Our Odd Warrior deck guide takes a look at this popular archetype in Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion. Our guide features a mulligan guide, play strategy, card substitutions, deck win-rates, and goes through the ins-and-outs of slow and aggressive matchups!
Introduction to Odd Control Warrior
Control Warrior is a very old deck, it was one of the first prominent Control decks in Hearthstone. Veteran players remember it for the drawn-out mirrors, where every single resource mattered and you both ended up deep into fatigue just to see who the winner is. Veteran players also remember that the player who got Justicar Trueheart first was usually at a significant advantage – given that you used your Hero Power nearly every single turn, getting 2 extra Armor per turn made a big deal in the end (getting 20 Armor ahead of your opponent just thanks to the upgraded Hero Power wasn’t uncommon). That said, between Justicar Trueheart rotating out, Warrior not getting any amazing Control tools and other decks getting more and more “infinite” or “combo” win conditions, the deck was no longer viable for the most part of Year of the Mammooth.
Despite not being very successful at first, the card which brought a slow Warrior build back into the meta was The Witchwood’s Baku the Mooneater. The card is a new version of Justicar Trueheart. The upside is that you get upgraded Hero Power right from the start, which makes a massive difference. The downside is, obviously, that you can’t play any Even- costed cards. Due to limited threats and no late game combo win condition, the deck doesn’t work too well against combo or infinite value decks. On the other hand, it completely destroys the builds that are either based on aggression or on burn damage. So in the end, even though the deck has pretty polarized matchups, it works quite well on the current matter. If you face a faster meta, it might even be THE deck to counter it.
Odd Warrior Deck List
Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Odd Warrior archetype page!
Odd Control Warrior Mulligan Strategy & Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Shield Slam – You want to have a way to utilize your Armor, and Shield Slam is the best single target removal in your deck. Since you WILL Hero Power anyway in the early/mid game, Shield Slam is a high tempo removal – you pay 1 mana to kill anything.
- Reckless Flurry – Even more than single target removal, you want to have AoE removal. While you won’t likely use it on T3 (unless your opponent really goes all in), it’s great to have it – it’s very easy to make it AT LEAST 4 AoE damage for 5 mana, and you will most likely have some Armor stacked from the early game too.
- Stonehill Defender – 3-drop Taunt, while it has weak stats, it’s usually better than just playing Hero Power on Turn 3.
- Dyn-o-matic – The best 5-drop in the deck against Aggro, lots of the time it will clear the board when dropped on curve, but even if it won’t, since opponent is the only one with minions, it will nearly always have a positive effect.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Brawl – Against board flood decks. Reckless Flurry is just better, but it’s also nice to have Brawl. You win fast matchups by clearing the board, and it’s your only AoE board clear besides Flurry.
- Supercollider – Keep with a good hand. This card works really well vs Aggro. Most of the time it’s really hard for them to play around it completely, when you drop it on the curve it usually clears 2 minions and then at least 1 minion for the next two turns. Amazing way to get rid of the board without dropping down your precious AoEs. On the other hand, don’t keep it if your hand is very slow, since you will have to sacrifice a lot of life total to use this card.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Shield Slam – Your premium hard removal tool should be a definite keep against slower opponents.
- Stonehill Defender – While 1/4 stats aren’t amazing, it blocks potential small tokens that could impede your armor gain. It also might fill your curve with an Even-costed card, or give you some late game threat.
- Reckless Flurry – While not as important as vs Aggro, sometimes a slower deck will want to win through the mid game pressure, and then Reckless Flurry comes handy.
- Supercollider – Great mid game board control tool. While your opponent will most likely play around it, eventually you will stumble upon a situation in which it will get you 2 for 1 with just the first hit – and then your opponent might play extra careful to not give you more value.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Dr. Boom, Mad Genius – This is a key card in the matchups that you can’t win by removing stuff – keep it against combo decks, or “infinite value” decks such as Big Spell Mage – the earlier you get it online, the higher the chance you will win those. Don’t keep against anything else.
Odd Control Warrior Win Rates
Odd Control Warrior Play Strategy
VS Fast Decks
When you play against faster decks, piloting the deck is relatively easy. Your goal is to do one thing – survive – and Odd Warrior is amazing at doing exactly that. Thanks to your Hero Power, your opponent needs to put at least 5 attack into play to even DAMAGE you, not even talking about putting any pressure. To put any realistic pressure, he needs at least 8 damage on the board – assuming you Hero Power every turn, that’s 4 damage “going through”, but it still gives you at least a few turns of taking beating to really feel the pressure.
