When I first started playing Hearthstone, I got Mage to 250 ranked wins and then got bored. I switched to Druid, tried a few ramp/token decks to about 20 wins, then gave a Mill Deck a go.
With the occasional quest diversion, I stayed with Mill Druid through to the golden portrait, and then kept going. I’d estimate at least 1,200 games at this point.
I quickly learned that filling your opponent’s hand with cards was never going to be an optimum strategy. My early decks were all about card advantage and 2 for 1s, using Black Knight, Sylvanas etc. to trade favourably to make up for the advantage Naturalize gave.
Naxxramus added a few cards which I trialed, notably Dancing Swords and Deathlord. The former gave away too much Card Advantage, the latter could occasionally wreck your entire chance to win. The sleeper hit was Poison Seeds, which combined with Starfall finally gave me a boardclear.
GvsG added a few more cards, but Clockwork Giant etc. again relied on you giving card advantage to your opponent, which is often suicide against aggro/zoo decks. The standouts here were Tree of Life, Grove Tender, and Healbot.
Malorne is great on paper. However, he will only cement the wins you were already going to make, and he will mess up your own draw. And its a huge setback if he gets Facelessed, Thoughtstolen, Mind Controlled, etc.
After a thousand games, my current deck is this one.
Innervate x 1
Naturalize x 2
Wrath x 2
Grove Tender x 2
Healing Touch x 2
Keepers of the Grove x 2
Poison Seeds x 2
Swipe x 2
Starfall x 2
Starfire x 2
Tree of Life x 1
Acidic Swamp Ooze x 1
Ironbeak Owl x 1
Wild Pyromancer x 2
Youthful Brewmaster x 1
Big Game Hunter x 1
Coldlight Oracle x 2
Antique Healbot x 2
It’s been a strange evolution, but it works. There are zero legendaries by choice, not by budget. I removed the last one when I realised I was only using Bloodmage to swipe enemy Sylvanas and then hero power their new acquisition. It’s a control deck that’s extremely affordable dust-wise.
You’ll also note that there’s no 5+/X minions to SW:Death or BGH. There are no Taunts to Black Knight. You won’t have minions worth stealing/copying/mind controlling, let alone 4 in play at a time. There are obviously no secrets. It’s almost* tech-proof. (* Loatheb can and will ruin your day if played before a crucial game-changer)
To win, you have to be aware of your opponent’s win conditions, and then utterly destroy them. Responding to Alexstraza with a Tree of Life + Naturalize for example.
There is a crapton of healing. If you hero power as often as possible, you’re looking at an effective life total of about 100hp. Card advantage has been sacrificed in favor of a mutual fatigue race, where the key is to minimize the effect of your opponent’s strategy as you both tumble screaming to the inevitable end.
The games will be long. Intricate, complex puzzles, but long. This deck does very well against all but a few decks, but you’ll need a lot more time than I have to get to Legend in a month. I’ve tested this deck through ranks 20 to 5. You’ll get batches of playing against your two nemesis decks 2/3rds of the time, but otherwise its a slow and steady crawl to victory.
Individual card notes:
Innervate: This is to feed Pyromancer(as is Coin usually), not to ramp with unless you can use it to pull off a massive burn combo on their cards.
Brewmaster: Whatever you need to beat the current matchup. BGH versus Handlock, Ooze against Control Warrior or Oil Rogue, etc. Coldlights or Tenders to burn cards and accelerate the game.
Tree of Life: Timing this is important. All damage to your opponent(minus armor) is irrelevant before this is played, so bear that in mind. Stay out of combo/spell range first of all, then save it just before fatigue starts eating at your opponent’s health.
Grove Tenders: Almost always you want to draw cards with this. Your draw engine is a mutual draw engine, and you’ll need specific cards to counter your opponent’s deck before you balance out.
Control Warrior: Around 75% winrate. Burn his hand to the ground, save a naturalize/BGH along with a heal for Alex, and the win is yours.
Handlock: 75% winrate. You have 5 cards that kill giants outright, two of which can take out multiple ones. Starfire/Swipes can also do the trick along with attacking tenders/coldlights/watchers. 3 silences should be enough for the Twilight Drakes. Don’t let them get in Molten range until the fatigue starts to hit, and you’ve already cancelled half their giants. If they panic and Jaraxxus on high health at this point you’ve probably already won.
Shaman: 65% winrate. Not too bad, just keep them under control. Keep the board clear and look out for Malygos chain combos.
Zoo: 50% winrate. A crapton of healing. A crapton of removal. Use both. Mulligan against Warlock requires you to make the best of your opening hand for either matchup. Coldlights and Grove Tenders are good versus either, as is an Owl and a Wrath.
Priest: 80% winrate. Abuse his Northshires, burn his hand after a Thoughtsteal, and remove his creatures before they do any real damage.
Paladin: 60% winrate. Was a lot worse until I tested playing Whack-a-Mole against Recruits. Seems to work wonders. Save swipes, etc. to counter Muster for Battle. Pyro+Starfall versus late Quartermaster combo. He can potentially beat you at a healing race, so make sure you minimize damage where possible instead of using them all up.
Druid: 10% winrate. You can’t have everything. Sometimes this is almost worth an instant-concede. I find deliberately aiming for a draw actually helps. Ramp often has too many threats. Combo requires you to keep your health at optimum levels AND keep their board clear.
Mech Mage: 30% winrate. This one is rough. You need to slow it down as much as possible with Wrath into Mechwarper, Swipes, Pyro -> Innervate -> Starfall, etc.
Freeze Mage: 75% winrate. Burn their hand, save Tree of Life+Naturalize for inevitable Alex. Maximum of 5 fireballs unless they can rewind Archi, which you can heal out of.
Face Hunter: 50% winrate. Again, slow it down. Owl/Wrath into Undertaker. Survive until Tree of Life or multiple heals and then win.
Rogue: 55% winrate. Heal out of danger zone. Burn cards. Destroy weapons. No taunt can make this dangerous, but you can also waste the first half of his deck with a well timed Tree of Life.
I’ve already got my Golden Portrait for Druid, but I keep playing this deck because each game is a fun and elaborate puzzle. Thanks for reading. 🙂
Edit: I should note that I still burn enemy cards. Tender/Coldlight/Naturalize/Brewmaster can decimate a large chunk of a Handlock/Priest/Warrior’s deck. Enemy draw engines often backfire against them in huge ways(double northshire + tree of life is my favourite). Against aggro, milling is almost impossible so you have to play more of a control game.