Hey, guys! I’m Chriseroi, a relatively new hearthstone player who started in June of 2015 and has been playing and enjoying it ever since as a high school student! Don’t write me off just yet, though; I love hearthstone just as much as you guys and have been working my way up ever since I started. Thus, the full title isn’t actually “Hearthstone Journal,” but rather, “High School Journal.” While I heavily enjoy reading a lot of these guides on hearthstone Players from various parts of the community, each of these guys seem to have some sort of luxury that I can’t afford, unfortunately, whether it be time, money, or both. I wanted to contribute to the community by giving you a peek inside my own little amusing journey, whether it’s climbing up the ladder, getting better at Arena, or even just me building up my collection. I really hope you enjoy reading these little journals every week as much as I enjoyed writing them!
This is new. What’s this?
Glad you asked! This is an interlude, focusing on match-ups against popular decks in the meta right now. Instead of talking about my hearthstone journey each and every week, I decided to take a break to address something that I encountered too much in the ladder recently: an oversaturation of a certain few classes. In January’s meta at the moment, the most popular classes that I faced just so happened to be Paladin, Druid, and Warlock, at least for me. I’ve had varying degrees of success against all three classes, but here’s a surprise: while Secret Paladin is universally hated, I was able to beat it all the times I ran into him. Isn’t that crazy? Maybe I just got lucky, right?
Actually, I beg to differ.
I want to argue that it’s mostly me just knowing the matchup. At this point, the Secret Paladin decks have been refined almost to a fault; each matchup runs almost the same cards at this point, and by knowing which cards they play and the strategy each player uses to play the deck, you can effectively counter it with the right plays.
If you haven’t yet, check out ThorSmash’s previous article on hearthstone Players, In-Depth Legend Secret Paladin Guide: Mulligans, Matchups, Tips for Playing. It’s an excellent guide to playing Secret Paladin, and by knowing how to play it, you’ll learn how to play against it too, ironically.
Enough talk. Let’s begin!
Explain the cards to me.
Sure! Well, the decklist listed to the right is probably the most popular and most effective build of Secret Paladin on the ladder right now. It’s almost a staple to see most of these cards in a standard midrange Paladin deck, so I’ll note any “tells” that you can use to check if it is a Secret Paladin.
We’ll talk about the cards on a turn-by-turn basis. Each turn will list the ideal play for that turn, and I’ll list ways to counter each turn as well.
This is where you’ll see one of three things: Zombie Chow
You’ll see here either a Shielded Minibot
It’s in flux at this point, because of the very few optimal plays to make with three mana, but typically Muster for Battle
At this point, the opponent will have ideally established board control, so they’ll either buff up one of their minions to trade with any minions that you have (if you even have any by the time it’s turn 4 – part of the amazingness of Secret Paladin is its strong start to control the board) or just play even more minions that they didn’t get to use yet. You’ll want to get rid of their board as soon as possible, but save up your board clear until turn five, just in case they’ve got a Mysterious Challenger
If they’re smart, they’ll play Loatheb
This turn will either be a dream or a nightmare for one of the sides in this match, depending if your opponent manages to draw and drop Mysterious Challenger
Honestly, the goal is to beat your opponent before he summons Mysterious Challenger
Now, ideally, you’d want to first attack with your weakest minion with two or less health, or if all of them are equally strong, your strongest minion that has more than four health, because we want to activate the Noble Sacrifice
By the way, Redemption
If you can survive this turn, you’ll have a very good chance of taking care of the next two turns, which generally involve two very big threats.
It’s the final stretch! After this turn, all of your opponent’s big threats will have been played provided he summons Tirion Fordring
If you can’t do that, then freeze the weapon using any spells that you might have, and if you still can’t do that, ignore the weapon and pressure your opponent by removing his board and going for face in the most efficient way possible without making any anti-tempo plays.
It’ll be a race for time if you’re going down this third route, but if you kept up a decently-populated board and retained a good mana curve throughout the game, it shouldn’t be too long until you defeat your opponent, since the typical Secret Paladin doesn’t run any other taunts besides Sludge Belcher
What cards are considered to be necessary against Secret Paladin?
While I don’t think that there are any “omg this card is op against secret pallys guaranteed” out there, there are a couple that you should definitely consider running in the current meta. But if none of these cards fit in your current deck, don’t worry! These are just suggestions.
Acidic Swamp Ooze
Big Game Hunter
I followed your guide to the letter and I still can’t beat Secret Paladin!
Unfortunately, this isn’t the “end-all be-all” guide to fighting off Secret Paladin. Like any other game, there will be unlucky draws, crazy RNG, and times where your opponent is actually just better than you, or vice versa. But this guide isn’t meant to pilot your deck to victory against Secret Paladin, and neither is any other guide. This is here to provide tips for you not just to make the right plays during a match, but for you to put yourself in the right mindset during one as well. The most important piece of advice I can give you right now is: focus and stay calm! Unless you do just that during each second of the match, I can’t guarantee you’ll make the best plays and avoid panicking when it’s your turn, and that’s a huge part of why so many people get mad when they lose against a Secret Paladin. Remember: it doesn’t matter what deck your opponent is playing, but it does matter how you react to their plays. As long as you’re confident and collected when you make your plays, I can assure you that whatever outcome happens is totally fine, because you tried your best, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really counts. So go ahead and have some fun!
Bonus: Community Ideas
Within half a day of publishing this article, you guys have responded with some really great ideas and concerns about confronting Secret Paladin down below in the comments section, and I want to take the time to address and promote some of these comments here!
Deli Soetiawan mentions a great strategy for a Rogue counter in the early game: use Fan of Knives
masterofthese made an interesting note in that the trick in countering Secret Paladin not only include faster decks, Patron Warrior, and Control Priest, but also decks that were made when The Grand Tournament was released, interestingly enough. He cites Dragon Priest and Aggro Druid as examples of effective counters against Secret Paladin, stating that you need to “think back to when it was created, because that’s the true key to beating it.” I think that this is a really interesting idea! However, his argument doesn’t hold much water now, unfortunately; as Secret Paladin has become refined through so many revisions in the past couple of months, it has been refocused into more of a midrange version that is much more effective in a post-LOE meta. While Patron Warrior and Control Priest do have good matchups against Secret Paladin, I can’t say the same for Dragon Priest and Aggro Druid. Dragon Priest is a deck archetype almost entirely reliant on board control, and unfortunately, Secret Paladin does the same thing, just better. Aggro Druid is almost nonexistent nowadays, again due to the slower meta we experienced after the League of Explorers, so while the surprise factor might work, the deck itself just doesn’t contest to most decks nowadays, let alone Secret Paladin.
An anonymous reader adds that “any smart paladin player will probably add a three drop to the slot. Be ready for Aldor Peacekeeper
Thank you so much everyone for commenting! Keep ’em coming, please! I read each and every comment, so don’t think your words are falling on deaf ears! The more discussion, the better.
As the first time I’ve written a real “guide,” let me know if you liked it! If this helped you at all in the least, or if you even enjoyed reading a little bit here and there, tell me and I’ll consider writing another one in the future! And as always, if you guys want to ask questions, give constructive criticism, or even yell at me for the stuff I said here, feel free to comment below! If you want to add me, my Battletag is Chriseroi#1902, and I hope to see you all in a game of hearthstone sometime soon!