Thief Rogue Deck List Guide (Academic Espionage) – Boomsday – August 2018

Our Thief Rogue deck guide explores the possibilities for this long toyed with archetype! We will be walking you through mulligans, play strategy, card substitutions and omissions.

Introduction to Thief Rogue

If they decided to un-nerf Tess Greymane instead of giving us some dust, this deck’s got to become good now, right? Ever since The Grand Tournament’s Burgle, Rogue’s been getting a lot of cards revolving around stealing cards from your opponents’ class. It never really coalesced into a coherent archetype, but individual cards like Blink Fox were good enough to become a part of the class’ viable toolkit. Is it time for Thief Rogue to shine with the arrival of The Boomsday Project? This build is intended to make most use of the Miracle Rogue shell’s powerful draw engine to tap into either the usual 4/4 spiders or the 1-cost versions of your opponents’ cards instead of a burn-heavy finisher.

Deck List

Deck Import

Thief Rogue Mulligan Strategy & Guide

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Fire Fly – This is essentially your only tool to contest the board on the first turn, and is always your desired turn 1 play with this deck.
  • Backstab – 2 damage for 0 mana is a very important tempo swing and/or combo activator in the early game when you’re fighting for the board against aggressive opponents.
  • Hench-Clan Thug – As we’ve all experienced when we were on the wrong side of the table, a 3 mana 4/4* with additional growth potential is sometimes game-winning on its own.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • SI:7 Agent – If you’re on the coin or can otherwise trigger this on the third or fourth turn, it’s a great way to keep away the hordes of aggro, but it’s otherwise a 3 mana 3/3 in your opening hand that generally isn’t enough to keep up on tempo.
  • Fal'dorei Strider – If you have your early game secured, this is the single best play on curve – but its lack of initiative means that you should not rely on it on its own as its payoff takes a while to arrive.
  • Edwin VanCleef – If you’re on the coin or otherwise have a hand for a powerful early Edwin, it can be a game-winning all-in play in most matchups.
  • Fan of Knives – It’s especially great against Odd Paladin’s endless stream of 1/1 dudes, but if you’ve got one or two of the other desirable keeps, this mini-AoE is very effective against other aggressive decks as well.

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Fal'dorei Strider – Since you’ve got a lot of time to work with, setting up your free 4/4 spiders early on should be your primary goal. Even if this is the first minion you play in the game, control decks can’t really punish you for skipping the first three turns.
  • Hench-Clan Thug – The same story as in aggro matchups, though *terms and conditions may apply.
  • Fire Fly – Once again, it’s your only real way to get on the board early, and, more importantly in these matchups, they are excellent combo activators as well.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Academic Espionage – If you’ve also got Preparation in hand, and you’re interested in some extreme variance, shuffling in those ten cheap cards on the first turn can certainly get you some free wins. We’ve all dreamt of one-mana Death Knights and Ultimate Infestations at some point: now you can make that a reality on turn two.
  • Vilespine Slayer – Against decks with large mid-game minion threats, you might want to hold on to either this card or Sap to make sure you don’t get blown out by a power play.
  • Edwin VanCleef – Speaking of power plays, early Edwins can literally win you tournaments.

Thief Rogue Play Strategy

VS Aggro Decks

These games are all about survival. You’ll have to keep up on the board until either your opponent’s cheap cards, Vilespine Slayer or Fal’dorei Strider’s spiders can swing it back your way. This has never been an easy task for combo-oriented Rogue archetypes, especially if you don’t run the burn cards to punish them on the backswing. Consequently, this build doesn’t really have the option to just give up the board and go in for the kill, meaning favorable trades are at a premium with Thief Rogue.

Still, if all else fails, Myra's Unstable Element and Tess Greymane could serve as decent Hail Mary plays in these matchups, but you’ll likely be under too much pressure to pull off your thief combos.

VS Control Decks

This is where the archetype really shines. Miracle Rogue has already been good against slower opponents, but some of the grindiest Control archetypes were able to gain enough Armor and remove all your threats in the long run. What do you know, getting 20 of their cards for 1 mana will make that strategy a lot more difficult! The crux of this archetype is the two copies of Academic Espionage and the copious amounts of draw – just go ahead and drown your opponents in all the value.

Since your opponents are a lot slower, you’ll have a lot of time to set up your combos either via Fal’dorei Strider’s spiders or by drawing massive quantities of cheap cards that were copied from your opponent’s deck. You can still go on the offensive if you can find your usual early game, but keep in mind that this build lacks most of the burn potential of the original Miracle Rogue archetype.

Crucially, you can play Myra’s Unstable Element without making it a desperation play if you have one or both copies of Academic Espionage and some card draw in your hand. From that point on, you’ll be able to get ultra-cheap versions of premium cards straight from your opponents for the rest of the game!

Thief Rogue Card Substitutions

  • Pick Pocket – If you want to go all-in on the thievery, you can certainly include one or two copies of this card as well. In practice, it usually amounts to a massive tempo loss and would almost definitely be a downgrade over whatever you would choose to cut to free up space – and considering how inferior it is to Academic Espionage, you’re likely better off keeping your Eviscerates and Saps instead.
  • Hallucination – I’ve only included a single copy of the card due to the difficulties of creating space for a second one, but this one’s inclusion is a lot more justifiable. As a one-cost cycle card with some added unpredictability, it has already found a way into some of the Gadgetzan Auctioneer builds as a tech card of sorts, and it certainly fits the theme we’re going for with this deck.

Card Omissions

It’s certainly tough to find a way to improve upon the current iron-clad Miracle Rogue build, especially when you’re trying to include an entirely new subset of gameplan as part of it. Elven Minstrel, an otherwise fantastic card has been removed from this deck since it’s nowhere near as consistent as it usually would be after you shuffle in the ten (or twenty!) cards from your opponent’s deck. Similarly, since you’ll be more reliant on your opponents’ gameplan as yours at some point, Cold Bloods become a lot harder to make good use of and therefore are the next logical cards to cut from the standard Miracle build – with that, Leeroy Jenkins was the obvious one to go afterwards. Restoring them will give you a perfectly fine deck, but if you want to include the thief package, this is the most logical set of cards to cut that still keep the build’s massive draw capability.


Luci Kelemen is an avid strategy gamer and writer who has been following Hearthstone ever since its inception. His content has previously appeared on HearthstonePlayers and Tempo/Storm's site.

Check out Yellorambo on Twitter!

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Discuss This Deck
  1. JKoala
    August 9, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Sadly in this meta, you either go aggro/midrange or you OTK your opponent.
    This deck can be funny and unique and of course will get you some wins, but will also lose to combo decks unless you’re incredibly lucky with the random cards.
    Oh, and Myra’s will go trhough your entire deck leaving you with NO draw. So who cares about 1-mana super cards if you can only play 1 per turn? I’d prefer the old good (and boring, yeah) Auctioneer.

    • Dr. Drunkenstein
      August 24, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      So the idea is to draw your whole deck with Myra’s, then shuffle 1 or 2 Academic Espionage into your now empty deck, and then use a Sprint to get started with your 1 mana cards. I’m not sure about this deck list, but they sometimes include Elekk to double the Academic Espionage cards after destroying their own deck. Sprint, in this version, is basically a must have for post Myra’s.

  2. SkedMaster
    August 8, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    I like the version that runs 2x deadly and a cutlass. With espionage you’ll never run out of durability while gaining 4-6 life per swing which will help against decks like zoo lock or odd paladin. Savj was playing a version earlier today that runs doomsayers and Auctioneer.

    • Rhythmuskorb
      August 9, 2018 at 2:08 am

      care to link it? I’m trying to build a burgle Miracle since release, have been playing with Doomsayer&Auctioneer, spectral sounds good to fend off aggro. To me, trying to fit in Tempo (with Hench-Clan etc) doesnt ever work, so im trying to focus on the academic – auctioneer – draw 1 mana cards combo

      • SkedMaster
        August 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm

        2 Backstab, 2 prep 2 shadowstep 2 deadly thalnos 1 shinyfinder 2 doomsayers 2 evis 2 sap Edwin 1 fok 2 espionage 1 minstrel 2 faldorei 1 cutlass 1 Myra’s unstable 2 Auctioneer 1 vanish 1 azalina 1 Tess.

        • Rhythmuskorb
          August 11, 2018 at 2:01 am

          Thanks so much, i will give it a try!

  3. UomoNabbo
    August 8, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Why playing Myra’s unstable element?

    Well, I have it in gold, but IDK why playing it in this deck

    • Ghoul
      August 8, 2018 at 4:27 am

      If you have Academic Espionage in hand ( even better 2 of them) you can cast Myras Unstable element to remove all cards from your deck. Then play Academic Espionage to essentially get 20 cards from your opponents class for just 1 mana. This will win you games most of the time.

  4. Pitt
    August 7, 2018 at 1:44 am

    No spectral Cutlass? No Valira? No Lich King? This looks like much more a miracle rogue deck than a thief controle rogue deck

  5. Steven
    August 6, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    can unstable element trigger the 4/4 spiders?

    • Kaye
      August 6, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      Only while drawing. After you reach max hand size every card after that is burnt and the burnt spiders don’t get summoned.

  6. Dinamo
    August 6, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    No Valeera the hollow?

  7. Phreddish
    August 6, 2018 at 11:06 am

    No Augmented Elekk?