Rattling the Quest Cage: Decks for Laddering with Rogue in the Boomsday meta

Rogue has been one of the winners of The Boomsday Project. Giggling Inventor rejuvenated Quest Rogue to rise strong once again and the card also slipped into Odd Rogue as a tool of aggression and a potent Fungalmancer target. These two archetypes have been highly successful and have dominated the public perception of Rogue in the current meta: listing high win rate decks on a statistics site brings you 50 variants of Odd Rogue and another 50 variants of Quest Rogue with a few other archetypes hidden somewhere in the mix.

Yet, there is more to Rogue than Odds and Quests. Multiple Miracle Rogue players have reached #1 Legend. Multiple Deathrattle Rogue players have hit top-20. Even a Kingsbane Rogue has been seen in top-10. You can play Rogue in multiple ways, and this might come in handy in the near future, as there will be a balance patch in the middle of Boomsday and we will get details of the upcoming changes next week. The current speculation focuses on Giggling Inventor and The Caverns Below, and if these cards are changed, the balance of power in the Rogue class is likely to change with them.

Whether you want to roll with the current proven top archetypes for a while longer or wish to start exploring other options in preparation for the upcoming balance patch, we have some Rogue deck ideas for you. Let’s take a look at the current viable archetypes of the class!

We have explored viable laddering options for multiple classes beyond the obvious meta decks over the past few weeks. If you’re interested in other classes, you can check out our previous articles on Paladin, PriestMageWarrior, and Shaman.

Odd Rogue

Odd Rogue has been the most successful Rogue archetype in Boomsday. It is a strong aggro deck that puts up a lot of pressure and has multiple threats that are difficult to answer, and yet they have to be answered promptly, or the game is lost.

Sturdy one-drops followed up by equipping the Baku-improved dagger on turn two and dropping a Hench-Clan Thug or Vicious Fledgling on turn three is a shock and awe opener that can be difficult to answer. The dagger removes defenses, even more so in combination with Deadly Poison, and the threats keep growing from their own effects as well as from Fungalmancer, if the board is not empty on turn five.

Finally, a burst finish from Leeroy Jenkins is always lurking around the corner, and Myra's Unstable Element provides one last hurrah should the Rogue find their resources depleted.

There are tons of Odd Rogue variants around, all of them at least somewhat successful. Here is a cheap and solid all-around build that Tincho brought to the Fall Championships:

One of the most argued about cards in Odd Rogue is Tar Creeper, which can sometimes save the game by protecting your more important minions, but which can also be too defensive and a low tempo play. This build includes one copy, some of the others have dropped it entirely. Looking at successful Odd Rogue decks, both options seem to work. The most aggressive option would be King Mukla, but it is a niche Legendary that is hard to recommend crafting for a relatively similar variant of the deck. Blink Fox also sees play in this slot, as do the tech cards Void Ripper and Ironbeak Owl, although Odd Rogues have for the most part stopped using Silence effects and rely on brute force instead.

As a sign of our currently Giggling Inventored meta, Blood Knight is not even a tech card right now. It’s played in two copies in practically all Odd Rogue decks. How crazy is that? The upcoming balance changes – the details of which are yet to be announced – may change Blood Knight‘s status back to a tech card. Odd Rogue does not mind, it has a number of options for that three-mana slot.

The three-mana slot is the main source of difference between Odd Rogue lists, although there are a couple of options at five mana as well. For the most part, it’s about how many Giggling Inventors are included and perhaps the occasional Cobalt Scalebane. Some lists also omit Myra's Unstable Element, but a large majority of successful builds choose to include it.

As an interesting recent development, some Odd Rogue players are teching against other Odd Rogue players by including Crystallizer as another one-drop that does not die to the dagger.

Check out our Odd Rogue Deck List Guide for more details on how to play this archetype.

