”Victory (turn 5) or death!” – Garrosh Hellscream, 2017

Welcome, dear readers, to the first installment of the 9 part article series of ”The Definitive Guide To” where instead of looking at different decks and deck archetypes I will be taking a look at the 9 classes instead, one each week, and it is only fitting to kick this off with my personal favorite class, the warrior! It is the class that I’ve played the most so far, the one that I know to its very core, and today I will be sharing my knowledge with you! We’ll take a look at everything regarding warrior, from the history of the class all the way to decks for not only standard but wild as well.

Sit back, relax, and let’s dive right into this!

:)

Warrior 101


As always, this guide will be divided into three sections. The first section, this one, will cover the basics behind warrior class including a brief history of the class and the cards and in which directions can you take the warrior decks. If you’re looking for a more in depth analysis and/or decks and are not interested in these very basics then feel free to skip ahead to the next section where you’ll probably find what you’re looking for.

History

When I’ve started playing Hearthstone for the first time, Molten Giant

warrior was already nerfed to the ground, but control warrior was running around rampant for a good while. I remember playing the old ramp druid deck and constantly encountering this weird warrior deck which had tons of armor and legendary minions. After about a dozen encounter I’ve decided that if there is any one deck out there that I will both craft and master that it will be the control warrior deck. It was my first Hearthstone goal.

During the very early days of Hearthstone control warrior, this version being known as wallet warrior because of all the legendary minions that it had, was the best deck the in the entire game and it was stupid hard to beat it. Shortly after I began playing Hearthstone the three decks that were dominating the early ladder were the original face hunter, wallet warrior and ramp druid with handlock popping out a bit later. When Curse of Naxxramas came out there really wasn’t any ”solution” to the warrior ”problem” but warrior had instead been given two powerful cards in the form of Death's Bite

and Sludge Belcher
. During the era of the Undertaker
hunter, control warrior was one of the few decks that could stop it before things had spiraled out of control.

When Goblins vs Gnomes came out, control warrior was given yet another new toy in the form of Dr. Boom

, the most powerful 7 drop in the entire game, and while it didn’t dominate the ladder the deck did remain strong. It had also received Shieldmaiden
which is a pretty powerful card as well. It was one of the better decks out there to combat the old combo druid deck thanks to the armor mechanic. The real problem with the warrior had occurred after the release of Blackrock Mountain when Grim Patron
came out and patron warrior was everywhere. During that time it was that one deck that you have to look out for because it can kill you, almost completely regardless of how much health you have, in a single powerful swing. Control warrior was overthrown in the favor of patron warrior for a very long time, despite even getting Justicar Trueheart
later on in The Grand Tournament, and it really took the nerf of Warsong Commander
not to completely kill the patron warrior deck but to slow it down enough to make breathing room for other decks.

The warrior had entered the standard format with a very surprising deck which didn’t really work before and that was midrange warrior. To be completely honest with you, I don’t really remember much of that deck and I didn’t really play it too much. It ran cards like Bloodhoof Brave

, Fierce Monkey
and Varian Wrynn
. It wasn’t a bad deck but the player base had soon figured out that dragon warrior was a much better deck and midrange warrior was just left forgotten until it completely phased out of the ladder. This leaves us with two warrior decks which had seen play for the most of the standard: dragon warrior and C'Thun
control warrior. Both of them were strong decks, with C'Thun
control warrior actually being the top tier deck for a good portion of the last year, and both of them saw a lot of tournament play.

All of this had changed with the Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan when we were given the pirate warrior that we all know and love. Jade golem druid had completely killed control warrior and I suspect that it will remain so until the deck rotates out of standard because there really is no way for a control warrior to consistently beat it. Dragon warrior didn’t really leave but was more absorbed into the pirate package and now we have the dragon pirate deck and the pirate warrior deck.

But what about the wild format? What happened there after the introduction of standard?

