Our Silver Hand Recruit (Dude Paladin) deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion features the best list for this new archetype. This Silver Hand Recruit Paladin guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Silver Hand Recruit (Dude) Paladin
Believe it or not this isn’t that new of an archetype. Recruit Paladin (Dude Paladin), as it is known in Wild, has been a pretty popular deck and among one of the top tier decks in the lesser played format. Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, and Quartermaster make for a pretty potent list in Wild. These cards were also heavily involved in the class Midrange Paladin decks that frequented the ladder in early Hearthstone history. The deck will likely get even stronger in Wild now that it got some new pieces in Kobolds and Catacombs. Kobolds has also made this a bit confusing with the addition of the Recruit keyword, which is why we’ve opted to label it as Silver Hand Recruit Paladin rather than just Recruit.
New to Kobolds and Catacombs
Kobolds has brought a lot of potential support for this style of deck. Drygulch Jailor gives you three recruits in your hand, which allows you to combine them more easily with your minions that can take advantage of this. Unidentified Maul has a lot of good bonus options that work well with this deck, and Crystal Lion can be easily brought down in cost with the synergies of this deck. You have a lot of 1 to 2-drop minions which by pulling them out synergizes with Knight Juggler and Steward of Darkshire.
Update: Silver Hand Recruit (Dude) Paladin (April 2018)
With the nerfs to some of the more powerful aggressive cards it has allowed for DUDE Paladin to shine! Currently, it’s one of the strongest deck in the meta and many players had successful Legend climbs using it.
Deck is based off of Zhandalay’s & Muzzy’s version of the deck.
Silver Hand Recruit Paladin Mulligan Guide and Strategy
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Lost in the Jungle, Argent Squire, Righteous Protector – Your 1-drops are most important part of the mulligan. Since this deck tends to be aggressive, you want a quick minion opening. At the same time, you will have hard time against other fast decks if you fall behind on the board early, which makes 1-drops even more important. So, to make it perfectly clear, do not keep 2-drops or 3-drops if you don’t have 1-drop in your hand.
- Call to Arms – No matter what deck you play against, this card is just too powerful. Getting it down on Turn 4 (or 3 with Coin) increases your chance to win heavily, especially if you roll Knife Juggler as one of the summoned minions.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Dire Wolf Alpha or Knife Juggler – If you have a 1-drop already. Which one is better really depends on the situation and matchup. With Lost in the Jungle, Wolf will usually be better. With Righteous Protector, Juggler is superior, because he has a solid chance to survive and get more value. With Argent Squire, it depends what 1-drop/2-drop your opponent plays, so they’re both pretty equal.
- Rallying Blade or Unidentified Maul – With 1-drop and 2-drop curve already in your hand. Rallying is usually better out of the two, especially if you have a 1-drop with Divine Shield.
Dude Paladin Win Rates
Silver Hand Recruit Paladin Play Strategy
Vs Fast Decks
The way you win fast matchups is by the board control. This deck is really powerful when you’re ahead on the board, but you might have hard time if you’re behind against another fast deck. Some players are trying to race the opponent, and that’s just wrong. You absolutely need to take good trades, play around cards and hit the opponent only if you’re absolutely sure that there are no good trades on the board.
For that reason, 1-drops are very important. With 1-drops, you can be proactive on the board. If you have one and your opponent doesn’t, you will usually stay one step ahead of him. Dire Wolf Alpha is great if you open with a minion, because you will be able te trade it up into something. It works best with Lost in the Jungle – you end up with 2x 2/1 minions you can immediately attack with. Knife Juggler can get very mixed results. If you’re ahead, Juggler is amazing. Every juggle which hits a minion is a big win for you. However, if you’re behind on the board, it’s often just a regular 2/2 minion, not optimal at all.