Quest Rogue

You can love it or you can hate it, but you cannot deny that Quest Rogue is a powerful deck. It is also a very polarizing deck, as some aggressive decks such as Tempo Mage simply wipe the floor with it, and in return Quest Rogue obliterates all slow decks, and thanks to the power of Giggling Inventor and Vicious Scalehide, it even has tools to hold its own against aggressive decks that lack direct damage.

In terms of overall win rate, Quest Rogue comes in behind Odd Rogue, but in terms of perception, it has been the defining Rogue deck in early Boomsday.

There are tens of Quest Rogue variants and it seems to be impossible to completely fail with any of them. It’s all about small changes to exactly fit the meta you’re facing.

That said, here’s one extremely solid build that xBlyzes piloted to #1 Legend this week and Justsaiyan brought to the ongoing Fall Championships.

The basic formula of completing The Caverns Below and then hitting face with near-infinite swarms of 4/4 minions just does not seem to grow old. There has been some minor reformulation of the Quest Rogue strategy in Boomsday thanks to Giggling Inventor, which allows the deck to play a slow game more easily.

The deck can still do Vanish and Charge minion plays, but it is less reliant on them, which shows in Stonetusk Boar losing its staple status. This build still includes one copy, but some builds have cut the card entirely, often in favor of including Backstab and Lab Recruiter. Differences in those three cards, as well as the number of Fan of Knives and Mimic Pods included in the decks are the main differences between Quest Rogue lists. These changes can tweak the deck to be slightly better at responding to aggression or to have slightly faster quest completion.

Check out our Quest Rogue Deck List Guide for more details on how to play this archetype.

Miracle Rogue

If you want to experience the classic way of playing Rogue, Miracle Rogue is your deck of choice. I admit that I’m biased, as Miracle has been my favorite Rogue archetype for years, and it is an archetype that simply refuses to die. Many players are never able to find success with Miracle Rogue, but some Rogue experts keep hitting #1 Legend with it year after year. It is a delicate deck to play and can be both fun and frustrating: perfect plays can salvage almost impossible situations, but the deck occasionally defeats itself with a spell-heavy draw.

On statistics websites, Miracle Rogue may not look too hot, but the statistics are unfortunately filled with Academic Espionage lists, the performance of which is abysmal. Don’t play Academic Espionage – unless you want to play it for fun – play Miracle the way it’s meant to be played, without slow and excessively random elements.

Miracle Rogue has several lines of play that can result in sudden swings. In the current meta, these are mainly focused around building an early Edwin VanCleef or getting a surprising spider board from Fal'dorei Strider.

Miracle Rogue uses some of the same aggressive tools as Odd Rogue, there’s Hench-Clan Thug and Cold Blood in the deck, but it also goes for more combo-oriented and nuanced style with a combination of BackstabSI:7 Agent, and Vilespine Slayer to remove threats, Sap to gain tempo, and Shadowstep and Leeroy Jenkins for additional burst.

The traditional Miracle Rogue style has been to draw cards with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and I had some success with such a build that included Augmented Elekks for even more spiders early in Boomsday. However, the deck has been looking for something faster throughout Boomsday, and many people started to use the old Oil Rogue classic move of PreparationSprint for more immediate card draw. Even that turned out to be just a phase though, as Miracle has recently matured to even better fit the meta.

First, Gyong hit #1 Legend with Miracle and then ZittunPink did the same. Both used a similar list, here is ZittunPink’s version that I prefer (Gyong’s version had -1 Southsea Deckhand, +1 Shiv):

The key difference between earlier Miracle builds and this one is the use of Myra's Unstable Element for card draw.

The deck still plays out exactly like a Miracle Rogue. You have your huge Edwins. You have the tempo Sap plays. You have various tempo plays with Preparation. You also have the Fal'dorei Strider, which became the go-to tool for Miracle upon its release.

The key difference comes in the mid-to-late game. Whereas Miracle Rogue builds with Gadgetzan Auctioneer or Sprint often strive to create a lot of Fal'dorei Strider value and can populate the board with spiders multiple times during a game, this new breed of Miracle Rogue is much more all-in. When you slam down Myra's Unstable Element, there’s no going back – you’re in fatigue and have all the resources in hand that you will have during the entire game. It’s do or die time, and it works!

