Hey guys, Sheng here with a basic tempo rogue deck that’s quite fun to play. I finished Rank 6 on the ladder last season playing a bit of tempo rogue and thought it’d be fun to share a much cheaper version of my deck with beginners. Because it’s constructed with only basic cards, it’s not meant to carry you past Rank 10 on the ladder. Instead, it’s something that a new player can start with and improve with expert cards over time.
The basic premise of the deck is to maintain board control with your weapon and removal spells. Deadly Poison and Backstab are key cards that will let you efficiently remove enemy minions early while keeping yours on the board.
Because basic rogue doesn’t have combos, the cards you want to keep when you go first and second are pretty much the same.
You should mulligan for an aggressive start. The way this deck wins is by pushing the tempo early, and not keeping the foot off the gas. This means you always want to mulligan for a two drop (Bloodfen Raptor or Acidic Swamp Ooze) or three drop (Ironfur Grizzly, Shattered Sun Cleric), and an a Deadly Poison or Backstab. The reason is because you want to be able to play a minion on turn two or turn three, and remove their two or three drop from the board in a cheap way without trading away your guy.
If you go second, you can keep a 4 drop (Yeti or Sen’jin Shieldmasta) if you already have a two drop, three drop, and removal (Backstab or Deadly Poison).
Always mulligan away Kobold Geomancer and Ogre Magi unless you draw a Backstab (or Fan of Knives if you’re playing against aggro). Both Kobold and Ogre Magi are in the deck to counter aggro with Fan of Knives. You want to top-deck these later in the game to combo with.
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- The best two drop in the basic set. I will often save this in my hand instead of playing it against Paladin, Rogue, and Warrior to get value from its weapon destroying battle cry.
- 2x Bloodfen Raptor
- A generic 2 mana for a 3/2. Gets overshadowed by many 3/2 two drops, but it’s mana efficient, and can trade often up against 3 drop.
- 1x Kobold Geomancer
- A tech card used to gain more value from Backstab and Fan of Knives. I’ve won many games against aggro from behind where I’ve played a Kobold Geomancer and Fan of Knives on turn five to clear their board.
- 2x Ironfur Grizzly
- Not too many good three drops in the basic set. I think this is better than the Razorfen Hunter, which leaves behind a 1/1 that dies pretty quickly. The taunt is useful as well late game to prevent chargers from hitting your more expensive minions (or your face).
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- Great card if you can manage to play a 3/2 on turn two. Gains a lot of value if top-decked late game as well to buff a weaker minion to trade with a bigger one.
- 2x Chillwind Yeti
- Best 4 drop in the basic set. Will kill most 4 drops without dying, and two-for-ones against 3 drops.
- 2x Gnomish Inventor
- I will always mulligan this card if I get it in my opening hand. I want to draw this card later on when I’m out of cards for the potential of playing this and whatever I draw from it.
- 1x Ogre Magi
- Another tech card. Kobold Geomancer is too weak to play two copies of, and this is a hedge against top-decking a second geomancer late game. Four mana for a 4/4 is fair, and the spell power is good.
- 2x Sen’jin Shieldmasta
- One of the best 4 drops in the basic set. Taunt is very useful against aggro.
- 2x Boulderfist Ogre
- These guys are your finishers. Doesn’t die to BGH and Fireball. 6 mana for a 6/7 is good value.
- 1x Stormwind Champion
- I only play one copy because I feel Stormwind Champion only has value if you have two or more minions on the board already. It can help your smaller guys trade up, but on an empty board, this is worse than an ogre and costs more.
- 2x Backstab
- Amazing tempo card. Can often kill a two drop by itself.
- 2x Deadly Poison
- Either use this on your Assassin’s blade to deal 5 damage (which can finish games), or on your hero power to deal 3 damage to enemy minions.
- 1x Sap
- Because this card is fairly situational, I only run one copy. Its cheap casting cost means you can play Sap and a few other minions on the same turn. I keep this card in my starting hand against druid to bounce back big taunts.
- 2x Fan of Knives
- Not much cheap removal in the basic rogue set. This card by itself isn’t too valuable, but chained with an Ogre Magi or Kobold Geomancer can be amazing. I usually try to save this card until I have one of those two cards to increase its spell power with.
- 2x Assassinate
- Unconditional removal. Great against minions with divine shields and beefy late game finishers. Downside is that it doesn’t play around deathrattles, and 5 mana is really expensive. (Can often prevent you from playing another card on the same turn.) Nevertheless, basic rogue doesn’t have too many good removal options against big minions, so two of these are crucial.
- 1x Sprint
- Because Backstabs and Deadly Poisons are cheap to play, you’ll find yourself running out of cards by mid/late game. This refills your hand. Because of its high casting cost, I only play one.
- 1x Assassin’s Blade
- A great card that will win you games by itself. Only play one copy because of its high durability. Having two in your hand at once isn’t an ideal situation.
- For Bloodfen Raptor/Acidic Swamp Ooze: Argent Squire, Defias Ringleader, Knife Juggler, Faerie Dragon or any expert 3/2
- For Kobold Geomancer: Bloodmage Thalnos, Loot Hoarder
- For Ironfur Grizzly/Shattered Sun Cleric: SI:7 Agent, Harvest Golem, Big Game Hunter, Perdition’s Blade
- For Fan of Knives: Blade Flurry
- For Gnomish Inventor/Ogre Magi: Azure Drake
- For Chillwind Yeti/Sen’jin Shieldmasta: Defender of Argus, Dark Iron Dwarf (Not pure upgrades but can be swapped in based on personal preference.)
- For Assassinate: Eviscerate, Cold Blood
- For Boulderfist Ogre/Stormwind Champion: Argent Commander, Cairne Bloodhoof, Sylvanas, The Black Knight, Ragnaros. Really any good finisher minion would do well here.
If you enjoy playing this deck and want to move on to something more effective on the ladder, I’d recommend looking at Im_Concept’s legendary tempo rogue deck. It’s fairly cheap to craft and effective.
Feel free to ask questions or provide constructive criticism! I think the deck as it is (from the basic set of cards) is pretty complete, so I’d love to hear feedback on what you guys would change.
Hope you guys enjoyed the guide!