ONGOING GUIDE UPDATE...
Once again reached legend with the deck just now (October 5, 2017). Challenged myself to climb from rank 15 and see if this iteration of Keleseth Rogue is viable for the meta. I thought about making a new thread since this one is kinda buried now. Let me know if you guys are still interested and if I should update this guide or make a new one.
Deck Summary and Strategies:
The deck was inspired by the Royalty Rogue on the Homepage by ZBOZZ. This is an Aggro-Burst variation of said deck that tends to pressure the opponent with high-attack minions and try to finish the game early with overwhelming board presence and/or control. The idea is to chip in any form of face damage that can be done in the early game and finish the game with huge burst. The stealth mechanic allows huge burst potential when set up with attack buffs coming from Cold Blood, Prince Keleseth, Shadow Sensei, Cobalt Scalebane, and Bonemare.
The deck was quite meme-y when I first built it but i was shocked on how well the deck performed @rank 4 and I just continued playing it to legend.
The dream scenario is to play Prince Keleseth and Shadowstep for a a big-stat stealth minion.The deck however is not an auto-win with Prince Keleseth on-curve. The deck tends to suffer from unplayable early-game hand because of the high-cost minions. So even if you did the dream combo, you are inclined to lose if you can't follow-up with minions on-curve especially against aggro. Although not always the case, if you pass and do nothing in any early turn except turn 1 (no minions to summon and attack and just re-daggering), you are going to have a hard time winning with one exception, see Rogue Matchups. This is because passing a turn allows your opponent to find time to draw onto answers and/or build a bigger board that you won't be able to answer.
Prince Keleseth carries the deck but I have won a great number of games without ever playing it. This is because of Cobalt Scalebane and Bonemare giving huge burst damage when setup with the steath minions. Like this:
This answers the question "But there's only 5 Frozen Throne cards in here, why wasn't this deck strong during Un'goro?"
Against Aggro in general, you want to control the board through tempo plays. I love playing against aggro since I tend to be the one finishing the game before them. Don't be greedy and just trade with your Shadow Rager if given the situation (e.g. Frothing Berserker). Bittertide Hydra has always been my good source of face damage so you want to keep your health high enough to dagger onto the hydra and deal lethal damage. Trading in your 1-attack minions would also be great source of burst damage.
Against Control in general, you want to finish the game as fast as possible while avoiding exhausting yourself from their AoE. Out of all classes, Mage, Priest, and Warlock are the best control decks that counters this deck. Not only can they deplete your resources through board clears, but their Deathknight cards allow them to swing the board into an almost unwinnable state for rogue because they can heal themselves out of range and kill every possible minion advancements. Ofcourse, they won't always have their Deathknights every game so you want to finish them off before they could even play them. See Match up analysis for detailed information when going up against each control class.
Tips and Tricks:
- There are times that you just need to play Shadow Sensei on curve with no stealthed minion.
- Find a good use of your Cold Bloods. Give them to a minion that makes it awkward for your opponent to remove. I tend to play them @ turn 2 with a Fire Fly up and this often just end
- NEVER go all-in with your 1-drops such as Flame Elemental just for playing on-curve or emptying mana. You want to hold onto at least 1 for activating combos.
- Make sure that you have enough minions to survive on board for a successful on-curve Cobalt Scalebane or Bonemare. This often snowballs and wins games.
- Coining Prince Keleseth is good but I strongly recommend waiting a turn to play it. Like I mentioned earlier, you tend to lose even if you play an on-curve Prince Keleseth if you pass any turn except turn 1. This makes The Coin too good to keep to fill the gap in your turns by playing the high-cost minions you have.
ALWAYS KEEP Prince Keleseth
- Prince Keleseth, Fire Fly, Swashburglar, , Backstab, Southsea Deckhand
- If going second, SI:7 Agent and Edward VanCleef.
Against Control/Jade Druid:
- HARD MULLIGAN FOR Prince Keleseth with the exception of combo cards.
- If you have Prince Keleseth already, mulligan for a pirate to pull out Patches the Pirate and get some spells.
