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[S20] Legend Midrange Paladin In Depth Guide

  • Last updated Dec 5, 2015 (Explorers)
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  • 21 Minions
  • 6 Spells
  • 3 Weapons
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Unknown
  • Crafting Cost: 7700
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 11/27/2015 (Explorers)
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Legend Midrange Paladin Guide

Hi I’m Morat and this month I hit legend for the first time with midrange paladin, which has been my main since I first started playing in GvG. In that time I’ve amassed over 350 ranked wins with some form of midrange paladin list. While the deck went through a pretty rough time when Patron dominated the meta, since the nerf to Warsong Commander midrange paladin has become one of the strongest decks in the game. Given its flexible nature, it is ideal to deal with a diverse metagame like the one we see right now in LoE.

 Winrate: 60% from rank 7 to legend.


Warning: This guide is meant to be a fairly holistic guide to Midrange Paladin and how to play in the common matchups. It is not a list of mulligans and combos, and those who are triggered by walls of text may want to look away. If you're not too clued in on the deck and are planning to take it to legend however, I would say this guide gives you a pretty good idea of how to start. Feel free to take whatever helps you from the guide.

Game-plan - In general, mulligan aggressively for Zombie Chow, Minibot, Knife Juggler and Muster, curve out in the early game with your overpowered curve plays, i.e. Chow into Minibot into Muster into Shredder and so on. The aim is that coming out of the mid game you should be ahead, at which point you should try to taunt up, heal and stabilise against aggro, or use the hero ability to extend the amount of mana you can spend against control. Ideally, you want to fight for and maintain board control from the start to the end of the game. In some games you will have to push hard for tempo, in some you’ll look to use your hero power almost every turn and others you will need to assess risk/reward and race your opponent down. The key is flexibility. Midrange Paladin has a fighting chance in any matchup, and you need to be adaptable in your play in order to pilot the deck correctly.

General Pointers – Some of the finer details of playing the deck.

 The Button - The Paladin hero power is undoubtedly one of the strongest in the game, the ability to create threats without spending cards is extremely powerful, as any Control Warrior player will tell you. You should generally be trying to walk a fine line of using the hero power as much as possible while not falling behind. Whether to use the hero power or a card in your hand depends on the situation, but generally against slower control decks you should push the button where possible, whereas against aggro decks you want to put as much tempo onto the board as possible (using cards) as you are favoured in the late game. Against other midrange decks, you need to judge whether or not to play for greed or tempo based on the situation. Once you’ve played Justicar, you should look to press the button every turn unless you have a very good reason not to.

 Light’s Justice Value: - I feel like a lot of people who pick up Midrange Paladin fail to understand the true power of Muster for Battle. While Muster+Quartermaster is a very powerful play on turn 8, Muster for Battle is broken because of Light’s Justice in the early/mid game. The ability for a non-ping class like Paladin to deal one damage is invaluable; it helps setup good trades for your minions and gains you card advantage. Given the choice between using a 1/1 or your face to deal one damage to a minion, it correct to use the weapon against all but the most aggressive of lists. Looking ahead to see how trades will occur and if you can whittle down any minions advantageously with Light’s Justice is a key part of playing midrange paladin.

Tempo or Value? – When playing Midrange Paladin you often ask this question every turn: do I play Shredder? Or a 2 drop and a hero power? Do I Equality Consecrate now and gain some tempo back, or wait it out and create a bigger swing on a later turn? If I use Aldor Peacekeeper on his Shredder I will keep up in tempo for now, but will I be in a position to answer his Fel Reaver? The answer to these questions is the same as always: it depends. However, knowledge of the matchup and how your threats and answers line up against your opponent’s will help you make your decisions easier. I will go into a bit of detail about specific matchups below. In general though, you want to be ahead. Lots of your cards reward you for this – Quartermaster, Coghammer, Keeper of Uldaman, Defender of Argus, Loatheb and even Equality are stronger when you are ahead, while only consecration is at it’s best when your opponent has developed a board. Once you are ahead, you’re in the perfect position to start pushing the button every turn where you can. Murloc Knight and Justicar Trueheart can help you reach the point where your hero power alone allows you to push enough tempo to get ahead without spending any cards – now that’s what I call value!

