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Smuggler King 69% WR. 83% vs druids!

  • Last updated Sep 11, 2017 (Frozen Throne)
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  • 26 Minions
  • 2 Spells
  • 2 Weapons
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Handbuff Paladin
  • Crafting Cost: 13980
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 9/11/2017 (Frozen Throne)
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Hello everyone! I'm a random legend player that decided to take handbuffs to another level. It is my #1 played deck since mean streets but with the release of frozen throne and the current meta this is the first time that it actually feels like I am playing a very competitive deck.

Me hitting 5: https://imgur.com/a/pbiDP

Decklist and some stats: https://imgur.com/a/iytti

Notable card choices and replacements

Prince 2: He replaces grimestreet outfitter. Opens up a bunch of slots because you don't run 2 drops. You can replace him with the outfitters but this changes the whole layout of the deck. I run 3 1-drops and a bunch of 3-drops to smoothen out the weird mana curve this guy causes. It's worth it though.

Corpsetaker: I initially disliked this card or let's say didn't agree with the hype because a 3/3 divine shield for 4 mana already exists and is trash. I see a lot of paladins run this card in regular paladin (murloc versions as well as control paladin) and I strongly disagree that this is any good. In handbuff this card is fantastic however. I run a copy of stormwatcher just for this and it has won me plenty of games. A 5/5 divine shield with windfury is actually terrifying even for control decks and that's a realistic size that it can hit. Every keyword on this card scales with handbuffs. I got turn 7 kills vs druid because this card sticks and then gets buffed by bonemare. Can be replaced by chain gang but then you also have to replace stormwatcher and possibly chillblade champion. I wouldn't recommend it though, that package is really strong and carried me in many matches.

Grimestreet Enforcer: I have seen handbuff decks without this card. Don't do this. Not only is this card just fun to play because of how absurdly huge it can make your minions, it is just straight up a really good and underrated card. The meta is full of jade druids and priests, this card is good against both. Jade druid needs to make awkward swipe turns rather than ramping or playing a jade minion and you already got one buff cycle out of it anyway. Priest straight up can't deal with it because it has 4 attack. If the enforcer hits your hand 2 or 3 times which happens more often than one would think the game is over. At that point every minion you play has giant-stats with extra effects.

Nerubian Unraveler: Probably the most notable card in my deck. Unraveler has a great effect but isn't run due to its stats. Well in handbuff you rarely play this adorable fella as 5/5. Try dealing with an 9/9+ when all of your spells costs 2 extra mana. This card RUINS rogue, mage and priest. Single handedly won me a bunch of matches. When played against exodia or freeze mage is straight up won me the game every single time. Also worth mentioning: play this card when the druid is about to hit 10 mana (so on turn 6) and see him hoover over it in panic. No infestation for you sir! Also makes pre-nerf plag cost 7 mana which usually means that is all he plays that turn. You don't run any spells btw so the card text is straight up a huge advantage, needless to say.

The don: Underrated imho. I thought about running 2 bonemares, but especially against other fast decks you sometimes need to play it on 9 on your hero power and that just feels horrible. The don is just a solid play against control. He does not need to be buffed or anything, you can just play him and feel happy. 10/11 stats is actually bigger than bonemare and although you don't get that tempo initially, you get it a turn after. Some hits are auto-wins. If this lands on a chillblade it's game over. With the don being a medium to large body most of the time and creating another big body you create an abundance of big minions that need removal even if you didn't have the best handbuffs in that match. Druid just straight up can not deal with whatever the buff lands on. Paladin and priest run out of removal and so on. It just worked for me. Replace it with another bonemare if you have to.

Stormwatcher: Part of the corpsetaker package. Windfury won me a couple of matches and the stormwatcher himself is a viable card when a buff or two lands. Also just very good against druid and priest who don't have the tools to remove him. Replace with bonemare if you have to. If you have 2 already, not sure what to replace it with. At that point you already severely "reworked" my deck.

Notable omissions:

Spikeridged steed: Kind of self-explanatory. It's not a minion. You want consistency and having this card in your opening hand together with a weapon or smuggler's run loses you the game. It also makes your deck even more vulnerable to silence as it already is.

Geist: You don't play a regular control deck. You have no card draw and therefor no way to guarantee that you ever draw geist against jade. Also your minions kind of get bigger faster than the jades so this was never an issue. This matchup is decided midgame anyway.


