Content of the article: "Pure Paladin Primer – a New Year with No Neutrals, and lots of Good Explorers."
- 1 Class: Paladin
- 2 Format: Standard
- 3 Year of the Phoenix
- 4 2x (0) First Day of School
- 5 2x (1) Aldor Attendant
- 6 2x (2) Hand of A'dal
- 7 2x (2) Libram of Wisdom
- 8 1x (2) Murgur Murgurgle
- 9 2x (2) Redscale Dragontamer
- 10 2x (2) Shotbot
- 11 2x (3) Bronze Explorer
- 12 2x (4) Consecration
- 13 1x (4) High Abbess Alura
- 14 2x (4) Lightforged Zealot
- 15 2x (5) Aldor Truthseeker
- 16 2x (5) Libram of Justice
- 17 1x (6) Hammer of the Naaru
- 18 2x (7) Lightforged Crusader
- 19 1x (8) High Exarch Yrel
- 20 2x (9) Libram of Hope
- 21 Similar Guides
https://i.ibb.co/jrqJSjM/Screenshot-20201231-203657-Arcane-Tracker.jpg Legend games from November and all games from December. I've played another ~400 games with past deck names and lists if anyone is curious, but Arcane Tracker (while fantastic) is a little weird in its tracking when it doesn't recognize a deck, so I know I had Duels games tracked into my Standard lists at times for instance.
Year of the Phoenix
2x (0) First Day of School
2x (1) Aldor Attendant
2x (2) Hand of A'dal
2x (2) Libram of Wisdom
1x (2) Murgur Murgurgle
2x (2) Redscale Dragontamer
2x (2) Shotbot
2x (3) Bronze Explorer
2x (4) Consecration
1x (4) High Abbess Alura
2x (4) Lightforged Zealot
2x (5) Aldor Truthseeker
2x (5) Libram of Justice
1x (6) Hammer of the Naaru
2x (7) Lightforged Crusader
1x (8) High Exarch Yrel
2x (9) Libram of Hope
Hi all! Shyft4 here, of 80-follower Twitch fame /s old "boomer" Magic semi-pro turned HS hobbyist.
Some people showed interest after I commented on the recent VS thread so I'm following up with a more complete guide here. Apologies for my poor Reddit formatting on mobile, this might be a wall of text until I get some edits in.
Card choices and build philosophy
In general, I wanted consistent tempo and consistent value towards a clear goal. Situational cards were avoided where possible. That's also why this deck for me – I'm lazy! If I can limit my interactions to figuring out whether I'm the beatdown or the control and then finding the best places to point things and the most efficient way to spend 100% of my mana, great. Pure Paladin is interactive and has enough choices and control of the flow of the game to be interesting and enjoyable without getting me into tilt territory if I'm playing tired or distracted by my family or something. It's a very relaxing, fun experience in HS while still being a winning strategy and still having enough room for skill in the equation.
5 2-drops – Pure Paladin is not the kind of deck that can get behind and then board swing frequently. You have some comeback potential thanks to the awesomeness of Libram of Justice but in general tempo is your friend. I'll talk a little more about Dragontamer later.
2 Crusader 0 Liadrin – Crusader is a bigger initial body and fits the tempo + consistency philosophy since you can slam it whenever you have the mana, aren't going to die and want to add cards to your hand, regardless of what you played earlier in the game. This switch makes the Bomb Warrior matchup worse, for sure, but improves other matchups a lot. For such similar cards HSReplay data can be useful, and it consistently shows Crusader has higher Win%s (especially Drawn Win% which is the one that matters) than Liadrin.
0 Argent Braggart – the card shines in Pen Pal thanks to being supported by Broom and Salhet's Pride, but it is simply too slow too often without that support.
0 Blessings (Authority, Kings, Wisdom) – You have enough value at your top end that if you're in a position to play these cards, that's often already enough to be winning. Wisdom is very good for pushing advantages against control without overcommitting, and has some Alura Spellburst utility. Buffs can help swing even boards, or ones where opponents laid a slow threat, which is commonly relevant vs other Paladins but not very common in other matchups. Authority at least has a pretty acceptable worst case scenario of just being vanilla 7 mana 9/9.
0 Goody Two-Shields – Good card and the last cut. This would absolutely be worth slots if any were available. It honestly might be better than Yrel, strangely enough. If you want to avoid dust expenditures on any of the Legs in the deck, this is the replacement.
