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Can Secret Paladin Be Competitive in Standard?
06/6/2016 em 11:18
Who Am I? None of your business!
Up until recently these infamous words have been part of the identity of Hearthstone. The phrase makes up a significant chunk of the game's history and finds itself on the same level of Face Hunter's "Bring out your dead" or Patron Warrior's "Everyone, get in here!"
Without a doubt Secret Paladin is one of the best decks to ever exist in Hearthstone. And yet here we are after the dawn of Standard and it's now nowhere to be found...Or is it?
Backstory on Secret Paladin
Secret Paladin came into existence thanks to a pesky minion called . As an Epic, you can run two of them in your deck with each playing up to five Secrets for free as part of its Battlecry. That's a lot of value. Each is essentially a 6/6 with a Battlecry of "Gain five mana, draw five Secrets and cast them." So not only are you gaining a huge Tempo swing, but you're also thinning your deck out as well. No one wants to draw a one mana Secret late in the game and Challenger really helps with that. It's important to note that Paladins played very few secrets, if any at all, prior to the release of The Grand Tournament, so Challenger is very much the reason this archetype exists.
What Did Secret Paladin Look Like?
With around seven or eight Secrets in its arsenal, Secret Paladin was well known for having the best drop at every mana cost. Turn 2? . Turn 3? . Follow that up with , , Mysterious Challenger, and then .
Sound too good? It really was. RDU's version above didn't run all of these drops, it instead opted for a more aggressive variant at the time, but the point remains: Secret Paladin had the perfect curve.
So what's left now that Standard is here? We're going to be using that TempoStorm list as a baseline as it was probably the most popular version back in the day.
We still have the most important cards in Mysterious Challenger and all of the Secrets (with the exception of ). We also have everything that is part of the Basic set like and which will always help push the pace. And while there are a lot of other cards we still have, they're not nearly as good as they once were. You can still theoretically run and , but after their changes and without some of the supporting cards that made them so good, they may no longer make the cut.
But first, let's take a look at the spots that are emptied by cards rotating out of Standard.
What Spots Need Filling?
We have lost Avenge (one of the best Paladin secrets), Shielded Minibot, Muster for Battle, and , which is ultimately an important part of staying on an aggressive pace. But we're also missing , Shredder, Loatheb, and Dr. Boom.
That seems like a lot of cards, but as we said the most crucial parts of the archetype remain intact. So can we salvage the archetype?
How We Fill Them
is a suitable replacement for our Coghammer and is always a good idea since it can be used for removal or to buff your own minions. Most will also consider an important addition given the lack of other late game minions and his increased importance as a finisher in today's meta. However, that still leaves us with a lot of empty space, let's take a look at a recent decklist that was competitive in the top ranks of Legend.
What Competitive Decks Look Like
Jambre actually made Top 10 Legend in Europe last season and was in the top 10 in Americas as well until he lost a game in the last few minutes. And this is a ladder deck, not some tournament teched list that may or may not do well in your own hands. This is competitive and given the correct meta it can work. Make sure to head on over to the deck guide page for information on mulligans, substitutions, and matchups!
Hello, in the May season I finished top 10 on EU using exclusively this deck, and was top 10 on NA all day until the last half an hour when I decided to try for number one but unfortunately lost a game.
With this deck you want to be controlling the board as much as you can whilst making your board difficult to remove to maximise your 4 mana buff cards (keeper, argus, kings).
This deck should use it's hero power very often and try to maintain board control, being ahead by just a 1/1 can be very threatening because of abusive and the 4 mana buff cards.
Unlike nerubian egg, with dragon egg you want to keep it alive and buff it so it can spawn multiple 2/1s. E.g. You have an abusive in hand, and a dragon egg on board vs a board of a 1/1 and a 3/2. It is generally a better play to buff the dragon egg and trade into the 1/1 rather than the 3/2.
Why do you run only 3 secrets but 2 mysterious challengers?
Generally the secrets are not that good early game with a few exceptions. By only running 3 secrets you are less likely to draw them before you play mysterious challenger. By running 2 challengers you are more likely to have a challenger on t6. Yes, you get the odd game where you draw all your secrets before challenger but it is rare. If you've already played one challenger the second one is almost a boulderfist ogre, which is fine in the late game!
Why no 2 drops?
There aren't many good 2 drops currently, and the best one (flame juggler) tends to matchup poorly vs most non-zoo decks (totem golem, fiery war axe/fierce monkey, 3/3s from rogue). Often you will need a weapon to finish off these minions, and a 1/1 from your hero power tends to do the same thing as a 2/3.
Why steward with only abusive and hero power as activators?
Steward can give your board stickiness. It also has synergy with dragon egg, causing it to spawn 2/1 divine shield minions, and with noble sacrifice + rallying blade. A 1/1 divine shield on it's own is a threat in this deck. Playing her alongside an abusive sergeant is fine on it's own.
Click here for Jambre's guide!
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