EDIT2: Updated Replacements section, please look at it before asking. Few cards are 100% irreplacable, most of the time a standard strong card will work as a sub, especially if it can fill the subbed card's role
EDIT: Thank you so much for the attention this guide is getting had a lot of discussion and questions for it the last few days, it's really appreciated. I'll try to update it the following days especially the replacements section since people keep asking. GLHF with the deck, I'll be checking every single comment, thanks again!
(This is copied from my reddit post, check it out if you haven't. I spend more time there for answers or modifications on the guide)https://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitiveHS/comments/5jy2ko/arcanors_dragon_warrior_deck_and_guide_r5legend/
Greetings lovely people of Hearthpwn, I'm Arcanor#2280 (or arcan0r) and even though I've been playing Hearthstone for more than 2 years, I got legend for the first time this season, with the Dragon Warrior deck I'm presenting here. To get it out of the way:
So, first: why dragon warrior. The deck is pretty strong and doesn't have any really bad matchups from my experience, even though it is pretty reliant on draws sometimes. I really liked the idea of having a pirate start to mess with the opponent's plan, because I love all kinds of mindgames possible in the game,and a lot of people will overreact to the early game pirates. Furthermore, I included some heavier cards to deal with slower matchups, but going full tempo can probably work too. Anyhow, on building the deck:
First, based on the really useful analysis found here I figured I wanted at least 9 dragons (e:8 can work too, and people have gotten success with lists with only 8 dragons but I would rather have the 9th).Turns out the amount of playable non legendary dragons available is pretty small, and even though I didn't really like Azure Drakes I ended with 2x Faerie Dragons (FD), 2x Twilight Guardians (TG), 2x Azure Drakes(AD) and 2x Drakonid Crushers (DC) so 8, plus one legendary (Twilight Drake and Midnight Drake are unplayable,dragonkin sorcerer, volcanic drake, hungry dragon and scaled nightmare seem bad and book wyrm is okayish as a sub,probably even better than some of the legenderies in some metas) . I put deathwing there and he did pretty well, but Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nefarian and even Onyxia (which I unfortunately don't have so no testing done with her) would work on the right meta. Thing is, most of those need at least a clear board or better, while DW works as a comeback card in tough games. So we have 9 cards.Then the pirates. 2 Small time buckaneers (STB) , 2Nzoth's First Mate (NFM) and Patches. This is the baseline pirate package. I was planning for a midrangy version,so including deckhands for example would make the deck closer to standard pirate warrior, and would need more cards to support that playstyle, like upgrades etc. It's definitely viable, just not for my interest. So we are at 14 cards. Finley, at least 1 Berserker,2x Alex Champs(AC),2x Fiery War Axe(FWA), 2 Blackwing Corruptors(BC) go without saying, really strong cards for their respective roles and the deck is not worth playing without them. 2Korkron Elites and Ragnaros are great to provide pressure and close out games, while I really liked Fierce Monkeys on aggro matchups so 2 of them and then Curator comes "free" (no need to adapt the deck to him). So we are at 28 cards (this archetype is pretty compact honestly, if you go around and see some Dragon Warrior lists 25-28 cards are usually the same). Cards I considered:
2nd Berserker: both berserkers felt replaceable at first, but they were really strong during testing so I felt 1 is a must and a second one is probably good but can create space for something better
Arcanite Reaper: I loved the idea when I first saw this, and I did end up using it. It closes out games through reach while also providing board control when needed. The deck also is relatively low on weapons so this made STB slightly better. 2 would probably be too much though, and block your hand too much, plus running 2 reapers would need to reconstruct the whole deck adding upgrades and cultists imo.
1 Blood To Ichor: Considered in case of really fast meta, and this was in my "in case of too much aggro" variant of the deck but it just wasn't useful enough. It fits great in a slower deck with the "1-damage package" (see below) but by itself I would rather have a non-situational drop most of the time
1 Grimy Gadgeteer: Not good against fast decks. Even though I've met a pretty diverse meta, I always needed to have the tempo to own the board and make favorable trades, and couldn't afford the tempo loss of a 4drop dying to a lightning bolt
1 execute: See "1 damage package". Deck doesn't have enough ways to activate this and will be unusable too often.