The great thing is that they simply HAVE to play more minions to put pressure on you, but if they do, they also play right into your AoEs etc. That’s the great thing about this deck – you just play defensively, Hero Power every turn, wait for until they overextend and then drop AoE. And if they decide to not overextend, you can just chill out, press Hero Power and maybe drop a Taunt or two in their way, until you get to the late game when you have a clear advantage. You should not throw away your AoEs just like that. In the early/mid game, if your opponent has 2-3 small minions on the board, it’s just not worth it – as long as they don’t put almost an pressure because of your Hero Power, don’t AoE. The deck runs “only” 4 AoEs (not counting 1 damage from Scorcher), and trust me that you will need them more in the mid/late game. It’s okay to take some beating, because you can really take it.
Sometimes your opponent will try to be smart and not overextend enough to warrant AoE, but enough to deal some damage to you. That’s where your other removals come handy. If he has a single, bigger minion on the board, then Shield Slam should do the trick (or Crowd Roaster if you’re that late into the game already – it’s amazing, because it both clears a minion and leaves a body). If he has 2-3 minions, Supercollider is amazing – you can often clear 2 minions right away and then make things even more awkward for your opponent. He might be forced to play sub-optimally, because otherwise you will just run his minions into each other. And finally, Dyn-o-matic is great against any board with up to 5 health in total. For example, it can clear a single bigger minion such as Cobalt Scalebane, or a few 1-2 health minions. E.g. if you play vs Zoo and he has Flame Imp, Lightwarden and Voodoo Doctor on the board, which is quite a common sight against the deck, you can clear everything for just 5 mana, with a single card, while also putting a 3/4 body into play. You can obviously use your Shield Slam or Supercollider to set that up too.
If you feel that you take too much beating, you can also drop one of your Taunts – Stonehill Defender (which can discover more) or Direhorn Hatchling. There’s also one Taunt, which works really well especially in the late game – Zilliax. While you CAN play it for 5 mana without Magnetizing into anything, and you will often do that, it works best if you have a Mech on the board already. Since this deck isn’t Mech-heavy, your most likely options will be whatever you discover from Omega Assembly or Dyn-o-matic. Since Dyn-o-matic combo comes up quite late (technically you can play it earlier if Dyn-o-matic sticks to the board, but you can’t Magnetize it with Zilliax on the same turn until T10), you might want to consider picking something pretty light from Assembly. For example, Eternium Rover is a decent pick against Aggro. Upgradeable Framebot also works nicely if you plan to Magnetize it with Zilliax – it would create a 4/7 Taunt with Divine Shield, Lifesteal and Rush. Of course, you don’t have to wait for Magnetize from Zilliax – actually, most of the time you will play it by itself. It’s quite easy to get 2 for 1 with it while healing yourself – clear a small minion, then he either trades another small minion or throws in a removal – it’s really annoying for Aggro decks to get through.
The deck runs a small Dragon package. We have Dragonmaw Scorcher, Emberscale Drake and Crowd Roaster + a Smolderthorn Lancer, which is not a Dragon, but synergies with them. When it comes to Aggro matchups, Scorcher and Emberscale Drake are usually most relevant. Scorcher was even better when Odd Paladin was more popular, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad now. Dealing 1 AoE damage on top of putting a solid body on the board is great against Aggro. You can clear some 1-drops or tokens, finish a minion off, or just damage them to put them in range of other removals. Emberscale Drake is a good card to play after you’ve already stabilized, but you need more Armor gain – especially against burn-based decks such as Tempo Mage. Both Crowd Roaster and Smolderthorn Lancer are big single target removals, which are more useful against slower decks, but can still come handy against Aggro. Crowd Roaster is amazing, it just comes down a bit too late. That said, 7 damage is usually enough to kill basically anything (maybe besides an occasional 8 health minions, but Aggro decks don’t run a lot of those). Smolderthorn Lancer, while a bit harder to use, doesn’t need to kill a big minion to be useful. For example, if you’ve played Stonehill Defender and your opponent has cleared it with a 3/3 minion + Hero Power, then you can use your Lancer to finish off that 3/2 minion next turn. Generally, don’t try to save it, use it when you get an opportunity, especially if it can save you e.g. a Shield Slam.
