Dreadmaker's Spellsword Rogue

Update: March 24, 2014:

So, I did some fairly major playing around with this deck over the weekend and some innovating with it, And after changing out a lot of it and experimenting, I've come up with a deck that is different enough that it merits its own deck topic. So, if you like this deck, and it's been helpful to you, head on over to my new one and tell me what you think!

http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/39938-dreadmakers-nightblade-rogue

Alternately, here's a link directly to my overview video for the new deck!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TucW9lRE9tg

Thank you all so much for your support!

Update: March 23, 2014:

This makes me really quite sad to do. But:

- 1 Malygos

+ 1 Ragnaros the Firelord

Even though it's the theme of the deck and all, Malygos just isn't consistent. Wins with him are probably some of the most fun I've ever had in hearthstone, but it's rare that he sticks around long enough to have an effect. In the end, Ragnaros is just more consistent, and has an immediate effect on the board when played; most of the other cards in the deck are like that, and so it only makes sense for its legendary component to play the same.

Update: March 21, 2014:

New video! This is just another laddering session, featuring the change to the Big Game Hunter. Moreover, I also made another change after the first game, just to try it out. But, since I'm not fully committed to it yet, it's a secret! You'll have to watch to find out!

I also tried to may some attention to questions people were asking - how to mulligan, for instance. If you have questions for me about strategy and that sort of thing, go ahead and ask in the comments here or on the video, and I'll be happy to answer them in my next video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvQnCKc7C-E

Update: March 20, 2014:

Deck Changes:

- 1 Violet Teacher

+ 1 Big Game Hunter

The violet teacher was a good idea, but in practice, it just wasn't equaling game-changing effectiveness. Tonight, on a whim, I gave the BGH a try, and I'm thrilled with it. Perhaps it was just the matchups I had, but in matches I had traditionally had difficulty with, like handlocks and control warriors, this has made the difference. Tonight, I played against three different control warriors and a handlock (foolishly off-camera! d'oh!) and beat them all, and in every game, the BGH played a significant role in the victory. So, for now, my deck list is semi-permanent; there are no immediate other weirdnesses to address. More videos to come soon!

Other news:

Hearthpwn featured this deck in a deck spotlight! Site admins, thank you so much!

 

Update: March 19, 2014:

Deck Changes:

+ 2 Acidic Swamp Ooze

- 2 Faerie Dragon

Well, those were short lived! I didn't get rid of the Faerie dragons because they were underperforming - rather, I think in the current meta, the Ooze is just the better choice. Warriors and Hunters are very, very popular, and both rely to an extent on weapons to make their rush strategies work. I've included a more detailed reasoning for the inclusion in the larger description below, which has been updated.

Other news: I've made a new video of me laddering with this deck, which reflects the new changes. I also tried switching out the Violet Teacher for an Abomination during that run, but it underperformed quite a bit, and so I won't be sticking with the change.

Videos:

I will be *semi*-frequently be posting videos of me laddering with this deck and trying out different combinations to see if we can improve it. I've just posted a new one, right here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXhGqNuB_Oo

In future, I'll post new video links at the top of this post, like this, rather than collecting them all at the bottom. As always, though, the fastest way to get new content about this deck is to head over to my youtube channel and subscribe!

https://www.youtube.com/user/dreadmaker

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Update: March 17, 2014:

Deck Changes:

+ 2 Faerie Dragon

- 2 Shiv

Why the change? One of the worst things about this deck as it stands is early-game consistency. If it can go into mid game at no disadvantage, it's strong, but sometimes, it had trouble getting there. So, to remedy this, I've swapped out 2 shivs for 2 faerie dragons. My hope is that this change will make more a more manageable and consistent early game, and so far, in my limited testing of the changes, it has. Also, I've updated the explanation below to reflect the change!

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Update: March 16th, 2014:

Added 2 videos to the end of the explanation; hurray for verbal tl;dr! The first is a deck overview, the second is a longer video with me laddering with the deck.

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First off: This deck has about a 65-75% win rate in and around rank 10; my win rate is quite positive at the moment, and so it will see some testing at higher levels soon enough!

