Our Miracle Rogue deck list guide for the The Witchwood expansion and will teach you how to play this archetype. This Miracle Rogue guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Miracle Rogue has been a deck archetype since before the Hearthstone Beta was even released, when 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, and the original concept of growing minions comes and goes, but many features of Miracle decks have remained the same, especially their heavy emphasis on card draw and swing turns. 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, in the current meta, the tempo gained by Rogue is dwarfed by simple tempo plays available to other classes. While Rogue is able to deal with some powerful swing cards, such as Spiteful Summoner and Possessed Lackey thanks to Sap, other cards render Sap nearly useless, for example the wide boards generated by Call to Arms and the ever-returning demons from Skull of the Man'ari. Combined with Rogue’s weakness to the direct burn of Secret Mage and the endless board clears of Big Spell Mage, Miracle Rogue finds itself in a very challenging position in the current meta.
Miracle Rogue can still pull off some impressive plays where Gadgetzan Auctioneer draws rapidly through the Rogue’s deck and summons a number of Spiders generated by Fal'dorei Strider in the process, and some impressive lethal puzzles where Leeroy Jenkins, Shadowstep, and Sap combine forces to push through formidable barriers, but the deck is more difficult to play and less powerful than the main meta decks at the moment.
Update: Miracle Rogue (April 2018 – The Witchwood)
The guide below is not up-to-date yet, however, the deck above is the currently most popular version. We will be updating the deck guide in the very near future, thank you for your patience!
Cards Being Moved to Wild
These cards will no longer be available to Miracle Rogue once the rotation hits and Year of the Raven goes live.
- Counterfeit Coin
- Swashburglar (Uncommon after Patches the Pirate nerf, but I’ve seen some build still playing it)
- Arcane Giant (Not played in this build, but some do play it)
New Cards from The Witchwood
These cards have the possibility of fitting into the deck, but we won’t know for sure until the expansion releases.
Miracle Rogue Mulligan Strategy & Guide
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, you do not have cards that can deal well with an established board. 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 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 two it can be a key piece in winning the game against aggro, as it can often remove multiple minions.
- Fire Fly – Miracle Rogue does not really have things to do on Turn one, and Fire Fly gives you something to play early on as well as a combo activator for later.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- 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.
- Fal'dorei Strider – The tempo gained from free Spiders can swing any game in your favor. Against aggressive decks, you also need some early game, but if you already have something from the higher priority list, keeping a Fal’dorei Strider can be immensely useful.
VS Slow Decks
Against control you want to prioritize proactive threats – you are the beatdown and need to end the game before the opponent stabilizes.
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Fal'dorei Strider – Getting those Spiders into your deck early is the best way to out-tempo your opponent and win the game.
- Elven Minstrel – If you can’t find the minions you want, go for the minion that can help you draw the minions you want. Elven Minstrel is a key piece in finding enough threats to win the game.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- 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.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – Your main draw engine. Keep together with Fal’dorei Spider to find those Spiders from your deck faster.
- Sap – Sap is extremely good to bounce back minions that have been cheated out early – minions from Spiteful Summoner, Possessed Lackey, or Barnes, in particular. When you throw them back to the opponent’s hand, they need to play them for full cost next time. A very situational keep, but sometimes the right one.
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’s pilot turns the game around with powerful combo synergies. Historically, builds that burst from hand have been both popular and successful, and the current Miracle Rogue builds have a respectable amount of burst from hand, especially with Leeroy Jenkins, Shadowstep, and two copies of Cold Blood, all of which can combine to up to 20 damage from hand for ten mana, even though Cold Bloods are most of the time used for damage already before the final burst.
However, the deck generally does not have enough damage from hand, and needs to get in chip damage from the board first. Fal'dorei Strider and the Spiders it generates are the key damage dealers: if you can shuffle some Spiders into your deck early on, your Auctioneer draw turn will often pull multiple of them from the deck, possibly overwhelming the opponent.
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 the hardest. With almost no defensive tools, Miracle Rogue has always been countered by one thing – face rush. And so, Secret Mage is one of the hardest matchups, as is Murloc Paladin. Those matchups are of course winnable, but don’t expect to have too high of a win rate against such decks. They are the natural counter to Miracle Rogue and there is little you can do about it.
Your highest priority in aggressive matchups is to kill everything and not take too much damage while doing so. 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. This strategy can work especially against Paladin, as their reach without a board is limited. Things are less rosy against Secret Mage, who can typically burn you down in the midgame.
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 three-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 turns four and five. 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.
Games versus slower decks are more favored for the Rogue player, 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 matchup and preferably the opponent’s exact decklist in order to get ahead.
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 your 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. It’s very important to plan your Auctioneer turns. You don’t expect Auctioneer to survive, so you need to get all the draws upfront. You want to drop him on 6 only if you have multiple zero-mana spells to go with him. If you have two Auctioneers, you can go lighter on the first one and bait a removal at the same time. If at all possible, try to play Fal'dorei Strider before your Auctioneer turn: use Elven Minstrel before Auctioneer for a better chance to find the Strider and also to remove some minions from your deck so that you are more likely to keep drawing spells on the Auctioneer turn.
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 – such as a big random minion from Spiteful Summoner – 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. Because cheating out minions is very common in Kobolds and Catacombs meta, Sap can often be as good as Vilespine Slayer: the opponent often cannot replay the sapped minion immediately, as it was originally summoned by a Recruit effect or similar. Both cards have their uses and are important pieces of the Miracle puzzle.
The basic win condition of the deck is to constantly re-flood the board turn after turn, 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: many Miracle Rogue games are won with no cards left in your deck, while the opponent still has a third of their deck remaining. Be careful with your Auctioneers and kill them off if necessary, or you may fatigue yourself pulling off a lethal combo.
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 four-health minion while developing a 3/3 in the same time. You can also combo those two with Eviscerate to deal with a Mountain Giant.
- Bloodmage Thalnos + Fan of Knives is an excellent combination against aggressive decks and a very important answer for Murloc Paladin’s Call to Arms.
- 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.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- 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:
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – The cornerstone card of the Miracle Rogue and your primary draw engine.
- Fal'dorei Strider – Your main means of generating board pressure.
Cards that can be replaced (with varying degrees of efficiency):
- Edwin VanCleef – It is recommended that you run him, 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. Assassinate is a free basic alternative, and damage-based removal can do the trick too, so Shadow Strike is another alternative at Common.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – While Thalnos’ combination of spell damage and card draw is perfect for Miracle Rogue, it is not strictly mandatory. The top replacement used to be Shiv, but the current deck already runs two copies of it. You are best off adding another cheap spell, such as Shadowstep or Hallucination. If you have it, Shaku, the Collector can also be a worthy replacement.
- Leeroy Jenkins – While Leeroy is the best option for burst damage, Southsea Deckhand can also sometimes get the job done. There’s also Reckless Rocketeer, but her mana cost makes her more difficult to use effectively.
- Preparation – A key card for pulling off strong Auctioneer turns, but Hallucination can serve if you really can’t spare the dust.