Our Midrange Murloc Paladin deck list guide will teach you how to pilot this popular deck! Our guide features mulligan, play, and card replacement strategies!
Introduction to Midrange Murloc Paladin
Midrange Paladin is one of the most classic Hearthstone decks, but the Murloc twist is new from Un’Goro. The original Midrange Paladin deck used to be very strong, but then it lost most of its power with the 2016 Standard rotation (no more Shielded Minibot or Muster for Battle), because Paladin was left with almost no early game. Good deck builders have figured out that the bad early game can be patched up with the Murloc package, while the deck’s powerful mid/late game stays intact.
This Murloc list can be sometimes referred to as aggressive, but it’s ultimately just a fast version of Midrange. If Midrange Hunter is considered a Midrange deck, then this should definitely fall into that category. It has also slowed down a bit with the addition of cards like Bonemare.
Update – Midrange Murloc Paladin October 2017
Midrange Murloc Paladin is still a very good deck and the nerf to Murloc Warleader has made it slightly weaker, but it remains as one of the top decks in the meta. Coldlight Seer was previously absent from the deck, but now adds a bit more survivability to your murlocs.
New Frozen Throne Additions
Bonemare might be the most surprising card to come out Knights of the Frozen Throne. It has super value for a common that not only buffs one of your minions, it also gives it Taunt. This card reminds me of Spikeridged Steed which you also get to play in this deck.
Cobalt Scalebane is also now added to this list which is a solid 5-drop on an empty board, or is even better when you have a minion that can receive a buff and then require an answer.
Midrange Murloc Paladin 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.
Vs Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Grimscale Chum – Solid early game minion that buffs an in-hand Murloc.
- Vilefin Inquisitor – It might be the best 1-drop in Aggro matchups because of its statline – 1/3 is great at killing 1 health minions. It adds Murloc tribe to your Hero Power, meaning that it will synergize with all the Murloc cards you play.
- Murloc Tidecaller – Another 1-drop, you really want to open with a 1-drop against Aggro, so you obviously keep it. It’s weak by itself (only 1/2), but it can snowball out of control if you play a lot of Murlocs.
- Rockpool Hunter – It’s best follow up to the 1-drop Murlocs. Pretty straightforward, if you hit the buff, it’s amazing. But even if you don’t, it’s something you can drop on turn 2 at least.
- Hydrologist – Alternative 2-drop. It’s weaker than Rockpool Hunter stat-wise, but you can pick some early Secret that can make a difference. Better than Hero Powering on turn 2.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Murloc Warleader – This card is either amazing or useless. Keep it only if you have other small Murlocs in your starting hand, especially Vilefin Inquisitor. It’s really bad by itself, but it gets much better if you can start buffing your stuff.
- Rallying Blade – While it’s good removal, you’d prefer not to have to use your face too much to remove minions against aggressive decks.
Vs Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Grimscale Chum – Nice early drop that can help get more value out of one of the Murlocs in your hand.
- Vilefin Inquisitor – You really want to change that Hero Power and there is no better time than doing it right away, on curve.
- Murloc Tidecaller – High priority removal target for your opponent. If he can’t clear it, it will simply kill him around turn 4 or 5 if you keep pumping out the Murlocs.
- Rockpool Hunter or Hydrologist – You want to curve out, but you don’t need multiple 2-drops. If you can choose, Rockpool Hunter should be better on turn 2 if you have a turn 1 Murloc and Hydrologist should be better if you don’t.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Murloc Warleader – With other early game Murlocs, you don’t want to keep it by itself, because it’s just a 3/3 for 3 if you don’t hit the buff value. 1-drop into turn 2 Rockpool into turn 3 Warleader is an amazing curve, but turn 1 pass, turn 2 Hero Power and turn 3 Warleader is one of the worst curves you can have.
- Gentle Megasaur – Similarly to Warleader. Keep if you have other early Murlocs, especially Vilefin Inquisitior, don’t keep if you don’t.
- Rallying Blade – Good for taking out early minions, but you’d rather be expanding your board in the early game against slower decks.
