Our Whirlkick Rogue deck list guide for the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion features one of the top lists for this archetype. This Rogue guide includes Mulligan Strategy, Gameplay Tips, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Whirlkick Rogue was what it took for Edwin VanCleef to get nerfed, which is in itself a monumental achievement for the archetype. But if you thought about turning it into Arcane Dust, you might want to re-consider, as it’s still a part of most builds.
As many other top Rogue decks in the game, it relies on generating overstatted minions early on with the aforementioned legendary and Questing Adventurer, but it also has a ridiculous amount of sustain and resource generation to contest longer matches, a bit like how Cyclone / Conjurer Mage used to operate.
The star of the show here is Whirlkick Master, a card which remained unused until now with multiple strong and cheap Combo cards printed in the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire set. Prize Plunderer, Swindle and Foxy Fraud enable Rogue players to cycle through their decks even faster than usual, eventually finding Whirlkick Master to reload and refill in case the standard gameplan doesn’t get you over the finish line.
Whirlkick Rogue Deck List
Though the recent nerfs have understandably scrambled the meta somewhat, we have already seen Whirlkick Rogue players reach high Legend using basically identical builds to what were used before the nerfs – this is what we’ve featured below.
Find more versions of this deck type on our Whirlkick Rogue archetype page!
Mulligan Guide and Strategy
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Pharaoh Cat – Just like in the case of every other Rogue deck since this card’s arrival, a self-replacing play on turn one which cannot be pinged down and couples as a combo enabler turns out to be a pretty good mulligan keep.
- Foxy Fraud – Not only is it a 0 mana 3/2, it also serves to enable cards like EVIL Miscreant and Edwin VanCleef on curve which you would have otherwise had to keep in your hand longer. This significant tempo boost is the main reason for the deck’s explosive openers.
- Swindle – An ultra-flexible redraw tool which will often be played for free very early on, making it one of the few card draw cards worth keeping in your opening hand regardless of the matchup.
- Edwin VanCleef – The data shows that the higher you go up the ladder, the more likely the players are to keep this card. It remains to be seen whether the same holds true in the post-patch environment as well, but with your alternative threats like Questing Adventurer and the Lackey-based shenanigans still taking comparatively longer to come online, the card should still stay on the forefront of your mind when making your mulliganing decisions.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Backstab – Don’t keep it if there won’t be anything to stab in the back for the first few turns.
- EVIL Miscreant – Keep on the coin or with Foxy Fraud, toss otherwise.
- Shadowstep and Preparation – Only keep these cards for a huge Edwin VanCleef payoff in the early game.
General Playstyle and Strategy
It’s a delicate dance you need to lead against aggressive opposition as this Rogue deck has slightly less initative and burn damage (at least before generating them, something which takes time which you will often not have) than other builds from the past few years. This means that you will need to eventually stick a big Questing Adventurer or an Edwin VanCleef on the board to finish off the job, or else risk taking too long while you try to assemble some other win condition.
Though you should be able to easily repel the first wave of threats with Backstab and Brain Freeze, you will have to carefully juggle between developing threats and drawing cards, with an emphasis on the former throughout the game. Ideally, the Lackeys from EVIL Miscreant should tide you over until turn five or six, by when you should be able to get one of the previously mentioned big minions or Jandice Barov online.
From then on, you should be able to keep up your board lead by continuously removing the new threats from the spells generated from your redraws. Make sure not to overtrade as you only have a limited amount of time before your opponent burns you down! The big minions are meant to go face. Freeze spells from Wand Thief can be crucial in these scenarios, buying you an extra turn to close out the match.
It’s worth noting that you can risk playing out your Whirlkick Master on turn two in the Zoo matchup to set up for a big follow-up play as they only have two copies of Soulfire (and Nightshade Matron from turn four onwards) to punish you for it. Indeed, finding a few pockets like these to make an efficient early play instead of having to waste all your clunky Combo effects can make the difference between winning and losing against an aggressive opponent.
The fact that your starting deck has relatively little initiative means you aggressively need to mulligan for an impactful early play. Floating most of your mana for the first three turns is an easy way to lose, and if you don’t put enough pressure on your opponent, which is why there’s such a premium on a card like Questing Adventurer or Edwin VanCleef. A good example of this is the Druid matchup: if they can cast Overgrowth on turn four without incurring serious health penalties in the process, you’re in huge trouble.
If you can’t get the early blowout, you need to make sure that you end up with as many extra resources generated as possible. Don’t settle for just one or two cards from Whirlkick Master: indeed, the Combo cards you add to your hand will have a major impact on your strategy if the game goes long. If you end up with burn cards like Eviscerate and Hooked Scimitar, then go face to your heart’s content – but you might need to think of alternate avenues if you fill your hand with jankier stuff.
It takes some practice to use your resources efficiently, but you won’t be running out of cards anytime soon with this deck. Aim for a consistent pressure with an early spike, and if it forces out enough removal tools from your opponent, your avalanche of card generation can get you past the line even if you can’t secure the early win.
There is little variation in Whirlkick Rogue builds on ladder as the synergies and combos are so tightly intertwined. Brain Freeze is your only real flex option here, with alternatives like Coerce, SI:7 Agent and Cold Blood showing up on occasion as single-copy replacements to find small edges against specific matchups. In any case, the main build should treat you well on the ladder without any serious adjustments, at least based on the first few days of post-patch play.
If you’re missing some of the expensive cards (such has Edwin), you can replace them with one of the cards listed above – it will have an impact on your win rate, mind you.