- Combo cards are two or more cards that work great together that you should definitely keep them if both appear in the mulligan:
- Fire Fly + Cold Blood - Turn 1 Fire Fly to turn 2 activated Cold Blood catches slow decks off-guard and they may not have the right tools to deal with a 1-cost 5/2 minion at turn 2-3. You can deal 5 damage at most but if left behind can shred the opponent's health.
- 3-cost Stealth minion + Shadow Sensei - Keeping this might seem weird, but if you play them on-curve will definitely shred you opponent's health. I have found mulliganing this against Jade druid and Priest to give equally good results with an on-curve Prince Keleseth
- Prince Keleseth + 1-2x Shadowstep - To tilt your opponent.
75% of my legend climb was against Druid either Aggro or Jade. I can't say this deck is favorable but it gets there. As mentioned earlier, against aggro you want to control the board. Living Mana, unfortunately, is an auto-lose unless you have the board to trade with it.
Against Jade druid, you want them to ramp and do nothing every turn while you build board and go face. If this happens, you win the game even after they Ultimate Infestation 1 of your minions. It is however hard to win if the Jade druid is putting out minions on curve like Jade Spirit and Jade Behemoth.
Murloc Paladin was also abundant during the climb and the deck is quite favorable against them. You want to kill-off any form of minions they summon to avoid getting snowballed by Spikeridged Steed, Gentle Megasaur, or Bonemare. This also means turn 1 Backstab on their Murloc Tidecaller
I haven't fought one yet but this deck may perform badly against control paladin.
Update: Have been having match ups with control paladin lately. Avoid getting too wide on the board. They can easily destroy the board because of Consecration with the abundance of 2-health and below minions in the deck. You really want Prince Keleseth to proc as early as possible. You also want to play Shadow Rager or Jungle Panther on curve with Shadow Sensei to avoid death by Consecration.
They should only have two forms of big minion clear that is Equality + another card and the other being Pyromancer+Consecration. Control Paladin however suffers in needing two sepearte cards for board clear so you can expect them not to have any combo often times. You want to pressure them to a point that they use up all Equalitys in hand. If you can read that there is no more Equality in hand or both copies are exhausted, you are free to go wide on the board.
Pirate warrior is a good matchup. You want to control the board while keeping yourself @ high health. The best thing about this matchup is that they need to use health and durability to clear your Shadow Rager so they either take 5 more damage or leave it, which you can then use to burst them and finish them off before they finish you.
Haven't fought against any warrior outside of Pirates. This deck is probably auto-lose against Taunt Warrior.
Update: There is a new minion-based Pirate Warrior that is getting popular in ladder. Unlike the old pirate warrior, the new one is really tough to beat with this deck because of how easy they can go wide in the board with Fire Fly and pirates and clear your minions with Upgraded Rusty Hook. Consider teching in Gluttonous Ooze or Tar Creeper when facing a lot of this variant of Pirate Warrior. One-drops and Backstab[card]s are your best bet to control the board. Make sure they never get a proc with [card]Bloodsail Cultist.
The easiest match-up thus far. Greedy hunter players will always have 1 dead card in their hand, and that is Golakka Crawler. Why is that? Because you will never play your pirates in the early game against them unless it's for trading Southsea Deckhand and Patches the Pirate into their Kindly Grandmother or Bearshark.
Watch them lose and regret not playing that crawler on-curve because they assumed that your playing a pirate variation of a Rogue deck. This is one of the greatest advantages of this deck over other Tempo Rogue variation.
Backstab and SI:7 Agent are your best friends here. Always clear their minions to avoid getting snowballed by Crackling Razormaw and Houndmaster in the early game. Doing so, you should be able to overwhelm them and end the game even after they play Savannah Highmane. You should be able to play Bonemare smorc and ignore their Savannah Highmane and just finish the game before they can go wide.
If going first, make sure you have Backstab and Shadowstep ready to activate your Vilespine Slayer to remove their coined Bittertide Hydra. Another option is to summon Swashburglar early game, trade with the summoned Patches the Pirate then Shadowstep and save it for activating combo while avoiding getting wrecked by early Golakka Crawler.
If you can't remove Bittertide Hydra, then use it as a great source of face damage. Count for lethal and set it up in a way that your 1-attack minions and hero power can end the game before they can. You have to make sure though that you are still high in health for the dagger face. You can also end the game in a tie doing this.
