A [Super] Extensive Guide to Post-GvG Control Warrior
I recently saw a post about how there were no good post-GvG control warrior guides. There are plenty of decklists, but decklists are really only helpful if you know how to play them.
I'm no professional by any means, but I've played the game since beta and seeing as I hit legend fairly recently with a control warrior deck, I thought I might be able to provide some insight as to how to direct your thought process when playing control warrior competitively in today's meta.
Although I made this deck myself from scratch, after three revisions, it ended up pretty similar to Sjow's deck (-1 Brawl, -1 Shieldmaiden; +1 Gorehowl, +1 Shield Block).
Proof of Legend:
Yes, that game was a mirror match that went to double fatigue and I won with no cards and an activated grommash on his board x)
Disclaimer: Because of the length and depth of this guide, I won't be going over card replacements. You can find suggestions for card replacements on pretty much any other control warrior guide, but honestly, legendaries are legendary because they have a unique effect that can't be replicated. Ie: sure, you can replace Harrison Jones with an Acidic Swamp Ooze, but it's honestly not going to have the same effect. Sorry to say, but control warrior is pretty much the most expensive deck out there for a reason and isn't going to be played to its fullest potential with budget replacements. In addition, a lot of my card choices were made because they work well as a whole, which is how effective decks are made. If I were to change one card, or even the quantity of a card, it would change a lot more than that single card alone.
On with the guide!
=====YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. THIS IS SUPER LONG.=====
1. General Advice
2. Card Choices and Explanations
3. Winrate vs Each Matchup
4. Mulligan Tips and Matchup Strategies
1) General Advice
- Advice #1: If you want to make it into legend, you ABSOLUTELY MUST be able to predict your opponent's next 1 (if not 2) plays. It is simply not enough to know your own deck well; you must know your opponent's deck (at least the popular ones) well enough to know: if I play CardA, he will respond with Card1; if I play CardB, he will probably play Card2 or Card3 and make the best possible choice based on how efficiently you can respond to Cards 1, 2, or 3. This is the most important skill that any player who wishes to improve must learn, and is applicable no matter what deck you play. Personally, control warrior, hunter, handlock, and zoolock were my most frequent matchups, so I learned those matchups like the back of my hand. I still have no idea what goes on in a Mech Token Druid or AggroMage deck, but the occurrence was infrequent enough (or the winrate high enough) that it didn't matter too much. Adjust according to the meta winrates you face.
- Advice #2: Turn off any distractions that prevent you from following Advice #1 to its fullest extent. Believe it or not, doing facebook or watching a movie while playing the game will cause you to miss important details and/or make you burn closer to the end of the rope than you need to. If you are serious about playing at a high level and are bad at multitasking like me, do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time to think about (and do math for) every possible scenario. Think of every time you missed an opportunity to remove something more efficiently (rather than just for missing lethal) as a game that you just potentially threw away (butterfly effect, mang). Learn from your mistakes and don't make the same mistake twice (that mistake can simply be the fact that you tried to multitask!)
- Advice #3: Card Advantage must seen for its opportunistic cost. You don't necessarily need more cards if you know you have plenty of removal options already, in which case developing a stronger board may be a better option. Obviously, against aggro decks, you are doing pretty much anything you can to stay alive until the late game, but in control matchups, you want to remove their threats as efficiently as possible. Sure, you can spend that shield slam on his twilight drake, but what if he drops mountain giant the next turn? You should probably have traded your minions instead. Of course you can burn your death's bite 2nd charge this turn, but if he drops a big minion, is it worth spending another whirlwind or cruel taskmaster just so I can execute it? As the definition of a control deck, you always want to have plenty of responses or removal options to your opponent's plays.
- Advice #4: Always attack before you armor up / shield block / shieldmaiden. Because of shield slams and alexstrasza, shield is much more important than health for control warriors and can make a huge difference. This is kind of a given when playing control warrior, but I also wanted to mention it in order to note that this whole concept was made slightly less important due to the addition of another big shield source (shieldmaiden). This means you don't have to go quite as far out of your way to do this as you might have prior GvG (ie: if you remove more stuff/efficiently by attacking after your shield gain, then it is now more likely to be the correct play).
- Advice #5: Use a deck tracker (https://github.com/Epix37/Hearthstone-Deck-Tracker/releases). For crying out loud, it's the year 2014 (soon to be 2015). If you're still stuck using your trackball mouse, it's time to step up the competition. On a serious note, keep track of which removals you have left and play accordingly. For example, if you've used both shield slams already, your armor count loses value (along with your shield block and shieldmaiden), so equip that gorehowl and get start hacking! Conversely, if you've blown both your executes, your whirlwinds and whirlwind effects lose value, (to a lesser extent, due to armorsmiths and acolytes) so take that into consideration when considering how you should deal that one extra damage.
