Hearthstone Control Warrior Ultimate Guide


Hearthstone Control Warrior Ultimate Guide?by XRBlackWolf39

Overview of the guide:

  • How to build control warrior: Full guide on teching decks and essential cards in every list.
  • 3 Ways to win different matchups: Fatigue, Board control and health.
  • Matchups: Overview of all major matchups in the current meta and overall strategy versus them.
  • Optimal shield slam and execute targets per matchup and how many minions should go into a brawl.
  • Setting up turns in advance.
  • 2 Decklists: Anti aggro and a much greedier version.

Hello everyone, to begin this guide I would like to mention that this guide will not cover fatigue warrior, dragon warrior, no BGH target builds, or Reno warrior of any kind. Yet many of the same points in this guide do apply to all those deck archetypes. I know this guide is long, but if you manage to read through the entire thing I do believe it can help you learn how to become a great warrior player.

Who am I?

Well my name is Jonathan, but I play under the name XRBlackWolf, I?m an NA Legend player who specializes in warrior yet I play all decks. My warrior knowledge is extensive having reached the top of legend many times with the deck. I generally build my own lists while playing control warrior, and for that reason, I feel semi qualified to write this guide. This guide will try to serve as a tool for the community and contains many of the ways I approach deck building and matchups with warrior, and if it?s successful enough, shall be updated with every major content update.

How to build control warrior:

This section will be a guide on how to target certain decks in the meta and which cards are best versus certain decks.

To start: The basic control warrior list, here is what I currently believe is the base of all control warrior?http://m.imgur.com/TQmzCHD

Past this you need to pick some of the following cards to fill in some roles in the deck, but they are not always 100% mandatory.


These are a set of cards that are not always 100% necessary, but I recommend for anybody who is not used to building control warrior to stick with 1 of the 2 following in their list.

Acolyte of Pain: The classic control warrior draw card, this was a staple of control warrior up until LoE was released. Acolyte of pain is very strong versus rush decks as it gives a body that can trade with leper gnomes and other small minions as well as getting multiple draws. But it isn?t good versus fatigue matchups such as control warrior and entomb priest.

Jeweled Scarab: Our new control warrior card in the latest expansion LoE, this card was played by Justsaiyan to the top of legend and since then I?ve very much enjoyed having it in some of my control warrior builds. This card serves as a ?Tool box? as it can pull the most affective cards based on the matchup your playing versus (eg: Bouncing Blade versus handlock, bash versus aggro). Jeweled scarab works best when the fatigue matchups are very popular in the meta, also in general it?s just a very fun card. Strong versus warrior and entomb priest.


You need to play a minimum of 1 of 4 here, they both have important roles as they regain health which you need to be able to use weapons without losing too much health to last the whole game.

Bash: Great card to have versus almost every deck, as it is rarely a dead card. I wouldn?t recommend not running bash in any control warrior list.

Shield Block: Shield Block should be run alongside bash in a meta where health is more important than board control, to find out which matchups health is more important than board, please see the matchup overview section.


One of these two is in my opinion is mandatory for people learning to build control warrior as they are the best 9 drop minions in the game. They both provide the necessary late game for control warrior but have very different effects and purposes, of course you can choose to run both in a slightly slower meta.

Ysera: The ultimate late game card, this card is excellent in the long game, it?s very strong versus priest, warriors, midrange Druids, paladins and slower warlocks but struggles to get any value versus, hunters, shaman and Mage.

Alexstraza: Strong card versus aggro to both regain health and to get a powerful body on the board, weak to bgh making it worse versus Druid, warrior and renolock.


Brawl is a mandatory card for Control Warrior, at least as a 1 of, the decision to run 2 comes from if you are facing more non deathrattle midrange decks and zooish aggro decks.

Run 1 brawl if you face the following: Hunter, tempo Mage, priest, aggro shaman, control warrior and rogue.

Run 2 brawls if you face the following: Paladin, Druid, zoo, patron and Renolock.


It is a very rare situation where we choose to run 1 sludge belcher, I would only recommend it you really need another tech card (a good example is fibonaccis recent list).