And of course, there is your Hero card – Dr. Boom, Mad Genius. Despite it being an important part of the deck, you actually often DON’T want to play him vs Aggro for a few reasons. First of all, your +4 Armor Hero Power is great and you don’t want to replace that. While Boom can roll +7 Armor one, it’s 1 in 5, so the odds are not in your favor. Plus the card does nothing the moment its played – you pay 7 mana to gain 7 Armor, that’s a massive tempo drop and often an opening for an Aggro deck, which should be making the last push before running out of resources around that time. It doesn’t mean that you never play Boom vs Aggro, though. You can play it if a) you’re at a high health total and you don’t play vs burn-heavy deck, b) your hand is very weak and you’re running out of resources or c) you need a burst of Armor, e.g. on T9 you can Hero Power + play Boom for guaranteed 11 Armor. You can also play Boom + Reckless Flurry on T10 if you needed a bigger AoE and didn’t have enough Armor.
However, it should rarely come to that. Most of the time the game should be won around T7-T8, when your opponent is already running out of resources and you have a lot of health and removals left. It does not mean that every game will END then, sometimes you get very persistent opponent who still try to play it out even when they have almost no chance to win.
VS Slow Decks
Unlike games vs Aggro, games vs slower decks are not that easy. Most of the time, you can’t “just survive” by pressing Hero Power every turn. But first things first – you will face a few types of slow matchups and you will need different strategies against all of them.
The first type is a slow deck with finite resources or non-infinite damage combo – those are the decks that you can simply outlast. By “finite resources” I mean decks that don’t have some ultra value late game gameplan and just rely on the cards in their deck mostly. For example, Cube Warlock or some slower, Midrange decks. Those matchups do run lots of threats, but you can still clear everything and win the game like that. You’re usually about even, or favorite, in this kind of matchups. It heavily depends on the draws and on how well you can manage your resources. When playing versus those decks, it’s very important to know their deck list and the threats they run. It might be a mistake to use your final Shield Slam or Reckless Flurry when there’s still something big incoming. Those are usually the matchups that you will take to the last turn, to fatigue. Dr. Boom, Mad Genius is a pretty important card in those matchups – you want to have as much value as you can. The extra Mechs you generate, or the 3 damage removal that can save one from your hand etc. can tip the scales in your favor. Just try to be as efficient as possible, and try to get as much value from every card you play as possible.
Now, talking about the second type of slow matchup that you can outlast – combo decks that deal DAMAGE, but not infinite damage. For example, decks running Malygos or Mind Blast Control Priest. Despite them being combo decks (or at least having a combo finisher), you should have an advantage in those matchups thanks to your Hero Power. Gaining obscene amounts of Armor is probably the best way to counter those combos. For example if you face Malygos Druid, even in the best case scenario (with Twig of the World Tree and Flobbidinous Floop), they can deal roughly 40 damage with their combo. Assuming that they will probably Alexstrasza you first, it means that if you keep yourself above ~25 Armor in the late game, they should not be able to kill you with the combo (and that’s obviously assuming the best case scenario for them). Of course, the deck can still win against you, since they have other ways to pressure – Malfurion the Pestilent, The Lich King, Spreading Plague + Branching Paths etc. So it doesn’t mean that you win every game, but you have a clear way to counter their combo.
Control Priest matchup is even better – they have limited amount of pressure outside of Shadowreaper Anduin, which isn’t likely to deal more than 4-6 damage per turn anyway. Assuming that they don’t always get it on the curve, and you had a lot of time to Armor up before they even play it, you should win this matchup most of the time as long as you avoid the minions chipping your Armor in the early/mid game (clear them as soon as possible, Priest doesn’t run lots of them so it shouldn’t be difficult). Again, you win the game mostly thanks to your upgraded, +4 Armor Hero Power. In both cases, it means that Dr. Boom, Mad Genius is generally NOT a good play. You don’t want to replace your normal Hero Power, because that’s your main win condition. The only times you play Dr. Boom is when you’re desperate (e.g. you have nothing to do and they’re pressuring you) or when you need that extra burst of Armor (Hero Power + Dr. Boom on T9) to run out of their burn range (while you might not have a way to gain Armor that easily afterwards, it’s still better than just dying immediately). Shield Block also heavily helps in those matchups, since it can be a source of burst Armor. For that reason, you DON’T want to play it on curve unless you really have to, because your hand quality is terrible. You prefer to just Hero Power and then save Shield Block for when you can play both. This way you will gain 4 extra Armor, which can be important in the long run.
