Here's a nice Max 66 damage OTK (needed much less!), just to get a quick grasp of the power of this deck..
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The deck focus is completely on the Raza-Anduin combo, even if in rare cases it may end up winning by creatures with some added direct damage. For this reason, the deck relies on mass and target removals, and a very heavy draw engine
Wild format additions
Surprisingly, only a very limited amount of cards did actually matter enough to be added compared to the standard decklist. Some of these cards however brought other cards with them for sinergy reasons, and even if the sinergy cards may be from standard, they are still cited in this section.
- Velen: it can be played in standard too, but it's not obligatory there. In wild, instead, given the big amount of Reno decks (and even some Awaken the Makers!), it's necessary, otherwise outside of an OTK you may lack the resources to kill the opponent "twice", especially if you are unfortunate enough to draw your combo in the last cards. Velen however is really necessary only against Reno Decks, so outside of those matchups we can feel free to use him as a quick way to heal or do some improved damage to a minion, or even just as a simple 7/7 to hold the board at the very worst
- Flash Heal + Circle of Healing + Embrace the Shadow: usually Velen comes with Mind Blast, however MB is completely useless outside of the OTK combo. Wild format gives us Flash Heal, which is already a good heal on its own, and great one with Velen. But can also takes the place of Mind Blast if needed: the access to both FH and Circle of Healing in fact makes something like Auchenai Soulpriest a resonable addition, while in Wild, with only Circle of Healing, the card was too inconsistent. However rather than the Soulpriest, Embrace the Shadow is much better, since it's way cheaper, cycles with Lyra or Auctioneer, and enables various OTK combos (see below). At worst it may even be used as a spell for Pyromancer, or as a quick 2 damage hero power when Anduin is not there yet, especially if we've played Raza already. Or even as a way to do 4 quick damage, if played with Velen and Shadow Embrace. Soulpriest, on the other hand would be quite heavy in its casting cost, wouldn't be usable in the OTK combo, and its "permanent" status goes against many auto-healing spells and effects we run in the deck
- Pyromancer: usually missing in standard lists, here with Circle of Healing and Nova can also give great draw opportunities with Northshire. Acolyte of Pain is a great friend of him too, and the big amount of spells compared to standard lists makes its inclusion more sound too
- Auctioneer: missing in standard decklists for the lack of spells, here instead has enough fuel to really shine, especially when you are still looking for the combo. After you get it, however, Lyra becomes better for giving additional resources and an almost-never-ending supply of Anduin fuel
- Reno Jackson: not much to say, it's the biggest power spike that the deck receives from going Wild
- Lightbomb: usually better than Dragonfire, especially against Jade Druids and Dr. Boom, and various Dragons of course, like the omnipresent Azure Drake. Given the presence of the Circle of Healing combo, Lightbomb, Pintsize-Horror combo, Holy Nova and Pyromancer, Dragonfire has been dropped from the list, however in certain metagames it may come back at the expense of Holy Nova, which I've now preferred as it combos better with cards like Nortshire, Pyromancer, Lyra and Auctioneer. On the other hand, Excavated Evil is inferior in different aspects to the two above, and not worth the inclusing given the good amount of AoE effects already present. Also don't forget the using it on your Northshire and Acolyte is usually a very good play, since they easily survive and let you draw cards either immediately, or by healing them afterwards.
