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Weekly Legends: Curator Rogue

Well, it’s almost time. As we move towards April, Secrets is coming and it’s bringing rotation with it. I could not be more excited for the much needed change, and I have a lot of different articles planned for you guys. However, before that starts we need to get one more Weekly Legends in. We […]

Brian Tyler Mar 13, 2017 8:36 am


Well, it’s almost time. As we move towards April, Secrets is coming and it’s bringing rotation with it. I could not be more excited for the much needed change, and I have a lot of different articles planned for you guys. However, before that starts we need to get one more Weekly Legends in. We end the Mean Streets era (and the year of the Kraken) with a very (very) interesting Rogue list that is one of the most interesting legend decks I have covered in some time. Over the past week or so the “water” package has popped up a lot in different Valeera decks. For those who don’t know, that is the addition of Finja the Flying Star, Bluegill Murloc and Murloc Warleader into more classic aggressive or tempo builds. This has worked very well in a lot of different lists, from pure aggro to the more midrange minded. However, this week takes that idea and takes it even further by going in with the full menagerie complete with pirates and dragons.

Key Cards

Bluegill Warrior/Southsea Deckhand

Something I have always loved since the start of Hearthstone is small minions with charge. This is because versatility is ever important in this game, and having something that can both be used as removal and quick damage is never going to bad. Bluegill Warrior and Southsea Deckhand are prime examples of this idea because, not only can you drop them down with a Cold Blood for a quick burst, but they also are very good at combining with other cheap damage (Backstab, your dagger) to take down early to mid-game threats. You always want to be able to leverage damage with a deck like this one, so having ways to push on an empty board or protect your bigger minions is very important as well. I would say both of these cards are going to be removal first and damage second, but the fact that they can be aggressive when needed is a very nice bonus.

It is also important to note that, as I have mentioned in the past, Southsea Deckhand is one of the best tempo plays that Rogue has. The 2/1 charger is much more valuable than Bluegill Warrior because you can do a lot with one mana. The 2/1 next to SI:7 Agent on turn four is a great way to kill something like a Frothing Berserker, while you can use it with a dagger to kill a 3/3 or a wounded 4 health threat. Not only that, but contesting the board with your minions and then using the pirate push is a very good way to force your opponent to be reactive. Every extra point of damage is going to matter with list because you can always use it to push your tempo agenda. As a result, don’t be afraid to add some extra charge damage into your turns. Saving the 2/1 for a Cold Blood finisher is a great use for the one drop as well.

Twilight Guardian

Another very important piece to this deck, Twilight Guardian is key because it is your only real source of defense. Though aggro took a hit with the recent nerfs, it is still around. And as a Rogue deck, the only real way you beat it is by pressuring them early and then rushing them to death before they can properly set up a board. Guardian gives you some extra power on that front because it allows you to set the board, play a solid body, and push for more damage while limiting your opponent’s. This card is much like how Frostbolt can be used in Tempo Mage to shut down an opposing weapon. You set the edge early on by getting the board, put down the 3/6 and then use your other minions to hit face while your opponent tries to figure out how to get past the wall.

This card functions here as it does in Dragon Warrior. That is to say it is an incredibly strong tempo play. Six health is not easy for many decks to get through, and you should never underestimate how well this type of card can protect your board. Most decks are going to rely on trading or weapons to take down your minions. However, being able to keep things alive is very important. If you can set this up against smaller minions or when your opponent needs to kill a high-priority threat like Murloc Warleader or Naga Corsair it can just lead to an absolute blow out. A lot of Hearthstone is about planning, and nothing throws wrenches into the mix like a sudden six health wall blocking the way.

Naga Corsair

One of the most important cards in this list is Naga Corsair. While the 5/4 body does leave a little bit to be desired, it is still very threatening and the ability means that you are going to get immediate value out of the card right away. Yes, your only weapon is your dagger, but getting a 2/2 free off the back of a solid midrange threat is quite strong. It combos with Backstab to kill four health minions, enables you to pick off totems and also helps you simply push damage when needed. In fact, just think of this as a Arathi Weaponsmith that comes with a much bigger body. You want to try to leverage this as much as possible, and if you can curve into the 5/4 while ahead on board it can be one of the biggest swing cards in your deck.

Always try to have a plan for Naga Corsair. One of the trickiest parts about playing a deck like this is understanding just how important your dagger is. Sometimes you need to use it to put on extra pressure against slow decks like Reno Mage and Renolock, but it also gets a lot of value from the corsair and helps you activate Southsea Deckhand. In addition, it is a great way to pick off early minions and is very valuable at stopping things like Patches the Pirate or early Jade Golems. Your main mode should be to always try to hold a fresh dagger in your hand, but also do not be too stingy with it. Letting something live is often not worth activating a Southsea Deckhand, and you should never pass playing a Naga Corsair just because you want more value out of it later.

