Our Caverns Below Quest Rogue deck list guide will take you through the ins-and-outs of this newly popular deck from the Journey to Un’Goro expansion!
Caverns Below Rogue was one of the most popular and powerful decks in the early Un’Goro meta. While people have learned how to play against it and counter it after a while, it’s still a scary deck that can get you far if you know how to play it and get the right matchups. Rogue’s Quest turned out to be one of the easiest ones to complete, with the right draws you can finish it as soon enough to play it on curve, which is incredibly strong – swarming the board with 5/5 minions in the mid game is something almost no deck can stand a chance against.
The deck is still very easy to rush down and bad draws hurt it more than most of the decks. But multiple pro players are having success with it in Legend, while more casual ones play it a lot in the lower ranks.
UPDATE – CAVERNS BELOW (QUEST) ROGUE IN MAY 2017, SEASON 38
The deck is still pretty up to date, as it’s one of the most popular lists on the ladder right now. If you want to experiment a bit, Feno has hit #1 Legend recently after making 2 small tweaks. Instead of 2x Igneous Elemental, he plays 1x Backstab and 1x Coldlight Oracle. Backstab improves the fast matchups, while Oracle is a great bounce target in the slow matchups – you don’t care about them drawing anyway and once you finish the Quest, you have a full hand of 1-3 mana 5/5 minions with powerful effects (like Charge or card draw). But the 2x Igneous Elemental is definitely a viable and probably also a safer choice.
Quest Rogue Mulligan Strategy & Guide
I’ll divide the mulligan section into two – against fast decks and against slow decks. Fast decks are generally the Aggro decks (e.g. Pirate Warrior) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Midrange Hunter). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.
Always keep the Quest in your mulligan!
Vs Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Shadowstep – Even though survival is your #1 concern, you also want to finish the Quest as soon as possible. Shadowstep means that you should have an easier way to finishing it. You get +1 Quest score for 0 mana, since replaying the cheap minion won’t cost you anything. And at the same time, you often even draw an extra card, so you basically get a free +1 on the Quest.
- Quick note: Remember that you don’t want to keep too many 1-drops, because you might end up with a hand full of targets you want to bounce and no way to do that. Keeping 1-2 should be fine, but not more. This is one of the only decks in which you actually want to keep 2 copies of the same 1-drop, because it will make your Quest much easier to finish.
- Fire Fly – Extra 1-drop, which you can actually play on turn 1 without hurting your Quest (because for the sake of the Quest you want to play the second part of this minion – Flame Elemental anyway) if it’s necessary. Flame Elemental is your most likely Quest candidate and Fire Fly is quite a good 1-drop.
- Glacial Shard – Glacial Shard is really good against Aggro, because it’s a high tempo play, which is exactly what you want. Freezing a 1/1 minion can prevent opponent from trading it into your 2/1, freezing a face might prevent a weapon hit etc.
- Swashburglar or Southsea Deckhand – Pirates. You want to play them quickly in order to pull out Patches the Pirate from your deck. They provide some early bodies to control the board with and possibly a cheap minion to bounce.
- Bilefin Tidehunter – Surprisingly, a well-timed 1/1 Taunt against Aggro decks can do a lot. While it’s harder to finish the Quest by bouncing this guy, it might be your best bet in some matchups – because while you finish the Quest, you also put 4x 1/1 Taunt on the board (one for every time you play it). It can help you mitigate some early game damage and after the Quest it’s a 5/5 + 5/5.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Gadgetzan Ferryman & Youthful Brewmaster – Your bounce cards. They’re a bit slow, so you keep them only if you have a 1-drop you want to bounce already. Otherwise mulligan them away, as you often don’t want to play them in the early game anyway.
Vs Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Shadowstep – Absolutely the best way to finish the Quest as quickly as possible, which is exactly what you want against slower decks.
- Fire Fly – Your go-to bounce target unless you find something better.
- 1-drop Pirates – Swashburglar and Southsea Deckhand – To pull out Patches from your deck and to have some cheap bounce targets.
- Novice Engineer – It might be the best bounce target. While it’s slower than a 1-drop, it also draws a card every time you bounce it, so you don’t run out of cards after getting the Quest done.
- Gadgetzan Ferryman & Youthful Brewmaster – Your main bounce minions, since you want to finish the Quest quickly, you keep them.
- Mimic Pod – Since you generally shouldn’t be under too much pressure early, Mimic Pod is an amazing card. Getting 2 small minions, 2 bouncers or especially 2 Shadowsteps means that you pretty much have a finished Quest already in your hand.
