- Deathrattle Rogue
Edit: I rewrote a lot of the guide since I made some key changes. In case you don't get the comments below, it might be because the list has changed since.
I climbed with this deck from the start of the season (albeit I started at Rank 4), so it's definitely viable to climb with. The concept is pretty simple I took the really powerful tempo package of Rogue which can win games by themselves, and I combined it with another broken thing Rogues have access to but isn't used very often: Necrium Blade.
A 3/2 weapon by itself is not bad, but curving into Blightnozzle Crawler or SN1P-SN4P will practically guarantee you have the board early. The real prize is if you can activate it on Mechanical Whelp which will honestly happen more often than you think on Turn 5 or 6. With this deck, you can continuously clear their board while pushing damage quite often. [Hearthstone Card (Blightnozzle) Not Found] might not see a lot of play right now, but it was still the best consistent deathrattle you could curve into on turn 4 that gave you tempo. As most players will not kill it either, it gives you an opportunity to magnetize it on the later turns as well.
Special mention to Octosari because he's just beautiful, please don't use your blade ability on him unless you're desperate. When you have the Octodaddy in your hand, dump as much of it as you can and play it once you do, it's a checkmate in most cases. I'll also say that I tried running Anka, the Buried in this deck already, but it didn't really let me get my whelps out earlier and most of the time I'd rather have the stats of my deathrattles. I also used to have Underbelly Fence, while it was good in a few match-ups, I eventually replaced them with Hench-Clan Thug since they were bigger threats and more consistent in general.
To understand how to play this deck you'll need a deeper understanding of the concept behind it first. What you'll immediately notice first are an abundance of 3-drops. I have so many because that's the turn Rogues never want to miss. Skipping turn 1 is pretty normal and isn't so bad since hero power on turn 2 will normally get you back the board, you'll want to carry the tempo your hero power gives you into turn 3 though so you can develop your board while keeping theirs clean. The 3-drops you don't mind playing on turn 3 by themselves are Hench-Clan Thug, Blink Fox, SN1P-SN4P, Necrium Blade, and SI:7 Agent; if you're on the coin, then you can play a 3-drop on turn 2 and turn 3 and control the board with Backstab and Vendetta if it's active.
When I create decks, I tend to focus on two things in general: ladder effectiveness and consistency. My choice of Hench-Clan Thug reflects ladder effectiveness; although Underbelly Fence was great against decks like Quest Shaman, Zoolock, and Aggro Warrior, they were already good match-ups to begin with so I'd rather shore up my weaker ones like Quest Druid and Control Warrior. It's a different concept vs tournament decks that will normally target certain decks in particular because that makes sense for tournaments. I play purely ladder though so I want to have as much of a fighting chance against everything. Also, you won't always draw an activator for the Fence either which means it was a dead card at times. Consistency for me means I'll run as many copies of a card as I possibly can so I have the most chances of drawing it. Especially for Rogue lists, you'll see a lot of decks running single copies of non-legendary cards since it helps them answer all scenarios. My mentality though is that if it's good enough to run one copy of, then I should be able to run two copies instead.
The tempo package should be self-explanatory to most people familiar with Rogue, so I'll only touch on the deathrattle package instead. Some people will try to go heavy on the deathrattles and put all kinds of wonky stuff like Anka, the Buried, Necrium Vial, and Myra Rotspring. I think that makes the list strictly worse. You always have to go for broken stuff in Standard so short of SN1P-SN4P and possibly Octosari, no other deathrattle card is really that good for Rogue. Blightnozzle Crawler and Mechanical Whelp are there, but that's because the upside with the blade was so high. So even if it's a deathrattle deck, I really only put a few deathrattles because putting any more will really just make my average draw weaker since I normally wouldn't want to play most deathrattle cards in Rogue without the blade.
Use this as a general guide, but it will really depend on every situation so don't be afraid to deviate if you can see a good curve.
