This guide was created by the deck’s author – Jambre (Source) and edited for HSTD by me (Stonekeep). We have his permission to post it here!
I built this Hand Paladin Day 1 of the expansion and have refined it to what it is today. I climbed from Rank 5 to Legend on EU and NA, and climbed to top 20 Legend on NA with it (proof).
If you prefer a video guide with gameplay examples I made a 30 minute video on my YouTube here:
The deck aims to take advantage of great hand size generators to cheat out big minions – Twilight Drake, Mountain Giant followed by Faceless Rager are your big minions, while Glowstone Technician can buff your large hand size for a lot of value.
With all the ways to generate 1 drops, Magic Carpet becomes a powerhouse for board control, keeping your opponent under control and allowing your big minions to hit face.
Beaming Sidekick – This 1 drop is very efficient and makes up 1/3 of our Crystology package. Combos include: Buffing Brazen Zealot early to keep it alive. Comboing on a big minion with Faceless Rager to make another big minion. Shouldn’t be kept in mulligan unless you have something you want to combo with.
Brazen Zealot – Very powerful 1 drop that demands removal. Can sometimes snowball if played on 1 to trade up in mana or deliver a lot of face damage. In the mid-game you can play this as your first minion on Magic Carpet turns and it will often grow to 6+ attack allowing you to kill your opponents largest threat for only 1 mana.
Crystology – Arguably Paladin’s strongest card right now. Our Crystology package includes – 2 copies of Magic Carpet, Beaming Sidekick, and Jar Dealer. This 6 card package means there isn’t so large a pool of cards to draw from that we fail to draw the card we want (usually Magic Carpet) but not too few cards that Crystology fails to draw 2 cards if we play it later on. Always keep this in the mulligan.
Jar Dealer – This 1 drop replaces itself with another 1 drop, meaning you can play this and not reduce hand-size for Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake, but also with Magic Carpet it provides 2 minions to rush in one card which is very efficient. The stats are weak so even though it’s a 1 drop it isn’t a good idea to keep this in the mulligan unless you already have a good hand.
Sandwasp Queen – One of the strongest cards in the deck. Provides hand size and 1 drops for Magic Carpet. The Wasps you get become 3 attack when rushed but are vulnerable on 1 health. Keep this in mind if you want to develop 1 drops on non carpet turns. It can be better to develop higher health 1 drops or Jar Dealers onto the board on non-Carpet turns while saving the Wasps for Carpet turns. Always keep in mulligan.
Magic Carpet – The big pay-off card for all the 1 drops you generate. If you thought Magic Carpet was strong in Zoo, well it’s even stronger here. Allows you to get huge tempo in the midgame. Try not to drop this on early turns if you can avoid it. Playing your generators > playing Drake/Giant > doing a Carpet turn is the ideal gameplan of this deck. If you can’t play this without your opponent easily killing it, you should often wait/set up a better turn later on. Part of the strength of Carpet is its ability to snowball the game if your opponent can’t kill it. Something you can potentially do is use Glowstone Technician to buff your 1 drops before rushing them with Carpet for a bigger swing turn – this shouldn’t be your default plan though. Keep in most matchups except for warrior. When doing Carpet turns – Start quickly and follow these rules – Zealot first if you want to Zealot – trade off Jar Dealers appropriately to see what you get before playing other 1 drops. It can be very easy to rope out these turns due to thinking/animations – I’ve done it many times myself. Start quickly and you give yourself the best chance.
Faceless Rager – Midgame tempo card. Never really comes down on turn 3 but look to try and set up good Faceless Ragers by first setting up a Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake, or Magic Carpet and then buffing it with Beaming Sidekick before copying with Faceless Rager. It may not look like much but this very easily comes down as a 3 mana 5/8 or better. Can sometimes keep if you already have a good way to set it up such as: Sandwasp Queen + Twilight Drake on the coin in a slower matchup.
Ravencaller – Pretty much a worse version of Sandwasp Queen, but still has good enough synergy to make it into the deck. Usually won’t play this until turn 7+ as refill for your Magic Carpet. Usually don’t keep unless you need the hand size – e.g. you’re going first and already have Sandwasp Queen/Crystology and a Mountain Giant. The extra hand size will allow you to play a turn 4 Giant.
