Hearthstone Miracle Rogue In-Depth Guide
Hearthstone Miracle Rogue In-Depth Guide by bmazer0
Hi guys, I’m Bma, and today I present an in depth guide of my favourite decktype of the format which is Miracle Rogue. Miracle Rogue is unquestionably the strongest deck in the game right now, with few weak matchups and general levels of high consistency. The purpose of this guide will be to provide you with both a decklist and a look into the various thought processes that go behind every decision within a Miracle Rogue deck against various matchups.
Before I get into any discussion about the deck, I will briefly introduce myself. I have been playing Hearthstone since last November and I have loved it ever since. I have finished within top 50 for all four Test Seasons on NA and finished 18th in Season 1 and 10th in Season 3 of ranked play. I used to play a lot of Yugioh, but stopped playing upon my transition to League of Legends, where I am currently 600 LP Challenger on the OCE Server, playing for Team Nv as the jungler.
I have played many incarnations of Miracle Rogue since its main debut late in Season 1. I have tried every variant, including Malygos and a separate build utilising the tech potential of a Tinkmaster Overspark, and the one that I have found to be most consistent is Forsen’s variant with Sinister Strikes. Although my initial impression was that a deck running Sinister Strike would run into consistency issues, the inclusion of Sinister Strike adds significantly more ‘reach’ (that is, One Turn Kill potential) whenever your Gadgetzan combo does go off, which makes the mid game of the deck more consistent at the sacrifice of a stronger early game in the form of cards such as Gnomish Inventor. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using Forsen’s deck as a reference, although Miracle Decks are generally similar in playstyle. I will also provide the Tinkmaster Build which I used early on in the season to relative success (top 10 legend at around week 2-3 of the season).
Sinister Strike (Forsen)
The main purpose of any Miracle Rogue deck is to kill your opponent with a Leeroy Jenkins combo in conjunction with cards like Shadowstep, Cold Blood and Eviscerates to deal a huge amount of damage in one turn (Usually between 18-22 damage from turn 8 onwards). In order to accomplish this, the deck must go through three stages, the early game, mid game and late game. Most decks will attempt to rush a Miracle Deck before they can complete a full combo, which is why it is important to maintain board control and tempo during the early game with cards such as Deadly Poison, Si7 Agent and Backstab. In the mid game, you will primarily be playing cards such as Azure Drake to create a powerful mid game threat that fuels your engine. Ideally you will also attempt to combo off a Gadgetzan during the mid game, which will allow you to fully clear their board and hopefully draw all combo pieces. In the end game, you must now clear their board of taunts and whittle their life down to combo range while staying out of theirs. Once you have accomplished this, you will usually leeroy combo them to death.
Miracle Rogue is a deck that plays differently versus a number of different decks. Usually, simply staying alive until you can pull off a Gadgetzan combo, ideally with Conceal, will allow you to win the game. However, the urgency of which you must protect your life differs between various matchups. As a result of this, I will give a number of rundowns against these different decks.
General Tips :
Risky plays : If you are ever placed into a situation where you must absolutely all in, then you should do it. An example is when you are not drawing into Gadgetzan or Leeroy or similar and you must go ‘all in’ and drop a massive Vancleef and hope they do not have an answer. Sometimes there are similar plays where you must rely on some rng to lethal an opponent. Run the odds and determine whether or not such risks are the best paths to victory.
Si7 Triggers : In certain matchups, you want to get optimal value out of Van Cleef and Si7 Agent. One such way is to hero power early and use your deadly poison on turn 4 to get your Si7 out with his combo effect. This is most relevant in the Zoo/Mirror Matchup and Druid. Against Druid, this is a perfect out to cards like Chillwind Yeti and Senjin Shieldmasta on t4, which is one of the reasons I recommend keeping deadly poison in that matchup.
Edwin Vancleef : Be aware of what decks play Big Game Hunter and play 6/6 Edwin if necessary. Be aware of when you need to all in and create a massive Vancleef in order to win the game. Huge Vancleefs are often unanswerable by Zoo, and also very powerful against Cancer Rogue if they do not draw Sap.
Comboing with Gadgetzan : Backstab should generally be used as early as possible to give you more options. When placed into a situation where you are using Gadgetzan to dig for cards, preparation on fan of knives is often optimal, as it costs more than every other spell in the deck. The exception to this is if you want to set up for lethal the next turn, at which point you can use eviscerate/damage spells to their face instead.