Dragontamer / Explorer package with 0 Amber Watcher – By including only Explorer as the Dragon we add consistency to the Tamer. Ensuring the 2+3 curve if opponent has the board helps avoid falling too far behind if the hand doesn't have other early plays, and in slow matchups you really want to ensure 3 escalating threats in 1 card with the Dragontamer. Explorer's Lifesteal makes it sort of feel like 4/3 base stats sometimes, and can help vs Combo Warriors. The downside of only 2 Dragons means Tamer can be only a River Croc sometimes (which -is- a big issue sometimes) and can affect Mulligan decisions.
Hammer of the Naaru – The deck does eat some Sticky splash damage anyway, but this card pushes the last few damage against control a lot. 9 loaded into the weapon plus the 6-atk threat plus being a good card against DH for the taunt is plenty to justify its inclusion.
Always keep – First Day, Attendant, Shotbot, Murgur
Almost always keep – Dragontamer (always vs Shaman)
Mull if you must, keep if you can – Hand of Adal, Lightforged Zealot, High Abbess Alura, Aldor Truthseeker
Keep with friends – Libram of Wisdom with Attendant, Bronze Explorer on the play with Shotbot or Murgur if not vs Rogue
Matchup-related – Consecration vs Shaman and Warlock, Lib of Justice vs Rogue, if the hand already has a curve. Naked Libram of Wisdom vs Warrior. Naked Libram of Wisdom on the coin vs Paladin. If you have a curve and a coin, consider wilder options like Crusader vs Priest for instance.
It is important to only keep Libram in the situations mentioned above. This deck wins because it plays the best early threats and goes from there. The plan has to fit the list.
Starting with a general early turns guide. It can be good to hold First Day to use with Alura sometimes, but mostly you want to crack the box and consider playing its contents instead of whatever else is in your hand or curve. If you already have Alura in hand, that of course changes things a lot, where you try harder to hold on to First Day, but sometimes the cost of the unspent mana is too high.
Get Dragontamer down against Shaman, it's as strong as Shotbot and stronger than Murgur early and gets worse as the game progresses. Prioritize getting Shotbot down against everything else, unless you can place more early power on the board vs Warrior, Priest, or Shaman, which is why the First Day box gets popped open as soon as you could have the mana. Consider curve though, if playing coin 1+1 leaves you an open mana on turn 3, go coin 2, 2, 2+1 instead.
Use your mana every turn. If two plays seem even reasonably close in tempo, prioritize the one that spends your mana efficiently on that turn and future turns. The value tools in this deck can put some CLUNKY stuff in your hands because of the random generation, so the less mana you waste throughout the game, the more likely you'll have a chance to use the gifts you're given by Crusaders and Explorers and First Days, as well as not overdrawing from playing a Crusader.
Hit the face. You have to be aggressive. If a trade is not a value trade or a trade that protects against something else, stop trading. The deck has a lot of staying power, but it doesn't have the one turn combo board flip insanity of everything else in the format, except with Libram Consec. You need to be closing other decks out before those turns happen. Never consider a game won in this Standard format, and keep counting damage to set up lethal earlier and catch the lethal when it comes. If you're 5 cards up against a Rogue, don't attack their stupid Wand Thief, hit them in the face before they find Passage into Prep Swindle Foxy Edwin.
Shaman – The king right now. This is slightly favorable, but the priority absolutely has to be claiming the board and getting pressure before the evolve shenanigans are rolling. Some of their draws are unbeatable, like the fast Knuckles into multiple Pirates, or some annoying Tour Guide + Mogu + Revolve draws that can steal the board because Mogu gets cheap quickly. Do not keep any cards other than early curve and Zealot, and even then only keep Zealot if you have a good chance of getting to it without waste. Ideal starting hands are First Day, Hand of Adal, Zealot on the play, or the same plus Dragontamer on the coin. You can keep Consecration with a reliable early curve too, especially if you have a 1-drop and Hand of Adal. You really, really need to find times to go face and pressure them, setting up thick taunts they have to weapon into is one of the best ways to go face too.
