9 October 2017 - 22:22

Weekly Legends: Royal Tempo Rogue

Dot Esports

Introduction

You guys had to know this one was coming. Tempo Rogue has exploded in the post-nerf meta and it continues to get more and more popular with each passing day. There are a ton of different versions of this you can play right now, but today I wanted to look at one of the more interesting I've come across. This version, known as "Royal Rogue," comes from ZBOZZ and blends the classic Tempo Rogue shell with some some very interesting meta choices. Not only do you get all the fun of bouncing your minions, but you also get some very strong silver bullets that can help you take apart many of the most popular decks in the game. It is never easy to find choices in a deck with so many options, but I believe that just about every card in this version is right.

Key Cards

Shadowstep

Shadowstep

Utility. Though Shadowstephas typically been seen as too weak or too gimmicky in the past, we live in a very different world now. Here, the free spell not only gives you a way to double dip your battlecries, but it can also be used as a pure value play with things like Swashburglar. The free spell can even heal damaged units in pinch as well. The biggest rule of Shadowstep is to know that you can use it ahead of schedule. For example, picking up a Vilespine Slayerto prepare for future turns. You may want to keep the slayer on the board to push damage, but if it dies you suddenly you lose that extra power moving forward. Board matters, but there are going to be times where you'd rather have something in your hand.

The number one reason this card is so strong is because it allows you to go full tempo. There are going to be many games where you have control of the board or are pushing damage by pacing your opponent and clearing their minions. In those situations, Shadowstepis phenomenal. Southsea Deckhandand SI:7 Agentboth help you put on damage, while Vilespine Slayercan make it so your opponent can never fully stick a taunt or big threat. Do not be afraid to use this card simply to clear or get in some extra hits. Every single point matters, and Shadowstep is a card that helps you fully utilize that. Even a simple play like picking up a Southsea Deckhandto use it with a Bonemarelater on in the game can go a long way.

Southsea Deckhand

Southsea Deckhand

Another great example of versatility, Southsea Deckhandhas long been one of the most important cards in Tempo Rogue lists. Not only can you use the 2/1 to push through damage, but it also summons Patches the Pirate, works with Southsea Captain, and gives you some amazing trades. This card is perhaps your best minion when it comes to the early board, and you should treat it as such. As noted in the video, this card is one of the strongest ways to clean up early pushes by decks like Hunter and Aggro Druid. Southsea into Patches and SI on turn four should be enough to take down any other swarm deck, which then gives you control of the game. It is hard to see, but getting even one strong trade turn will push you permanently ahead of your opponent, and Southsea is one of the best (if not the best) ways to make that happen.

Be wary of playing Southsea Deckhandbefore you need to. Though that could be said about any card, it is especially important with the pirate because the one drop has a ton of utility in this build. There are going to be many games where you run this out just to play something. However, you should resist that urge as much as possible. Yes, thinning Patches the Pirateis good, but losing Southsea's utility is often not worth it. Only take that route when you need something on turn one against a fast deck like Aggro Druid or Token Shaman. Also note that you want to have your dagger up when putting the pirate down. There are a lot of small minions running around, and your hero power has a lot of utility. However, always try to keep it equipped when you're planning to play the 2/1 on the next turn.

Southsea Captain

Southsea Captain

Though it may not be the strongest card in the deck, I believe Southsea Captainto be a big reason for this build's success. Something to note about any tempo deck is that you can always do amazing things as long as you keep the board. As noted in the video, there are many times where I just spend my time trying to fight for board control and then worrying about everything else afterwards. That is exactly how you need to play a deck like this, and the captain helps with that plan by giving you a way to grab the board out of nowhere. Not only that, but it also enables you to push through large chunks of damage. Also always take advantage of a charging 3/2 Southsea Deckhandwhen you can.

Not only does Southsea Captainserve as a good buff, but it is also going to take people completely by surprise. There are five pirates in this deck, and nobody is going to expect you to buff them. That can lure your opponent into traps and give you a strong push. Even something as using a Swashburglarto take out a Fire Flycan go a long way. Also note that the captain gives you a 2/2 Patches the Pirate. That is incredibly powerful swing play, especially when fighting for the board. There are going to be many games where you want to hold back your early pirates to play the 3/3 first. This card is also a great target to hit with Shadowcaster(as covered below).