Important card synergies
Some of these synergies are explained in other parts of the article too, and they are all quite obvious once pointed out, so I'll just list them without much more explanations, just to stress the interaction of certain cards, and help you understand which cards are better held in hand until they can provide greater value:
- Circle of Healing: good with Northshire Cleric (especially together with Spirit Lash or Pyromancer), Embrace the Shadow, Auctioneer, Lyra, Bloodmage Thalnos (when used under Embrace the Shadow's effect)
- Flash Heal: good with Velen, Embrace the Shadow, Northshire Cleric, Lyra, Auctioneer, Bloodmage Thalnos (when used under Embrace the Shadow's effect)
- Holy smite: good with Velen, Pyromancer, Acolyte of Pain, Bloodmage Thalnos, Lyra, Auctioneer
- Pint-Size Potion: good with PW:Horror, Potion of Madness, Cabal Shadowpriest, Lyra, Auctioneer, Acolyte (to make him survive combat against now weaker minions)
- Embrace the Shadow: good with Circle of Healing, Flash Heal, Velen, Raza, Lyra, Auctioneer
- Spirit Lash: good with Bloodmage Thalnos, Northshire Cleric, Pyromancer, Velen, Acolyte of Pain, Lyra, Auctioneer. Note that the effect with Velen is much more powerful that you may think of: if there are for instance 3 minions on the board, dropping Velen among them will make Spirit Lash do 2 damage to the 4 minions, for a total of 8 damage across the board, but will double the healing too, healing you for 16!!
- Holy Nova: good with Bloodmage Thalnos, Northshire Cleric, Pyromancer, Velen. Update: I'm actually preferring now Dragonfire. Holy nova is nice with Cleric and everything, but dragonfire has just more sheer power.
- Acolyte of Pain: good with Pyromancer, Spirit Lash, Holy Smite, Pint-Sized Potion
- Radiant Elemental: PW:Shield, Auctioneer, Lyra, Priest of Feast, Velen
- Northshire Cleric: Circle fo Healing, Flash Heal, Holy Nova, Wild Pyromancer, Spirit Lash, Raza
Other possible cards
There are some other interesting choices, that didn't make the cut IMHO:
- Novice Engineer: excellent cycling option both before and after you set up your combo, however it does almost nothing on its own, and for this reason I see it more as a filler. Given the good amount of options in wild, fillers simply do not have space. Loot Hoarder is weaker in a certain sense, since the draw isn't immediate, however being a 2/1 it has much greater utility in the early game. When the Raza-Anduin combo is out, it can also be cycled immediately by kiling it, even if Engineer would in the same situation be better of course
- Gnomish Inventor: similar to the above, with a bigger body, but also a much bigger mana investment. Overall inferior, as the deck really needs to be able to cast a lot each turn, and this card is too heavy for doing too little.
- Azure Drake: the spellpower would be quite attractive, draw effect is good, and the stats are nice, however as above the casting cost is a bit too much to really work here. When the draw engine really kicks in, it's easy to find yourself with so many cards in hand that you MUST cast more than one each turn to be able to keep on drawing, but avoid overdrawing. As such, cards with high casting cost should be dismissed if not absolutely necessary
- Greater healing potion: Reno should be more than enough, give that your hero power, Flash Heal, Priest of the Feast, Spirit Lash and Velen help a lot too in this regard
- Emperor Thaurissan: in theory it would seem great, however it's not "needed" for any OTK: it just helps doing a bit more damage, but that's usually unnecessary, and on itself a 6 mana card is really heavy for the deck, especially when we are already comboing out. It's true that it may let you play Anduin a turn earlier, but I prefer to run only cards that are either part of the combo, draw cards, or are removals. Still, it may be reasonable to do more experiments with him. Update: i've noticed how this card can let you do incredible OTK damage, which is very useful in certain matchup, so I'm currently running it.