- Advice #6: As tempting/fun/funny as it can be to do a YOLO play, try to make the most reliable play, or least have a backup plan in case your YOLO fails (ie: if sylvanas steals the wrong minion, you can still remove the other minion with the weapon in your hand). Watching streamers like Amaz might lead you to the misconception that Ragnaros will hit the 1 out of 6 targets that you want it to, but from reading this post, you will quickly come to realize how much of a pagan rebel I am to RNGsus (note the lack of Brawl in my decklist) and how much RNGsus hates me right back. Ie: I have almost only played Rag into situations where the chance to hit a desirable target was at least 50%, and if I still hit legend then so can you! If you have harnessed the power of the Amaz-Rag the last three games you played him, then congratulations, but it still probably wasn't the most right play. Just imagine that you're playing high stakes poker and you'll learn to rely more on realistic probabilities rather than YOLOs.
- Advice #7: I advise playing as much as you can in one sitting so long as you are not affected by tilt or fatigue (physically or mentally). This is because the longer you play in one sitting, the more likely you are to face the same opponent again. The step beyond knowing your opponent's deck is knowing his tech choices. It can be incredibly helpful to make a mental note that PlayerA does not run Jaraxxus in his deck, therefore simply playing Harrison Jones as a 5/4 body should be a more of a consideration in this matchup. Above rank 3, I also began jotting down the names of handlock players I came across to help me mulligan more appropriately, which certainly played a factor in my awesome winrate against them.
- Advice #8: Enjoy the game! That's what games are for, after all, and if you're sick of playing the game/deck you are more apt to make play mistakes (for example: going all-in or playing greedy to try to win faster, when it's less risky to play the long/safe game). If that's the case, switch to a deck that is more enjoyable for you, or play a few games of casual/arena and then come back when you're having fun again! Another tip to have fun is learning to accept that Aggro decks will always exist and that you can only have such a great winrate against them (before weakening your other matchups). Just try to tech for what is most common and is likely to net you a positive win ratio in the majority of matchups.
2) Card Choices
2 Shield Slam
2 Fiery War Axe
2 Cruel Taskmaster
2 Acolyte of Pain
2 Death's Bite - It is essential to know how the order of deathrattles work when playing this card. Deathrattles work in the order of the cards played, meaning you will only clear the spectral spiders with your deathrattle if your death's bite was played after their haunted creeper was played. Expecting a board clear and ending up with two 1/1s can be a big enough tempo difference to cost the game at times.
2 Sludge Belcher - As long as there is aggro, there is a need for belchers. Great turn 7+ play with armorsmith (guaranteed 2+ armor) against any matchup that relies on weapons/minions for removal.
1 Sylvanas Windrunner - If you manage to play her against aggro, she can often end up in a 3-for-1 (kill 2, steal 1). Against control decks however, I often played this on turn 7+ and immediately shield slammed it to ensure that it steals a key minion. Getting great value out of the mind control is usually more important than swinging once for 5 damage, even if it costs one of your best removals to do it (think of it as using a shield slam on the enemy rag but also playing a second copy of your own rag in the process--so much value). Also, please read about the order of deathrattles in the note for death's bite, especially when you and your opponent each have a sylvanas on board.
1 Baron Geddon - Great for most of the minions that hunter puts out (including savannah highmane's leftovers), shaman totems, etc etc. In control matchups, it can be used to create awkward situations for your opponent to bait removal (BGH, shadow word: death) to protect your bigger, badder minions (such as ragnaros)
1 Dr. Boom - You might have noticed this card being included in many decks lately (control and aggro alike) because it's just that damn good. Even though RNGsus hates me and rolls 1 dmg and wrong targetting for the bombs 60% of the time, this card is one of the hardest cards to deal with efficiently in the game. Also, works as a removal soak for your other minions with its 7/7 body. My second craft post-GvG (after vol'jin because of my inexplicable priest fetish and persistence in trying to make it work every season).
