Content of the article: "RAAAAAAAAR! – Legend With Rattlegore Warrior (Featuring Silas Darkmoon)"
- 1 Class: Warrior
- 2 Format: Standard
- 3 Year of the Phoenix
- 4 2x (1) Athletic Studies
- 5 2x (1) Risky Skipper
- 6 2x (1) Shield Slam
- 7 2x (1) Sword and Board
- 8 2x (2) Armorsmith
- 9 1x (2) Corsair Cache
- 10 2x (2) Minefield
- 11 1x (3) Ancharrr
- 12 2x (3) Bloodsworn Mercenary
- 13 1x (3) Bulwark of Azzinoth
- 14 2x (3) Coerce
- 15 1x (3) Lord Barov
- 16 2x (3) Shield Block
- 17 1x (4) Kargath Bladefist
- 18 2x (4) Sword Eater
- 19 2x (5) Brawl
- 20 1x (7) Silas Darkmoon
- 21 1x (8) Deathwing, Mad Aspect
- 22 1x (9) Rattlegore
- 23 Similar Guides
Since the dawn of time, Control Warrior has risen against the face decks. After encountering a slew of Demon Hunters and Totem Shamans, I decided to experiment with a pure survival deck, and predictably, it dominated against aggro but fell off hard against anything else. There was enough space open in the deck to shore up some of this weakness, though, and the end result is Rattlegore Warrior, so called because Rattlegore and his clones are the only win condition in the deck. If your opponent has a heavy deck that also contains a Rattlegore counter, you'll probably lose, but at the moment, this doesn't describe too much of the meta I saw. The result is a deck that still blows aggressive strategies out of the water, but has the juice to stand up against a lot of other archetypes with a bit of luck. It's obviously way too early to make any definitive statements about the deck, and it's exploiting a pocket in the meta where not too many decks are teching Silence effects, which could obviously change. With that said, it treated me very well for my run. I played ~30 games from Diamond 5 to Legend and kept going to 41 total, with a final winrate of 68%.
Proof of Legend: https://imgur.com/a/2U3DkAw
Proof of winrate: https://imgur.com/a/iTDL4y4
Easy visual reference: https://imgur.com/a/GhMku0h
Year of the Phoenix
2x (1) Athletic Studies
2x (1) Risky Skipper
2x (1) Shield Slam
2x (1) Sword and Board
2x (2) Armorsmith
1x (2) Corsair Cache
2x (2) Minefield
1x (3) Ancharrr
2x (3) Bloodsworn Mercenary
1x (3) Bulwark of Azzinoth
2x (3) Coerce
1x (3) Lord Barov
2x (3) Shield Block
1x (4) Kargath Bladefist
2x (4) Sword Eater
2x (5) Brawl
1x (7) Silas Darkmoon
1x (8) Deathwing, Mad Aspect
1x (9) Rattlegore
Risky Skipper/Armorsmith/Ancharrr/Corsair Cache/Sword Eater
The first 4 are your typical armour gain shell that's been in wide rotation ever since Warriors had the option, so of course they were going to be included in a survival deck. Sword Eater interferes with this to a degree, and there's an argument for not including him since Risky Skipper is responsible for a lot of the deck's most impactful turns…but the card is just so good. It's a fantastic board control and stall tool earlier on, while also being able to assist your Rattlegore pressure if drawn later. I've cut down to one Corsair Cache, as between Anchaaar, Bulwark of Azzinoth, and 2 Sword Eaters, that's already 4 weapons in similar mana slots. I didn't want to run more weapons, and the second Corsair Cache was often a dead card with only 2 targets in the deck.
What an incredible tool Control Warrior was given this expansion. Minefield completely denies basically any early board your opponent tries to build, whether that's Phase Stalker, Lab Partner, an attempted Totem setup, any Demon Hunter card…it's an incredibly efficient removal tool that also has some additional utility, such as combos with Lord Barov, or bombing your own Armorsmiths in a pinch.
There are a lot of good targets in this deck, the main ones being Rattlegore (against heavy decks with no reliable counter), Kargath Bladefist (heavy decks that can counter Rattlegore), and Armorsmith (Risky Skipper -> Armorsmith -> Mercenary is often a game-ending play against aggro). It also pairs well with a lot of Silas Darkmoon thefts, and sometimes that extra Taunt (Sword Eater) or pressure (Deathwing) is just what you need.
