The Miracle Rogue deck list is getting popular once again thanks to the new Mean Streets of Gadgetzan meta! Stonekeep goes into detail with this Pirate Miracle Rogue deck list guide that covers Mulligans, Gameplay & Strategy, Combos, and Card Substitutions!
Miracle Rogue was finding its way to the meta ever since the Beta. There were brief periods of time when the deck was dead, but in the end, the synergy between Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Rogue’s toolkit is too strong to ignore.
At the same time, Miracle Rogue was always one of the hardest decks to play correctly. Being one of the most glass cannon decks in the whole game (current versions have basically no Taunts or life gain at all), it’s incredibly powerful in the right hands and in the right meta.
While Miracle Rogue struggles in the Aggro matchups (mainly against Pirate Warrior, but against Aggro Shaman too to some extent), it shows its full potential against the slow decks. That’s why the deck is more recommended in the high ranks or in Legend, where the density of Pirate Warrior seems to be lower.
UPDATE – QUESTING MIRACLE ROGUE IN MARCH 2017, SEASON 36
Every Miracle Rogue list used to run Small-Time Buccaneer, which is obviously not the best choice now after the nerfs. However, it wasn’t a big problem for Rogue. The deck already used three 1-drop Pirates + Patches (which made it way more likely to draw one before you draw Patches) – 2x STB and 1x Swashburglar. Instead of removing Pirate package, which simply wouldn’t be worth it, the only change necessary was playing the second Swashburglar and adding one more Pirate. There are two options – Buccaneer or Southsea Deckhand. However, most of the players (including me) have decided to go for the second option. Deckhand is already a good card in Miracle Rogue, mainly because it’s a great activator for the Cold Bloods since it nearly always has a Charge, besides turn 1 (Miracle Rogue rarely has no weapon equipped from turn 2 onwards).
The general gameplay didn’t change that much. The early game power level has dropped down a bit, which makes the deck a little less aggressive, but a significant drop in Aggro Shaman’s popularity might have actually been a buff instead of a nerf.
Current changes to the deck:
Questing Miracle 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. Aggro Shaman) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Dragon Warrior). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.
Vs Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Backstab – One of the strongest cards in the game vs fast decks, it allows Rogue to kill something small while not losing any tempo or health at all. Also a great Combo activator if you’re not starting with the Coin.
- Swashburglar & Southsea Deckhand – Best early game moves against Aggro, because besides providing a small body, you also pull the Patches out of your deck, which gives you 1 extra damage. Combined with Backstab you can even kill 3 health minions in the early game, often stopping the aggression for long enough to develop something else yourself.
- Tomb Pillager – Even though it might be too slow against Aggro, it’s your first bigger minion and minions are very important. It can trade and it gives you a Coin when it dies = some extra tempo.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Counterfeit Coin – If you have a good way to use it in your hand. For example, if you start first and get Tomb Pillager, you can keep it to play your 4-drop on turn 3 instead of daggering up and passing. Or with Edwin VanCleef – you can get a turn 2 4/4 (possibly bigger with Backstab/Prep) even if going first, which fights nicely for the board.
- Edwin VanCleef – Going second or with Counterfeit Coin.
- Eviscerate – Going second. It’s too slow when going first, as you might have a hard time comboing it out and 2 damage for 2 mana is not enough tempo against Aggro. If you go second, it’s a nice way to kill the early 3/4 health minions.
- Questing Adventurer – With some 0 mana spells. It’s bad by itself, but if you can combo it with 2-3 spells and get a 4/4 or 5/5, it can snowball the game.
- Preparation + Spell – Keep that combination if you have a meaningful spell to Prep early. It’s best with Eviscerate and Fan of Knives, but it can also be kept with Sap, especially against Aggro Shaman – 4 mana 7/7 hurts if you don’t Sap it.
Vs Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Swashburglar & Southsea Deckhand – Miracle Rogue often passes its first 2-3 turns against slow decks (only Hero Powering) and the early Pirates give you something to do. You also get Patches out of your deck, which is important – you don’t want to draw it.
- Edwin VanCleef – The more cheap cards you have, the better keep Edwin is. But it should generally always be a keep in slow matchups Getting out a big Edwin early is one of the win conditions against slow decks. Most of the time it will be hard for them to answer a 8/8 or 10/10 as early as turn 2-3, that’s why it’s so powerful.
