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Articles

With great insight Team Metaminds delivers you unique, knowledgeable and amazing guides, decklists, discussion posts and more that you'll certainly determine to be helpful for your Hearthstone experience.

 

Filtering by Category: Hidden Gems

S26 Hidden Gems: Pirate Warrior

Darius Matuschak

by Aidan

Yarr! Warrior’s resident Aggro deck, Pirate Warrior uses Warrior’s powerful weapons along with Pirate synergy to aggressively establish a board and burst the opponent down. With the addition of N’zoth’s First Mate along with the success of Sir Finley Mrrgglton, Pirate Warrior is a very real, and a very scary deck to face (pun intended). With Heroic Strike and Upgrade already turning your Fiery War Axe into a death clock, the aggressive use of Pirates only backs up your burst potential. A simple N’zoth’s First Mate -> Bloodsail Raider -> Bloodsail Cultist curve is already scary in tempo terms, the Coin opens a whole other avenue of aggression with Turn 1 Fiery War Axes, coining out a Upgrade!, or a Turn 2 Bloodsail Cultist, just to name a few.

Pirate Warrior has an interesting dynamic in regards to matchups, being able to allocate weapon charges to build tempo and keep initiative versus other Aggro decks, but can get completely blown out of the water when you have an awkward curve, or have no follow-up damage via board or Mrrgglton hero power to back up your cheap burst. Pirate Warrior, albeit strong, is hard to gauge in terms of meta strength due to being one of the most inconsistent Aggro decks a Hearthstone meta has seen (note: hard to compare Pirate Warrior to staple Aggro decks such as Murloc Warlock, Face Hunter, Aggrodin and Aggro Shaman, to be fair).

This isn’t to say Pirate Warrior is an inherently bad deck, but with not always having quality draws due to unmet Pirate conditions, having no solid draw other than rolling Life Tap from Sir Finley and having a fragile board with no refill mechanics, Pirate Warrior does  have inherent flaws that are hard to make-up. Is Pirate Warrior capable of seeing more play and becoming a Contender in the meta? Of course. The only issue with this idea is that Aggro Shaman outclasses Pirate Warrior in most cases on ladder. In a tournament setting, Pirate Warrior can dish out some serious damage to your opponent’s lineup, being able to farm Rogues, Druids and Mages alike, while being just fast enough to possibly outpace Aggro Shaman or be just a turn ahead of a ready-to-heal Reno Jackson. To summarize, will you dominate the ladder with this deck? Maybe. Will you see success in tournament play with Pirate Warrior? If you build your list and lineup right, then I bet you’ll be singing sea shanties as you plunder your opponents wins, and maybe some tournament booty along with it!

My friend Jalexander quickly clinched a Top 15 finish in S25 with this list, which I’ve played as well with relative success. Nostam’s Pirate Warrior list went undefeated during his run in the North American Spring Preliminaries.

 

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S26 Hidden Gems: C'Thun Rogue

Darius Matuschak

by Aidan

Taking the Legend ladder by storm, streamer Ryzen played this homebrew to Rank 10 Legend. What makes this homebrew so notable? Before the release of Whispers of the Old Gods, there were two theorycrafts to keep in mind, one being control-style C’thun decks would dominate and the other being the strength of N’zoth Tempo Rogue. Ryzen and any other brewers found a best-of-both worlds situation, mixing Rogue’s strong tempo class cards and C’thun tribal synergy to rock the block with a corrupt cult, coins and of course, C’thun!

The deck plays similar to any Tempo deck, and knowing your tempo swings is key. Blade of C’thun and Sap are your biggest swing cards versus Midrange and Control, while your Disciples of C’thun and SI:7 Agents clean up boards while establishing your own versus Aggro.

The one weakness of this deck is it’s lack of healing, making it weak against Combo and Aggro decks alike. This weakness is only evident for less-experienced players, as playing around your board swings and thinking many turns in advance to properly set-up your own lethal or prevent your opponent’s is the key to properly execute this deck versus volatile Aggro decks and bursty Combo decks. This may seen as a core fundamental of Tempo decks (on par with playing to your opponent’s clears when versus Control) but is a tricky skill to master. You’ll see good results against Midrange and Control decks, especially Druids and Warriors and you may struggle against Shamans.

