Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Matchups Analysis



Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Matchups Analysis by BlackacreHS

Welcome friends! My name is Blackacre and earlier this season I posted a guide explaining the card choices in the Miracle Rogue DECK that I piloted to top 20 NA. After receiving numerous requests for a guide on how to mulligan/play each of the major matchups in the metagame I have given in and created a comprehensive guide.

1. Vs Warlock Zoo
2. Vs Handlock
3. Vs Token Druid
4. Vs Ramp Druid
5. Vs Aggro Mage
6. Vs Priest
7. Vs Shaman
8. Vs Aggro Paladin
9. Vs Control Warrior
10. Vs Miracle Rogue
11. Vs Aggro Hunter

1. Vs Warlock Zoo

Matchup Analysis

To understand this matchup you need to understand how Zoo wins games. Zoo is a board control deck, but the way it gains board control is through something I call mana debt. What exactly does this mean? Well consider a card like Voidwalker. A 1 power 3 toughness minion is not an imposing body, so what exactly makes this card powerful? What makes it good is that it only costs 1 mana to cast, but it is very difficult for most decks to remove it from the board without using 2+ mana to do so. So if you spent 2 mana to remove the 1 mana Voidwalker you are in 1 point of mana debt. That alone doesn’t sound too bad, but Zoo runs many minions which add to the mana debt like Argent Squire, Flame Imp, Shieldbearer, Scarlet Crusader, Harvest Golem, etc… So once Zoo has you in mana debt, what happens next? Well Zoo aims to take advantage of that mana debt by buffing the minions you don’t have the mana to remove from the board with cards like Abusive Sergeant, Dire Wolf Alpha, Shattered Sun Cleric, Dark Iron Dwarf, Defender of Argus, etc… To make this situation worse Zoo has cards that offer huge tempo boosts in the form of Soulfire and Doomguard to expand on the mana debt even more. So now that we understand how Zoo works, how do we beat it?

Game Plan

Well, we know that Zoo wants to use mana debt to build a board position, so our goal should always be to disrupt their game plan. We want to do whatever is necessary to clear the Zoo player’s minions every turn of the game. This is a very effective game plan because Zoo doesn’t have a large amount of reach. Newer players may be wondering what I mean by “reach.” This is just a term to describe cards that allow you to do damage to the opponent in a game where you have lost control of the board. Modern Zoo lists only run 4 cards that count as reach, 2x Doomguard and 2x Soulfire. There are variations that run cards like Leeroy Jenkins and Arcane Golem, but those lists are generally worse, and therefore will see less play. So with the limited amount of reach in the Zoo deck establishing control of the board is a highly effective strategy. As long as we stabilize the board at a life total that is outside of that range there is very little that the Zoo player can do to win that game at that point. So now let us take a look at the cards that help us achieve this goal.

Mulligans

  • Backstab – This is an auto-keep in the matchup regardless of the other cards in your hand. Backstab is a pure tempo boost and that is exactly what we need to help fight against the mana debt that Zoo is trying to put us in. Being able to remove a Flame Imp, Knife Juggler, Dire Wolf Alpha, or even Shattered Sun Cleric in the first few turns at 0 mana cost is incredibly powerful in this matchup.
  • Preparation – The tempo boost that Preparation offers makes it a strong card in the matchup, but it will do very little for us if we don’t have the cards we need in hand to take advantage of it. Because this is the case, it is usually right to mulligan it to look for more consistent cards in the matchup.
  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep has many uses in the matchup when combined with SI:7 Agent, Edwin VanCleef, and Earthen Ring Farseer, but those synergies can often be too slow if we don’t have other strong cards in hand to stabilize during the first few turns. So you want to mulligan Shadowstep in your opening hand unless you have strong cards to support it.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand, and Zoo is probably the worst matchup to have it so that rule applies here even more so than in most matchups.
  • Conceal – Conceal is a card that is used to extract extra value from other cards. The Zoo matchup is not about value at all. So you will always want to mulligan Conceal in this matchup.
  • Deadly Poison – Taking face damage to remove minions is not ideal in a matchup where your opponent is trying to pressure your life total, but even with that downside Deadly Poison is a must keep in this matchup. The reason for this is that Deadly Poison is mana efficient and as we have noted previously mana efficiency is of utmost importance against Zoo. We need to wrestle control of the board from the Zoo player. Additionally, Deadly Poison has an extremely useful synergy with Blade Flurry that can often win the matchup outright if timed properly.
  • Blade Flurry – Cards that do damage to multiple minions are extremely useful in recouping mana debt. If the Zoo player is controlling the board Blade Flurry is a 2 mana card that can often remove 2 or 3 times that much mana investment from the board. Because this is the case, keeping Blade Flurry is often correct, especially if you have a Deadly Poison to combo with it.
  • Eviscerate – The Zoo player has 3 early game minions with 2 health that are very important to remove in Flame Imp, Knife Juggler, and Dire Wolf Alpha. Eviscerate allows us to avoid taunts to remove these important minions from the board.
  • Sap – Sap is at its worst against decks like Zoo. Often the Zoo player will have a board that consists of only minions that cost less than the 2 mana it costs to play Sap, so we will be gaining little to no advantage from playing Sap. As this is the case, we should mulligan it without hesitation.
  • Shiv – Shiv is a mana inefficient spell. It does 1 damage for 2 mana. The rogue hero power is double as efficient as it does 2 damage for 2 mana. Since the Zoo matchup is all about being mana efficient in our effort to wrestle board control from them, Shiv is a card that is not useful to us. Therefore we should mulligan Shiv every time.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is a very powerful card in the matchup because Zoo doesn’t run any non-damage based removal. However, it is only worth keeping if we have the cards to abuse its power. Obviously, having the coin is the most straightforward way to build his power level and it is often correct to keep VC when going second regardless of the other cards in hand. The decision is more complex when you don’t have access to easy combo enablers like Backstab, Preparation, and Shadowstep. When that is the case, it is often the best to mulligan him in search of more consistent cards.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK’s ability to deal damage to multiple minions makes it a powerful card in the matchup, but is also mana inefficient, which makes it far from ideal in our starting hand. The only time where keeping FoK would be a consideration is if you also had a Preparation to allow you to cast it for free. Otherwise toss this back in search of more efficient cards.
  • SI:7 Agent – This card specializes in beating aggressive decks and Zoo is certainly one of those matchups. Having the coin definitely makes SI:7 Agent a keep every time in the matchup, but it is often right to keep even without the coin if you have a way to enable the combo at all. Even highly inefficient plays like using Preparation to start your combo without any follow up can be right in certain circumstances.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a 1 power and 1 toughness minion for 2 mana. Those stats alone should tell you why Thalnos is not ideal in this matchup. While it can be useful in the mid to late game in combination with cards like FoK and Shiv to gain value once the board has been stabilized, it does very little in the first couple of turns to combat the mana debt that we are battling against. You should mulligan this every time.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder’s value does not come from its ability to affect the board, and its 2/1 body is particularly bad in a matchup where your opponent has access to cards like Voidwalker and Mortal Coil. In this matchup we are looking for cards that have a more efficient effect on the board.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – This card offers us a reasonable 3/3 body for 3 mana with a useful upside of 3 points of healing. While there are cards that are more powerful in the matchup, it is foolish to mulligan a consistent performer like Earthen Ring Farseer in search of those cards. I would only consider mulliganing this card if I had a hand that was clogged at the 3 drop slot with more valuable cards like SI:7 Agent and Edwin VanCleef.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – There are literally no matchups where I would keep Leeroy in my opening hand. As such, mulligan him every time.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – I group these two cards together because they suffer from the exact same problem. They both cost 5 mana and that is simply too expensive to consider keeping in this matchup. You need answers that will be able to interact with the board earlier or the game could be effectively over by turn 5.