1 Grommash Hellscream - No explanation needed here
1 Ragnaros the Firelord - I absolutely hate this card. I think I can count the number of times that rag has done something I actually wanted him to do on my two hands (in the history of my hearthstone gameplay). Literally, like 50% chance scenarios--important minion vs face--and he goes face everytime. He has lost me a lot of games, but there simply isn't another card that can really replace his immediate huge effect and snowball potential. If RNGsus hates your pagan guts as much as he does mine, try to create situations where it doesn't matter what he hits, or in the mirror match, use it on an empty board to start chipping away his armor.
1 Alexstrasza - Lifesaver against aggro; finisher against control. Against control, try to only play this when you have grommash+activator in hand, or some other means to kill them relatively soon after (for example: playing offensive alexstrasza onto an open board with gorehowl in your hand means next turn: 8+7=15)
Controversial Cards (and an in-depth explanation as to why I included each card):
2 Whirlwind: One of my MVP cards this season. I'm not sure why I never tried more than one whirlwind before. Probably because I wanted to include more fat legendaries (Isn't that why everyone plays control warrior? =P)? At any rate, running two whirlwinds has drastically improved my winrate vs aggro decks. At the same time, if whirlwind is played correctly, it honestly doesn't hurt your winrate vs control decks either.
Example uses of whirlwind:
- Drawing from acolyte(s) - Now you don't have to wait until turn 5 to acolyte+cruel taskmaster in those control matchups! Also, you can drop two acolytes on turn 7 and whirlwind as well.
- Armor from armorsmith - Obviously, gaining armor to shield slam a key minion is a great play. But the deciding factor in a lot of games vs aggro is knowing when to whirlwind your armorsmith/other minions. For example, netting 1 to 2 armor while putting your armorsmith in the 3 damage range (when they have 3 atk minions, eaglehorn, darkbomb, the list goes on...) is making things extremely convenient for your opponent.
- Activating grommash - A surprise 10 dmg grommash on turn 9 instead of 10 can be HUGE, not to mention the additional 1 dmg to minions from whirlwind itself. Whirlwind+grommash can also be played on turn 10 along with execute to remove whatever is in the way, which won me several games when my opponents felt safe behind their taunted molten giant.
- Cleanup 1 health minions that aren't worth your weapon durability - muster for battle (since it's every paladin's new favorite card), webspinner, haunted creeper (spectral spiders), leper gnome, loot hoarder, harvest golem (damaged golem), clockwork gnome. Arguably one of the best ways to deal with Dr. Boom is whirlwind+execute.
- In combination with death's bite's deathrattle, 2 damage nuke to all minions.
- Clearing one or multiple annoy-o-shields at once
- Saving your taskmaster - Taskmaster is often used to make a big target executable, or to deal that one extra point of damage to finish off a minion, but often times it's a better play to not waste the taskmaster's +2 attack. Choosing between whirlwind and taskmaster on any given play means knowing when you need to leave a 2/2 body and when the +2 attack will be more useful later on.
2 Armorsmith: Some people opt for 1 armorsmith due to the addition of shieldmaiden, but I prefer more early game and more useful big drops over shieldmaiden. Armorsmith is still great in the early game against hunter, and even zoolock often lacks the means to kill it card for card. Almost always play this on an empty board before cruel taskmaster, so you have the option of turning it into a 3/3 and trading it for something they expected to stay alive, gaining 2+ armor in the process. As mentioned above, a great turn 7 play is sludge belcher + armorsmith because of the guaranteed 2+ armor.
2 Shield Block: Some people opt for 1 shield block due to the addition of shieldmaiden, but I prefer the card draw and low mana cost of shield block. A lot of the times, turn 4 shield block + shield slam is essential for killing that animal companion or mountain giant. Even in the late game, the card draw gives you a chance to draw more options rather than just playing a 5/5 for 6 mana. The key thing to note with the addition of shieldmaiden, however, is that now you have more than 2 cards that give you 5 armor, so shield block can be used in the early game for lifegain+carddraw rather than having to hold onto it. In other words, if I have nothing else to play on turn 3, I might just shield block (whereas before I would've saved it and armor up'd instead), and that 3 life difference + card draw can give you a much better chance against aggro and control decks alike.
1 Big Game Hunter: In my experience with rank 3+, handlock and control warrior accounted for what felt like half of my matchups. The best thing about this card for me was knowing I had the option of shieldslamming/executing a drake early on (though this should be avoided if possible), and knowing that I still had plenty of removal for each giant later on.
