Odd Rogue Mulligan Strategy & Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Dire Mole/Fire Fly/Argent Squire – The fight for board control starts on turn 1, and you really should be gunning hard for one of those early-game minions in order to get involved as fast as possible. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to hard-mulligan for them: without fail, these matchups are always going to revolve around a fight for board control, in which your Poisoned Dagger is undoubtedly one of the greater assets available to you, and is almost always your desirable play on the second turn. Dire Mole is preferable when you don’t have the Coin, but otherwise it can be fairly useful to go wide (especially against something like an Odd Paladin). Your other one-drops are not meant to be played on the first turn unless it’s absolutely necessary: Cold Blood into an Eviscerate and Hench-Clan Thug – Since you almost always dagger up on turn 2, this card essentially starts out as a 3 mana 4/4 and goes from there: if your opponent fails to clear it early on, it can single-handedly win you the game.
- SI:7 Agent – If you have the Coin or if you have a good curve and can reliably expect to combo this on turn 4 thanks to something like a Fire Fly, it’s an excellent card in aggro matchups. However, keep in mind that it’s a risky keep on its own and you are too fragile as a Rogue to try to fight back with it on turns 5-6, meaning you can’t just keep it without supporting tools and expect it to save you.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Tar Creeper – Against fellow minion-based aggro decks, this card can be a real nuisance: it single-handedly beats Odd Hunter and is also very effective in the mirror. If you don’t have at least two of the other cards you’re looking for, you might want to keep this as you’re more likely to fall behind on the board in the early turns.
- Kobold Apprentice – Specifically against Paladin, this little kobold can help you recover the board from the janky 1/1s your opponent has likely dropped down over the course of the first few turns. Unless you tech in Fan of Knives, it’s quite difficult to deal with multiple small targets, meaning Kobold Apprentice can be very useful if you know your opponent is going to play tiny enough minions that it can reliably clear them when it’s played. (Basically: only keep it if you would prefer its effect to an SI:7’s on the third or fourth turn.)
- Southsea Deckhand – Sometimes, when you’re going second, it’s desirable to keep the charger to play alongside your weapon in a bid to fight for board control.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Dire Mole/Fire Fly/Argent Squire – Again, you need to hit the ground running in these matchups.
- Hench-Clan Thug – Since this deck can’t rely on burn damage from hand to finish off the opponents, we really need a minion like this to be a consistent source of repetitive damage early in the game.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Vicious Fledgling – It serves the same purpose as a Hench-Clan Thug, and you generally only want to keep one of them. In most cases, the Thug is preferable as it can gain extra health immediately and is harder to remove because of that, but you really need something to deal repetitive damage early on or else you’ll be bullied off the board as the game progresses.
- Cold Blood – If you have a one-drop to go along with it (especially if it’s Argent Squire as it has to be damaged twice), this can also be that source of necessary early-game damage you’re looking for against slower opponents.
Odd Rogue Win Rates
Odd Rogue Play Strategy
With Odd Rogue, the game-winning decisions usually come down to finding the right moment to commit to an all-out attack. While a guide like this cannot comprehensively go through every single potential break point, here are a few general guidelines along with a few pointers specifically for each of the major matchups!
First and foremost, try to avoid completely emptying your hand: if a game drags out, having an extra token on board or pre-equipping Deadly Poison is a million times less useful than triggering a combo on your topdecks. Granted, there aren’t that many of those in this particular deck, but the ones you do have to work with are really powerful: Cold Blood, SI:7 Agent and, most importantly, Vilespine Slayer all require you to play something, anything, before you get their effect, and that can be the difference between winning and losing a close game.
Also, whenever you’re not under pressure in the early turns, resist the temptation to go face with your shiny new Poisoned Dagger on turn 2. It’s especially true when you have a Hench-Clan Thug in hand, but even otherwise you might be hard-pressed to find that extra two mana to re-dagger in the mid-game.
With that being said, here are some matchup-specific notes:
Even Paladin/Odd Paladin/Murloc Paladin – The key in understanding these fairly difficult matchups is that you will eventually fall behind on board and you usually won’t be able to turn back the tide – therefore you probably should only resort to important value-trades most of the time and try to get in as much face damage as possible somewhere between turns 3-5, depending on how much mid game tempo they have.
Mirror Match – Just like in the old Face Hunter mirror days, this is a brutal knife fight for the first few turns, the outcome of which almost always determines the victor. The extra damage you dish out by taking over the board is usually insurmountable, so you should almost always just focus on doing so instead of prioritizing face damage – except, of course, when you’re falling behind and Leeroy Jenkins is your last chance to win.
Quest Rogue – Hit them, and hit them hard. Don’t overtrade: once they complete the quest, you only have one turn at most to close out the game due to Vicious Scalehide’s healing capabilities. Only trade with the bounce-candidate minions if they are left on the board: these games call for a mace, not a dagger.
Cubelock/Control Warrior/Taunt Druid/Control Mage/Quest Priest – Those decks will give you a lot of trouble as they all have the toolkit to simply close you out by heals and taunts relatively early on. Your best chance to win is to deal disproportionate minion damage in the early turns either with a one-drop and Cold Blood or relying on one of Fledgling or Thug. It’s worth risking an immediate loss to Hellfire or Brawl against these decks as you are quite unlikely to win the long game anyway.
Tempo Mage – You are very likely to take over the board over the course of the first few turns, meaning the normal progression of the game favors you. This means that the most important aspect of this matchup is to minimize the face damage so that you are more safe from burn spells: it’s absolutely fine to make a few unfavorable trades in order to avoid using your dagger against this particular foe.
Spiteful Druid – These games are fairly similar to a mirror match apart from the fact that your opponents will have inevitability on their side: still, you are going to have to fight for board control as long as possible with the added caveat that you really should reserve your Vilespine Slayers and have them locked and loaded by turn 6 whenever possible in order to avoid a blowout.
Even Shaman – It’s important to control the board early, so they won’t be able to take advantage of their buffs, such as Flametongue Totem or Earthen Might – those can get a lot of value on the early totems. In the mid game, you need to start hitting them hard, as they have quite a nice late game scaling. Don’t worry about AoEs until the late game – they can’t play Lightning Storm or Volcano, so the only AoEs you want to play around are Hagatha the Witch and Kalimos, Primal Lord.
Miracle Rogue – Pressure, pressure, pressure. In the mid/late game, they will have a lot of the ways to out-tempo you, but you should dominate the early game. Try to deal as much minion damage as possible – every single point counts, because Miracle builds have no Taunts or healing. Try to get them as low as possible and then use all of your resources to deal more face damage – hit them for 2 every turn and use Charge minions to close out the game.
Spell Hunter – Put pressure, but don’t overcommit. Remember that Hunter can’t deal a lot of AoE damage – both Explosive Trap and Deathstalker Rexxar deal 2, while Unleash the Hounds is a pseudo 1 damage AoE. Try to stick some minions that have higher health and will survive those. Play around traps – three most common are Explosive, Freezing Trap and Wandering Monster. Try to set up a strong board before Turn 5, because upgraded Lesser Emerald Spellstone can actually turn the whole game around.
Odd Rogue Card Substitutions
When it comes to the cost, Odd Rogue is a relatively cheap deck, but it still runs a few high cost cards. I’ll take a closer look at them to see whether they can be replaced or not.
- Vilespine Slayer – It’s an amazing tempo play and a great way to get through big Taunts, but it might be hard to reliably activate without Coin. The card is great, but you can play the deck without it.
- Leeroy Jenkins – Deck’s main reach card, if you get your opponent down low, Leeroy (possibly with Cold Blood) will often be the way to close out the games. Against, great card, but not absolutely necessary.
- Baku the Mooneater – Obviously, if you want to build the Odd Rogue deck, you need Baku.
And here are the potential substitutes, as well as other “general” tech cards you can try out:
- Acherus Veteran or Glacial Shard – It’s an aggressive deck, so it might always benefit from more 1-drops.
- Plague Scientist – A somewhat okay replacement for the Vilespine Slayer. It’s cheaper, but less reliable, as you need another small minion on the board (or Southsea Deckhand) to take full advantage of its effect.
- Captain Greenskin – Not really a “budget” option, but it can somewhat replace Leeroy. Turning a 2/2 weapon into a 3/3 weapon basically adds 5 extra damage over the few turns, even more if you also have Deadly Poison. On the other hand, it’s bad if you don’t have weapon equipped and mediocre if you have a 2/1 weapon.