2. Vs Handlock

Matchup Analysis

We have to understand what our opponent is trying to do before we can understand how to beat it. Handlock operates in a similar manner to what is known as a ramp deck. The term ramp simply indicates that the deck intends to take a line of play that allows them to cast cards that are more powerful than what should be typically available for the turn on which they can be cast.

The ramp druid deck in hearthstone achieves this goal by accelerating their mana with cards like Wild Growth and Innervate. The Handlock deck achieves the same goal, but does it by playing cards like Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake, and Molten Giant while increasing the size of their hand and lowering their life total with the Warlock Life Tap ability.

It should be pointed out that some Handlock players eschew the ramp line of play for early board development with cards like Ancient Watcher + Ironbeak Owl. This style of play is much easier for the Miracle Rogue player to beat, so we won’t discuss it at length. Just be aware that it exists and don’t panic if you are being attacked by a 4/5 on turn 2 of the game. Use your resources to remove their board and know that the longer game favors you heavily in this scenario as the Handlock player will not have the ability to play powerful minions in the mid-game to pressure you.

Game Plan

In order to be able to play the powerful cards that are in the Handlock deck they must invest their first 2-3 turns into a line of play that will allow them to play a powerful minions later. This slow development is useful for us as it means we can pick away at their life total over the first few turns to get it into a range where we can burst them down later. Ideally we never want to reduce their health to the point where they would be able to play both a Molten Giant and a Taunt giver on the same turn. For instance if it is turn 5 we would not want to lower the Handlock’s life below 14 because that would enable him/her to play out a Molten Giant and then give it taunt with a Sunfury Protector.

This does not mean that we should think it is possible to avoid large taunts altogether. It is unrealistic to think that you will be able to avoid a game where a Mountain Giant or a Twilight Drake is given taunt. Our goal should just be to avoid allowing this to happen multiple times during the game. The way we achieve this is by applying early pressure and then using the power level of our deck to finish the game before the Handlock player can establish board control. So, if we acknowledge that this is very likely that we will see big taunts, we must prepare for it by mulliganing for cards that will provide us with the power level to be able to get through the virtual health that this represents.

Mulligans

  • Backstab – Backstab is at its worst in a matchup like Handlock where the minions being played by your opponent are far too large for it to have a relevant effect on the board. Additionally, Handlock is a slow enough deck that the tempo boost from Backstab is not particularly beneficial either. This card should be mulliganed.
  • Preparation – The slow nature of Handlock means that we don’t need the tempo boost from Preparation during the early part of the game. We are much better off searching for more important cards for the matchup.
  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep should be mulliganed in almost every starting hand. Handlock is no exception to this rule.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Conceal – Conceal is a card worth keeping in the matchup, but ONLY if you have an auctioneer in your starting hand as well. Otherwise you are much better off to simply mulligan the Conceal in search of better options.
  • Deadly Poison – Deadly Poison doesn’t do enough in this matchup. When your opponent is playing 8/8 giants, the 3 damage from a Deadly Poisoned dagger isn’t going to affect the board in a way that is valuable enough to keep in your starting hand.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry is a card that gets more valuable as your opponent plays more and more minions onto the board. The Handlock player aims to play a small number of extremely powerful minions. Since this is the case, Blade Flurry is of very limited value and should be mulliganed.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate is still an efficient burn spell, but it does not have the power level we need from our cards in this matchup. As such, we should mulligan this in our starting hand to search for more impactful cards.
  • Sap – Sap is a difficult card to discuss in the context of the Handlock matchup, because it is very powerful, but is also a card that is often correct to mulligan. So why would we want to mulligan a card that we would love to see during the course of the game? The reason is that we need to apply early pressure to the health total of our opponent, and while Sap is extremely useful in the mid to late game, it does nothing to apply that pressure in the first few turns. So when we see a Sap in our starting hand we simply have to send it back and hope it returns to us later in the game.
  • Shiv – Shiv is too low of impact to be truly useful in this matchup. It should be mulliganed every time.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is a powerful card in the matchup because it can apply the early pressure we need. Like always the usefulness of VC is subject to ability to combo it. In this particular matchup all of the non-coin ways to combo VC are of very limited use, so I only keep VC when I will have the coin.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is really at its worst in this matchup. The damage it does is simply not relevant and therefore you should mulligan it without hesitation.
  • SI:7 Agent – This card is mainly in the deck to combat aggressive strategies. Handlock has very few targets for the 2 combo damage, and the 3/3 body has trouble getting through the inevitable taunts.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is not the ideal turn 2 play against Handlock. The 1 damage a turn it represents doesn’t apply a particularly relevant amount of pressure. However, Thalnos can cause your opponent to misplay in an attempt to remove it from the board, and does offer value from the spellpower. Overall, I would only keep Thalnos in my starting hand if I already had a key card like Gadgetzan Auctioneer and I wanted to ensure that I had a turn 2 play.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder is a great turn 2 play in this matchup. It puts a relevant amount of pressure on the board, and if the opponent spends the mana to kill it we simply cycle into another card. I would only mulligan a Loot Hoarder if I was planning on playing an Edwin VanCleef on turn 2.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – We will almost certainly be at full health on turn 3 when we would be playing Earthen Ring Farseer, so the battlecry will have no effect in this matchup. The 3/3 body is also not particularly relevant when the opponent is laying 8/8 minions on the table. I recommend mulliganing this in search of more important cards for the matchup.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – There are literally no matchups where I would keep Leeroy in my opening hand. As such, mulligan him every time.
  • Azure Drake – We need power level to get through the inevitable taunts that the Handlock player will be putting on the table. Azure Drake offers us the 2nd best example of that power level. Deciding whether or not to keep an Azure Drake is a two step process. First check if your hand has a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in it. If there is no Auctioneer you should keep the Drake. If you do have an Auctioneer you should then check to see if you are going to have the coin. If you are going to have the coin you should keep the Azure Drake to play with it on turn 4.
  • Gadgetzan Auctioneer – This is simply the most important card in the matchup. It is the card that will give us the power level to get through all of the super large minions our opponent is playing on the board. Keeping one of these in the opening hand is an easy choice because of how vital it is to the matchup.

3. Vs Token Druid

Matchup Analysis

The modern Token Druid deck functions like a combo deck. Few of the individual cards in the deck are powerful, but they synergize together in powerful ways. Their aim is to flood the board with cheap minions like Argent Squire and Loot Hoarder during the early game and then ideally play either a Violet Teacher or Gadgetzan Auctioneer to gain a large amount of value from the many spells in the deck. Once they have developed a board they use Power of the Wild and Savage Roar to extract additionally value from their small minions.

Since the power of this deck comes from the synergies it contains, it should be our goal to disrupt their game plan. We should aggressively clear the board of all minions on each turn.