Drawing Patches the Pirate here is likely but you will still be favored since you can use it to trade and activate combo cards.
An on-curve Deathstalker Rexxar is a problem though. It clears your low-health minions and allows hunters to play the value game and protect their health with generated taunts. They only have 1 copy of it though and they don't have a good draw engine to draw into so you should see less of this card when facing against hunters. You should also be able to take them down before they can play their crafted high health taunt.
As with all midrange minion decks, against evolve shaman, you want to control the board and put pressure. Trade efficiently and play around Flametongue Totem and Bonemare. You can finish the game before they can even play Doppelgangster+Evolve. Although hard, you need clear every minion progression to avoid getting blasted by Bloodlust or a huge evolve Thrall, Deathseer @ turn 5. Devolve can wreck your board but the you'll still have the minions for trading.
Definitely favored matchup. They can't heal so you can just burst them down and take the win. Update: So many variations of Keleseth Rogue are popular in Ladder right now. Based on my observations against mirror matchups, the winner is the one who can curve out minions well and/or kill the opponent faster. Prince Keleseth does carry the one who is lucky enough to get him in the starting hand, HOWEVER the game is not decided solely by that yet. I have won games where my opponent did the Prince Keleseth+Shadowstep combo because they failed to deal with the aggression I was putting out. There were also games where I have the dream combo yet was unable to curve-out the minion I drew resulting to a loss due to opponent's board control.
If asked which variant of aggro rogue is better, Pirate Rogue has more advantage towards this deck when faced together. However, outside of mirror match-ups, this deck should hold up better against decks that run Golakka Crawler.
Quest mage is an easy match-up. I have only lost once against them and that was because of back-to-back on-curve AoE freezes.
I have actually been facing alot of Control Mage in Legend, and I have to say that this deck is heavily unfavored against them, The combined freezes and Flamestrike just destroys this deck, and you can't win if they play Frost Lich Jaina. Tech in Spellbreaker if you keep playing against mage to nullify their Doomsayer.
I have to say that Control mage is the easiest to deal with out of the three control classes that hinders this deck. They're only form of good card draw is Arcane Intellect so they end up exhausting their hand clearing the board, which would be a likely case if you play it smart. Make sure to position your minions in a way that it is insusceptible to large clear from Meteor. The stealth mechanic helps a lot to avoid getting wrecked by said card. Control mage's board presence tends to be minimal so there is usually no trades needed in this matchups and if their is, you use your tempo cards like Backstabs+hero power or Vilespine Slayer to pick them off and continue doing face damage.
This tends to be an unfavored matchup because of the AoE and heals. Backstab their turn 1 Mistress of Mixtures to avoid them healing when they tap. Play around AoE and burst them down quickly before they can play Bloodreaver Gul'dan
I did not play against any priest during my climb to legend but I kept facing them in legend. To keep you honest, this deck gets completely destroyed by priest. I haven't won a single game against Razakus Priest. They just heal every pinch of damage you can do in the early game and just kill your board with AoE. Priest has more than 6 ways to deal with your board and this has not accounted single-target removals and Shadow Visions. The worst part is that even if you can lower them enough for potential last burst, they just play Greater Healing Potion. Their heavy draw engine allows them to get what they need to deal with this deck.
I don't think this deck can ever be viable with this priest meta. I don't think any minion-based aggro decks can ever be viable with said meta.
I am currently configuring this deck in a way that beats priest. Any feedback from you guys will be really appreciated.
So I thought priest was unwinnable but I have been winning against them lately. I teched in Shaku, the Collector and I hard mulligan for it along with Prince Keleseth. You want to play Shaku, the Collector on curve with a turn 4 Shadow Sensei. They can't clear both minions because of their 4-attack so you are free to deal 8 damage per turn. Most importantly, card generation really helps in playing the value game.
The game plan against priest so far is just hope they don't have the right tools to deal with the board. Do not overextend to board clears. Drop Cobalt Scalebane on a board that is susceptible to Dragonfire Potion and the only way they can deal with it is Shadow Word: Death. Every damage counts against this matchup so you have to dagger face when you can.