- Igneous Elemental – It might be the best card to keep right after the Backstab. This card alone is 2/4 on the Quest, so if you get a second copy or a Fire Fly + Bounce, your quest is finished. There might be better ways to finish Quest than with Flame Elementals, but this one is definitely the fastest.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Preparation – If your hand is really close to finishing the Quest. E.g. if you have Fire Fly + Igneous Elemental, keeping Prep might be a good idea. It basically means that once you finish the Quest, you can prep it out and win the game around turn 4-5.
Quest Rogue Play Strategy
Generally, the deck has a really basic strategy, but it’s pretty hard to play correctly. Going all in on the Quest is not always the correct strategy if your opponent is rushing you – at the same time taking it too slow just because you face a slower deck shouldn’t be the case most of the time. Picking the right bounce target is also important. The games are short, but there is a lot of decision-making involved. Even saving Preparation for a key moment can win or lose you the game.
Against Aggro, your first and most important concern is surviving, just like always. First you need to judge your hand. If you have a good Quest hand, then you go for that win condition right away. Let’s say that you have a cheap minion and 2 bouncers in your hand – sure, you take that route. But if you’re nowhere near to finishing the Quest with your hand, e.g. you have no ways to bounce any minions, then you ignore it for a moment. You NEVER mulligan your Quest away – even in the faster matchups it’s very powerful, but you don’t completely focus on it.
Best tools against Aggro are the early Pirates (because they pull out Patches the Pirate from your deck), Glacial Shard (because they give you extra tempo) and Bilefin Tidehunter. Both Glacial Shard and Bilefin Tidehunter might be good bounce targets, because of the instant tempo effect they add. Sure, Swashburglar and Novice Engineer are also good targets, but they add value to your hand, which might be less important against Aggro than the tempo. After all, what’s the point of having 5 cards in your hand when you finish the Quest if you’re just dead right after?
Now, onto the Quest. You don’t have a single target you want to finish your Quest with, however the best one is probably Glacial Shard. It costs 1 mana, so it works better with your Brewmaster/Ferryman and at the same time you get the effect off multiple times. Bouncing Chargers is not that good against Aggro, because you prefer to use them to control the board. The decision, however, nearly always depends on your draws. E.g. if you draw 2 copies of Stonetusk Boar while you have only a single copy of any other minion, it makes it the best minion to finish the Quest. Sure, you don’t gain any value by bouncing it, but it might mean that you finish the Quest one or two turns earlier and that’s big.
When you finish the Quest, you immediately turn your whole board into 5/5’s. It means that you want to have as many small guys on the board a turn before you play the reward. Your opponent has two choices – they can either waste a lot of damage to kill your 1/1’s (which you don’t mind, if Pirate Warrior uses e.g. Kor'kron Elite to kill your 1/1 then you’re happy) or leave them and you can punish them next turn. But your hand is even more important. You want to have at least one or two Charge minions to play right after you finish the Quest. E.g. Turn 6 Reward + Charge minion means that you immediately put a 5/5 Charge on the board. Playing just a Quest is a huge waste of tempo and can often lead to a loss. Keeping a Preparation for your Quest might solve that problem. 2 vs 5 mana is a huge difference, at 2 mana you still should have enough to play 2-3 more minions onto the board, which translates into 2-3 5/5’s.
Depending on the matchup and how much health you have, after finishing the Quest you can take two approaches. You can either clear the board and start controlling the game or engage in a race and try to rush your opponent down. The second option is usually better, because you should be able to close the game in 2-3 turns quite consistently. However, you need to take your opponent’s damage potential into the account. If you know that you can’t race them, gain the board control instead – that shouldn’t be hard. If you’re not sure whether you can race or not, I think that face is the place – you’ll be surprised how much damage this deck can pull out of nowhere. Mimic Pod into a Charge minion is 10 damage from nowhere, for example.
Games against Aggro are usually decided around turn 5-6. Aggro matchups are a bit hard, because your deck is really weak before you finish the Quest. The best way to fight against you is rushing you down, which Aggro decks can do quite consistently. But the matchups aren’t unwinnable – especially if you get a great hand and finish the Quest by turn 4, then you can quickly turn the whole game around.
Control matchups are generally easier to play. A slower deck rarely puts a lot of pressure on you in the early game, which means that you can easily do your thing without focusing on other things like clearing the board or surviving. In Control matchups, finishing your Quest as soon as possible is the most important task, so I’ll focus on that aspect.
