First, thanks to Reynad for the original budget weapons warrior deck idea and Alperon for the updated non-budget deck, and for proving that this deck can get to Legend in the post-UTH meta. I’ve played around with updating the deck for the current meta for a week or so, making a couple of changes, but the core remains the same. The idea of the deck is to take control of the board early, then relinquish the board in mid-game to do face-damage. Games should end before your opponent’s Turn 9 (Alexstrasza).
Total Dust Cost: 3940 (2340 with Wolfrider instead of Leeroy)
This is the first season I’ve played constructed. This deck (in various forms) went from Rank 25 to Legend in seven nights of playing, including the last burst of 28-5 last night to go from the middle of Rank 4 to Legend.
This deck, historically, has been something like 40+ wins with only 2 losses when facing Miracle Rogues (including in Legendary Rank). Also does exceptionally well vs. Handlocks (~80%). These two decks form a large chunk of the current meta, so I attribute a lot of my success to this. No consistent weaknesses versus any of the other popular decks (~50-60% Token Druid, Ramp Druid, Shaman, Tempo Rogue, Face Hunters, etc), except for Zoolocks (~40%) and Control Warrior (~33%).
Happy to answer any questions about this deck and matchups.
edit: not going to have time to set up a stream and play today, sorry! did post a guide on how to play the deck though in the comments below, so hopefully that will help out. this deck is interesting in that it does better the higher rank you go. it is particularly deadly in the Ranks 4-1 meta right now (Miracle Rogues and Handlocks). because the deck is designed to beat a certain meta, when you are not facing that meta (say, rank 8 and below) and are in a different meta, it will probably not shine (but should still consistently get you 50%+ wins, if you play it right, and your meta isn’t 50% Zoolock / Control Warrior).
Since there’s been so much interest, here’s a brief guide on how to craft and play this deck (generally). You can ctrl-F this thread for specific matchups, but the tips below should be enough to get you started on developing your own strategies with this deck and tweaking.
10 Deck Tips:
1) Have 2 Brawls. This is the single most important change I made to my deck. Brawls are useful vs 80% of your matchups, and at worst have a 33% chance of completely flipping the board on your opponent (if he defender of argus / sunfury protectors two things with nothing else on the board). Turning 33% of your losses (minimum) into wins is HUGE. At one point I realized I’m always wishing I drew this card. It’s very rarely a dead card, because if you have board you win anyway. It’s usually the equivalent of an owl that destroys half the opponent’s board.
2) Save the Owls. Versus anyone that runs taunts, the Owl is a combat trick. Do not just drop it to break a taunt. Drop it only when you have a board and/or weapon and cannot remove the taunt otherwise, or the Owl lets you break through to take out a key piece of their board (like a Flametongue totem or a Knife Juggler). Also, at 5-6 mana if you don’t have a board and they do, it is almost always better to brawl then swing to kill the remaining taunt (if any) than to owl and swing for the face once before losing the board again (obviously, if you have 7 mana, brawl then owl if needed). A strong move when you are starting to lose the board is turn 5 Arcanite Reaper (don’t swing), turn 6 Brawl (swing), turn 7 drop creatures including owl in case they taunt up again (swing), turn 8 win. If possible, Brawl with a weapon out so you can clean up the remaining guy. Or, have enough mana to Brawl and then drop a creature. If the creature is an easily removable creature like a leper gnome, consider dropping him first to tilt the odds in your favor. Also drop a creature first if you are desperate. Be conservative with your Brawls when it comes to breaking taunts. Don’t get greedy and wait for him to drop more things unless you need this turn to weapon up first.
3) Lose the Arathi Weaponsmiths. Several versions of similar decks run two of these guys. I think that is a mistake. They clutter up your weapons. They are a worse version of Nightblade (4 damage but smaller creature for only 1 less mana). Use tempo cards or damage cards instead. I threw in one of each of the other pirates for tempo and to smooth out my curve, but things like charging guys or stealth guys also work. Nightblade crowds up the 5-mana slot a bit too much imo (since we already have 2 brawls, and 2 arcanite reapers).
4) Pre-Game = Mulligan Aggressively. Throw away everything besides leper gnomes, fairie dragons, upgrades, and war axes. The Upgrade should be kept even without an Axe because a 1/3 weapon to start the game is a very strong move vs. anyone that plays 1-drops (especially squires), including Token Druids, Zoo, Paladins, Shamans, Tempo Rogues, and is otherwise a 1 mana card for 3 damage to the face. Keep an owl if you already otherwise have a 2 drop vs Warlock and Druid.