- Tomb Pillager – Probably the best card to keep against slow decks. Gives you a very strong turn 4 play and the extra Coin is incredibly useful once you get your Auctioneer.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Questing Adventurer – Keep with some cheap spells. Minion curve is most important against slow decks. You need to keep them busy until you draw Auctioneer and start doing Miracles. Early Questing is not that strong, but even on turn 3-4 you can play it with a few spells and possibly Conceal
- Azure Drake – Good card against Control, but keeping it can be too slow. I like to keep it if I already have some strong plays for earlier turns, like Pirate 1-drop or Tomb Pillager. Keeping it with a slow hand can be punished.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – I have to put Auctioneer here, but hear me out. If you’re a new Miracle player, you generally shouldn’t keep it. You need to know your matchup really well in order to determine whether you keep Auctioneer or not. Keeping a 6 mana card in your opening hand can be punished very easily by any faster start by your opponent, but it’s a key card in the slowest matchups and it really sucks if it’s stuck on the bottom of your deck.
Questing Miracle Rogue Matchup Win Percentages
Here’s a look at how Miracle Rogue stacks up against other decks in the meta. Thanks to Metastats for allowing us to provide these statistics!
Questing Miracle Rogue Play Strategy
Like I said right at the start, Miracle Rogue is one of the hardest deck to pilot correctly. Even though I have easily over 700 Miracle Rogue games played in total (different versions from different periods), it’s still very easy for me to mess things up. That’s why this play strategy can only be a general guidance and you will have to learn most of the things yourself – in practice.
I’ll start with the tips regarding fast matchups. Against Aggro decks, your flashy “I will cycle through my whole deck with Gadgetzan Auctioneer game plan goes down the drain. Sometimes you will draw a card or two with it, but it’s usually not relevant. Your #1 priority against Aggro decks is protecting your life total. With literally zero Taunts or ways to regain life, all the Aggro deck has to do is 30 damage. Since weapon and spell damage can’t be stopped and you just have to hope that it won’t be enough, you want to focus on stopping minion damage.
Your best early game plays are the Pirates. They give you 2 bodies at the same time for practically nothing, especially since you’d be passing turn 1 anyway without them. So you want to mulligan for them really hard. Of course, you won’t drop Backstab or something, but Pirates are probably #1 priority against Aggro.
Not taking damage is easy to say. Of course, you still have to use the Hero Power to kill some stuff. You generally need to look at the bigger picture – removing 2/1 minion with Hero Power costs you 2 health immediately, but if you didn’t do that, the minion would attack you each turn, resulting in a much bigger health loss. However, the biggest skill is knowing when you can afford to take that damage and when you have to use other means of dealing with minions. For example – you might be able to use Backstab in order to deal with the same minion. Is it worth it? It needs to be judged case by case, but yes, sometimes throwing Backstab to save yourself 2 health (especially if you can curve out with a minion thanks to that or once you’re already at low health total) can be worth it. Other times you might need to save it for something else. You really need to practice in order to be able to tell how much damage each Aggro deck can deal.
Tempo is incredibly important. If you don’t want to take face damage, you need to clear minions. And in order to consistently clear minions, you need your own minions. That’s why sometimes it’s worth it to not clear something, but play a minion instead to have a body to trade for the next 2-3 turns. Cards like Counterfeit Coin or Preparation might let you kill two birds with one stone – you might be able to play a minion AND remove one at the same time.
Don’t be greedy when playing against Aggro decks. For example, not coining out a minion in order to save Coin for Gadgetzan Auctioneer is WAY, WAY too greedy and you generally shouldn’t do that. Not using Fan of Knives when you have a good opportunity in order to bait one or two more minions is also generally greedy.