When it comes to the value, best bounce target would be Novice Engineer. Since it draws you a card every time you bounce it, you’re guaranteed to not run out of cards. Swashburglar is similar, and easier to bounce because of the 1 mana, but the random cards from the opponent’s class won’t be as good as the cards from your deck. However, like I’ve mentioned, the speed at which you finish the Quest is very important in slow matchups. Even Control decks will try to put pressure and rush you down. You can rarely win the game if you don’t finish the Quest by turn 6-7, which basically means that playing 4x Flame Elemental might be generally the best way, because it’s the easiest way. Unlike other minions, which you only have 2 copies of, you have up to 6 copies of Flame Elemental in your deck. 2x Fire Fly and 2x Igneous Elemental. If you get one of those in your opening hand, then you should probably focus on that one. The only times when I start bouncing anything else is when I just don’t draw either of them. By the time I get them I might have 2/4 or 3/4 already done, so it’s better to start with something else if you can.
That’s the thing about Rogue’s Quest – you can’t be picky. Let’s say that your only small drop is Stonetusk Boar and you start drawing your bounces. You play it and you start bouncing it. That’s right – it’s not optimal, but it’s better than nothing. If you wait too long to get a better bounce target you might actually lose the game, because you completed the Quest too late.
Shadowstep is basically the best card in the whole deck, especially in slower matchups. Thanks to the Shadowsteps you can finish the Quest REALLY fast and start pumping out 5/5’s.
In every matchup, but especially in the slow matchups, try to save Preparation for the Quest reward. The difference between 2 and 5 mana is huge. At 5 mana you most likely have to spend a whole turn to just cast a Quest. It MIGHT give your opponent a slight chance to comeback without a proper set-up. However, playing it for 2 and immediately playing 2-3 more minions is pretty much game over.
Vanish is a nice tech against that works especially well vs Midrange and Control. There are two main uses for the card. First is to stall the game – if you can’t finish your Quest and you need more time, playing Vanish means that your opponent skips a turn of attacks AND he has to refill the board once more. If he had a lot of minions, it will take a while. Realistically it should give you around 2 extra turns to finish the Quest. Another use is to play it after you finish the Quest already, but your opponent has a solid board advantage. You could fight and pick his minions one by one, but you might actually not have enough steam to do that. If you just Vanish, especially Prep + Vanish, and start refilling, there is no way that your opponent is going to outtempo you.
- After you pick a minion you want to bounce, the most important thing is to NOT LEAVE IT ON THE BOARD unless you have a second copy in your hand. Imagine bouncing a Novice Engineer, having 2/4, playing it and then finishing turn. You have 3/4 and… your opponent kills it. Now you can’t bounce it any more and you have to either do the same thing with another minion or hope that you will draw the second copy. Always end your turn with the minion you’re bouncing in your hand so the opponent can’t just simply kill it.
- Remember that Gadgetzan Ferryman requires combo to bounce a minion. So if you want to bounce something, you first need to play another card. At the same time, later after you’ve finished the Quest and you have no good bounce target, you might OPEN with Ferryman to not trigger its effect.
- Picking the right bounce targets after you finish your quest is also important. You can bounce your Chargers to deal more face damage – this strategy is good when you’re pushing for lethal and you’re close. Or you can bounce your “value” cards to add more to the board or draw more cards. For example, bouncing a Bilefin Tidehunter and replaying it results in an extra 5/5 with Taunt. In most of the matchups that might be better than dealing 5 extra face damage (unless that’s lethal, of course).
Quest Rogue Card Substitutions
The list is pretty cheap, to be honest. The only Legendary that’s 100% necessary is The Caverns Below – the Quest itself.
Besides the Quest, there is only a single Legendary in the deck – Patches the Pirate. It’s really great in fast matchups, but it’s not 100% necessary. You can sub it with Backstab – it will add some more early game vs Aggro, which might make the matchups a bit easier.
Swashburglar is a card from Karazhan. If you’re missing it, but you have Patches the Pirate, you can replace your Swashburglars with Bloodsail Corsairs – not the best replacement, but can work if you face some weapons. If you’re missing both Swashburglar AND Patches, then you get rid of Pirate package. Or wait, you can still keep the Southsea Deckhand, because that’s still a 2/1 with Charge most of the time. You can replace 2x Swash and Patches with let’s say Backstab and 2x Golakka Crawler – especially if you face a lot of Pirates.
There is also one Epic – Preparation, but I’d say that if you want to play this deck, you should really craft it. If you won’t be able to Prep out the Quest, you will lose so many games.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. If you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.
Good luck on the ladder and until next time!