- Burgly Bully: in some aspects it is similar to Thaurissan, as it gives you access to a way to cast things earlier or more at the same time in a single turn, with the added benefit that the coins are great with both Anduind/Lyra/Auctioneer/Pyromancer. It may even be considered better than the Emperor in this regard. However those coins aren't guaranteed, as it may die from simple combat alone. Even worse, since you are drawing a lot already your opponent may even cast a good handful of spells to make you overdraw a card in your next turn. Since the chance of losing either Raza or Anduin would mean an almost certain loss, I feel like this minion may be too dangerous to run, and would only be situationally good
- Oozes: weapon removals are situationals. Even Harrison Jones, which may draw you a lot, is expensive and actually requires your opponent to have a weapon. In a pirate warrior infested meta the Gluttonous Ooze still may be needed however
- Forbidden Shaping: an interesting option, being both a spell (and a zero mana one, really useful for the final combo or for Lyra/Pyromancer/Auctioneer), and a big minion if you need one. Still, many times it may happen to play just the role of a suboptimal drop, lacking sheer power on its own
- Mass Dispel: depends on the metagame. In standard it is very good, against aggro druid in particular. In wild I've found it to be more situational. If you can't get really good value from the silence, paying 4 just to cycle a spell is way too much
- Doomsayer: I've found it good only when dropped very early, and it's not guaranteed to survive a turn in those situations either. It's generally bad late game, being in those situations just an heal 7. And you also risk to resurrect it with Kazakus potion. Still a good option if you are infested with aggro decks
- Spawn of Shadows: it really works only when you have more HP than your opponent (or just a bit less if you not play it immediately). Velen OTK are just overall more reliable, and Velen also helps you stabilize against aggro somehow.. certainly more than what Spawn would be able to
- Any other inspire cards: they happen to be really powerful only when you have your combo set up, but that's the definition of a win more card. Even with just Raza online, they are good but not so much. This includes Palestress (really overcosted for its value, too), Saraad (comparable to Lyra post combo, but way worse before that), Recruiter (great when you combo out, but disappointing otherwise, Kodorider (Recruiter would be better with Anduin anyway), Tournament Medic (when comboing out you want to do damage quickly, not heal yourself)
- Any other big minion: Lich King, Obsidian Statue, Medivh, Ragnaros.. they are all heavy drops that are outside the deck scope, and terrible topdecks when you are comboing out. The only card in this group that I could consider is actually Alexstrasza, being it both a way to heal for a bit, and a way to do 15 damage to your opponent before comboing out. Still I feel she's too heavy in her casting cost, the deck has enough healing already, and finishing opponents isn't an issue
- Random card generators: things like Thoughtsteal and Glimmeroot give you value, but Lyra is more than enough for that. What you really need the most is draw power, to get your combo fast
- Skulking Geist: you do not play for the very long game. Jade druid can beat you even without going infinite anyway, so you need to quickly go through your deck for the combo. Geist is totally useless
- Mirage Caller: it may have interesting targets mid game, and it's a way to combo out with Velen for a 30 damage combo if you have 2 zero-mana spells too. Mind Blast or Embrace/flash offer more combo and more variations, not forcing you to keep certain spells at all costs to be able to do a big OTK, while without any 0-mana spells, Mirage Caller gives you only 8 damage from a single hero power activation. To be on par with Mind Blast/Flash, Mirage Caller would require the addition of more cards, like Forbidden Shaping and Thaurissan, to let you cast cards like Silence and Circle of Healing without losing your OTK completely. UPDATE: what I've writte above is still true, but I've noticed how strong his OTK can be when combined with Thaurissan. Casting it with Velen with still a couple of mana available gives you and incredible amount of deadly combinations. Also, when not necessary for the OTK in the given match, you have still great targets in Cleric, Thalnos, Hoarder, Acolyte, Auctioneer, Lyra, Emperor, Priest of Feast.. most of the time it will be the equivalent of a draw 1, or even better.
- Auchenai Soulpriest: it improves some combo consistency, and may be useful before you get Anduin, but I'm not a great fan of it, because it has antisynergy with many healing cards, is a bit too expensive to work in OTKs, and it's almost useless when you have Anduin already
How to OTK
Actually, comboing out your opponent from 30 or above to 0 should be really necessary only against other Reno decks, otherwise some chip damage from your creatures combined with a stream of free Shadowreaper hero power activations is more than enough to win any game. Or even using your hero power to kill enemy minions, and let yours do the dirty work. In both cases, you can still easily end up finishing him with a big burst of 20-so damage to end the game in a single turn. Some example:
- Velen + Embrace the Shadows + Flashheal = 2 + 4 + 4 + 10 + 4 = 24 (you can even add Silence and Circle of Healing to reach 32 damage)
- Velen + Radiant + Embrace the Shadows + Flashheal = 2 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 10 + 4 = 28 (plus any amount of 0 or 1 mana spells - thanks to Radiant - for more damage. Holy Smite gives 8 dmg on its own)
- Velen + Radiant + Holy Smite = 2 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 18 (plus any amount of 0 or 1 mana spells - thanks to Radiant - for more damage. You also have 1 mana left for a single 2 mana spell. You only need three more spells for a standard 30 dmg OTK.
