning two Recruits instead of one with every Hero Power for the rest of the turn is a BIG advantage. This way your Hero Power becomes a win condition in a long game. Two Recruits at once means that you can easily get [card]Quartermaster[/card] value. It also means two shots with [card]Knife Juggler[/card] every time you press the Hero Power and more small minions to feed the [card]Cult Master[/card]. You can even combine the Hero Power with Defender of Argus for two 2/2 Taunts + 2/3 minion. It’s also much easier to get a cheap [card]Sea Giant[/card] out – not only you have much better board presence, but you also can Hero Power for “free” on the turn you play your Giant.
[card]Dr. Boom[/card] – A standard big minion in pretty much every slower deck. Even though TGT has gave couple more options, Dr. Boom is still one of the top legendaries there. We all know how strong he is, so there is no point in explaining that, but there is one thing worth mentioning: the fact that he summons two additional small minions mean that it also synergizes well with a lot of your cards – Knife Juggler, Cult Master, Sea Giant. Double value!
[cardinsert card=”lay-on-hands” float=”right”]
[card]Lay on Hands[/card] – Your main source of healing. Against Aggro decks it’s often a saving grace, putting you out of enemy burn range. Against slower decks, it’s mostly used as a card draw, but additional health is never bad. You can also use it on a minion in order to heal him up after trading. It’s often worth to do that over healing your Hero, when your health total is not a concern. Great value card, can save you or give you more options. A little slow tempo-wise, though.
[card]Tirion Fordring[/card] – If not for the Silence, it would probably be the most solid Legendary in the game. Tirion gets a huge value – not only it’s a 6/6 Taunt with Divine Shield (meaning it requires a lot of work to get through), you get the [card]Ashbringer[/card] after it dies. The weapon can get huge value – allows you to kill up to three pretty big minions. If you’re low health or you don’t need to remove minions – it pushes for 15 damage into enemy face over 3 turns. That’s a lot! One of your win conditions – unanswered Tirion can easily snowball the game. The big weakness is how bad he’s against Silence – it turns him into a plain 6/6 for 8 mana. Try to bait enemy silence before using him (e.g. on the Belcher, Minibot buffed by Argus etc.).
[cardinsert card=”sea-giant” float=”right”]
[card]Sea Giant[/card] – A card that works great with the deck that heavily focuses on board presence. The only other competitive deck that uses Sea Giants is Zoo Warlock for the similar reason – a lot of small token minions and a way to put a lot of board presence in one turn. Sea Giant is used as a tempo play, not as a late game threat. You want to drop him after already strong turn to solidify your board presence. You aim to drop him for 3-4 mana or less, after using things like [card]Muster for Battle[/card], getting tokens from your Hero Power/[card]Murloc Knight[/card] etc. The good thing about Sea Giant is that if he gets killed by [card]Big Game Hunter[/card] after you’ve played him almost fo free, it’s not a tempo loss – you might get over the BGH value since you didn’t spend your whole turn just on playing the Giant.
[toc]Tips & Tricks[/toc]
- While you don’t want to throw your [card]Equality[/card] on a minion you can easily kill, don’t be too greedy with it. Using it to get rid of one big minion is a great tempo gain – killing 7+ drop thanks to your Equality (+either Recruit or [card]Light’s Justice[/card]) means you’re getting 5+ mana worth of the tempo.
- Equality + [card]Consecration[/card] is the best combo, but another way to clear enemy board is Equality + [card]Knife Juggler[/card] procs. If you can follow the Juggler with [card]Muster for Battle[/card] or couple of small minions / Hero Power, you should be able to clear the board pretty easily. It’s not guaranteed like Consecration, but can serve as substitute if you don’t have it.
- Don’t be afraid to drop your [card]Aldor Peacekeeper[/card] or [card]Big Game Hunter[/card] on t3 of a faster matchup without getting Battlecry value. Having something to play on t3 as opposed to just Hero Powering and passing is a enough of an advantage to justify the play. Aldor Peacekeeper might be also used to make good early trades – for example if you have Knife Juggler on the board against enemy 2-drop, you can Peacekeeper it and then trade. A small play like that can sometimes snowball the game.