Finja the Flying Star

One of the deck’s namesakes, Finja the Flying Star is an absolutely amazing card that can take over games on its own. While results may vary, you are usually going to get one Murloc Warleader and a Bluegill Warrior when the 2/5 kills something. That is two bodies on top of four immediate points of charge damage that you can use to push or trade depending on the situation. Even if you don’t get both of those, double Bluegill Warrior is also four charge, while double Warleader is two 5/4’s that need to be killed right away. Those swings are one of the best things this deck can do, so you should always try to set them up whenever possible. They are worth working for.

The biggest thing about playing Finja is knowing that your opponent is going to do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t trigger. The way that happens (besides AOE) is almost always by buffing up a minion or putting a large beefy taunt in the murlocs way. However, you have many ways to mitigate that. Remember that this card only triggers when you kill something, so just attacking is useless. Since the actual body on Finja matters very little, you are often going to combine him with removal or other minions to make sure you get value. Do not be afraid to use a Cold Blood or Eviscerate just to get him to swing up. The extra board presence is almost always going to matter more. However, also be careful to always count the murlocs you have left in your deck before committing. There’s no reason to go out of your way for just one murloc.

Drakonid Crusher

The double Drakonid Crusher may seem like an odd addition when you first look at it, but they play to one of the deck’s biggest strengths. By and large this type of tempo list is very aggressive. Not only do you have a low curve, but there are many ways to deal damage, including charge minions, weapons and the usual gambit of Rogue spells. That enables you to control the board, which helps you build up your curve until you decide to go big. Slamming down any body while ahead is always going to be strong in a build like this one because of how well Rogue can make use of fast damage. Though anything works at adding pressure, nothing does it better than the 9/9’s. If you have them in hand you generally want to play to them just because of how much power they represent. It is not simply that they are good on their own but, like Edwin Vancleef, they make fantastic tempo moves. This is because they dodge AOE and put your opponent into very awkward positions. While they may have wanted to use their turn to deal with your smaller threats, now they need to tie up their mana killing off a 9/9. This keeps them open to damage and gives them no time to recover.

Note: You don’t need to hold onto these. An extra 3/3 is good, but putting down a 6/6 while you need to keep the board is largely going to do the same thing as playing a 9/9.


The five decks I have seen the most on the ladder post-nerfs.

Midrange Shaman

Still as strong as ever, Midrange Shaman continues to sit atop the meta. While they are no doubt tough, you have a lot of tools to take them down. This game should be treated as a pure tempo match. That is to say, you need to get in damage to make your opponent take sub-optimal lines of play. However, to do that you first need to get a handle on the board. Jade and classic Midrange both have the strong openings that takes Shaman over the top and you can’t afford to ever fall back. Your deck only really works on all levels when you’re one step ahead of your opponent, and that is vital here because nothing punishes you for falling behind more than Shaman. Allocate all of your resources into winning the first turns. You have some very strong tools, but they leverage their cards better than anyone and they can swing a game out of nowhere.

Going off of that point, you need to work to clear everything here. Flametongue Totem is very popular right now, and I have seen more than a few Bloodlusts. If you aim to beat Shaman you want to really crank up the power around the mid game and then finish them off with quick burst before they find a way to properly stabilize. Jade Golems are going to quickly outgrow you so you want to have the board usually around turn five or six. Not only does that force Shaman off the Jade plan (which is rather slow when you’re facing a lot of damage) but is also prevents them from leveraging big swing cards like Azure Drake. A lot of Shaman’s tempo comes from their ability to get powerful minions ahead of their opponent’s. If you flip that plan it is going to really limit their potential and most likely let you take the game as it goes long.

Miracle Rogue

Remember that one week where Rogue dipped down? Yeah, me neither. Valeera is back and with a few new tricks. Though some people are playing the Water lists with their own Finja packages, most of my matches have been against either Miracle or Malygos. This is a game where, as expected, it is very important to get your hits in early. While killing your opponent quickly is important as always, what matters much more here is getting your opponent to play spells over their minions. It is not hard to put Valeera on the back foot. Rogue has no healing at their disposal and the new version of Miracle have gotten even more greedy than before, overloading their decks with Counterfeit Coins and awkward removal. For that reason, if you can get your engine going or simply build a little bit of board presence it should force Rogue to play a lot of the cards they would rather save.

Attack as hard as you can in this game. Once again, that does not necessarily pertain to damage. Rather, it is about making sure that you always have something on board. Leveraging your hits can go a long way and even playing a Bluegill Warrior on an empty board and going face usually makes your opponent dagger, which then takes up two of their mana. Those small plays seem rather intuitive, but they are also very easy to gloss over. Never miss a beat to put something into play. When looking at your hand you typically want to see what’s available to you and then ask “how will my opponent answer this?” If they need to use a key spell or important mana during an important turn, you should generally play the card. Beyond that, you should always sculpt your hand to your damage and watch out for Sap. You don’t have too many cards that get hit by the two mana spell, but the ones that do get hit very hard.

