Good late 2015, Hearthpwn. This is going to be my first write-up....Ever. So please, be gentle!
or don't.First, little bit of background. I've been playing since early closed beta, have hit legend around 10-12 times before and have roughly 5.6k or so hearthstone wins under my belt, most of which are on Control Warrior. Recently, League Of Explorers came out, and it contains a couple of very interesting cards with extremely powerful yet conditional effects. I'm referring to Elise Starseeker and, of course, Reno Jackson.
After much trial and error, I've come up with a list I'm extremely confident with and that I piloted to legend with relative ease. After sharing it with a friend of mine, he too had a rather easy climb into legend. I'm fairly convinced of it's ladder viability and it's reliability in completely crushing aggressive decks. Without further ado....
VODs of the deck against famous players(Played by a friend of mine):
Proof of Legend
Friend has hit legend with it again in the January 2016 season
Execute: Prime removal, allows for huge tempo swings by dropping a threat in addition to executing theirs.
Shield Slam: Prime removal number 2. Excellent for tempo swings and removing large and small threats alike, depending on the matchup.
Zombie Chow: An unusual choice in warrior, but due to the nature of the deck, we're only running the one copy of Fiery War Axe; this card is here to pick up the slack and can be converted to a random legendary by Elise Starseeker.
Fiery War Axe: Excellent weapon due to its ability to completely dominate the early stages of the game while still staying relevant later on. Absolutely a must run; this is one of the cards I once considered running 2 of.
Revenge: Sometimes this card will just be a more expensive Whirlwind. However, sometimes it will let you come back in games you had no business winning by giving you a 2 mana, non self damaging Hellfire for a powerful board wipe. Both effects are obviously extremely powerful in a metagame so infested with Secret Paladin.
Slam: Good for cycling to find your key cards and also useful for picking off minions behind taunt.
Armorsmith: Very strong defensive minion, especially since this deck runs a fair amount of taunt to protect it. One of your many, many life gain cards.
Cruel Taskmaster: Very versatile that proves useful at all stages of the game. Combos well with: Armorsmith, Acolyte of Pain, Big Game Hunter and Grommash Hellscream.
Ironbeak Owl: Silence is something warriors always wanted, but always had trouble fitting in. Our little friend here is the best source you could ask for, since it allows for you to counter early aggression efficiently, trading one for one with even Shielded Minibot and Mad Scientist in faster matchups. It's also good for removing devastating card texts in the slower ones, such as Sylvanas Windrunner.
Jeweled Scarab: This little gem of a card often acts as a wonderful curve filler early game. More often than not offering great warrior 3 drops, both proactive and defensive, such as Bash and Frothing Berserker. However, it can also act as a wonderful toolbox, giving plenty of powerful situational cards that could get you out of a bad situation, such as Mind Control Tech.
Bash: Strong removal and life gain that prolongs the game. What's not to like?
Shield Block: Gets you armor and cycles through your deck to find important cards and serves to enable Shield Slam.
Acolyte of Pain: Another source of card draw. Synergy with all the whirlwind effects in the deck make him a soft taunt and a high priority target for your opponent.
Big Game Hunter: Staple 3 drop in most control decks. Plenty of juicy targets for it to hit and can combo with Cruel Taskmaster to take out 5 attack minions for free.
Fierce Monkey: Similarily to Zombie Chow, this card is here to pick up the slack should you not find your weapons. However, he also has the added bonus of providing you with taunt in the later stages of the game.
Death's Bite: Best weapon in the game, bar none. Provides immense clearing power in both the mid and late game and serves as an excellent activator for Grommash Hellscream. This is the card I ran 2 of for a very long time until i finally decided against it in order to guarantee Reno Jackson activates.
Elise Starseeker: Your win condition against control decks. Sporting a good body to fend off aggro decks, she's not completely dead in those matchups either. All around a solid card that will win games on its own.
Sen'jin Shieldmasta: This deck is defensive at its core, therefore Tazdingo got the nod over Piloted Shredder in this particular deck.
Brawl: Possibly the strongest AOE card in the game for its mana cost outside of maybe Hellfire, especially combined with weapons. Following this card up with Reno Jackson will usually result in victory due to both the board and your health being stabilized over two turns.
This and Revenge are your primary ways of dealing with overzealous aggression.
Harrison Jones: This card serves two very important roles: reducing damage output while fishing for your Reno Jackson against aggro, and applying pressure and fishing for Elise Starseeker against control. Invaluable in a meta where Doomhammer is so popular, not to mention all the paladins running around.
Sludge Belcher: One of the absolute strongest defensive cards in the game, delays the game and trades down fantastically.
Justicar Trueheart: Core card in slower warrior decks. The raw longevity that this card can provide in a control matchup is through the roof. It also helps get out of reach against any combo deck. This is a power card and generally wants to be played before Golden Monkey.