Bulwark of Azzinoth
A good card against many forms of aggressive strategy, but an absolute force of nature against Demon Hunter in particular. Pen Flinger is the obvious counter and I did see it in a few of them floating around, but a 3 mana heal 4 is still acceptable in that scenario, and in many instances I easily denied 20+ damage over the 4 turns it took them to ping the Bulwark down with their Hero Power, since this deck can very reliably prevent them from sticking a board.
There's a lot of mana cheat and big minions running around right now, many of which have Taunt or Rush. Silas acts as a Mind Control lite here, and even if you don't have a smaller minion than Silas to give away, you usually have enough health to not worry about the 4/4 you donated to your opponent. In all honesty, Silas probably wouldn't stick around in a hyper-optimized build, but I threw him in on a whim and he felt good enough to keep, and blindsiding opponents with a big Silas play never gets old. I also ended a game on the spot by stealing an opposing Rattlegore, so there's definitely potential depending on what you're facing. A couple important interactions to note:
If you donate Risky Skipper, its effect doesn't trigger.
Don't play Silas on an empty board, he still gets rotated to your opponent. I tried this in the name of science during a game I was winning handily, so now you don't have to.
Deathwing, Mad Aspect
There's anti-synergy between Deathwing and Rattlegore, so if I had any reasonable opportunity to play him in a slower matchup, I usually did. You could certainly make a case to cut it because of this, but it's still an extremely powerful standalone card that saved me many times.
Other Cards to Consider
The only Rush minion in the deck is Kargath Bladefist, meaning that Stage Dive can draw Kargath Prime very reliably. I didn't know how many losing games would be won on the back of this though, the deck does very well against aggro already and it's a solid but not definitive play against slower opponents.
You're running Risky Skipper combos and there were some games where I'd have liked a bit more draw. With that said, holding these combos pieces can already clog your hand a bit sometimes, and the deck is kind of light on other activators, both in terms of minions and damage effects.
Costumed Entertainer/Banana Vendor/King Mukla
It occurred to me that a lot of this deck's harder matchups are often holding onto 9 card hands, so an attempt to mill them and burn key cards might be doable, but probably not your highest priority.
An obvious choice especially against Druid's clowns, but I was just finding too many logjams against larger boards and didn't feel the need for more removal against aggro decks. Dropping Silas for a copy is probably one of the more straightforward optimization attempts you could make, if a pretty boring one.
During the transition to the final clone-focused build of the deck, at one point I was running a single Bloodsworn Mercenary and a single Quartermaster, and the card felt pretty good, just not nearly as good as the 30 in the deck for the most part.
His main appeal is helping you find your Rattlegore earlier, so this would be a meta call and one that probably should go into the deck if you're seeing a lot of Control Warlock in particular. This run was done fairly early in the meta so I tended to opt for all-rounders rather than a ton of tech cards, and it does clunk your draws up pretty badly against Demon Hunter, which was by far my most common opponent.
Redundancy for Bloodsworn Mercenary in Control matchups, obviously aimed at Rattlegore but also viable with a decent amount of big minions from your opponent. Again, meta call, I think you'd want to run it and Lorekeeper in the same deck.
Plague of Wrath
Passable removal against aggro while also providing a potential out against Druids or out of control Totem Shamans, and a pretty reasonable choice, albeit hampered by the lack of Bladestorm.
Removal and card draw, and a lot of the deck's key cards are minions. There are probably bigger priorities, but I'm curious about this one, it seems pretty solid.
I think Troublemaker probably isn't impactful enough in a lot of matchups, but it is a reasonable compromise between a late game bomb that still offers some amount of utility.
C'Thun, the Shattered/Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate
If you feel that the deck needs another bomb, these would be some options, although they kind of oppose the principle of "anti-aggro deck that can still win thanks to Rattlegore." C'Thun makes it actively harder to draw into Rattlegore, and while I certainly did play games that went long enough to make use of it, there weren't that many, and this deck can't draw aggressively. Against slower decks that can reliably counter Rattlegore? Sure, I'd love to have C'Thun, but realistically, those were a pretty small percentage of games. Yogg-Saron is a much less deck-defining option, although if you're going to take that approach, you'd probably want to add a few more spells as well (probably Bladestorm).
Encounter Rate 20%, Won 88% of Games
Encounter Rate 12%, Won 80% of Games
Encounter Rate 5%, Won 50% of Games
Encounter Rate 17%, Won 57% of Games
Encounter Rate 2%, Won Game
Encounter Rate 2%, Lost Game
Encounter Rate 10%, Won 75% of Games
Encounter Rate 10%, Won 75% of Games
Encounter Rate 15%, Won 50% of Games
Encounter Rate 7%, Won 67% of Games
As stated, this is a survival deck first and foremost, with the ability to build an oppressive board in the late game in appropriate matchups.
