Well met! My name is Cora and I’m a legend rank Hearthstone player for Vicious Syndicate Gaming under the name CGSongbird. With the release of TGT, I was eager to learn new classes and improve on decks that weren’t quite as popular before the expansion. While some didn’t quite work out as planned (I’m looking at you Totem Shaman), one deck in particular exceeded everybody’s expectations and helped me achieve my personal best ladder ranking to date. I’m sure by now most of you are familiar with, and most likely have come to resent, Secrets Paladin. It has taken on several different names: Christmas Tree Paladin, Eboladin v2, Cancer Incarnate. However, in the interest of shameless self-promotion, I have dubbed this iteration as “Coradin.” Whether it is structured as an aggressive or midrange list, the deck is annoyingly broken at times due to good old “Doctor 6”, Mysterious Challenger.
As cancerous as the deck may be, it’s also the reason I’m currently sitting at rank 5 legend with 4 days remaining in the season. I was rank 4 legend yesterday but have since decayed as a result of inactivity. As much as we wish we could, we can’t deny that this deck is strong, despite the fact that it remains unrefined. However, I feel like I’ve come up with a unique and powerful version similar to the Hybrid Secrets Paladin, but a bit more aggressive with the addition of Secretkeepers. Not only have I had huge success with this variant over the last week, but two friends of mine, @KCCO_Gamer and @Dr_Jeebus, achieved their first time legend ever with this deck this month. To help you guys understand my thought processes, I’ll break down the deck and highlight some of the popular matchups.
Deck List: //imgur.com/LFWpxp7
There are some cards in this deck that are so good, they need little explanation for their inclusion. In the interest of saving time, I’ll keep it brief.
Haunted Creeper: Extremely sticky early game minion with great synergy with other cards in the deck (Knife Juggler, Redemption).
Knife Juggler: High priority target that improves Paladin hero power and other token cards (Noble Sacrifice, Muster for Battler, Haunted Creeper).
Shielded Minibot: The best 2 drop in the game, hands down.
Piloted Shredder: The best 4 drop in the game, hands down.
Mysterious Challenger: The only reason this archetype even exists!
Dr. Boom: The “most balanced” and “most skillful” card in the game.
Tirion Fordring: Finishes off your late game and is bursting with value.
Divine Favor: This deck may be a more aggressive midrange variant, but it’s not designed to quickly dump your hand. You want to maximize value from all of your cards and it’s rare that I lose games because I’m forced to play in topdeck mode. If you play your cards right, you won’t need the extra draw.
My choice of secrets is fairly standard, but designed to maximize the decks flexibility while still allowing for the full Christmas tree.
Avenge: The best Paladin secret and a source of pivotal burst damage. Basically, it’s an unavoidable 1 mana 3/2 buff. Two copies of this card is a must.
1 Competitive Spirit: Honestly, this is a complete win-more card and I’m still not sold on it. The only reason I play even one copy of it is because when it’s free from Mysterious Challenger I don’t hate it.
Noble Sacrifice: My personal favorite Paladin secret and the one that makes all the other crappy secrets synergize. Noble Sacrifice prevents an enemy attack, has the potential to deal face damage, and is endlessly annoying for your opponent.
1 Redemption: If I were to change up my secret lineup, it would be to add a second copy of Redemption. However, it activates from the Noble Sacrifice 90% of the time and because of this it’s not as effective in the deck as I’d like. Redemption does have the potential to activate off of your divine shield or deathrattle minions which is what makes it great in theory, but that involves playing it from the hand strategically, or not hero powering, which denies you tempo or board control.
1 Repentance: Repentance is a strictly worse version of Hunter’s Mark in every match up except against Patron Warrior. In this case, if you time your plays correctly, you can royally screw up their pivotal Patron turn, often resulting in auto concedes and salt-filled rage.
What Makes It Unique
I’ve chosen to include and exclude several cards that may seem strange at first, but allow the deck to have largely positive match ups in every situation.
Secretkeeper: This card is a staple in the aggressive build, but is rarely seen in the midrange versions. In this deck it’s not necessary to use it as an extreme damage push or a finishing card. However, you will still take games with a ridiculous 13/14 Secretkeeper that your opponent just couldn’t remove. Secretkeeper is simply an early minion that can help your deck survive the push from other aggressive decks. In my opinion, the weakest match ups for this deck are Hunter, Zoo, and aggressive Secrets Paladin because they can out aggro you if your mulligan is heavy in mana costs. Secretkeeper takes bad hands full of secrets and makes them useful, while providing a damage push and high priority target at the same time.
1 Ironbeak Owl: This is a recent tech but it’s proved itself invaluable. Ironbeak Owl is intended to improve the decks performance against midrange and control decks. I put it in with Handlock in mind, but it’s also great against Warriors and Druids. Because your deck has no card draw, every point of damage has to be optimized and trades have to be carefully thought out. Large taunts have the potential to force unfavorable trades and deny damage. Having one available clutch silence is often a surprise to your opponent and can deny both powerful deathrattles and large taunt minions.
1 Coghammer: In my opinion, Coghammer is one of the most useful cards in the deck. Not only does it provide crazy favorable trades, it also allows you to push 6 damage if you utilize all three charges. I played two copies for the majority of my climb to legend and it worked well. However, as I began to see more control decks on ladder I swapped one copy for the Ironbeak Owl and have been happy with the results.