1 Ravaging Ghoul : See "1dp" Just not enough space to run by itself, and small antisynergy with the deck's fast opening
1 Upgrade: Same with second reaper, would be great in a faster version of the deck.
Grommash: Not enough activators, probably too heavy for this deck
Acidic Ooze: Honestly, I didn't test this. It's probably good but the meta has too many "small weapons", rarely Doomhammers and reapers. It's viable but I didn't want to go for tech cards, I'd rather keep the deck consistent and "all-around" unless I face a specific meta for tens of games.
Brann: Worse than 2x Frothings and 2x Fierce Monkeys, if the deck needed another 3 drop maybe, the deck doesn't have many spectacular battlecries for brann,a tempo based card would be better.
So the package I referred to, "1damage package": If you are interested in a slower version of dragon warrior ,you can go for a package with executes, blood to ichors, ghouls and probably grommash, even acolytes I guess. My plan with this deck was to be a minion based tempo deck (it literally has 0 spells) so I would have to change my whole shell and cut a lot of cards that were good by themselves because these cards are pretty good when they are all in the same deck but not good enough if thrown in alone.
So this is how I got to my exact list. I found it really good all around and as seen from my stats no really bad matchups so I didn't have to make any tech choices.
Cards that are fine additions in general:Grimy Gadgeteer, Blood to Ichor, Acidic Swamp Ooze for cheaper options, any of the legendary dragons mentioned but especially alex and ysera, Book Wyrm is an option too. "Packages" that can be included are more pirate synergy, an extra reaper and an upgrade (these 2 packages combo together too), 1dp with ghoul, execute, bloods and Gromm.How to view specific cards(legendaries and adventures):
Ragnaros: any strong late game card that can finish games like Gromm can work, on a really strict budget go for a faster version with upgrade, maybe extra pirates or a second reaper
Deathwing:My suggestion would be an extra legendary dragon but any generally strong non dragon cards work too. Only non-legendary dragon worth considering is Book Wyrm which is ok as a sub.
Curator: Any strong card, preferably late game ish. I would keep the monkeys because they worked pretty well but you might consider cutting all 3 if you dont own curator for some other small combo.
Finley: You can't replicate Finley's effect, just go for a strong card.
Patches: You should seriously craft patches, he is the best craft in the imo, not because he is the strongest card but because of his unique ability. Cut the pirates if you don't have him and go for an oldschool dragon warrior list
The rest are either Twilight Guardians (go craft those, they are top tier epics) or rares and lower so you can craft them probably.Also, I would advise you to avoid Dragon decks if you don't have BRM, and mainly Corruptors
Mulligans: Mulligans are pretty easy for this deck. If first it's really important to have something to play on turn 2, which is your first priority. If you do have a 2drop, go for a 1 drop. It might feel counterintuitive but skipping your first turn and having a 2 a 3 and a 4 turn play is far better than going 1 3 4 for example, keep in mind that this deck runs 2fwa and 2ac, arguably the best 2drops in the game. If second it's a little easier since you can use the coin to smooth out your curve, which is your objective. Going 1 coin 1, into 2 into 3 is probably the dream but 1, coin 3, 3 works too. In short try to make your first 3 turns as smooth as possible.The plan for mulligans for this deck doesn't change too much based on the match up,even though some individual cards are better against some classes. Most cards are useful against most opponents so curving out is the only important thing. Another thing, I don't like keeping Deathwing and Crushers in my opening hand (for AC to trigger) but you can do so if the rest of your hand is good for the first turns (especially if your opponent is a kabal class, there's a chance they'll dirtyrat. Definitely not something to plan on but a small extra bonus, had it happen couple times). TG are ok to keep and to a lesser extent Azures.
General tips: Go fast, grab the board, clear theirs if possible, then pressure. That's your gameplan for every single game, and I'll be repeating in the matchup section.