Mulligans

  • Backstab – Backstab can offer a useful tempo boost in this aggressive matchup, but it does not line up well against the minions you are likely to see. The early game minions from the Token Druid are Argent Squire and Loot Hoarder, and the middle/late game minions are all outside of the 2 damage range of Backstab. Since this is the case, we are better off looking for more useful cards in the matchup.
  • Preparation – Preparation falls into the category of cards that we want to see during the matchup, but aren’t interested in having in our opening hand. Throw this back and hope it shows up later in the game.
  • Shadowstep – As is almost always the case, we don’t want our starting hand clogged up with Shadowsteps. We are much better off looking for more impactful cards.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Conceal – This matchup is certainly not slow. However, Token druid is not a hyper aggressive deck either. Since this is the case we can afford to keep a Conceal in our starting hand IF we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer to go with it. Otherwise you should mulligan it.
  • Deadly Poison – The minions in the Token Druid deck have 1, 4, 5, or 6 toughness. Obviously, the 3 damage that Deadly Poison represents does not interact well with any of these. As such, you should mulligan these.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry scales in value with the number of minions the opponent plays on the board and Token Druid plays a lot of minions! Since this is the case Blade Flurry is an extremely valuable card in the matchup and is definitely worth keeping in the opening hand.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate is a fine card in the matchup. There are plenty of targets for the 4 damage. However, as is often the case, we are better off playing threats than we are trying to answer our opponent’s threats. Since we understand this fact, we should only keep an Eviscerate in our opening hand if we also have early game minions to play as well.
  • Sap – Sap is not ideal in this matchup. The only time we would be happy Sapping a minion in the matchup is when we are already far ahead in the game and can afford to burn the mana to further our tempo lead. That limited scenario does not make keeping Sap worthwhile.
  • Shiv – Shiv is fine in the matchup. It can help deal with early Argent Squires / Loot Hoarders, and can combine with an Eviscerate to deal with a Violet Teacher. Keeping one of these in your opening hand is advised.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is fine in this matchup. You do still have to worry about a Keeper of the Grove to silence him, so don’t go crazy using resources to build him up.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK shines in this matchup. The 1 damage it deals can be extremely effective at answering a Violet Teacher that has created an army of minions.
  • SI:7 Agent – This is one of the rare matchups where SI:7 Agent is not truly great or terrible. It is simply good in this matchup. The card is useful in clearing early minions, but it will often be outclassed by larger minions in the midgame. Since this is the case, I would recommend keeping this card in hand only if you have an easy way to combo it.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a rockstar in this matchup. It offers a useful board presence in the early game and can be perfect for comboing other spells in the mid/late game. The spell power it offers is also incredibly potent in this matchup. Absolutely keep Thalnos in your starting hand.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder is generally a great turn 2 play and this matchup is no different. In the worst case scenario it will eat the divine shield off of an Argent Squire, and even that is not a terrible outcome.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – This card is simply fine in the matchup. If you have no other early game minions in your starting hand I would suggest you keep this for the certainty it offers. If you happen to have other more potent minions then it would best to mulligan it.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Azure Drake – These cards are as powerful as always. However, the moderate amount of aggression that is offered by the Token Druid deck means we can’t keep an unlimited number of 5 mana cards in our opening hand. I recommend keeping between 1 and 0 of these depending upon the quality of the other cards in your hand.
  • Gadgetzan Auctioneer – See above

4. Vs Ramp Druid

Matchup Analysis

The goal of the ramp druid deck is to accelerate their mana with cards like Wild Growth and Innervate and then begin to play powerful and durable minions like Sunwalker and Ancient of War before they would otherwise be able. This means that they will not be applying much early pressure to us. In fact is it rare for the ramp druid to play a minion before their third turn. However, once they do start playing minions they will generally require large amounts of resources to remove.

Since the ramp druid plays minions that effectively act as additional health for the druid we must approach this matchup with an eye towards dealing a large amount of damage. We simply won’t be able to kill the druid player before they have time to start playing these type of minions in most games, so we should prepare for them with our mulligan decisions.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Sap – Sap is a critical card in the matchup. In the first few turns it will help deal with an Innervated out Chillwind Yeti or and in the later turns it can clear the path to finish the game through a Sunwalker or Ancient of War. Keep one of these in your starting hand.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a great card in the matchup. It acts as a combo starter and the spellpower is very useful to make some of our lower impact spells able to interact with the large druid minions more favorably. Keep Thalnos and save it for later turns.
  • Loot Hoarder – This is our ideal turn 2 play. We want to slow down the progression of the druid and that is exactly what Loot Hoarder does. It demands an answer that will generally require a turns worth of mana from the druid.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – We need powerful cards to push through the effective health of the druid and these are the cards to do the job. Gadgetzan Auctioneer is the stronger of the pair, but both are worth keeping in your opening hand due to how valuable they are in the matchup.

SITUATIONAL

  • Conceal – Conceal is a great card to keep IF we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in hand to combo with it. Otherwise you should mulligan it.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is a fine card in this matchup, but you should not invest too many resources into making him big. The druid not only has 2 Keeper of the Grove to silence VC, but likely has a Big Game Hunter if you decide to get greedy and make him larger than a 6/6.

THROW IT BACK

  • Backstab – Backstab is too low impact in this matchup. The druid will be playing minions much larger minions than can be dealt with by 2 damage. Mulligan these.
  • Preparation – This matchup is slow enough that we will generally have plenty of time to draw into our Preparations. That being the case, we should mulligan these in search of more impactful cards.
  • Shadowstep – In this matchup we will almost always want to save our Shadowsteps for finishing the game with Leeroy Jenkins. Because that is the case they are effectively dead cards until the turn we aim to win the game. Therefore we are much better off mulliganing these for better early game options.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Deadly Poison – This might well be the worst matchup for Deadly Poison. The ramp druid deck runs no minions with 3 or less health. So if we intend to kill a minion with Deadly Poison we are either going to need to hit it twice or combo it with another card. Neither of these options is ideal. Therefore we should mulligan these without question.
  • Blade Flurry – The ramp druid will usually play no more than 1 or 2 large minions. As this is the case, Blade Flurry is not at its best in this matchup and should be mulliganed.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate is a fine but not spectacular card in the matchup. It offers efficient damage to help clear larger minions, but it will generally not be able to clear a minion by itself. You will often need to combine it with a weapon attack or some form of spell power to get the job done and while this is an acceptable usage, it isn’t the type of card we value high enough to keep in our starting hand.
  • Shiv – Shiv is too low impact to keep in your starting hand. It is a useful card in the matchup to start combos, but that isn’t enough reason to forgo the opportunity to draw something more vital to the matchup.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is too low impact to keep in your opening hand. Happily mulligan it.
  • SI:7 Agent – This card struggles to find value in this matchup. The 2 damage from the combo will not be able to kill any of the enemy minions and the 3/3 body is quickly outclassed by larger minions like Chillwind Yeti and Druid of the Claw.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – This card is not very strong in the matchup. The battlecry will generally not offer value on turn 3 and the 3/3 body is outclassed by the larger druid minions.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand

5. Vs Aggro Mage

Matchup Analysis

Aggro Mages operate in a similar manner to the Zoo warlock. Their goal is to flood the board at a rate that is too fast for the opponent to react. Then they use cards like Mirror Image and Counterspell to protect those minions that have been played to the board.

Finally, once they have lost control of the board they use direct damage spells like , Fireball, and Frostbolt as reach to finish off the opponent. This is a powerful strategy, but it lacks sustainability. The Zoo Warlock has its Lifetap ability to fuel its need for cards, but the Aggro Mage must rely on 2 Arcane Intellect to provide the card draw it will need.