Reno Jackson: The reason the deck is built the way it is. The destroyer of aggro. Salvation incarnate. Gorehowl's partner in crime. Not only is this card a humongous powerhouse against fast decks, it lets you alter the way you play against slower ones, allowing you to be downright reckless with the amount of damage you take. This has two advantages. Firstly, you get to cash in your weapons much more than you might normally be able to. Secondly, no one expects Reno Warrior, and i mean no one. So, they tend to be a lot more willing to go all in to try to finish you off, at which point they get punished and you can easily close out the game from there.
Shieldmaiden: Decent body paired with a burst of armor to activate Shield Slam and get out of reach. Just a very solid warrior card.
Sylvanas Windrunner: Extremely powerful effect that'll likely give your opponent a headache when she hits the board. Her value potential is insane, and she wipes the board clean with Brawl.
Gorehowl: This is the third and final piece of your control killing lineup. This card brings insane value and has unbelievable synergy with Reno Jackson, easily going 5 for 1 against the more midrange decks as well as taking out multiple multiple large threats at virtually no cost with the right setup.
This card alone can win you the game if you space out your healing properly.
Baron Geddon: A very high pressure board clearing beast that has the incredible side effect of taking out the Big Game Hunter that was just used to take out your Dr. Boom in order to take back the tempo. This card is absolutely necessary for this deck because it provides an additional AOE effect that a slow control deck such as this one desperately needs.
Dr. Boom: This card is already monstrous in most decks. It has some added synergy in a deck like this that has difficulties building a board and dealing with lots of small minions. The good doctor is a true powerhouse that everyone should own in their collection, bringing both a ton of value and pressure to the table.
Grommash Hellscream: The deck's main and almost only source of burst damage. He ends up being used as removal to setup 2 turn lethals a lot more often than one might think, as he only has a handful of activators in this deck. That being said, his synergy with Ysera is incredible due to her spells being both able to increase his reach, bypass taunts, or even both at the same time.
The knowledge that Grommash Hellscream is in your deck makes your opponent have to play with only 20 health, which gives you a huge edge against a lot of matchups.
Ysera: A different kind of finisher, Ysera is here to both generate value and end the game in a timely manner, preferably along with Grommash Hellscream for 15+ burst damage from the hand. If anyone is unfamiliar, the dream cards are Laughing Sister, Emerald Drake, Dream, Nightmare and Ysera Awakens.
What do i mean by this exactly? I mean that unless your life total would hit 0, you should always value Armor over Health. That means you want to try to gain Armor after you take damage, rather than the other way around. But why? Why would you want Armor over Health?
There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, Shield Slam is a card.
Secondly, no cards can ''Adjust'' your Armor like they can your health. In this deck specifically, you run Reno Jackson, so it's to your advantage to be low on Health and high on Armor. It also plays around your opponent's Alexstrasza.
Matchup and mulligan guide.
Keep: Zombie Chow, Fiery War Axe, Slam, Jeweled Scarab, Bash, Fierce Monkey, Sen'jin Shieldmasta, Death's Bite and Reno Jackson.
Aggro Druid 3/10 (Easy)
Fairly easy matchup due to their lack of draw, and your amount of lifegain is usually sufficient to carry you, especially with all your taunts. Try to prepare a hard removal for a turn 5 Fel Reaver as much as possible.
Midrange Druid 8/10 (Very Hard)
This matchup has always been extremely painful for Warrior, and even though Reno Jackson helps, this is still a rough one. You want to try to keep their board as controlled as possible while trying your best to stay out of the infamous Force of Nature Savage Roar range. This is tricky to say the least, but not unwinnable by any means. This matchup gets much easier if they don't run Harrison Jones or draw their Ancient of Lore too late.
Keep: Zombie Chow, Fiery War Axe, Slam, Armorsmith, Ironbeak Owl, Cruel Taskmaster, Bash, Death's Bite and Reno Jackson.
Face Hunter: 2/10 (Very Easy)
You run a large amount of healing, so your primary goal is to grab control of the board so he has to rely on burn to kill you. Once that's done, you can very easily out heal their direct damage. Don't give them Eaglehorn Bow charges unless you have to or are holding Harrison Jones.
Hybrid Hunter: 5/10 (Medium)
Similar strategy to Face Hunter, but you definitely want to try to hold on to some removal to be able to answer their mid game threats. Try to control the board before healing as much as possible.
Midrange Hunter: 4/10 (Easy/Medium)
Similar to Hybrid hunter, but much less punishing early on. A lot of them run taunts, so don't get greedy for face damage, and try to prepare as best you can for a turn 6 Savannah Highmane.
Keep:Zombie Chow, Ironbeak Owl, Fiery War Axe, Slam, Jeweled Scarab, Armorsmith, Bash, Fierce Monkey and Death's Bite.