I’m glad that you ask! Barely anything had happened since the introduction of standard. Control warrior had remained as one of the best decks in the format but now it was running N'Zoth, the Corruptor

and a handful of deathrattle minions. Patron warrior was and still is around but it isn’t as strong as it used to be pre nerf and, as someone who really plays a lot of wild, I’ve yet to encounter a dragon warrior deck there. Midrange warrior never took off in the wild format and C'Thun
control warrior had also performed poorly because the old control warrior was better in multiple ways. Nowadays, however, most of the wild is actually populated by non other than, yep, you’ve guessed it, pirate warrior. The pirate package is so strong that it is dominating the wild, the format with more answers to aggro than the standard format, and that is because it has a very powerful tool in the form of Ship's Cannon
. If coined out the canon can often deal up to 6 damage on turn 2 easily with its effect alone and with Patches the Pirate
, a 1/3 weapon and the attack from Ship's Cannon
the deck can very easily deal 10 damage on turn 2.

This leaves us at the present day.

Pros And Cons Of Playing The Warrior

Why would you play the warrior? In truth, there are multiple different warrior deck out there but instead of focusing on each and every one of them I’m going to give you my opinion on the pros and cons of the class as a whole. Things that you need to know before you jump in and start making your warrior deck. The following is the same for both formats, standard and wild.

Pros

Very Control Oriented: Warrior is the go to class for control decks in Hearthstone. It was designed that way and that is the very core of the class. Warrior’s hero power, armor up, provides you with a better form of healing where you’re not only ”healing” yourself for 2 damage for 2 mana but this second health, the armor, can exceed the 30 points mark which makes the warrior a very difficult opponent to beat in the long game. It has reliable recovery in the form of armor but, even more so than that, the class has mountains of removal, from weapons to spells, which fills the package of ”what a control deck must have”: health sustain and removal. Almost every warrior deck besides the latest pirate warrior is very much capable of going into the late game. Some control warrior decks are even designed to drag the game into the fatigue and simply win because the opponent will take more fatigue damage than you due to the armor mechanic.

Best Weapons In The Game: Fiery War Axe

, Death's Bite
, Arcanite Reaper
and Gorehowl
are without a doubt the best weapons in the entire game and the thing that it connects all four of them is that they are warrior weapons. Fiery War Axe
is probably the best weapon in the entire game! Besides the weapons, warrior even has cards that have weapon synergy and function in a way to make its weapons even bigger. If you’re looking to build a weapon centric deck than there really is no point in looking any further than at the warrior.

Plenty Of Staple Cards: I did mention a few different warrior decks which came out so far like dragon warrior, patron warrior and pirate warrior, but what all of them have the same is a good portion of the same cards. Warrior’s basic cards alone are so powerful and so synergistic that they make their way into every warrior deck. While warrior decks are not the cheapest out there (we will get into this soon) there are plenty of cards that are used in all warrior decks which will make crafting a new warrior deck a lot cheaper.

Cons

Most Expensive Control Deck In The Game: If history has taught us anything than it is that the control warrior is the single best control deck in the game. However, the deck itself is extremely expensive to a fault where it becomes a deck that most players will build towards as time goes by than craft it quickly and start playing. The only other deck in the entire game which costs close to control warrior is Reno lock which says a lot about the cost of making control decks in this game.

Lack Of Diversity: The last point that I’ve mentioned in the cons is how it is great that there are so many staple cards in the warrior class. This is not only a pro but a con as well. What I mean by the lack of diversity is that, from my experience, warrior decks don’t change that often. Most cards in the warrior decks come from the basic cards and the cards from classic set because other warrior cards aren’t too good and this leads to a big repetition of cards in various decks. This is a common theme with all classes but as someone who plays warrior the most I’ve certainly felt it more than with all other classes (mage coming in second). Sure, there are those decks that deviate from the norm but most don’t. Going back to the control warrior, this was one of the safest crafts in the entire game and, at least for wild, it still is because the deck barely changes with upcoming sets and sometimes just doesn’t change at all.

Longer Games: I know that this sounds silly because the pirate deck can kill you by turn 5 but most of the warrior decks are slower than that. The main reason for this is the kit which is far more tailored towards survival than anything else which by itself drags the game out. Control warrior is infamous for being the slowest deck in the entire game and the games with or against it taking forever to end but other warrior decks, like midrange, patron and even some dragon decks, can go pretty deep into the late game until the do what they have set out to do.

Types Of Warrior Decks

So, what different types of warrior decks are there?

Interestingly, warrior is the only class in the entire game which had done every type of deck right and without too much effort.

