Since the last two articles with deck recommendations were pretty popular, I’ve decided to write another one! I think that I might make it into a bi-weekly series.
I want to make a good mix of fun and competitive decks, but with one requirement – each of the decks I’ll post had to either get the player to Legend or be played in Legend with a quite good result. Not every of those decks is #1 Legend material, but each one of them is viable and tested by pro players already.
I’ll add a my thoughts to each list – description of the deck’s origins, play style, maybe a few words about matchups. I haven’t tested each of those decks personally, but I’ve played nearly every of those archetypes in the past, so I have some experience when it comes to that. I hope you’re going to like it!
Muzzy’s Pirate Rogue
We’ve seen a very interesting evolution of Rogue this expansion. First, people have tried the normal Miracle lists with the addition of Counterfeit Coin, but they didn’t work too well. Then, people have decided to add the early Pirate package in order to make the fast matchups more bearable, which turned out to be a great idea – it made Miracle Rogue much more aggressive and thus stronger in general. Now, people are experimenting with a full Aggro Pirate Warriors, dropping Gadgetzan Auctioneer completely and playing more Pirate synergies instead. It still plays a pretty similar core, but is even more aggressive than the Pirate Miracle Rogue.
Muzzy hit Legend on EU with this list. He had a pretty impressive win rate of 76%. The classic Miracle Rogue struggles against Aggro decks – Rogues aren’t great at taking face damage, without healing or any defensive tools every point of damage they take in the early game stays there forever. It means that even a little more early unanswered aggression into burn is really hard to overcome. However, this deck works better against Aggro, since it’s much more aggressive by itself. Both Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman matchups, while still not amazing, are way better than in classic Miracle. At the same time, the deck should win the matchup against Miracle Rogue quite consistently. Current Miracle duels rarely come down to a huge Auctioneer turn, a lot of the games are decided around turn 5-6 by the early/mid game damage. And this deck should be better at that than Miracle.
I don’t know if the deck will be able to outperform Miracle at the highest level, but it seems pretty strong. A lot of that might come because of the surprise factor, which is always something you have to take into account – people don’t really expect Rogue to play full Pirates. The deck is also pretty hard to pilot for an Aggro deck (well, it’s not all-in Aggro, but I’d still call it Aggro), decisions of “remove this” vs “go face” are often much more difficult than in let’s say Pirate Warrior, and some cards like Shadowstep are very tricky and using them correctly is a key to victory.
Talking about Shadowstep, I find this card really fun to play with. Even though it might be a dead card from time to time, especially when topdecking, but it combos really nicely with most of the deck. You can Shadowstep Swashburglar for an extra random card (for 0 mana), SI:7 for 1 mana 2 damage, charge minions for extra burst (Leeroy + Shadowstep is a great late game finisher). But probably the most fun one is combo with Edwin VanCleef. If you drop the VanCleef, Shadowstep it and replay it, it gives your VanCleef +4/+4 for just 1 extra mana. After playing a bit with the deck, I was consistently making really big VanCleefs around turn 4-5 thanks to the Shadowstep. Sadly, the deck runs no Conceal (well, it doesn’t fit it that much because of no Questing Adventurer or Gadgetzan Auctioneer) so a big Edwin is very vulnerable to hard removals, but it’s still great play in certain matchups.
If you want a fast and powerful deck to ladder with, or you want to play Rogue, but don’t really like the Miracle archetype, this should be a perfect deck for you.
Hotform’s Tempo Mage
Class Cards (24)
One important note first: this deck is not very strong in the current meta, so I recommend it only to the players who really like Mage!
Well, I know that I’ve said Legendary decks, but I wanted to make a little throwback to the Karazhan meta. Malygos Druid vs Tempo Mage was one of my most played matchups for like 2 months straight (still not as popular as Midrange Shaman, but A LOT of people played Tempo Mage back then). Now I’m not sure whether I miss this deck or not.
Hotform’s favorite class is – obviously – Mage. He always tries to make it work, he’s one of the best Tempo Mage players right now. He climbed up to rank 2 with the deck, but later gave up. So while definitely possible to hit rank ~5, Legend grind might be hard.
