- Patron Warrior
Wild Hearthstone has thousands of cards, and a wide variety of possible decks. This incredible deck diversity is sometimes lost when only looking at the few decks common in the highest ranks. Wildest of Days is a series aiming to highlight a different off-meta deck each week with an in-depth guide into its strategy and gameplay. The decks are selected for having interesting synergies and using rarely seen cards.
Patron Warrior was the strongest deck in the meta back when Blackrock Mountain launched. However, it was considered one of the hardest decks to play well. Even though the top players had very high win rates with it, due to its intricacies and high potential for misplays or miscounting damage the average winrate was only 45%. This deck led to the infamous Warsong Commander nerf where from giving minions costing 3 or less Charge, it instead gave your Charge minions +1 Attack. It was later changed to give your summoned minions Rush as a partial unnerf.
This week, we are going to dive into a modern version of Patron Warrior using the old combos including Warsong Commander, Grim Patron, and Frothing Berserker as well as newer cards and combos involving Gruntled Patrons and E.T.C., God of Metal. A key card from the Alterac expansion has been To the Front!, which allows greater patron turns and faster combos. Due to Warsong Commander being changed to give minions Rush, it's possible to do some different combo turns to win the game than what the deck did previously. If you want to get a taste of how Patron Warrior played out, like the idea of patron duplication, want to challenge yourself with a very hard to master deck full of synergy that mostly can't just be played on curve, or have nostalgia for how the deck was back in Blackrock Mountain, give this modern Patron Warrior deck a try!
Now, let's get into a guide on playing the deck. It's going to go through major overarching strategies to keep in mind, how to mulligan, gameplay tips on key synergies, and card choices.
Patron Warrior has 3 main ways in which it can win, and you have to choose which strategy to go for based on what deck you are facing.
Patron Tempo - Patrons themselves can take over the board against decks that play many small minions with 2 or less attack, especially if you combo them with a Warsong Commander. Bloodboil Brutes and Overlord Saurfang complement this tempo plan.
Charge Combo - You can do a Charge otk either with a Bloodboil Brute and Charge along with duplicating it twice with 2 Bloodsworn Mercenarys for 21 damage if you have dealt some damage earlier, or go for a Frothing Berserker otk that can do a lot of damage - a lot higher than 30 and possibly over 100. To do a Frothing Berserker otk you can play Risky Skipper, Frothing Berserker, and other minions, give the Frothing Berserker Charge, and double or triple it with a Bloodsworn Mercenary or two. You can also use Blood Razor as well as minion attacks to boost the Frothing Berserker attack even higher.
E.T.C. Combo - Play E.T.C., God of Metal, then damage him with any of your deal 1 damage to all minions effects (such as using a Risky Skipper or Blood Razor). Then, duplicate him with Bloodsworn Mercenaries. You should also play Warsong Commander beforehand to give all your minions Rush, and then you can do a turn where you deal a ton of damage by attacking with minions. You can do this with patrons and patron duplication or just by playing any minions from hand.
Survival - You can use various clears and especially Lord Barov to survive, as well as gain a lot of armor in a Risky Skipper turn along with Armorsmith. While doing so, set up Battle Rage draw to draw to cards to help your other strategies.
The choice of strategy is pretty simple: against token decks go for Patron Tempo, against decks with few minions and no Taunts go for Charge Combo, and against decks with lots of Taunts go for the E.T.C. Combo. However, what's not so simple is that to play the deck optimally, you should be able to combine these strategies and recognize when you can do a complex multistep lethal that may not be obvious.
Here are 2 highlights of this deck. One is a Frothing Berserker Charge combo while the other shows how you can win against a Pirate Warrior by forgoing combos and just winning the board through patrons (along with Warsong Commander to clear an entire board and make your board full of patrons, their 2 damage cannon shots and quest shots actually often just grow your board by duplicating patrons, and Overlord Saurfang can be the final win con for such a Patron Tempo strategy).
- Keep Town Crier, Forge of Souls, and Ancharrr.
- Keep a Risky Skipper but only against hyper aggro and if you don't have Ancharrr.
- Keep a Battle Rage unless against hyper aggro, although keep it even then if you have a Risky Skipper.
- Keep Lord Barov if against board based aggro.
There is no one key to playing this deck well. It's the most difficult deck to play in the entire series, and it's not something a guide can really describe well in a reasonable amount of space. For each different situation and cards in hand you have to plan ahead in terms of balancing survival, going towards different win cons, combining win cons, and calculating damage and armor gain while also managing hand size. It's just a lot of things to keep in mind, and if you want to get good at this deck, in addition to reading the guide, the only thing I can recommend is to practice playing it a lot and analyzing your games and eventually you will get an intuition for what to do in different situations.
Below are gameplay tips regarding many of the synergies in this deck and how to use them effectively.