Control warrior is control

Dragon warrior is tempo

Midrange warrior is midrange

Pirate warrior is aggro

Patron warrior is combo

Control warrior is for those types of players who really love playing huge, usually legendary, minions that do various stuff when they enter the game and the requirement for playing such a deck is understanding and accepting the fact that the games will take forever to end. If you’re playing this deck, and playing it correctly, than you’re the only player in the entire match that is actually playing something because whatever your opponent drops will most likely die on the following turn which usually leaves an empty board which is filled once you drop a huge minion that your opponent can’t deal with. It is unfortunately not a deck for new players because it costs a lot to craft.

Dragon warrior is a tempo deck. It provides you with a really fast start and doesn’t really slow down after it. It is a very aggressive that which hits face more often than not and uses its various weapons and removal spells to clear any threats that your opponent plays. Like with every other deck, there are slower and faster versions of the deck, but both of them rely on the same dragon synergy cards that we will go over in the next section. The deck by itself is really not bad though it was pushed out in the current meta but I can see it returning once the pirate package has been nerfed. This is also one of the cheaper warrior decks to craft because a good portion of the cards come from adventures.

Pirate warrior is an aggro deck, like you all know by now. Unlike other warrior decks on this list it is the one warrior deck that actually looks to end the game as fast as possible, but probably where it deviates the most from other warrior decks is that is uses weapons solely to hit face while others use them as extra removal. The deck runs a lot of small minions that have great synergy with weapons to buff both them and the weapons and then ignore everything else on the board that doesn’t have taunt and swing wildly at your opponents face with the end goal being them either losing very fast of simply conceding. It is a very powerful deck in its own right and I’m expecting a nerf very soon.

Patron warrior is a combo deck. This deck increases its board and the damage output by damaging its own minions in order to either make them grow bigger or just make more minions. The deck is called patron warrior because the star of the deck is Grim Patron

and the point is to fill your board with Grim Patron
s and win the next turn. Unlike most combo decks, this one usually takes an entire turn before it can kill its opponent, but it wasn’t always like that. The deck was an OTK (one turn kill) combo deck in the past but the nerf to Warsong Commander
had taken care of that. Regardless, it is a very powerful deck which is very hard to pilot but rewarding nevertheless.

I haven’t mentioned midrange warrior because I both know next to nothing about the deck and it was a badly preforming one which had vanished pretty quickly (unlike others which are still here).

Advanced Armoring Up!


In the second section of this article I will talk about all the cards that you need and why do you need them to construct the four decks mentioned above and how to play them. If you’re looking for decklists they will be at the very end of this section (there is a hyperlink to that part of the section at the article info box).

Constructing Warrior Decks

Now that you know everything that you need to know about different types of warrior decks it is time to check out how to make them, which cards to use and why. This isn’t a full deck guide, the decks will be provided at the end of this section, but more of a construction guide to help you understand how to craft those different decks and why are they made the way that they are.

Control Warrior

First off is the control warrior, my personal favorite deck in the entire game.

When constructing a control warrior deck you are looking for three things: sustain, removal and endgame. Unfortunately you must have all three of those otherwise the deck won’t function at all. Sustain is here to get you to the very late game and help you survive the early stages of the game in which this deck is a bit weaker. Removal is here to ensure that your opponent never has any threats on the board. Endgame is, well, endgame, because you need ways to actually win the game in case that fatigue isn’t your preferred win condition. Regardless of standard and wild, the first two are usually the same, so what I tell you here can be applied in both formats.

Sustain: Armorsmith

, Shield Block
, Shieldmaiden
(wild only), Ironforge Portal
, Justicar Trueheart

Armorsmith

is an amazing card that has seen a bit less play nowadays in standard but I would still recommend running it. For each 1 point of damage you will get 1 armor. In the early game this card is great because it can trade into at least 2 minions before it dies because there is really no minion that can kill it before at least turn 4. I strongly recommend running two of these in any control warrior deck. Shield Block
is one of my favorite warrior cards in the entire game. Not only does it effectively heals you for 5 damage but it also draws you a card and gives you 5 armor which can be used with Shield Slam
to remove a threat from the board. Amazing card! Ironforge Portal
saw some play in control warrior decks since its introduction and it is a good card with a very good value. 5 mana for 4 armor and a 4 drop is actually quite good and not only does it help to keep you alive but it also gives you board presence. Justicar Trueheart
is a staple card for every control warrior deck out there because the value that this card provides is off the charts. 4 armor for 2 mana is simply crazy and most decks will have a hard time dealing with all the armor that you will be getting. Shieldmaiden
is a wild only card but there it is a staple. Much like Ironforge Portal
it provides you with sustain and board presence but the minion isn’t random and is in fact quite good.