Freeze Mage: 0/10 (Heh, Greetings.)
Armor up. Every turn. Save a way to kill Emperor Thaurissan, Alexstrasza and Archmage Antonidas, and you literally can't lose.
Tempo Mage 5/10 (Medium)
This matchup is very slightly in your favor, but can easily go downhill if they draw well. Killing Flamewaker should be a top priority and holding on to an answer forArchmage Antonidas is always good. Once again, try to seize control of the board before spending your healing unless necessary.
Reno/Grinder Mage 3/10 (Easy)
This matchup is a walk in the park as long as you follow two simple rules: firstly, don't get overzealous. A lot of them run Molten Giant and Echo of Medivh, and a wall of giants could easily lose you the game. Secondly, don't give them good Duplicate value. It's really quite simple, but also extremely important.
Keep:Zombie Chow, Slam, Armorsmith, Fiery War Axe, Ironbeak Owl, Jeweled Scarab, Acolyte of Pain, Death's Bite, Brawl and Harrison Jones.
Secret Paladin 5/10 (Medium/Easy)
Fight aggressively for board control and do your best not to give them a good Redemption or an Avenge you can't immediately answer. Try to think a few turns ahead as much as possible and try to put yourself in a good position to deal with Mysterious Challenger, either by keeping his board clear or by letting him overextend into a Brawl.
One more tip which is good against all paladins: they have little to no burst. Their highest damage card is Blessing of Kings, which is easy to play around. This makes it really easy to bait them into going all in, then swinging it back with a well timed Reno Jackson.
Midrange Paladin 8/10 (Reporting for duty)
This is the most difficult matchup for this deck by a fair margin. The innate value from their hero power against yours makes it really difficult to fatigue them unless they draw a lot with their tech cards. Ideally, you want to try and keep their recruits to a minimum without using up your good board clears until they use up Quartermaster. You generally want to close out the game with Grommash Hellscream combined with a Ysera card since they can only run so much healing.
Murloc Paladin 5/10 (Medium)
This matchup is similar to freeze mage in the way that you want to try to get as high on life as humanly possible. The only issue is they run a decent amount of minions themselves, which makes it a lot easier for them to chip away at your armor. Secondly, you need to save up a strong aoe to deal with their Anyfin Can Happen.
Keep: Execute, Fiery War Axe, Jeweled Scarab, Slam, Acolyte of Pain, Elise Starseeker, Death's Bite, Justicar Trueheart and Gorehowl.
Dragon Priest 3/10 (Easy)
Play defensively and eventually they'll have to overextend into removal, or they'll just run out of damage. Try to play around one Entomb, else the tempo swing on a large drop might be too much and give them a chance to win. Gorehowl can easily win you this matchup by itself, so maximize it's value and try to draw into it asap.
Control Priest 5/10 (Medium)
Normally this would be a fairly simple matchup, but some of them decide to be extremely greedy on ladder and those matches can be a living hell. You should go into this matchup intending to fatigue them and play around exactly 1 Shadow Word: Death, 2x Entomb, 2x Lightbomb and try to not give them Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest value.
Keep: Fiery War Axe, Slam, Armorsmith,Jeweled Scarab, Bash, Fierce Monkey, Death's Bite, Sen'jin Shieldmasta and Harrison Jones.
Oil Rogue 2/10 (Easy)
This is a very easy matchup for you, for their damage is limited. Try to find your weapons as soon as possible so their Tinker's Sharpsword Oil can't fully go off. Reno Jackson makes this matchup very difficult to lose, but you should still be careful of how much damage they can pump out in a single turn.
Miracle Rogue 3/10 (Easy)
This matchup is also quite easy but they can sometimes steal a win with a powerful Gadgetzan Auctioneer with double Conceal draw, pushing a ton of face damage you can't really do anything about. Outside of that, it plays very similarily to the Oil Rogue matchup; try to get out of reach with your armor and lifegain cards.
Keep: Zombie Chow, Armorsmith, Slam, Fiery War Axe, Cruel Taskmaster, Ironbeak Owl, Bash, Fierce Monkey, Death's Bite, Harrison Jones and Reno Jackson.
Face Shaman 2/10 (Very Easy)
Kill Tunnel Trogg and you're golden. This is a matchup you usually farm on the ladder. Your amount of lifegain is usually far too much for the deck to have a chance if you draw any sort of early game. The only way you lose is a turn 5 Doomhammer with you having no life gain or weapon destruction in your hand.
Keep: Fiery War Axe, Slam, Ironbeak Owl, Jeweled Scarab, Fierce Monkey, Bash, Death's Bite and Brawl.
Zoo 7/10 (Hard)
Their constant onslaught of deathrattle minions combined with Defender of Argus is very difficult to deal with at times. You'll want to find your weapons as much as possible and hopefully get a strong Brawl or Baron Geddon turn to swing back the game in your favor.