Jade Druid

Three weeks guys. Three more weeks of dealing with Jade Druid and all of the wonderful things that it does (is that sarcasm coming across here?). As much as I do not like the deck, it is one of your better matchups. This is a game where you are going to pace the board in the way you would against Shaman. However, unlike Shaman, Druid runs no real AOE and they have zero removal cards that help both keep control and board presence at the same time. Remember this and do what you can to become the aggressor during the middle turns of the game. As always, you need to keep Druid on their heels and make it so they can never get ahead of you with their Jade Golems. To do this you have to play pure tempo. Run out the biggest bodies you can but also do your best to clear their minions. Their removal is largely inefficient, and you never want to give them an easy Wrath by not clearing out their 2/2 or the like.

The whole game comes down to how well you can force your opponent into certain situations. Druid is a very good deck and they have a slew of powerful cards at their disposal. However, those cards are much weaker when it is their only option. This is a point I have made in the past, but putting down a solid threat on turn four to make them Swipe means that you can plan for turn five before even making your turn three play. That foresight is very important when dealing with Malfurion because you have to sculpt the game a few turns ahead. Turn six is a buzz turn in this game because it is when they either get access to Jade Behemoth (which is very hard to punch through) or Aya Blackpaw (which instantly puts you on a clock). Know those points in the game and work hard to protect your three and four turn plays. This will enable you more options on the board come six and then give you plenty of ways to respond to Druid’s larger threats.

Dragon Priest

With hyper-aggro taking a backseat, Dragon Priest has arisen from the ashes. It is very strong (took it to 10 wins in Tavern Brawl), incredibly consistent and a real pain to deal with. In fact, this is your hardest matchup because Priest controls the board better than any other class in the game. The big dragons are very strong all throughout the curve, and that makes it very hard to get a proper foothold. You are constantly colliding into larger bodies, which limits your tempo and makes it so if you have a low turn they can actually turn the pressure back on you. Do everything in your power to stop that from happening. This is the one match where you should not be afraid about card advantage. That is to say, you want to allocate all of your resources to making sure you keep ahead of your opponent. Not killing one minion can often be a large mistake because a Kabal Talonpriest or Power Word: Shield can immediately make it unkillable. Priest can then use that body to pace you out of the early game. The big turn here is turn four because if you’re behind when Twilight Guardian comes down the board is almost always going to belong to your opponent. Fight hard for the first three and try your best not to give up ground.

Reno Mage

Bringing up the bottom of the list is Reno Mage. This matchup is going to be very swingy and you basically want to treat yourself as the aggressor. There are times when you can play aggro if the script calls for it, and this is definitely one of those times. Reno Mage is a deck that just becomes unbeatable once it moves into the later turns of the game. Not only do they have Kazakus, but Ice Block shuts down any fast burst, and Reno Jackson is going to almost always wrap things up once the get ahead. When playing against Mage you want to always think about trading versus going face. This is not an easy decision, and you want to base it off of how well they can clear certain threats. For example, you may want to use a Naga Corsair to trade into a 3/3 to protect your 6/6 Edwin Vancleef from Frostbolt or Forgotten Torch. However, if your opponent also has Fireball and Polymorph as options it may be better just to hit them for five.

Your only real goal in this match is to make sure you either pop your opponent’s Ice Block as soon as they play it or have enough power that you can invalidate the giant swing they get from Reno Jackson. This is all comes down to protecting your board and, much like when facing Druid, force your opponent to use up their turns clearing things rather than adding their own threats. Unlike most control decks, Reno Mage has a strong curve that they use to contest the board throughout the game. If you make it so they don’t have the time to properly stagger their minions they will fall back. You can then use that momentum to get them into a corner where they have to use Reno in order not die. Once they do, just push past them. The general rule for this one is if they Reno under no pressure they will win, but if you have a few strong threats, you can almost always race Mage down.

Mulligan Guide

You are a tempo deck, so it is very important to start getting your snowball going early. Backstab, Southsea Deckhand, Swashburglar and Bluegill Warrior are all your must keeps. From there, you want Eviscerate against aggro and you should always keep Edwin Vancleef and SI:7 Agent with the coin. I also don’t like keeping Edwin without the coin unless you have a very fast opening with multiple one drops or cheap spells. Murloc Warleader is a good keep if it slots into your curve, and both Naga Corsair and Twilight Guardian should be kept if you the coin and a strong opening.


Well, I hope you guys enjoyed your time with the Kraken, because it, like all things, is finally coming to an end. I am chomping at the bit for some new cards and I am going to be over the moon about what Secrets has to offer. We have just about three weeks until that time, and I am going to have a lot of new content for all of you. However, until that happens, go play some Rogue. Until Un’Goro, may the Menagerie always be full of guests.

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