 Greed – Greed can be the deadliest of all sins when playing hearthstone. Sometimes with this archetype you’ll be forced to make a play that feels really bad because you have a clunky hand. In my climb this season I’ve played turn 4 empty Murloc Knight and turn 5 empty Quartermaster against aggressive decks, both of which turned out to be plays that were essential to my victory in those games. Swinging Truesilver to the face against full on aggro to heal for 2 and help race is often correct in the endgame. In games where you are favoured if the game drags on, don’t be greedy, just make sure it does drag on! However against Control Warrior and similar decks, greed is your greatest friend in many situations. The key is to be able to take a step back, look at the context of the game and assess if your greed is worthwhile or not.

 The Deck – Commentary on some individual cards.

 x2 Zombie Chow – The perfect card for a deck that wants to fight for board control from turn one and isn’t terribly concerned with the opponents life total. Nothing feels better than turn 1 Zombie Chow against any deck interested in early board control; it’s also not a terrible play on turn 3 with the hero power.

 x1 Knife Juggler – Only one in my deck, as I’ve generally found it to be very underwhelming in this meta, it so often trades down or is simply a lot less good than Minibot. Obviously has a lot of synergy with the hero power/Justicar/Muster, but too often it’s just a Bloodfen Raptor. It could be correct to run 2 and in a different meta I might consider it a staple two of. 

x2 Aldor Peacekeeper – Probably the best 3 drop in the game, the power of this card is impossible to overstate. Aldor will often 1/1 against Shredder, while costing 1 mana less. While it can be tempting to wait for your opponent’s Giant or Fel Reaver to make him follow the rules, you should remember that this card is not a BGH. That is to say you can play it against any of your opponents minions, whether they are a massive threat or not. Aldoring a midgame minion is and killing it for free is often too big a swing for your opponent to come back from.

 x1 BGH – The meta is full of Giants, Mysterious Challengers, Fel Reavers and Ragnaroses so BGH hits in pretty much every matchup. A great tech card for the meta.

 x1 Keeper of Uldaman –Invaluable because of its flexibility; it can act as a dark iron dwarf to buff a friendly minion for tempo, be played as a 3/4 and a 3/3 on turn 6 or be used to answer any almost any minion. Particularly good against threats like Twilight Drake or Ysera that are not easily answered by BGH or Aldor.

x1 Defender of Argus – Landing this on two minions is a lot of value, can push very favourable trades and create a massive swing on turn four. Selective taunt giving is great for shutting the door against aggro, but has use in every matchup. Locking down an otherwise un-losable game against control warrior so you don’t die to Grom+Taskmaster is just one example. Only a one of as it is really bad when you’re behind.

 x2 Sludge Belcher – As most aggro decks right now look to push face damage with minions, sludge belcher is perfect for counteracting these strategies, and is decent against control. Belcher is particularly good against the Druid combo.

 x2 Quartermaster – Some decks cut one, which is a fair choice, however in a deck running Justicar I think it’s just too strong not to be a two of. Also provides a bit of burst potential to the deck.

 x1 Loatheb – For most of my climb I had Healbot in this slot, but in the end decided that it wasn’t doing enough in most match ups and cut it for Loatheb. Loatheb often does a similar job, buying an extra turn to close the game against Forceroar or Unleash and Kill Command, while also being a fine five drop and providing temporary protection from board clears.

 x1 Justicar Trueheart - Probably my favourite card in the game, the paladin’s hero power scales better with Justicar than any other class. This card will allow you to burn any opponent out of resources if the game goes long enough, and is a huge advantage in any game that goes the distance.

Alternative Card Choices and Tech Cards - Take stats and use them to inform sensible changes to tune your deck to your local metagame

x2 Knife Juggler - Juggler is at its best against Hunter, Paladin and Aggro Druid, as they often feature a lot of 1 health minions, and hitting some kind of 2 drop is really important against these decks. The reason I cut one juggler is that even in these matchups where it is good, most of the time you would much rather have Minibot on turn two. Definitely a fine choice to always run two though. In this deck you'd probably want cut Loatheb or one Quartermaster for this as so many five drops can often be a bit clunky.

x2 Keeper of Uldaman - A lot of people think two of this is good, and I'm quickly coming round to the idea, it really is very powerful and incredibly flexible. I would probably cut Murloc Knight for it as it fits a similar bill of a card that can be played on turn 6 (with hero power) or turn 4 in the correct situation.

x2 Equality - Equality is a very powerful card and double Equality can be exceptionally strong choice in the right metagame. Equality is obviously at it's best when your opponents have high health minions, so if you're running into a lot of Priest, Handlock of any variant, or Midrange or Ramp Druid then it's definitely something to consider. That said, it's awful against aggro and sticky minions so be careful with this choice.