Now, the two types of slow matchups I’ve described above are okay for you. They’re roughly even or you might be a favorite. However, one of the main reasons why Control Warrior wasn’t very viable for the last few expansions are other kinds of slow matchups. Slow matchups with infinite resources and non-damage / infinite damage combos. When it comes to the first type of matchups, maybe “infinite” is too much. They do not have “infinite” resources, but enough to run you out of removals and still have some to kill you. The first example of this matchup is Big Spell Mage. Frost Lich Jaina is your worst enemy. While you can win the matchup if they get it late, them getting it on the curve means that you have probably less than 10% to win the game. It’s almost impossible to outvalue, since they can easily turn your minions into Water Elementals. You drop 1 health minion? Easy job, they just Hero Power it. You play 3 health minion? They Blizzard + ping it. You play 5 health minion? They Flamestrike + ping it. 4 health minion? Meteor something next to it and ping it. Something bigger? Polymorph or Voodoo Doll and ping it. Ultimately, you can’t really play any miinons, but at the same time, it’s really hard to win if you don’t. They have their own minions to ping (e.g. they also play Sindragosa) and they often have a bunch of late game threats you need to answer too. And if you aim to win in fatigue by stacking lots of armor, that makes your Reckless Flurry a dead card too, leaving you with very limited amount of removals.
Then, the final type of slow matchups that Odd Warrior is terrible against are combo decks, but not those with a fixed amount of damage they can deal. Decks that run combos that you can’t simply answer with Armor. The best example would probably be Mecha'thun decks or Exodia Paladin. Those are really bad matchups for you. It’s very hard to put enough pressure to kill them before they gather the combo, and you have no way to disrupt said combo too. You have to try to go all-in and hope that you can kill them before they can draw their whole decks and combo you down. For example, Exodia Paladin is nearly unbeatable, because it’s very hard to put enough pressure on them. Even if you try, they have their own removals + a ways to heal up, meaning that you have to get really good curve and they need to have their removals on the bottom of the deck for that strategy to work. What’s even worse is that you have no real way of stopping their combo. So in the end, most of the time it will take them a while, and you will be trying to drop minions, but they will just combo you down.
In the two last types of matchups, your best way to win those is by putting pressure on your opponent and trying to kill them before the late game / the combo. However, given that Odd Warrior is a defensive deck at its core, it’s a very hard task. You need to prioritize mulliganing for / playing your minions and try to protect them. Don’t try to get every bit of value from your minions – dropping that Dragonmaw Scorcher on T5 without damaging anything is most often the correct play (assuming you have no other 5-drop in your hand). Also, the card which often is your best way to win those matchups is Dr. Boom, Mad Genius. While it’s a massive tempo loss on Turn 7, thanks to the Rush you give your Mechs and the new Hero Powers, you might be able to push some tempo. It’s still often not enough to kill your opponent before they outvalue/combo you, but it’s important to understand that the more pressure you put, the harder it is for them to focus on their game plan. Instead, they might need to answer your minions etc., which gives you even more time to try to find a way to win. That way might be discovering some big Mech they have no removal for, getting The Lich King from Stonehill Defender and rolling the best Death Knight card, or maybe just flooding the board with smaller minions and hoping that they have no AoE to clear them. One thing is sure – you will have to make some unorthodox plays and take some risks, since those matchups are really bad for you.
Odd Control Warrior Card Substitutions
Control Warrior was always jokingly called “Wallet Warrior”, and it didn’t really change with time. Odd Warrior, while not the MOST expensive deck in the meta, is still pretty pricey, especially in the Epic department. And sadly most of the cards are simply necessary to run it. Still, I will go through the list of every Epic & Legendary card, trying to identify the ones you can actually replace.
- Zilliax – Zilliax is good vs Aggro, especially if you can Magnetize it into something. It’s a great way to regain lots of health, as well as get some extra tempo in the late game (if you didn’t play Boom yet, that is) from the extra Rush. But it’s not necessary.