Shieldmaiden since it?s release in gvg has been a staple in control warrior, I think understanding when to run 1 is a very simple concept, because of the amount of quality 6 drops we now have for warrior since Justicar was released, as soon as you have another tech 6 drop past the basic list, the first card to cut should be shieldmaiden, I don?t feel that the second maiden is actually needed because of the addition of justicar as a standard. Another situation is when you really need to run another tech card (same type of situation as belcher), but this should be cut before belcher.

Cards that aren?t required in control warrior but help some matchups.

The possible tech cards include:

Harrison, Elise Starseeker, Varian Wrynn, Deathwing, Fierce Monkey, Senjin Shieldmasta, Revenge, Slam, Cruel Taskmaster, Ironbeak Owl, Piloted Shredder, Black knight, Baron Geddon, Ragnaros, Loatheb and Nexus Champion Saraad.

Full description of tech cards and other choices:

Harrison Jones: The premier tech card in hearthstone, almost all versions of control warrior play Harrison because paladin will probably never not be apart of the meta. This card should be played every time the meta has any sort of major weapon class. It is obviously strong versus all weapon classes and weak versus all non weapon classes.

Elise Starseeker: Another great control warrior card added in LoE, Elise is the ultimate late game card, designed for fatigue matchups, she can give many cards that win straight up in fatigue (such as Anub Arak and Malorne) and also is a pretty solid body for the mana cost. Should be played if you face many fatigue matchups and avoided if you face lots of aggro and midrange decks.

Varian Wrynn: Varian is a card that is hated by many pros and top warrior players, I tend to disagree with them, I personally really like varian as it helps in the late game versus many matchups where you need to get board control. Varian shines versus midrange Druid, midrange hunter, patron warrior, zoo and renolock but is weak versus all aggro decks, control warrior and entomb priest.

Deathwing: This card is a powerhouse versus all decks that either go into fatigue or versus any deck that struggles to deal with it. Currently in the meta there are 2 decks that deathwing does well against, zoo and control warrior. If you face either of those 2 in mass numbers, then I recommend running deathwing.

Fierce Monkey:Fierce monkey is the most recent addition to control warrior, this minion serves as a powerful taunt in the early game, but monkey isn?t as good versus aggro and midrange as people think it is, the main deck to counter when you play fierce monkey are face decks, so play monkey if you face a lot of aggro shaman or face hunter, and it is weak versus warrior and Druid.

Senjin Shieldmasta: senjin is a fairly good card if you run other minions to back it up, such as jeweled scarab, but senjin much like fierce monkey is not actually that amazing versus aggro, senjin shines versus a lot of tempo based decks because it stops piloted shredder and forces your opponent to find a way to deal that extra 1 damage and waste mana. Play senjin if you face lots of Druid and tempo Mage.

Revenge: Since it?s addition in BRM revenge has been a fantastic tech card in the arsenal of control warrior. Revenge is occasionally a weaker whirlwind but it?s very strong to stabilize versus aggro in the mid game. Revenge should be played if you face lots of zoo, pally, patron warrior, midrange or face hunter, aggro shaman and tempo Mage. But revenge is weak versus control warrior, freeze Mage, Druid and priest.

Slam: Slam is a fantastic card versus aggro due to it?s ability to clear early game minions when we don?t draw war axe, it is also a fantastic card to help trade up against midrange and control decks. Slam is strong versus renolock, zoolock, aggro shaman, midrange or face hunter, Druid, secret paladin and rogue but is weak versus entomb priest, patron, freeze Mage and control warrior. So I guess you can say slam is really good 🙂

Cruel Taskmaster: Cruel task used to be a staple in control warrior, it is an excellent execute activator, and is great to trade up alongside Acolyte of pain and armorsmith. Cruel task is great versus face hunter, aggro shaman, aggro and midrange Druid. But is weak versus rogue, patron and control warrior, dragon and entomb priest and zoo.

Ironbeak Owl: Ironbeak owl is definitely the best silence for warrior because it is cheap and flexible, so I would pick it over spellbreaker almost every time. Ironbeak is strong versus hunter, zoo, tempo Mage and secret paladin but weak versus Druid, patron, control warrior, aggro shaman and rogue.