Another very important skill against Aggro is knowing when you need to switch gears and start to put your opponent on the clock. When you play a Control deck, you usually can afford to prolong the game against Aggro, because you have ways to gain health etc. You can get the game to fatigue and you win, because Aggro deck won’t have enough damage to kill you. Miracle Rogue, however, operates differently. You CAN’T afford to play a long game against Aggro, because they will just draw their burn and kill you. Early game and first mid game turns are all about fighting for board control and killing everything they drop. However, usually around turns 4-6 (depending on how the game goes), you will need to stop fighting for board control so hard and going for the minion damage. At this point, it’s very likely that you have some serious damage potential on the board which can get boosted even further by Cold Blood. When you get a board advantage in the mid game, what you want to do is ignore the minions you can ignore, kill the ones you have to kill with spells (or Sap them) and use your minions to attack face. Try to set up a lethal as soon as possible. With Cold Blood, you should be able to set up a 2 turns clock quite easily. Once you do that, you’re in a great spot, because no matter what your opponent does it’s a win-win situation for you. If he doesn’t have an answer, you just push and kill him. If he does have an answer – he often had to use a very precious burn spell on your minions instead of your face, while not really developing at the same time. This usually only results in a slower death, as you should be able to play some more minions and continue with this game plan. You aim at finishing those games around turn 6-7 – hopefully before your opponent draws enough burn to kill you.
Games against slow decks are very unlike the games against fast decks. Your whole game plan, and thus strategy, is different. Life total isn’t that big of a problem against slow decks. Yes, sometimes they might kill you before you kill them, but it’s not something you have to fight against since turn 1. Here, you can use your life more freely. You also don’t have to use so many resources to protect it. Instead, you want to focus your resources on two things – first cycling A LOT and then outtempo’ing your opponent thanks to the huge card advantage.
Individually, your cards are pretty weak. They don’t have too much value and you wouldn’t be able to win against any Control deck. However, your cards are very strong when it comes to tempo. Decks that are low on value, but high on tempo usually have one huge disadvantage in Control matchups – they run out of steam too quickly. Which might be true for other decks, but not for Miracle Rogue. Thanks to Gadgetzan Auctioneer you can refill your hand multiple times. Even though your cards are pretty low on value, if you play your whole deck before your opponent plays 1/3 of his, then you don’t really care that he might outvalue you in the long run. You just win before that happens.
However, first things first. Unlike the old Miracle Rogue, this deck has an extra win condition vs slow decks – rushing them down. Thanks to the extra early game Pirates + Cold Blood, if you get a really strong hand or your opponent gets a really slow one (you don’t really keep anti-Aggro cards against Miracle Rogue), it might be a very quick victory. Even something like a Southsea Deckhand into Coin + Cold Blood on Patches can be game-winning if they have no answer. Turn 1 you push for 5 damage, turn 2 you Dagger up + push for another 8 damage. That’s 13 damage you’ve dealt on turn 2 already. Even if that won’t win you the game, because they will kill it eventually, it already makes it way easier to finish the game. This very aggressive strategy is something new to Miracle Rogue and that’s why a lot of players still aren’t used to it, so take advantage of that!
Another, more classic way to get an early win is a big Edwin VanCleef dropped on the first turns. However, this strategy also got a huge upgrade. Since you have more 1-drops + 2 Counterfeit Coins, making a big VanCleef was never that easy. The best thing is that you can make a big VanCleef without going completely all in on it. I won some games by doing something like turn 3 Pirate + Cold Blood on Patches + 2x Coin (either normal or Counterfeit) + VanCleef. Now you have a 10/10 VanCleef, 5/1 Patches and an extra Pirate. Even though you make a huge VanCleef, removing it alone isn’t enough. You have a HUGE board on turn 2, so even if your opponent finds a way to deal with VanCleef somehow (which isn’t very likely so early in the game, because you don’t keep big removal in your opening hand and some decks – like RenoLock – have zero ways to answer that so early), you still have a 5/1 + another small Pirate to kill. They kill VanCleef – two smaller Pirates will still push. They don’t kill VanCleef – they are probably dead 2 turns later. Before that, when you have gone all-in on VanCleef, killing it usually solved the whole problem. Right now – not necessarily.