Druid (15-3): Your easiest matchup. Aggro in general gets stomped by this deck. I think I only lost to a single aggro druid. Your cards beat them hard in terms of value and it's really easy to heal yourself. Aggro druid literally does not have the means to get past your lifesteal minions, they have to hit them. Getting 12 health back with a single corpsetaker is not unlikely. Their hydra, even if you can't sunkeeper or aldor it, usually gets stuck in divine shield taunts.

Jade druid just gets blown up by minions that are bigger than their jades. Windfury corpsetakers can give you an early win. Play around spreading plag, it's the only way they can stall for long enough. Enforcer is a good card, it either interrupts their gameplan or sticks for multiple turns which essentially makes it better than the jade mechanic.

Mulligan for rallying blade, tarcreeper and corpsetaker vs aggro, 1-drops, prince and corpsetakers vs jade

Hunter (2-1): Not really much I can say about this one. Your lifesteal outpaces their hero power and your minions outvalue his minions. Hunter just isn't very good right now. But I can see how an early hunter DK could turn this match around and slowly grind us out.

Mulligan for rallying blade, tarcreeper and prince

Mage (4-1): Unraveler with a buff or two on it causes a concede. Haven't versed any tempo mages. Just go for face whenever you can and drop the unraveler either early with a good board or keep him until you think the mage wants to go off and then drop him. The match usually doesn't go that long though. Keep weapon charges, tarim and chillblades for the inevitable doomsayer.

Mulligan for early game, keep unraveler IF you have a decent early hand aside from him. Toss him if you know he is playing tempo

Paladin (3-5): Imo the strongest deck in the game, no shame going slightly negative against it. This matchup just hinges on him not getting a nuts draw honestly. I don't think any deck in the game can beat the 1-3 into 2-3 murloc opener when followed by traps that protect the murlocs, warleader and the dinosaur. Standard murloc strategy, kill everything that has a murloc tag if you can. Keep their buffs in mind on turn 6 and 7...and 4. If you stabilize you win by value but keep in mind they still run tirion and tarim.

Rallying blade, Prince 2 and spellbreaker are keeps as well as a single 1-drop

Priest (8-3): I am pretty sure my losses here came from the highroll priest. You can not beat turn 4 barnes. But I don't think any deck can. Luckily this deck is rather rare. Machinegun priest is an easy win. They don't have enough removal that goes through divine shield and no minions to ever pop them either. Play around dragonfire potion by preserving divine shields and don't overcommit with 5+ attack minions else the DK will ruin your day. This match up is a lot of fun because you can create your own anti-priest cards with handbuffs. Just get your minions to 4 attack and then play them before they get bigger than that. Corpsetaker with 4 attack on 4 is unbeatable for priest. They just take 8 damage a turn and there is nothing they can do about that. Enforcer usually sticks for more than one turn or forces them to make silly plays like coining out dragonfire. At which point you can just flood the board (depending on whether or not they play regular or highlander of course).

Oh and unraveler is really good too. When you play it they usually hover over it and read what it does. Then they hover over their hand full of unplayable spells and concede.

Mulligan for prince and handbuffs. Keep corpsetaker and enforcer if you have the coin.

Rogue (4-5): Only played against miracle rogue iterations. Rogue is tough to beat if they get their DK early on. You need to apply pressure but keep in mind that they might have vanish and arcane giants. Tarim can be a matchwinner here. If they get a huge tempo turn there isn't really much you can do since you run no spells to remove the auctioneer. Unraveler once more shines in this matchup. If he gets big rogue can not deal with him as long as you have drawn out a vilespin or two prior to playing him.

Mulligan for early game, prince 2 and possibly spellbreaker if you are running into adventurer versions.

Shaman (1-0): Honestly no match up experience for me as you can see. Tarim should be really good here. If you seize the board early and outvalue him you should be fine. Play around lightning storm and always clear the board. Don't keep your bubbles to play around devolve.

Mulligan for prince, rallying blade, handbuffs.

Warlock (2-0): This matchup should be pretty hard on paper, but I had no issues with the ones I ran into. Play around all of their boardclears in the respective turns. If the match drags on keep tarim for the DK.

Mulligan for prince and handbuffs.

Warrior (5-2): Honestly aggro warrior is just strictly worse than aggro druid. This deck generally beats aggro so you should be happy if you still run into them. Make sure to get full value out of your lifesteal cards, meaning don't play a corpsetaker when you are at 27 health unless it is the only play you can make.

Mulligan for 1-drops, corpsetakers, wickerflame and tar creeper. Rallying blade is fine too.

Thanks for reading if you made it to this point! This is my first guide and I would love to hear your questions and opinions. If any stats are missing just hit me up and I'll make sure to add them if I can.