Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Deck List
Part III: Deck Overview
Part IV: Card Overview
Part V: Alternatives
Part VI: Potential Replacements
Part I: Introduction
Hey guys, I wanted to share a very strong deck a friend @ legend rank shared with me. I’ve used this deck primarily this week to climb from Rank 12 to Rank 3 tonight. I’ve also kept stats of ranked games. I’ll be trying to grind out legend over the next few days.
Deck List: http://i.imgur.com/ezf82Hu.png
Part II: Deck List
2 x Argent Squire
2 x Defias Ringleader
2 x Faerie Dragon
2 x Novice Engineer
2 x Loot Hoarder
2 x Harvest Golem
2 x SI:7 Agent
2 x Shattered Sun Cleric
2 x Defender of Argus
2 x Dark Iron Dwarf
2 x Argent Commander
1 x Leeroy Jenkins
1 x Sylvanas Windrunner
2 x Backstab
2 x Deadly Poison
2 x Eviscerate
Part III: Deck Overview
This deck is super fast and need to be played as such. Tempo > card advantage for rogue in general, but this deck in particular has a very limited late game, so after about turn 6 you need to have board control and start setting up the finish because you will run out of steam.
When I say tempo > card advantage, what I mean is that you cannot afford to lose control early, even if it means being somewhat inefficient in some of your cards (e.g., Backstabbing a 1/2 so your minions stays alive/Deadly Poison with 1 charge to not lose board control).
Let’s talk about the general ideas for the early/mid/late game.
Early game (rounds 1-3): Later will be a separate mulligan strategy, but whether you’re going first or second, getting board presence is essential. To gain the most tempo, you need to put out the most and strongest minions you can, meaning an Argent Squire, Faerie Dragon, and comboed Defias Ringleader are what you want to bring out ASAP. Backstab is very good to have early on. You should only dagger on turn 2 if you can kill something immediately, or have no other play.
Mid game (rounds 4-6): At this point you should basically assess the situation. If you have the initiative and board presence, you’re winning so play around AoE/board clears and try to set up kills sooner than later since your initiative will slow down. If you’re trading board control back and forth, the game is equal. To win, the best way to play generally is to go for the face to put them in kill range, and only trade if it is efficient for you such as you kill a minion if yours does not die, or you can trade up significantly. Cards like Dark Iron Dwarf and Defender of Argus are great because you can use them to trade up or even put more immediate damage in on their hero. Do not play the board control game for too long or you will lose in the late game. At some point, you need to go for them. If you’re in a losing position, flood the board as best you can and rush them. This deck is not a card advantage deck, so you have to try to win ASAP. Getting them to around 10 health can set up a kill.
Late game (rounds 7+): I’ve talked a lot about finishing them off. Your finishers are Leeroy, Eviscerate, Argent Commander and Sylvannas. Leeroy in this deck is incredible. For 6 mana, Leeroy + Evisc is 10 damage alone. Because you have this reach, that’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to go for the face to get them into kill range, especially if you are holding Leeroy in hand. Leeroy and Evis should almost always be used as finishers, occasionally I use Evis to clear a taunter like an Earth Ele or Druid of the Claw, but only if that means I get to keep more minions alive.
Part IV: Card Choices
Argent Squire, Defias Ringleader, Faerie Dragon, Backstab, SI:7 Agent, Deadly Poison
These are cards that are ideal to play in your opening turns. All of these cards are really efficient for their cost, and give you those small advantages that lead you to a better position in the midgame.
The rogue-specific cards are fairly standard. The neutrals in this section are Faerie Dragon and Argent Squire. These cards are useful because they almost guarantee to be on the board next turn.
Shattered Sun Cleric, Dark Iron Dwarf, Defender of Argus
In any aggro deck, buffers are important to keep board presence in the early game to make efficient trades, and in the mid-game SSC and DoA are excellent to bump things out of AoE range. Although it’s best to use all of the buffing offensively, Dark Iron Dwarf is excellent in this deck because it puts a solid body on the board and you can turn a weaker minion into a threat.
Multiple threats are really important – not giving your opponent an easy choice of what to kill is what makes this deck hard to handle. For example, if I have a Faerie Dragon and a Novice Engineer, all things equal, it’s better to Dark Iron Dwarf buff your Novice Engineer, so you aren’t completely screwed when your Faerie Dragon dies.
Novice Engineer, Loot Hoarder
Card draw minions are perhaps more important in rogue decks than any other deck because rogues have a ton of cheap cards/spells that empty your hand very quickly. This explains Sprint being the highest mana rogue card.
More standard rogue decks take a bit more card draw with Gnomish Inventor and Azure Drake, but those cards are too slow to fit into this deck. Neither of these minions are ideal early game plays, with Loot Hoarder being passable if you aren’t playing a mage/druid/rogue.