Removal: Shield Slam

, Execute
, Revenge
, Bash
, Slam
, Brawl
, Fiery War Axe
, Death's Bite
(wild only), Gorehowl

Yes, I wasn’t joking around when I’ve said that control warrior runs A LOT of removal. Shield Slam

is your best removal spell. Yes, early on it heavily depends on the amount of armor that you have but as the game goes on and you’re getting more and more armor pretty soon you will be able to remove any minion in the game with this 1 cost spell. Execute
was recently nerfed from costing 1 mana to costing 2 mana but it is still good in control warrior. Like Shield Slam
it can destroy any minion in the game after a really minor requirement is met. Revenge
is a very flexible card that can be either used early on (if you really have no other choice) to clear a board filled with tiny minions or it can be used later in the game if you fall behind and need a quick way to recover and clear the board. It is also commonly used with Grommash Hellscream
to end the game in turn 10. Bash
provides both damage and sustain and additional fuel for Shield Slam
if you really need it. Slam
is a great card which is more commonly used to draw cards rather than to remove something but it can help you weaken a minion for your other removal options. Brawl
is your second board clear and although it is a heavily RNG card it is the best card that you have to deal with a huge board. Fiery War Axe
, the best weapon in the game, is your early game removal option which is amazing in the early game, really makes wonders, but becomes weaker later on when you will rather use Gorehowl
instead which is another great weapon to clear huge minions with. Death's Bite
is a staple weapon in the wild format and it is great because it is effectively a 5/1 weapon on the second charge that can also clear the board.

Endgame: Alexstrasza

, Grommash Hellscream
, Ragnaros the Firelord
, Ysera
(wild only)

Alexstrasza

and Grommash Hellscream
are the one-two punch of this deck. You use your Alexstrasza
to soften up your opponent and next turn you play Grommash Hellscream
with something like Revenge
and hit the face for 10 damage or 18 damage if Alexstrasza
is alive in which case you win. Ragnaros the Firelord
is a huge and powerful minion in its own right and Ysera
can spiral out of control easily when your opponent no longer has any removal spells. 
is 
, there really isn’t much else that needs to be said.

Other cards: Acolyte of Pain

for drawing cards, Elise Starseeker
to help you win vs other control decks

Dragon Warrior

Dragon warrior is an aggressive tempo deck.

Many of the cards mentioned above will be repeating itself in all decklists so I won’t be going through the same explanations every time but I will just mention them. Dragon warrior seeks to get a strong start and then not slow down which can be accomplished thanks to many very powerful synergy minions in this deck. As sustain, removal and endgame are the three pillars of a control deck, the pillar of a dragon warrior deck is synergy cards.

Synergy Cards: Alexstrasza's Champion

, Faerie Dragon
, Azure Drake
, Twilight Guardian
, Blackwing Corruptor
, Drakonid Crusher

Alexstrasza's Champion

is your best strong start card. Because you have a lot of dragon cards in your deck it is really not hard to get her effect to trigger, just aim to get either her or Faerie Dragon
early on because either of them make for a very aggressive start and are not easy to remove in the very early game. Azure Drake
is here for card draw and to be another dragon while Twilight Guardian
is here to protect you from dying. Blackwing Corruptor
is your additional damage/removal card option and Drakonid Crusher
is your endgame dragon. Because other huge legendary dragons are too slow Drakonid Crusher
is a great substitution for  them, just aim to play it when its effect can trigger.

Tech Cards: Sir Finley Mrrgglton

, The Curator

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

is here to help you do one of two things. Either get the warlock’s hero power to help you dig for resources quickly or get the hunter’s hero power to end your opponent really fast. Worst case scenario you can get the druid’s hero power. The Curator
is used by the slower variant of this deck but because I love the card so much I did make sure to mention it. It digs for your Sir Finley Mrrgglton
, Fierce Monkey
and any dragon.

