Heh, greetings! My name is rayc591 and today I want to talk about the evolution of the Warrior class with the introduction of TGT. As a Warrior main, this set has gotten me so hyped to try out all of the new innovations that are possible for the Warrior class.
The Three Builds
- Dragon Warrior
- Control Warrior
- Patron Warrior
TGT hasn’t been out for long, but Warrior has already seen a new archetype rise above the others: Dragon Warrior. By now, any avid ladder player has likely played against this deck or has tried a version of it out for themselves.
My list is tweaked for the metagame I have been personally playing against and includes some bold omissions. A more standard list would be to cut Mind Control Tech for a second Acolyte of Pain, and cut both Armorsmiths for two Blackwing Technicians. Adding back the second Fiery War Axe would be a good idea too if you are facing aggressive decks. I don’t own Chillmaw or Justicar yet, but if I did have them I would be playing them.
I have never been a fan of Blackwing Technician, so right now I am seeing if I like Armorsmith over Technician against aggressive decks, but Armorsmith might simply be worse. More thorough testing with the deck is required before I make that decision. I think Armorsmith is better against hyper-aggressive decks since it comes out a turn sooner and gives you longevity thanks to the armor you gain from it. Armorsmith is also better later game against aggressive decks because you can get value from it the turn that you drop it, by trading and gaining immediate armor, which might give you the game. In those scenarios where you just need a little bit more armor to survive a turn to win, Armorsmith works wonders whereas Technician is a dead card, but Technician is a stronger body against midrange decks and control decks, and trades better against decks like Zoo.
I favor deviating from the norm and trying out my own crazy ideas on the ladder while I still have time to mess around during the last couple of days of the season. Sometimes the ideas end up working out, and sometimes they backfire in my face and I tank to rank 1,000. It is a healthy learning process in my opinion. Being comfortable adapting to any given metagame and having an open mind will help me become a better player in the long run.
Why play Dragon Warrior?
Aside from the allure of being able to play new cards, Dragon Warrior is a real contender for Tier 1. The deck has the ability to deal with aggressive decks by trading with Alextrasza’s Champion and utilizing the typical Warrior anti-aggro cards like Armorsmith and Fiery War Axe. If you are facing a significant amount of aggro you can tech in cards like Cruel Task Master, Mind Control Tech, Revenge, