If you’re anything like me, you have yet to pick a deck for Realm Championships. You’ve considered different options; you’ve had several long involved discussions about the anticipated metagame; you’ve picked a deck “for sure” and then had a poor testing session with it that made you reconsider. You’ve put a lot of thought into the problem of “what to play” but haven’t gotten a lot of answers. It’s ok. I’m here to help.
The first thing to do is pick a deck. It doesn’t matter much what deck you choose—the important thing is to play enough games with it. It doesn’t matter what you play nearly as much as how you play it, and most decks can be adapted for metagame considerations. Brewing up your metagame-smashing deck the night before the tournament, while it always seems like a great idea at the time, doesn’t mean a whole lot if you lose because you make dumb mistakes due to your unfamiliarity with the deck. Play as many games as you can, including post-side deck games, to get a good feel for your deck. Practice is the single strongest correlation to success in Constructed World of Warcraft.
Everyone keeps saying that this is a very control-oriented metagame. I like attacking and playing aggressively, so for those of you who like beating down, today is your lucky day. I’m going to outline what I feel are the greatest threats facing rush decks in the current environment, as well as take you through my process on tuning a rush deck.
Let’s start with the deck I am considering. Right now I want to practice with something a little off the radar. It’s a blast from the past, and I’m sure some of you share my weakness for this particular hero. He was one of the original kings of beatdown, and he stayed competitive long after most had dismissed him. He was the hero I chose to play at both U.S. Nationals 2007 (14th place) and Worlds 2007 (10th place). I’m talking, of course, about Omedus the Punisher. Here is my first list for testing:
Hero: Omedus the Punisher
4 Hex Doctor No’jin
4 Offender Gora
4 Marksman Glous
4 Broan Charges-the-fight
4 Power Word: Shield
3 Shadow Word: Anguish
4 Shadow Word: Death
3 Power Word: Restore
4 Orders from Lady Vashj
3 Falling to Corruption
3 One Draenei’s Junk . . .
3 Akama’s Promise
2 Finkle Einhorn, At Your Service!
2 Twin Spire Ruins
3 Skumm Bag’go
3 Dispel Magic
2 Vexmaster Nar’jo
2 Johnny Rotten
If you haven’t played any games with Doctor No yet, you might want to try him out. His drawback isn’t so bad, and he’s absolutely enormous for 1 resource. All the allies in this deck are pretty awesome, actually, and you’re fast enough to simply race opposing aggressive decks. Of course, the biggest reason this deck became unplayable was the power of Form of the Serpent. That card destroys a big part of your strategy by trumping Shadowfiend. If Traitor Druid decks are big in your region, I wouldn’t even consider this. However, the undead Priest does have some big advantages. Most of the decks that can smash the Red Control decks (like Daspien) have an unwinnable matchup here, at least as they are currently configured. Even the red control decks have some big problems against you. Jonas often isn’t fast enough wipe your board with Overkill and ends up getting run over by a quick draw. He can solve the Shadowfiend problem more readily than most, but he is weaker against your “vomit allies” strategy than most. I played the above list in a local battleground, and while I went undefeated, I noticed some problems that need to be addressed.
This is my checklist for aggressive decks in this format. You must have a plan to beat each and every one of these cards if you plan on winning your Realm Championships.
This card can be a big nuisance for vulnerable rush decks. Examine your deck. Is it easily hosed by the city? Is this something you can fix by swapping in some comparable allies, or is it a structural issue? If it is a problem, what is the best way for you to deal with the location?
For my Omedus deck, It can be a problem when the opponent names shadow. Shadowfiend, Bloodsoul, and your hero flip (plus your extra flips from PW: Restore) are all shut down. While Bloodsoul can be swapped out for some other 2 ATK 1-drop, Shadowfiend and Omedus’s flip aren’t going anywhere. Obviously I can’t work around this, so I need an answer. Currently, Skumm Bag’go is in the side deck to help combat this, but he doesn’t seem so bad in the maindeck. Flipping quests helps to make your flip more effective, and he’s proven to be maindeck worthy in other rush decks (Kil’zin from Koln Top 8).
