Written by [DKMR]Varranis
Miracle Rogue has stood atop the meta for a while now. Similar to how Hunter Midrange’s dominance enabled Miracle Rogue’s rise to power, Miracle Rogue’s dominance is causing a few interesting suspects to pop out of the woodwork. Most interesting of these are the old powerhouse Freeze Mage and Paladin Midrange. So
While it has eschewed the giants of its beta brethren, Freeze Mage is still playing the same game. Namely draw cards, delay the game, and unleash a brutal torrent of fire and ice. Freeze Mage has seen a rise in play largely due to its strong Miracle Rogue match-up. Cards like Mirror Image and Ice Barrier allow you to weather the early game while Ice Block staves off Leeroy Jenkins a turn longer. Vaporize can rob your Miracle opponent of any hope of winning if it catches Leeroy Jenkins unawares. Not only can the deck deal with Leeroy Jenkins, but Flamestrike is one of the cleanest ways to deal with a stealthed Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Freeze Mage also sports reasonable match-ups against aggressive decks. Fireblast is as good as it ever has been at deterring the Zoo horde. Blizzard and Flamestrike are two of the more powerful board clears in the game. Blizzard is especially strong against many aggressive strategies as the freeze effect guarantees it has an impact on the game whether it removes the minions or not. Doomsayer serves as a powerful removal spell when combined with Frost Nova and can even be played solo to absorb damage or discourage your opponent from playing additional minions.
The deck is very consistent, packing some significant draw power. Acolyte of Pain frequently draws at least two cards alongside Fireblast. While Arcane Intellect will never draw you the three cards Acolyte of Pain will sometimes give you, the guaranteed two cards fits perfectly in this deck. Novice Engineer gets a nod over Loot Hoarder in this particular build for its ability to immediately draw you answers or damage in the late game.
More often than not, Alexstrasza is your first aggressive play each game. Up until playing Alexstrasza, the Mage player is only focused on surviving, drawing burn spells, and laying Ice Block. Once an Ice Block is set and you have fifteen or more damage worth of burn in hand, you can play Alexstrasza with a nearly guaranteed victory on the following turn. Setting up these plays requires significant foresight and planning, making Freeze Mage not only a very powerful player in the current meta, but a very satisfying deck to pilot.
Oddly enough, Paladin has also benefited from Miracle Rogue’s dominance. Paladin’s strong curve backed by peripheral healing effects allows it to apply pressure to Rogue while staying out of Leeroy’s reach. While the match-up is not incredible for Paladin, it is far from unwinnable. Interestingly, Paladin probably benefits more from Miracle Rogue’s impact on the meta than from a strong match-up against Rogue itself. Handlock has an excellent match-up against Miracle Rogue and has thus seen a huge resurgence on the ladder. Paladin conveniently sports one of the best ways to deal with giants: Equality. Particularly when combined with Wild Pyromancer, Equality makes short work of Mountain and Molten Giants alike. Aldor Peacekeeper is another giant killer, allowing Paladin to effectively take a giant out of the action while populating the board with a 3/3. Played alongside Stampeding Kodo, Aldor Peacekeeper can remove a giant permanently.
Azure Drake and Wild Pyromancer add an extra oomph to Paladin’s already powerful suite of spells. Consecration is an excellent board clear which combos especially well with Equality. Hammer of Wrath is often a two for one, trading for a minion while replacing itself and making your deck more consistent. While it costs a hefty six mana, Avenging Wrath is one of the more powerful board clears in the game and can often serve as a brutal direct damage spell.
Paladin is far from lacking in resiliency. Tirion Fordring, Lay on Hands, and to a lesser extent Guardian of Kings allow you to come back in seemingly unwinnable games. While susceptible to silence, Tirion Fordring is one of the game’s most difficult minions to handle. Lay on Hands practically rewinds the game two turns in your favor, refilling your hand and your life. Guardian of Kings allows you to simultaneously deploy a sizable threat and recover against aggressive decks.
Paladin sports two of the strongest weapons in the game. Truesilver Champion is arguably the most powerful piece of equipment in Hearthstone, either trading for two high quality minions or dealing a savage eight damage for four mana. And it heals too! Sword of Justice is fairly slow against many aggressive strategies, but can overwhelm midrange and control opponents as your minions come down slightly stronger than theirs.
Minions like Argent Squire, Argent Protector, Blood Knight, Harvest Golem, and Azure Drake ensure your curve is filled with some of the game’s finest suspects. Blood Knight is an especially potent threat alongside your deck’s many Divine Shields.
Try these decks out and let us know how you are doing with them. Track your stats with these decks on Hearthstats.net!
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Decks to watch out for
Miracle Rogue remains a top contender on both the ladder and in tournaments, so I’ve included my most recent build below. Handlock also remains strong. The build below runs two Faceless Manipulators, more frequently enabling you to have a double Mountain Giant opening. A Hellfire can be swapped for a second Shadowflame if you’re encountering an especially large number of Miracle Rogues. Reynad competed in last Sunday’s NESL tournament with the Hunter Midrange deck below. While still weak to Miracle Rogue, it retains a strong match-up against Warrior and Druid. I’ve included the most recent build of Kitkatz Warrior below. It sacrifices some early game potential to include the trio of Harrison Jones, Faceless Manipulator, and The Black Knight for full blow-out potential.