Our Rush Warrior deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this Warrior deck that has been the best way to play the class in Forged in the Barrens! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!
Introduction to Rush Warrior
Another expansion, another quick balance patch to address issues in the meta, before they become too stale. The nerfs to Secret Paladin and Deck of Lunacy has allowed Rush Warrior to become one of the strongest forces in the meta, due to the deck’s ability to fight for the board consistently. The main power of the deck is its ability to utilize Rush minions exceptionally well. Rokara and Overlord Runthak help buff your minions (in play or your hand respectively), transforming your Crabriders or tokens from Bumper Car into serious threats.
With fun combos to utilize (like Playmaker + Rokara/Overlord Runthak) and an emphasis on board control, this is the deck to try out, especially if you are tired of losing to this meta’s overlord, Paladin.
Rush Warrior Deck List
Key Cards for Rush Warrior
- Conditioning (Rank 1): Handbuffs were rarely strong because they’re slow. If you’re buffing a minion in your hand, you aren’t getting the effect immediately. However, this problem is offset by the fact that so many minions you play have Rush – you can use the extra stats for board control right after you play them. However, the card is quite bad at Rank 1, and you want to wait at least until Rank 2 before playing it.
- Crabrider: Although a mere common card, this is one of the most (if not THE most) powerful early minions in the game. Combining Windfury and 4 health points at just 2 mana is incredibly strong and when paired with Parade Leader, it dominates the board early on, allowing you to trade 2-for-1 or threaten a lot of damage to the enemy hero.
- Playmaker: An offensively-statted 3 drop, that allows you to get a copy of any Rush minions you play. Exceptionally strong with cards like Rokara and Overlord Runthak, but it really works with any Rush minion, making it a really versatile card.
- Rokara: The early-mid game star of the deck and one of the deck’s must-keep cards for mulligan. The fact that she has Rush and can take advantage of her own effect immediately is just the icing on the cake. Don’t be afraid to use her on turns 2-3 to trade into something, but be wary of what removals the enemy has for her.
- Blademaster Samuro: This is the deck’s board clear. Always hold on to a Parade Leader for him or try to handbuff him, especially against board-centric decks. Be careful! He needs to survive the trade for his effect to activate. Takes a little getting used to use him correctly, but he just wins you the game against decks like Token Druid.
- Ringmaster Whatley: The main card draw engine for the deck. He is almost guaranteed to draw you 3 cards before the half-point of the deck, just because of the different tribes of minions the deck includes.
- Overlord Runthak: Really straightforward card. Low attack, but he buffs minions in your hand by +1/+1 when he attacks. Good against midrange and control decks, especially when paired with Playmaker to double the effect.
- Troublemaker: One of the two late-game threats the deck runs. Against faster decks, it can make some immediate trades, and against slower decks, it can deal 6 damage right away + there’s a high chance that something sticks.
- Alexstrasza the Life-Binder: The deck’s finisher. The new version of Alexstrasza can damage the enemy hero for 8, so you should be aiming to have the enemy hero around that hp on turn 9 to use her. Don’t forget that she can also target minions, so you can get rid of big, annoying taunts in your way. She can even be used to heal you up, in case the situation calls for it.
Rush Warrior Mulligan Guide
Your goal is to get on the board as fast as possible and stay there until you can finish off your opponent. These are the cards you should be looking to have in your opening hand:
- Imprisoned Gan'arg: Extremely powerful when played on turn 1. This sets you up to have a 3/2 weapon and a 2/2 body for turn 3, which you can use to protect your other, more important (and powerful), minions. As a Warrior, your health is a resource and you can use it to snowball an early lead on the board.
- Rokara: Another extremely powerful early card. If you have her in the opening hand, along with a copy of Athletic Studies, you can cast that on turn 1 (assuming you don’t have Imprisoned Gan'arg) and drop her on turn 2 (preferably to trade into something smaller). If she lives, she makes the rest of your board snowball like crazy.
- Crabrider: Such a powerful early-game minion. Most of the times you can drop it on the board on curve, since its 4 health points make it almost impossible to remove that early. And if he gets damaged, Shield of Honor means it can push ridiculous amounts of damage to the face.
- Parade Leader: Standard body for a 2-drop at 2/3, but the threat of its effect being applied to cards like Crabrider makes it a must-remove for the opponent. Remember, it’s always a good idea to hold on to one of those for Blademaster Samuro against board-centric decks.