Miracle is ill-equipped to go for a very long game in the current meta, so Myra's Unstable Element is a great fit. Note that if you have shuffled spiders into your deck with Fal'dorei Strider, you only summon the ones that you could actually draw: once your hand hits 10 cards, any spiders left in the deck are wasted. This should not discourage you from going for it, though. I actually defeated a Hunter while playing this deck by playing Myra's Unstable Element on turn five! When you need juice, you need juice, waiting to draw one card a turn will rarely help.

If you are a fan of aggressive tempo plays and tons of puzzles to make them work, Miracle Rogue is the deck for you. (Whereas Odd Rogue is aggression without puzzles.)

Deathrattle Rogue

After a lot of tweaking, Deathrattle Rogue turned out to be a serious deck after all. The archetype got tons of support in Boomsday in the form of Necrium BladeNecrium VialBlightnozzle Crawler, and Myra Rotspring, and while the Legendary minion has turned out to be too slow, the rest of of the tools have been put to good use.

There are still several Deathrattle Rogue builds around, so it is a good time to hop in if you enjoy brewing, but some of them also have enough results that you can use them if you want a ready-made deck.

In fact, I would separate the current Deathrattle Rogue decks into two subcategories. There’s a more straightforward style that pops some eggs and looks for ways to deal damage quickly and use a burst finish to seal the deal and there’s a more complex style that is a whole puzzle box of Deathrattles triggering and copies of minions being created all over the place. In testing, I had more success with the more straightforward style, but if you’re looking for Hearthstone puzzles, you may be more interested in the other way.

Here’s the primary list of the more straightforward way to Deathrattle Rogue:

Riku97 reached #6 Legend with this build on the final day of the September season. The deck can do some great swing turns and get a bunch of big minions on the board fairly reliably with its Deathrattle activation tools, and it can tutor for Necrium Blade with Cavern Shinyfinder.

There are some sweet things you can do with the deck. Early Mountain Giants giving you trouble? If you have found your blade in time, drop a Blightnozzle Crawler on the board and trigger its Deathrattle to get a Poisonous Rush minion into play. You can also instill fear with Devilsaur Egg, much like a Deathrattle Hunter can. If the Egg lives, you can use your blade or Necrium Vial, and if it dies, you can use Carnivorous Cube on the 5/5, bringing another priority target into play. Zilliax is also wonderful in combination with Mechanical Whelp and the 7/7 Mech it summons – I’ve noticed that a 10/9 Lifestealing Rush Mech can really get your health total to a better level.

Potential for a lot of pressure and big swing turns, some capabilities at healing, and a burst finish with Leeroy Jenkins. Sounds good. The deck works fairly well, although occasionally you cannot find the key Deathrattle minions and fail to establish board presence – finding all the activators but none of the targets is a painful experience.

Then, there is the puzzle box of all puzzle boxes, Jalexander’s version of Deathrattle Rogue:

There are many similarities between the builds. Devilsaur Egg and Mechanical Whelp are still the key minions, and Necrium Blade and Necrium Vial are the key activators. Cavern Shinyfinder helps you tutor for the blade, same as in the other build.

However, there are also many differences. Mind Control TechSonya ShadowdancerSpiritsinger Umbra? Shroom Brewer? This build is less straightforward and more of a huge combo with Deathrattles being triggered upon play and 1/1 copies of Deathrattle and Battlecry minions being created all over the place. There is definitely a risk of going for too cute plays when playing this list, but it can also find tools to survive many positions that the more conventional approach would simply concede in.

Jalexander peaked at #19 Legend with the list this week, so it has potential. It will be interesting to see which style of Deathrattle Rogue proves to be the stronger one in the long run. As simplicity is usually valuable in Hearthstone, Riku97’s list has got to be the favorite, but the competition is still going on.

Check out our Deathrattle Rogue Deck List Guide for more details on how to play this archetype.