Shadowcaster

Shadowcaster

Shadowstepis great in this build, which means Shadowstepon a 4/4 body is even better. Shadowcasteris a great card that gives you a ton of strong options in this deck. Not only can you get double use out of your powerful battlecries, but you can also do things with your static minions like Southsea Captainand Cobalt Scalebaneas well. Just about everything in this deck oozes some sort of value, and getting more of that value is never going to be a bad thing. Vilespine Slayeris perhaps your best target, but Bonemareis fantastic as well. One well timed bounce of those cards should be enough to dominate the board and lock up the game.

The most important thing to remember about Shadowcasteris that the 4/4 needs to be set up. As everyone knows, it is not easy to keep minions around in Hearthstone. That makes Shadowcaster tricky to use in certain games, especially in a board battle. Going wide is often the best way to fight against that, but Shadowstepdoes a great job as well because it reduces the cost of minions in your hand. Playing a three mana Vilespine Slayerand then creating a copy with Shadowcaster for only eight mana is a fantastic deal. Also, do not get caught up in "the dream" here. It is easy to focus on certain targets, but just getting an extra Swashburglaror Prince Kelesethcan be strong enough. Do not let this card rot in your hand because you're being greedy.

Nerubian Unraveler

Nerubian Unraveler

We end this discussion with perhaps the most interesting choice in this deck. Initially, this list had one Nerubian Unraveler, but I think two is a much better choice for the current meta. If you look at this build, you will notice that it only runs four spells (two Backstab, two Shadowstep) and both of them are free. That means this card has almost no drawback to you, and can put a ton of pressure on your opponent. It does this in two ways; tying up mana or simply making certain big spells uncastable. Not only can a well-timed unraveler shut down Ultimate Infestation(the main reason for it in this build), but it can also take Priest off AOE, Mage off of a clear spell, and Hunter off of burn. Yes, your opponent may still be able to cast certain spells through the six drop, but forcing them to wait a turn or two can go a long way while you're spamming threats. Tying up mana is always going to be powerful in a tempo build because it can wreck even the best laid plans. If your opponent is suddenly staring down a seven mana Brawlor eight mana Dragonfire Potionthey cannot cast, they will likely crumble. Always try to hit the 5/5 on curve against slower decks when you can. It is very strong against Shaman and Druid as well.

Deck Code

AAECAYO6AgSyApG8Ap TQApziAg20Ae0CqAXUBd0I3K8CkrYCgc ICm8IC68ICyssCps4Cp84CAA==

Matchups

The four decks I've seen the most while playing the ladder.

Deadly Shot

Midrange Hunter

It's been a while, but Hunter has found its way back to the top of the meta. Rexxar's beasts are out in full force and they will overwhelm you if you aren't careful. Hunters' best tool is their damage, and they are going to try to use that against you as much as possible. Any player knows that Rogue has no healing, which means every hit they get in is going to drop you closer to their hero power range. Do everything in your power to fight back against their board and liberally remove every threat that you can. As you have no way to easily deal with Savannah Highmane, you need to get a full handle on things by turn six. The best way to deter the 6/5 is Cobalt Scalebane, which gives you a threat Hunter has to deal with before dropping down the lion.

Always look for ways to pressure your opponent here. As mentioned, Hunter is going to try to put you on the back foot early. While controlling the board is a great way to combat that, it is even better if you can get ahead of your opponent and flip the tables on them. The new Hunter builds are hyper-dependent on tempo, and if you can take that away from them they aren't going to be able to keep up. Just be aware of the fact that once you take the board Hunter is going to get extremely aggressive. It doesn't take much for you to be put into a hole. Even if you're ahead, a quick Eaglehorn Bow/Kill Commandpunch can drop you close to lethal in a hurry. Know when you need to crank up the pressure. In addition, also do your best to play to Bonemare. The card is one of the best ways to both put up a taunt and push damage through at the same time.

Edwin VanCleef

Tempo Rogue

Yep. Unfortunately, when you play a popular build you are going to have to face quite a few mirror matches. This game is going to be a tight board-focused kill fest with you and your opponent doing everything in your power to control priority. This is a matchup where Southsea Deckhandand Patches the Pirateare incredibly important. That is because you never want to strike first. Rather, you want to carefully sculpt your hand and wait for your key turn (usually three or four) where you can take over the game. Whoever goes second in that regard is going to have a big chance at jumping ahead because they will control trades. Once you have the board, you should apply pressure until your opponent crumbles. Kill everything they try to stick and use everything that isn't trading to go face. Just try to hold onto cheap cards throughout the match so you always have a way to trigger combo.