Leeroy Jenkins, Eviscerate, Sylvanas, Argent Commander
These are your reach cards. Leeroy is best kept in hand for the finish 95%+ of the time, he’s near impossible to protect to use earlier. Eviscerate is another card which I don’t use until the end 80%+ of the time. The exception is to clear a taunter or big threat where otherwise I would have had to sacrifice multiple minions, and the damage gained by saving my minions is equal to 4 or more damage to the hero.
AC is pretty standard and of course can be used in the old fashioned Charge w/ DS to remove a minion, then hopefully 2-for-1. Pretty often, I’d say about half the time, I don’t do that and just go for the face. It really depends on the situation and class you’re playing against and how easy they can remove the divine shield. The Divine Shield can also be used as protection from AoE, so if you have other minions vulnerable, try to keep his Divine Shield up as long as possible so you aren’t even more vulnerable.
Sylvanas is just a strong minion, although I feel like she’s fairly replaceable. Most of the time by the time I play Sylvanas, I’ll just be going all in, so I don’t mind if my opponent ignores her. A 5/5 is still a good body.
Part V: Alternatives
Rogue decks are some of the cheaper effective decks, but this deck still is above average cost with Sylvanas and Leeroy though. Here are some alternatives:
Sylvanas: You can go for more early game with Southsea Deckhand if you’re struggling vs mirrors, or more reach with Arcane Golems/Reckless Rocketeers.
Leeroy: Arcane Golems are a decent substitute. They have the added benefit of being useable after turn 6ish. Reckless Rocketeers are also a good substitute, and they are free, while Arcane Golems are still rares.
Part VI: Possible Improvements
This deck is a pretty new creation, so I’m still experimenting here and there.
Possible Improvement 1: Cold Blood for more reach
In terms of damage per mana, Cold Blood is excellent and it seems like it would fit the theme of ultra-aggression. Leeroy + Cold Blood + Evis could be pretty insane for a 7 mana combo. The problem with adding too many cards to finish is that you lose out on early game pressure. This card, especially because it needs to be comboed to be worth it, is sub-optimal early game. I could see this as a cheaper replacement for Sylvanas or the Argent Commanders however.
Possible Improvement 2: Shadowstep for more reach/combo
This card, even more than Cold Blood, can increase the damage potential especially with Leeroy. First point is, without Leeroy, this card is absolutely not worth running. And that being said, with only being able to run one Leeroy, you’re obviously not going to get him every game, meaning you won’t be able to run this card optimally in ~ half the games.
I know it sounds great to use in combination with Defias or SI: Agent to get their battlecries, but that requires a lot of cards to pull off (combo enabler -> Defias/SI -> Shadowstep), and the benefit you get is a 2/1 or 2 damage. I’ve tested it out in casual mode, but the fact is, any other minion is going to be better than a 2/1 or 2 damage (remember you’ve already done 2 damage with the first combo).
Possible Improvement 3: Southsea Deckhand for more board control/combo
I think this card is underrrated, and works well in a rogue deck because he’s a cheap combo enabler. That being said, although the stipulation for him getting charge doesn’t seem unreasonable, using weapon on turn 2/3 if you aren’t clearing something is a tempo loss, playing a minion is always better in these situations.
Possible Improvement 4: Sap/Assassinate/Black Knight/Ironbeak Owl for big taunters/threats
One of the things you may have noted is that there is very little removal in this deck. Earth Elemental and Druids with Druid of the Claw/Ancient of War can cause big problems by putting up massive taunts. Defender of Argus is also a popular card. There’s definitely a case to be made for subbing one of these in. I think 2 of these cards would slow you down too much.
There’s pros and cons to each card. Sap is best for tempo, but is pure card disadvantage and if you need to use it as a win condition or you’ll be faced with the same threat next turn. An advantage of sap as it’s cheap to combo. Ironbeak Owl is similar to sap since it’s cheap, In a sense it’s more aggressive because it’ll put out a 2/1, but more risky if you’re opponent lives since he can start clearing your offense and a 2/1 isn’t exactly great.
Assassinate is probably the most consistent, but if there’s nothing urgent to be cleared, it’s a pretty dead card since 5 mana is a pretty hefty investment.
The Black Knight is great when it’s useable especially vs shamans/druids/paladins, but it’s such a specific card that will be a dead card vs aggro decks.
Possible Improvement 5: Bloodmage Thalanos/Azure Drake for spell damage
Playing the spell damage game is too slow for this deck, and you shouldn’t need it for board clearing. Azure Drake is better, but is a late game card that isn’t overly threatening.
Possible Improvement 6: FoK/Blade Flurry for AoE
This is to better counter aggro/warlock decks. I’m not a huge fan of Blade Flurry. Destroying your weapon technically costs 1 mana if you used up one swing, and 1.5 mana if you used up one Deadly Poisoned swing. FoK doesn’t hit hard enough without spell damage, 1 AoE damage is too weak to board clear, even if it kills a Blood Imp.