5) Early-Game = Board Position. You’re playing two games on turns 1-3. First, you’re agro with your creatures. Second, you’re board control with your weapons. So, your creatures will ALWAYS attack to the face unless doing so would on the existing board give your opponent a favorable trade next turn, or you have a frothing berserker out. Your weapons will ALWAYS remove creatures (even 1/1s), if you are able to. Remember that weapons are multi-use, so they improve your position vs dropping a creature and trading. So, if your hand is Fairie Dragon 2x, War Axe 1x. You coin out the Fairie Dragon, he puts down a 3/2, your next move is NOT to put down your other Fairie Dragon, but to put out the axe to protect your existing Dragon. On the other hand, if he tapped or ramped, you put out the other Dragon over the Axe.
6) Mid-Game = Decisions. On turns 4-6, you have to make a decision of whether to continue fighting for the board or going to the face. Basically, just evaluate whether the board is lost (aka: a creature capable of taking out your creatures will survive). If the board is lost, swing everything for the face. If the board is doing okay, keep the board. This is essentially a math equation: Can I put him in lethal range the next turn (usually with things in your hand)? Is my weapon damage higher than the damage my X surviving creatures will deal the next turn? Only hold the board if the answers are No-No.
7) Late-Game = To the Face. On turns 7-9, just swing for the face. Always know when “overkill” happens, and balance armoring up for defense (to bring your health above the threshold for bloodlust, savage roar, leeroy, soulfires, etc) before putting down additional useless creature drops or dealing extra damage you don’t need. Know which decks run Earthen Ring Farseers or other healing. Know your reach. The game SHOULD end on your turn 8, because that’s when you can drop 2 4-drops (leeroy, korkon elite, mortal strike), and maybe still have a weapon swing. I consider the game failed if my opponent ever sees his Turn 9, because that’s when Alexstraza comes out. Your card draw is also not designed to last past your turn 9 anyway.
8) Know the Tempo. This deck is built against control because the opponent will not have enough total mana in the game to do everything they want. This means card draw is completely pointless for the opponent (besides possibly drawing into his taunts). Ignore card-draw engines like Mana Totem, Buzzard, Acolyte, Cleric unless they’re dropped in the first 2-3 turns (when you’re removing anything on the board anyway), or the only thing on the board. Your opponent will not have the mana/turns to play all those cards. Do not sacrifice your agro to slow down your opponent’s card draw. If the opponent is drawing cards, it means he’s desperately looking for his outs and unable to take back the board, which means it’s time to push him harder. Another point about tempo is that you need to use your mana! If you have no turn 4 play, don’t play an empty owl and armor up, play that mortal strike for 4 damage (rather than saving it for 6). You will likely draw other useful cards that you’ll want to play later that the non-guaranteed additional 2 damage isn’t worth it.
9) Know the Race to 30. When facing agro decks, it is important to know exactly how much damage they can deal to you, versus how much you can deal to them. You will NOT be able to remove everything he puts on the board for long (if at all), so you will have to do a balancing act of taking out his biggest threats while swinging for the face to reduce his damage to you, while dealing damage yourself. Remember, your deck runs out of steam too, so you can’t just sit back and play control the entire game. An Arcanite Reaper is 10 damage. A bloodsail raider has to be removed asap via trade. Timberwolves and Knife Jugglers left unchecked can wreck havoc even if they never hit your minnions. Scavenging Hyenas left unchecked will win the game, but Unbound Elementals will not. Make only the most efficient trades, go to the face with the rest, lose the board. Then, BRAWL! Don’t wait on this one. If you let him get too much damage in trying to set up the perfect brawl, you won’t be able to swing to the face after the Brawl, so you would still lose. Brawl as soon as you lose the board and can take out 3 of his guys.
10) Dealing with Mid-Range Decks. You will not be able to ultimately win the board. Treat these decks as if they were agro decks, and only remove what you need, while letting him make favorable trades while you get some damage in. Rely on Brawl. While Brawl hurts agro by clearing a board, it hurts Mid-Range decks like Shaman and Token Druid by clearing his threats and leaving him with pathetic totems/tokens. In either case, don’t fight too hard for the board. Go for the face as soon as turn 3, and be ready to Brawl turn 5-6, or at least to slowly keep him at bay while you limit his board and wait to draw into your Brawls. Remember, his strategy is to kill everything on your board and then slowly chip away at your health. You will have plenty of soft “taunt” creatures and removal to delay the game, and Brawl scales with the board, so as he’s “winning”, he’s actually setting himself up for a bigger removal, tempo-shift, and your finishing blow.