Kezan Mystic - This is a pure tech card, in that it is only good against decks that run secrets. To run Kezan, over 50% of your games must be against Hunter or Mage. Kezan Mystic is not a valid tech choice against Secret Paladin. Consider the case where you play Kezan Mystic and steal a Paladin secret. You summon a 4/3, destroy a 1 mana secret and play a 1 mana secret on your side. The benefit of drawing a Paladin Secret is fairly low so can be nearly discounted. You've spent 4 mana to create a 4/3 and create a 2 mana swing. A 4 mana 4/3 with 2 extra mana of value is what you get with Piloted Shredder every time you play it. This is to say nothing of the fact that stealing a Noble Sac or Repentance often does very little for you, sometimes they won't have any secrets out, it does basically nothing against turn 6 Challenger and that there's no need to tech against Secret Paladin when you're already favoured. Basically I think Kezan is a really poor card unless you are playing most of your games against Hunter or Mage. 

Ironbeak Owl - A lot of people ask why I don't run Owl, and I can see why. The deck lacks silence, and Sylvanas, Tirion and the like can cause you nightmares. Once you've played with Keeper of the Grove and Hex though, you can see how bad owl is. Obviously Paladin would be broken if it had access to good silence, and it is good game design that the class has such a weakness. That being said though, I'd prefer not to run such a low impact card in the deck, and one which often loses you card advantage. Learning how to deal with silence targets (e.g. flooding or trading everything against Sylvanas) will mean that you'll rarely miss owl that much. Tirion isn't very scary when the card that you're running instead of owl helped you get miles ahead earlier on. That said, if you find yourself getting wrecked by Sylvanas, Voidcaller and particularly Raptor Rogue a lot, you can consider Owl, though I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

Eadric the Pure - A card that costs 7 or more mana needs to do something powerful the turn it comes down (which Eadric does) and can't be too situational, which Eadric definitely is. Definitely a powerful card, and pretty damn good against control decks like Priest, Handlock and Control Warrior. That said, it's not terribly useful against aggro. I've played plenty of Midrange Druid and Hunter, and with those decks I won't really mind if you play Eadric, I'll just go face and kill you. In addition, you don't really need the help against control. If I was debating Eadric, I would probably run a second a second equality instead. 

Brann Bronzebeard - I tried running Brann for a bit, but the deck doesn't really need any more three cost cards, and unless you play him on exactly turn 3, he really needs so be saved for a combo. The deck has enough situational cards, and I find setting up some kind of Brann combo very clunky. That said, he can fit in the list if you want to have a bit of fun. Double Quartermaster against Shaman or Healbot for sixteen against Face Hunter feels pretty good.

Antique Healbot - A lot of people ask about Healbot, and insist that the deck needs some form of heal beyond LOH and Truesilver. I disagree, as in most matchups the healbot is a 5 mana 3/3 with minor benefit. I will say it's good against Hunter and decent against Tempo Mage, and dropping it behind a taunt wall against aggro is pretty good. It's just that Sludge Belcher is a much more powerful defensive card and Loatheb can often save you from burn long enough to close the game versus aggro, while being decent as opposed to the worst card in your deck against control or midrange. You want to keep your life total high by winning the battle on the board and playing smart, not running a trash-tier card only made viable by the general low quality of healing in Hearthstone. 

Solemn Vigil..? - Solemn Vigil in the vast majority of cases will only gain you card advantage. It is possible for it to gain you tempo in the case where you draw into a way to spend more mana, but these cases are pretty rare. If you can set up good trades or consecrate to the extend where it's really cheap, then you were going to win anyway. Cards that solely gain card advantage that are run are normally synergistic with the deck (eg Sprint with the Rogue strategy of dumping a lot of cards on one turn and Prep, or Arcane Intellect with Mana Wyrm and Flamewaker). Lay on Hands is better against control (draws more) and against Aggro (heals). Solemn Vigil might be preferable in a tempo-intensive battle against Midrange, but I normally find Lay on Hands is fine there too. Midrange Paladin doesn't need any other card draw. If you you draw your early game and are running out of gas, you should be ahead and weaving in a hero power wherever you can. If you draw your mid-late game, you shouldn't be running out of cards. If you find yourself wanting card draw however, I'd sooner run Murloc Knight (artificial card advantage), Cult Master or Azure Drake than Solemn Vigil.

