Tavern Brawl – The Dark Wanderer – Strategy & Example Decks!

Update: We added a strategy section at the bottom in case you have trouble beating the Brawl. Check it out here!

This week’s Tavern Brawl is “The Dark Wanderer”!

Discuss this Tavern Brawl on our Discord!

Official Description for The Dark Wanderer

A hooded stranger sits to play, holding a grim deck in his hands. Can you unravel the secrets surrounding this dark wanderer?

The Dark Wanderer Chalkboard

General Information

  • You get one Standard card pack + Lilith Card Back for winning your first game in this week’s Brawl.
  • It’s the third time we see this Brawl. Last time we’ve seen it on June 7, 2023 (last week).
  • Brawl’s format is Wild.
  • It’s a PvE Brawl.
  • It’s a Constructed (build-your-own deck) Brawl.
  • The Dark Wanderer starts off with Secrets (Visions). They trigger after dealing 10, 20, and 30 damage to the opponent and provide extra effects for both players.
  • Once you kill the first boss, The Dark Wanderer turns into Diablo (second phase) and the real fight starts.
  • Diablo has 150 Health, but don’t worry – you don’t have to beat him in one go. Any damage you deal saves between runs, so if you start over you will fight against the weakened Diablo.
  • It looks like the Brawl works quite differently than it did back in 2017, but we updated our strategy to reflect the changes.

Tavern Brawl The Dark Wanderer Reward

You get this amazing Lilith Diablo Card Back for winning this brawl!

Strategy & Deck Ideas

The first phase of this Brawl is quite simple. Your opponent starts at 50 health with 3 Secrets in play – they trigger with every 10 points of damage you deal to him. The first one gives both players +3 Spell Damage, the second reduces the cost of cards for both players by (2) and finally, the third doubles damage both players take. Getting him down to 0 health ends the first phase.

After you beat the first phase, you summon Diablo, the real opponent. Diablo has much stronger cards (including a weapon that destroys your Mana Crystals, a full board clear that deals damage to you for every minion destroyed etc.) and 150 health in total. Technically you don’t need to deal 150 damage because of the double damage both players take – but it’s still a lot to go through. If you don’t beat him on the first try and have to restart from the Diablo phase, both players will start with some extra effects, like a chance to draw extra cards on each turn or all minions being 4 mana 7/7’s (meme value).

The best strategy is to play a combo deck that can OTK your opponent. You use the first phase to draw cards, gain health, set up your combo etc. and then once you pop the third Secret and Diablo shows up, you just do your OTK and kill him immediately. Don’t try OTK in the first phase because it will just kill Dark Wanderer and not DiabloMecha'thun is a good way to do it (Mecha’thun Druid, Mecha’thun Warlock), for example. Quest Mage also works very well, but it’s a pretty difficult deck to pilot if you’ve never played it.

Here’s an example Mecha’thun deck from RenoJackson:

During the first phase you set up the Linecracker + 2x BEEEES!!! + Earthen Scales combo in order to gain lots of Armor. For the rest of the Wanderer phase, you just empty your hand and leave only Mecha'thun + a single copy of Poison Seeds in there. Wanderer will die to fatigue damage (you will survive because of all the Armor), then the moment he turns into Diablo you want to play Mecha’thun + Seeds and win the game. I tested the deck and beat the Brawl with it 2 times out of like 5 tries. If you don’t draw your Guff quite early or your opponent rolls some strong Imps from the Hero Power you can just restart, it really only takes a few turns to know whether you will be able to win it or not.

There’s also a cheese strategy you can try – Steamcleaner. However, it works ONLY WORKS THE FIRST TIME YOU SUMMON DIABLO! When Dark Wanderer switches to Diablo, his entire deck is made of “cards that didn’t start there”. So playing Steamcleaner destroys his whole deck. However, if you replay the Brawl and start with a Diablo fight, then that will be his starting deck and Steamcleaner will no longer work. So you want to simply play a good deck, add two copies of Steamcleaner and make sure to not pop the Diablo phase until you draw at least one of them.

