Our Miracle Rogue deck list guide will teach you how to pilot this popular deck! Our guide features mulligan, play, and card replacement strategies!
Miracle Rogue has been a deck archetype since before the Hearthstone Beta was even released, where players were testing out the cards on simulators. However the basis for the more modern builds was popularized by Kolento in February 2014. The archetype has changed many times since then, but the basic premise of Miracle decks remains the same. One of the attractions of learning Miracle Rogue is that it is a very hard deck to master, and therefore very rewarding when you become proficient in playing the deck. The skills learned transfer from expansion to expansion, and the best Miracle Rogue players are usually good at all styles of the deck.
Historically, Rogue decks have always been fast, playing on the board and dominating it through early tempo plays, accumulating an advantage until it becomes insurmountable for the opponent. This is usually achieved by playing multiple cheap cards that synergize with each other in quick succession. Unfortunately, that often leaves Rogues with an empty hand and an all-in on the current line of play. This weakness is alleviated to a great extent by the deck’s cornerstone card, Gadgetzan Auctioneer and to a lesser extent by other cards that create extra resources such as Swashburglar, Mimic Pod and of course, Valeera the Hollow. Those enable the Rogue player to go for the high tempo swing turns that the class is known for, while still leaving them with enough cards after that to recover if something goes wrong.
Additionally, due to those same tempo plays, Miracle Rogue usually has space in the deck for some large minions with which to overwhelm the board in the later stages and secure the win. Edwin VanCleef and Arcane Giant are very significant threats that synergize with the high amount of cheap spells Rogues throw at the opponent and each of them doubles up with its Shadow Reflection in the post-Valeera phase to create enormous amounts of pressure.
Update – Miracle Rogue October 2017
Miracle Rogue is not in the greatest spot at the moment, and the list might be better without the vanish tech, but it’s still a bit too early to tell. The Aggro/Tempo Prince Rogue list is the dominant deck for the class currently.
Miracle Rogue Mulligan Strategy & Guide
The mulligan section will be divided into two parts – 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. Murloc Paladin, Midrange Hunter). Slow decks are slower Midrange (e.g. Token Shaman) and Control decks (e.g. Highlander Priest, Handlock).
VS Fast Decks
The priority when playing against aggro is to get through the early game with enough health that by the time you develop a stronger board they can’t afford to ignore it with a push for lethal. Prioritize removal and tempo plays and react to threats as soon as possible, only go for card advantage lines when the situation allows it. Use your hero power to trade proactively – if you can kill a minion with it, regardless of how much damage it deals, that’s usually a good idea since that means it won’t be hitting you repeatedly. Of course, make sure to be careful with how often you do that and use removal when a minion’s attack is too high. If you don’t have removal, it’s always correct to hit it with the face.
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Backstab – This is your quintessential early game removal. Cheap, efficient and excellent at activating combos. Not only do you keep it every time, against the fast decks that threaten to snowball board presence you actively mulligan for it, especially against murlocs.
- SI:7 Agent – The only thing that’s better than Backstab is when it comes attached to a 3/3 body for no cost at all. Works extremely well with the former and if coined out on turn 2 it can straight up win the game against aggro, removing minions and trading, often more than once.
- Swashburglar – Most importantly, he’s a pirate that will summon a free 1/1 charger to contest the opponent’s board presence. Two 1/1s, one of which with charge and one that gives you a card is incredibly efficient and one of the best possible early game plays this deck can make.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Eviscerate – Although it’s a great removal spell, Evis requires a lot out of the player. The combo means that you have to throw another card alongside it with no return other than increased damage. Keep if you expect you will have to hit a key threat that your other early game can’t deal with or you can line it up against minions that threaten to snowball, such as Frothing Berserker or Murloc Warleader.
- Fan of Knives and Preparation– AoE that cycles itself is really good, but many threats nowadays won’t go down to only 1 point of damage. With Prep however, you can fit other things into your Fan turn (at least a hero power) in order to clear the board and the card disadvantage of the combo is at least somewhat mitigated by the draw from Fan of Knives. It is also an excellent combination with Bloodmage Thalnos that provides the critical 2-damage board clear for the Token Aggro Druid matchup.
- Edwin VanCleef – This is a fine keep only if you already have at least one cheap card in hand, preferably more (such as Backstab and Counterfeit Coin). A big Edwin in the early game will buy you a lot of time against aggro – if they decide to trade their small minions in then you are free to develop your game plan going forward; if they choose to ignore him then you can value trade or switch to an aggressive stance and downright outrace them.
VS Slow Decks
Against control you want to prioritize card advantage and powerful swing turns. This variation of the deck plays Valeera the Hollow, which is where you want to be at versus the slower decks, so cycling through your deck and finding her is the ideal line of play whenever possible.
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Swashburglar – Although not exactly for the same reasons, this rascal is a perfect keep against control just as it is against aggro. Here though, you’re looking for the card advantage, as well as providing some early pressure with Patches the Pirate.
- Mimic Pod – When you know for a fact that you are against a slow deck, this is a fantastic keep. Card advantage is the name of the game and this generates a lot of it, especially if it hits something particularly valuable.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – Again only against decks that won’t pressure you too much, Gadget is a priority keep – most of your deck is full of cheap spells with the exact purpose of being cycled with Gadget while providing their own value. He will also speed up you finding Valeera, which is crucial in capitalizing on your late game threats.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Vilespine Slayer – Although it’s a fantastic unconditional removal with a body, only keep Vilespine when going second (with The Coin) or when you have your own Counterfeit Coin already.
- Edwin VanCleef – If you see an opportunity during the mulligan phase to pull off an early Edwin, go for it. Keep only with at least one other 0 or 1-cost spell when going second and two of those when going first. Especially good if those spells provide some sort of card advantage like Hallucination, which negates the downside of throwing them away alongside Edwin.
- Valeera the Hollow – And last but not least, Valeera herself. This is that card that you want the most against all slow decks, but at 9 mana it’s very hard to justify keeping her in the opening hand. However, if you know that the deck you are facing will not pressure you early and you have a good midgame play available in your hand already, do keep her.
Miracle Rogue Win Rates
Miracle Rogue General Game Plan and Play Strategy
The Miracle playstyle is usually associated with high tempo plays that are Rogue’s signature move and massive swing turns in which the deck pilot turns the game around with powerful combo synergies. This deck that we are featuring here discerns itself from other traditional Miracle Rogues by including the package of Valeera the Hollow and double Vanish, which prior to Knights of the Frozen Throne would be considered something between crazy innovation and borderline insanity. Vanish in particular is in contradiction with the Miracle playstyle, something we call a “nonbo” (from non-combo or anti-combo) since the Rogue deck usually relies on setting up a board with which to win. Historically, builds that burst from the hand have been both popular and successful, but contemporary variations have very much moved away from that playstyle.
As weird as it may sound, the deck uses Vanish to do exactly that – set up a large board. Of course, it also has very important defensive capabilities, acting as a de facto board clear for the Rogue player, however the reason it’s so powerful here is because we are able to turn the symmetrical effect into our advantage by capitalizing on the fact that we bring the cards back into our hand and re-developing a board with them. This is mainly achieved with Arcane Giant, but we also get return value on all of our battlecry minions, most notably cards like Swashburglar or Vilespine Slayer, sometimes even Edwin VanCleef.
The reason we can use Vanish so effectively is the other part of that pair – Valeera the Hollow. Typically a 9-cost card would never be played in Rogue, especially in the post-WotoG days when Standard arrived and rotated out all of the neutral tools that allowed Rogues to play a controlling style of deck. However, the power of Valeera is so great that currently even the immortal archetype of Miracle Rogue has adapted its playstyle in order to include it. Valeera the Hollow allows us to get a lot more mileage out of our cards. Although she is a good defensive option for one turn herself, we really do need the Vanish on the turn after Valeera in order to deal with the opponent’s threats and take control over the board with the added value of Valeera’s Death’s Shadow, that allows us to drop more huge minions than we normally would be able to.
This deck is defined by the Death Knight and very often lives or dies depending on whether or not she is played. A very important skill to acquire is maneuvering the game to get to your post-Valeera phase with enough health and resources that you can get the card advantage flowing. This is easier said than done, but you have enough removal at your disposal to get through the early to midgame relatively safe. Your game plan will vary between matchups and archetypes, but the general goal remains that of “get to play Valeera the Hollow”.
For familiar Miracle Rogue players, even with the inclusion of the Vanish+Valeera package and despite that it alters the deck in a big way, the deck hasn’t changed very much and the skills a good Miracle player has developed are easily transferable through expansions and iterations of the modern lists. The deck starts really slowly (the only high tempo turn you can make early is a big Edwin) and really takes off in the mid game (there is an argument for Coin into SI:7 being a really powerful turn but while the tempo is undeniable, the impact can vary wildly between matchups).
Aggro matchups are hardest. Without almost any defensive tools, Miracle Rogue was always countered by one thing – face rush. And so, Pirate Warrior is one of the hardest matchup, so is Aggro Token Druid. Those matchups are of course winnable, but don’t expect to have too high win rate against those decks. They are the natural counter to Miracle Rogue and there is little you can do about it.
Your highest priority in those matchups is to kill everything and not take too many damage while doing that. Think about long-term survivability. Try to trade into everything and don’t be afraid to use your face to do so, but keep track of your life total. Stabbing something hurts, but in the long run you protect your health pool more by preemptively eliminating a source of repeating damage rather than letting it hit you over and over again.
Swashburglar is a great early game drop, because it’s a very high tempo move – two bodies, one of which has charge and you get an extra card. This is about as impactful as your early game proactive plays go.
One of the best early game moves is making a huge Edwin VanCleef. Try to get it as big as possible. Even using Preparation or Coin for nothing, just to get +2/+2, might be a good idea some of the time. Having an 8/8 or 10/10 in the early turns can win you the game, because now instead of trading you can start racing the opponent. If you combine it with removal or Sap, you should win that race very easily since you can usually put them on a 3-turn clock and they can’t really get rid of the big body (because aggro decks don’t run hard removal).
When it comes to Aggro matchups, you often start turning the game around on turn 4-5. Vilespine Slayer is an amazing tempo card that can deal with some of the bigger minions that aggro decks play such as Bittertide Hydra and SI:7 Agent can provide enough tempo to matter even in the midgame.
If you didn’t take too much damage, try to play Gadgetzan Auctioneer as soon as possible. While it’s not your main win condition in these matchups, it might still act like a quasi-Taunt and cycling a few cards is good, because playing more spells brings you closer to big Arcane Giants. If you’re not dead at this point, try dropping a Giant or two to threaten closing up the game. Your opponent should be running out of cards and you should actually start drawing more and more. At that point of the game it often depends on how well your opponent top decks. You generally should be pretty low – if they get more “slow” minions, then you win. If they get their burn – you probably lose. This has held through for almost the entirety of Miracle Rogue’s lifespan and is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Games versus slower decks are a lot more favored for the Rogue player, especially with the added value of Valeera, however they are also much more difficult to navigate properly. A control deck will take its time to pressure your life total, but you need to have good knowledge of the matchups and preferably the opponent’s exact decklist in order to get ahead. Identifying how your threats and answers line up against each other is the most important skill to have, because in a matchup where you can take your time to sculpt your hand to execute your exact game plan it’s critical to know what to sculpt in the first place.
For instance, going for a huge Edwin is much more risky against slow decks. I would definitely not go all-in on the Edwin. Getting it to 6/6 or maybe 8/8 if you can do that without committing too many resources is fine, but more than that is just not necessary. If your opponent can’t kill it, 8/8 will be enough to keep their attention or even kill them. However, a control deck is a lot more likely to run hard removal and have an answer to your big minion than not, so an over-investment of resources can spell doom for the Rogue player.
The most important virtue to have in the slower matchups is patience. You want to be saving tour cheap spells for a big Gadgetzan Auctioneer turn rather than wasting them for incremental advantages that might not end up accumulating in your favor. Control decks run powerful answers and can clear big boards with a single card, so you should be looking to get more mileage out of everything you have. Cards that generate value should be kept for as long as possible, in order to double up on it during the Valeera phase of your gameplay, which cheap spells should be used to powercycle through your deck with Gadget in order to find the aforementioned Valeera. It’s very important to plan your Auctioneer turns. You don’t expect them to survive, so you need to get all the draws upfront. You want to drop him on 6 only if you have multiple 0 mana spells to go with it. You plan to draw at least 5 cards, because you really need that cycle. If you have two Auctioneers, you can go lighter on the first one and bait a removal at the same time.
Another amazing card in slow matchups is Vilespine Slayer. There are two best uses for the card. First is to deal with their first midrange threat before you go into your power turns. Another use is as a supplementary card on your tempo turn. Play 2-3 minions and kill their biggest threat with Vilespine. The tempo gain from killing a big drop is very real and sometimes it can be enough to establish a threatening board. Opponents might have to spend their whole turn to re-play the big minion and you kill it for 5 mana while playing a 3/4 at the same time.
The basic win condition of the deck is to constantly re-flood the board turn after turn (after you have played Valeera), so eventually your opponent runs out of ways to deal with it. Hopefully, it happens before you run out of cards. It’s important to mention that this deck tends to draw a lot of cards and usually doesn’t have the capability to put cards back in the deck, so you have to make sure to win in a timely manner before fatigue becomes a real issue.