Replacing Lay on Hands - Lay on Hands is a card that is strong in pretty much every matchup. Against aggro it lets you heal a lot to survive burn, whereas against control and midrange it can help you refuel if the game drags out. This dual-effect isn't really imitated by any other card the Paladin has access to, and as such, I'd recommend crafting LOH if you can. If not, you'll want to run some other heal, most likely in the form of Antique Healbot, but bear in mind that you are going to hurt your control match up significantly with such a change.

Replacing Tirion Fordring - Tirion contains more value for his mana cost than any other minion in the game. If he doesn't get silenced, he'll normally win you the game through both a solid body and a deathrattle weapon that is worth well over 5 mana on its own. He has a place in any optimal Midrange Paladin list. That said, he's not utterly essential, and you can get by without him. Other late game bombs like Rag, Kel Thuzad or Ysera can be run. Alternatively you could add Sylvanus or a second Murloc Knight, or just shore up the early-mid game with another Juggler or Keeper, based on your needs and preference.

Replacing Justicar Trueheart - Justicar Trueheart to me has a place in any Midrange Paladin list, she's amazing against Control Warrior and Reno Handlock, and will often turn close matches against other Midrange decks into walkovers. The synergy with Juggler, Quartermaster, Equality, and Defender of Argus is readily apparent. That said, not everyone can afford to dump 1600 dust into a relatively new Legendary. If you want to replace her, you want something that will help against Control, so cards like Murloc Knight (which has the most similar effect), Sylvanas, Keeper of Uldaman, or if you're feeling adventurous another big Legendary like Ragnaros, Kel Thuzad or Ysera, should be considered. Or, you could re-work the list a bit, add in a second Juggler say, cut a Quartermaster (which is less good without Justicar) and then add a second Murloc Knight to help provide that win condition in the long game. 

Replacing Keeper of Uldaman - Keeper is a great card, and I think running at least one copy is going to become standard in Midrange Paladin. However, it's just come out and if you don't have the gold or money then you may be looking to run something else. Nothing else really matches the flexibility of Uldaman, but there are plenty of options to replace it. Murloc Knight can also be played on turn 4 or 6 like Uldaman and is a strong card. Sylvanas is an option if you want another high powered legendary, and Juggler could also be used instead if you want to shore up the early game.

 Matchups – In order from most to least common - Guides against the decks I faced on my climb, if you have questions about any others just comment below and I’ll reply as best I can. The percentage represents my winrate, while the ratio is how I think the decks might perform over a larger sample size.

Secret Paladin - (69%, 65/45)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

 A favoured matchup for you and a strong reason to pick Midrange Paladin. You have strong enough early game to beat them in that stage in the game, and Consecration if you do not. You want to be playing for tempo here, and Divine Favour can punish you heavily for playing a value game. The key in this matchup is to think. A lot of people become frustrated by Secret Paladin, but the key is to keep a level head. Consider the outcomes of every possible secret. Attacking is a choice. If you have a read they have Noble Sac/Avenge out, it’s best you wait till you can deal with a buffed minion. Don’t be surprised when the Knife Juggler or Minibot you thought you’d killed is brought back with 1 health. Other than thinking, it’s important to control the boardstate going into their Mysterious Challenger turn, and have an answer lined up in your hand, Mysterious Challenger is a lot less scary when you have the board prior, can dictate that the avenge falls on the challenger, so you can BGH/Aldor/Keeper it down. If you fall behind, Aldor, Equality Consecration or BGH can swing things back in your favour.Part of the strength of Challenger is that when Secret Paladin has some board going into turn 6, the combination of Competitive Spirit, Noble Sac, Avenge and Redemption make even a small board very threatening. Therefore tempo Consecrations going into turn 6 are often a smart play, if you don’t have a better one.

 Midrange Paladin - (85%, 50/50)

 Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

 My winrate in the mirror shows just how important it is to play Midrange Paladin correctly, and it is in this matchup where the finer details of your play will be most affecting. The mirror is a battle for board control, so you really need to hit your early game drops. Quartermaster is a big threat heading into turn 5, so kill off guys wherever possible. You want to fight for the board and gradually eke out an advantage through good trades. Once you get ahead, you’re normally set, so keep pushing the button and don’t over commit into Equality+Consecration. Pushing face damage is not a priority, and killing off minions will protect you against Coghammer/Argus/Kings. If their deck seems a bit strange, they may run Reno, so just don’t go all in on killing them next turn. Getting value from Light’s Justice is key here. It’s probably always wrong to swing face unless you are certain to equip another weapon.