Alternatively, you can try out a fast-paced deck like Mech Paladin or Pure Paladin (Standard), Unholy Death Knight (Standard) etc. You probably won’t beat Diablo in one go unless he draws badly, but you should deal some damage every game and slowly chip at his health that way. And if you have a really hard time, just create a Mage deck and add all burn (damage) spells you can, play a few burn cards a Dark Wanderer (or Diablo), and restart once you run out of burn. It probably won’t take more than 10 minutes of restarting thanks to the Spell Damage and mana discounts, but it also feels pretty “cheesy” (not judging, if you’re here just for the card back then be my guest and do it).


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Mikek12003
    June 14, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    No cow lvl this year huh?

  2. Nathair
    June 9, 2023 at 3:39 am

    Won first try with meme Renethal-Raid The Sky Temple deck; my one and only Ice Block didn’t trigger. Didn’t know what to expect since the first was beyond my time and went in with the deck because I knew it was PvE and RNG-Fiesta Mage is my go-to for any PvE content, if possible. I was shocked to find that my deck is rather synergetic with the guys buffs ( +3 Spell Dng, Double Hero Dmg, 2-cost reduction).

    Went a similar deck for my sister’s account (No Quest, and half the epics) with a focus on Ignite spam AFTER first phase with the draw a spell after casting a fire spell. Lost twice before succeeding: First loss I just died after getting Diablo to 128 HP, second loss I learnt that the three buffs aren’t static and 2- Reducection became a “all minions cost 4, and are 7/7”, he flooded the board and I couldn’t survive. Third try was similar to my own win: Put taunts up and Diablo seems to forget how to play.

    In hindsight for myself I could have gone with Fel DH + Jace, since it’s a wild brawl, however it could have also gone with something like UiS Quest Shaman for full spell damage synergy. A strange thing is I tried to enter a few times with Frost DK and Four Horsemen (since I didn’t think frost had the spells to kill Diablo even with discovers and Deathwhisper) and it told me that the deck was allowed, I assumed it was an Insta-kill thing so I’m shocked to see Mecha-Thun is possible, maybe it was E.T.C’s band that wasn’t allowed?

  3. Fitzcairn
    June 7, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Got it right the first time with a DK blood control 🙂


  4. Goblinta
    June 7, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Actually, the brawl is really really really easy.

    Key point.

    If you lose, the next time you play, the game remembers your status and the opponent’s status.

    So the two of you “reincarnate” right where you died – but you have a fresh deck and so does the opponent.

    The opponent’s secrets may change.

    So what you do is keep reincarnating and taking Diablo down a little, then reincarnating and taking Diablo down a little.

    Rinse and repeat enough – you will win.

  5. FooBars
    June 7, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Beaten first time (Dark Wanderer and Diablo) with a standard Control Priest

    ETC is: Sister Svalna, Steamcleaner and Theotar

    Gradually bring the Dark Wanderer’s health down until you have it in lethal range, but don’t kill him until you’ve played ETC and got the Steamcleaner from it. Then deliver the lethal blow, and Steamcleaner Diablo’s entire deck.

    This should let you win, unless he’s drawn the Apocalypse card which will do 14 damage to you for each minion you have on board :/

    • X15d
      June 7, 2023 at 2:22 pm

      This is definitely the easiest way to do it. Honestly you can do it with any control type of deck just take one card out and put steamcleaner instead. I think there is only two copies of each card in his deck after he turns into diablo (but he still draws some automatically after he turns) so not every card is burnt, just pay attention to what is being burnt and watch out for apocalypse.

      • Tailsfromvienna
        June 9, 2023 at 10:10 pm

        Steamcleaner definitely is the best card in this tavern brawl.