Piloted Shredder Shredder is powerful because it?s a sticky minion that serves as early/mid removal so you don?t need to waste shield slams/executes on mid game creatures. It also doubles as a sticky removal magnet for control mirrors or priest match ups, where it can absorb some of the tools they normally want to save for your late game threats. Shredder is strong versus midrange hunter, dragon and entomb priest, tempo Mage and zoo. But is weak to renolock and control warrior.

Black Knight: Fantastic tech card in a Druid and priest heavy meta, it?s ability to be able to fight back against medium and large threats is very strong. Black knight is often weak in the meta due to the overwhelming amount of aggro decks but it is strong versus Druid, control warrior, dragon priest and entomb priest.

Baron Geddon: Baron geddon is one of the strongest late game anti aggro cards for control warrior, it used to be a staple until warrior found another insanely powerful 7 drop in the form of dr boom. Baron geddon is strong due to warriors lack of AoE removal. Geddon is strong versus secret paladin, zoo and midrange hunter, but weak versus renolock, aggro shaman and control warrior.

Ragnaros The Firelord: Rag is an incredibly powerful card versus non token or flood based decks. He is weak in these matchups due to his randomness and spending 8 mana to kill a 1/1 is never good. Rag is strong versus dragon priest, control warrior, midrange Druid, renolock, OTK paladin and rogue. But weak versus paladin, zoo, face hunter, midrange hunter and aggro shaman.

Loatheb: Loatheb competes very heavily with the other 5 drops possible in control warrior, for this reason it doesn?t see much play. But loatheb is strong versus decks that use spells for board control (and not like face damage like face hunter). Loatheb is strong versus tempo Mage, Druid, freeze Mage, rogue and priest but weak against secret paladin, face hunter, aggro shaman and renolock.

Nexus Champion Saraad: This card is a bit of a hit or miss, I?ve had some insane games only won due this card, and then I?ve had times where I?ve gotten sprint in the control warrior mirror. For this reason nexus champ doesn?t see a ton of play in the standard control warrior list. Nexus champion saraad is excellent in moderate to slower matchups because he can sometimes get 2 or even 3 hits off. Nexus champ is strong versus dragon priest, renolock, tempo Mage and control warrior but is weak versus midrange hunter, face hunter, secret paladin, aggro Druid and aggro shaman.

Final Deckbuilding Advice: Be smart. Know what you need to counter, pick 3 or 4 decks that you are frequently playing and find the tech cards that do best versus them. And remember, if I don?t mention which deck a card is good or bad against, it means it falls into a ?decent? pile.

Overview of the most common matchups in the current meta. Includes:

Patron warrior, control warrior, tempo Mage, freeze Mage, secret paladin, Murloc OTK paladin, midrange Druid, aggro Druid, midrange hunter, face hunter, zoolock, Renolock, Oil rogue, dragon priest, entomb priest, aggro shaman.

Sections within each matchup overview explanation:

Early hints of what you are facing: This will help you know what to play around

Optimal Shield Slam target: know when I say optimal I mean what you should look out for to kill when weapons or bash aren?t an option. Obviously it doesn?t apply when you are super low on health.

Optimal execute target: Once again I use the word optimal because it isn?t 100%. This is what you should try to execute based on matchups, the threats that you execute should be the larger minions in the deck.

Matchup type: I believe that there are 3 different types of matchups for control warrior, fatigue, health and board control. A fatigue matchup is a game where you should avoid drawing cards, a health matchup is when your main focus should be clearing and gaining health back and a board control matchup is when you should constantly use your weapons to take board from your opponent while constantly getting board.

How many minions should go into a brawl: Based on matchup once again, the minions that should go in are often going to be the mid sized minions in your opponents deck.


Early hints of what you are facing: Unstable Ghoul, Piloted Shredder, Grim Patron, whirlwind, inner rage.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything except Armorsmith and Acoltye.

Optimal execute target: Anything except Armorsmith and Acolyte.

Matchup type: Health

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4 or more.