Weapons are also quite important vs other fast decks. As you probably understand, early game tempo is very important and weapons help you with getting it. Rallying Blade is generally a more consistent one, as it’s always a 3/2, possibly with an upside if you have a Divine Shield minion. Thanks to its 3 attack, it can clear most of the early game minions your opponent might drop. Let’s say that you play against Tempo Secret Mage – 2 damage of Unidentified Maul is not enough to clear Mana Wyrm and Arcanologist. At the same time, Unidentified Maul has a bigger snowball potential. Getting Divine Shield or +1 Attack effect when you have 3 minions on the board, or spawning 2 Recruits with Juggler on the board can be amazing. But getting Divine Shield/Attack with no minions, or Taunt in general, is pretty poor.
Call to Arms is another key card. For just 4 mana, you put tons of pressure on the board, and almost always do something positive – like buff one of your minions with Wolf or throw some knives with Juggler.
As much as you play your early game similar to other Aggro decks, your mid game is much more, let’s say “combo-based”. Depending on your hand, you need to set up some of the cards. One thing to remember is that not every 1/1 is equal. You should trade with Argent Squire and often even Righteous Protector (if you don’t need a Taunt) before trading with Recruits. Unlike those two, Recruits can be buffed by Lightfused Stegodon and Level Up!, both are really big in every matchup. Similarly, if you have Sunkeeper Tarim in your hand, you also want to set it with a bunch of small minions.
Divine Favor is kind of a dead card in fast matchups. You NEVER want to keep it and most of the time you want to ignore it, as it’s a significant tempo loss – if you can get any value at all. Play it only if either you can get a huge Divine Favor for some reason, and at the same time you don’t need to develop the board (e.g. you’re ahead, because your opponent had a very slow start), or when you have simply nothing else to play.
Vs Slow Decks
Unlike the fast matchups, when you play against slow deck, you don’t play for the board control – you play to deal as much damage as possible. While of course, you still need to take some trades (especially kill stuff with weapons), but damage is much more important. Even though you aren’t playing a classic Aggro deck and it has a Midrange touch, you will still often run out of steam quicker than your opponent will (unless you got really lucky with your Divine Favors).
You want a fast opening. Even though you can go for a longer game, the ideal scenario is killing your opponent around Turn 5-6 – and it does happen if they get no answers. It doesn’t mean that you want to absolutely go all in – unlike against Aggro decks, which don’t really have board clears, you want to play around them. Understanding the meta and the kinds of AoEs your opponent might run is very important. For example, against Control Warlock you want to try to play around Defile. When you have a 2 and 3 health minion already (remember that a 1 health minion with Divine Shield counts as 2 health for Defile), it’s often wise to pass on the Hero Power. Your opponent might not be able to cast his Defile, or will need to spend some extra resources like Mortal Coil to set it up. Against all kinds of Priests, try to play around Duskbreaker. The general idea of playing around AoEs like that is to not overextend on the board. Have enough minions to threaten your opponent, but not enough to really suffer from getting all of them killed. Having minions with Divine Shield is also a solid way to play against most of them, while Crystal Lion in general is a great anti-AoE card (not only it has the Shield, but also 5 health).
Play more into the board only when you have some ways to refill. For example, it’s not a bad play to bait AoE by playing an extra minion when you have Call to Arms in your hand. But if you have a solid board already and then you Call To Arms with no other way to refill, that’s just bad and AoE is very punishing.
When it comes to the Control decks, your biggest opponent is definitely Control Warlock. Their AoEs are solid (Defile & Hellfire), while they can get out a big Taunt in the mid game – Voidlord. Passing through the Voidlord efficiently is one of the most important things you need to do. Of course, sometimes you just don’t have anything, and you lose, but this deck is pretty well equipped to handle it. Sunkeeper Tarim is most likely the best answer, as long as you have some other minions on the board and preferably a Rallying Blade equipped. Not only you “deal” 6 damage to the Voidlord, but you also make your other minions 3/3, so they get perfect trades against Voidwalkers. With 2 health remaining, on your lowest minions, it also plays around Defile. Just remember to play your minion first and then Tarim – e..g if you have Lost in the Jungle and you’re on 7 mana, it would be wise to buff those up to 3/3 too (1 mana for 2x 3/3 is not bad at all).