        Hovewer, i could not use your deck because it was deemed illegal, but removing ETC and adding Steamcleaner worked

  6. Juventinino
    June 7, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    First turn kill Diablo phase with DH Spell. Si pleasant

  7. Mardex
    June 7, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Blood Control DK worked for me

  8. Bloodsage
    June 7, 2023 at 10:23 am

    Just completed it (first attempt) as a Frost DK. Go all out face in 2nd phase.

    Not as difficult as last weeks co-op Mechazod brawl. THAT was painful.

  9. VEVA
    January 7, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    125 minnions killed 63 bovines killed, game just ended even though cow had 30 hp left. I guess he just ran out of bovinesin his deck. Used jade golem druid btw

  10. Thelegend27
    January 5, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Apparently casting flare from any discover minions wont trigger the cow king.

  11. Turambur
    January 5, 2017 at 8:12 am

    There is apparently some sort of hard cap on either turns or total minions killed that causes the game to end with both heroes losing. I’m not sure what triggers it, but I’ve hit it twice with Jade Druid and (I think) the minion count was 114 both times.

  12. JaySherman
    January 5, 2017 at 7:56 am

    You can’t really go infinite, the match ends when the turn limit is reached (I think is 89?). I got 231 minions, 59 bovines, but no king killed 🙁

  13. Nandiman
    January 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I played, I won, (killed the wanderer, not the cow), got the card back. Do you get anything extra (like another card back or something) for killing the Cow?

  14. watman
    January 5, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Flare is also disabled :E

  15. DrRaven
    January 4, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Also, if you Twisting Nether while the Portal is out on his side, then it dies too and you can kill the Dark Wanderer and get it complete with 3 secrets revealed (and no Cow King appearance)

  16. Holdpriority
    January 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Just played this for the second time and the Twisting Nether that was cast was golden? So all the cards in the Cow King’s deck were golden!!

  17. CD001
    January 4, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Wish I’d read this first – I went into it blind with a really old skool Mill Rogue which was pretty hilarious for trouncing the Dark Wanderer but it wasn’t until the 3rd game where I actually triggered all of his secrets and turned him into the Cow King O_O

    Suddenly he’s got a load more cards and infinite Hell Bovines – bum! Nearly milled myself to death, saved only by Vanish and getting a weapon that gave me just enough damage to finish him off.

  18. Xerac
    January 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Casting Twisting Nether will destroy the portal and there will be no Cow King. I destroyed it while attempting to steal it with Sylvannas.

  19. MrGTwister
    January 4, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    The secret “Visions of Necromancer” triggers with Death’s Bite? Nice work –‘

  20. TKL
    January 4, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Left all those 0/4 chest,weapon, or armor units alive until it filled up all 7 minion slots. No slot left for enigmatic portal so boss just dies and didn’t have to face the cow.

  21. dragon izi priest
    January 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    izi win dragon priest fast

  22. Starfinguer
    January 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Why cant I use that squid dude that eat secrets on this braw? is it a bug or just a nocheating feature?

  23. Unicorn
    January 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    The enigmatic portal doesn’t appear when you trigger the first secret. It seems you have to trigger all three.

    • Evident
      January 4, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      It says “first three” I guess I can remove first.

      • Unicorn
        January 4, 2017 at 6:17 pm

        My bad. I read that as “first of these secrets” rather than “first three secrets.”

  24. Lucas
    January 4, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    i took the portal with Silvanas, so im the Cow King vs the dark wanderer

  25. Rebenitez1802
    January 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

    you can go easily infinite with jade druid, just swap one living roots with worgen infiltrator to cover the stealth secret.

    i loose beacuse king was in 1 health and play wrath guard and suicide it next turn, so dont attack face in secret level if you want to go infinite.

  26. onebigcb
    January 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

    won the game with aggro freeze mage on first try.

  27. Darknes386
    January 4, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Miracle Rogue with Shaku covers almost all except the taunt

    • decyfeR
      January 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Just play a Second-Rate Bruiser.

  28. LegendSlayer
    January 4, 2017 at 10:40 am

    This looks really cool!