Midrange Murloc Paladin Win Rates
Midrange Murloc Paladin Play Strategy
Midrange Murloc Paladin is a deck that combines the best from both worlds and that’s why playing it might be tricky sometimes. You need to learn how to play into your hand in the best way. Sometimes you want to try to rush your opponent down with the early Murlocs, other times you want to play a slow, Control, value-oriented game and sometimes you can switch the play styles in between depending on the situation and the cards you draw.
One of the best things about this deck is that you can adapt quite well to the matchup and to the situation. You can play a slow game and when the time comes, flood the board with Murlocs, Adapt all of them and push for 2-turn lethal. On the other hand, if your early game rush plan fails, it doesn’t automatically mean that you lose the game. You have tons of value tools in your deck and ways to go for the longer game even if your initial plan didn’t work out.
If you’re playing a slower deck vs Aggro, there is always one plan – survive. This deck has some nice early game plays and it runs quite a lot of defensive tools, and so Aggro matchups aren’t that bad at all. Taking board control is most important. If you survive until the mid game with a decent life total, there is almost no way you lose. Don’t think about racing an Aggro deck, even if you get the perfect aggressive start it simply makes no sense.
Early game tempo is key. Try to play some minion every turn, even if it’s not optimal. Avoid your Hero Power unless you have nothing else to play. Murloc Warleader on 3 with no other Murlocs on the board? Sure, if you can’t do anything else. You just want to curve out, if you survive until your turn 6 you should probably win from that point.
This deck is far more reliant on having a board and using your minions to keep your opponent in check.
Try to stick a minion on the board going into turn 6. With 2x Spikeridged Steed in the deck, it’s very likely that you will draw at least one. And the card is an Aggro killer. Even a simple 1/1 turns into 3/7 Taunt, which spawns a 2/6 Taunt. Every 6+ mana play either has a Taunt or heals you. So once you get to turn 6, you nearly can’t lose. So that’s your goal, try to survive at any cost. You don’t have to be ahead by a lot, you just need to not fall behind so much that even those things won’t get you back.
When it comes to the Discover picks, they shouldn’t be very hard.
- Hydrologist – You pick Noble Sacrifice whenever you can. While early it usually trades for a 1/1, later in the game it can block a Charge minion, a big weapon hit etc. Alternatively, you can pick Getaway Kodo and play it before dropping a Taunt. Taunt needs to die, so it will bounce back to your hand. Repentance might be a good play before your opponent’s turn 5 if they run a deck playing Bittertide Hydra.
While in Aggro matchups you always take the role of a Control player, in slow matchups you often want to be the Beatdown. That’s your initial game plan, until it fails at least. Let’s say that you play against Taunt Warrior and get a fast, Murloc-heavy start with Murlocs on 1, 2, 3 and then Gentle Megasaur. If your opponent didn’t counter your start, it might be worth to start pushing and let’s say pick +3 Attack or Windfury for the Murlocs, instead of Health or Divine Shield. Your board dies to Brawl one way or the other, but with the more aggressive approach, you might be able to kill the opponent before he reacts. Of course, there is some merit to the defensive options too, like playing against damage AoEs so your minions survive longer, or being able to trade more easily while still keeping your Murlocs alive. But that’s the point – knowing which ones to pick depending on the situation might be one of the most important decisions when playing this deck.
But let’s be honest, you will rarely win games by just rushing the opponent down. What about the rest, the majority of the matches? Well, you play a more classic Midrange style. You want to be on the board, be in control of the game, play proactively, dictate the trades and the pace of the game. It can really get you far. Forcing your opponent into answering might lead to him having to use inefficient answers. Remember that you still don’t want to engage in a 100% value war, because if you take the games to fatigue, an average Control deck will win. You want to slowly, but steadily push for damage and then close up the game with a big play like board of Murlocs into Gentle Megasaur, Sunkeeper Tarim on 3-4 small minions or even Tirion Fordring. The last one is incredibly valuable, 5/3 Ashbringer is 15 damage over 3 turns and that’s A LOT.