Tempo Mage – (50%, 50/50)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop), Truesilver with 2 drop.

 This matchup is – quite literally – a coin flip. You are rather favoured with the coin, and rather un-favoured without it. You want to fight hard for board control in the early game, and try not to fall behind. Truesilver represents a good answer to Flamewaker, which is a massive threat to your early game board. Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Mana Wyrm are also threats you should look to remove. Most lists run double Mirror Entity, so try to give your opponent Chow or Defender of Argus, dropping Shredder into Mirror Entity is not something you should do unless you have no other choice. If you win the early game battle and come out ahead then you should be able to lock out the game fairly easily, but Tempo Mages pack a lot of burn so you should generally try to keep out of double Fireball range if possible. This is a matchup where swinging face with Truesilver to set up lethal and heal is often correct.

 Aggro Druid – (56%, 60/40)

 Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Aldor Peacekeeper, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop), BGH with coin and no Aldor.

 This matchup is quite favoured for you, I was a bit unlucky in my run against Aggro Druid as this deck packs a lot of cards that are great against it. Your early game minions trade well against your opponent’s; Zombie Chow crushes Leper Gnome and Minibot is great against Juggler and Druid of the Saber. You should prioritise killing Darnassus Aspirant and Knife Jugglers, and play around Swipe as best you can while not falling too far behind. Aldor and BGH are great answers to Fel Reaver and Equality and Keeper can do the job as well. Things generally go well unless you draw poorly and are overrun in the early game, where outside of Consecration there’s not much you can do. Consecration is amazing against aggro druid and if you get the opportunity to make good use of it for tempo or to kill your opponent’s Shade you should take it. Once you’re ahead you should be fine, just try to make good trades and avoid any unnecessary face damage, as at this stage your lose condition is the combo. Forceroar represents a minimum of 14 damage, and can be played with three cards on turn 7 or 2 on turn 9. Get some solid taunts up and you should be able to push in for the win.

 Control Warrior – (100%, 80/20)

 Mulligan: Justicar Trueheart, Truesilver Champion, Shielded Minibot, Piloted Shredder

 You may notice that the mulligan is dramatically different for this matchup; this is mainly because I didn’t play a single Patron Warrior on my climb so I was mulliganning exclusively for control. Against Control Warrior, Knife Juggler and Zombie Chow just get axed down, so only Minibot is a decent turn 2 play. Generally you just want to hero power in the early game, and use Truesilver to answer Acolyte/Belcher. Once things move past turn five, you can start playing threats while hero powering, and make sure neither Brawl nor Baron Geddon wrecks you. BGH wants to be used against Rag, Geddon or Grom, Alex can get Aldored, and you want to save Equality or Keeper for Ysera. This deck packs a number of answers which helps make things a lot easier. Your win condition in this matchup is Justicar Trueheart, as once both Death’s Bites are used the Warrior has no easy way of dealing with an endless army of 1/1s. It’s pretty hard to lose this matchup if you draw your answers and Justicar, but just remember that Grom+Death’s Bite/Taskmaster can kill you if you’re low enough, so taunt/heal up once Alex has come down.

Face Hunter – (80 %, 55/45)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with 2 drop)

 I feel like I probably got a bit lucky against Face Hunter, and that the previous version of the list ran Healbot over Loatheb means this list is not quite as strong in this matchup. Against Hunter, you absolutely must hit your early game and fight tooth and nail for the board. This is one of few match ups where trading a 1/1 instead of using a weapon is regularly correct, as you want to preserve your life total, and 1/1s are liabilities against Unleash. Leper Gnome, Glaivezooka and Worgen Infiltrator signal Face Hunter, and once you know this you should be playing around explosive trap. Hold off on attacking face if it keeps valuable minions alive and allows you to set up a taunt wall. Unleash+Juggler is your main fear once you’re ahead, so trade off minions that die to explosive trap where possible, as opposed try trying to keep everything alive. At some point in this match up you will gain board advantage, and the Hunter player will switch to trying to burn you down. At this stage, you need to balance the need to maximise face damage while simultaneously protecting your own life total. How to race is something that depends on the situation, and can only really be learned through experience. A point to note is to realise when you no longer want to hit any minions with your weapon, at which point you should swing face every turn.