But why exactly does the deck perform poorly right now? There are two main reasons. First – it didn’t get anything new in Gadgetzan. Zero, zilch, nil, nada. People have experimented with the Secret archetype a bit, but it turned out to be underwhelming (I had high hopes for it, but well, it’s hearthstone and you can never really be sure). This Tempo Mage list is the same as the ones you might have seen before Gadgetzan. I mean, it’s not exactly the same, because Hotform tried to adapt it to the meta a bit. Mostly to the Pirate/Aggro decks – cards like Firelands Portal are too slow and Flamestrike, even though the card is great, is better in the Midrange matchups than against Aggro.
While the deck works reasonably well against Reno decks, mostly against RenoLock (I’d even say that it’s a solid favorite against RenoLock), it sucks hard against all the aggressive decks.
I put it here for those who are interested, but you generally shouldn’t expect too much from the deck.
Falathar’s Control Priest
Falathar's Control Priest
You can check out a full guide for the deck on our site!
So yeah, if you want to learn how to play the deck better, click the link above and read Falathar’s guide! However, I still want to share my thoughts about the deck. Classic Control Priest is one of my favorite archetypes, so as you can imagine it was really cool to see it. Don’t get me wrong, Reno Priest is also a great deck that’s fun to play, but it didn’t offer one thing – longevity. Reno Jackson is rotating out next expansion, Blizzard isn’t planning to release more Highlander cards for now, so the archetype’s future wasn’t so bright. While Raza the Chained and Kazakus might still be enough to play it, Reno was so strong that losing it would definitely hurt. That’s why I’m glad that Control Priest, an archetype that doesn’t really lose much next rotation (well, Flash Heal is the only card from the list that rotates out) is working. Oh, wait. Entomb also rotates out, and that might be a bit problematic if the meta slows down, but I think that Priest will still manage to do fine.
I’d say that the deck itself is also quite interesting. After playing around with it for a bit, it doesn’t feel like an oldschool Control Priest. Instead of a constant reactive gameplay, it offers more proactive approach. Instead of answers, it runs things that need to be answered. For example, I was surprised when I didn’t see Entomb, but I guess it makes sense. The card is terrible against Aggro decks, and against some Control decks you aren’t going for the fatigue game plan anyway. There aren’t many cards you have to “pull” out of the board instead of killing them in this meta either (Sylvanas Windrunner, maybe the Murlocs against Anyfin Paladin, but the deck is still very uncommon) – there is no let’s say C'Thun that you need to answer with Entomb or you lose.
Then, the combo. RenoLock was always a hard counter to the Control Priest. Lord Jaraxxus was usually straight up game lost, because Control Priests had no solid way to burst after Zombie Chow rotated out. Right now, Mistress of Mixtures serves a similar job. Now, you can play Auchenai Soulpriest, 2x Flash Heal, 2x Mistress of Mixtures and Circle of Healing (and Hero Power) for 20 points of damage. Sure, the combo isn’t too efficient. It uses 6 cards. There are way better combos out there. But the thing is that your combo isn’t only a combo. Each of those cards can be used individually. Auchenai + Flash Heal is 5 damage removal with a 3/5 body for example. Auchenai + Circle is AoE clear. Mistress of Mixtures is a great card against Aggro (because you don’t care about the combo against Aggro anyway).
Even though the deck is optimized to fight well against Aggro decks (for a good reason, aggressive decks are the majority of the meta right now), it adds some techs against Control. The first one is, obviously, N'Zoth, the Corruptor. I mean, you can’t really surprise anyone with it, because when you play Cairne Bloodhoof it’s quite obvious that you play N’Zoth too. However, N’Zoth alone isn’t really enough. You get back Cairne and Sylvanas and that’s pretty much it. Mistresses are negligible in the late game. The second anti-Control card is Thoughtsteal. You can generate 4 extra cards from outside of your deck, which is pretty powerful vs slow decks. In some matchups you also have a solid chance to get another Deathrattle for the combo. This deck still won’t be a favorite in the Control matches vs let’s say Reno decks, but there is always the tempo + burst plan, which works surprisingly often – people just don’t play around more than a few points of damage against Control Priest.