1 Harrison Jones: As mentioned before, there are so many handlocks and control warriors on the ladder, but to add to that, control paladin has been gaining popularity lately due to cards like muster for battle. In addition to the 5/4 body and the weapon destruction itself, the card advantage gained by this card in control matchups is key to drawing all your game-winning efficient removal options. Whenever possible, try to use against Jaraxxus (obviously), Muster for Battle (shitty weapon, but for the early game card draw, especially if you need to draw into your removal), Ashbringer (the 5/3 weapon from Tirion), Death's Bite (consider making use of their deathrattle by playing your own acolytes/armorsmiths!), and Gorehowl (too awesome of a card not to be removed). Also pretty decent in securing hunter wins (other cards will often do more to actually win you this matchup, but it always makes me feel all warm inside to blow both his traps and draw 3 cards off his bow).
1 Shieldmaiden: I really love this new addition to control warrior. The 5/5 body is too big to be ignored, but too small to merit premium removal. I started with 2 copies but eventually concluded that only 1 is necessary. The +5 shield effect is usually used in combination with shield slam, but you only have two shield slams, and often times (in the mirror matchup) you already have enough shield to remove anything without additional shield, or can obtain the necessary shield by using armorsmith well. Against aggro decks, I felt that the +5 health on turn 6 was underwhelming unless I was already winning (often times it did not even successfully stall an extra turn), in which case, +5 health + card draw + playing another minion is just as good, if not +7 health (shield block + armor up). 1 Shieldmaiden is just enough to play one shieldblock early without having to worry about not having the combo cards necessary for a key shield slam. Also, its effect makes it fit better in control warrior as a 6 drop than cairne or any other 6 drop (aside from sylvannas).
1 Gorehowl: So value. Much removal. Wow. I tried so hard to make this card work last season, but it's just so bad against aggro decks because of how much face damage you take in the process. However, with influx of control decks and added lifegain (shieldmaiden) this season, SO MUCH VALUE. Removal for days. Also great to setup that last bit of reach you need to finish off your opponent. Even a leftover 5-6 attack gorehowl + activated 10-12 damage grommash is usually more than what most classes can handle, even if forseen. Antique healbot becomes a stall tactic rather than a life saver in the matchup against handlock. As a side note, keep in mind that excessive use of this stim pack will deteoriate your armor reserves, so use accordingly when you know you might need to shield slam later. Also, try to bait out potential Harrisons (warrior, priest, paladin) with other weapons, because not everyone expects Gorehowl and will Harrison your Death's Bite, thinking it will be the most value.
Cards I did NOT include:
Brawl - This card only guarantees value in the aggro matchups, but even then, if you're not already holding a weapon by turn 5 to clear whatever is left, you've probably lost anyway. It was one of your only ways to win against Shaman, but Shaman has lost a lot of popularity this season. In control matchups, it usually ends up being a really shitty RNG-based removal for a couple of minions, and the dream play of Sylvannas+Brawl the next turn was just too hard to set up. I replaced this card's effect with two whirlwinds and a gorehowl and have never looked back since.
Ysera - One of my favorite cards in the game; I would choose this card over Ragnaros any day because of my hate-hate relationship with Rag, the disciple of RNGsus. But Ysera was sub-par last season due to her ultra-slow nature, and even worse this season because priests can now mind control it for virtually nothing. I would stop running Ysera in any deck until the Shrinkmeisters cool down, but I'm not sure they ever will =/
Cairne - Same as above, except it's extra bad when silenced, and equally bad when mind controlled.
Hogger - I used this card last season because it was so good against hunter, but with two whirlwinds, shieldmaiden, harrison, and all the classic cards of control warrior, my hunter matchup was favored enough already. Shieldmaiden also has a similar effect with less snowball potential in place of potential shield slam for that savannah highmane.
The Black Knight - no longer a staple as most decks are either running only sludge belcher or no taunts (aggro). A good handlock player will not taunt a giant against control warrior unless/until he has no other choice, and the 4/5 body is underwhelming for a 6 drop, especially in comparison to shieldmaiden's 5/5 body and considering how easily we can deal with sludge belcher with gorehowl.
Iron Juggernaut - Against aggro, you need to play cards that help you stabilize through turn 6-7 (such as shieldmaiden and geddon). Against control decks, you already have plenty of finishing burst between alex, grom, gorehowl, rag, etc. Not to mention the untimely damage from iron juggernaut can put a handlock in range for a cheap molten giant before you're ready for it.
FYI: This season, I played a fast deck (which I won't name in a vain attempt to not spread the cancer) up to Rank 3, fell back down to Rank 4 (3 stars), and then switched to Control Warrior to finish the grind to Legend. I played 60 games total from that point and hit legend with a 65% winrate. Here are my winrates (in order of occurrence):
Handlock: 9-3 (75%) - Yes! My favorite matchup to play. Takes a lot of thinking but that thinking has apparently paid off =)
Warrior: 7-3 (70%) - Also an enjoyable matchup that feels like playing TvT in Starcraft 2... Somehow I have learned to enjoy this more though.