Gala Shaman is out there too, so for that matchup remember some lategame breakpoints – keep your board thin and tall in general since they have Walking Fountain and Tidal Wave to farm health off of little stuff. Hold Librams in some situations to play around Hex / Missiles. Use them in places they can preserve a threat against Storm or Earthquake.
Rogue – She can be a real problem and the matchup is slightly unfavorable. The deck has almost no answer to a fast Edwin or Questing, and also needs to have the board first to answer other threats like Whirlkick. The dream is that your opener has a curve already and then you get to keep amazing midgame cards like Lightforged Zealot and Libram of Justice. Try not to be too scared of their burst, it's comprised of only double evis and whatever the Whirlkicks / Wand Thieves can deliver. Use your health as a resource so you can build a more dominant lead and also cut away the resource of their health.
DH – Not a ton to say here, play for tempo above all. Against any slower DH it can be relevant to go very wide with like 5 small minions and 1 big one to play around Blade Dance. Also against otk remember your breakpoints are multiples of 8 or 4 (sometimes +1 extra from a hero power) you can sometimes play a heal a bit early to get to 25 or 26 and make things more challenging.
Paladin – The sacrifice of this list, only real sacrifice of these card choices, is losing to other Paladins a bit more. The mirror is less so when they have more things to break apart a stalemate board. If you go first with 1-drop and Hand of Adal you aren't losing, but it's the same for them. You are the aggro, they are the control, whether that's Pen Pal or other Pure lists, just by nature of more reactive cards being in the other deck. Smack that face, especially vs Pen Pal, for two reasons – you're even more the beatdown in the matchup, and they can steal weapons with Stickyfinger so you want to have fewer charges on them, and fewer health on their face for them to use the charges. I think there is no deck you need to be more aggressive against. Also, if you see opposing Dragontamer, remember that Big Pally is possible and don't damage it at all to avoid giving them their Nozdormu sooner.
Warrior – Again, face face face. You're a face deck! Don't forget. You are favored against all forms, though only slightly vs Bomb Warrior. So, now some in-depth stuff.
Battle Rage : Think about it all the time. One example, had an opponent who did a small Skipper turn leaving 1/1 Skipper 2/1 Mercenary on the board. He was at 15ish. I played Hammer and Hammered the Mercenary, because that means Battle Rage can never be for more than 2. He had Brute + Battle Rage so anything else gives him a 3rd card. *ETC Combo : You can *reduce the damage by ensuring everything on the board has 4+ attack, so use Librams for that. You also can make the combo impossible if your board has very few health on it without Lifesteal attached, or has a Lifesteal Taunt. I won a rough game yesterday where I had Lightforged Blessing off of a Crusader and used it and Yrel and Bronze Explorer to make ETC Combo impossible 4 turns in a row while I forced opp to waste resources. *Bombs : Alura can cast them lol. Alura sometimes reactivates Crusader or Zealot because of this. And it also sometimes means you should use her asap vs Bomb Warrior while fewer are in the deck to reduce odds of being bombed by her.
Hunter – Main thing is to, if you get behind, decide which secrets you can beat and assume it's one of those. I had a game recently where I drew Attendant T2 into my opp's coin Phase Stalker hero power start. Had Hand of Adal, Explorer, 2 7-drops in hand lol. Slammed Hand of Adal and killed the Stalker, accepting I was losing to Pressure Plate or Freezing Trap immediately but that the other play just loses to everything else too much of the time.
Druid – You don't see it much but be happy when you do. Main thing to remember is put your highest attack (or Stealth if First Days delivers it) in the middle for Lake Thresher and prioritize putting more attack on board when you have the choice to speed up lethal. If you have a weapon generally just hit the face, you have too many charges and not enough time, plus you never know when you'll be stuck overwriting with Justice.
Warlock – Consec! It's awesome against Galalock or Zoo. Also, you're sort of the control. Galalock doesn't actually have a lategame other than Fatigue which isn't scary. Crusader can carry pretty hard, and we kinda miss Liadrin in the matchup for that reason.
Mage – Nothing much to add tbh. Play around Flame Ward and Blizzard and not around other aoe if they're control.
Priest – I can't keep writing. There's stuff to say, I'll be honest, but the value of it isn't high enough to occupy the space.
F A C E. This deck can play in Full Zalae mode a lot. Tempo good, biggest minion all face, use all your mana. I'm Shyft4#1825 NA if anyone needs HS homies.
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