The most important thing in this matchup is to not auto play brawl when they patron swarm unless they go all in on it, you should look for ways to use your executes, shield slams, bash and weapons to clear the patrons even if this means they still have up a full health patron. Be sure to look out for the maximum burst of 16 from grom+inner rage+ deaths bite swing.


Early hints of what you are facing:Shieldmaiden, Belcher, justicar.

Optimal Shield Slam target:Shieldmaiden and larger.

Optimal execute target:Baron geddon and larger.

Matchup type:Fatigue

How many minions should go into a brawl:2 Large sized minions or 3 medium sized minions.

This matchup all comes down to fatigue, probably the hardest matchup in the game to learn to play perfectly. This matchup is super hard to understand because it is very reactive, you need to make sure you matchup your opponents legendaries with an appropriate piece of removal and make sure that you don?t go all in. When fatigue has hit after 45 minutes this is where the game gets very interesting, you need to take into account what?s left in your opponents hand, how much damage they have and how many pieces of removal they have left and based on this you need to count who dies first in fatigue, if your opponent dies first, there is no need to play anything, just tank up and pass but if your opponent wins first you need to drop your final threats in order to bait all removals and win with the last large minion in your hand. Make sure to never play Acolyte, shield block or slam to avoid hitting fatigue first.


Early hints of what you are facing: mana wyrm, sorcerers Apprentice, mirror entity, flamewaker.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything except mad scientist.

Optimal execute target: Flamewaker and larger.

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4

The hardest thing to learn in this matchup is how to play around mirror entity, the biggest mistake I see people make is to play armorsmith on turn 2, it should be held until either you can generate a good amount of armor with it or for the mirror entity to make sure you don?t give anything larger. Another important thing is to think about the maximum burst potential the opponent can do, the game should be over by turn 10 anyway so the big thing you must think about is double fireball on 8 and fireball+frostbolt on turn 6. Be sure to always use sylvanas in this matchup when either you are super ahead or behind, it?s not good if it only trades 1 for 1 as board is so important in this match.


Early hints of what you are facing: Ice barrier, Loot hoarder, novice engineer, Arcane intellect on turn 3.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Doomsayer, hold 1 for Antonidas.

Optimal execute target: Doomsayer and larger, be mindful of how to remove emperor and Alexstraza.

Matchup type: Health

How many minions should go into a brawl:2

This matchup is probably the most lopsided matchup in the whole game, if played perfectly. The important thing is to know how your opponent can win, and for freeze Mage it is 2 different ways, either 1: they manage to get emperor Thaurrisan to stick on board for more than 1 turn, or 2: they manage to get Antonidas on board for more than 1 turn, you should be watching out for these cards by being careful of the removal you have left in your hand, be sure to know how to remove these cards when they come down even if that means letting your board die to a frost nova+doomsayer. Another important thing in this matchup is being efficient, this means getting in as much armor as possible, make sure armorsmith gets a minimum of 3 armor and avoid playing minions without also hero powering in the same turn. Example: Don?t play belcher turn 5 but rather wait for a turn 7 hero power+belcher, the exceptions are dr boom, Shieldmaiden and justicar.


Early hints of what you are facing: Secrets, Secret Keeper

Optimal Shield Slam target: Knife Juggler, any avenged minions and larger

Optimal execute target: Mysterious Challenger

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl:4 small sized minions or 3 Large sized minions.

The biggest mistake people tend to make versus secret paladin is to waste the second deaths bite swing before going into turn 6. The most important thing to think about is what is coming next and to hold execute for the mysterious challenger on turn 6. It is important to always keep an answer to him or else the game is auto loss as they snowball quickly, so just be sure to have an activator for execute by turn 6, don?t care about those 2 or 3 extra silver hand recruits hitting you if it means that you will give up your second deaths bite swing as an activator.


Early hints of what you are facing: Murlocs (that aren?t sir Finley), Doomsayer.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything except 1/1 silver hand recruits.

Optimal execute target: Anything.

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: If it ever gets used your opponent probably won already, but be sure to use it after the first Anyfin Can Happen.