Mage: 7-1 (87.5%) - lolwut?
Hunter: 4-3 (57.1%) - I'm surprised at how few hunters I faced and how low this winrate is. I felt like my winrate against hunters improved drastically compared to last season, because I certainly felt a lot more confident going into this matchup this season, but I guess I don't have the games to show for it =/
Zoolock: 3-3 (50%) - The winrate is exactly as expected--textbook toss up. But I'm surprised at how many more handlocks I faced than zoo.
Paladin: 3-3 (50%) - Honestly, this matchup felt more like 40% because I was playing from behind most of the time, but I guess I pulled an even 50.
Druid: 1-3 (25%) - Ramp druid favored, Mech Token Druid QQ.
Rogue: 3-0 (100%) - I think all of the decks I faced were a joke.
Shaman: 2-1 (66.7%) - See above--Murloc shaman trolololol~ 1 loss due to an actual shaman deck similar to last season...probably still slightly unfavored unless with aweseome draws.
Priest: 0-1 (0%) - I would say this matchup is favored but the one time I encountered priest this season as control warrior, he cabal'd my armorsmith, thoughtstole two shield slams, a shield block, and sylvannas. Basically, he removed/stole all of my high end minions with stylistic ease...QQ
4) Mulligan Tips and Matchup Strategies
CardA (+[CardB]) means if you have CardA, you can also keep/mulligan for CardB. I list primary mulligans first (in order of preference), then a secondary mulligan that depends on how many of the primary cards you got.
Mulligan: death's bite, armorsmith, acolyte of pain, harrison jones. I keep FWA and shield block if it's in my opening hand, and sometimes don't mulligan it away depending on the rest of my hand.
There are two general strategies for winning this matchup: turtle, or be the aggressor. I prefer to be the aggressor because it allows you to set the pace of the game. In this strategy, getting your armor up in the early game while keeping his down is almost as important as card advantage. I'm not saying you should turn 2 FWA for face everytime, but turn 4 FWA for face + armor up is a pretty good play if you don't have another great play (save the 2nd charge of FWA for a minion, or go face again if you have another weapon or to keep your own minion from getting slammed). Turn 2 armorsmith is also right more often than not because they don't have a way to deal with it in one turn, and the 1 damage per turn can really help keep his armor down. I also like to turn 4 death's bite for face on an empty board to prepare for their turn 5 sludge belcher and my own acolyte, which is an incredibly awkward turn 5 for them because they either have to sac their sludge belcher knowingly, play nothing, or harrison your death's bite. Even getting your death's bite harrison'd is fine because gorehowl is more important in this matchup anyway (you have plenty of activators thanks to 2x whirlwind). A gorehowl that can't be dealt with is pretty much MVP in this matchup because everyone runs great targets for it: sludge belcher, shieldmaiden, sylvannas, harrison...not to mention the weaker drops that a 2-4 attack gorehowl can still deal with afterward. I've started turn 3 shield blocking this season for card+armor advantage thanks to shieldmaidens and have never looked back. Try to use harrison on their death's bite to your advantage if possible (acolyte, armorsmith, or in order to execute their big minion). Since you don't use whirlwind to kill small minions in this matchup, try to use it to get some combination of: acolyte, execute enabler, grom activator, dealing with their dr. boom, purposely killing your own dr. boom bombs (with hopes of them killing something important), etc. A combination of these is essential in high-level play since you are replacing two potentially high-cost legendaries with two whirlwinds, so you have to milk as much value out of these 2 1-mana cost spells as you possibly can. Sylvannas + immediate shield slam suicide to steal a key minion is often a better play than playing sylvannas onto an empty board or a situation where you know they can just trade their minions into her and then play another big minion after her deathrattle takes nothing. Other than that, try to bait out removal with Dr. Boom, Baron Geddon, and even alexstraza so they can't remove your Rag so easily, and don't waste your grom on something stupid unless it's literally the only way to stay alive. Card advantage is especially important in this matchup, but if your opponent only has a slight advantage while you're dictating the pace of the game, there's no need to feel like you're losing. If you offensive alexstraza first, that's a huge indicator that you're the one putting on the pressure; just make sure you have several follow up plays to keep up the pressure. Definitely milk each acolyte for at least two draws if possible, and something to note is that if your opponent plays his second acolyte and is already choked for cards (3 or less), it may be the correct play to execute it. Of course, having additional removal options or a much bigger hand than him or knowing that he's burned most of his main threats already makes this play more correct.