Our goal is to exploit the weakness of this deck and run them out of resources. If we can stabilize the board early enough that the Mage isn’t able to deal significant damage with its minions then the reach cards they have won’t be enough to kill us in the mid to late game.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Backstab – The tempo boost from Backstab is great in this matchup. Knife Juggler and Sorcerer’s Apprentice are prime targets for Backstab, but even a Leper Gnome is fine in a pinch. Keep as many of these are you can!
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Blurry is fine in the matchup even without Deadly Poison. There are plenty of 1 health minions in the Aggro Mage deck so hold onto this if you have it.
  • Eviscerate – Knife Juggler and Sorcerer’s Apprentice are extremely important cards to remove in this matchup. Keeping an Eviscerate allows us to ensure that we can clear them the turn they are played.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is great in this matchup. The Aggro Mage runs no ways to kill VC that don’t include using their reach to do it. If he eats a Fireball that is 6 less damage that would be heading towards our face.
  • SI:7 Agent – This is our anti-aggro specialist and this is an aggro matchup. Keep this guy and hope that you can get a way to combo him.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – Extra health is great in this matchup. Keep this guy and don’t hesitate to use Shadowsteps to gain even more health from his battlecry if you have the free mana.

SITUATIONAL

  • Preparation – Tempo is so important in this matchup that I would even suggest keeping a Preparation if you have cards to work with it like Shiv or FoK. It is of the utmost importance that we prevent our opponent from getting damage through with their early game minions.
  • Deadly Poison – Our life total is too important in this matchup to be clearing minions with our face. Even though Deadly Poison has plenty of good targets it is best to mulligan it unless you have a Blade Flurry in hand to combo it with.
  • Shiv – Shiv is too slow and mana inefficient to keep in this matchup unless you have a preparation to combo it with. Otherwise, while it is nice to be able to remove a Leper Gnome without taking face damage, we can’t allow a mana debt to build up.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is in the same boat with Shiv. It is a great card to keep if you have a Preparation to combo it with, but otherwise it is too slow.

THROW IT BACK

  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep can have some real value in this matchup, but it is too slow to keep in our opening hand.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Conceal – Much too slow to keep. Throw this back.
  • Sap – Sap is terrible in this matchup. The only half decent target for it is Water Elemental, and that is not ideal either.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is not an ideal card in this matchup. It is too mana inefficient in the early game. In the mid game it can have some value to combo with FoK or Shiv to clear minions, but we need to stabilize the board first.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder suffers the same fate as Thalnos. It is simply too slow and mana inefficient to keep in this matchup.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Azure Drake and Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The 5 cost minions are much too slow to keep in this matchup. You need cards to help you stabilize the board early or you will not be alive to cast these cards.

6. Vs Priest

Matchup Analysis

Modern Priest decks are value based control decks. Their goal is to remove every threat that is played while gaining incremental value from their hero power and the powerful class cards they have available. Once they have control of the game they finish with any number of different expensive legendaries.

Priest decks are very unlikely to apply much pressure to us throughout the course of the game. So our goal should be to slow down and play a much less aggressive game. Don’t over commit to the board and risk getting blown out by a well timed Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing combo. Get as much value out of our cards as possible. Doing so will allow us to get to critical mass of damage needed to kill the Priest without running out of cards in the process.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is great in the matchup. The spell damage is relevant and the ability to cycle for key combo pieces should not be undervalued. Feel free to keep this in your starting hand.
  • Loot Hoarder – These are the ideal turn 2 play. They are awkward for a Priest to deal with and can put a reasonable clock on the Priest if they decide to ignore it.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – We need power level to get through all the health that a Priest will have throughout a game. Our 5 drop minions are the best source of power in the deck and they happen to have 4 attack power as well, which is the magic number against a priest deck as it avoids both Shadow Word: Pain as well as Shadow Word: Death.

SITUATIONAL

  • Conceal – As with all slow matchups it is fine to keep Conceal in the opening hand if you have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer to go with it. Otherwise mulligan it.
  • Deadly Poison – Deadly Poison is fine in this matchup. It can be used to remove an Earthen Ring Farseer or an Injured Blademaster that hasn’t been healed. However, there are just more important cards in the matchup, and we are better off searching for them then settling for Deadly Poison.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate is fine in the matchup. It can be useful to remove Azure Drake or any of the 3 health minions, but we want more from a card in our starting hand. While Eviscerate is not bad, we want to look for better options.
  • Edwin VanCleef – An early 4/4 VC can be a real headache for a Priest player to deal with. If you have the cards to do this then you should absolutely keep him in your starting hand. Don’t get greedy though, most Priests run Shadow Word: Death and you have no other targets for it in your deck. Don’t give them value for what would otherwise be a dead card in their hand!

THROW IT BACK

  • Backstab – In a slow matchup such as this the tempo gain from Backstab is not a high priority. We are much better off looking for stronger cards in the matchup.
  • Preparation – Again this is a slow matchup, and while Preparation will be useful once we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in play, we don’t want this in the early game.
  • Shadowstep – These should be saved for finishing the game with Leeroy Jenkins. We can’t afford to waste these in the early game and risk running out of damage. Mulligan these for sure.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry is not ideal. The Priest player is unlikely to play more than one or two minions at a time. Mulligan this for better options.
  • Sap – Sap is pretty bad in the matchup. Since the game will almost certainly go long the Priest player will generally have time to replay any minion that is Sapped. This combined with the fact that most Priest lists run no taunt minions to Sap means the card has little value and should be thrown back.
  • Shiv – Shiv is fine as a combo starter, but as we have seen when Shiv does nothing but start combos we are better off searching for more impactful cards.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK won’t see much value in this matchup. Mulligan it without hesitation.
  • SI:7 Agent – Some variations on Priest run Wild Pyromancers, so the combo on this card is not entirely useless, but it doesn’t have many targets. You are better off skipping out on this card for something with a higher power level.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – This is not a great matchup for this card. The life gain won’t matter on turn 3 and the 3/3 body doesn’t match up well against the large minions that Priest will be playing in the midgame. It is also small enough to fall prey to Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.

7. Vs Shaman

Matchup Analysis

There is some slight variation in the popular Shaman lists being run, but they are all mid range board control decks that function nearly identical. The Shaman attempts to gain early board control with cheap removal spells like Rockbiter Weapon and Lightning Bolt in combination with durable minions such as Argent Squire, Unbound Elemental, and Feral Spirit. Then once board control is achieved the Shaman will make favorable trades while pressuring your life total until they can get lethal with the chosen finisher of the deck.

Shaman are much less effective when they don’t have control of the board. Cards like Flametongue Totem and Defender of Argus turn into dead draws for them, and they aren’t able to get substantial value from their totems if they are being cleared each turn.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Shiv – Shiv is a great early game card in this matchup. When combined with a hero power dagger it can clear totems and keep the board clear. Keep one of these if you are lacking early game action in your hand.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder is our ideal turn 2 play. Even if it gets by the opponent that will almost certainly disrupt their turn progression and that is what Loot Hoarder is meant to do. If they don’t have the Earthshock then we get even more value from its ability to clear totems.
  • Azure Drake – Azure Drake is great in this matchup. The 4/4 body is outside of the 3 damage range that Shaman are comfortably able to deal with cards like Lightning Bolt, Rockbiter Weapon, and Fire Elemental. The fact that it draws us a card and adds spell power to the board only make it better.
  • Gadgetzan Auctioneer – Shaman is a value deck in many ways, and in order to beat them we need to have value of our own. There is probably no better card in the game for extracting extreme amounts of value then Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Keep one of these and make sure you only cast it when you can protect it.