I encountered Soul Fragment, Face, and Outcast variants of Demon Hunter, all of which felt extremely favoured. You remove their minions easily, and can reliably heal out of their damage. Bulwark of Azzinoth is the standout card in the deck since so much of their burn relies on attacks from the hero, and I usually tried to play it out as soon as I had a clear board, or after they'd equipped a weapon with a single minion in play. Bloodsworn Mercenary is saved for Armorsmith, and it's usually best to resist the temptation to play Armorsmith on curve, but against specifically Umberwing it can be a passable play if you don't have a great hand. Mulligan for Athletic Studies, Armorsmith, Risky Skipper (with Armorsmith), Bloodsworn Mercenary (with the other 2), Sword and Board, Corsair Cache, Minefield, Anchaaar, Bulwark of Azzinoth.
I faced Clown Druid and Spell Druid, with Spell Druid feeling very reasonable and Clown Druid feeling a bit more manageable than expected, albeit largely being up to holding the right answers (I suspect with a larger sample size this would be a bad matchup). This is 100% a Rattlegore duplication matchup, and if you can get this up and running before they completely overwhelm you with more than a wave or two of clowns, you've got a fighting chance. Spell Druid is the same thing, win with Rattlegore, although you're on a much more manageable clock. Silas Darkmoon is a lifesaver after a Survival of the Fittest -> Strongman play, as it can immediately pressure them or force out a clown wave to be Brawled down. Mulligan for Corsair Cache, Anchaaar, Lord Barov, Brawl, Rattlegore
A sample size of 2 isn't much to go off, but I encountered one Face Hunter and one Deathrattle Hunter, the results of which were largely as expected. The Face Hunter was convincingly crushed, while the Deathrattle Hunter was able to fire off too many missiles for survival thanks to Darkmoon Tonk, Jewel of N'Zoth, and Vectus. It's worth noting that they had a pretty ideal draw while mine was fairly poor, but I still intuitively think it's probably not a great matchup, while I'd bet good money that Face Hunter is. I didn't play any Highlander Hunter or the new Secret version. Mulligans (assuming aggressive strategy): Athletic Studies, Armorsmith, Risky Skipper (with Armorsmith), Bloodsworn Mercenary (with the other 2), Sword and Board, Corsair Cache, Minefield, Anchaaar, Bulwark of Azzinoth (with earlier plays), Sword Eater (with earlier plays).
Minionless C'Thun Mage was the most common version I fought, although there was also Tempo Secret Mage, as well as one Highlander. C'Thun felt very good, and your main goal is to press the Armour Up button every turn you can possibly get away with it. Corsair Cache on turn 2? Wrong, press the button. Rattlegore doesn't have much chance of sticking between Devolving Missiles and Polymorph, whether native or discovered, so save Bloodsworn Mercenary for Risky Skipper -> Armorsmith plays. It's very reasonable to be well above 30 health on the turn they play C'Thun, and if you can pull this off with some resources left, you've likely won. Bulwark of Azzinoth isn't going to do a lot of major damage blocking a lot of the time, although I still tried to save it for later in the game, and after they'd played Eye of C'Thun. Tempo Mage is a similar principle, but felt tougher since you're not as free to sit back and build armour. Highlander Mage is not one of the decks this is meant to fight, with Zephrys and The Amazing Reno piling onto the anti-Rattlegore tech, so I think saving for a 10 mana Kargath -> 2x Bloodsworn Mercenary is likely the play, although I strongly suspect it's still an uphill battle. In all matchups, don't just discard a dead Corsair Cache if you're floating mana, as it's still good for triggering Counterspell. Mulligan for Athletic Studies, Risky Skipper, Sword and Board, Armorsmith, Corsair Cache, Anchaaar, Shield Block (with other plays), Kargath (with other plays).
I faced a single Pure Paladin, which I beat down handily thanks to Rattlegore duplication. There's not too much detail I can go into here in terms of strategy, but I think it's fair to say that you basically can't win without Rattlegore specifically, as their Librams will eventually wear you down, so hard mulliganing for him might be the best plan. I've seen both Pure and Penflinger Paladin across the expansion so far, but the aggro/Silver Hand Recruit variant doesn't seem like it's taken off, so you can probably assume you'll have at least a bit of time. Coerce might be another fair mulligan, as well as Silas to snipe their big Libram target later in the game (preferably after Lady Liadrin).