 

Premise: This deck was made as a means of trying to fight back against the current meta. In my experience, it does reasonably well against most things, but doesn't specialize against anything in particular. With a good draw, it's quite good against aggro (bloodmage + fan of knives will ruin most aggro decks handily) and it has a lot of excellent removal that scales well into the late game because of all of the spell damage. It can play fast if you get a good draw, and it can also play slow if you're in a control war. I think this deck works as a strong counter to a lot of popular meta decks at the moment, and more importantly, is really, really fun to play!

 

Basic strategy: There's no one strategy. This is a deck that is reactive to the meta, and so you should play reactive to your opponent. Facing aggro? Hoard up your spells and control like crazy. You have a ton of early removal for exactly this purpose, and because there are a good deal of card draw mechanics in there as well, you'll likely still have a hand when the aggro deck runs out of steam, and you can just take it from there. Against control? Aggressively put down creatures in the early game and control them right back. Don't be afraid to use your weapons on the hero, although I do like to save my perdition's blade and si:7 combos for clearing the board. The real trick to playing this deck well is in understanding when to use removal and when not to. Once you have that idea down (for the different sort of decks you face, because it definitely changes), you'll do well.

 

Card explanation:

Backstab: This one's obvious, but is worth noting that it's good to play along with Thalnos or even larger spellpower creatures later in the game to get it to hit for 3 or more, rather than just the 2.

Argent Squire: Nice, sticky 1 drop. Hard to remove immediately, and combos very well with the Blood Knight.

Bloodmage Thalnos: Wonderful card for a deck like this. They drop a tazdingo on the table? Thalnos + eviscerate and continue on with your life. You should never play this card on its own as a minion; play it instead as surprise spell damage. The bonus is the card draw; if you don't have this guy, a Kobold Geomancer would serve the same purpose; he's just generally better in what we want him for in this deck.

Eviscerate: such amazing removal, particularly with spell damage. with even one spell damage on the board, a tazdingo or a fire elemental is gone for 2 mana. Excellent value, and very versatile.

Sap: I chose sap over Assassinate. Why? It's much cheaper for essentially the same effect, as well as being more versatile. Against a handlock, it's true, you really do want the assassinate. But I just find that most of the time, forcing an expensive card back to their hand cuts their tempo way down, forces them to make tough choices next turn, and can remove more than one card at a time if you plan it well. Druid just double innervated out a yeti? No problem. Sap it! it doesn't even get to attack, and you wasted both innervates for 2 mana and killed early-game tempo advantage. Paladin just got silly and put blessings on a creature the same turn they played him? back to the hand. Big fat taunt minion (I'm looking at you, tirion) getting in the way of lethal or close to lethal? You get a turn of free board control. To me, assassinate is useful, but this is much more versatile.

Acidic Swamp Ooze: Hunter rush decks are everywhere these days. Everywhere. One of the primary ways in which hunter rush tends to kill you very quickly is by equipping an Eaglehorn Bow and using secrets to extend the duration and hit you for a lot of damage over time. This card is a solid 2-drop minion that can easily trade up, but it can also occasionally provide much, much more value. And, far from only being effective against hunters, it is very effective against warriors (both control and aggro), Paladins (EVERY paladin runs 2 truesilvers) and to a lesser extent, rogues and shamans. The 2-drop minion slot is always a tough competition in every deck, because there are so many comparable and equitable choices; however, I feel that in the current meta, for this deck, this one will work the best. I'm still actively testing this out, though, and so it's definitely subject to change.

Blood Knight: This is a weird one. I have it in here for two reasons. First: the more 'sticky' minions of this deck are scarlet crusaders and argent squires, both of which have divine shields. Also, in basically all rush decks these days, for the same reason we have argent squires, they do too. There is nothing that slaughters an early game rush worse than coining out a turn two 9/9, if you both had turn 1 squires. It is both an adaptation to the meta of everyone loving squires at the moment, as well as a nice little combo to get out an early huge threat by using only your own cards.