Rush Warrior Playstyle & Tips
Although there are a couple of different variations for a Rush Warrior list (with some including E.T.C., God of Metal), this is one of the more successful ones in the meta at the moment. The deck relies on winning the board early on and then snowballing with Rokara, or using a combination of Playmaker and Rush minions to clear the enemy board and push damage to the enemy hero.
If your mulligan goes as planned above, you should look to buff Crabrider or any other Rush minion with Parade Leader. Use your weapon (gained either through using Imprisoned Gan'arg or Sword Eater) to protect your board and push damage to the enemy hero. If you have Parade Leader on the board, look to get Crabrider buffed. Similarly, with Playmaker on the board, you should look to get a copy of either Bumper Car (for extra tokens), Rokara or Overlord Runthak (to double their effects). A useful thing to keep in mind is that you can cast Shield of Honor to the copy you get with Playmaker, but if you copy Blademaster Samuro his effect won’t be activated.
After you get control of the board, start pushing damage to the enemy hero whenever possible. Your goal should be to have the opponent at least around 8 health by turn 9, so you can finish him off with Alexstrasza the Life-Binder if he manages to stabilize. Don’t be afraid to use your weapon to do that, especially if you can get another one with wither Imprisoned Gan'arg or Sword Eater. You can even play them in the same turn, so you can get Imprisoned Gan'arg‘s weapon when the Sword Eater‘s one is used up.
Always (well, almost) drop Troublemaker on curve. The tempo he can give you is insane and even just pushing 6 damage to the enemy with his effect can help you drop your opponent’s health to 8, so you can follow up with Alexstrasza the Life-Binder next turn for lethal.
Towards turns 9-10, look to get your opponent at 8 health or below so you can use Alexstrasza the Life-Binder to finish him off. Keep in mind that her effect bypasses Ice Barrier against Mage, so if he uses Ring Toss while at that threshold and you either have Alexstrasza the Life-Binder or Ringmaster Whatley in hand, there is no need to attack into him and risk activating the armor. Instead, clear their board and use your Hero Power to mitigate some of the damage, until you can use her.
Rush Warrior Card Replacements
Rush Warrior is a pretty expensive deck. While some of the Legendaries come from Core Set (luckily), there’s still a lot of Epics & Legendaries that you really want to have:
- Rokara – Great at clearing small minions, or later in the game when you create a wide board. Good card, but not absolutely necessary.
- Blademaster Samuro – I’d say that Samuro is a must-have for this deck. He’s your only way to clear wide boards, and he can do that really well after a handbuff or two. It’s hard to play some matchups without him.
- Ringmaster Whatley – Whatley is a value king, drawing 3 cards for 5 mana is already the baseline, but you’re also getting a 3/5 body for your trouble. Sometimes you draw less, like 1-2 cards, but even then he’s still okay. Good card to have, but you don’t absolutely need it.
- Playmaker – Mid-late game powerhouse cards, it lets you create wide boards by duplicating your Rush minions. The best thing is that you can use the 1 health copies to trade while keeping your actual minions at full health. You could try playing without it, but the deck will lose a lot of late game power.
- Warmaul Challenger – Mostly here for early game single target removal and to combo with handbuffs. Early in the game you can clear some 1-3 health minions, but the card really shines after you buff it. E.g. at 3/12 can now easily deal with bigger minions while still leaving a decent body behind.
- Tent Trasher – Just another Rush minion, it’s not really necessary, but is mostly played to give Whatley extra consistency (since otherwise Alexstrasza is your only Dragon).
And here are some of the cards you can replace them with:
- Cutting Class – With four 3-Attack weapon sources in your deck, the card will cost only 2 lots of the time, and drawing 2 cards for 2 is a nice deal.
- Stonemaul Anchorman – If you need to replace a Rush minion, or again, need some more card draw (e.g. because you don’t have Whatley), Anchorman is a good option.
- Outrider's Axe – You probably don’t want to run two, but one copy is fine. More draw if you’re controlling the board, plus some extra face damage if your opponent has no minion you can hit.
- Mor'shan Elite – Good option, 2x 4/4 Taunt for 5 as a baseline is already good enough, but after you throw in a couple of handbuffs, you can really create a massive wall + threat. The biggest problem is how weak the card is against Hysteria, which is quite common in the current meta.
- E.T.C., God of Metal – It’s a good finisher option if you own him, if you play it, drop Playmaker and then play a few cheap Rush minions, you can easily burst your opponent for 10+ damage while clearing their board.
- Mankrik – It’s a solid card to put into any Midrange deck, and this is no exception. It won’t be amazing unless you get lucky and draw the shuffled version right away, but it’s a solid curve filler, especially if you miss some of the 3-Cost cards.