Finley choices: Never take Shaman unless you are praying for a taunt totem to survive. Rogue is usually better than Paladin. Druid,Mage,Hunter are never bad, Hunter if you want to rush them, Druid works better than mage if the armor is relevant. The two most controversial are Warlock and Priest. Priest can be useful in aggro matchups, for the double heal turn, and in general pretty ok if you are playing a slow board game and can bother to heal your minions. Life tap is tricky. If your health doesn't matter(against reno and jade decks mostly), it's the best one. Against aggro shaman,warrior or rogue though I would rather get a ping tbh, unless you are so ahead that they are using their burst to try and stick on the board, and you are sitting in comfortable hp range, of like 20 (so you can afford 2-ish taps).
DRUID: Stats were 3-2 (but in one of the losses I dc'd. The other one was the KunAvianaMalygos deck, in which he ramped out malygos and I couldn't remove it) Types: jade(Heavily favored) ,malygos(Probably favored, not enough games)
Jade Druids are almost free wins for this deck, if you manage to get a good opening at least. They have trouble removing minions, especially big ones. Faerie Dragon is really good in this matchup. Your goal is to be so fast they can't develop their own plays.If they use a t3 Feral Rage on a frothing/monkey they won't have it for the armor. Also 9/9 crushers are especially hard to remove for them, so forgoing a trade to set them on 15- hp is generally good. Also if they manage to get the board and stabilizing Deathwing can win the game by himself.
Reach: Swipe,Living Roots, Thalnos/Azuredrake | Feral Rage
Taunt: Jade Behemoth , Ancient of War
Heal: 2x Feral Rage
1Removal: Swipe, 1Mulch
Aoe:(Spell damage +)Swipe
Outofdeck: Raven Idol
HUNTER: Faced a single hunter on my ride to legend, and it was a legend guy while I was rank 1, and a really close win through a 1/3 Rag. Generally they are probably worse versions of Aggro Warriors or Shamans
MAGE:Heavily favored, stats are 5-2.
Types:All mages I faced were Reno decks, varying in exact build though
Reno Mage is a relatively easy matchup. They feel like a worse version of renolock, they have limited removal, run little to no early minions or heals, have neither an OTK nor jaraxxus for infinite threats. Try to be fast and probably don't play around stuff too much. Their only heal is usually reno so consider chipping damage when possible, good matchup to get steady shot from finley. Their secrets are usually ice blocks and ice barriers, unless they played a card-generating card like babbling book. If they have a secret up and you have overkill damage try to for the heropower/corruptor/ragnaros lethal to avoid ice barrier when applicable. As I said due to their lack of draws and the fact they are a reno deck you are probably statistically better not going out of your way to play around stuff, and if they do have the answers to what you have, well, unlucky.
Reach: Fireball,Frostbolt,Torch | -
Taunt: Secondrate bruiser? DirtyRat? Mirror Image?
Heal: Reno, Ice Barrier
1Removal: 1Fireball, 1Polymorph, 1Flamelance
Aoe: Freeze+Doomsayer, Flamestrike, Blizzard, VolcanicPot,
Outofdeck: BabblingBook, Kazakus, Cabalist Tome
PALADIN: RIP , 0 paladins in my way. I would expect an Anyfin deck if I encountered one, playstyle similar to vs a kabal deck
PRIEST: Favored, stats are 10-4
Against both archetypes,your plan is again to go fast. Don't let them take the board or you are in an uphill battle. Try to play a little around cards like MCT until you are sure whether they are reno or not. Try to get a 4/4 Frothing on turn 3, they'll have trouble to deal with it. Turn 6 onwards try to play dragons instead of non dragons when applicable because of Dragonfire Potion. Get either lifetap or a ping hero power if you can to stay on the board as much as possible against DragonPriest, steady shot only if you have a great opening. They have 2 big target removals usually, either 2xswd or 1xswd 1xentomb, Deathwing again can save the day if those are gone. Also the most burst they can do is like 6 through corruptors (DOperatives and Kazakus can provide more, theres also a velen variant but I didnt encounter any of them).
Reach: Corruptor(3)(6 if double/brann)| -
Taunt: Wyrmrest Agent, Twilight Guardian (plus Dirty Rat, Secondratebruiser for reno),Chillmaw?