Fan of Knives: Anti-aggro heaven. Any additional spellpower is amazing with this, and it's another card in hand. If there's anything that beats aggro, it's AoE and card draw, and this is all of it rolled into one. Even against control, if it's hitting 2 creatures for 2 damage (if any spellpower is on the board) and drawing a card, you can think of it as a more efficient forked lightning, multi-shot, or cleave, with the added bonus of not being limited to 2 creatures!

Headcrack: This is your insurance against big taunts or anything of the kind. Rather than daggers, your hero power becomes an upgraded steady shot. if you have any spellpower, it's amazing, and you can use it to provide a constant, non-removable threat throughout the game. Just add Malygos, and this thing becomes your win condition. Why not two? Because you just don't need it. 3 spare mana per turn is already a good chunk for something that doesn't affect the board (note: only use it with SPARE mana; do not sacrifice board control to use it!), and 6 is ridiculous. It keeps coming back; you don't need more than one.

Perdition's Blade: Why Perdition's over Assassin's? It's a matter of taste. But in my opinion, this allows for much better combat against aggro and still excellent general control. You can get it out much earlier (indeed, if you really need to, you can coin it on turn 2!), it is guaranteed to do damage immediately, and it's less likely to have lost value if someone oozes it - if you use it properly, they only get rid of 2 potential damage, instead of 9 from the Assassin's blade. You want to use it like you would use an SI:7 agent - do your best to make the battlecry kill something, rather than just hit the enemy hero or ding something you can't kill. This card can easily be 3 for 1; try to get the most value out of it!

Scarlet Crusader: This is the same deal as the argent squire. Sticky minion, good value, and synergizes nicely with the blood knight.

SI:7 Agent: So much value. This card will typically go 2 for 1, if not better. Always try to be smart about its battlecry, and do your best to not play it without using it. The deck has enough low level spells that comboing isn't too hard. If you have to use it without, though, don't be afraid to; just be smart with it.

Ogre Magi: 4/4 for 4 with +spellpower? That's exactly the sort of thing this deck wants. Fine value on its own with a little bonus that makes all of your spells amazing.

Big Game Hunter: This is our defense against late-game control decks, and it works wonderfully. Without this card, games against decks like the handlock and the control warrior are generally quite close; with it, I've found that it tends to tip the scales in our favor. If you notice that you're playing against aggro, or something that doesn't tend to have big cards, it's not a dead drop, either - it's a 4/2 for three, which certainly passes the vanilla test, and remains useful as a minion even without its battlecry.

Azure Drake: Doesn't need much explanation; card draw and spell power and a 4/4 body. What more is there to say?

Gadgetzan Auctioneer: This isn't a miracle rogue deck, and you aren't trying to draw into combos. That said, card draw is obviously still very important, and having this guy in there will make your card draw go nuts for the turns he's alive. He, much like the teacher, will draw all sorts of removal, which is almost always something you want. If you get even one card with him, he's essentially recovered his value, so anything else is a bonus, and drawing any hard removal is a huge plus.

Malygos: The big guy. The funny thing about Malygos is that it's often a win-more card, rather than a game-changer. He will immediately draw removal, as you'd expect, but you have enough scary looking minions lower down that often you'll have drawn out your opponent's removals already. Moreover, Rogues don't tend to run huge minions like this, so people are happier to poly/hex/siphon the auctioneer, for instance, or even a drake, rather than holding them for this. It's inefficient, as any 9 mana card is, because you can rarely make use of him immediately (except, perhaps, with a 7 damage backstab). However, if he stays out for even a turn, you win. Headcrack now hits for 7, eviscerate 9, shiv 6, fan of knives 6 to everything. It's obscene. And that's assuming that you have no other spellpower on the board. Because of what I've said here and how the deck is set up, as you might be able to guess, he doesn't really have a replacement; there's no good sub-in for 5 extra spell damage. Ancient mage just generally is sub-standard, but might be something; I'd be more inclined to do something like Rag, an ogre, or an argent commander, or something to that effect.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I'll try to answer them. This is a really fun deck to play, outside of being fairly effective, and so I hope that you use it and enjoy it!

 

Video Explanation:

 Putting the deck through its paces: