Though Ashes of Outlands was (perhaps appropriately) dominated by Demon Hunter, the plight of Paladins still remained a talking point over the course of the expansion. Suffering from limited viability on ladder and weighed down by a hodgepodge of oddball mechanics, could a lesson at Scholomance serve as the light at the end of the tunnel for the class? We’ve put together a set of theorycraft decks to get you started on day one, across a wide variety of possible archetypes.
Tempo Paladin – Grab The Board and Run With It
Faster Paladin decks are few and far between as of late, especially the non-mrglrgrlgrl variety (which we’ll cover a bit later), but some of the class cards from Scholomance Academy look quite promising for a kind of deck which wants to actively contest the board and deal repetitive minion damage on its way to victory. Divine Shields are the ultimate way to leverage a tempo lead, and there may be enough synergy tools here to get the job done: the featured Tempo Paladin is built around an early-game advantage courtesy of overstatted minions with Shield of Honor, Goody Two-Shields and Blessing of Authority, snowballing your way to victory. If you’ve spent some time with Demon Hunter in the previous expansion, you should feel right at home –even if your stat-cheating tools are very different from Illidan’s. Though Devout Pupil’s Priest cross-class would instinctively make you think of it as a control card, nightmares like Thing from Below and Corridor Creeper would like to have a word with you about heavily discountable big bodies.
Potential alternatives for Shotbot would be Cult Neophyte (one-mana break points for crucial AoE clears or hard removals can be devastating for your opponent) or Acidic Swamp Ooze if the meta is swamped with weapon classes – pun absolutely intended.
Control Paladin – Extinction Rebellion
If Tempo Paladin decks were a rare sighting in past metagames, Control decks were the class have basically gone extinct. Put simply, the class’ inability to deal with individual large threats and a lack of resource generation options required to keep up with the Rogues and Warriors and Mages (the list goes on) of the world. Though that may still be an issue going forward, Scholomance Academy offers a lot of promising anti-aggro cards which can shore up some… potentially popular matchups, with perhaps a juicier board presence than some of the Priest alternatives. Librams serve as your infinite value generator of choice, with a build that doesn’t quite go as all-in on those cars as some of the current builds. Lorekeeper Polkelt is included as your anti-aggro savior to guarantee a Nozari draw with beefy follow-ups which should make it a strong enough play against slower opponents as well. Two copies of Educated Elekk are featured to provide some much-needed extra oomph in the long games. With Lord Barov and Libram of Justice in play, we’ve opted to cut Equality to avoid redundance (like most of the current Pure Paladin decks), smoothing out the curve somewhat in the process. Wretched Tutor with a discounted Libram of Wisdom serves as a DYI Consecration in a pinch too.
Divine Shield Paladin – Bubbles Are Fun
We heard you like Divine Shield so we put a Divine Shield in your Divine Shield so you can Divine Shield while you Divine Shield. The idea behind this build is to generate as sticky a board as possible, even at the expense of certain high-tempo tools from the first build. After seeing Demon Hunter (and certain Warrior builds) run basically nothing but class cards, maybe there’s also something to this kind of an approach. Besides, how could we resist the temptation of trying to make Divine Rager viable?
Pure Paladin – More Than a Meme
This archetype has already seen fringe play in the Ashes of Outland meta, and the increased Standard class card pool only serves to improve it going into Scholomance Academy. With better ways to contest the early game, Pure Paladin could certainly rise in the charts once the new expansion launches. Goody Two-Shields serves as a great piece of board presence early on while Devout Pupil synergizes really well with discounted Libram of Wisdoms. Finally, Turalyon, the Tenured serves as a much-needed solution to beefy minions, something which Paladin always seemed to struggle with.
Murloc Paladin – The Mrgl Continues
Last but certainly not least, it’s worth exploring the possibilities of a revamped Murloc build as well, as Gift of Luminance has the potential to add some much-needed stickiness to the archetype’s early game. With Fishy Flyer offering some valuable minion-based initiative, plus Voracious Reader allowing you to comfortably dump your hand, it’s quite possible that something fishy will be going on in the halls of the Academy come August 6.
This build is based on Mismal’s early Legend list but with a larger emphasis on dumping your hand as early as possible to capitalize on your reload tools and synergy cards. Scalelord, originally pegged as a meme and nothing else by many, is a surprisingly effective way to stabilize but the real star of the show remains Imprisoned Sungill, a three-in-one Murloc package that guarantees a bunch of critters on the board early on which you can buff to your heart’s content on your way to victory.