After playing this matchup a lot I think I now have a fairly good understanding of how to get a decent winrate from it. The first thing is to make sure to just clear everything with weapons and removal spells, the second thing to success in this matchup is to be super aggressive, Paladins heal is way too slow for the amount of tempo that we could gain in the mid to late game and their clears take too long for them to setup also they won?t be able to setup a board generally on the same turn that they clear. Overall be aggressive, play around the first equality only and then go for the kill.


Early hints of what you are facing: When it doesn?t have the same start as aggro Druid or if they play wild growth.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Piloted Shredder and larger.

Optimal execute target: Druid of the Claw and larger.

Matchup type: Board Control.

How many minions should go into a brawl: 3

Contrary to popular belief, midrange Druid is actually a favored matchup for warrior. Much like the secret paladin matchup it?s all about the setup, it?s important to hold the second deaths bite swing to be able to combo with execute, or to hold shield block (if you choose to play it) for when they actually have a large minion to shield slam. Past turn 9 if you don?t have the board clear you will lose the game, it?s important to think about how much damage they have alongside the 14 from combo, and be sure to get out of this range. Sometimes you can?t clear the board versus Druid but what you need to do in these situations is not play to stay in the game but rather play to win, think about a line of play where the next turn the Druid can?t kill you and you can somehow find a way to comeback on board and win.


Early hints of what you are facing: Leper gnome, Knife Juggler, Druid of the Saber.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything larger than Knife Juggler

Optimal execute target: Druid of the claw and larger.

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: 3

Aggro Druid is very similar to Midrange druid. The most important thing is to get value from deathsbite second hit, the only thing that changes between these two matchups is that the threats are a little different and that armorsmith gets a lot more value in this matchup. If you know your opponent is playing aggro Druid, hold bgh in the mulligan.


Early hints of what you are facing: Webspinner, Kings Elekk, Houndmaster.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Animal Companion and larger.

Optimal execute target: 4 Attack minions and larger.

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4

Midrange hunter is a surprisingly decent matchup when you know how to approach it. It should be thought of like midrange Druid but with just a different set of threats. Controlling the board should be key to winning here, know the curve and keep the second deaths bite swing to combo with execute if you don?t have board control already and if you have board control already make sure to use weapons to keep it.


Early hints of what you are facing: Leper Gnome, Worgen Infiltrator, Wolfrider.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything.

Optimal execute target: Anything.

Matchup type: Health

How many minions should go into a brawl: 2

The biggest mistake I see people make when playing versus face hunter is attacking into secrets when they have an eaglehorn bow up. This is one of the only ways to lose the game unless they have a truly explosive start with perfect curve+huffer and you don?t draw any armor gain or removal, so to avoid this it?s important to be patient, only attack into secrets when they have eaglehorn up when you either have Harrison to absorb the durability or if you have an armorsmith that will gain a good amount of armor but only do the ladder if you can kill them within the next 2 to 3 turns. The last tip for this matchup is to execute and shield slam anything, it is important to reduce damage as much as possible.


Early hints of what you are facing: Knife Juggler, Flame Imp, Voidwalker.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Knife juggler and larger

Optimal execute target: Imp Gang Boss and larger

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4 small minions or 3 mid to large minions

This is often a tough matchup in general for warrior. It is important to constantly remove the board from your opponent to make sure they can?t get a great trade with power overwhelming. Also in this matchup it?s important to note that argus comes out turn 4 so make sure you are always ready for it. The way you beat zoo is by getting a big brawl off leave them top decking for cards. Sylvanas is also a very important card in this match as it can help come back on board mid game, play it when your opponent has 3 or more minions.


Early hints of what you are facing: Turn 2 lifetap, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Twilight Drake.

Optimal Shield Slam target: 5 Attack and larger

Optimal execute target: 5 Attack and larger

Matchup type: Board Control/Fatigue

How many minions should go into a brawl: 3

Renolock is a very hard matchup to teach currently because there are so many different versions, feugen&stalag version, demon Reno version, combo Reno and anti aggro renolock. The biggest advice I can give versus reno warlocks is to not care about taking too much damage to the face as they have no burst and also to use weapon swings over two turns to kill some medium sized minions such as twilight drake.