SITUATIONAL

  • Conceal – This matchup is slow enough that is it worthwhile keeping this in our starting hand IF we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer to go with it.
  • Eviscerate – The 4 damage from Eviscerate can be very useful in this matchup. It can deal with an Unbound Elemental before it gets out of hand or even clear an Azure Drake for a tempo gain. Despite this fact, we would only be interested in keeping an Eviscerate in our opening hand if we already have strong cards to pair it with.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is vulnerable to 2x Hex and 2x Earthshock in this matchup. It can still be worthwhile to expend some resources to make him a 4/4 or 6/6, but don’t go crazy unless you can do so without card disadvantage.
  • SI:7 Agent – The 2 damage from the combo is not super effective at anything but clearing totems in this matchup, but the 3/3 body is relevant. These factors combined make him a worthwhile keep if you have the ability to combo him easily.

THROW IT BACK

  • Backstab – This matchup is not favorable for Backstab. While the tempo is nice to help gain board control, the 2 damage simply doesn’t interact well with any of the minions commonly run in Shaman decks.
  • Preparation – The card disadvantage that Preparation represents when used in the early game is relevant in this matchup. We would much prefer to save these for later when we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in play. Since that is the case, we are better off mulliganing these.
  • Shadowstep – These are generally best saved for finishing with Leeroy Jenkins in this matchup. As that is the case, we don’t want them in our starting hand.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Deadly Poison – This is not a strong matchup for this card. The most common Shaman lists have only the 2/3 Spirit Wolf minions with 3 health, and having to attack into them twice is obviously not ideal. Mulligan these for better options.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry is a fine card, but it does require some help in this matchup. If you have spell power available it will clear totems for you and if you have a Deadly Poison it can be even more effective. That said, you are better off forgoing this in your opening hand and looking for more consistent options.
  • Sap – Sap is a fairly poor card in this matchup. Shaman run cards that are either efficiently costed, have charge, or have some sort of battlecry that gives them value as they enter the board. The only real target in the matchup is an Unbound Elemental that has gotten out of hand, and that is certainly not an optimal usage. Mulligan these for sure.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK + spell power is often a great way to clear totems that have gotten out of hand. Save this for later in the game when you have gotten behind on clearing them and enjoy the fresh board it helps create.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is great in this matchup, but should be saved until later in the game to be combed with cards like Shiv, FoK, and Blade Flurry.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – The life gain is not particularly effective in this matchup, but the 3/3 body is relevant. I would recommend mulliganing this card unless it is your only early game minion. In that case keep it as an insurance policy.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.

8. Vs Aggro Paladin

Matchup Analysis

The goal of the Aggro Paladin is to play cheap and aggressive cards as fast as possible, then once he/she has emptied his/her hand play a Divine Favor to refill the hand and give them enough fuel to finish the game. This is an extremely aggressive deck that is essentially trying to burn you from 30 to 0 as fast as possible. Since this is the case, we need to value our life total very highly in this matchup. Every point of life matters.

Since the Aggro Paladin is extremely dependent upon a big Divine Favor to give them the staying power to finish the game, we want to unload our hand as fast as possible. If both players are playing off the top of their respective decks, this will favor us greatly, as we have much more powerful cards on average. So let us look at the cards that help us achieve this goal.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Backstab – There are literally no cards in modern Aggro Paladin lists outside of Argent Squire that survive a Backstab. This makes Backstab an ideal card to not only slow down the aggression of the Paladin, but also to help us empty our hand quickly. Keep two of these if you get the chance!
  • Preparation – There are very few matchups where we want a Preparation in our starting hand, but this is one of them. The tempo boost from the Preparation is perfect for stabilizing the board as well as helping us empty our hand.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry is great in this matchup. The vast majority of minions in the Paladin deck will die to the 1 damage and it is the Paladin’s goal to flood the board as quickly as possible, so you will often hit 3+ minions with this spell. Keep this in your opening hand.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is very powerful in this matchup. The only answers the paladin has to a big VC is the 2 Equality they run and those also requires them to sacrifice one of their minions. Since we are trying to empty our hand anyways, this is a perfect matchup to go crazy building the biggest VC you can make.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is very powerful in this matchup. It acts as a 3 mana board clear in most situations and that is super efficient. Keep this in your starting hand for sure.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – This card is great in the matchup. The life gain can be very relevant and the 3/3 body will often trade 2 for 1 with the Paladin’s minions.

SITUATIONAL

  • SI:7 Agent – This guy is our anti-aggro specialist. As long as you have any way to combo him you should be happy to keep him.

THROW IT BACK

  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep is too slow in this matchup. Mulligan it for better options.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Conceal – Conceal is a value card and we are looking to empty our hand instead. Mulligan this every time.
  • Deadly Poison – Deadly Poison is very bad in this matchup. None of the Paladin’s minions have more than 2 health and having to take damage to remove them is not optimal in a matchup where your life is such an important resource.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate does not match up well against all of the 1 toughness minions in the Paladin deck. Mulligan this in search of better options.
  • Sap – Sap is absolutely terrible in this matchup. There are literally 0 targets worth Sapping at any point in the game.
  • Shiv – Shiv seems like it would be ideal in this matchup, but it simply isn’t mana efficient enough. Spending 2 mana to remove a minion that your opponent spent 1 mana to cast is simply too slow. The fact that it draws you a card can actually be a disadvantage in this matchup as well. Mulligan this in search of better options.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos/Loot Hoarder – These two cards suffer from the same issue in this matchup. They offer a lot of value, but they are too slow for the matchup. You need more efficient answers to deal with the swarm of minions the Paladin will be playing.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The 5 cost minions are far too slow to keep in this matchup. Mulligan these without hesitation.

9. Vs Control Warrior

Matchup Analysis

This matchup is somewhat strange because it will almost always go into the late game, but the outcome is usually decided in the early portions of the game. So how does this happen? Well the way the Warrior wins this game is by effectively gaining enough health that the Miracle Rogue player doesn’t have the damage in his/her deck to finish the game. The most crucial card in achieving this goal for the Warrior is Armorsmith. The 4 toughness of the Armorsmith makes it very difficult for the Miracle Rogue player to answer in the first few turns. If the Warrior is able to use this time to play additional minions and gain 4+ armor from the Armorsmith’s ability then you will start to have difficulty winning the game in the long run. Thankfully, many Control Warriors have been cutting down to one Armorsmith in their decks.

We have two priorities in this game. First, as mentioned we want to stop the Warrior from being able to gain large amounts of value from Armorsmiths. Second, we want to accumulate the necessary lethal damage as fast as possible through the use of our high impact cards. The longer we take to get to lethal damage the more opportunities we give the Warrior to increase their effective health through use of the hero power.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Eviscerate – Remember the 4 toughness that causes us so many problems with Armorsmith? Well Eviscerate happens to do 4 damage. Keep one of these in your opening hand and be thankful when you are able to remove an Armorsmith before it can gain too much armor.
  • Loot Hoarder – This is our ideal turn 2 play. While it doesn’t match up well against an early Armorsmith that is simply a risk we have to take. Control Warrior doesn’t have a lot of efficient answers to a Loot Hoarder.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The faster we can accumulate lethal damage against a Control Warrior the less time they have to use their hero power to gain effective health. Since that is the case we should be focused on high impact cards like Azure Drake and Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Because of how important these cards are the matchup I would suggest that you keep up to 2 of these in your starting hand.