Mulligan: BGH, shield slam (+shield block), death's bite, execute (+whirlwind or cruel taskmaster). FWA can help in combination with execute or shield slam if you're lacking shield block or something to enable execute, but you're probably taking a lot of face damage in the process. If I have a godlike hand and I know they're handlock, I will occasionally keep harrison as well.
Protip1: You can sometimes tell that they're handlock based on how they mulligan, since zoo has a much higher chance of drawing a hand that they actually want the first time around (usually any 1 and 2 drop).
Protip2: I have much more fun/confidence playing the handlock matchup anyway, so regarding Protip1, if I had to guess, I usually guessed handlock since zoo is kind of a toss up even if you get the FWA. I kind of chose to accept the 50% random luck win/loss against zoo and not get too hung up on not being able to do anything against their godlike draws vs the shit that RNGsus decided to take on my hand.
Protip3: Starting from around rank 3, I began writing down the names of handlock players that I faced so I could mulligan for a better hand with confidence. This really only applies when you're playing a lot of games in one sitting, since writing down someone's name and hoping to face them again several days later is pretty unlikely. Also, I ran into considerably more handlocks than zoo past rank 3, though not everyone will have the same experience as me.
I feel like this matchup has two opening strategies as well: pressure the handlock early on with some early game presence in the first 3 turns (also helps to have a body on board to enable execute), or sit back and armor up. If you don't have the opening hand to pressure, armor up every turn so you have enough shield to slam his giant (turn 2-3 armor up, turn 4 shield block+slam for 9 dmg). It's always best to have more options, however, so coining out armorsmith on turn one and maybe even using a cruel taskmaster on it turn two could be a better play in case they drop twilight drake first, which is usually their preference when given the option. There's really no default opener against handlock because you have to adapt so much based on what you get (and what you mulligan for is even more skewed by the existence of zoolock), but you absolutely must think ahead to turn 4 based on your opening hand and figure out a way to deal with either a mountain giant or a twilight drake followed by a mountain giant. Another factor to be considered is the fact that if they have coin, they will likely drop a turn 3 twilight drake with 8 health, but it will delay their mountain giant to at least turn 5, giving you a bit of breathing room. Remember that you have 5 removals (including BGH) for his 4 giants, so one can be used on a twilight drake if necessary, though you always prefer to kill the drake with minions/weapons if at all possible in order to save your other removals. If you can contest their turn 3-5 drake and mountain giant, you are in a great spot for the mid-late game. ABSOLUTELY save harrison jones at all costs for their jaraxxus, since pretty much every handlock runs it nowadays and the 8 durability weapon can easily win him the game. The card advantage is probably the most important factor though, so if he has less than 15 health by turn 9 and/or has dropped his molten giants, try to keep your hand at no more than 4 cards so you can immediately harrison without discarding too much. From that point, you will pretty much win as long as you can contest the board and don't waste removal on the infernals (protip: gorehowl). Also keep in mind that if you force him to jaraxxus before he plays molten giants, it will be really difficult for him to play them ever, unless they spend a full turn doing so. Another note to make is that they can really only play Jaraxxus when they have board control or it's an open board, so if you didn't draw harrison yet, then keep pressuring!
Mulligan: FWA, Armorsmith, shield slam (+shield block), cruel taskmaster (+execute), whirlwind (+execute). Basically if you get FWA, you're in a much better spot than with any other card. If I get FWA, i also mulligan for death's bite and belchers. If I have no idea what kind of warlock I'm facing, I try to overlap mulligan strategies as much as possible (cheap removals, FWA).