- Try to play [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card] as soon as you can in slower matchups. Unless you really need to do something else on t6, Justicar should be the play. Even though you lose some tempo, getting your upgraded Hero Power earlier means much more value. You can even follow it with Hero Power + [card]Quartermaster[/card] to start getting tempo back.
- Don’t overextend on the board against classes that can AoE you. Thanks to Justicar, your Hero Power is actually good at baiting removals. You can get a lot of Recruits easily and at some point they start to be quite powerful by themselves. Even having 3-4 Recruits on the board may be threatening enough for enemy to AoE them. They don’t want you to get huge Quartermaster value, but you don’t mind them trading AoE for your Hero Power. Once you get your upgraded Hero Powers rolling in the late game, you don’t have to hurry up – you’re eventually gonna outvalue even the slowest decks like Control Warrior or Control Priest. You actually aim for a long-drawn game if you get the upgraded Hero Power pretty early.
- In faster matchup, getting the Quartermaster on one Recruit is not a bad deal. Take the value whenever you can. In slower matchup, however, you aim to get at least 2 or even 3 buffs (depending on the board state). Quartermaster value is one of the best way to win the game – you can trade into 2-3 enemy minions with just your buffed Recruits.
- Turn 8 [card]Tirion Fordring[/card] can seal the game. Dropping him as soon as you can usually gets most value. But if you face a deck running Silence and enemy didn’t use it yet, try to bait it first. If you can afford to play the long game, you might wait with Tirion until the really late game, when enemy is out of Silence and/or removals already.
- You generally want to kill enemy minions after you [card]Aldor Peacekeeper[/card] them. For example, when Handlock plays the [card]Mountain Giant[/card] and you make it 1/8, it might seem useless. But Warlock can still Silence it (reverting it back to 8/8) or make a 2/9 Taunt with [card]Defender of Argus[/card]. Even if you can’t completely kill it, you might put as much damage as you can. Let’s say 8/3 is much less threatening than 8/8 in case he decides to Silence it.
- You can drop [card]Murloc Knight[/card] on t4. While 3/4 for 4 is rather bad (you’re paying 1 extra mana, 3/4 are the 3-drop stats), if enemy has no answer you can snowball the mid game. Even if enemy can take it down on the board – if your only other play is Hero Power + pass, go for it. Getting a little board advantage back is never a bad thing, even if you don’t get much value.
- Use [card]Truesilver Champion[/card] as a health gain in faster matchups. While in the early game you can sacrifice some of your own health and use weapons to kill minions (in order to protect your board), in the later game you should really worry about your health total. Equipping Truesilver Champion and attacking enemy Hero two turns in a row just to push for 8 damage and heal for 4 is not a bad deal for a 4 mana card. Try to not use your face to kill enemy minions in the mid game, unless you’re at really high health total.
- A lot of players don’t know when exactly they should play [card]Lay on Hands[/card]. You generally shouldn’t play it unless you run out of options, you search for something specific (like Equality is your only way out to clear enemy board) or you don’t want to overextend on the board further and can take a slow turn. Playing Lay on Hands is a huge investment – you pretty much use your whole turn, thus losing a lot of tempo. Fighting for the board is generally more important – if you and your enemy are equal on the board, it’s probably better to make a play that puts you ahead on the board instead of literally skipping the turn and letting enemy clear your minions. Your deck really needs board presence to be successful. Lay on Hands is a great card, but sometimes bad timing can put you at big disadvantage.
In TGT, the meta is shifting really fast. The decks come and go, but even a week after the release, I still have a nice success with the Midrange/Token Paladin. I’ve finished last season around rank 250 Legend playing the deck for the last few days, peaking around rank 100. The deck is definitely competitively viable. It’s a pretty good time for Paladin in general, so if you like the class – you should take advantage of that and play it! I really hope that Midrange Paladin is gonna stay in the meta, because it’s one of my favorite decks around. I’ll definitely try it when climbing the ladder during new season.
If you want to read about Mulligan or Alternate & Tech cards, check out the second part! For other Midrange Paladin guides, check out the Midrange Paladin section.
Thanks for reading the guide. I hope you’ve liked it! If you have any suggestions, thoughts or questions – leave them in the comment section below.