But those are the more cheese-y strategies, easy ways to win, but ones that won’t always work. And those aren’t the reasons why Miracle Rogue is so strong in slow matchups. If you don’t have a super aggressive early game start, what you want to do is to keep a steady minion curve. Dropping something each turn is the best thing that can happen. And it sometimes does happen. Missing a drop isn’t a big deal, especially if you have something else to do – you can cycle your Fan of Knives, you can potentially buff your minion with Cold Blood. The thing is that you want to keep the slow deck busy. Force him to remove everything you play and stall the game. This is the important part – Rogue has no way to deal with big boards, so if the roles are reversed and they develop a minion after minion every turn, you might struggle. But if you stall the game long enough, you drop your Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Conceal it and then Miracles happen. In slow matchups, you really want to have at least 3 guaranteed card draws. By guaranteed I mean something that doesn’t rely on the cards you draw down the road. For example, having a Coin + Preparation + another spell should be enough to start the Gadgetzan train. The thing is that by the time you use all those 3 spells, you are very likely to draw something else you can play – Backstab, Counterfeit Coin, Preparation, Cold Blood, maybe some 2 mana spell (which you might be able to get out thanks to the Coins). You can’t wait too long with Auctioneer, because the longer you wait, the lower impact your next turn will have. For example – your opponent might find a way to kill Auctioneer cleanly (which he might not have before), he might find a big AoE clear for your next big tempo turn etc. So don’t be too greedy – even if you don’t find enough spells to draw through your whole deck, there is a big chance that you will find a second Auctioneer or other ways to cycle. After the first Auctioneer turn you can go for 2-3 tempo turns in a row and then play the second one and start the cycling train again. That’s the beautiful part about this deck – once you cycle with first Auctioneer, it’s almost impossible that you won’t have any plays available for the next few turns.
One of the more important skills against Control decks is knowing when you can utilize the Questing Adventurer. The card has insane snowball potential, but if you drop it without pumping it immediately, it might be too easy to kill. You have to ways to do it – first, drop Questing and play a bunch of spells, pumping him to at least 5/5 right away. It will make it harder for the enemy to kill it. Second, more likely strategy, is to combo it with Conceal. Now you aren’t afraid of single target removals and only AoEs can kill it. You should know well what removals are accessible to each opposing deck and play around those. For example – against Warlock you don’t want to go all-in with two Adventurers in the late game, because they can Twisting Nether. Against Priest, you want to get them out of range of Dragonfire Potion. Against Dragon decks you want to put it at least to 4, so it’s out of range of Blackwing Corruptor. Also, keep track of the removals – if your opponent has used most of his removal already, you can go wild on the Questing and it’s very likely to carry you.
If the Control deck is not winning on the board when you drop the Auctioneer or big Questing + Conceal them, you have pretty much won the game. Now you will be able to outtempo them heavily. Even if they play something, you just Sap or remove it. Now they have to remove your minions or you will get too much value/damage. They did remove your board? No problem, next turn you play Azure Drake + Tomb Pillager. Now you have 9 damage on the board and they just have to kill those minions or you put too much pressure. And so on and so on – you want to maximize your tempo each turn and once you start running out of steam, play second Auctioneer and start cycling again. You put your opponent in a loop of forcing him to answer your board every turn instead of developing something himself. Eventually he will run out of answers and you draw the rest of your deck or punch him in the face for so much.
Each point of face damage is important. With so much burn in your deck, it’s very easy to kill your opponent from ~15 health on the empty board. Leeroy Jenkins + 2x Cold Blood + 2x Eviscerate is 22 damage in total, not to mention some extra damage you might get from Stealthed minions. Putting pressure means that often leaving even a single minion on the board can be heavily punished. And at some point, your opponent will simply have no way to clear everything. And then you win. Try to count your potential damage every turn, because it’s really easy to miss a lethal opportunity when you’re holding 10 cards in your hand.
P.S. A general advice when it comes to playing Pirates – Swashburglar is always dropped on turn 1, because it won’t get better. However, if you’re holding the Southsea Deckhand, you might decide to keep it until turn 3 instead of dropping it on the empty board (if you have coin, potentially even doing something like Southsea + Coin + Edwin). The 2/1 is pretty easy to kill and it’s better to immediately run it into something. It often depends on the matchup and on how easy it is for the enemy to deal with the 2/1 body. If you play against Reno Mage, which often passes turn 2 anyway, he will be thankful that you’ve just given him a great ping target. Or if you play against Aggro Warrior, who already has dropped N'Zoth's First Mate – then playing a 1 health minion is not really the best idea when you can charge it just a bit later, making it much more useful. But let’s say against Shaman, when going first – you either force a Coin + Maelstrom Portal, which slows down their development, or you have a way to kill their Trogg/Totem Golem. Or maybe against Druid, where you want to be aggressive and he wants to play t2 Wild Growth. If he does, you get some extra damage for free. If he doesn’t, that’s good for you anyway – it at least means no ramp.