Salhet's Pride – Strong card draw on 3. Can sometimes fetch you Twilight Drake or Faceless Rager for potentially good follow up turns. As the card draw is a Deathrattle it is slower so you want to be playing this before other card generators if given the choice. Keep going first, and also keep going 2nd in slower matchups.
Twilight Drake – Powerful 4-drop. Very often comes down with 7+ health whilst you have been playing out your mana on minions. Look to use Faceless Rager as a followup to this card. If you already have card generators (particularly Crystology or Sandwasp Queen whilst on the coin) you can keep this card. If you don’t have any it’s probably best to throw this away in favor of finding those strong generator cards.
Glowstone Technician – I’ll talk a lot about this as I feel it’s the easiest card to misplay with. It can be very tempting to always drop this on 5 with a big hand and expect to win. Remember that this is a 5 mana 3/4 so you will be taking a tempo loss if you play this on 5 or coin it on 4. Stats on the board matter way more than stats in hand. Against decks like Warrior, even after buffing a hand full of 1 drops then playing them – they are still weak to things like warpath and brawl. Buffing something like Faceless Rager doesn’t really help you much. Buffing 1-drops with the intention of rushing them with Carpet afterwards can sometimes be good, but remember if your opponent has a board full of 3/3’s, then rushing 3/1’s is the same as rushing 4/3’s. The way I like to play this card is to play our big minions like Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake, and Faceless Rager first and then playing Glowstone + 1 drop on turn 6/7 where I can maybe fit in some buffed 1 drops as well. Playing a turn 6 3/4 + 4/3 isn’t nearly as much a tempo loss as a turn 5 3/4 on its own.
Leeroy Jenkins – Very efficient burst damage. Can be combo’d with Glowstone Technician or Blessing of Kings for some extra damage.
Zilliax – Strong card in most decks. Aggro Warriors/Rogues have risen so this card is nice vs them. Scales well with handbuffs.
Mountain Giant – Possible to play this on turn 3 if you are on the coin and hit Crystology into Crystology/Sandwasp Queen. Going first you need 2 hand generators to play this on turn 4. Get used to the requirements of when to play this, try to keep hand-size big by playing Jar Dealers before Wasps and avoiding to use coin without good reason and you’ll be able to play Giants more often. Keep if you have either Crystology or Sandwasp Queen already. If planning on playing Brazen Zealot on turn 1 don’t keep Giant.
Without HSreplay stats on the deck I’ll just put my personal records from this week.
Mage 21-13 (62%)
Reno mage is by far the most popular mage variant right now. They do very little on board before turn 5 so it’s easy to be greedy and try to make a big Twilight Drake/Mountain Giant.
Once you have done this the plan is to copy it with a Faceless Rager and start pushing face damage. From there you should watch out for a few things:
Frost Nova + Doomsayer – If you’ve developed your big minions you can hold a Carpet (or play just the Carpet) and save board space to rush 1 drops into the Doomsayer. If you have Wasps and Jar Dealer you will need 4 board space for magic Carpet and three 1-drops. If you have Brazen Zealot and Wasps you will need 3 board space for the Carpet, Zealot and one Wasp. If you can’t play around it – hard play into it.
Zephrys the Great – Zephrys into Mass Dispel or Zephrys into Brawl can be very strong vs our boards. Mass Dispel will still often leave us with our 4/5 attack minions still able to attack so often Mages will elect to wait until turn 7 to Brawl us. In my opinion our 2/1 or 1/1 winning the brawl is often fairly equivalent to our opponent’s Zephrys winning the brawl so if we have a board of big minions try not to spread very wide to play around brawl. Maintaining our strategy to play around Doomsayer naturally also plays around brawl.
Reno the Relicologist – With our big chunky minions Reno rarely will get a clean clear on our boards unless he is discounted to 1 mana. Just keep in mind the total health on board when moving into turn 6+. Playing a Glowstone Technician on 5 can sometimes play into Reno so be aware.