Kingsbane Rogue

Kingsbane Rogue has not found much success in Boomsday. It is typically good at punishing slow decks – including all Druid decks except for Token Druid – but it has a hard time dealing with aggressive decks. The biggest issue Kingsbane Rogue has is that it is outclassed by another Rogue archetype: Quest Rogue beats the same decks Kingsbane Rogue beats while being stronger against aggressive decks and easily taking the mirror match between the two.

Sometimes it’s fun to build a huge weapon that heals you with every swing and never go to fatigue as you can keep shuffling copies of the weapon to your deck with Valeera the Hollow. That said, from a statistics point of view, Kingsbane Rogue is not worth playing.

I came across this list that Altere recently piloted to #5 Legend, and in light of the upcoming balance changes, which may or may not make the environment better for Kingsbane Rogue, I felt it was appropriate to give the archetype a shoutout for all the experimentally-minded of you out there:

The overall statistics of this build on the ladder show a slightly below 50% win rate, but it is among the best-performing Kingsbane Rogue builds. With the overall win rate of the archetype at 40%, that may not be much.

Tempo Rogue

Once upon a time, Prince Keleseth played a major role in Rogue decks. The most curvestone Rogue deck of all time, Tempo Rogue, just wanted to play its Keleseth, jam some bigger and bigger minions on the board, and hit a lot of face. Back in those days, Bonemare cost seven mana and was played on curve after Cairne Bloodhoof. May those days never return.

I have tried to play Tempo Rogue every once in a while, but I have not found success with it recently. On HSReplay, however, there is one Tempo Rogue build that has over 50% win rate even in higher ranks.

This is the current face of Tempo Rogue:

There’s the good old Prince Keleseth. There are two copies of Shadowstep to get more buffs going and to go for a double Leeroy Jenkins burst finish. There’s a Mossy Horror, like in all decks in the current meta – a deck with a Mossy Horror in it cannot be completely bad right now, right?

Tempo Rogue is another Rogue archetype that has to face the question why play it over a similar, superior archetype? If you want to curve out, isn’t Odd Rogue simply a better way to do it? Yes, the answer is yes, Odd Rogue is clearly better. However, I wanted to give this archetype a shoutout with the upcoming balance changes in mind: if Odd Rogue suffers, Tempo Rogue may benefit.

Laddering with Rogue

There are two established and proven Rogue archetypes in the meta right now: Odd Rogue and Quest Rogue. However, hidden just beneath the surface, there are another two already successful archetypes: Miracle Rogue and Deathrattle Rogue. That’s already four archetypes easily able to climb the ladder, which shows how successful Rogue is as a class right now.

The upcoming balance changes may change everything. Even if they do, Rogue has some archetypes biding their time, waiting for a chance at success. Kingsbane Rogue stands ready to challenge Quest Rogue, and Tempo Rogue would love to be able to challenge Odd Rogue. Both are similar to their currently successful counterparts, but have not quite found the meta they need to succeed. They still may not find their spot after the balance changes, but it’s good to keep in mind that there are alternatives out there.

I sometimes get asked about one other Rogue archetype, so it is probably worth mentioning. Malygos Rogue still exists, in its current iteration as a janky combo deck with Kobold Illusionist that can sometimes get a number of Malygeese on the board early in the game for a surprise win. However, I have not been unable to track down anyone who would have actually had success with the archetype and its statistics look terrible. It has a functional combo, but the reliability is not there and there seems to be no way to make it consistent enough.

How about you? Have you found success with Rogue decks in Boomsday? Perhaps even with Malygos? Let me know in the comments!

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks.

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

13 Comments

  1. Jaybert
    October 15, 2018 at 5:49 am

    I have reached Legend rank today with Odd rogue deck. I must say it is very well positioned in the current meta atleast between 5-1 ranks. I have met mainly Zoo warlock,, Shudderwock shaman, Tempo mage and Hunter and some druids. Almost no warrior, paladin or priests.

