Secret Highlander Paladin Deck List Guide – Uldum Doom – October 2019

Secret Highlander Paladin Deck List Guide – Uldum Doom – October 2019

Our Secret Highlander Paladin deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this midrange deck that has become a Mysterious Challenger in the Saviors of Uldum Doom in the Tomb meta! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!

Introduction to Secret Highlander Paladin

Saviors of Uldum introduced two powerful cards for Paladin that require the deck to include no duplicates: Sir Finley of the Sands and the neutral Zephrys the Great. These propelled Highlander Paladin to join the meta, and in the early days of Saviors of Uldum it proved to be a decent deck. Not great, not terrible.

In the middle of the expansion, Highlander Paladin received a power boost in the form of multiple returning Wild cards: Mysterious ChallengerAvengeSylvanas Windrunner, and Ragnaros the Firelord. The powerful returning Legendary cards naturally favored Highlander builds that can only include single copies of cards, and the return of Mysterious Challenger directed all Highlander Paladin decks to adopt the Secret package. This new Secret Highlander Paladin is far more formidable than its original form: it is even able to contest the omnipotent Shaman decks of the Doom in the Tomb meta.

Secret Highlander Paladin Deck List

Deck Import

Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Highlander Paladin archetype page!

Secret Highlander Paladin Mulligan Strategy & Guide

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Mysterious Challenger – The biggest tempo swing in the deck. It is worth it in every matchup.
  • Secretkeeper – The best one-drop in the deck. If you find secrets to go with it, it can become huge.
  • Zephrys the Great – Regardless of whether you end up playing Zephrys early for tempo or save it for a specific answer, it’s great to have it available.
  • Crystology – Early card draw that always gives you something to play for next turn.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Mysterious Challenger – The biggest tempo swing in the deck. It is worth it in every matchup.
  • Secretkeeper – The best one-drop in the deck. If you find secrets to go with it, it can become huge.
  • Zephrys the Great – Regardless of whether you end up playing Zephrys early for tempo or save it for a specific answer, it’s great to have it available.
  • Crystology – Early card draw that always gives you something to play for next turn.
  • Bellringer Sentry – Strong minion that thins your deck.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Sunreaver Spy – Keep with a secret to activate it.
  • In general, keep a curve of your early-game minions, prioritizing the key cards listed above.

Secret Highlander Paladin Play Strategy

Secret Highlander Paladin is a midrange deck. When you play against aggressive decks, you take on the control role and defend, and when you play against slow decks, you take on the beatdown role and present one threat after another until your opponent crumbles.

Secret synergies are a key part of the deck. Mysterious Challenger provides a nearly unparalleled tempo swing by drawing and playing all the Secrets remaining in your deck. It is at its best when played on a board where you already have minions, but it is strong even alone. In addition to the Challenger, there are also several other Secret synergy cards in the deck:

  • Secretkeeper is your strongest one-drop. If you can find any Secrets to play, it can grow and dominate the game. Note that it does not grow from Secrets put on the battlefield by Bellringer Sentry and Mysterious Challenger, only from Secrets played from hand.
  • Sunreaver Spy and Mysterious Blade require a Secret in play to reach their full power. In the early game, try to think of ways to play Secrets that are not triggered immediately in order to get full value from these cards. A Secret on turn one followed up by one of these on turn two usually works.
  • Commander Rhyssa can make some of your Secrets trigger twice. It is especially strong with Never Surrender! and Avenge, and with Redemption if you can control what is going to get killed. It does nothing with Autodefense Matrix.
  • Bellringer Sentry is a great minion to pull Secrets from your deck. It does nothing after Mysterious Challenger, but you rarely find them both at the same time, anyway.

Try to make life difficult for your opponent with your Secrets. Redemption works particularly well with Reborn, Deathrattle, and Divine Shield, so if you can set it up so that the opponent has to kill a minion with one of those abilities, it can generate a lot of value for you. Never Surrender! is useful against decks that run a lot of spells, especially slower decks that use spells to clear boards: it can make Lightbomb almost useless. Hidden Wisdom shines against decks that want to play several cards in a turn, such as Rogue and Shaman.

Sir Finley of the Sands can be an important part of your toolkit. If you need to control the board against a token deck, the Mage Hero Power can help you do that. The improved Paladin Hero Power can also help sometimes, but with all Shamans running Mogu Fleshshaper and many of them running either Mind Control Tech or Sea Giant, swarming the board with tokens of your own can be a bad idea. If you are the beatdown against a control deck, the Hunter Hero Power can help you wear them down. Card draw with the Warlock Hero Power can also be good in just about any matchup.

