Bottom Line Up Front, or TLDR, is this deck good or just 'fun' ? (revised for Tick Tech on 4/26):
Tick Tech is competitive. Control Warlock decks rarely do well against aggro, but the shell this based on is competitive across all classes, with exception of Warlock itself, and my changes attempt to resolve that.
The question I asked that led to this build was "How can I improve the competitiveness of a Tickatus Control deck across all classes?" The goal is to be even or better odds vs. all classes, not necessarily the best overall win rate. However, achieving this (or even just vs 8-9 of the 10 classes) would make for a far more even and likely enjoyable piloting experience.
This build has a nearly full heal/removal package (missing only Armor Vendors). It also features singletons of several tech cards, which together, give tools to deal with almost anything an opponent can throw at you, except secrets, which require the usual tactics to test and play around.
Will update this periodically as the meta continues to shift and players of the list continue to improve their experience and win rates with it. Would love to hear player's good war stories in the comments!
Prefer Wild? Check this out:
Guide and article here.
||Ability (5)||Playable Hero (1)|
Behold the PowerOfCheez! This is my latest take on Tickatus Control. Tickatus builds that keep you in the game early give you a chance in most matchups (dominating Priest). Tickatus is one of the few reliable cards against other control decks, especially those which rely too heavily on C'Thun, the Shattered.
Tech choices and play tips:
This is a card many Tickatus Control lists leave out. I found the mirrors (and to a lesser degree, games vs. other class' control builds) really need it to win in the late game.
In matchups against Warlock and Priest, it is really important not to play this too early. The three Primes you get into your deck against Warlock will become either bricks that slow you getting to other key cards or become food for the enemy Tickatus, which is only good situationally.
Against Priest, you can play him early, but have to kill him the turn played, or they can Soul Mirror it and you lose the edge it provides, and worse, they can then rez him back to out-edge you. A frequent play of mine is to play him then Hysteria an opponent's minion to clear the board, load my deck, and often, use two remaining mana for Lord Jaraxxus' hero power.
Ironbeak Owl is in this list in place of the second Acidic Swamp Ooze, so, if you do not like it, that would be the card to sub in for it. The owl gives you a key tool against enchantments (Paladin, Priest and sometimes Warrior and Hunter), Taunts, Deathrattles (like opponent's Taelan Fordrings used in several classes to protect a win con from Tickatus), and end of turn effects, etc.
Helps against the several classes which run weapons... Hunter, Demon Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warrior and Warlock all run them. I have seen Mage and Priest running Sphere of Sapience occasionally, also. Have even had occasion to use this against a Priest who got a copy of my Lord Jaraxxus.
Shadow Hunter Vol'jin is tech similar to the Ironbeak Owl, but with the added twist of being able to bounce your own cards situationally, when your hand is right. Can enable a third Tickatus play via bouncing him, or a second Y'Shaarj, the Defiler. Edge cases, but still valuable.
More commonly, its important use is for its Dirty Rat effect, which can force important cards out of your opponent's hand before they get to play them for their Battlecry. This can be crucial, as their hand is the only place safe from Tickatus, and this list has tons of removal and life gain to let you take it out soon after.
This builds run both. Soul Shear can net you one additional life over the course of a game (if you don't burn a Soul Fragment than Drain Soul. The price is that the gain is later, and random; that is actually a good thing if you are at full life when you cast it, as you store the gain for when you aren't (hopefully).
Note, in some matchups, and when I have a well curved hand with Spirit Jailer and/or either/both of these two removal cards, I often elect to use The Coin to hero power on turn one. It is important to get to the win cons, and because we do not want Soul Fragments or Lifesteal to be wasted, taking two damage and drawing on turn one can be a good move with this list, as long as you can remove an enemy drop on turn 2 (and, if you do not have to, even better to draw again).
Mulligan Guide (in development)
In general, you really want the affordable stuff first, and, in non-aggro matchups, Tickatus (best if you have some other early plays with it, but a keep against the mirror always, as may be Lord Jaraxxus). Taelon Fordring can be a good keep if you have 2-3 other early plays.
Will try to get some matchup specific stuff in here if stats become available.
Baseline Matchup Stats (from usual Control Warlock shell)
Here is a free external link to the HSReplay matchup percentages for an established list that much of the card shell comes from (a high win rate Standard Control Warlock build).
The link in this spoiler (to the deck the shell comes from) should provide more useful baseline data to analyze likely win rates (approximately) against specific deck archetypes. To get archetype specific matchup %s for Tick Tech will require many more games before we get that variety of info.
Would love to field any questions, hear your suggestions or comments. Until next time, (in a James Earl Jones voiceover) "Aaaah, the PowerOfCheez!"
Appendix Spoilers (Deeper Dive stuff, not needed to play):
How do I approach deck building and guide creation?