Risky Skipper Turns
Ancharrr will tutor out both Risky Skippers (and Ancharrr itself can be tutored by Forge of Souls - so if you have Forge of Souls in hand there's a good chance you will get Skippers in hand soon). They are a key part of your deck and since you only have 2 of them, you have to use them wisely.
One thing you can use them for is to have a miracle turn where you play a Skipper, an Armorsmith, and other minions. This turn may result in a lot of damaged minions and allow you to play Bloodboil Brutes for cheap.
You can also use Acolyte of Pain during these Skipper turns to draw 3 cards.
Another card that is great with these Skipper turns is Battle Rage, where you can draw a lot of cards from all your damaged minions on the board. You may want to dump some cards from hand to create hand space if you are planning on doing a Skipper miracle turn and have Battle Rage in hand.
Patrons are great during these miracle turns as they will be able to keep summoning more copies of themselves (either Gruntled Patron or Grim Patron, although Grim Patrons will summon more copies over time - close to doubling each Skipper tick while Gruntled Patrons only add one each time).
In general, these miracle turns can clear an enemy board, fill your board, refill your hand with card draw, and gain you a ton of armor.
You can also use a Skipper for general board clear of up to 3 damage, although it's better to use it for a miracle type turn where you play multiple cards that use Skipper synergy. You can use it along with Lord Barov for a total board clear, either before or after playing Barov himself. However, it's usually better to combo Lord Barov with Blood Razor if you can or just play him, soak up some damage, and clear the following turn just because of how important your Skippers are.
Skippers are also important for your Charge combo turns to boost the attack of Frothing Berserker.
Overall, Skippers have a high amount of synergy for many, many cards in this deck. Therefore, using them at the right time is crucial. When to use them really depends on the matchup and the situation, you have to plan ahead and imagine what the best use of them would be depending on the deck you face and the board state.
The two types of patrons in the deck are the original Grim Patron and the newer Gruntled Patron. Grim Patron is better since it can activate its effect twice, if it survives 1 damage at 3 hp and then at 2hp, while Gruntled Patron only works once. However, Gruntled Patron does cost one less and in addition is resummoned by Overlord Saurfang who has synergy with Frenzy minions and will summon 2 Gruntled Patrons and activate their Frenzies to summon 2 more.
In general, patrons shouldn't be played on the board by themselves if your opponent has a minion with 3 or more attack. The exception is if you're dumping your hand to create space to draw cards.
If your opponent has a board of 2 and lower attack minions, you can play a patron unless you think they will buff those minions.
A great combo with patrons is to play a Warsong Commander first the turn you play a patron. This will grant the patron Rush, and you can attack it into a 1 or 2 attack minion to summon another patron which will now have Rush as well. You can keep trading these new patrons into more 1 or 2 attack minions and creating new patrons.
You can also play a Warsong Commander if you already have a patron on the board from a previous turn, then start this patron creation and attacking chain by attacking a 1 or 2 attack minion with it.
In addition to this combo, you can keep making more copies of your patrons by playing them in Risky Skipper turns, after you trade Lord Barov, with Overlord Saurfang's Battlecry, or with Blood Razor's Battlecry or Deathrattle.
Your charge combo involves the card Charge itself. The main combo is to use Risky Skipper, Blood Razor, or both, along with a Frothing Berserker, to increase the Frothing Berserker's attack. Then you can give it Charge with Charge and duplicate it if needed with a Bloodsworn Mercenary or two.
You can be flexible with this - you don't have to have 2 Bloodsworn Mercenaries to have enough damage for lethal, and sometimes using Charge and duplicating a non-Frothing Berserker minion can be enough to win as well. In addition, you can use things like the Warsong Commander patron combo to cause a lot of trades in one turn to boost a Berserker's attack in addition to things like the Skippers and Blood Razor.
This combo is best against decks that don't have Taunt minions, or have a few small ones that you can get through.
Your E.T.C. combo involves E.T.C., God of Metal. What you can do is have a Blood Razor with 1 durability remaining or use a Risky Skipper to damage E.T.C so he can be duplicated by a Bloodsworn Mercenary.
To do the combo, you should play Warsong Commander first, then E.T.C., and use either a Risky Skipper played after Warsong Commander but before E.T.C. or a Blood Razor swing to have E.T.C. get damaged. Then you can duplicate E.T.C. with Bloodsworn Mercenaries. This way, you will have 2 or 3 E.T.C.s on the board and will deal 4 or 6 damage to the enemy hero for each Rush minion that attacks.
Every minion you play or summon will have Rush due to Warsong Commander. Therefore, you can trade the Bloodsworn Mercenaries themselves in as well as play any other minions you have in hand to do direct damage to the enemy hero. You can even play a patron and keep making more and attacking with them to keep doing more damage. In the end, you can even attack with your E.T.C.s themselves, but save this for last if they are going to be destroyed. It's better to attack low attack minions with them if you can.