If you have another Gadgetzan (or have lethal combo already in hand), and you don’t find it necessary to use another preparation, you can sometimes consider holding the preparation. This is a rare scenario, but keeping it in mind is good.
When you have a lot of mana to work with Gadgetzan, using low mana cost cards like deadly poison is often optimal because poison can often building into a massive blade flurry and in general you have more mana to work with in case you draw into a stronger hand.
When comboing with Gadgetzan, be aware that every time you use a Shiv or Fan of Knives, you will have one more card in hand than when you started. Playing too many of these while having a large hand size will cause you to overdraw and discard.
Against Handlock and Miracle, it is often possible to use Sap to their hand to force them to discard next turn. This is a neat trick to play sap ‘for free’.
When to Hero Power face early game : Only hero power them to the face if you plan to fresh dagger immediately. You will generally require a fresh dagger setup for when you do Gadgetzan, as you will have very few opportunities to fresh dagger when you reach the Azure Drake/Gadgetzan phase. Generally there’s no point in hero powering decks such as druid, because your method of winning will rarely come down to 1hp difference – it will come down to overpowering them with Gadgetzan and clearing their taunts.
Thinking about turns in advance : This is most relevant when you have the coin. Using coin optimally requires you to think in advance about your next couple of turns so that you can have a solid turn that can utilise most of your mana each turn. Examples include using coin on t4 for azure drake to set up for a t5 second azure drake. Another example is dagger t2, coin, deadly poison + edwin on t3. Coin Si7 -> Deadly poison is godlike against zoo as well.
Critical Life Values : This is a good way to think about the game. When checking for lethal 6 mana = 12 damage (2x leeroy,), 7 mana = 16 damage (2x leeroy + cold blood), 8 mana = 18 damage, 9 mana = 22 damage etc. For Warlock, it is 10-14 damage (Leeroy and/or Power Overwhelming and/or Soulfire), Druid = 14 damage t9. . It’s usually not worth it to plan around your opponent having t7 innervate fon roar unless you don’t have to go out of your way to do it.
When facing a druid deck, there are predominantly only two kinds, Ramp Druid and Token Druid. There is also a druid variant that runs Naturalise and Coldlight Oracle, I will also cover this variant afterwards. A lot of the times, you will play similarly against both Ramp and Token druid, and it is impossible to know what the druid is playing until after you have mulliganed. However, against both druid matchups, you must have Gadgetzan Auctionner to win the game. Therefore, it is imperative that you mulligan all cards that are not Gadgetzan Auctioneer until you have at least one in your hand. The only exceptions that I hold to this rule are Deadly Poison, which is a suitable answer to most of their early game drops and inneravated 4 drops and Sap, which is a reasonable card to hold against Druid especially if they innervate something out. Furthermore, in the case that you do open with an Auctioneer, you should consider keeping preperation and conceal in your opening hand, or attempt to dig for them, as an unanswered t6 gadgetzan with conceal is usually an easy win.
Against druid you must never fall below 14 health unless you plan to kill them that turn. If you fall below this point, you must be weary of the t9 force of nature + savage roar combo which will end the game immediately. It is generally pretty easy to avoid this type of lethal range if you aim to maintain early game tempo. This can be accomplished by playing cards like Earthen Ring Farseer and Si7 (even without combo) on the board in t3, which can force them to remove it using cards such as Wrath, which will prevent them from being able to play minions on the board to pressure your life total.
If you manage to drop an early Gadgetzan with conceal against Druid, you will usually be able to win the game unless you played nothing to counteract their early board presence of Harvest Golems/Yeti/Senjin etc. The only card they can play which can potentially kill a concealed auctioneer is Ragnaros. If you spike your turn correctly, you can sometimes drop a very large Edwin Vancleef after your Gadgetzan + Conceal play. Usually they will have insufficient mana to clear both Edwin and Gadgetzan, which will give you the win almost immediately as their best answers are 3 mana or higher, in the form of Big Game Hunter, Keeper of the Grove, Swipe), and it is often too difficult for them to clear both on the same turn.