Other cards: Blood to Ichor

, Execute
, Bash
, Brawl
, Fiery War Axe
, Shield Block

Pirate Warrior

Pirate warrior is an aggressive deck.

The main basis behind the deck is simply to win as fast as possible and before you run out of resources. That is, in fact, the biggest problem with this deck. It can lose easily once it gets to topdeck phase and if your opponent is careful enough. The main pillars of this deck are pirates and weapon synergy cards.

Pirate Cards: Patches the Pirate

, N'Zoth's First Mate
, Bloodsail Cultist
, Bloodsail Raider
, Dread Corsair
, Southsea Deckhand
, Small-time Buccaneer
, Ship's Cannon
(wild only)

Patches the Pirate

, N'Zoth's First Mate
, Small-time Buccaneer
are the bread and butter of this deck, the most powerful opening that you can ask for and the reason why this deck is so powerful. Getting out this many minions at the beginning of the game is crazy good and if your opponent can’t deal with them than it is usually game over very quickly. Bloodsail Raider
is here to become a big minion thanks to your weapons, Bloodsail Cultist
is here to make your weapons even bigger and Dread Corsair
can usually be played for free very easily thanks to your weapon buff cards. Southsea Deckhand
acts as an additional source of damage. Ship's Cannon
is thankfully only in wild but it is the sole reason why this deck is so popular even in that format because, as mentioned previously, you can actually deal 10 damage on turn 2.

Weapon Synergy Cards: Upgrade!

,  Bloodsail Cultist
, Bloodsail Raider
, Dread Corsair
, Southsea Deckhand
, Small-time Buccaneer

Other Cards: Fiery War Axe

, Arcanite Reaper
, Heroic Strike
, Mortal Strike
, Kor'kron Elite
, Leeroy Jenkins
, Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Patron Warrior

Patron warrior is a combo deck.

This deck seeks to win by swarming the board with Grim Patron

s on one turn and then, if your opponent can’t clear them, win on the following turn. What you’re looking to do with this deck is to damage your own minions as much as possible to get more minions or to make other minions that you control even bigger. The main pillar of this deck are the combo pieces and the deck can’t function without them.

Combo Pieces: Grim Patron

, Whirlwind
, Inner Rage
, Unstable Ghoul
, Frothing Berserker
, Emperor Thaurissan

Grim Patron

is your signature card and your main win condition. However, your other win condition, the one more likely to fire off unexpectedly, is Frothing Berserker
. Frothing Berserker
gets bigger whenever a minion takes damage. The idea here is to damage your Grim Patron
s who will in turn create more Grim Patron
s who will then also get damage and Frothing Berserker
will just keep on growing and growing. Whirlwind
is here instead of Revenge
because if you’re a bit late in firing your combo Revenge
can actually kill your minions and then you can’t do the combo. Unstable Ghoul
is a good alternative source of damage alongside Whirlwind
and Inner Rage
is here to either make your Frothing Berserker
even bigger or to create more Grim Patron
s while making a single Grim Patron
a 5 attack minion. Emperor Thaurissan
is here because every combo deck needs an Emperor Thaurissan
.

Other cards:  Shield Slam

, Execute
, Slam
, Brawl
, Fiery War Axe
, card]armorsmith[/card], Shield Block
, Grommash Hellscream
.

Decks


THIJS’ (WILD) LEGEND PATRON WARRIOR

ORANGE’S DRAGON WARRIOR

FIBONACCI’S GADGETZAN N’ZOTH CONTROL WARRIOR

RYTHMC’S RANK 1 (WILD) LEGEND CONTROL N’ZOTH WARRIOR

XIXO’S AGGRO PIRATE WARRIOR

Conclusion


We’ve reached the end of the 1st out of 9 class articles. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it and that it will help you create warrior decks of your own. What kind of warrior decks do you use? Which is your favorite one? Can you also not wait for the death of pirate warrior? Let me know in the comments below.  As always  if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter https://twitter.com/Eternal_HS. There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstone questions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can.