I like this deck. I’m not 100% sure if it’s more powerful than Dragon Priest (Falathar says it is, but I’d need to play around with it a bit more), but it’s definitely a solid list in the current meta. I’m really happy that Control Priest has a solid chance to be quite powerful next rotation, especially if he gets a few more high quality cards like Dragon Priest got in Gadgetzan.
Zalae’s C’Thun RenoLock
Zalae's C'Thun RenoLock
I was a big propagator of this archetype when WotG was released. I hit top 50 Legend with my list and then quite a lot of people were playing it. But honestly, I haven’t seen any C’Thun RenoLock in… ages. The last time I’ve played against one was like half a year ago. People have switched to the N'Zoth, the Corruptor version quite quickly and now they play neither. Still, C’Thun is a pretty cute card in RenoLock and I have a sentiment for this version.
But why you’d want to play C’Thun over let’s say Leeroy Jenkins combo? Well, there reason is that each combo piece has no individual value. If you’re going for the full combo, of course, they’re simply dead cards in your hand. In case of C’Thun cards, each of the cultists can be played individually, as a minion on the board. They don’t clog your hand and even though they aren’t most powerful, they’re still pretty solid. In this particular list, you should be able to pump your C’Thun to around 15, maybe even slightly higher if a) Twilight Elder sticks to the board b) Crazed Worshipper tanks multiple hits c) you get good Brann Bronzebeard value (e.g. Brann + Kazakus + Disciple of C'Thun might be a good use of your turn). C’Thun is also great in the matchups where combo isn’t that good and you’d rather prefer to have a huge minion with powerful effect instead. I mean, 15/15 C’Thun is quite a threat that your opponent has to play around. It can still be used as a finisher on the empty board, but you can also clear boards with it when necessary. And if you manage to get Brann + C’Thun, that’s often game over on the spot.
Second biggest reason to run C’Thun is Twin Emperor Vek'lor. Once you get C’Thun up to 10, which shouldn’t be that hard, you get a very powerful card. That’s 2x 4/6 Taunt for 7 mana, which often seals the game against aggressive decks on the spot. Even in slower matchups it’s a very high value card. And another great Brann synergy – how about summoning 3x 4/6 Taunt instead?
Besides, the deck plays similarly to the other RenoLock lists. It focuses on the mid game a little bit more, having pretty much only C’Thun and Jaraxxus as the real late game options. But that’s enough.
One important note is that the list is much more f2p player friendly. It’s still RenoLock, so don’t expect wonders, but it costs way less than the usual RenoLock list. Since you get C'Thun for free and the C’Thun minions are generally Commons/Rares (Worshipper being the only exception), the whole package is pretty cheap. The deck runs only 3 non-adventure Legendaries, which makes it much cheaper than the usual ones that run 4-5. However, the problem is that Twin Emperor Vek'lor is pretty much necessary and if you don’t own the card, crafting it might be problematic. No other C’Thun deck is currently played and they might not ever get back into the meta. It means that it might be 1.6k dust spent for nothing. Or not, maybe C’Thun decks will be played after rotation, who knows. But it’s definitely not a safe craft right now.
Fibonacci’s Demon RenoLock
As a big RenoLock fan, I enjoy the diversity among RenoLock decks. And that’s why (sorry to anyone who doesn’t like the deck) we’re going to have two lists in this article. And not just two any deck lists, two really unusual ones. I think that this one is even more uncommon than the last one. While C’Thun was played for a while in the previous metas, the Demon version was always called pretty bad. After the few initial days of Gadgetzan experiments, people have decided to not play it, because it was underperforming.