In this matchup, you can also afford to drop Azure Drake on T5/t6 instead of Gadgetzan, as long as you can maintain board presence in doing so. If you don’t have conceal, this is pretty good because you will have more mana to work with when you do decide to go for your non-conceal Gadgetzan play. Usually they have to deal with it using at least 4 mana (swipe, wrath hero power, keeper silence), which means conceal isnt necessary because they cannot drop a threat after clearling it, allowing you to play your various 3 drops the next turn to maintain your tempo lead.
This matchup is all about maintaining board presence. If, after your Gadgetzan turn, you fail to draw into lethal, you must then stall the game by placing creatures on the board. If you do not do this, you will find it difficult to deal with cards such as Ancient of War, which must be cleared with direct damage (battle or eviscerates etc). When you have already developed a strong board, if they play Ancient of War for 7 mana, they will only have 3 remaining to clear your board. Usually this is insufficient for them, which means Ancient of war is much easier to clear through battle.
Versus the Coldlight/Naturalise/Mukla deck, the moment you believe your opponent is running this deck, you MUST spend your mana even if it is inefficient. They will attempt to fill your hand up to 10 cards, at which point card advantage becomes irrelevant and tempo is the only thing that matters. Therefore you must pre emptively spend your mana to gain board control. Their deck will inherently put itself behind which is the reason you can play this way and expect to win.
Just mulligan hard for Gadgetzan. If you get Gadget + Conceal the game is usually a guaranteed win, outside of a lucky brawl or t8 50-50 Ragnaros. You can ignore the t2 Armorsmith usually, because 1 damage is pretty minimal. They can only make it an immediate threat if they task master, at which point they become open to cards like deadly poison, and most horrifying for them, si7+poison. Almost all of their common 4 drops (Korkron + Arathi) get killed by spellpower + backstab. Thus, Azure Drake is extremely good in this matchup. If you have deadly poison, you should try to clear their acolyte of pain with it. Also, be weary of their armour count. In certain scenarios, you will want to reduce their armor even at the cost of card advantage/tempo if you want to cut off their mana supply. Allowing them to get a 1 mana shield slam onto your drake is not something that you will want them to have, so you can attack them to reduce their shield to 3 (common scenario) which forces them to use 3 mana to get the shield slam clear. Ultimately, this matchup is very simplistic. You only need to be careful about the 12 damage gronmash combo, and it’s usually irrelevant how much armor they amass because you should be able to control the board and get minion damage in regardless. Just get Gadgetzan and this matchup is easy. You will notice that against the weaker warrior players, they will very often run out of cards gradually against you.
There are 2 builds of Warlock; Aggro and Handlock. Regardless of which type of Warlock it is, you should mulligan for Deadly poison and Backstab. If you have Coin, si7 and Vancleef are also good cards to have. Against Zoo, building a huge Vancleef is often a recipe for instantaneous victory. Coin Si7 into deadly poison is also often insurmountable, as it allows you to get to t5 almost effortlessly. Spell power + Fan of Knives is similarly extremely powerful, Azure + Prep + Fan of Knives is very difficult to deal with unless they have the doomguard/soulfire. In this matchup, using shadowstep on non-leeroy targets is often correct. If you maintain board control, you can swing with Si7 into a target with less than 2 attack, then shadowstep it and play it against for 1 mana. In the case of having a large edwin, you can also shadowstep it when it starts to get low to replenish its health. Zoo is often a race against time. If they fail to finish you early, then they will inevitably lose because of your large burst combo and huge gadgetzan plays. The main burst range for this deck is between 9-10, sometimes 14 if they run Leeroy + Power Overwhelming. Always keep this in mind when deciding on plays that will cost you life.
For handlock, you mulligan the same because handlock plays few early drops, and you want to amass an early board presence that will allow you to deal with Twilight Drake or Mountain Giant. Playing 3/3s are actually good because it makes it easier to deal with them outright. A large part of this matchup is to gain some board presence, clear their creatures as they come out and try to make a big gadgetzan play. Once that goes through, you should look for holes in their defence and try to kill them the moment they are vulnerable to a leeroy burst combo. Contrary to belief, this matchup is actually somewhat favorable for Miracle Rogue. You should never allow them into Molten Giant range unless you have some way to kill them through a molten + taunt combo. Sometimes, you can justify risking scenarios where you can win if they have 1 Molten, but lose if they have 2. It is very situational overall, but the general fact is that as long as you draw the Gadgetzan, you have far more flexibility than Warlock. Warlock is a very rigid deck that only has a certain number of plays available. Their strongest plays all cost a lot of mana (Siphon Soul, Giants/Drake etc all cost high levels of mana) and the only card they have that can really cheat this is Soulfire. That is why I feel that Handlock is usually easy to play around, and the only real concern is if you have no answer to their early 4 drop followed by Leeroy finisher.