Questing Miracle Rogue Combos and Synergies
Most important, and most obvious combo in this deck is the one between Gadgetzan Auctioneer and all the cheap spells. Once you drop Auctioneer in the late game, you can easily draw half of your deck in a single turn. 0 mana spells are free cycle with an extra effect, while the 1/2 mana spells are also very easy to combo, especially after gaining extra mana through Coins + Preparation. This is your main “win condition” in slow matchups.
Azure Drake‘s Spell Damage get some extra value in this deck. Most important synergies are the ones with Backstab (which turns into 0 mana for 3 damage) and Fan of Knives (which is the only “real” AoE Rogue has – 1 damage often isn’t enough). The second one can be often combined with Preparation to make a nice tempo board clear, especially against an Aggro deck.
The Rogue class has a lot of synergy with cheap spells, but mainly with the Coins. That’s why Tomb Pillager gives you a Coin and the new card – Counterfeit Coin – was printed. Coins can draw you a spell with Auctioneer, activate Combo cards like Eviscerate, make your Edwin VanCleef bigger and give your Questing Adventurer +1/+1 each. That’s why not wasting your Coins and waiting for a perfect opportunity to use them is important when playing this deck!
The main “burst finisher” of the deck is Leeroy Jenkins. By itself it does only 6 damage, which might not be enough, but the burst gets much more scary when you combine it with other Rogue cards – Cold Blood and Eviscerate. You can quite easily deal 10-14 damage in the late game, sometimes even more. If you combine all of those, it’s 22 damage in total!
Questing Miracle Rogue Matchup Advice
In this section, I’ll give a few quick tips on how to play in the most popular matchups.
- Aggro matchups are historically one of the worst ones for Rogue and it’s still the case. While Aggro Shaman one isn’t unwinnable, it’s definitely in the Shaman’s favor. There are, however, some ways to turn it around and I’ll focus on those.
- First of all – your deck runs no healing or Taunts AT ALL. It means that you want to reduce the damage taken as much as possible. For example, if Shaman the Southsea Deckhand, which spawns Patches the Pirate, you could theoretically kill both with your Hero Power over 2 turns. But you need to think to yourself – it’s it too much damage? It might actually be better to use Backstab to kill the 2/1 and stab the 1/1. You save yourself few points of damage. Don’t do that if you need that Backstab for some combo, but it’s always something to consider.
- There are two parts of this matchup. First is early game, where you want to clear the board as much as possible. Just kill everything Shaman plays, if you can. Taking some damage is okay if it means that you get the board control. Even a 1/1 sticking for multiple turns is terrible, because damage gets significant over time.
- Your mid game should be way superior – you should be able to outtempo the Shaman. Now, he will have hard time dealing any minion damage, because you should clear them right away. However, now you have to worry about the burn. Depending on how many health you’ve ended the first phase, you can have as little as 2-3 turns to finish the game. Maybe more if you are healthy, but it’s not that common. It means that you want to utilize the tempo tools you have and push for the face damage. Play Cold Bloods on your minions and put the Shaman on 2 turns clock. This often forces him to play his burn on your minions, which is fine by you – if the game slows down, you can use Auctioneer to refill your hand.
- Keeping Sap is a serious consideration, as the card is great in this matchup. It’s best against Flamewreathed Faceless, but Sapping something like a Totem Golem or a bigger Jade Golem can buy you some tempo.
- Aggro Shamans run no Hex, so a big Edwin VanCleef or Questing Adventurer in the early game can carry the game. If you get a good hand to support this plan, go all in – that’s your best chance to win. Just try to put it out of the Lava Burst range and you should be fine!
- It’s probably the worst matchup for Miracle Rogue in the current meta. And quite frankly, Miracle Rogue is probably the main reason why Pirate Warrior is still pretty popular. The matchup is completely one-sided and you can’t really do anything about it.
- As I’ve mentioned before, without any Taunts or Heals you want to take the least damage possible, but it’s not that easy. Most of the Shaman’s damage comes from “slow” minions, but it’s not the case with Warrior – the deck runs a lot of Charge minion and weapons, which you can’t stop. It means that you want to take the game as fast as possible. The longer it goes, the higher the chance is that Warrior draws the necessary burn to kill you. A lot of the games end around turn 5-6.