This matchup is always a toss up. If you don't get a FWA in your opening hand, your chances of winning probably drops to 40% right there, and if you don't have at least a decent play every turn (ie: clear the board consistently into turn 5 belcher into turn 6 sylvannas/shieldmaiden), you're probably fucked. That's why zoo is strong against any deck, because if you just don't get the draws you need, you lose. This deck honestly isn't bad against zoo if you draw right, but teching too much just to beat zoo 10% more of the time would weaken control matchups too much (I also felt like I would have 65%+ winrate against hunters if given the opportunity). My advice, accept the 50% winrate and focus on your other matchups. If you're facing a lot more zoo than handlock, mulligan more aggressively as such, and maybe even swap out a BGH/Harrison for something more useful early on (brawl or hogger at the absolutely latest. If you can't reclaim the board by turn 6, you've probably already lost). But honestly, I would not change the deck because your other matchups will be so much weaker and a lot of the times, the two whirlwinds are just enough to keep the board clear. Remember that there is no brawl in this deck, so regaining board control is not as easy. Death's bite + whirlwind is a decent enough way to remove most of their board before you can draw geddon. Every turn you stall and every bit of armor you can get (without putting your own minions too low) is one step closer to your late-game victory. Don't worry about doing damage to them as they kill themselves with life tap anyway, but once you've managed to get enough board presence for some breathing room, you can go face instead of trading so that life tapping becomes a serious judgement call for them. Many zoo players often choose to tap, putting them in range for a surprise finisher (grommash/gorehowl). On the bright side, zoo was nerfed pretty hard due to the change in soulfire, so we will probably see considerably less of them.
Mulligan: FWA, cruel taskmaster, armorsmith, death's bite, whirlwind. Secondary: shield slam (+shield block), belcher. If you get a godhand: harrison (but seriously, only if your hand is beyond godlike).
First and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that you are the slower deck--keep stalling and your late-game minions will outvalue theirs (not to mention they will eventually run out of card draw and be forced to play one card and hero power every turn). This means that if you have a belcher on the board and they have freezing/explosive trap, DON'T ATTACK. If you smell snake trap and you don't have a whirlwind effect, DON'T ATTACK (As a hunter, there's nothing more disheartening than choosing to be patient by NOT suiciding your minions into the belcher so your snake trap can get triggered, only to get your board full of 1 health minions wiped clean the following turn). In addition, if they're holding eaglehorn while waiting for you to trigger a trap, for christ's sake, don't trigger the trap! That one extra charge on their bow can be not just an additional board control tool that you just gave him, but can mean the difference between life and death on turn 8 when you have that alexstrasza in hand for the following turn. Even when you have harrison, if triggering the explosive trap put you in range for their burst, don't trigger it first! Armor up and STALL! As far as openers go, play responsively: FWA to kill their undertaker, armorsmith against webspinner, cruel taskmaster against leper gnome. I wouldn't worry too much about the armorsmith getting silenced, because we have many more ways of obtaining armor now and a 1/4 body can still 2-for-1 the owl and another 1 drop. Death's bite and whirlwind clears their haunted creepers damn well, and leaves the option to cleanup whatever is leftover with execute. While you should always have an answer ready for their turn 6 highmane, use your removals liberally in the early game to ensure that you actually survive until then, and remember that simply having board presence is also a great way to contest the highmane. UTH is considerably weaker now unless they roll the Leokk, so you don't really have to worry about that (you rarely have more than 2 minions on board anyway, due to weapons and armoring up so much). Their most realistic finisher turn 8+ is 12 damage (2 kill command + hero power with a beast on board) so plan accordingly and play safe. In other words, if you're sitting at 12 health, don't just spend all your mana on a big minion hoping that they don't have double kill command and throw the game; armor up and play something smaller. Forcing them to kill command your belcher puts you in a much safer spot in terms of their finisher (assuming you're not terribly behind on board), and keeping their beasts dead is generally a pretty good idea. Hunters have a hard time removing your late-game (kill command is their only removal, which you want them to waste anyway), so throw out that early rag to put immense amounts of pressure on them without ever having to trigger traps. Shieldmaiden is a great to stalling tool here, and a defensive alexstrasza pretty much secures your victory.
Mulligan: FWA, Death's Bite, whirlwind, armorsmith. I wouldn't exactly mulligan for harrison, but you get it, keep it.