Here are some of the more important interactions you should be on the lookout for and should be trying to put together:
- Backstab + SI:7 Agent allows you to deal with a 4-health minion while developing a 3/3 in the same time. Most notably you are looking to do this against Pirate Warrior’s Frothing Berserker, as well as comboing those two with Eviscerate to deal with a Bittertide Hydra.
- Bloodmage Thalnos + Fan of Knives is an excellent combination against aggressive decks and a very important answer for Token Druid’s Living Mana.
- Counterfeit Coin + SI:7 Agent/ Vilespine Slayer will allow you to activate a powerful combo pre-curve and dominate the board, so always save the coin for one of those minions if you are not powercycling through an Auctioneer turn.
- Vanish + Arcane Giant allows you to further discount Giants. Simply throw a two or three-cost Giant down with your Vanish and all of them will be discounted for next turn.
- Vanish + Swashburglar lets you get incredible value out of your burglars if you have any remaining in the lategame. In the post-Valeera phase, you can play Swashburglar, Swashburglar (the Valeera copy) and Vanish, which will net you two extra cards and turn your second burglar into a permanent copy of it in your hand. You can use both of them on later turns for even more card advantage and of course, each of them can be copied by Valeera for further value.
- Vanish + Arcane Giant in the post-Valeera phase does the same thing as bouncing burglars but this time you are making extra 8/8s. This allows you to turn a single Giant into 4 giants, which will often be a lot more than the opponent can deal with.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Turning into the Death Knight Valeera the Hollow is the most important thing when playing this deck – cycle through your library and prioritize finding her.
- Vanish should be conserved exclusively for the turns after you have played Valeera… unless you have no other option and have to play it to not die this turn.
- Turn Death’s Shadow minions into permanent cards by playing them and bouncing them back with Vanish.
- Try to use cards that replace themselves when going for a big Edwin VanCleef – you don’t want to run out cards and be blown out by hard removal.
- The ideal stat line for Edwin is 8/8 – it’s awkward to deal with for the opponent, you only need to play 3 cards to achieve it and most often than not, it provides the same clock on your opponent that a 10/10 would.
- Don’t be afraid of not maximizing value from your cards. Use a Preparation to enable a Vilespine Slayer if you don’t have other means to do so – it’s better than not killing something big.
- Use your hero power to protect your board as much as possible, you are going to need it.
Miracle Rogue Card Substitutions
Cards that cannot be replaced:
- Valeera the Hollow – The point of this deck is to outvalue others with Valeera. If you don’t have her, play a more traditional version of Miracle instead.
- Vanish – A basic card is free and shouldn’t need to be replaced, but I’d like to stress how crucial it is to have them for your post-Valeera turn.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The cornerstone card of the Miracle Rogue and your primary draw engine.
- Arcane Giant – This is how you want to win the game, by overwhelming the opponent with Giants and their Shadow Reflections.
Cards that can be replaced (with varying degrees of efficiency):
- Edwin VanCleef – It is recommended that you run him, especially with Valeera, but at the end of the day he is just another threat, so he can be replaced by other cards that provide pressure.
- Vilespine Slayer – An Assassinate on a stick is better, but when all is said and done it is basically another removal spell. The OG Assassinate is a free basic alternative and damage-based removal can do the trick too, so Shadow Strike is another alternative at Common.
- Patches the Pirate – While nothing is quite as effective and powerful as a free 1/1 with immediate impact, it’s an anti-aggro card that tries to assemble board presence for the Rogue player. You can either alter your deck with more removal, play another cheap minion such as Razorpetal Lasher or another charging minion such as Southsea Deckhand.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – In the wise words of user Opacho down in the comment section, the best possible replacement for Thalnos is actually Shiv.”People always say Kobold Geomancer or Loot Hoarder, but don’t trust them. These as a separate cards are just not good enough.
Of course every card has its cons and pros.
– Shiv doesn’t work well with Fan of Knives, because you lose the AoE damage boost, but it’s still a 5 mana mini-swipe.
– You can only boost one damage spell.
– Bloodmage Thalnos is still a 1/1 body.
– Shiv could be cycle with Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
– It discounts Arcane Giants cost.
– Bloodmage Thalnos can be stolen with Potion of Madness.
– Shiv + SI:7 Agent = 3 damage
– You can combine it with Prearation.
– Bloodmage Thalnos costs 1600 of dust, Shiv is free.”