Our Exodia (OTK) Paladin deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion, will teach you the ins-and-outs of this deck! This Exodia Paladin guide includes Overall Strategy, Tech Cards/Replacements, and a Matchup and Mulligan guide!
Introduction to Exodia Paladin
The Hearthstone community always has a special place in its heart for one-turn-kill decks. And while most of them got terribly denied by several game mechanics like Taunt minions or armor cards, Blizzard decided to push different archetypes that don’t kill through ridiculous minion damage. Quest Mage, or as Yu-Gi-Oh!-experts may call it, Exodia Mage, was the first candidate on the list of OTK decks that can kill you no matter what (in fact, boatloads of armor or Eye for an Eye can help).
Another archetype that can inevitably kill you if you don’t kill it in time is OTK Paladin. The power to guaranteed kill your opponent in one turn combined with Paladin’s classic control toolkit makes this list a true meta-breaker in the current competitive game.
First and foremost, you cannot underestimate the depth and complexity of this archetype. Without a doubt, the decks ultimate win condition looks rather simple: Play Uther of the Ebon Blade, the Paladin’s Death Knight card, which alters its Hero Power to “Summon one of four 2/2 Horsemen”; and if you are able to summon all four of the Lich King’s Horsemen on the board, your opponent’s hero will be instantly destroyed.
Well, that shouldn’t be too hard, right?!
In fact, it really is very hard to pull off the actual one-turn-kill. For comparison, in over 50 games, only four times I was able to summon all four Horsemen. This particularly means two things: First off, it looks like the rest of the list actually plays very well into most current meta-decks, especially after the latest nerf patch, catapulting Patches the Pirate, Corridor Creeper and Highlander Priest as an archetype out of the game. Secondly, those numbers still mean that you always have to play towards that particular win condition, just because you might be able to actually summon all four Horsemen eventually.
And this is where things get hairy: After you played Uther of the Ebon Blade, you are still only summoning one of your four 2/2 tokens per turn. But wait, there is a card that can change this, and it is none other than Auctionmaster Beardo!
The 3 mana 3/4 that resets your Hero Power every time you play a spell was printed just to serve its purpose in Exodia Paladin. The last puzzle piece to killing your opponent on the spot is Burgly Bully. This epic rarity minion creates 0 mana coins in your hand, making the guaranteed Beardo one-turn-kill a possible scenario in the later stages of the game.
This is where math gets more important than anything: To kill your opponent with your altered Hero Power and with no Horsemen token on the board, Beardo needs either exactly 3 coins or 2 coins and a 1-mana spell on turn 10.
In times of powerful late-game minions like Voidlord that love to trade over multiple turns, Burgly Bully will not always yield that many coins. The inclusion of Blessing of Wisdom, one of the most iconic Paladin spells, serves as a back-up plan in case we don’t have enough coins in hand. It also provides additional card draw, the single-most important support mechanic in this deck.
Why is card draw so important? First of all, cycling through the deck to get those juicy combo pieces as early as possible is mandatory. Additionally, drawing swing cards like Equality and Consecration or Sunkeeper Tarim buys additional time if combo cards are still stuck in the deck and not in our hand.
Other than that, the list features a lot of versatile tools to deal with several meta archetypes, and especially one card takes the crown: Call to Arms.
Against aggressive opponents, getting out multiple anti-aggro minions in the form of Dirty Rat and Righteous Protector is key to not only survive but also apply board pressure over multiple turns; Wild Pyromancer can also be a great addition to your board if you hold cheap spells. In control matchups, high-rolling into multiple Loot Hoarders can get you just enough card draw to reach your end-game win condition.
Last but not least, the power level of the lists end-game package seems unmatched: Spikeridged Steed and Sunkeeper Tarim can create immense swing turns, while Lynessa Sunsorrow serves as a backup policy against silence effects and can be a card draw machine.
All in all, you can win a decent amount of games on your way to your win condition already. Don’t be afraid to take bad trades in the early game, because eventually you will have enough tools to deal with most threats after you have reached late-game. And most importantly, don’t forget that you will need five free board slots to pull off your deadly Horsemen combo!
OTK Paladin Tech Cards and Replacements/Substitutions
Spellbreaker: While this card fills the definition of a “tech choice inclusion”, the current meta forces most mid-range and control decks to include at least one Spellbreaker. Due to the recent nerfs, most games tend to be a lot slower, so including even two copies won’t be punished as hard, and highly improves the matchups of Exodia Paladin, Control Warlock.
Lynessa Sunsorrow: As already said, this card provides insane flexibility in the later stages of the game with even more card draw and survivability. Decent replacements could be beefy high-impact late-game minions like Tirion Fordring or Sunwalker.