If you happen to find a LOT of Control Warriors, and Jade Druids running double Earthen Scales, than it may still be worth to include Mind Blast too, on top of Flash Heal. Thaurissan may then have its merits to be included too, in order to be able to drop Velen, Mind Blast and the Embrace/FlashHeal combo all in a single turn for a 40-50 damage OTK. Outside of Thaurissan, you could easily see how Mind Blast can still fit in the above combos, but just to show it off:
Velen + Blast + Smite = 2 + 4 + 10 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 28 (plus circle/silence if needed. Smite may be unnecessary in that case, or swapped with another 1cc spell)
Velen + Radiant + Blast + Smite = 2 + 4 + 4 + 10 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 32 (plus any other 0 or 1 mana spell)
Or to exaggerate, if you have hold coin, with a 10 cards hand:
velen + radiant + blast + coin + embrace + flash + smite + 3x spells (0 or 1 cc spells reduced by radiant to 0) = 66 damage :) ..or even more if you are under Lyra/Auctioneer, or one of the spells is PW: Shield. This combo of course is quite impractical, but it shows you how much burst this deck may be able to deliver.
Also, don't forget that Lyra may give you access to additional cards for added power. Just imagine having only an additional Flash Heal.. that alone is 14 more damage for 0 mana in the radiant-embrace combo!
And also don't forget the 1-mana potion from Kazakus, which may give you a 1 mana 3 damage spell, which fits perfectly with the above combos, especially those with Radiant, leading to 10 damage on its own! Another option of the 1-mana potion is "draw 1 card", another great choice when you are going for the win.
UPDATE: I've recently added Mirage Caller and Thaurissan too. They really help in delivering ludicrous damage, and both remain really good on their own, outside of OTK shenanigans.
In the below list, just for reference, the asterisk means that that card needs to be discounted using a single Thaurissan tick. Some combo can be done also by ticking the Emperor on an alternative card of those listed. If you opt to play Burgly Bully, or if you have a coin left from starting second, you can skip a single Thaurissan tick, and you also get another Anduin activation for 2-8 more damage too. Some of these combo can also do quite a good amount of damage without Anduin (especially the Velen+Mirage ones), but it's him that skyrockets the values. All Radiant combos also include Holy Smite, but you can reach deadly damage even without it, of course. Oh, and don't forget Kazakus' 1 mana potion: if you get the 3 damage one, it may add up to 20 damage alone (even for free with radiant!).
Velen + Mirage + Circle + Silence = 2+4+8+8+8=30
*Velen + Mirage + Holy Smite = 2+4+8+8+8=30
*Velen + *Mirage + Mind Blast = 2+4+8+28=42
*Velen + *Mirage + Radiant + Holy Smite = 2+4+8+8+16=38
*Velen + *Mirage + *Radiant + Mind Blast + Holy Smite = 2+4+8+8+28+16=66
*Velen + *Mirage + *Radiant + Embrace + Flash + Holy Smite = 2+4+8+8+8+28+16=74
*Velen + *Mirage + *Radiant + *Mind Blast + Embrace + Flash + Holy Smite = 2+4+8+8+28+8+16+28=102
If you opt to run Auchenai, you can also do this:
*Velen + *Auchenai + Flash = 2+4+4+14=24
*Velen + *Auchenai + *Radiant + Flash + Holy Smite= 2+4+4+4+14+8=36
Being a control-combo deck, it's really important to understand quickly which kind of deck your opponent is runnning. This is vital to plan which cards you can freely play, and which are better kept for a later combo. For example:
- Pyromancer: keep in hand for a few turns against aggro, and use it as a way to clean the board. Great with Shield or if you can heal it betwen spells. Against control, instead, you need to combo it out with either Acolyte, or Northshire (even better if with Circle or Nova), on order to draw into your combo
- Flash Heal: keep for OTK against Reno decks, but feel free to use it as heal against aggro, or removal together with Embrace against Midrange or Control. Or as a bigger heal later with Velen, if needed (velen - flash - hero power is an heal for 14!)