Aside from the randomness of zoo, I would say this is one of the matchups I struggled with most. I didn't get that much practice against them, and didn't learn to prepare/expect the quartermaster and bolvar fordragon until after my first encounter against them (which usually cost me the game). Use whirlwind to clear divine shields (shielded minibot, tirion) and tokens. Never leave more than 1 token on the board--two 3/3s are super annoying for us to deal with, three 3/3s can be gg. Expect knife juggler + muster combo at some point, which is actually a really freaking awesome way to deal with your Dr. Boom. Don't overcommmit unless they just used equality combo. Feel free to pressure early on since their first three turns are pretty negligible and their turn 4 should be expected based on what you play. They don't have many threats (bolvar and tirion...maybe rag) or early game presence or removal (the ones I encountered no longer ran stampeding kodo), yet I still struggled against them. I couldn't offensive alexstrasza before drawing into some followup (such as grom) because I knew he still had lots of heal (guardian of kings, lay on hands, truesilver), and even harrisoning his ashbringer didn't give me the edge I needed to secure a victory. I'm sure this has something to do with it, but tirion is actually really annoying to deal with without black knight, as it usually eats two cards + harrison to be dealt with thoroughly. Maybe you can hope for a a cruel taskmaster+BGH combo, but that combo is never available to me when tirion comes out (nor the savannah highmanes TT). Also, there is no silence in this deck which could also be helpful against tirion (and bolvar), but as much fun as I found this matchup, there simply weren't enough control paladins for me to tech against it. Also, I know a lot of control paladin players are super dedicated to their deck/class and know it inside out, which means better knowledge of matchups, less overall play mistakes, and more skill with their deck than your average rank3-legend player (who is either playing multiple decks or a deck they aren't quite as familiar with).
Mulligan: FWA. If you smell aggro, go with the usual early game minions and cheap removal combos. Armorsmith's 4 health is hard for them to deal with, and can pop annoy-o-shields pretty well.
Let me start off by saying that I'm really shocked about this winrate (87.5% wtfmate?!). I don't remember too much about this matchup which is apparently because I did so damn well against them. I think most of the mages I played against were some rendition of Trump's Jeeves Mage (http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/135501-tsm-trump-gvg-jeeves-mage), which seems to rely on the strategy of dumping all their minions on the board and then relying on Jeeves for card draw. So aside from keeping his board clear all the time, you have two options regarding his Jeeves depending on what your early game looks like: either dump your hand as fast as he does so you can refill with his Jeeves (but with better mid-late game minions than him), or just kill the Jeeves the turn it's played and he'll be stuck drawing one low cost card every turn until he top decks another Jeeves. I'm not sure what else there is to say about this because I honestly don't remember facing this many mages (8 games?), much less winning so hard. Pretty much all aggro mech decks rely heavily on Mechwarper for a strong opener, so I must've gotten FWA in every opening hand to deal with it the turn it's played. Other than that, just try to remove stuff as well as you can and you will basically just win the late game because he will run out of cards with only two Jeeves and 1 arcane intellect. On a side note, maybe my opponents just didn't know how to play the deck because I recall getting Ice Lanced two turns in a row to keep me from using my weapon in one of the games, but it obviously didn't lead to their victory.
Other matchups to lookout for that didn't have enough prevalence for me be able to provide in-depth analysis:
Control Priest - I would consider this matchup favored, but unfortunately only encountered one priest this season, which I lost (QQ). Some run harrison so try to bait it out with your other weapons. Otherwise, gorehowl > blademaster, belcher, cabal. Aim to get at least two uses out of your Acolyte/Armorsmith so it makes for a shittier cabal target. Try to bait out the cabal with cruel taskmaster if you can. execute is one of the best removals for blademaster, especially after giving it the dark cultist buff.
Ramp Druid - Another super value-fest for gorehowl. Most of their minions have pretty low attack, and the deck plays pretty passively, allowing you to get up absurd amounts of armor for EZ removal.
Mech Token Druid (varying decklists, but runs double combo) - This matchup felt pretty unfavored. I believe the two losses (out of four games with druid) were against this deck. Try to keep their board clear as much as possible, and expect the FON+savage roar combo on turn 9. You will have a hard time getting board control, but they have a harder time getting it back once you take it, so play around swipe and build your board as much as possible. Both of the games I played against Mech Token Druid, I simply did not have enough removal to keep up with all his minions by the time turn 9 came around. A druid combo with even with 2 1/1 minions on the board by turn 9 comes out to 20 damage...gulp.
Neptulon Shaman - lol. I can see this deck being fun to play, but I really don't see how it's viable at high ranks. Does it have other strong matchups or something? As a control warrior player, the shamans from last season were much harder to play against (my one loss). I'm sure double whirlwind will certainly help in this matchup, so not having brawl isn't too bad. Also, Geddon.
Rogue - Who? I didn't know this class still existed. The few I ran into were playing sad renditions of miracle, or some kind of aggro deck with lots of buffed weapons (assassin's blade, you belong in a museum!), or a pirate deck that looks fun but not viable at high ranks. It's sad really, I personally really enjoyed playing miracle rogue deck =/
tl;dr: So control. Such warrior. Much Guide. Wow.
But honestly, you were warned. It really was super extensive. If it was too long for you to read, then why did you click this in the first place?
Hope this helps you dedicated control warrior players to make that last push into legend! =)