Yeah, he’s still awesome at stopping rush dead in its tracks. There are the cute workarounds, like Towers of Eastern Plaguelands, and then there are removal abilities. Stealth is also a valid plan against the ubiquitous epic ally.
In my Omedus deck, I’m a little short on plans. Shadow Word: Anguish is obviously amazing when it works, and you can occasionally win by firing a few hero flips. The Twin Spire Ruins can also sometimes provide an answer by allowing you to actually attack around the peasants.
Engulfing Blaze/The More, the Scarier for ally based rushes and Band of the Inevitable/The Bringer of Death against combat Rogue or strikeout Warrior builds
These all present the same threat—they will get card and tempo advantage with their board sweeping effect, and you will be unable to recover. To beat these kinds of effects, you need to make sure you can either interrupt the sweeper, Include plenty of card draw to recover, or have some way to work around them.
In Omedus, Shadowfiend allows you to apply pressure, use your resources, and not overextend into one of these. The fact that blaze will also ding them for three is very relevant as well, as your flip gives the deck a very real burn element. Another idea I had was to use Arcanite Dragonling as a faux-fiend, hitting for 2 for a small resource payment each turn in exchange for being invulnerable to standard issue board sweeps. The dragonling is also quite good against the increasingly rare Vexmaster Nar’jo and has good synergy with Marksman Glous. The biggest drawback is that it makes what would normally be dead cards (ability/equip destruction) live again.
These mass-freeze effects are becoming more plentiful. Ferocity and removal are both valid plans, as is armor for the weapon oriented decks.
For Omedus, neither of these cards is good news. Water Elemental will two-for-one you (or better) with all of your cards except for Shadow Word: Anguish. Blizzard isn’t so bad early, as your opponent can’t really afford to skip resource drops and let it sit there, but it can be devastating later in the game. You have some dispels in the side deck, and they should probably come in here too as they can always catch an Invocation at an awkward time and still get value.
The rush “mirror”
You should always have a plan for these matches. Even though it’s a control heavy metagame right now, there will assuredly be others like us, staunchly beating down in a format slanted against it. If your deck isn’t the flat out fastest deck in the format, then prepare to interact in a race type situation. Cards that can save you from damage (like Vanish) or can kill the opposing hero immediately (like Mortal Strike) help in these types of situations.
Omedus has a natural advantage in the rush mirror—his flip is usually good for at least 6 damage, if not the full 7. This means the opponent will often be behind in the projected race and forced to turn his or her attention away from your health total and towards your allies. Power Word: Shield is great when your allies are bashing into each other, and similarly great when facing down solo Rogue or Warrior. You also play a lot more big early allies than almost every other rush deck, so you are more prepared to play the game of ally combat.
When I sleeve up a rush deck, I want to know how I plan to deal with all five of those threats to my gameplan. This Omedus deck has decent plans for most of the big threats. I would certainly add another Shadow Word: Anguish to the side deck, as that card is currently filling a very important role with little backup. Skumm Bag’go should probably make his way to the maindeck as well’ I will likely cut Power Word: Restore and the one random Waz’luk for a playset. The two Twin Spires will become Finkle Einhorns again, as there really aren’t enough decks with allies for the location to work reliably. I would, however, move these to the side deck in the spot vacated by Skumm Bag’go.
This is of course one of many valid beatdown options. Daspien/Ressa, Halavar/Bojo, Desecrator, of course Kil’zin, etc. are all reasonable ways to attack in this format. To be prepared, I think any player planning on being aggressive at Realm Champs would do well to consider those five threats and how their deck plans to deal with them. Let me know in the forums if you think of any other threats or talk about this Omedus build. Until next time, good luck bashing those control decks!