1 Muster for Battle: Before you discount everything that I’ve said as crazy, hear me out. Yes, Muster for Battle is an amazing value card. However, in my opinion it’s not always necessary. I initially took it out because there was so much Patron Warrior on ladder and, in this case, Muster for Battle is a liability. When you look closer at the individual matchups, it’s a liability against Hunter as well and almost always gets removed with Swipe against Druid. The only matchup I really miss the second Muster for Battle in is the mirror. Plus, with a Coghammer and Truesilvers, there are other weapons you would rather have equipped than the Light’s Justice. Overall, it’s a great card but I think there are better options for the current meta.
Truesilver Champion: To have Truesilver on the list of what makes this deck unique seems ridiculous, but at this point having two copies is actually kind of different from other Secret Paladins. Some versions of this deck have taken to running only one Truesilver Champion in favor of two copies of Muster for Battle. I agree that having two copies of both is too many weapons. However, I prioritize Truesilver for the damage and 4 points of healing which can make a difference in close games against aggressive decks.
1 Consecration: Some midrange variants of Secrets Paladin are choosing to run two copies of Consecration to combat aggro. While I don’t think this is wrong, I also don’t think it’s necessary. This deck already has so much early game that one Consecration strictly to play catch up is definitely enough. Also, 2 points of face damage over taunts isn’t half bad.
Loatheb: Loatheb has actually become quite standard in this deck but I put it in this section because I don’t believe it’s really needed. It makes the control and combo match ups much better, but could easily be replaced by Harrison Jones to target weapons classes and Patron.
This deck is fairly simple to mulligan. In general, you’re searching for your early game minions to gain fast advantage. However, in certain matchups, some cards are more valuable than others.
- Noble Sacrifice is good against Mage, Priest, and Warrior.
- You can keep Mysterious Challenger if you have a good curve, but it’s best with the coin.
- Prioritize Consecration in the mirror and against Hunter and Mage.
- Generally toss back secrets. However, if you have Secretkeeper it’s ok to keep them for buffs.
- Above all, prioritize curve. This deck thrives on having a solid play each turn. Avoid dead turns at all costs.
Like the mulligan, this deck also has a fairly simple playstyle and is forgiving to mistakes. Learning the matchups will maximize your win rate however, and there are some special things to take into account.
- Prioritize Blessing of Kings. This deck doesn’t use charge minions so you need to take the opportunity to buff your minions when you know you can get value from them.
- Save the Jugglers! Sometimes you will have to throw out a Knife Juggler on turn two just because you have nothing else to play. Most classes will have a way to remove him however, and if you have Haunted Creeper or Muster for Battle in your hand it’s best to think ahead as to when that extra damage may come in handy.
- In that same vein, PLAN AHEAD!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. The deck may seem to play itself at times, but you will have to think several turns ahead to make the optimal plays. The deck doesn’t use Divine Favor which means you need to squeeze value out of every card.
- Don’t limit yourself. In general, playing Dr. 6 on turn 6 will be the optimal play. However, don’t get into the mindset of believing you always have to play the same way. If there is something better to do, such as playing Consecration, Challenger will always be strong whether he’s played on turn 6, 7, or 8.
Priest: Favorable. Be wary of Wild Pyromancer.
Paladin: Not Favorable. The mirror is entirely dependent on the quality of your opening hand and pure midrange will often have the advantage. Watch for potential double Consecration.
Warrior: Control=Favorable, Patron=Not Favorable. Whirlwind is your worst enemy. Control is generally in your favor, but be conscious of one or even two copies of Brawl. Don’t overextend.
Rogue: Neutral. Chances are you won’t be seeing this match up much on ladder right now. If you can rush the rogue down you will most likely win. However, a big Blade Flurry or a series of Saps will shut you down.
Hunter: Not Favorable. This is the worst matchup for the deck. Knife Juggler combined with Unleash the Hounds will make you very sad. Flare will make you want to quit the game. Take a deep breath and move on.
Shaman: Favorable. Shaman’s early game can’t match yours and their board clear is not effective at dealing with your Divine Shields and other buff cards. They won’t be able to easily challenge your aggression or remove it, and they have no easy way to deal with secrets. Be wary of lightning storm when going against Totem or slower Shamans. Unfortunately, you won’t be running into them very often.
Druid: Slightly Favorable. Like the Shaman, the Druid can often struggle with addressing early game aggression. If you can swarm the board and use divine shields to get favorable trades against taunts, you will likely win. However, keep in mind that they are Druids. If they draw the nuts, you will lose.
Warlock: Handlock=Neutral, Zoo=Slightly Unfavorable. This matchup is interesting. Against Handlock you need to pray to RNGesus and just go face. If they have double Molten Giant with a taunt and Healbot then you’ll lose. However, the longer you drag out the game the more likely you’ll lose anyway. Against Zoo you’re not favored as they will usually swarm faster than you can respond and cards like Nerubian Egg, Voidcaller, and Imp Gang Boss are a nightmare to deal with.
Mage: Tempo=Slightly Favorable, Mech=Slightly Unfavorable. Tempo Mage has a tendency to get out of hand with Flamewakers. However, if you can counter Sorcerer Apprentice and Mana Wyrm early, you will likely win. Mech Mage is harder to deal with and I will often prioritize Noble Sacrifice and Consecration for this matchup. Even with a strong opening the existence of Goblin Blastmage means you’re slightly less favored as it is adept at removing small minions (of which your deck has a lot of).
Take My Energy!
While all Secrets Paladin decks are viable, I feel mine provides a bit more stability than other versions. The deck itself has few bad matchups and no matchup is less than 40% in your favor in my opinion. In two hours between classes the other day I managed to climb from rank 500 to 5 with only two losses. Undoubtedly luck does play a role, but if @KCCO_Gamer, @Dr_Jeebus, and I all did it, then I’m sure you can too. Take my energy, good luck, and have fun!