While the board is going to be your main focus, you also need to worry about your health in this one. More traditional Tempo Rogue lists tend to have a slew of powerful finishers, including Leeroy Jenkinsand Cold Blood. For that reason, always keep an eye on your health and do not be afraid to use your own damage as a tempo play. You want to push for the board as much as you can without leaving yourself exposed. If you can keep your opponent's minions in check you should be fine. Also, it is important to watch out for Vilespine Slayer. Play to yours when you get the opportunity to do so, but also be aware of your opponent's. You want to bait the flowers out with medium -sized threats. Play your bodies down that are strong enough to get a reaction, but not so strong that you are going to lose long term value.

Potion of Madness

Razakus Priest

Priest has slipped over the past week, but it still has a strong hold on the meta. This is a matchup that is in your favor as long as you make good use of your minions. That is to say, you need to be careful about playing into Priest's spells. One of Tempo Rogue's best attributes is that it can do a lot with a little. Cards like Cobalt Scalebaneand Bonemaregive you two massive threats while also allowing you to conserve the cards in your hand. This game is going to be a balance. You need to get enough pressure so that Shadowreaper Anduincannot take over the game, but you also need to make it so your opponent cannot blow you out with removal or AOE. Two or three big minions should be enough to win this one. Once you have the board (which you probably will) you should just save up as many cards as you hand. This will put your opponent into a bad position and make them take inopportune lines of play. Then, once they do clear, you can run out more powerful threats. Always keep a look out for ways to get in damage in this game. Priest is going to hit a point where they untouchable, and you typically want to end things around turn eight. Use your dagger a lot and do not be afraid to save your Southsea Deckhands for use as finishers.

Thrall, Deathseer

Token Shaman

Another up-and-comer, Token Shaman has gotten more and more popular with each passing day. The build does what it has always done, and it might even shine better in the new meta. This is the match where you need to be extremely careful in terms of controlling the board. In fact, this is the closest you're going to get to control. Thrall loves to flood the board and make use of cheap minions. For this reason, your dagger is incredibly important. Clear aggressively here. Even if you think you have things locked up, all it takes is for one good swing turn for Shaman to get ahead of you. Once they do that, they can race to Bloodlustbefore you ever get a chance to catch up. It is vital to always be in front of your opponent. This will allow you to pace the game in the way you want and keep Shaman off of their big pushes. Shaman has ways of controlling the board from behind, but as long as you have priority you are going to be in control.

To win this game you need to accurately predict your opponent's moves. That is always a good skill to have, but it is especially important when fighting Shaman because they can burst ahead of you if you aren't ready. Jade Clawsis typically going to take down your early board, and they are going to try to flood to set up their strong swing plays. Even one totem can turn the board and you need be aware of that. Don't get greedy and only push once you believe you have a firm hold on the board. However, you should also know that you need to find pressure where you can get it. It is easy to pace the game and think you're ahead, but you don't have the tools to deal with Evolve/Doppelgangster. Those two cards can instantly set you back and lead to a quick loss if you don't have finishing damage at your disposal.

Mulligan Guide

Tempo decks need to stick to their curve, plain and simple. You are a deck that wants to come out of the gates (or at least have the option to come out of the gates) every game. To make that happen you want to get all of your low cost cards and aggressively throw everything else back. Backstab, Swashburglar, Fire Fly, Southsea Deckhand, and Prince Kelesethare your must-keeps. Then, once you get those cards, you want to look for other options. Plague Scientistis good with a curve, but is too fragile on its own. Edwin VanCleefshould only be kept with the coin, and you want both SI:7 Agentand Stonehill Defenderwith a curve or the coin. Finally, Southsea Captainis good on curve if you have pirates coming before it.

Conclusion

Loved it at the start of KFT, love it now. Tempo Rogue is a very cool deck that gives you access to a ton of cards you typically never see. This list, while very strong, also isn't the only one out there. You can freely switch out different minions for your own preferences and style. There are a lot of good battlecries in the game, and there are also a lot of powerful static threats as well. Whatever version you choose is up to you. The base of this one is incredibly strong, and, much more importantly, so much fun. Hope you like it as much as I do. Until next time, may you always keleseth on turn two.

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