- Circle of Healing: keep it for a combo with Embrace against aggro or midrange, or as a way to draw with Northshire or combo out with Velen. May also be situationally be good as just an AoE heal if you happen to hold the board. If the above combo pieces have been played already, cycling it with Auctioneer or Lyra is your best bet
- Embrace the Shadow: keep if if you need it for OTK against Reno decks, otherwise feel free to use it with Circle, Flash, Hero Power, or at worst cycle it with Auctioneer or Lyra
- PW: Horror: use it as soon as necessary against aggro, but against midrange and control it's better to wait for Pint Size Potion to gain much more value from it. Still remember however that Pint Size easily combos with both Potion of Madness and Cabal Shadowpriest too, letting you steal a single up to 5-power creature!
- Lyra: against aggro or midrange you can even play it as a soft taunt turn 5. Against control it's better to wait for a 10 mana turn together with Radiant and a few spells in hand. However, if you have already played your OTK cards, and you feel like your Raza and/or Anduin may be hiding in the last cards, it may be wiser to hold both Lyra and Radiant for the end game, as a way to generate resources when you are comboing out but you are outside of cards in your deck.
- Auctioneer: similar to Lyra in many aspects, it's aim is however not to generate added value, but to draw into your combo as soon as possible. For this reason, it is more important that Lyra mid game and a much greater sacrifice if you drop it only as a soft taunt: try to always chain at least a couple of spells with him
- Kazakus: if you feel like your opponent may run N'Zoth, it's obligatory to look for the 10 mana mass polymorph spell. You may win before it happens, but otherwise you must play Kazakus before turn 10 if possible, to have that spell ready. Also, don't understimate the 1-mana potion, especially if you are comboing out: it may just end up being a cheap way to do damage with Anduin or draw with Lyra/Auctioneer, but both the 3 damage and the draw a card effects are awesome if you get them.
- Raza / Anduin: ..and in particular when to keep them in hand and when to mulligan them away. Raza is almost always a keep: if you suspect aggro, Raza is absolutely a keep, being both a 5th turn 5/5 body and a free heal every turn after that. Against midrange the reasoning is similar, and against combo/control, you want to draw in your combo as soon as possible, and you don't need answers to survive early game anyway. The only matchups where you MUST mulligan it away is against Control Warrior or any other deck you think may run Dirty Rat, as losing its battlecry would make your chance of winning very slim, even if not impossible. Anduin, on the other hand, is usually a card to mulligan, except against control decks, where you want to draw into your combo as soon as possible, and don't need resources to survive the early game
I've noticed how strong Thaurissan-Mirage Caller combo can be. Very easy to do 40-50 damages OTK, which is very useful regardless who you are up against, but especially against Reno decks and Druids/Warriors building up a lot of armor. Especially when you are unlucky enough to draw your combo in the very last cards of your deck, and so lacking resources to chain gun them.