Reno Handlock – (75%, 65/35)

 Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

 Another great reason to play Midrange Paladin right now is the Reno Handlock matchup. You mulligan for Zoo and so you take control of the board in the early stages without much trouble. As you move into the midgame, you want to keep applying pressure while hero powering wherever you can, as your board is often weak to Hellfire and Demonwrath, and overcommitting against Reno Handlock means death. This matchup is a lot less stressful than Handlock due to the decreased threat density of Reno Handlock, which means you are rarely put in a tough position by a sudden 8/8 or 4/10. Justicar is a great draw in this matchup, and will allow you to drag things out into the long game, where you can win matches by running the Reno Handlock completely out of threats. Moving into the late game, remember that your opponent can heal up to 30 from turn 6 onward, and try not to get wrecked by allowing your opponent to play a cheap Molten, or Twisting Nether or Shadowflame a stacked board. You can suppress Jaraxxus by threatening a lot of damage if your opponent plays him. You have pretty much enough answers for all of his threats, just try to keep track of what’s been played and manage your resources accordingly.

 Freeze Mage – (33%, 25/75)

 Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop), Loatheb with solid early game.

 This matchup is pretty awful, I was lucky to have as high a winrate as I did, given that I didn’t play any Freeze Mages when I had Loatheb in the deck. Freeze Mage is the hard counter to Midrange Paladin and it’s pretty soul destroying to get matched up against one. You mulligan for Tempo Mage, but if you suspect freeze mage you should keep Loatheb if you have reasonable early plays. Freeze Mage will normally give itself away with a Fireblast or otherwise slow opening, such as Loot hoarder or Novice Engineer. Basically, you want to curve out as well as possible and hit the face for as much as possible every turn. Deny draw off acolyte, and play as best you can around Blizzard and Flamestrike. Equality and a weapon charge can save you from frost nova + doomsayer wiping your board. You have to take risks and you cannot play around AOE that much, as normally you die on turn 10, or earlier if they have Thaurissan. Just do your best Rexxar impersonation and SMOrc as best you can, while killing Antonidas and Emperor the turn they are played. Once Alex comes down, try to drop Loatheb and/or some healing, and then break the block. Loatheb can be used tactically whenever you need to block their turn, he can prevent an ice block or AOE, or just keep you alive so you can kill them. Knife Juggler and Murloc Knight (if you’re lucky) can really help pile on the pressure and force the Freeze mage to use burn as removal, which might save you in the endgame.

 Midrange Hunter – (43%, 45/55)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

 Midrange Hunter is a fairly tough matchup, as Freezing and Snake Trap can make life difficult for you when you’re trying to fight for the board. Webspinner, a missed 1-drop and Houndmaster signify Midrange Hunter, and once you know this playing around freezing trap is essential. Freezing Trap basically silences and kills any minion it returns, so bear this in mind before declaring your first attack into a secret. Defender of Argus is the perfect minion to get returned, but guys or other small minions are fine too. If you can win the early board battle then things are fairly straightforward. But if you are even or behind then Houndmaster, Loatheb, Dr 7 and above all Savannah Highmane present real threats. Like Face Hunter, things will normally degenerate into a race, where you need to bear in mind the burst potential of Kill Command and Unleash. Trading off 1/1s can be good here to minimise the danger of Unleash. Aldor wants to be saved for Highmane, but should be played for tempo if you have no other choice.

 Midrange Druid – (100%, 60/40)

 Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Aldor, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

 Midrange Druid is a pretty decent matchup for this deck, as you can push more aggressively in the early turns, and in Aldor Peacekeeper you have a great answer to early innervated threats. You mulligan for Aggro Druid, so normally you’ll have more board presence at the start. You want to plan for how you’re going to deal with Darnassus Aspirant based on your hand, and then keep pushing tempo into the midgame. Swipe can decimate your board, so make sure to play around it when you can. If you can win the battle in the midgame, you should be able to push through despite a ramp advantage. It is often correct to consecrate a Shade if you have some kind of board to prevent the Shade from growing. In the end game, make sure to play around combo through taunt, heal or Loatheb. If things go badly, equality+consecration can swing things back like always, but it’s important to develop some king of defence on the same turn, as otherwise you’ll be vulnerable to Forceroar. Equality and Keeper can really help against the big taunts like Druid of the Claw and Ancient of War, and Equality can often be used to help remove high health minions in the mid-game.