Fibonacci, who is by the way one of the most creative deck builders out there – he mainly plays Control Warrior and makes a lot of really unique lists then takes them to top Legend ranks. So, Fibonacci hit top 5 Legend with this list and proved everyone wrong. Or did he? I’ll be honest – I still don’t like this version. I think it’s subpar and the normal ones are better. But it clearly shows one thing – Krul is not a bad card at all. Which is in line with my rating of the card anyway. I still think that it’s meh card right now. It’s not terrible, but it just isn’t good enough. However, since it can already be successful, I think that it might be used in future when more powerful Demons get released (and hopefully some card to replace the necessary healing from Reno) and it’s DEFINITELY an amazing Wild format card.
But, instead of focusing on the flaws, let’s say what the card does really well. It floods the board. Let’s list every Demon that’s played by this list: Voidwalker, Imp Gang Boss, Doomguard, Abyssal Enforcer, Lord Jaraxxus. So it’s theoretically possible to spawn 6 big bodies on the board at once, 1 of which is a small Taunt that protects other from a single hit, one has Charge and 4 of them are pretty big. If your opponent has no answer, that’s pretty much game over. But, let’s be realistic. You don’t hold cards like Voidwalker or Imp Gang Boss for the Krul. If you happen to have them, that’s nice, but they’re cheap enough that you throw them on the board when you get a good opportunity (RenoLock often suffers from the “I have too many cards in my hand” problem in slow matchups, so it’s impossible to hold into Voidwalker). Abyssal Enforcer is also often used for its Battlecry and you might not necessarily want to get it on the board. However, you probably won’t cry about a free 6/6 and throwing away the Hellfire effect. And obviously, Doomguard is the best one you can pull – 5/7 Charge makes it a higher tempo move and the stats are also very reasonable even if you don’t have anything you can kill with it.
So the best case scenario is usually something like a 9 mana for 7/9 + 5/7 Charge + 6/6. Which is a great tempo swing, if your opponent doesn’t have an AoE board wipe, it’s hard to clear that board. However – Krul is a double-edged sword when you have Lord Jaraxxus in your hand. While 3/15 on the board is really nice, Jaraxxus is your main win condition in a lot of slow matchups and you can’t possibly discard it. Which means that you can’t play Krul before you drop Jaraxxus (if you have both in your hand, of course). Which also means that Doomguard becomes dead card, unless you really have to play it to stop lethal or to get lethal. Since you have to prepare the right board and hand state to play Jaraxxus, they might sit dead in your hand for the most of the match, which is a bit problematic. On the other hand, dropping Jaraxxus on the board is not always bad. There are some matchups where Jaraxxus is a dead card, because your opponent can burst you down. If you play in a matchup like that, Jaraxxus is a dead card and Krul makes it useful – not only it frees the space in your hand, but it also puts a hard to kill minion on the board.
All in all, Krul has its good sides and bad sides. I honestly feel like the card is like 1 or 2 big demons off being really good. You could, for example, play Kabal Trafficker, but the card is not a Demon itself and if you get a RANDOM Demon it might be something small/useless. And you don’t want to play something like a Fearsome Doomguard, because it’s really terrible card outside of the Krul pull..
Oh, and one more thing – the deck gets a huge upside with Kazakus potions. The “Add Demons to your hand” option is one of the worst, it’s a pure value (zero tempo) and very random. However, in this deck it’s one of the most powerful ones. Adding 3 Demons into your hand and then dropping them all with Krul is a great board refill, especially after your opponent has dropped his AoE.
So yeah, besides the Krul, the deck plays very similarly to the standard RenoLock.
Team G2’s Anyfin Paladin
Class Cards (18)
I wrote a full guide for the deck on another site, you can check it out here!
Paladin is back. Alright, that might be an overstatement, but it’s at least playable. Paladin and Hunter are considered two worst classes of the meta and it doesn’t really change that much. They’re still worst, but from the absolute trash Paladin has evolved into a class with a pretty viable deck. That deck is Anyfin Paladin. History of the deck is really bumpy, it was in and out of the meta a lot of times. But every expansion it was coming back after a while, because it got some new tools every time. WoG brought Forbidden Healing and Ragnaros, Lightlord. Karazhan brought Ivory Knight and Barnes. Now the Gadgetzan has brought two new cards against – Finja, the Flying Star and Wickerflame Burnbristle (I had to craft both for the sake of playing this deck by the way >_>) which again improved both slow and fast matchups.