4) Rogue (Mirror)
There are two kinds of rogue on the mirror; Miracle and Cancer Rogue (the name was not my invention, but it is very appropriate). Miracle Rogue should obviously be a 50-50 matchup, but cancer rogue is often cited to be one of your hardest counters. This is generally quite true, the matchup is difficult, but only because there is a chance that you can mulligan incorrectly (keeping cards like gadgetzan for instance) which will be your death. If you know they are playing cancer rogue, then the matchup becomes significantly easier. Cancer Rogue plays a lot of early creatures, and it is crucial to deal with them while taking as little damage as possible. In this matchup, you really want the coin, because Si7 is very strong against them. Preperation is also very strong if used in conjuntion with a strong fan of knives play, with an si7 or edwin proc combined. Edwin Vancleef is extremely strong against Cancer Rogue, as it can singlehandedly win you the game if they do not have Sap. Cards like Backstab and Deadly Poison are also usually very strong. You must conserve your life in this matchup and clear their creatures as they arise. You can win this matchup if you successfully control the board against them with multiple creatures. At some point, you may be able to turn the tides with a leeroy combo of your own as well. Earthen Ring + Shadowstep is also critical in this matchup in the mid-late, once they start getting near lethal range. This matchup is not particularly easy, it is certainly one of the worst for you. That said, it’s nowhere near an autolose matchup.
As for the Miracle Matchup, I usually only mulligan for Gadgetzan and Deadly Poison. Poison gets you through every pre t5 play except for Gnomish Inventor, while it also provides part of a combo which can kill a concealed auctioneer. Gadgetzan is self-explanatory, you need this card to combo off so that you can deal damage to the opponent, put mass pressure on him and draw into leeroy. Every other card is usually irrelevant. If you open with Gadgetzan, I usually keep preperation too, same with conceal.
This matchup is pretty dynamic in general. There is a very all-in centric style in this matchup at times. For example, when your hand doesn’t look like it can develop, it can be correct to commit resources to an Edwin Vancleef, ESPECIALLY if you have a way to drop a 2nd one even if they drop a Sap on you. Dropping free Vancleefs are also very strong here, thing like backstab shiv coin -> edwin are gigantic plays that usually come at no real cost to you. Sometimes you might combo-off with Gadgetzan without lethal, but you will go for lethal in the hopes that you will draw into the final combo piece because if you fail to kill them you will lose to them the next turn.
Usually you don’t want to hero power their face in this matchup if there is any chance you need that mana for a card that can either draw you cards or help you clear one of their threats on the board. This is because you need a fresh dagger for your deadly poison, wasting mana is usually very bad in this matchup, as you need to race them to the Gadgetzan/Leeroy turns.
You don’t always have to lethal them on t8 with the 18 damage leeroy combo. You can sometimes go aggressive with leeroy earlier, shadowstep it to hand and then drop it the turn after if you feel they cannot lethal you in one turn. Miracle rarely runs taunts, and the only heals you have to worry about are earthen ring farseers (which can sometimes ruin your day).
Lastly, unless you decide to all in them, you generally need to clear their creatures as they come out. If you don’t, you will just get closer and closer to lethal range, whilst making yourself more vulnerable to a huge conceal play.
To be honest, this deck is a pushover. The only thing you have to worry about is not drawing Gadgetzan, or having it immediately cleared by an Auchenai + Circle of Healing play. Usually it doesn’t even matter if they get a big northshire/pyromancer combo off, because they have mana constraints. One way to handle this matchup is to just overwhelm them with Rogue’s superior tempo. Azure Drake is incredible against Priest as it avoids Shadow Word Death, draws you a card and creates an immediate threat that is not easily dealt with. If you ever resolve a Gadget Conceal, the game should be over soon after.
There are two main Paladin decks that you might have to deal with. Shockadin (aggro paladin) and the Kolento version that is considerably more mid-range. Aggro Paladin is dealt with the same way you would face a zoo deck, that is, to search for cards like backstab and si7 agent. The only thing you need to worry about specifically are kill ranges at around 10-14 hp. Also, if you realise you are facing an aggro paladin deck, try to expend your hand as quickly as possible to prevent them from resolving a massive divine favor on you.