First I've tried a version running a lot of draw cards (novice engineer, mass dispel, azure drake) in place of the cheap "combo" spells., and was nice, but at the moment I'm trying to run a list running those few cards in place mainly of the pintsize-horror-cabal package. This way I can still run a lot of cheap spells that still make Gadgeztan and Lyra useful, and let me win games even without Velen combos, but just out of Anduin hero power thanks to the huge amount of cheap spells. I'm still trying to understand if Mind Blast is really necessary, however, as Embrace-FlashHeal-Holy Smite and all the cheap spells should be more than enough. Keeping Mind Blast for now just to have more combo combinations, but I'm looking into trying to play without it (it's the only card that's useful only for the OTK). Also looking for a slot for Burgly Bully, whose coins would be invaluable here, but I fear of letting my opponent overdraw me.
Just for reference, a Thaurissan tick on three of the following cards , with a coin, can let you play:
Velen + Mirage + Radiant + Coin + Embrace the Shadow + Flash Heal + Mind Blast + Holy Smite = 110 damage ;) ..yeah, indeed that won't happen every game, but it's just to point out a best play scenario. Usually you will have to play some of those cards before the OTK, but the "lost" damage shouldn't leave you without the necessary firepower for sure..
As expected, the Mind Blast is not really needed. Embrace + Flash may give the needed Mind Blast effect, but actullay it's mostly uneeded, as Thaurissan together with Velen+Mirage can already deliver huge amount of burst. I've added Burgly Bully, whose coins are incredibly useful. However even if the coins are awesome, often it sticks in hand because of the risk of overdrawing the next turn. It's very powerful, but it's probably the slot which you may change in case you prefer other cards.
Some new tinkering with the decklist. seems like Binding Heal it's all the rage these days in other decklists. Sure, it's cheap, and can draw you a card with Cleric while also healing face, but I'm not really sure about it.. still, it COULD give enough additional healing to dismiss Priest off the Feast, and that would really smooth the mana curve. So I'm going to try that.
Burgly Bully has been odd in my testings.. sometime it's great: good body, coins are awesome with so many things in the deck.. but still, most of the time your really risk overdrawing cards, and if you don't have raza+anduin yet, you can't do it. So I'm ditching it in favor of Azure Drake: it is awesome with Spirit Lash (and the lack of Priest calls for more healing too), draws cards, etc..
With all the Priests roaming around, the game often comes down to whoever finds the combo first, so I'm adding back Novice Engineer too... and taking out what could seem odd: Lyra. This card is indeed great for value, but in a meta where you just need to cycle as much as you can, I feel like Auctioneer is better (in a deck with so many spells, at least)
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No deck changes this time, I'm just reporting after a week of tests. I feel like dropping Priest of the Feast for Binding Heal was a good choice. Binding heal isn't allmighty, but can still let you heal (both face and a minion), get a draw with Northshire or Auctioneer, is a cheap spll for a final OTK.. really flexible! While PotF is a bit clunky being a 4cc minion. Sure, it helps against aggro a lot, but I've faced a fair amout of Hunters and won most of the games, and those I had lost woldn't have been won by having PotF anyway: the deck has enough healing and enough removals. And against control decks that would just be a slow minion with almost no value.
In the end, the games I lost were the ones where I was so unlucky to draw the combo in the very last few cards AND I was forced during the game to use some parts of my OTK plan, so that I just lacked the resources to win in the end. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep your OTK cards against control, but there are times where you are just forced to play some of those just to not die; it may still be fine if you can draw your combo in the first 2/3 of your deck, so that you get enough resources to chaingun him down, but if you both expended those cards AND got unlucky with the draw, then you are probably toasted. But that's acceptable, as it's a card game after all, where luck still plays a fair amout of importance. Overall I'm really satisfied with the deck, since apart bad luck the only matchup which I really fear is combo Mage.
Current meta seems to need more silence effects, especially against cube lock, that's the reason why I added Mass Dispel, taking out a similarly costed Azure Drake.
Other obligatory addition is of course Psychic Scream. I'm currently trying to use that in place of Dragon Fire (given the missing Azure too). Other flexible slots could be Novice Engineer or Loot Hoarder (maybe for some weapon destruction? I don't think it's really needed), but taking away those would increase the mana curve a bit too much for my taste.