Heal: (Reno, Greater Healing Potion)
1Removal: SWP(and BookWyrm), SWD, Entomb
Aoe: Dragonfire Potion, Holynova,(Excavated Evil)
Outofdeck:Kazakus, netherspite historian, DrakonidOperative
ROGUE:Even to slightly unfavoured,stats are 5-6
Types: Pirate Miracle (slightly unfavoured), didn't encounter others
I know it seems weird but I found this matchup even at best. They can be as fast as you can but they have a lot more card generation and burst, making it harder to control the board through weapons. You need to get on the board fast, and make them waste damage on your minions. They don't run hard removal so big minions and especially taunts (TG and curator) will either be dealt with through damage from 2-3 cards or Sapped. They have no way to deal with deathwing but don't expect the game to drag (heh) that long. They run no taunts and no heals so pressuring them while owning the board is your win condition ,steady shot from finley is good for this reason (while life tap is really risky)
Reach: Eviscerate | ColdBlood, Leeroy
1Removal: Sap, Eviscarate, ShadowStrike, Backstab
Aoe: FanofKnives(+spell damage)
SHAMAN: Depends on the archetype,generally even, stats are 12-12
Types: Mainly Aggro shaman(even to slightly unfavoured), few control ones (even to slightly favoured), 1-2 midrange (seemed favoured but not sure)
God I hated aggro shaman, it was the only deck that managed to be the aggressor of the game even in games I had the good opening. I'll talk only for aggro shaman since the other archetypes are too scarce, and the general play style is simple (Own the board, count 2x + 2x aoe and 2x Hex). Aggro shaman now: your fast openers deal with each other, usually. Try to get your minions eat resources like a frothing eating a Lava Burst is generally great. Kill the 7/7 as fast as possible,even by using your face if needed, every time I thought I could ignore it because I had a more threatening board they would clear my board through other cards (weapons, spells and charge minions) and the 7/7 would smack my face 2-3 times, which is generally gg. Don't be too fast with finley, you WILL outlast them cardwise so keeping a decent life total is important. (here I was 1 win from legend, sitting at 14 hp, 16 damage out of nowhere). Another tip, see if you can get some info about their list, for example if they play Rockbiters they will also play Doomhammers, if they play one JadeGolem card they probably play 4-5 etc.
Reach:Lavaburst, LightningBolt, JadeLightning, Spelldamage(Totem,Thalnos,Azure) | 2xSClaws, 2xJadeClaws, Doomhammer, Horserider, Rockbiter, Flametongue, SouthseaDeckhand
Taunt: FeralSpirit, Totem
1Removal: Lavaburst, LightningBolt, JadeLightning
Aoe: 2xMaelstrom, Lightningstorm
Reach: LightningBolt,JLightning,Spelldamage |Jade Claws
Taunt: WhiteEyes (and storm guardian),Thingfrombelow, Totem, SummonAJadeGolemWithTauntGuy
Removal:2x Hex, 2xLightningBolt, JadeClaws
Aoe: Maelstrom, Lightningstorm, ElementalDestruction
WARLOCK:Favoured, stats are 17-7
Types:Generally Renolock , faced like one or 2 zoos. Consider them a worst aggro shaman with no burst.
I know, listing Renolock as favoured might seem weird, but both my feel and my stats indicate so. Plan is to rush them down while keeping the board clear. It's pretty important to keep it clear because of taunt givers, faceless shamblers and shadowflame .Pressure him enough he is afraid to tap.Have a strong board on t6 so even if he renos you can kill reno and deal 10-15 damage to his face (happened pretty often thanks to the crushers).Don't overextend and try to have few strong minions instead of many small whenever possible, it plays around Aoe, Mct and even SecondRatebruiser sometimes. His only big target removal is siphon soul, with an occasional blackcrystal potion and Twisting Nether, you have 2 crushers (ideally 9/9s), a Rag and a DW, and DW is a big reason this specific list was favoured against renolock (Beware of the stupidly annoying FacelessManipulator->FacelessShambler turn after DW though, it happened twice and is tilt inducing enough to stop playing for some time).
