Doomsayer and Gnomeferatu are good early drops no matter what. Kobold Librarian is always a good T1 play but you occasionally might want to hold onto it if you've got Defile in hand; it's the only 1 health minion you've got.
Vulgar Homunculus is good for early stall - especially if you've got the Spellstone to hand. You generally only want to keep the Spellstone if you've got either the Librarian or Homunculus in hand.
Mainly against Odd Paladin - Defile is just the best card you can have in the early game. Don't play it too soon and waste it though, Odd Pally gen just spaff out a load more Recruits.
Despicable Dreadlord + a Taunt creature can pretty much seal the game against Odd Paladin and Token Druid, especially if you've got Defile as well.
Against Secret/Tempo Mage you're going to have a bad time, Doomsayer can help as it'll take the hit from Explosive Runes or clear the board if you get lucky and play it into Mirror Entity. If they've got 2 secrets out, hold onto the coin then try Doomsayer (to trigger Explosive Runes) -> Coin (for Counterspell) -> Treachery ... and hope you don't get splattered with Cinderstorm next turn. High health minions and health regain help but it's a really bad match up.
There's not much you can do against Odd Face Hunter though.
Secret Hunter seems to be one of the few really Midrange decks kicking about at the moment; thankfully they're slow to start and they have an awful lot of 3-health minions... perfect Hellfire fodder.
Shroom Brewer seems like a strange choice but, honestly, it's one of the best things to throw at Hunter Secrets. It'll survive Explosive Trap and (generally) Wandering Monster and it's not too bad to have it bounced back to your hand from Freezing Trap either.
Against Priest, Despicable Dreadlord and Shroom Brewer are good because of the stat lines, 4 attack puts them right in the Priest's blind spot. Gnomeferatu can be good early, it can burn one of their useful cards (Mind Blast for instance) and you don't really mind the Priest getting draw from Northshire Cleric - to some extent you want them to thin their deck as the game could well go to fatigue.
Drop Rin on 7 so you can Dark Pact her instantly; it lights the Azari fuse!
This deck is entirely about Control – both of the board and your opponent’s deck.
As such it’s reasonably strong against minion decks as long as they’re not too aggressive; face Hunter is a difficult match-up, whereas Odd Paladin is favoured, Odd Rogue is OK-ish, depends on the card draw. The current spell-based tempo/secret Mage is also basically insta-concede.
Against other Combo and other Control decks, you’re probably favoured – except Quest Warrior; since this deck is heavily focused on destroying minions you’re doing half their job for them.
How are you supposed to win?
The early game is all about surviving – you’ve got the tools to come back from very low health late game but you need to get there. This works like any other Control Warlock with a couple of minor differences.
Instead of the Plated Beetle in the 2-slot you’ve got Gnomeferatu; probably a worse card in almost all cases but it fits the theme of the deck better – and can pull you the odd win all on its own (I’ve had her destroy Deathstalker Rexxar before).
You’ve also got a guaranteed board-clear from on turn 5 if you’ve drawn both Doomsayer and Treachery. Rather than having to ensure Doomsayer survives until the start of your next turn, just give it to your opponent 🙂
Your main win condition really is fatigue so you really need the tools to disrupt your opponent’s game plan. Killing all the things is the obvious one, but Gnomeferatu and Azari are there to disrupt their deck or gameplay; Azari rarely destroys much but he forces your opponent to rush through their cards to save their deck – often making them go much wider than is advisable against a deck with 2x Twisting Nether in it!
This deck can also disrupt your opponent’s hand – something normally reserved for Dirty Rat in Wild, but you can force them to discard a whole lot more with Howlfiend -> Treachery.
Play Gul’dan to get a load of Minions on the board, you want a Dreadlord (or two) behind Taunts and you really want the Dreadlord to survive ideally. Next turn, drop Howlfiend and use Treachery to give it to your opponent.
Worst case scenario you Siphon Life on the Howlfiend and your Dreadlord pings it at the end of the turn; your opponent discards 2 cards and they’re going to need to think of a way to deal with that Howlfiend you’ve lumbered them with.
Best case scenario – there are a lot of minions on the board, probably damaged, so it’s possible with a bit of targeting, to get a really effective Defile out and make your opponent discard their entire hand (to be fair, it probably won’t be that big at this stage of the game).
Control the board, force your opponent to overextend themselves and punish them for doing so … or destroy their hand and deck.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Priest/Rogue copying Rin then beating you with it before you draw her … that really sucks 🙂
What’s the best that can happen?
Well, something like this really: https://hsreplay.net/replay/pP3QaWV6XEjDmaD8WfVtPS
The replay doesn’t show it but that first Gnomeferatu burnt Hadronox 😀 MVP that game!