This combo is best against decks that play a lot of high hp minions, including Taunt minions, that may block your Charge combo.
To the Front! Use
You can use To the Front! in 3 main ways.
The second way is to use it in a Risky Skipper turn where you play a lot of different minions. This has the effect of making your Risky Skipper turn a lot stronger, where your Armorsmiths and Acolyte of Pains will cost 1 while all your patrons and Bloodboil Brutes cost 2 less.
The third way is to use it in a combo - either for a Charge or E.T.C. combo, this makes you able to do the combo earlier as it makes all your combo pieces including Bloodsworn Mercenary, Warsong Commander, and Frothing Berserker cost 1, and all other potential combo support like patrons cost 2 less.
If you're against a slow deck like Combo Druid, don't use your hero power until your hero is damaged. You're not in danger of losing on hp against a combo deck like that but having your hero damaged will boost the draw from your Battle Rages.
You can combine combos - for example do a small E.T.C., God of Metal combo one turn to deal 15 damage and a small Charge combo the next turn to deal 15 more damage. Almost all of your combo pieces are flexible and you can use both E.T.C. and Charge, even if it's not the full combo for either, which can combine for lethal even if by themselves neither would have been enough to win the game.
When playing Patron Warrior, to play it optimally, you should be on the lookout to combo in a non-conventional way - for example, sometimes even something like To the Front!, Overlord Saurfang, Charge, a Blood Razor Deathrattle, and 2 Bloodsworn Mercenarys can win you the game if your patrons have already dealt some damage beforehand. The point is that you should always be looking to see if you can combo with some minions that usually don't become part of combos. By being open to being flexible with your combos, you can win more games.
Always be calculating if you have lethal - it's a lot of calculation to do quickly for either the E.T.C. combo or Frothing Berserker Charge combo to see if you have it. You should calculate it each turn, keeping in mind all the things that you can do to increase damage like multiple patrons and keeping in mind how much extra damage you will get from damaging enemy minions in the Frothing Berserker Charge case and if you will have enough enemy minions to trade Rush minions into in the E.T.C. case.
Sometimes you should use a Bloodsworn Mercenary or two for a non-combo purpose. For example, you can use them on an Armorsmith or Bloodboil Brute to save yourself against a hyper aggro deck by gaining more armor or getting control of the board.
Most of your key combo enabling cards - Warsong Commander, Risky Skipper, and Blood Razor - have 2 copies each. You only need one copy for the combo, and in addition you can get away with using both copies of 2 of some of these and keeping 1 of some others depending on which combo you're going for (which should depend on the matchup (Taunts vs non Taunt, Aggro vs Control, and what cards you have in hand).
In general, before you play a card, always be thinking - is this card better to be played now or later. This applies to almost all cards in the deck including To the Front!, Warsong Commanders, Risky Skippers, Lord Barov, Battle Rage, Bloodsworn Mercenary, and almost everything else. Doing this and planning ahead in addition to being mindful of calculating potential lethal combos each turn will help you improve at playing this deck.
This section is going to go through the main packages of cards in the deck. Each package has cards that help the deck with a specific goal. When playing the deck, it's useful to know what purposes each card serves and what other cards in the deck have synergy with it or help achieve the same purpose. This section might also be useful if you're interested in the reasoning for why each card was included in the deck.
Damage Synergy Package
These cards synergize with minions getting damaged. Patrons synergize with this as well.
These cards cast Whirlwind, meaning they deal 1 damage to all minions. This can double your patrons as well as synergize with cards in the Damage Synergy Package.
These cards allow you to win from an empty board, dealing over 30 damage either with a big minion with Charge or with Rush minions and E.T.C., God of Metal.
Town Crier will tutor out a Bloodboil Brute. Battle Rage is your main source of card draw - if used wisely you can draw up to 8 cards with it and totally refill your hand. Forge of Souls tutors out 2 of your weapons, while Ancharrr gets your Risky Skippers.
If you want to challenge yourself with a deck full of synergies (the hardest deck to play so far in the series) and like the idea of duplicating patrons, you may like Patron Warrior. If you have a question or comment, or are wondering about a card substitution, post below.
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- 1 Risky Skipper x 2
- 1 Town Crier x 1
- 2 Armorsmith x 2
- 2 Battle Rage x 2
- 2 E.T.C., God of Metal x 1
- 2 Forge of Souls x 1
- 2 To the Front! x 2
- 3 Ancharrr x 1
- 3 Bloodsworn Mercenary x 2
- 3 Charge x 1
- 3 Frothing Berserker x 1
- 3 Lord Barov x 1
- 3 Warsong Commander x 2
- 4 Blood Razor x 2
- 7 Bloodboil Brute x 2
- 7 Overlord Saurfang x 1