- To win this matchup, you need a heavy early game tempo. Start with a Pirate, have the Coin/Counterfeit Coin, get out something bigger (like big VanCleef or Tomb Pillager), Cold Blood your minions etc. Basically, it’s a race and Warrior has much higher chance to win this race.
- You need to draw your tempo tools like Backstab or Preparation – those allow you to deal with Warrior’s board while developing something at the same time.
- But the matchup is really miserable, it’s the most one-sided matchup for Rogue and it mostly depends on the draws.
- Matchup against Dragon Priest is pretty even and it honestly can go both ways. Dragon Priest is a weird deck, because even though it has almost no burn, burst etc. + has a lot of value cards, it also can have really good early/mid game tempo and rush you down. The longer the matchup goes, the better it is for you.
- Generally, the Dragon Priest is playing the beatdown role here and you’re defending yourself. Keep that in mind – your health total is precious and you can turn the matchup around in the mid/late game as long as you survive and keep the board relatively clear.
- The best way for Dragon Priest to win against you is to have a solid minion curve. You have hard time dealing with multiple mid range minions and Priest can easily put those on the board. Try to deal with their threats one by one, as soon as they hit the board – if you fall behind, it will be hard to come back.
- Big Edwin VanCleef isn’t best in this matchup, at least not until Priest has burned the Shadow Word: Death. Same goes for the Questing Adventurer. If you want to make those big, you also want to Conceal them right away so you won’t get outtempo’d by the SW:D.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer is absolutely disgusting in this matchup, if you can play him on a quite even board state or with the lead. If you Conceal it, the only way they can kill it is Dragonfire Potion. But even if they do, you should get immediate value from the few 0 mana spells you (hopefully) kept for the Auctioneer turn.
- After the Auctioneer turn, you want to tempo out every turn. Play Questing and Tomb Pillager one turn, Azure Drake + something next turn etc. – after 2-3 turns like that Priest should no longer have ways to answer your boards and once you have the board lead, you can outtempo him with Saps and put on a clock with Cold Bloods.
- The matchup is slightly in the Shaman’s favor, but it’s not that big of an advantage. Against Midrange Shaman, early game is most important – besides the Thing from Below they don’t have many high tempo plays in the mid/late game, so you should be able to win the tempo game. As long as you don’t die.
- And that’s the problem, because Midrange Shamans can have some really aggressive openings. While you can deal with the Pirates quite easily, Tunnel Trogg into Totem Golem is harder to kill. Also, since the current Rogue lists don’t run Shadow Strike, dealing with the Thing from Below is harder right now.
- You really want to open with the Pirate, especially Southsea Deckhand, as it lets you deal with Shaman’s early game plays (on turn 2 you can deal up to 4 damage with Southsea + Patches + Hero Power swing). Swashburglar + Patches is also okay, but not as good, because that 1 damage difference might actually matter.
- You want to keep the board absolutely clear. If you don’t, Flametongue Totem can make you very sad.
- Don’t go all in on a big VanCleef or Questing, at least not without Conceal – Hex can ruin your effort completely.
- Remember that most of the Midrange Shaman lists run Bloodlust, so try to play around it.
- When it comes to good sides of the matchup, Shamans have hard time dealing with Gadgetzan Auctioneer + Conceal. Also, if you clear their board, you should be able to outtempo them quite well – cards like Thunder Bluff Valiant are amazing when Shaman has board full of totems, but dropping it on the empty board and it eating Sap right a way is a huge tempo win for you. Face damage is also pretty precious against Shamans – some builds run Jinyu Waterspeaker. When setting up lethal, however, take all the Taunts into the Account – 2x Thing from Below, 2x Feral Spirit and a potential Taunt totem.
- Matchup vs RenoLock is really favorable for Rogue. You generally shouldn’t have hard time, because you don’t have to worry about your health total – their early game is very slow. RenoLock is also very susceptible to burst and you have a lot of burst. They also have very hard time dealing with a Stealthed Gadgetzan Auctioneer or early VanCleef. If you play this matchup right, it’s hard to lose.