For the mid-range paladin deck, I feel that this deck is slightly more troublesome. Resolving a Gadget Conceal successfully will almost certainly win you the game, but this in itself is a challenge due to Equality comboes. Ultimately you need to maintain some board control in this matchup then drop a Gadgetzan with some preperations to win. From my experiences, this deck is not particularly easy to defeat, as they can situationally have answers to everything you pl6ay, including heals.
This matchup has only two builds, Mid Range and Face Hunter. For all intents and purposes, Mid Range is generally a pushover, because they usually fail to kill you before you can attempt to resolve a Gadgetzan combo. Ultimately, I feel this deck is very easy to beat if your playstyle is to stay alive and then combo him later on. Sap onto Highmane is usually free wins.
For Face Hunter, you are definitely playing against time. Once again you must mulligan for early game creatures, including Bloodmage Thalnos, Si7, and Earthen Ring Farseer. If you have creatures on the board, you can pressure them into using their Eaglehorn Bows/Damaging Spells on your creatures instead. Health is a pretty important resource which is directly tied to board presence.
Traps are a really big thing to try and deal with in this matchup as well. There are usually only 3 that are run in hunter – misdirection, explosive trap and freezing trap. In most mid-range, freezing is the only thing you really have to deal with. Ultimately though, you must trip over traps, which means that you should consider using your hero power to check beforehand which one it is. Sometimes you have to yolo a bit against misdirection, however, you can minimise impact by playing a low attack creature. It is generally better to trip up traps using your hero power rather than your creatures in case of misdirection.
I only recommend keeping two cards in this matchup, Deadly Poison and Gadgetzan Auctioneer. I’ve found that it is pretty difficult to close out games against Shaman if you fail to resolve a Gadget Combo. The reason I suggest Deadly Poison is that for every threat that Shaman can put down early, Deadly Poison in conjunction with almost any other card in your deck that does damage will be able to clear it. It also sets you up for Blade Flurry, which is rather incredible against Shaman.
The name of the game is to try to clear their creatures as they arise. Dropping a 3/3 on turn 3 is usually very strong against almost everything they can play at that point in the game -> it will often force a rockbiter or lightning bolt which can prevent them from dropping other threats.
Once you draw into Gadgetzan with a Conceal or multiple preps, you are in a good position to win. The main thing to be concerned about at all times is that a lot of Shaman players like to hold their Defender of Argus + Feral Spirits until later in the game, hoping to play it on a crucial turn where most of your removal has already been used. Therefore, building board presence and thinking ahead are critical in this matchup.
There are two main types of mage, aggro and freeze. In both cases, you would mulligan for early low drops, however, if you knew without a doubt that they are running Freeze, then you would aim for Gadget Conceal combo. In this matchup, it is also important to drop your 3/3s early, because forcing them to use actual removal on your creatures means that they will have less direct damage later, as well as putting them into awkward mana positions (for example, if you play your 3/3 then they cannot play Acolyte of Pain/you pressure them so that they cannot play arcane intellect/their secret). Sometimes people also run Giants, I feel this is the significantly easier build to defeat as Miracle, and is almost strictly easier to beat than handlock. Giants Mages have low amounts of actual burst, which gives you more than enough time to setup. Vancleef is also a very powerful card against all variants of Mage. One suggestion I can provide is that on critical Flamestrike turns, you can consider playing a large Vancleef to hedge against Flamestrike. This will usually mean that they cannot afford to flamestrike as the vancleef will swing through the next turn.
Against Aggro Mage, you must conserve your life total because of the frostbolt ice lance combo. A lot of the time this matchup is extremely dependent on the early game, as their early game tempo is what gets them most of their damage (Many Wyrms, Leper Gnomes etc). Earthen Ring Farseer is very key in this matchup as it forces them to start trading with your creatures rather than try to face race you.
When popping IceBlock, try to pop it such that they are as low hp as possible. This way, you can kill them next turn with low direct damage spells or hero power.
Hopefully you guys can take some of the stuff I’ve written here to improve your Miracle Rogue gameplay. For those wondering, you can also follow me on facebook and twitter. I will probably also start streaming a couple of weeks from now as well.