I always start a new deck with a question and try to answer it. 1.0/2.0 asked and attempted to answer "How do I build and play to most consistently maximize accelerating a Corrupt Tickatus into play?" While those were failures at being competitive, they taught me which cards were really best to achieve improvement toward that goal, and which were too marginal.
It is not always the success of the deck you build (to start) that is as important as what is learned by how you answer whatever question(s) you ask, and how the process informs your future play and build refinements, to improve both. 1.0/2.0 were great examples of taking what is learned from failure to move toward success.
This process has been evident in writing here. Given several positive comments about the quality of the guide (if not the 1.0 and 2.0 decks, lol), I felt like the early effort was rewarded enough to continue the work. I hope the rewards are enhanced now that I have applied the best of what was learned from 1.0 and 2.0 failures and successes to a refined 3.0 build.
This approach drives my building, play choices, and guide writing, not always what will get me to Legend fastest. Experienced players already know most (and more) of this stuff, but illustrating this creative deck building process may help newer or more casual players with how they think when playing other lists or building their own.
I am experienced (over 10,000 wins on the North American server alone, more on the other two), and the 1.0 and 2.0 decks taught me several things, especially about an odd interaction I describe in the guide (which I still have some questions about). 3.0 attempts to harvest just the essential core parts of ramping Tickatus out and slowing the opponent, while reclaiming much of the sustainment of the more standard Control Warlock build.
This is the evolution of how/why I put effort into a guide for a what started as a 'fun' experimental deck, but continued working with it to see if it can become competitive. I thank you if you do read it (or re-read it with the extensive changes), maybe play with the latest version and comment with this context (and thoughts about the post-nerf meta that may impact a 4.0) in mind.
Until then, if you read the guide, hope to see you in the comments!
List Development History:
After a brief experiment with Southsea Scoundrel, reverting to a teched version of the more established proven list. Tech cards in this build give you some answers against almost every threat. Aggro will still be our worst enemy, but the deck does have removal and life gain enough to bring the odds to a little better than even, something a lot of Ticklock decks can not say.
Adding a recent summary of the stats with (3.0) Claws of Tickatus here now that I am trying out 4.0 to try something new. The stats at 2300 games follow:
In 3.0 (Claws of Tickatus) I targeted a 54% overall win rate. As various meta shifts occurred and people learned the deck, it did rise to a 54.95 win rate (4/19) but fell back to 51.42% on 4/20 and has a lifetime 50.5% win rate at 2300 games. It murdered Priest (83.2%) as Control Warlock tends to. Great against Warrior (68.1%). It did very well in the near mirrors against Warlock (58.9%, or 56.4% vs the most played build) as its tech would be expected to give it an advantage there. It broke even against No Minion Mage (51.6%) though was only 47.8% vs. Mage overall. It was sub-par against Paladin (44%), Rogue (43.3%), Shaman (41.8%) and Demon Hunter (40.4%). Hunter (29.7%, as low as 19% vs. some builds) absolutely destroyed Claws of Tickatus.
List History: Posted the alpha version of this deck at mid-Gold near the end of a fun run with it from Bronze 10 to Gold 2 over two days. Never dreamed it would make front page at that stage, while the deck was still in its experimental genesis stages (Thank you, mates!). Once it was getting tons of views, added full transparency up front (as stated many times in comments and once near the end of the guide), 1.0/2.0 was NOT a competitive deck in the current meta above Gold. The intent was to continue work to refine it and update this along the way.
I finally saw some stats (renewed my stat tracker), and 1.0 was only about 42% win rate (33 vs. Lunacy mage) in @550 games. Made a few changes, and 2.0 gained a point or two, but still abysmal. So I had posted that, until the nerf, play 2.0 only in Bronze thru mid-Gold, in casual or at rank floors after Gold 5 and that I would re-evaluate after the nerfs and keep refining the deck.
I decided not to waste this space on Hearthpwn for that long and to improve this from 'fun' to competitive before the nerf. I did the stat research and after looking at the data (which I had NOT, initially), made extensive changes for 3.0. This list reverts very closely to the standard Control Warlock shell that features Soulciologist Malicia and her support, with only minimal and targeted changes (four cards required to accelerate playing Corrupt Tickatus and two to slow the opponent).
Gone are the wide range of experimental cards which proved marginal or worse at fulfilling the intent of the experiments (see next spoiler). The greed has been greatly reduced, the goal, focused in on. This deck plays much better.
Most recently, Watch Post Tickatus was renamed Claws of Tickatus, shifting the emphasis to the Claw Machines, and in anticipation that the big nerf of Far Watch Post will cause it to need replaced. Personally, I think a better nerf would have been to have it only increase the cost of spells drawn by 1, instead of all draws by 1, as lowering its health to 3 just completely thwarts any cumulative effect by making it so easy to kill. Restricting it to spells would have weakened it a LOT against most aggro, but left it as a good tech card against spell heavy decks.