- You really want to open with an early Pirate. Since RenoLock’s early game is very slow, he will often tap on turn 2/3, so a single Pirate (or well, two if you count Patches) can push for a lot of damage. You can also try going for the Cold Blood on Patches right away, it’s 5 instant damage and you put Warlock on having Mortal Coil. If he doesn’t, you’re in a great spot. And since it’s very early in the game and Warlock plays only 1, the odds are in your favor.
- Stab him in the face with your Hero Power. You won’t likely need that dagger for minions, because first minions he drop are often big. Get as much damage as possible – each Hero Power is 2 extra damage and just sitting on the dagger for the half of the game isn’t too useful. You can sit on 1 charge if you feel that you might need it. It also makes Acidic Swamp Ooze less punishing. The card isn’t great against you, but if he hits a full dagger it’s still 2 mana worth of tempo.
- Sap is one of the best cards in this matchup. It’s even better if you can Prep it out while playing something else. Prep works amazingly well on RenoLock’s slow turn 4 plays. If you can play something on top of Sapping or you already have some Pirates (possibly buffed with Cold Blood), the card might be dead, he might not be able to replay it without being afraid of dying.
- Conceal is great in this matchup. Use it after buffing your minion with Cold Blood to guarantee next attack. But try to focus on Concealing minions that are over 3 health, so they won’t die to Hellfire. You also want to get the Questing out of Hellfire’s range.
- Reno Jackson might be problematic, but it’s not game over for you at all. If you put enough mid game pressure, you should be able to force an early Reno when the Warlock still hasn’t dealt with your board. Reno is pretty weak if you have 10+ damage ready to punch him right away.
- Try to kill the minions (or Sap them) to play around Shadowflame.
- Try to set up lethal as soon as possible. The longer the game goes, the better it is for RenoLock. You want to finish it quite quickly. After putting the minion pressure, you should be able to finish him with Leeroy + burn combination.
- From turn 8 onwards, you don’t want to overcommit on the board. Have 2-3 minions at the same time to play around Twisting Nether. You should always have some ways to refill the board to keep the pressure. You don’t want to give the Warlock a turn when he can just develop whatever he wants.
- A lot of the Warlock builds still run Leeroy Jenkins combo, so if it’s late game and Warlock has already used Emperor Thaurissan, try to not get below 21 health.
- Back in the day, mirror matchups used to be much slower. Rogues used to rely on the strong Gadgetzan Auctioneer turns to cycle and find the burn. Right now, the games are much, much faster. With the early Pirate package, extra Coin, Questing etc. – you want to put as much pressure on the Rogue as possible. He’s in the same situation as you, no healing or Taunts at all, so each point of damage matters A LOT. If you can deal 10 damage with the early Pirates, you’re already in a great spot.
- Miracle mirror is all about the tempo. Player who has faster hand usually wins. That’s why besides the early Pirates, cards like Preparation or Sap are great in mirror, because they allow one player to remove the threat while having some extra mana to develop a minion himself.
- Rogues have no ways to interact with Concealed minions, besides Fan of Knives (which is at best 2 damage). That’s why an early Conceal can be quite powerful. For example, Concealing an early Questing or a minion with Cold Blood on can guarantee extra damage – a lot of extra damage.
- Tomb Pillager is also amazing, because it’s aggressively statted and gives an extra coin on death. Remember that it’s one of the best Sap targets (second best to the big VanCleef/Questing) so Sap it if it’s going to buy you the tempo.
- Trading? Nope. You should clear the minions with your Hero Power and spells, if possible. Trading isn’t a good idea if you have the initiative. If you get the opportunity to sneak some face damage without getting punished, by all means, do it. For example, 5 damage from Pillager is really juicy.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer is too slow in this matchup. Sometimes it comes to action by the end of the match, but the problem is that you have probably used most of your 0 mana spells already to buy the tempo. Gadgetzan + Conceal is great if the game is slower, because your opponent has exactly 0 ways to kill it. Now you should win the game in a turn or two, because by digging through the most of your deck you will probably find all the burn that’s necessary.
