A quick note. This is a very unconventional deck. It isn’t competitive in the sense that it’s the best ladder deck, but it is a deck that can be used to counter certain decks, such as Handlock, Priest or the currently popular Reno lists. Yesterday, people expressed interest in a Mill Rogue guide, so here it is !
For the longest time, Mill Rogue has been seen as a joke deck. A deck used to emphasize ridicule. I have decided that time should come to an end. Behold the glorious deck that is Mill Rogue.
A little bit about me…
Hi, I’m frietjeman. Every season after reaching Legend, I love playing unconventional decks, such as Control Paladin, Spell Damage Rogue and Ramp Druid. This season I got legend with my Fatigue Warrior. As you might be able to tell, I’m a sucker for slow decks. And with slow decks, I mean SLOW decks.
In light of Brann Bronzebeard’s upcoming release – Thursday 19 november – I decided I am going to be playing and streaming Mill Rogue. Starting today, I plan on streaming Mill Rogue at Legend level on a daily basis. As soon as Brann is released I will definitely try him out extensively. During my stream I will explain my plays and answer any questions you might have, so feel free to join the fun! Now, let’s head into the guide.
Abbreviations and acronyms
CLO – Cold Light Oracle
BGH – Big Game Hunter
OTK – One turn kill. Used to refer to dealing an absurd amount of damage in one turn that requires no prior setup.
Prep – Preparation
What is Mill Rogue?
At its core, Mill Rogue
is an OTK deck. Unfortunately, most people play Mill Rogue all wrong. They want to go for the shiny plays where they discard 2 of their opponents cards with every CLO. In reality, while this is always beneficial, it is hardly necessary to win. You should NEVER play a CLO if you do not have another CLO in your hand, or a shadowstep, gang up or prep+vanish that you can play on the same turn. Sometimes it’s acceptable to play one if you have already ganged up earlier, but even that can be very risky.
How to play Mill Rogue
The goal, the one and only goal of this deck is to OTK your opponent by playing 3 CLOs when your opponent has 0 cards left. This leads to 28 fatigue damage (1+2+3+4+5+6+7=28). For Warriors with huge Armor you might need them to have some prior fatigue damage. The tools to reaching your goal are survival and stall cards. Similar to freeze mage, you stall the game till you OTK your opponent.
Your tools are:
Healing. Healbot is amazing and can be combined with shadowstep. Refreshment Vendor is the perfect 4 drop for this deck, as you do not care about healing your opponent anyway.
Taunt. Deathlord is very effective vs aggro. Even if he dies he rarely summons something big. Versus control it takes a more refined approach. You cannot always simply drop him if you have the mana to spare. If your hand lacks removal, and you expect your opponent can kill your Deathlord, do not play him.
Board clear. Deadly Poison plus Blade Flurry is obvious. (Spell Damage+)FOK deals with small minions. The second way to clear is Vanish. It often happens versus slow decks that Vanish is a literal board clear, because if you Vanish vs an opponent with a full hand, their minions die (Deathrattles still trigger!). A turn 9 might typically look like CLO, CLO, Prep, Vanish to put your opponent to 10 cards and clear their board. Mastering when and how to use your board clear is mastering Mill Rogue.
Some playstyle tips:
- Learn to hold on to your removal. Blowing your figurative load too early means you will end up with nothing but hope for a good topdeck. Try to make your opponent overextend into your Vanish or Blade Flurry, but be careful not to take too much damage.
*Be careful with milling yourself. You will often have 9 cards in your hand. A decktracker helps here, as it also keeps count of your hand size. Sometimes it’s acceptable to lose a couple cards, but try to avoid it.
*Almost NEVER hit face with your dagger. You’d be surprised how often you regret doing so. The game will look very different when you draw that CLO. Face damage is almost entirely meaningless (which makes Vendor such a good card), as your OTK combo deals guaranteed 28 damage.
*Be incredibly mindful when you play CLO. Against aggro it might make them reach lethal earlier. Against control, do not let them kill your CLO, unless you have more CLOs incoming.
*Do not play CLO to mill your opponent’s cards if you do not have a shadowstep or a gang up that you can play on the same turn. It’s not worth it.
*Spending 1 leftover Mana on Deadly Poison without immediately using it is fine 90% of the time. Be aware that some Reno decks run Ooze.
This is a tricky part of the deck, because there’s almost never a set-in-stone way to mulligan. I rarely keep CLO, but if my other cards are excellent I will hold on to him. Against slower decks like Warrior and Priest, and maybe Handlock (pro-tip: if your opponent mulligans away many cards, it’s almost always Handlock), I pretty much always keep CLO.