Dirty Rat: Especially when looking at the Warlock matchups, this one can be a dead card if not pulled out by Call to Arms. It can however definitely be a life-save against aggro decks even when played from the hand, so replacements should provide similar survivability and the ability to get pulled out by Call to Arms, for example Plated Beetle or Doomsayer (the latter destroys the purpose of Call to Arms in some scenarios).
N'Zoth, The Corruptor: A lot of Exodia Paladin variations run our very special Old God. However, this list in particular would need substantial replacements, for example Tirion Fordring and Plated Beetle, two cards that don’t bring you closer to your win condition. Nevertheless, streamers like Silvername made a more defensive list including N’Zoth.
Exodia Paladin Matchup and Mulligan Guides
vs Aggro/Murloc/Dude Paladin: Slightly Favored
In theory, all Control Paladin variations should outshine their aggro class counters. Cheap and multiple board clears like Consecration and Wild Pyromancer combos can keep several board refills at bay; the x factor in this aggro matchup trio was, is and always will be Murloc Paladin due to its insane nut draw potential.
vs Spell Hunter: Highly Favored
Spell Hunter may be the new star on the stage of Kobolds and Catacombs, but it certainly will not match well against Exodia Paladin on the long run. Spell Hunter gives us enough time to draw our combo, and it doesn’t do enough damage until then. If there’s nothing to control but Loot Hoarders and Dirty Rats that will never draw out minions, Spel Hunter pretty much only plays Animal Companions that get cleared over and over again.
vs Spiteful Priest: Highly Unfavorable
One thing Control Paladin archetypes have never been good against are multiple early high-impact threats. Yes, you can trade perfectly well if you have Equality and a minion on board early, but what then? Spiteful Priest can highroll you out of the game before it even started. The amount of pressure can only be matched by great board clear combo draws, and sadly we won’t have those every game.
vs Big Spell Mage/Big Priest: Slightly Favored
Similar to Spell Hunter, both of these “Big” archetypes are all about that control meta. Exodia Paladin however can’t be controlled if it isn’t pressured early. Another x factor in that equation will always be everybody’s favorite Barnes.
vs Secret Mage: Even
This matchup certainly is a special one. On first sight, a Control Paladin archetype without any healing but a 9-mana card should get absolutely obliterated by current Secret Mage lists. However, the matchup plays out very differently in the actual game. Yes, healing is scarce, but Exodia Paladin has more than enough tools to handle early pressure, especially when it comes to secrets. It is still absolutely mandatory to think over every turn with care, just because evaluating secrets correctly can bring you the win more than once.
Mulligan: Cards to keep are Hydrologist to get secrets against Counterspell, Righteous Protector and Loot Hoarder. Keeping Uther of the Ebon Blade makes sense, but can be too slow sometimes. If you hit two or three other really good cards in the mulligan, you should absolutely keep it.
vs Control/Cube Warlock: Slightly Unfavorable
In the history of competitive Hearthstone, the control matchup between Paladin and Warlock may be the most complex there ever was. That doesn’t really change with this particular matchup; sadly, the burst potential of Cubelock can put the matchup balance to a real test, and not for the good in the case of Exodia Paladin. Again, smart thinking is required to calculate when to play your powerful board clears, just because both Control and Cube Warlock have so many ways to refill the board with high-impact threats. Silencing the correct minions with Spellbreaker can buy you enough time to draw your win condition; killing Voidlords to spawn harmless Voidwalkers that can’t kill you is also a common technique to avoid inevitable death.
All in all, I would still call this matchup heavily skill-based if not played in higher ranks, just because both lists are exceptionally hard to play on a high level.
vs Miracle Rogue: Unfavorable
Similar to Secret Mage, Miracle Rogue has a lot of burn damage available early in the game. The ability to outdraw Exodia Paladin certainly showcases the main reason why it has a favored matchup. The lack of Taunt minions doesn’t help Exodia Paladin as well.
vs Kingsbane Rogue: Highly Unfavorable
Well, what could be the best matchup for a mill archetype? Maybe a deck that heavily relies on two or three key cards to win the whole game? Exactly, and that is why Exodia Paladin hates to play against Mill Rogue and any mill deck in general. Try to keep as few cards as possible, even if it means to play coins that you will need in the later stages.
vs Combo Dragon Priest: Even
There’s not much to say about the matchup. Spellbreakers increase the win rate of course, but even without them Exodia Paladin should peform well if played correctly.
I have an eye on the card called Eye for an Eye, and I’m not sure if N’Zoth, the Old God himself, is actually called N'Zoth, The Corruptor or Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound, who is actually not really Rage Unbound!