    Reply
    • Jaybert
      October 15, 2018 at 5:55 am

      As a huge fan of old Miracle and Malygos rogue with Auctioneers I have also tried a variant of Malygos rogue with Kobold deathrattle and I must say it is horible in aggro meta and the combo is not consistent enough. Deck misses counterfeit coins and Pillagers in my opinion.

      Reply
  2. SaintAkira
    October 13, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Really good write-up. I’ve seen a lot more banter about Maly Rogue lately, though I’ve not attempted it myself. KiwinBacon and Jelonwattyy both have vids up recently on YouTube, one playing Maly Rogue at dumpster legend, the other at rank 5 with fair results (from what I can gather from a handful of games). The combo is a bit janky as you mentioned, using draw (specifically Elven Minstrel to target Kobold Illusionist and Maly) then the Necrium Blade or Vials to trigger said Illusionist with Maly in hand, often getting several geese in play. Looks fun, and I’ve got to think Maly is getting HoF’d in this upcoming rotation, so not a bad dust investment.

    Anyway, maybe check those out if you’re interested. And again, thanks for this informative write-up. Moving on to the other classes’ write-ups you linked in the beginning.

    Reply
    • Jaybert
      October 15, 2018 at 5:59 am

      To be able to even survive game into your combo turn you have to use some of your valuable resources such as eviscerates to do OTK otherwise you have to pull perfect combo such as atleast 3 malygos on board. It is fun but too inconsistent unfortunately

      Reply
  3. Tike24
    October 13, 2018 at 2:50 am

    Hey IDK where you got the info from J_Alexander list, but in a recent stream he said the deck got him all the way to rank 2 legend, granted though that was on the first day of the expansion, and you may want to take out umbra since it’s not in his current list or maybe that doesn’t matter??? Anyways thanks for the read.

    Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      October 13, 2018 at 3:43 am

      First day ranks don’t really count, because they’re more about who gets there first.

      He hit #19 with the featured list this week with more people in Legend.

      I know that he currently runs a Sunfury Protector instead of Spiritsinger Umbra, that was a change made after the article was written. He’s been tweaking the list almost daily.

      Reply
  4. Zach
    October 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Great article, OG. Would like to see more like it! Love your videos, too.

    Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      October 13, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Thanks! Did you notice that we’ve already done similar pieces on Paladin, Priest, Mage, Warrior, and Shaman? Links to those are at the beginning of this article.

      Reply
  5. GlosuuLang
    October 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    You mention Malygos Rogue but no Pogo-Rogue? Well Pogo-Rogue is worse than Kingsbane, which is already worse than Quest. But it is so fun to play.

    A common theme seen in Rogue is that it usually gets nerfed, and then it still says on top. Valeera always finds a way.

    Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      October 12, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      I did not consider Pogo Rogue to be an actual deck even in the sense that someone would think it could be. I get asked about how Malygos Rogue is nowadays, probably because it used to be a deck, but no one ever asks about Pogo.

      I can’t find a single non-meme Pogo list from HSReplay either.

      Reply
      • CD001
        October 15, 2018 at 4:42 am

        It’s possible to squeeze a pogo into a Quest build – might not be any better but gives the option of going infinite if needed; can be useful against decks with zillions of board clears. Think I had a 16/16 Pogo against a Control Warrior in a casual game last night.

        Reply
  6. Orasha
    October 12, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I haven’t had much success with the Myra’s Miracle so far, but I might not be going all in enough. Regardless, I really think it needs Mossy Horror. Your minions just line up so poorly against Plague and Giggling that it feels like a required tech card right now. Mossy + shadowstep is usually GG for Druids, since they won’t waste resources clearing it the first time you play it.

    I’ve been having good results with an Auctioneer list currently from rank 5-3. A surprising amount of my opponents couldn’t kill one of my auctioneers, which usually means they lose.

    Reply
    • Old Guardian - Author
      October 12, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      I like Mossy Horror a lot in the current meta, but Miracle has felt fine without as well. Spiders and Fan can clear Spreading Plague and you don’t really go wide with low-attack minions.

      Reply

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