In order of importance:
Versus fast decks:
Backstab, Fan of Knives (vs Paladin only), Deathlord, Refreshment Vendor, Healbot
Backstab, Fan of Knives (vs Paladin only), Deadly Poison, Coldlight Oracle, Shadowstep/Gang Up
Versus slow decks:
Coldlight Oracle, Gang Up (Only if you have CLO), Shadowstep(Only if you have CLO), Deathlord
Take a look at the decklist. What might surprise you is the amount of DRAW cards for a Mill/Fatigue deck. The reason behind this is reaching your CLO’s is incredibly important. Drawing is not as much of a disadvantage as it might seem, as two Deathlords make your opponent empty their deck faster, and 2x Gang Up makes your deck 6 slots deeper. Add to that, that your opponents might use card draw themselves.
Analyzing the deck
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more unusual cards. Nobody is surprised to see Eviscerate or Backstab, so I’m not going to describe every card.
Shadowstep. Core card. Lets you re-play CLO for a mere 1 mana. Can be used to gain another 8 health with Healbot if necessary, and even Deathlord can be a viable target, as some aggro decks will burn their hand on your Deathlord, putting it to 1-3 HP.
Gang Up. Core card. Lets you get away with drawing cards because you have 6 more deck slots than your opponent. This is the card that actually allows you to OTK your opponent with triple CLO without killing yourself at the same time.
Bloodmage Thalnos. In my opinion this card is core in EVERY Rogue deck. Spell damage AND draw for 2 mana? Count me in!
Deathlord. An amazing card versus both aggresive decks and control decks alike, for very different reasons. Versus aggro, it slows them down and the minion they get is rarely gamechanging. Versus control, it makes your opponent draw one card from their deck and reach Fatigue earlier. Be careful not to play Deathlord if you expect it will die and you cannot deal with a big threat. This card is generally bad versus Midrange decks. Be very careful playing this card versus Combo Druid in particular.
Big Game Hunter. A matter of choice. Some Rogues feel they don’t need it, and I can see why. You have plenty of removal from other sources. I just feel that dealing with a Dr Boom is too hard without BGH. Sapping Boom and letting your opponent create more Boom Bots puts you on a very short clock before you get overrun. Also excellent to deal with Mysterious Challenger and Fel Reaver. If there’s every been a meta to play BGH, this is it.
Refreshment Vendor. Perfect Mill Rogue card. It’s the only 4 drop we’ve got, but boy is it a great one. The mutual part of the heal is irrelevant, as we do not care about our opponent’s HP one little bit. On top of the heal, the 3/5 body allows you to contest the board early.
1x Azure Drake. I needed a little more card draw, and Azure Drake is an amazing card in any Rogue list. The spell damage is always useful too. 2 Drakes would be too slow and too much draw, though.
Cards that didn’t make the cut, even if they somewhat fit the deck.
SI:7 Agent. One of the best Rogue cards out there. I’ve been experimenting on and off with this card. It’s obviously extremely powerful, but I find it hard to find room for him. It’s a matter of preference, but I imagine you could cut BGH and/or one Refreshment Vendor for SI:7 Agents if you really wanted to.
Beneath the Grounds. Naturally it would make sense to run this in a Mill list, because you make your opponent draw constantly. Unfortunately, this card has an immense downside. As a Mill Rogue, your opponent will often be at 10 cards. When they draw Ambush at 10 cards, the game discards Ambush and doesn’t make them draw another card. So, not only do you miss out on a 4/4, you also do not discard their actual card AND they skipped their draw which means it gives your opponent one turn more before reaching fatigue.
Dark Iron Skulker. Interesting card, that would be amazing if it wasn’t for his restriction of only dealing damage to undamaged minions. Another serious downside to his effect is that it doesn’t scale with Spell Damage. Trust me, I’ve tested him, but he’s not good enough.
Kidnapper. Too slow. 6 Mana AND combo requirement is too much. Don’t know what Blizzard was smoking when they designed this poor guy, but I’d love to have some too.
Mill Rogue is an incredibly hard deck to play, but at the same time it is by far the most satisfying deck to win with. Nothing compares to the feeling of discarding half of your opponents deck, the feeling of playing 5 Healbots in a row versus a face Hunter, or the feeling of dealing 28 damage in one turn while enjoying the glorious MRLGLLRLGR of Coldlight Oracle. All of this is possible with Mill Rogue and only Mill Rogue.
My biggest weak point is being so verbose. I could go on and on, and really have to make myself stop writing now, as I can imagine your attention has started to waver. I hope you enjoyed reading my guide, and would love to see you over at my stream. I will make the stream as educational as possible, answering all your questions and explaining my plays! I put a lot of effort into these guides. Check out my youtube channel. Right now, it’s quite empty, but I plan on releasing at least one educational video per week, so subscribe! Finally, stay up to date of my stream times and guide releases over at https://twitter.com/frietjeman.
Hope you enjoyed reading. Until next time!