SITUATIONAL

  • Conceal – Conceal is a great card to keep IF we have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in hand to combo with it. Otherwise you should mulligan it.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is fine in this matchup, but does not truly shine. The Control Warrior has a multitude of ways to remove a large VC. Because this is the case, you should not overextend to play a large VC. Additionally, many modern Control Warrior lists play Big Game Hunter. It is best to only make VC a 6/6 even if you could make him larger without expending additional resources. This said, keeping VC in your opening hand is still a strong play if you have the ability to play him as a 4/4 or 6/6 in the early turns. He will likely eat a piece of removal and that is a fine trade to make.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a fine card in the matchup, but it shouldn’t be thought of as a turn 2 play. There is simply too much danger of an Armorsmith or an Acolyte of Pain abusing the 1 attack of Thalnos to run it out in that manner. Instead think of Thalnos as a combo starter and hold it for a time when you can use the spell power.

THROW IT BACK

  • Backstab – Backstab has very limited use in this matchup beyond being a combo starter. The only 2 health minion in the Warrior’s deck is Cruel Taskmaster, and it has already done its work once it is on the field. We are much better off mulliganing these in search of higher impact cards.
  • Preparation – The Warrior will not be applying much if any early game pressure to us. That means we will have plenty of time to draw into our Preparations later in the game. Mulligan these in search of more important cards.
  • Shadowstep – In this matchup we will almost always want to save our Shadowsteps for finishing the game with Leeroy Jenkins. Because that is the case they are effectively dead cards until the turn we aim to win the game. Therefore we are much better off mulliganing these for better early game options.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Deadly Poison – Deadly Poison is of limited usage in the matchup. The only 3 health targets for it are Acolyte of Pain and Kor’kron Elite, both of which will extract value in this trade. Mulligan these in search of better options.
  • Blade Flurry – The Control Warrior deck does not generally flood the board with minions. It is rare for them to have more than 1 or 2 in play at once. As this is the case, Blade Flurry does not particularly shine in this matchup.
  • Shiv – Shiv will primarily act as a combo starter in this matchup. That is a fine usage for the card, but it isn’t something that we want in our opening hand.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is very bad in the matchup. Control Warriors don’t play large numbers of minions and the ones they do play often benefit from taking damage such as Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain. Mulligan this card away every time.
  • SI:7 Agent – This is not a card that we are excited about in the matchup. The Control Warrior has too many ways to remove a 3 health minion to expect it to survive for long. If we are able to get 5 damage from the card (2 from combo and 3 from a swing) we are happy. Mulligan this in search of better options.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – The battlecry will almost never offer value to you on turn 3 in this matchup, and the 3/3 body is easily dealt with by the Control Warrior. As such, we are better off mulliganing this card.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.

10. Vs Miracle Rogue

Matchup Analysis

The miracle rogue mirror match is a fairly straightforward game. With both decks full of damage spells and no taunts in sight the game boils down to a race to see who can accumulate lethal damage and then efficiently play those cards first. The only thing that complicates this slugfest is that you must make choices about what resources to expend on removing your opponent’s minions and what resources would be better spent going to the face.

You need to be hyper aware of how much damage you have in hand at every point during this matchup. Once you have accumulated lethal damage or close to it, you should stop worrying about value and start planning your turns in a manner which will allow you to get that damage onto the board as quickly as possible.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • SI:7 Agent – In this matchup you want to be the player who is putting threats on the board and demanding the other player to answer them. SI:7 Agent is a fine threat as a 3/3 minion and any additional value you get from the combo damage is just icing on the cake. Keep this card if you have the ability to combo it.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a fine card in the matchup for a couple of reasons. The fact that the deathrattle lets you cycle into other cards gives it obvious value, but the spell damage is even more important. Why is this? Because we have Backstabs in our deck and the key early game minions in the deck, SI:7 Agent and Earthen Ring Farseer have 3 toughness. The spell power from Thalnos allows us to remove them for a big tempo gain.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder is a great turn 2 play in this matchup. It demands a response, and that response will almost always be a hero power dagger. So what does this equate to? It means we were able to force our opponent to interrupt his/her turn progression and take 2 damage to remove a minion that we spend 2 mana on. This is a great scenario for us and exactly why we don’t mulligan our Loot Hoarders in this matchup.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – In a matchup that boils down to a damage race, the fact that this card restores our health is very relevant. When you combine that with a 3/3 minion that demands an answer from your opponent you have a package that is well worth keeping in your opening hand.
  • Gadgetzan Auctioneer – There is no faster way to get the critical mass of damage you need to finish the game then to use this massive card draw engine. Keeping one in your opening hand is an easy choice because it is just such a vital piece in the matchup.

SITUATIONAL

  • Backstab – Backstab is an important card in the matchup because of the tempo boost it offers. It is not uncommon to lose the game after drawing a lot of cards, but being unable to play those cards fast enough. Despite this fact, I do not encourage you to keep Backstab in your opening hand under most circumstances. As good as the card can be, there are simply other cards that are more important. The only situations where I would consider keeping it is if I had a VC or a SI:7 Agent that I wanted to combo with it.
  • Conceal – Conceal is a card worth keeping the matchup, but ONLY if you have an auctioneer in your starting hand as well. Otherwise you are much better off to simply mulligan the Conceal in search of better options.
  • Edwin VanCleef – As always with VC, he is only as strong as your ability to grow him. If you have a hand that is capable of abusing him then feel free to keep him and force your opponent to either have a Sap or waste resources removing him.
  • Azure Drake – Azure Drake is a strong card in the matchup because it gives us a relevant body, while cantripping us into an additional card to help us get to that critical mass of damage we need to finish the game. Deciding whether or not to keep an Azure Drake is a two step process. First check if your hand has a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in it. If there is no Auctioneer you should keep the Drake. If you do have an Auctioneer you should then check to see if you are going to have the coin. If you are going to have the coin you should keep the Azure Drake to play with it on turn 4.

THROW IT BACK

  • Preparation – Preparation suffers a similar fate to Backstab. It is a very useful card in the matchup, but it gets mulliganed in an attempt to find the key cards that often decide the matchup.
  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep should almost always be mulliganed and this is no exception.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Deadly Poison – We already know that this matchup is essentially a damage race. So the fact that you need to take damage to remove minions with Deadly Poison should be a red flag for us. We are much better off playing a minion that our opponent has to remove than doing damage to ourselves to remove their minion with Deadly Poison. Happily throw this card back in this matchup.
  • Blade Flurry – Blade Flurry can be useful in this matchup. Especially if your opponent has a Concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Blade Flurry is your only answer. However, we don’t want to encourage that worst case scenario. We are much better off by trying to get our own strong draw and forcing our opponent to have the answer. Since this is the case we should mulligan Blade Flurry every time.
  • Eviscerate – Eviscerate is a fine burn spell in the matchup, but we are more concerned with accumulating 30+ damage to kill our opponent than the 4 damage we get from Eviscerate. Since that is the case, I would only considering keeping Eviscerate if I already had a Gadgetzan Auctioneer in hand and even then I would likely send it back in search of better options.
  • Sap – Sap is a bad card in your starting hand in this matchup. That is not to say it is useless throughout the match. Its two main uses are to answer a large Edwin VanCleef and to gain tempo advantage by returning one of your opponent’s 5 cost minions to his/her hand. There are just more important cards to have in your opening hand, so we should mulligan it.
  • Shiv – Shiv is a mana inefficient spell and since we know this matchup is often about being able to get damage onto the board as efficiently as possible, there is little use for a card like Shiv in the early game. We are much better off digging for better options.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is not at its best in this matchup. Miracle rogue very seldom plays more than 1 or 2 minions at a time. With that in mind this card translates to 1 or 2 damage for 3 mana, and you can see how incredibly inefficient that is.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – There are literally no matchups where I would keep Leeroy in my opening hand. As such, mulligan him every time.