Again, one game fought, but I think the deck is pretty much brick walled here, as you can never play Rattlegore and have no other way of killing them. Pretty much tradition at this point for Control Warrior vs. Control Priest, and I don't know if the new Resurrect tools have gained any traction. If they have, Silas might be a small saving grace, but in general, go for Kargath -> 2x Bloodsword Mercenary and pray.
I encountered C'Thun Rogue as well as Galakrond Rogue, and the win condition was similar to Mage, squeeze out as much armour as possible while keeping the board under control. Risky Skipper -> Sword Eater is a useful way to clear Shadowjeweler Hanar without using a spell, and I saw her in every match I fought, so keep that in mind, Counterspell and Spellbender are extremely common picks (the same Corsair Cache tip as for Mage applies here). An important tip to note for C'Thun Rogue specifically: I think the correct way to play this matchup on the Rogue's end is probably to save both Shadowsteps exclusively for C'Thun, which would result in a total damage output of 90. The implication here may be that you as the Warrior should be saving your Bloodsworn Mercenaries for armour combos, but I'm not so sure, since 3 (or even 2) Rattlegores can potentially body block most of that damage. This will be an interesting matchup going forward, although none of the opponents I saw on my run were actually using Shadowstep this way, likely assuming I was Bomb Warrior. Wand Thief can discover anti-Rattlegore effects though, which is a bit of a bummer. I didn't fight any Aggro Rogue, but between being a natural counter to aggression, multiple ways to kill stealth minions, and Bulwark to block their big weapons, I have to imagine it'd be very favoured. Mulligan for Athletic Studies, Armorsmith, Risky Skipper (with Armorsmith), Bloodsworn Mercenary (with the other 2), Sword and Board, Corsair Cache, Anchaaar, Coerce, Lord Barov (with another combo piece to deal with Edwin Van Cleef), Sword Eater (with earlier plays), Kargath (with earlier plays).
While I saw a few Battlecry Shamans in the first few hours of the expansion, all the encounters I had with this deck were the Totem version. Their entire deck is built around sticking a board, and your entire deck is built around removal, so it's a pretty comfortable matchup provided you draw a decent answer or two. You've generally won or lost by the time Rattlegore comes down, so save Bloodsworn Mercenary for Risky Skipper plays or as another Rush minion to keep their board clear. The main priority against Totem Shaman is to kill everything, don't leave even a basic totem alive if you have the option not to. Mulligan for Athletic Studies, Risky Skipper, Sword and Board, Minefield, Anchaaar, Lord Barov, Kargath (with earlier plays), Sword Eater (with earlier plays), Brawl.
Control Warlock is probably the deck that most relies on Rattlegore to save the day. If you can stick a Rattlegore and clone it, you can dole out enough pressure to get past their deck burning, but if you don't, there's very little hope. Even then, I played one game where I managed to get 2 Rattlegores out that the Warlock was able to whittle down until they were no longer threats, and I died in fatigue. It's a pretty rough matchup, and one where you need to try and apply a bit more pressure than usual with weapon face swings, etc. Luckily, Zoo decks are much more favoured, although Control seems like the matchup you should assume you're walking into right now. Which means a hard mulligan for Rattlegore, because if it's milled, you're done.
There are a few Warrior archetypes out there, but I mostly ran into Bomb Warrior with a couple Menagerie builds as well. Against Bomb Warrior, Bloodsworn Mercenary has several valid uses, and I think in an ideal world you'd aim for one armour combo and one Rattlegore clone, although armour probably comes first since the deck tends to devolve into burn damage. Rattlegore isn't a core card, but I have seen it several times (maybe for the mirror?), so that's your ideal Silas target. Menagerie Warrior isn't that popular, but keeping up a board presence in order to delay your hard removal as long as possible is important, their minions keeping growing as the game goes on so being able to trade into their earlier ones rather than burning Coerce/Shield Block is very helpful, especially since this build doesn't run Bladestorm. I didn't face any of the new Rush OTK version, but have to assume you're going for armour combos, and saving Silas for their Rattlegore. Mulligan for Athletic Studies, Armorsmith, Risky Skipper (with Armorsmith), Bloodsworn Mercenary (with the other 2), Sword and Board, Corsair Cache, Anchaaar, Bulwark of Azzinoth, Kargath (with earlier plays), Sword Eater, Rattlegore (with earlier plays).
I think Control Warrior has a lot of potential this expansion, and while this almost certainly isn't the most optimized version possible, it was a ton of fun to play, and scratched that classic control itch in a big way. Hope you found this helpful, and RAAAAAAR!
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