Early hints of what you are facing: Violet Teacher, Earthen Ring Farseer.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything except bloodmage thalnos.

Optimal execute target: Anything.

Matchup type: Health

How many minions should go into a brawl: 3

The most important thing to do when playing versus oil rogue is to constantly clear the board, make sure to not be greedy with execute and shield slam and use them even to clear small 3/3s as rogue doesn?t have large minions. Another important thing to remember is how much burst your opponent has left and play your armor gains accordingly.


Early hints of what you are facing: Twilight Whelp, Wyrmrest Agent, Twlight Guardian.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Wyrmrest Agent and larger.

Optimal execute target: Twilight Guardian and larger.

Matchup type: Board Control

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4

Being efficient with removal is super important in this matchup, make sure to get a ton of value from weapons and make sure to kill the high priority targets like cleric first. Once you play justicar in this matchup, make sure that you use your hero power every turn because the priest generally won?t even have more than about 6 attack at one time on his board.


Early hints of what you are facing: Injured blade master, auchenai soulpriest, wild pyromancer.

Optimal Shield Slam target: 3 Attack and larger

Optimal execute target: 3 Attack and larger

Matchup type: Fatigue

How many minions should go into a brawl: 4

This matchup is super difficult to play, but I?ll try to teach it. 90% of the time this matchup will go to fatigue, the way we win is very simple: get tons of value from justicar and constantly clear board. But this is easier said than done, it?s important to drop justicar as early as possible and then not play anymore minions for the rest of the game, except for Sludge Belcher and shieldmaiden, if the priest gives in and takes them with entomb then it is fine to drop minions. The other important thing is to not cycle, never play Acoltye or shield block at anytime to let them hit fatigue first. And lastly be super greedy with brawl, only do it if they drop a few large minion or if they swarm the whole board.


Early hints of what you are facing: Tunnel trogg, Leper gnome, totem golem.

Optimal Shield Slam target: Anything except totems.

Optimal execute target: Anything except totems.

Matchup type: Health.

How many minions should go into a brawl: 3

A short anecdote before I start writing this one: I was watching my friend play versus an aggro shaman as control warrior and his opponent on turn 4 had a 3/3 totem golem and a 2/2 tunnel trogg, both of course were damaged minions. On his turn he didn?t have the bash or a weapon to kill them but he had 2 executes in his hand, he chose to armor and pass, I asked him why he didn?t use the executes to kill both and he said to me ?it?s not worth it?, 3 turns later he was at 6 health and the shaman was topdecking, he got a crackle and hit the 1/4 on face and won. My friend turned to me and said ?what a fucking lucky guy, this game is all fucking RNG?. So what?s my point here: clear the board versus aggro shaman. Execute and shield slam anything except totems to prevent any damage to face, other than that, be sure to race when your opponent is topdecking and you have a good amount of health.

REMINDER: All execute and shield slam optimal targets list are based on if you can?t kill minions with a weapon or bash. Also all brawls are obviously that amount of minions and higher.


Some people may not want to build their own decklist, so I figured I?ll include this small section about 2 decklists that I think are pretty strong right now.


  • Stronger versus Paladin, Zoo, aggro shaman, midrange hunter, face hunter, tempo Mage, rogue and freeze Mage
  • Weaker versus control warrior and control/entomb priest.
  • 1 Acolyte, we get some draw from Shield Block already so I don?t feel that it?s necessary to have double Acoltye.
  • Varian Wrynn is in this deck to have a better chance versus renolocks and it also helps versus slower aggro and midrange matchups such as zoolock and tempo Mage.


  • Stronger versus midrange Druid, OTK paladin, control warrior, dragon priest, entomb priest and renolock.
  • Weaker versus midrange and face hunter, aggro shaman, secret paladin and zoo.
  • Rag is in this deck as it?s strong versus renolock and other warrior decks.
  • Elise is in this deck to make sure we auto win all the fatigue matchups.
  • Nexux champion saraad is in here mostly because it?s a fun card but it?s also pretty strong versus renolock and can also be good versus tempo Mage.

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