Warrior 14-4 (78%)
I’m sure the matchup isn’t as favored as those stats suggest, I likely just hit a lucky streak. However I feel the matchup is generally pretty good as Warrior has a hard time dealing with turn 4 Twilight Drake or Mountain Giant. Our card generators will generally trade one for one with Warrior’s 1-drops/2-drops and then when it comes to turn 4 their Restless Mummy which is usually enough to clear 4 drops suddenly doesn’t have enough damage to clear ours. From their we can snowball board with Faceless Rager and keep pushing face damage. Be weary of Supercollider and try to position your biggest minion in between the 2 minions the warrior would be happy to bump into each other.
There are going to be games where you can’t play around every AoE. You’re going to have to go all-in and hope they don’t have it sometimes to win the game. The closer the Warrior gets to 10 mana the easier time they’re going to have. Remember it’s better to lose fast with a chance of winning than to hedge forever and always lose slowly. Hand-read well, analyse your own position and judge whether you need to push or play safe.
Armagedillo and Tomb Wardens are very weak to magic carpet. Normally these cards block out Aggro decks super well but they provide excellent targets for the 1 drops we have been building up through the game.
Priest 14-6 (70%)
Priest now has access to one of the strongest and snowbally openers in Hearthstone. Your goal isn’t to get them off the board turns 1-3, as that’s unlikely to happen, but to build up your own strategy and swing back in the midgame. Sandwasp Queen and Sahlet’s Pride are strong high attack cards that will require the priest to spend cards/mana to prevent 1 for 1 trades. Going first Brazen Zealot is strong as it will usally kill a Northshire Cleric / Lightwarden / Injured Tol'vir.
The goal against Priest is to get them off the board whilst limiting their card draw. Once they are off board they are off board for good, you can be as low as 1 health at this point and win.
Aim towards getting a big minion on board early – particularly Giant as it can 1 shot most of priests minions and isn’t weak to silence like Twilight Drake. From there you want your Carpet turn to clear the opponents board. Don’t go for half clears with Carpet if you can help it. If the priest still has a board they WILL snowball of it. Be patient and go for big swings that will win you board. Even if it means potentially dying to Inner Fire you sometimes have to take a turn to Glowstone Technician your one drops before using Magic Carpet.
Hunter 11-7 (61%)
Reno Hunter is generally okay, sometimes they can hit the right combination of Secrets to lock you out (Freezing Trap is particularly strong vs us). Something I like to do is to bait out the Freezing Trap by playing a lone big minion, then using a Magic Carpet and a 1-drop to proc it.
When it comes to Rat Trap you can often wait until a Carpet turn to proc it. Carpet + 2 Wasps will kill a 6/6 Rat and then you are free to spam the board as you please.
As with Mage watch out for Zephrys into Brawl.
Rogue 4-6 (40%)
Not a huge sample on Rogue but I’m fairly confident it is Rogue favored. Keep Zilliax in mulligan. A well timed Sap or Edwin VanCleef can ruin us as well as them just pushing face damage as we only run Zilliax as a taunt.
Something you can do is ‘bait’ them into using weapon damage on a Carpet if you have another in reserve. Your opponent will think they can still play for board control if they kill it but really they should be going face.
Try to count damage and see when you can set up a lethal, sometimes you will have weapons/Leeroy in hand and will just have to race your opponent instead of killing everything they have in order to win.
Paladin 7-3 (70%)
Quest and OTK Paladin are favoured. Murlocs are unfavoured. Stick to fundamental strategy on the first two, favoring pushing face damage vs OTK Paladin. Vs Murlocs they will generally trade 1-1 or better with your early turns and then pull way far ahead with Tip the Scales. When you play a Giant or Drake, there’s always the risk of Toxfin. It is possible to win vs Tip the Scales with a strong hand but it is a rough matchup without AoE.
This is a hard and rewarding deck with many decisions and many ways to misplay, but ultimately a very fun deck to play! That covers mostly what I could think of, if you have any specific questions I’ll be happy to answer them for you 🙂 (Editor’s note: But better ask them on reddit)