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 Call to Arms shakes out.
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 – This quartet 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/Spiteful Priest – 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.
Odd Hunter – This is a very good matchup for you as long as you can find a one-drop: you will almost always be able to shut down their repetitive minion-based damage and go from there – at that point, their potential damage output is surprisingly limited. Don’t be afraid to use your face to take over the board in the first few turns, but, similarly to Tempo Mage, refrain from doing so later on. I usually also try to trade in my tokens in order to reduce the effectiveness of Unleash the Hounds. Get your Cold Bloods going as soon as possible: it will almost always warrant a burn spell or a concession.
Odd Rogue Card Substitutions
While the inclusion of Gluttonous Ooze was good enough to get me to top 200 Legend, it’s really only effective against Warlock’s turn 5 Skull of the Man'ari play or to snipe something like a Vinecleaver in Odd Paladin – meaning it’s a relatively safe swap if you’re not getting results with it: generally, a second Ironbeak Owl is considered to be a standard inclusion.
There’s also the question of how reliably are you able to gain board control in the few turns: if that’s a struggle for you either due to the way you play or the opponents you face, Fungalmancer may not be the right card for you. Kobold Scalebane is a perfectly reasonable alternative if you’re going for a slightly slower approach, or you could even go back to the raw version of this deck that simply ran Sinister Strikes to give the deck some elusive burn from hand. If you face a lot of Paladins, either a second Kobold Apprentice or a Fan of Knives or two could help you pick up some extra wins.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that teching against control decks is really quite futile beyond a certain point: if you’re facing an overwhelming number of them, honestly the best solution is to just swap to Quest Rogue and start farming them. Don’t sacrifice too many tempo tools to eek out a few extra percentage points in these matchups!