- Backstab against aggro
- Vendetta if you have an activator
- EVIL Miscreant, SI:7 Agent, and Edwin VanCleef if you're on the coin
- Hench-Clan Thug if you're going first
- Blightnozzle Crawler if you have the blade
- Mechanical Whelp if you're on the coin and have the blade
I'll admit that I don't have stats recorded during my climb, so most of my commentary below is based on what I can recall.
- Druid - Unfavored; you'll need to try and flood the board early to pressure the druid while they're setting up the quest. Mulligan hard for Hench-Clan Thug if you're going first, and try to have two 3-drops if you're going second. Even then you'll probably need to curve into Necrium Blade and Mechanical Whelp to push enough damage for lethal. This is one of the hardest match-ups so don't feel too bad about losing this.
- Hunter - Favored; the only tip I can give is that it's often correct to just keep pushing face while clearing their minions without attacking them if they have a secret up. You don't want to have to deal with Snake Trap, and you can often outrace them while clearing through spells and SI:7.
- Mage - Favored; other than them getting a godly draw, you won't really have problems killing them before they get to set-up. Thanks to Vendetta, you can also clear their giant pretty efficiently if they play it without Conjurer's Calling. Whelps are good protection against their board clears as well since it creates a threat when they try to damage your board.
- Paladin - Unfavored vs OTK and Favored against everything else; for Murloc you'll lose to a Tip the Scales on turn 3 or 4 (though my gatekeeper to legend actually did get that off and still lost to me), but if they play fair then you can clear their stuff easily. Keep pushing damage when you can since you only have a limited number of turns before their power spike. You should manage to kill them in time most matches though. OTK Pally should generally wreck you as you're a little too slow and they're built to deal with board centric decks. Try to make it awkward for them to clear by keeping a whelp with deathrattle in play and you might stand a chance.
- Priest - Favored; Sap is your best card in this match-up so save it until you really need it. Try to establish a board and use your resources wisely. They have a silence, but you have a lot of deathrattles (+ Edwin). The blade into Blightnozzle Crawler combo will really pay dividends here, and you'll have a lot of ways to deal with a single big minion. They'll be able to draw a lot more than you however, so don't waste your removal. In general I only lose when they highroll and draw two [Hearthstone Card (Northshire Clerics) Not Found] early.
- Rogue - Even; it's honestly very draw dependent, but I seem to come out on top more often than not. Ziliax wrecks them and the blade lines up nicely against their minions. If you can get your tempo thief cards then you can really snowball a lead - you're very reliant on drawing Hench-Clan Burglar however since Blink Fox doesn't work. Prioritize defense when your life is high enough so they can't put you into burst range.
- Shaman - Favored; just the hero power dagger can get you the board early in most cases and you should have no problem continuously pushing damage while clearing their minions. On even draws you shouldn't have a problem with them and Shamans contributed to most of my climb.
- Warlock - Favored; your tempo removal does wonders for you here and Zoos will rarely be able to set-up a board against you as long as you can get average draws. Keep the board clear and eventually you'll be able to push with your minions while you starve them out of resources. Just be careful of the EVIL Recruiter in this match-up since that's generally how they win. If you can't always clear the lackeys, at least save a Sap for the 5/5.
- Warrior - Unfavored against control, Favored against aggro. Control Warrior will always be the counter to any type of Rogue (except Quest Rogue with Tess + Togwaggle's Scheme), but this actually does better against them compared to most other Rogue lists. Your best card against control is the Whelp since getting an additional 7/7 off the blade not only puts pressure on them, but it also makes it difficult for them to clear the board cleanly. Not only that, but the Whelp is also immune to Dyn-o-matic which is pretty huge. Regardless, they still have enough tools to deal with everything so unless you get off to a blazing start that they can't deal with, they'll typically win. Aggro is pretty easy, between all your efficient removal, this shouldn't be much of an issue for you.
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