Unlike Razakus Priest, Big Priest is actually manageable. Big priest has minimal early board presence outside of turn 4 Barnes. Go aggressive and continue on putting pressure as they won't be able to put out any minions if they choose to deal with the board. Avoid trading into Obsidian Statue and giving them large heals e.g. using Vilespine Slayer. Play your low-cost minions to avoid getting your good minions destroyed by the random deathrattle effect.
The current decklist you see is the one used to climb legend with some minor changes.
I updated the list so this might not make sense but these cards were present on the original list when I climbed rank 5 to legend before the Evergreen Nerfs. Feel free to tech this back in on your own acccord:
- Edwin VanCleef - This card was present throughout the climb. I noticed however, that the abundance of silence effects just nullifies this card. Not to mention that you rarely get a good stat with it at early turns because of how few the 0-cost cards are. I end up just playing this @ turn 4 for a 4/4 minion so I'm currently not running this anymore.
- Plague Scientist -
This is in the original list during the climb but I have found it to be not performing well lately.I stand corrected, this is valuable card against control matchups, Jade Druid and rogue match-ups. The slew of big minions makes 2x Vilespine Slayer lacking. You can add this and replace SI:7 Agent if facing a lot of control decks.
- Shadow Rager - This was a core part of the deck before the evergreen nerf.
However, due to the overwhelming number of control decks and shaman in ladder, I unfortunately had to cut Shadow Rager. The card was good during DruidStone because you drop this and go aggressive while they spend their turn ramping. Now, it just relies too much on Prince Keleseth to survive cheap board clears like Maelstrom Portal and Spirit Lash. I replaced them with 1 copy of Vicious Fledgling and Lotus Assassin. Both of which have been performing well.
You can replace the following cards:
- SI:7 Agent - Great minion clear but you can choose to only have 1 copy
- Leeroy Jenkins - This is really needed for the last potential burst but I have only added this @ around rank 2 when I found out that it was too good. I added this in replacing Nerubian Unraveler which originally took the spot.
- Shaku, the Collector - This is a great value card generator against control but I didn't use this on my original list so you can choose to replace this if you don't have it.
- Tar Creeper - This card is really good at dealing with minion-based aggression from the Aggro decks and Evolve Shaman. I tend to swap this for Lotus Assassin whenever I felt like the stealth minions are lacking.
The following cards are good replacements/tech choices:
- Spellbreaker - Helps against taunt and squeeze in that last face damage. Tech this when your facing a lot of Mages with Doomsayers
- Nerubian Unraveler - This was my tech choice against Jade Druid when I was climbing. Druid tends to get back tempo with Ultimate Infestation so you want to delay that and drop this whenever you get the chance preferably druiid @8-9 mana
- The Curator - I haven't actually used this yet but it gets Cobalt Scalebane and Jungle Panther. I don't use this because the game is already decided @ turn 7-9.
- Vicious Fledgling - If this survives, you can go crazy with stealth because of Shadow Sensei
- Lotus Assassin - The idea is clear for this tech, taking out taunts like Spreading Plague while making it insusceptible to single-target removals. Shadow Sensei pairs well with it. Update: Consider replacing both copies of Shadow Rager to add two copies of this card when facing a lot of control match-ups. Shadow Rager in control matchups is easily removed by low-cost board clears. Lotus Assassin bypasses those low-cost board clears and being able to go back to stealth really helps a lot in setting up the burst face damage.
- Southsea Captain - Reinan23 mentioned performing well with teching this in. I would definitely consider using this if people [HUNTERS] stop using Golakka Crawler already. For me, using up your turn 3 to give opponent +1/+1 is a huge tempo loss. But if the opponent has no crawler, this tech can seriously deal some damage so tread lightly. Let's hope that Pirate Warrior does get kicked out of the meta to a point that running Golakka Crawler in every deck is pointless.
Well, this just happened...
Aaaaand its gone!
How it all started:
"I JUST REACHED LEGEND FROM RANK 5 WITH THIS DECK!!! HOLY SHIT!!! Its sooo satisfying to climb legend with off-meta decks given how stale the meta currently is."
- September 17, 2017 (DruidStone)
Do note that i reached legend 2 days before the Evergreen Nerfs meaning Rank 5 above was filled with Druids and Aggro decks.