Other ways to get through Voidlord, or any other big Taunt, are Poisonous adapt from Lightfused Stegodon and Equality. For the first one, you need some Recruits on the board. Poisonous is one of the best Adapts in slow matchups, because it makes your opponent unable to play anything big. However, good old +3 Attack can often do the same trick. Equality is great in this deck too, because most of your minions are low health anyway, so even if you’re ahead, you can often use it without making your board much worse. Equality combos very nicely with Knife Juggler – instead of trading into those 1 health minions, 1 damage pings can do a lot of work. Other than that, you can always try to brute force your way through if you have no other methods. Trade your minions, hit them with weapons, possibly buff your Recruits with Level Up! etc. But generally, try to find a smarter way to get through them first.
Steward of Darkshire is a pretty important mid/late game card vs slow decks. It’s not really a good 3-drop, because it does nothing immediately and is just a 3/3, which makes it suboptimal against Aggro. But against Control, that’s another story. In the mid/late game you can combo it with some other cards to get multiple 1/1’s with Divine Shield (e.g. Lost in the Jungle / Stand Against Darkness). Those are particularly strong for two reasons. First is that they’re resistant to the straight up damage AoEs like Duskbreaker and Hellfire. Then, Divine Shield also makes all the buffs better. Having a bunch of 1/1’s with Divine Shield and playing Tarim or Level Up is usually game over for your opponent.
Unlike vs Aggro, if you play against a slower deck, Divine Favor is often an MVP. Yes, sometimes you get a great start and kill your opponent quickly, but it doesn’t happen that often. They will usually have some sort of AoE, Taunts or other stall tools. However, thanks to the Divine Favor, when you finally run out of steam, you can refill your hand. You can usually draw at least 3 or 4 cards, but even 6 or more happens. Your Divine Favor timing is also important. First of all, you don’t want to be too greedy with it. Sometimes you hold it for too long and your opponent gets a turn in which he plays 2 or 3 cards, making it much worse. Generally, the amount of cards you draw is not THAT important. As long as you draw 3 or more, it should be good enough. Timing is more important. You want to use it when you already have some board and you don’t want to commit more, because you’re playing around AoE. Another good time to play it is when your opponent drops a stall like Doomsayer or Frost Nova. And finally, if you’re looking for something specific – e.g. if you need Equality to get through a big Taunt and get lethal, you might try to fish for it with Divine Favor. One more tip regarding Divine Favor is that, unless you’re looking for some specific card, you want to play as much as you can before using it, so you draw more.
Silver Hand Recruit Paladin Card Substitutions
- Call to Arms – I wouldn’t play this deck without them. It’s a lot of why this deck is able to exist currently.
- Level Up! – Solid 1-of card, but you could potentially live without it. Check out the list of general replacements to see what you can play instead.
- Sunkeeper Tarim – Very important card and isn’t going to rotate out until next year. If you plan on playing Paladin you’ll need Tarim.
- Spellbreaker – Silence is always good, especially with all the Control Warlocks on the ladder. Having one copy definitely wouldn’t hurt you.
- Blessing of Kings – Aggressive buff that works great on small minions with Divine Shield – and this deck has quite a lot of them.
- Selfless Hero – Works great with Call to Arms and would be a solid inclusion in this deck.
- Spikeridged Steed – Strong Paladin buff card, but doesn’t necessarily work with the synergy of the deck. It’s still very good, so if you need to replace a card this is a solid option.
- Tirion Fordring – Kind of slow for this deck, but can still work if you face a slower meta. Keep in mind that a lot of Priests are running ways to steal things, though, and you wouldn’t like to see Mind Control on your Tirion!