Zephrys the Great is a card you could write an essay about. Sometimes you want to play it on curve to get a tempo play for turn two and another one for turn three, but often you want to hold it for specific answers. In particular, Mass Dispel can be crucial against N’Zoth decks, and various board clears can be important against token decks. At ten mana, you can play Zephrys to get Twisting Nether, and at eight mana you can play it for a Siphon Soul to deal with an individual big minion. Also keep in mind the various available damage and finisher spells, such as Savage Roar, Bloodlust, FireballLightning Bolt, and Soulfire, as well as the zero-mana utility cards Silence and Sacrificial Pact. Zephrys has a wide toolkit, the most difficult part is recognizing exactly when it is optimal to use it.

Overall, you have a bit of everything in Highlander Paladin: sticky Deathrattles to survive board clears, Magnetic minions and buffs to turn your tokens into bigger threats, weapons to control the board and protect your minions, and major late-game threats such as Ragnaros the Firelord and Tirion Fordring. Playing a systematic game with on-curve plays, either taking on the control role and methodologically controlling the board or taking the beatdown role and creating one threat after another is your main path to victory. The deck does not do a lot of crazy things – Mysterious Challenger notwithstanding – but it has a lot of power in it.

VS Aggro Decks

You cannot race aggro decks very well, so you need to take on the control role in the matchup. Use your resources effectively to keep their board clear and be prepared for their power plays.

Against Shaman, pay attention to the number of minions on the board: Shamans love to Evolve or Mutate their Mogu Fleshshapers, and you do not want them to be able to do that too early when you cannot effectively remove an eight-drop. If they hit their Desert HareMogu FleshshaperEvolve, you probably just lose: the goal is not to beat that hand, but to beat hands where they’re missing some piece of that equation. You can play around Mogu FleshshaperSea Giant, and Mind Control Tech, so there are plenty of Shaman hands that you can beat.

Against Combo Priest, you want to be able to deal three damage to minions very early in the game. A Secret and Mysterious Blade can be one way to accomplish this, as can early Brazen Zealot (if going first) or Sandwasp Queen. Your Hero Power tokens can also be valuable against Reborn minions. Zephrys the Great can give you access to silence effects throughout the game.

VS Control Decks

You play the beatdown role against control decks. Try to build boards that are difficult to clear and retain enough resources in hand that you can rebuild if necessary. You have several big threats in the deck and playing them one after another can run control decks out of removal.

Against Resurrect Priest, you want to go in fast and play around Mass Hysteria and Lightbomb: if you can set up a board state where Mass Hysteria cannot fully clear, that’s good. Never Surrender! can sometimes make Mass Hysteria better, because minions will survive the first hits to counterattack, but sometimes it can render both Mass Hysteria and Lightbomb useless. Beware of Shadow Word: Death, which can take down a single big minion: spread the stats around rather than make one huge threat.

Remember that Zephrys the Great can give you Mass Dispel against N’Zoth decks.

Secret Highlander Paladin Card Substitutions

Highlander decks are complicated. Because there are 30 different cards in the deck, replacing individual cards is usually possible, as you are already making compromises when it comes to consistency. However, in order to have as much power in the deck as possible, many of the cards are usually Legendary cards, and their effects are more or less unique, so exact replacements can be hard to come by. When replacing cards, try to think about two things: the role of the card in the deck and its mana cost. Ideally, you want to maintain an overall mana curve that resembles a non-Highlander build, so where a regular deck would have two copies of a two-drop, for example, you just replace one of them with another two-drop that does the same or a similar thing.

Highlander decks undergo changes over time and new cards come in and old cards go out of the deck list on regular basis. In the following, I will try to point out some of the staples and how you might think about replacing them.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

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2 Comments

  1. RoNiN2X
    October 22, 2019 at 1:51 am

    What’s the deal with no leeroy in a lot of secret paladin lists?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      October 22, 2019 at 4:09 am

      Highest win rate builds don’t run Leeroy. I guess that it’s because Highlander Paladin is a very board-dependent deck. E.g. in Rogue, you can still deal a lot of damage from hand with Eviscerate, SI:7, weapons etc. In Paladin, not really. If your opponent is at let’s say 15 health, then Leeroy is useless, because you won’t get them that low without getting board control. So most of the time, you’d rather have something you can actually drop on the board instead of keeping until you can kill your opponent.