Content of the article: "Odd Warrior Legend Climb Guide"
This month I climbed to Legend using Odd Warrior. I don't know that I remember encountering another Odd Warrior on ladder, and certainly not past D10 or so. I remember this deck performing rather poorly last month. Last month I climbed from D5 to Legend using a Reno Shudderwock deck. This year, it was pretty clear that wasn't going to happen as I couldn't make it above D4 using Shudderwock Shaman. I attribute this to a surprising change in the Meta – I encountered few Big or Reno Priest decks, and really only saw those in the D2 and D1 ranks. What I saw instead was a lot were Odd Paladin and Secret Mage, two decks that have never been stronger, and will soon twist the entire Wild Meta around them. I also encountered a few Pirate Warriors (easy matches) and Darkglare Warlocks. I think this deck can be a great choice when the ladder is full of Aggro decks. But these aren't your dad's aggro decks and so I highlight some of the nuances of the matchups below.
Odd Warrior is a control deck, meant to outlast and exhaust the opponent. Dr. Boom offers you a form of infinite value at the end of the game. It does contain some draw and cycle, namely in the form of Coldlights and Shield Block. Other than this you have no disruption and so against certain combo/control decks your hope is to climb out of OTK range. The standouts in the deck are your AOE – Bladestorm, Reckless Fury, and Brawl. Reckless Fury and Brawl are reliable board clears. Bladestorm can be tricky but is great for single, tall, target removal, or boards which contain symmetrical health minions, such as is often seen with Odd Paladin and Secret Mage.
Mulligan: Usually, mulligan isn't super critical since your T2 is hero power, and against some decks, so is T3, T4, etc. You want to get rid of anything that costs more than 5 (and sometimes even 5, unless you want to hang on to a Brawl, which can make sense especially if on coin). Eternium rover is always a keep, as are your three cost spells. Shield Block is always a keep because it is armor+cycle. Iron Hide is a bit of a trap. Not bad to find in your starting hand, but rarely a T1 play even when you have it. Iron Hide shines in its synergy with Reckless Flurry and Shield Slam since it can get you a 5 damage AOE for a total of 4 mana, or 9 damage for 6 mana, using hero power, which matters against some aggro decks that try to keep your armor low. If you are facing Priest or other control decks, your looking for your OTK tools (Soulbound, Shield Slam, Silas), or your mill (Coldlight, Brann), or both. About 30% of the time I managed to OTK Priest. The rest of the time I lost. I'd like to tell you about all the games where I successfully milled Druid, Warlock, or Priest, but I didn't. Your armor buys you time, but against control, you armor doesn't win you the game. Probably D3 or so I dropped Archivist because 9 mana is cumbersome and up to them she had really only won me one game in fatigue. YMMV.
Secret Mage. This deck is fairly strong against Secret Mage. Not as strong as pre Darkmoon, where that matchup was an insta win, but still strong. Because most Secret Mage have moved to draw/tempo, they are omitting Duplicate, which limits overall burn and makes the board easier to deal with. However, they can reliably and easily flood the board, and, importantly, almost always find an activator to play their secrets for free. The mana cheating in this deck is insane, the secrets are very strong, and it is incredibly satisfying to burn their two Counterspells on cheap spells and then smash their minions over and over. But, usually, a T1 Cabal + Rigged Game sets them on a path to having too many options, even for Odd Warrior. I don't even think Rigged Faire Game is a busted secret. Mage already had the ability to draw two cards for three mana, and so a nerf to two cards is silly. The problem is that Rigged Faire Game is generally played for 0 mana, activated easily, and puts the deck on a path to cheating 20+ mana over the course of 5 turns. Don't like my math? T1 Kabal Lackey (3 free mana), T2 Mad Scientist (3 free mana), T3 Kirin Tor Mage (3 free mana), T4 Ocult Conjurer (~4 free mana), T5 Kirin Tor Mage + (2) Kabal Crystal Runner (~13 free mana). I think the long term solution is simply to modify Kabal Lackey and Kirin Tor Mage to only allow secrets to be played for (1), or rather, (2) less, as then the Loatheb interaction would seem fair and consistent. Don't even get me started on Ocult Conjurer, which is such a crazy power creep card, and just doubles down on Janice, which is similarly bonkers broken.