The deck became a little more popular on the ladder after a few pros took it to high ranks (especially in the China) and after the team G2’s performance in hearthstone Trinity Series against Alliance. They swept the whole series with this deck (piloted by Thijs) – 6-0 with Anyfin Paladin. That was really cool, if you didn’t watch it yet, you definitely should!
If you’re a relatively new player and you aren’t familiar with the deck, the main goal is to play Murlocs, let Murlocs die and then resummon them twice with Anyfin Can Happen. First copy deals up to 12 damage, but second one is often a full OTK (~30 damage). The combo is incredibly powerful in any slow matchup, even though it takes some time to gather all the pieces. And that’s where the first new addition comes into the action – Finja helps with drawing out the Murlocs from your deck more consistently. It’s very hard to kill a 4 health minion in stealth, especially if it’s dropped right on turn 5, so it should stick. With Truesilver Champion it should also find a Midrange target to hit and kill. And if those two things happens, and they happen very consistently, you draw 2 cards and put them on the board immediately. And those two cards are exactly the cards you need for your combo – Murlocs. Not only that, but it’s a great swing on the board. While pulling out 2x Bluegill is not a huge deal, it’s only 4 Charge damage, pulling out 1 Bluegill / 1 Warleader or even 2 Warleaders is a big deal. Especially if your Finja survives. Finja surviving the trade into 2x Warleader buffs a Finja and puts 2x 5/4 on the board, that should really buy you some time. One problem is that it leaves your Murlocs vulnerable against cards like Hex or Polymorph, which are the best counters to the strategy, but hey, they don’t always have them.
Second new addition – Wickerflame Burnbristle improves the fast matchup. In slow ones it’s meh – it usually buys a little bit of time or forced a small removal (something like a Shadow Word: Pain is nice to bait to have a higher chance of Doomsayer going off later). But against Pirates it usually clear 1-2 minions and heals you for 4 or more. I absolutely love it against board of 1 attack minions – you get 6 points of healing and probably kill some of them too. It’s also a good proactive play – it stops Charge minions from being effective, same for weapons (I just love Warrior having to waste a charge of Arcanite Reaper on my Wickerflame.
The deck is quite solid in the current meta. It’s definitely not a top meta deck, for one big reason – it SUCKS against Pirate Warrior. I found out that the ladder is pretty alright overall, but matchup against Pirate Warrior is really bad. It’s like 30/70 in the Warrior’s favor. If they draw perfect curve, you just lose. If you don’t draw your Doomsayers or other early answers OR turn 4 Wild Pyromancer + Equality, you also just lose. On the other hand, the deck counters RenoLock pretty hard. I didn’t drop a single game against RenoLock so far (without a huge sample size, but 6-0 against RenoLock is quite solid). Priest is also a great matchup, no matter what kind of build he runs. Reno Mage is closer to 50/50 because of the Ice Block – if they don’t get it, it’s a free win, but if they have both Ice Block AND Reno, things might get a bit rough, as it’s very hard to combo them down. As for the other matchups, there are some good ones, some bad ones, but personally I was performing quite well on the ladder. I had ~60% win rate with this deck, which is – honestly – pretty good for the “worst class in the game”. You won’t probably break to Legend immediately or hit top 100 right away, but this deck has potential and I think that it might see a little bit more play in the future.
P.S. If you struggle against fast decks, removing Tirion Fordring + Ivory Knight and adding 2x Mistress of Mixtures (or 1 Mistress + Loot Hoarder) should improve them quite a bit. I was playing this list with Tirion, because I really like the card (come on, Tirion is so awesome that I can’t remove it!) but it might really perform a bit better with more early drops instead.
Do you know any fun/interesting decks that can also get you to high ranks? Some decks with non-meta choices, techs that you haven’t seen before etc.? If yes, let me know and I can include them next time! I hope that you’ve liked this batch of decks, I have played a few of those myself and I found them really cool. I’ll try my best to provide you with more fresh lists every now and then.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!