11. Vs Aggro Hunter

Matchup Analysis

The Face Hunter matchup is simultaneously a very simple matchup and also one of the most complex to play correctly. How can this be? Well first let us look at how the matchup plays out. The Hunter is playing an extremely aggressive deck.

It is their intention to apply damage directly to your hero on every turn of the game. This means that we are under a fast clock. For newer players the term “clock” simply represents the number of turns it would take to finish the game if the current board was not disrupted. For instance if your opponent had a 5 power minion on the board and you were at 15 life, you would be on a 3 turn clock, because that is how long it would take your opponent to kill you. The Face Hunter deck puts you under a fast clock because of all the aggressive minions it runs as well as the use of the Steadyshot hero power.

However, the minions that the Face Hunter plays are generally very easy for the Miracle Rogue player to remove and there is a limited amount of card draw in the Face Hunter’s deck. So the first few turns will generally revolve around the Face Hunter playing minions and the Miracle Rogue player easily removing them. At a certain point the Face Hunter will run low on resources and the Miracle Rogue player will still have minions on the board. While this seems perfect, the Miracle Rogue player will almost certainly be at a life deficit at this point and it is also very common for there to be a litany of traps on the Hunter’s side of the board.

Knowing when to attack the Hunter and when to stop attacking and build a board that can finish the game in one turn can be crucial to winning this matchup. This is also a matchup that requires some of the most complex technical play when facing a Hunter that has multiple traps on board. Ordering your turn correctly can often spell the difference between victory and defeat.

The strict clock we are facing means that we have to be very protective of every point of life we have. Don’t take unnecessary damage to try to get extra value from your cards. You will have plenty of damage to kill your opponent even if you ignore value. We should be aggressive with our play, but only when doing so won’t increase the clock we are facing. Let us take a look at what cards we want in this matchup.

Mulligan Guide

KEEPERS

  • Backstab – Backstab is a fine tempo play in this matchup. It will allow us to remove a minion the Hunter played while also developing our board. Keeping one of these is advised, especially if you have early game minions in hand to play with it.
  • Shiv – Shiv really shines in this matchup. It will almost always remove a minion from the board while drawing us a card. Keep one of these in your starting hand.
  • Edwin VanCleef – VC is near his best in this matchup. Modern Face Hunter decks have been cutting Freezing Trap which was their only answer to a large VC. Feel free to keep him and go nuts in making him big. Just make sure you don’t end up hitting yourself by attacking into a Misdirection with VC.
  • SI:7 Agent – This card specializes in punishing aggressive decks and the Face Hunter certainly fits the bill. Keep this card in your opening hand and reap the benefits of the 2 for 1 it offers.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos is a fine card in the matchup. The spell power he offers will not be particularly valuable, but the 1/1 body will generally trade with a minion and draw us a card in the process. Keep this card in your opening hand unless you have a better turn 2 play.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder acts like a stronger Thalnos in the matchup. Keep one of these in your opening hand and enjoy your 2 for 1.
  • Earthen Ring Farseer – There is really no matchup where Earthen Ring Farseer shines more than this matchup. You absolutely want to keep this in your starting hand. Feel free to use your Shadowsteps with Earthen Ring Farseer to gain even more life.

SITUATIONAL

  • Preparation – There are better options in the matchup than Preparation. The only times I would consider keeping a Preparation is if I also had a Shiv or FoK in my opening hand.
  • Fan of Knives – FoK is a very powerful card in the matchup. It will often act as board clear while drawing you a card in the process. Just make sure that you have a turn 2 play before you decide to keep one of these in your opening hand.
  • Azure Drake/Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The 5 mana minions are grouped together in this matchup because they should be treated similarly. It is fine card to keep ONE of these minions in your opening hand, but only if you have strong cards to fill out the early turns of the game in hand as well. If you have no early turn answers in hand you should mulligan these cards in search of those high priority cards.