Anyway, your goal is to keep the board clear, keep your health+armor above 15 or so, and force them to spend burn on your few minions. Because their board generally tops out at about 5 health, or has symmetrical health, Bladestorm, Brawl, and Reckless Fury can all be very effective. You want to test for Counterspell with your cheaper spells. They have two, they don't seem to prioritize keeping them in the mulligan, and you have a lot of answers for their board. I would say that this was probably a 70% win, and as you all know, Secret Mage is all over the ladder. It is hard to mill them, but once you get them down to "draw one, play one" you've won the game. If you don't then you are likely to get burned down.
Odd Paladin. Your strategy with Odd Paladin is to survive. It isn't a great matchup, maybe 55% in your favor, despite it being an aggro "token" deck. It isn't the insta-win of yesteryear. The tools afforded in Darkmoon take Odd Paladin to another level. Lothraxion makes things impossibly sticky. Barker provides crazy stats. Muster for Battle and Day at the Faire provide instant board refill. And then, maybe the sets most problematic card, Oh My Yogg!. See, Oh My Yogg! Is a better counter spell. Better, because it casts a new spell, a spell which rarely benefits you and your empty board, and often benefits the opponent. Shield Slam? Nope, give a minion Reborn. I don't know how to fix the card, but Paladin shouldn't have access to a 1 mana counter spell, no class should. Much of Odd Paladin's performance is likely due this one card, as some decks have limited AOE and lack the means to play around it. The best advice I have for this matchup is to understand you are going to play until the very end. Dr. Boom and Silas are your late game standouts. I'll discuss the OTK later, but Silas is a great response to Blessing of Authority, or the opponent's Baku. Just steal it, and all the better if you can offer Soulbound in Exchange. Dr. Boom is a standout because most of his hero powers have great synergy in this matchup. The three bots are great for trade, the discover a mech gives you option, and the "deal one damage" is demoralizing for your opponent. Another standout is Brann + Evil Quartermaster as a late game play, as doubling the battlecry for the Quartermaster and each lackey can fill your hands with answers, exactly as your opponent is running out of them. Mill via Coldlight is never effective, but it isn't the end of the world to draw a few cards as you are likely also drawing answers.
Kingsbane. I won less than 50% of the games against Kingsbane, something I attribute to not having any Taunt minions in this version of the deck. Kingsbane can push so much consistent damage to face, and cycle through the deck so quickly and consistently, that this is a challenging matchup with this Odd Warrior configuration. That said, a few taunt minions can drastically improve the matchup, but I didn't face a lot of these.
OTK. I saw maybe 8 games against priest, split between Big and Reno. Maybe three I pulled off the Silas OTK, and the rest of the games I lost. This was similar to my results with RenoWarlock where I similarly lost most of the games I played, with a few scattered OTKs built in. The OTK strategy is to gain 30+ armor, play Soulbound Ashtongue, and then give it to your opponent via Silas, and finally target the Soulbound with your Shield Slam (or Reckless Fury). I think there is argument as to whether the OTK is a worthwhile inclusion, and whether the deck wouldn't be better served by two additional value or AOE cards. I don't think my Legend run has the numbers to answer this. I know that I enjoyed more matchups feeling like I had the tools to win. Of course, drawing the combo and keeping your armor at 30+ come turn 9 can be a challenge. I also think that Silas's ability to steal an enemy minion can really suit a deck like Odd Warrior that tends to be reactive. So my view is that this is a good inclusion, even if in many matchups Soulbound Ashtongue is otherwise a dead card.
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