 Handlock/Demon Handlock – (75%, 60/40)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop), Equality if you suspect Handlock or have a good enough hand otherwise.

 The Handlock – Midrange Paladin matchup is very volatile, both sides are capable of producing big tempo swings that the other struggles to deal with. However, this deck runs so many answers to big minions that it is definitely favoured. Generally the goal is to pressure throughout the game and play around Hellfire and Shadowflame as best you can. While you want to put on a decent amount of pressure, your hero power can help to keep you from overcommitting. Playing around Molten Giants is essential; try to wait till you can kill your opponent in one turn rather than giving them cheap Moltens. Molten Giant+Shadowflame can decimate a board, and Molten, Molten and Argus or Sunfury is normally too much for even this deck to cope with. That said, if you feel confident that your opponent doesn’t have Shadowflame, then you can bait out the Molten Giants and then Equality Consecrate them into oblivion. The Demon Handlock matchup is slightly worse, as Voidcaller presents a threat that is difficult to deal with without silence. Generally unless you can answer Malganis, Jaraxxus and Doomguard, you should hold off on popping a Voidcaller, and go face instead, or don’t attack at all if you fear Molten Giants. Keeper is a minion that can counter anything that comes out of Voidcaller.

Midrange Shaman – (100%, 100/0)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop), Truesilver with 2 drop.

 Poor Thrall. Once upon a time, if you wanted to build a versatile, midrange deck in Hearthstone, Shaman was your first point of call. Then Paladin got Shielded Minibot, Muster For Battle and Quartermaster in GvG, and Shaman has been second best ever since. Midrange Shaman basically has the exact same game plan as you, but worse cards, particularly in the early game. You want to seize control of the board early and you have the tools to do so. Keep making good trades into the midgame, and then you can start using your hero power to your advantage. Guys are a lot better than totems, and playing Justicar Trueheart when you are ahead against Shaman is just cruel. If you haven’t seen a Hex yet, it’s generally a bad idea to play Tirion unless you want to give the Shaman player a chance. The Shaman’s only other good card, Fire Elemental, is tough to play around, but just try and remember that it’s likely to be played on turn 6 or soon after and be ready. Midrange Shaman has poor catchup mechanisms due to Overload, but play around Lightning Storm where possible. Things will only go badly if rngesus smiles on the Shaman, you get a bad draw and lose the early game, in which case you’ll need to make good use out of your swing cards. Like the mirror, face damage is not a priority and you want to kill off totems where possible. Some lists run a bit of burn in the form of Crackle or Bloodlust, so in the late game make sure to play around the Shaman’s outs and you’ll be fine.

Zoo - (75%, 55/45)

Mulligan: Chow, Minibot, Muster, Juggler, Coghammer (with coin or 2 drop)

Every variant of zoo, no matter how aggressive it may seem, is a control deck, not a face deck. It is important to remember this as some people tend to think of it in the same vein as Hunter or Aggro Druid, but really the style is more similar to that of Midrange Paladin. What does this mean? Well mainly, that you should be using your life as a resource with your weapons, trying to keep minions around whenever you can (unless your opponent is playing a list that runs Sea Giant), and prioritising board control above all else. You really need to mulligan aggressively for Chow, Minibot, Juggler and Muster. Coghammer is at it's strongest in this matchup, as you can often kill 3 minions with it and if you're lucky another with the free divine shield. As you do not need to worry too much about your life total beyond the reach of Power Overwhelming or Doomguard, you can feel free to try to get as much value with your weapons as you can. You should, because normally whoever goes into turn 5 ahead will win the game. Early board control battles will normally decide the game, but Consecration can bring you back and is great against Zoo. That said, remember that the zoo player can normally draw and play two cards every turn, so you will want to Consecrate and develop some kind of threat on the same turn, otherwise you'll just fall behind again. Imp Gang Boss can be a problem, so you may want to keep Truesilver with a decent amount of early game. Implosion can also create massive swings, so you may want to save Juggler+Muster or Consecration for the aftermath if you can. Just focus on keeping up and pushing as much tempo as you can, once ahead, you should be able to deal with the Zoo player's small minions easily, but if you're behind then things can spiral out of control rapidly.



Conclusion - That finishes the guide for now,  if you have any questions, critique or requests for additions for more matchups or tech choices just let me know in the comments and I'll update when I can. I hope you can have as much fun and success with the list as I did, good luck!

EDIT: I'm in the process of writing a section on alternative cards and tech choices.