Questing Miracle Rogue Card Substitutions
Sadly for the F2P players, I don’t think that the Legendaries in this deck can be replaced that easily. Edwin VanCleef was always an important Rogue Legendary, but it got even better right now with all the cheap, aggressive cards in the deck. Patches the Pirate is the main reason why you run the early game Pirate core and it’s very powerful, as it gives you a great Cold Blood target early. Leeroy Jenkins is the deck’s burst finisher and it’s necessary in some matchups. However, if you really want to play a budget version of this deck, here are the replacements I would make:
- Edwin VanCleef and Patches the Pirate -> Shadow Strike or Violet Teacher or Earthen Ring Farseer. Those two Legendaries don’t have a direct replacements, because their effects are pretty unique. Deck’s quality would hurt quite a lot of without them, but it wouldn’t become unplayable.
- Leeroy Jenkins -> Southsea Deckhand. Deckhand is probably the best replacement, especially if you have Patches (then it will be another early Pirate to spawn it). Even if you don’t have Patches, it’s a nice early game card in fast matchups (you can play it on t3 as 2/1 with Charge after t2 Hero Power) and it can be a finisher in the slow matchups – while it doesn’t deal 6 damage by itself, it’s a nice cheap minions to combo with Cold Bloods. If you really worry about slow matchups (which you generally shouldn’t worry about right now), you can add Faceless Manipulator alongside Deckhand to your deck. This way Deckhand + 2x Cold Blood + Faceless is 20 damage burst. The alternative is also playing the Malygos version instead if you have that card, but to play Malygos you also need Emperor Thaurissan, so I can’t really call it a “budget option”.
I would like to remind you, however, that all the Legendaries in this deck are pretty important and replacing them might reduce the deck’s quality quite significantly.
Other, non-budget replacements might include:
Conceal was always a big part of the Rogue’s arsenal, but it’s not the best card in some matchups. Especially against Aggro, it’s nearly useless, while having another minion that spawns extra minions can boost your trading potential by a lot. That’s why some lists run Violet Teacher (most likely 1 copy) instead of the Conceal.
It’s just the matter of which matchups you face more and what approach you want to take. The change isn’t significant either way, it’s just a small boost for either fast or slow matchups.
I generally like Violet Teacher in Miracle Rogue, because the 3/5 body is quite solid for the trading against early game minions and the card can buy you some nice tempo – e.g. t4 Violet Teacher + Prep + Eviscerate is 3/5 + 2x 1/1 + 4 damage.
Most successful lists have dropped the SI:7 in favor of Questing Adventurer, but it’s mostly the matter of meta they face. High Legend meta is a little slower + Reno decks got really popular lately (e.g. Reno Mage’s rise in popularity was very noticeable). And Questing is much, much better against the slow lists.
SI:7 Agent is still a better choice against Aggro. So if you face a lot of Aggro decks, especially Pirate Warrior, playing SI:7 over Questing should increase your win rate quite a bit. You can rarely drop Questing on the curve without immediately playing some 0 mana spells, while SI:7 is okay-ish even as a 3/3 minion and the 2 damage can deal with some early minion.
I’d also say that SI:7 Agent is an easier minion to play correctly. Utilizing Questing Adventurer to it’s fullest potential requires a lot of experience with the deck. SI:7 is much more straightforward so I might recommend it to the newer player instead.
The card got a little worse with Midrange Shaman gone out of the meta, because now you don’t need a way to kill Thing from Below (which is really Sap-resistant, as it keeps the discounts even after Sapping it), as it is nearly out of the meta.
However, Shadow Strike is a solid tech card and can get into the meta whenever you will need that 5 damage again.
Instead of going for the Leeroy Jenkins + Cold Blood finishers, the alternative is to include the Malygos package. The deck looks and plays slightly different. Leeroy version is more of a mix between Tempo and Combo deck, but when you play the Malygos, it turns into something much closer to a Combo deck.
And so the deck’s play style is also slightly different. It’s much more unlikely to finish the game early through some Cold Blood shenanigans on the early Pirates. The deck has also a slightly weaker minion curve. However, it is more focused on the cycle, making getting to Auctioneer and then going through the whole deck easier.
Malygos version is probably better in slow matchups, especially the ones that can stop Leeroy through Taunts. So it should work better against for example RenoLock. On the other hand, I think that the Leeroy version, since the main “combo” requires less pieces, is more flexible in general and slightly better against Aggro decks. Both decks come from very experienced Rogue players, so both should be competitively viable. Which one is better? It’s probably impossible to tell yet.
If you want to see the Malygos decklist, check out the ShtanUdachi’s version here.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!