Baiting AoEs is important. The best case scenario is when you set up a board that’s pretty scary, but you won’t lose too much when it gets AoE’d. For example, having a bunch of 1/1 Tokens and playing Warleader + Gentle Megasaur. It will probably ask for an AoE, but you can easily refill after. Spikeridged Steed is good anti-AoE protection. Not only it gives your minion lots of health, which makes it harder to AoE, but if your opponent plays some board wipe, you’re still left with a 2/6 on your next turn.
Sunkeeper Tarim is an amazing tool for surprise burst damage turns. Midrange Paladin was never a bursty deck and people rarely play around huge burst turns, which you can use to your advantage. Tarim is a great swing card. Let’s say that your opponent is at 15 and just played a big Taunt. Now if you have 5 small minions on the board and a weapon, you can actually kill them. But Tarim is much more flexible than that. You can use it when your opponent plays a single big threat to kill it easily. You can use it when you have a few minions and you want to trade up. You can also use it defensively, against 2-3 midrange minions, making them all less scary.
Try to play The Curator as soon as possible, even on curve. The more you wait, the lower the chance of you drawing 3 cards will be. While drawing a Murloc will nearly always happen, the list only plays 2 Beasts, making those easy to draw before you drop The Curator. The card is always good, even when drawing 1 it’s okay, but it’s always better to draw 2 than 1.
Discover cards are the best way to gain value in slow matchups. Here is what you should be picking:
- Hydrologist – Getaway Kodo is the best pick in most of the slow matchups, because you might be able to bounce some high value cards and replay them. But other than that, Repentance is good in the late game, especially if your opponent is out of “tempo plays” and has only big stuff left in his hand. Redemption can be situationally good, if you play it with only Tirion on the board. It gives you a 1 mana 6/1 With Divine Shield and Taunt. It’s very likely that it survives for another hit and then he refreshes your weapon. Great value.
- Sunkeeper Tarim can be tricky to use from time to time. First, you want to make all the good trades you can make before playing it. For example, if you have a 1/3 and your opponent has a 2/1, there is no point in playing Tarim first – you can trade those minions, still have a 1/1 and then turn it into a 3/3. Then you want to play all the small minions you can, like Hero Power, Vilefin Inquisitor or Hydrologist. It’s basically a free buff if you play them before dropping Tarim. Then you play your Tarim and make rest of the trades.
- A few 1/1 Murloc tokens can turn into a deadly weapon in the right scenario. Sunkeeper Tarim or Murloc Warleader + Gentle Megasaur on a bunch of 1/1’s that are ready to attack can work really well. They’re only 1/1’s, but first buffing them to 3 Attack and then giving them either +3 Attack or Windfury means that each of those small guys deals 6 damage instead of the 1 it was supposed to. You can get some lethals you wouldn’t think about with this kind of combo. Gentle Megasaur is great on your small Murlocs in general. Giving them Poisonous means that you can make great trades. Giving them Deathrattle: Spawn 2x 1/1 makes your board more AoE-proof. Remember that if you’re looking for a specific Adapt option, you have a 3/10 chance to get it.
Midrange Murloc Paladin Card Substitutions
Sadly, Paladin lists these days are pretty expensive. If you’re aiming at the slower Paladin deck, you need to have a deep pocket or a lot of luck with pack openings. This deck runs multiple Legendaries (non-adventure) and multiple Epic cards and I have to say that most of them is important for the deck to function correctly. I’ll try my best to give as much replacements as I can, but it might be a bit hard this time around.
Legendary Replacements: If you are missing some of the Legendaries you can try these instead: Ragnaros, Lightlord for a strong late game threat that gives you healing. If you have Uther of the Ebon Blade or The Lich King they can be slotted into the deck. Wickerflame Burnbristle is a good aggro stopper, and does see play in certain versions of this list.
Other versions of Midrange Paladin run Skelemancer which pairs well with Spikeridged Steed and can force your opponent to have to trade into it and give you the 8/8 Skeleton. Corpsetaker sees play as well, it can get at least three of the buffs if you are playing Wickerflame Burnbristle. Corpsetaker also pairs well with Stormwatcher which has started to see a bit of play in versions of this deck.
Finja, the Flying Star is not a required card for this list, it’s nice to have but won’t break the deck if you don’t have it. Stonehill Defender is a decent addition to this list because of all the great Taunt cards Paladin has access to.