An unexpected point of interest, C’thun Rogue further makes us question which Old Gods serve as a supporting role or a core tenet of a list, and which of these categories have seen the most success.

 

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S26 Hidden Gems: Malygos Reno Freeze Mage

Darius Matuschak

by Aidan

An interesting take on the infamous combo deck known as Freeze Mage, MalyReno Freeze (we really need to start giving these decks catchier names) adds a second 9-mana dragon by the name of Malygos to enable an OTK win condition in the form of Malygos -> Frostbolt x2 -> Ice Lance x2 (Thaurissan required), while also having an alternate win condition in the form of Reno Jackson. It is important to note that although this Freeze Mage variant is designed for tournament play, not only due to its high skillcap, but having a Reno win condition against standard Freeze Mage and the Malygos win condition in the mirror and providing the OTK necessary to take down N’zoth Paladin or Tempo Warrior.

With the rotation of Antique Healbot and Mad Scientist, pulling a needed Ice Block or drawing into an extra 8 points of health isn’t an option for Freeze Mage anymore. Opening more room for tech, Reno variants of Malygos Freeze are able to run cards like Cone of Cold, Harrison Jones, Coldlight Oracle, and opt in for a Pyroblast even.

My friend Fibonacci was one of the few players to bring RenoMalyFreeze to the North American Spring Preliminaries a few weeks ago, sporting this list. Opting to run Harrison and Coldlight Oracle, Fibonacci targeted his weaker matchups he expected to see, namely Warrior, Aggro Shaman and Renolock. Another player, vcT, ran a more straight-forward list focusing more on an overall approach to matchups, swapping a Blizzard for a Pyroblast.

With solid foundations for tournament success, can Malygos and Reno Jackson successfully team up to take on the Hearthstone ladder? In theory, yes. If played well, your favourable matchups are N’zoth Paladin, Aggro Shaman, Miracle Rogue, Renolock and Beast Druid. While still suffering against Midrange decks and Warrior, they’re not 100% un-winnable. While Tempo Warrior, Midrange Hunter and Midrange Shaman are all oppressive forces on the ladder, forcing these opponents to exhaust their board refills (Varian Wrynn, Thunderbluff Valiant and Call of the Wild respectively) only to have them cleared away helps greatly. In conclusion, Freeze Mage isn’t in the greatest spot right now, but a couple of tweaks and some practice could turn it into a Contender yet again.

 

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S26 Hidden Gems: Murloc Flood Paladin

Darius Matuschak

Due to Aggro Divine Shield Paladin being very popular on the ladder at the moment, players automatically seem to assume that they're facing this particular deck when in reality there's a fantastic Aggro Murloc Paladin deck hiding in the shadows!

Popularized by one of the best Hearthstone players in the game, TwoBiers, taking the game to from Legend Rank 3000 to 50 within a few hours, other streamers like Kripp quickly took liking to this hidden Gem. The deck works similarly to its Divine Shield counterpart, as it focuses on flooding the board with small minions, making them stick with buffs and going face.

The best tip I can give you for playing this deck is to, if you can, play the Steward of Darkshire before playing the Murloc Warleader. Playing them the other way around will cause all Murlocs, including the ones given to you by your Hero Power, to receive the Murloc Warleader buff, meaning they won't have 1 Health anymore and they won't receive the crucial Divine Shield.

 


Also, heavily consider when playing Murloc Warleader, as you dont want to see it removed by a Weapon charge. Try to set up a Taunt, preferably with divine shield, beforehand if possible.

In comparison to Divine Shield Aggro Paladin, its main differences are:

  • Better Flood potential
  • More consistent but also high risk buff potential, as Murloc Warleader is your main buff source and once it dies you might run into trouble
  • Bigger threats in the form of Sea Giants and Frostwolf Warlords
  • Much bigger potential to be wiped by board clears of any kind

However, in a Meta where Tempo Warriors and Wild Pyromancers are pretty damn dominant, it shows ist weaknesses: Whereas Divine Shield Aggro Paladin still has a chance to pull through an unfavourable matchup or two, the unfavourable matchups for Flood Murloc Paladin are pretty much unwinnable. Apart from this, I rate the deck higher than the similar Divine Shield Aggro Paladin, and depending on how the Meta shapes itself, it can definitely be a deck worth looking at to climb the ladder.

 

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