THROW IT BACK

  • Shadowstep – Shadowstep can be very useful especially in conjunction with Earthen Ring Farseer to help provide a life cushion. However, we want to be more proactive with our starting hand and therefore it is best to mulligan these in search of better options.
  • Cold Blood – Cold Blood should never be kept in your opening hand.
  • Conceal – Conceal is a value card and this matchup has nothing to do with value. Mulligan this without hesitation.
  • Deadly Poison – Deadly Poison is near its worst in this matchup. Most of the minions the Hunter will be playing have only 1 toughness, so the added dagger damage is irrelevant, and because life total is at such a premium in this matchup we don’t want to be using our face to clear minions regardless. This means that Deadly Poison will generally equate to nothing more than 4 damage to your opponent’s face over 2 turns in this matchup. That is not something we are excited about at all and should mulligan every time.
  • Blade Flurry – On its face Blade Flurry seems as if it should have a lot of value in this matchup. Most of your opponent’s minions have 1 toughness so a Blade Flurry will act as a board clear in most circumstances even without a Deadly Poison. However, the way the matchup plays out your opponent will very seldom have more than 1 minion on the board at once because you will be clearing them every turn. So generally Blade Flurry will end up acting as 1 for 1 removal and that isn’t very impressive when you consider it will cost you 4 mana total to use the spell. 2 mana for the Blade Flurry itself and 2 mana to use your hero power. Feel free to mulligan this card in search of more efficient options.
  • Eviscerate – There are basically only 2 targets in the entire Face Hunter deck that require 4 damage to remove, those being Leokk and . While Eviscerate is very helpful when you are facing one of them, the limited usage for the spell means we are better off mulliganing it in search of better options.
  • Sap – Sap is extremely bad in this matchup. Almost every minion you opponent plays will have charge and often will cost less than the 2 mana for Sap.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – Leeroy Jenkins should never be kept in your opening hand.
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Hearthstone Old Gods Ultimate Control Warrior Guide
Hearthstone N’zoth Renolock Rank 1 Legend Deck Guide
Hearthstone Yogg Tempo Mage Legendary Deck Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior Ultimate Guide
Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Guide 2016
Hearthstone Face Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Malygos Freeze Mage Guide
Hearthstone Fatigue Warrior Guide
Hearthstone Mill Rogue In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Legend Illuminator Freeze Mage Deck
Hearthstone Legend Midrange Secret Paladin Deck
Hearthstone Arena Detailed Guide
Hearthstone Decision Making Checklist
Hearthstone Competitive Guide for Casual Players
Hearthstone How to Hit Legend Guide
Hearthstone Playing Around Secrets in Arena Guide
Hearthstone Crafting and Deck Guide for New Players
Hearthstone Attacking the Right Minion Guide
Hearthstone Arena In-Depth Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Building a Collection Guide
Hearthstone Gang Up Mill Rogue Guide
Hearthstone BRM Wing 1 Heroic Decklists
Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain New Cards
Hearthstone Legend Control Paladin Deck
Hearthstone Oil Rogue Guide
Hearthstone Beginner’s Legendary Crafting Guide
Hearthstone Combo Warlock Guide
Hearthstone GvG Arena Class Tier List
Hearthstone Fatigue Mage Deck
Hearthstone Legend Handlock Deck
Hearthstone Mill Druid Guide
Hearthstone Paladin Buffadin Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Druid Hobgoblin Token Deck
Hearthstone GvG Hand Demon Warlock Deck
Hearthstone Piloted Shredder Analysis
Hearthstone Priest Crazed Alchemist Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Deathrattle Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Rank 1 Legend Druid Deck
Hearthstone Recombobulator Probability Statistics
Hearthstone Getting Legend with Zoo Guide
Hearthstone Handlock Meta Analysis
Hearthstone Voodoo Miracle Rogue Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Naxx Watcher Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Duplicate Freeze Mage Guide
Hearthstone Arena Success Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior with Silence Deck
Hearthstone Freeze Mage Tips
Hearthstone Common Deck Types
Hearthstone Shaman Detailed Legendary Guide
Hearthstone Deathrattle Priest Legend Guide
Hearthstone No Leeory Zoolock Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Handlock Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Crafting and Disenchanting Guide
Hearthstone Deck Types Overview
Hearthstone Naxx Watcher Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Legend Zoo Anti Hunter Guide
Hearthstone Midrange Hunter Mirror Match Guide
Hearthstone Midrange Priest Anti Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Full Aggro Face Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Control Priest Legendary Guide
Hearthstone Naxx Control Warrior Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Senpai Shaman Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Deck Building Guide
Hearthstone Naxxramas Hunter Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Arena Basics Guide
Hearthstone Naxx Tempo Rogue Deck
Hearthstone Haunted Creeper Midrange Hunter Deck
Hearthstone No Combo Ramp Druid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Naxxramas Zoo Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Naxxramas Wing 1 Heroic Strategy
Hearthstone Naxxramas Arachnid Quarter Meta Guide
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo Strategy Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Wisp Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Fast Ramp Druid Guide
Hearthstone Aggro Freeze Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo in Arena Guide
Hearthstone Paladin F2P Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Zoo Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Becoming Legend Guide
Hearthstone Mage Budget Aggro Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Arena Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Tempo Warrior Top 50 Legend Deck
Hearthstone Basic Tempo Rogue Zero Dust Deck
Hearthstone Tempo Rogue Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Card Ideas
Hearthstone Beating Freeze Mages Guide
Hearthstone Druid Midrange Ramp Druid Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Glossary of Terms
Hearthstone Life, Card Advantage and Tempo
Hearthstone Enable Play History and Logging
Hearthstone Automatic Deck Tracker
Hearthstone Control Paladin Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Terms and Concepts
Hearthstone Cards to Dust Immediately List
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Matchups Analysis
Hearthstone Mage Competitive Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Aggro Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Detailed Matchup Guide
Hearthstone Control Warrior Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Murlocs Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warlock Power Overwhelming Rush Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Budget Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Top 10 Arena Mistakes
Hearthstone Rogue Aggro Mill Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Combo Deck
Hearthstone Improving Your Game Guide
Hearthstone Legendaries Crafting Guide
Hearthstone Warlock Aggro Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Deathwing Ramp Druid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Priest Hybrid Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Druid Mill Miracle Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Weapons Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Druid Token Legendary Rank Cheap Deck
Hearthstone Paladin Rush Legendary Ranked Deck
Hearthstone Deck Strategies for Beginners
Hearthstone Rogue Malygos Legendary Deck
Hearthstone Tempo Shaman Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Legend Rank F2P Deck
Hearthstone Anti-Hunter Priest Deck
Hearthstone Aggro Mage Guide
Hearthstone Amaz Legendary Priest Deck Guide
Hearthstone Rush Priest Guide
Hearthstone Druid Ramp/Roar Deck Guide
Hearthstone Fireside Cardback Easy with Evolve or Tunngle
Hearthstone Gaara Dreamhack Druid Ramp Deck
Hearthstone Mid-Range Hunter Guide
Hearthstone Hunter Turn 7 Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Priest Blast Legend Rank Deck
Hearthstone Mage Legendary Rank Deck
Hearthstone Control Warrior Guide
Hearthstone Druid Legendary Rank No Taunt Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Rank 10 Easy Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Important Tips
Hearthstone Beginner’s Tips
Hearthstone Aggro Priority Targeting Strategy
Hearthstone Warrior Rank 4 Budget Deck
Hearthstone Warrior Enrage Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Rank 5 Budget Deck
Hearthstone Hunter Rank 5 No Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Rank 1 Control Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 10 No Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 3 Seven Legendaries Deck
Hearthstone Druid Rank 5 Deck
Hearthstone Priest Rush Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Terms and Mechanics List
Hearthstone Warlock Masters Deck
Hearthstone Druid Masters Deck
Hearthstone Druid Legendary Ranked Deck
Hearthstone Mage Enrage AOE Deck
Hearthstone How to Win Guide
Hearthstone New Player’s Guide
Hearthstone All Achievements and Quests Guide
Hearthstone Priest Rank 4 Deck
Hearthstone Legendary Crafting Priority Guide
Hearthstone Merloc Rank 1 Warlock Deck
Hearthstone Rogue Basics Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 3 Aggro Deck
Hearthstone Starter’s First Steps Guide
Hearthstone Newbie Tips
Hearthstone Basic Cards Rating and Guide
Hearthstone Rogue Rank 5 Deck Guide
Hearthstone Frost Giant Mage Deck
Hearthstone Arena Drafting Guide
Hearthstone Golden Soulbound Cards List
Hearthstone Mage Burn Deck
Hearthstone Shaman Bloodlust Summoner Deck
Hearthstone Free Player’s Guide
Hearthstone Arena Card Pick Guide
Hearthstone Druid Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Mage Master 3 Decklist
Hearthstone Budget Player’s Guide
Hearthstone Secrets List and Guide
Hearthstone Tips and Terminology
Hearthstone Starter’s Guide
Hearthstone Legendaries Guide
Hearthstone Suicide Warlock Competitive Deck
Hearthstone Quests and Daily Quests List
Hearthstone Official FAQ
Hearthstone General Guide to Card Games
Hearthstone F2P Guide
Hearthstone Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Playstyles Basic Guide
Hearthstone Thrall Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Card Advantage Guide
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue Deck
Hearthstone Paladin One Shot Deck
Hearthstone Priest Control Two Star Master Deck
Hearthstone Basic Only Decks List
Hearthstone Paladin Control Masters Deck
Hearthstone Leveling System Rewards List
Hearthstone Beginner’s FAQ
Hearthstone Crafting Introduction
Hearthstone Game Modes Introduction
Hearthstone Class Tier List
Hearthstone Cards Beginner’s Guide
Hearthstone Warrior Useful Cards Guide
Hearthstone Basic Info Guide
Hearthstone Hero Tactics Guide
Hearthstone Warrior Basic Tips
Hearthstone Shaman Guide
Hearthstone Arena Guide


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