- Dr. Boom, Mad Genius – I’d say that Dr. Boom is absolutely necessary to play this deck. While it’s true that there are some matchups in which you don’t need it, or even don’t WANT to play it, but there are also some matchups which are nearly unwinnable without him.
- Baku the Mooneater – Yeah. You can play regular Control Warrior instead, but it isn’t much cheaper and it doesn’t work as well in the current meta.
- Shield Slam – Absolutely necessary, your premium single target removal. The deck would be really weak without it, because you would have no big single target removal left (and you can’t run Execute).
- Reckless Flurry – Irreplaceable, probably the best card in your deck vs Aggro.
- Smolderthorn Lancer – A part of the Dragon package. If you’re running Dragons (and it’s worth to, since they’re better than running only Mechs), it’s basically an Execute on a stick – no reason to not play it in a Control deck like that. Very good card, but you technically could play the deck without it.
- Brawl – While not AS good as Reckless Flurry in this build, you just need more than two AoE cards given how many times Aggro can reflood the board. And other options such as Warpath are not available, so you’re stuck with Flurry & Brawl – you simply have to play them.
- Supercollider – While the card was heavily underrated before the release, it turned out to be one of the key cards in the deck. It’s a great, reactive mid game weapon that can answer multiple minions. While you COULD replace it, it would definitely hurt your win rate.
- Crowd Roaster – Another part of the Dragon package, but also a Dragon, so if you’re cutting it, you’d ideally want to replace it with another one. One note is that if you have neither Lancer nor Roaster, you probably want to drop the whole Dragon package thing, since Emberscale Drake alone is not worth it.
And here is a list of cards you can replace the ones you’re missing with:
- Eternium Rover – If you need a cheap, budget replacement for one of hte cards, Eternium Rover is probably your best option, especially if you face a lot of Aggro. It’s a Mech so it has some synergies with your deck (Zilliax, Dr. Boom), it’s a solid 1-drop and you can squeeze it in basically any time in the mid/late game if you have some spare mana.
- Amani War Bear – Solid mid/late game card, especially useful vs Aggro. Between Rush and Taunt, you can play it as a removal, a body in a way between minions and life total, or (usually) both. If you run Amani War Bear, you should consider adding at least one Town Crier to your deck too. You might even think about Oondasta too, since Amani War Bear is a Beast.
- Sleepy Dragon or Ysera – In case you need more Dragon activators. Sleepy Dragon is not the best thing ever, but it serves its purpose – it’s a big Taunt to protect you even more against Aggro, plus a solid body to drop vs slower decks. However, Ysera might be an even better option, given that you don’t really need more anti-Aggro protection (especially that late into the game), and Ysera can also give you extra value.
- Fiery War Axe / Gorehowl – Weapon alternatives, especially if you want to replace Supercollider. Their advantage is the fact that they can go face for more than 1, which is useful when you’re the one trying to put pressure on your opponent. However, neither of them works as good as the Collider when it comes to board control.
- Gluttonous Ooze, Harrison Jones or Corrosive Sludge – Weapon destruction is pretty okay in the current meta, given how many weapon decks we have. Gluttonous Ooze is probably the best option – it’s cheap, it has okay body (3/3 for 3) and it gives you even more Armor if you hit something. Harrison Jones is a little bit too greedy, you don’t really need card draw, but it’s an okay option too if you have him. Corrosive Sludge is an absolute budget option, it’s not really a great card, but you can still run it if you don’t have anything else.
- Big Game Hunter – Mostly a meta call. If you end up facing lots of decks running 7+ Attack minions (especially Even Warlocks), then BGH is a good choice. If not, then he will be a dead card most of the time.
- Zola the Gorgon – Kind of an all-aroud replacement, since Zola is a really flexible card. You can get another Direhorn Hatchling vs Control plus another Dyn-o-Matic or Zilliax vs Aggro. That said, she’s Legendary, so it’s not really a “budget” replacement.
- Elise the Trailblazer – A bit greedy option, especially since the deck runs so many 5-drops already, but she’s especially useful in mirrors. Not only it gives you a lot of value, but an extra card shuffled into your deck means that you will hit fatigue a turn later. But just like in case of Zola, she’s a Legendary, so can’t really be called a “budget” replacement.