Renolock 6/10 (Medium/Hard)
This matchup is dependant on how many midgame threats they draw before you have the mana to deal with them. The key is to keep the pressure on in the very late stages of the game to prevent a clean Lord Jaraxxus turn which would lead to you getting overrun by Infernals. Due to the nature of their hero power and yours, fatiguing them is surprisingly easy, should the option present itself.
Malylock 4/10 (Medium/Easy)
They want to use their midgame dragon engine to wear you down then burst you down with Malygos. Fortunately, the addition of Reno Jackson makes it a lot harder for them to actually have enough damage to take you out. Their lack of Lord Jaraxxus makes their value very limited when put up against all your armor gain, making it easy for you to run them out of cards.
Keep: Fiery War Axe, Armorsmith, Jeweled Scarab, Death's Bite, Elise Starseeker, Harrison Jones and Justicar Trueheart.
Control Warrior 4/10 (Tank Up)
Armor up! Armor up! Armor up! Welcome to the Grand Tournament, Champion! Tank up! Tank up! Tank up! Tank up!
Don't play that Zombie Chow. Just don't. Don't play that Fierce Monkey either. And no, you're not cycling that Shield Block, that Slam or that Acolyte of Pain. You won't waste hard removal on midgame threats either. And you won't play Baron Geddon until you can nail their Big Game Hunter with the effect. The easiest way I can put it is, don't draw cards unless you have to, and don't waste your good weapon charges on mediocre minions like Armorsmith. Make sure you save as many anti aggro cards for Elise Starseeker as possible.
Patron Warrior 3/10 (Easy)
They want to try to kill you decently fast, thus the key to this matchup is recognizing that you're facing this deck, not Control Warrior, and switch up your playstyle. You want to save Brawl to deal with a huge Grim Patron board, since that's their only win condition against you for the most part. Play around Grommash Hellscream and you should be golden.
Why no Alexstrasza?
Alexstrasza's power in Control Warrior is highly dependent on her ability to either heal you in a pinch or do heavy damage to your opponent. Both of these effects don't line up with the way I built this deck. The heavy face damage is denied due to the high density of minions in this list (for Control Warrior standards anyway), and the healing portion is hindered by the presence of Reno Jackson in the list.
Replacement for X?
This deck is extremely expensive, even by warrior standards. I understand this, but replacing any of these cards WILL hurt your win ratio, it's inevitable. However, the list can still function if you're only missing a few of the less crucial cards.
Harrison Jones ===> Acidic Swamp Ooze
Ysera ===> Nefarian
Additionally, because Reno Jackson makes you have a larger variety of cards, it means that individual card shifts have a larger impact on how the deck will play. I tailored this deck to a specific game plan, and changing any element of it will impact that game plan, directly affecting the way the deck should be played and how it functions.
Why did you make the font so big?
This is much easier for people to read, zoom out if you don't like it!
Would you mind me making a video using your deck list?
I have no objections, although I would greatly appreciate you linking this guide if you decide to do so!
How is this better than normal Control Warrior?
A list like this can both take the opponent off guard due to its unusual card choices and win games it should never be able to thanks to Reno Jackson. Losing a bit of armor gain and consistency in exchange for flexibility and the ability to be proactive in the early to midgame is a trade I'm more than willing to make.
What can I tech in to beat Control/Aggro?
Against Control: Brann Bronzebeard + Iron Juggernaut, Bouncing Blade, Crush, Nefarian and Deathwing.
Against Aggro: Whirlwind, Doomsayer, Mind Control Tech, Tournament Medic and Gnomish Inventor.
It's up to you to figure out what you want to cut for these cards.
Why do you run Elise Starseeker? It rarely activates!
The point of Elise Starseeker is to win against specifically Control Warrior and Control Priest if you understand the matchup. The presence of the card forces them to play differently, putting them on a clock of sorts. You're allowed to play the game differently in those slow matchups with the knowledge that you have her in your deck to convert your weak anti aggro cards into random legendaries. Also, one more thing about this card. Just because you drew into Golden Monkey doesn't mean you should play it right away. Be smart about it; don't use it if you still have extremely important cards like Gorehowl, Reno Jackson and Justicar Trueheart still in the deck!
In conclusion, this variation of Control Warrior is tailored to handle aggressive and combo decks that crowd the ladder nowadays to ensure a smooth and simple climb up the ranks. The immense recovery and punish potential Reno Jackson offers is extremely satisfying. It allows you to come back in games that would normally be 100% over while still having the strong consistency of a Control Warrior deck, making it a joy to play.
I hope you all enjoyed my guide (if you did, I would appreciate an upvote, helps a lot!), and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them in the comments. Happy New Year!
My Twitch, although i don't stream.
Friend who hit Legend's twitch, go check him out right now!