Reach: 1 Soulfire| Leeroy,Faceless,PowerOverwhelming, Jaraxxus
Taunt: Sunfury+Argus, SecondrateBruiser,DirtyRat
WARRIOR:Even to Favoured,stats are 14-10
Types: Dragon and pirate mainly, 2-3 taunt(favoured) 1 control(won) and 1 patron (won)
1-2 weeks ago any warrior would be a pirate warrior. Through the last days of my climb though, the few warriors I met were mirrors. We are really favoured against any slower warrior decks so I won't elaborate on them since the sample size was fairly small. Against the two faster archetypes, you plan is the usual: grab the board, pressure them to make (bad) trades. A pirate warrior that trades his minions into non-taunt ones is a won game. Turn 1 and 2 are usually the same against both decks, the one with the best opening is in control of the game. On the first 3 turns it's generally ok to take some face damage in order to keep yourself in the board, from that point though try to preserve it unless you are really ahead. Pirate warriors have a lot of burst but most of it doesn't go through taunts, with the exception of Mortal Strike (and the occasional steady shot/fire blast). Play around mortal strike (keep them at 13 health or more) only if you can either win or stabilize in the next turn, otherwise you are probably better on pushing, especially if they have 0-1 cards in hand.Against dragons it's similar, with some extra points to remember: first, 4 health>>3 health. A dragon warrior has a lot of cards that either have 3 attack (twilight guardian, Faerie dragon, Alex Champ) or deal 3 damage (Corruptor, FWA). Unless they are running the "1 damage package" version (which tbh is probably favoured against us), a 4 hp minion will probably eat 6 damage. Also health>armor in this game since you want to stay out of crusher range, so armor up before attacking, unless they played both crushers (or you are already under 15 hp, obviously)
Reach:2xMortalstrike, Finley |2Fwa,2xUpgrade, 2xCultist, 2xArcaniteReaper, Leeroy, 2NFM, 2SouthseaDeckhand, 2Korkron, 2xHeroicStrike
Reach: Corruptor, Finley| Korkron,FWA,AlexChamp, Reaper ,Grommash,Ragnaros
1Removal: Execute , DirectDamage
Aoe: Ghoul, Deathwing
E: People ask for vods but I can't really record from my pc so these were posted on the comment section, they do a fairly good job so check them out! Also of you do showcasing/recording of the deck feel free to send me/comment it, so I can add it (link the guide in your description if you want).
(Both are-can-or and are-cane-or are fine btw :P )
I'll see if I can add things and/or format it better. Now, to conclude, some extra things that are more about the journey I had and less about the deck itself:
1) Grinding to legend takes a lot of somewhat tiring grinding. Get used on being focused as much as possible for as long as possible.
2) Average matters more than ideal. Your average opening, your average game, a card's average performance. FrothingBerserker for example is a meh baseline card(3-2/4) that can snowball and win games by itself, so on average he is a good card. Something like Grimy
Gadgeteer is bad baseline (4-4/3) that can snowball less than frothing, so on average it's a meh card.
3) Don't play yolo Dirty Rats against Dragon or "possibly Dragon" warriors. Just don't.
4) Play as much as you want without frustrating yourself, take breaks after 2 losses in a row. Remember the other points, I had a 61% winrate with this deck over 110 games. That sounds like a good deck right? 61% winrate means , roughly, that to get 3 stars you need 10
games. Also I've played 4 or 5 "final boss" games, losing one to a rogue (which from what I had seen from others should be a good matchup) with a starting hand that LITERALLY nothing cost less than 6, and one being the shaman game I posted earlier.
5) Have fun. Cheesy, I know but I see no other reason to play a game. Everytime I lost the joy of playing and turned on mindless grinding, I would stop. It's human to have emotional reactions to things you are passionate about but I don't see the point of spending time in a hobby
that can ruin your mood.
Feel free to either comment or pm me suggestions, corrections, ideas,death threats and questions. Also feel free to post the deck and/or the guide in other communities if you see a reason to (just say it's from me :D)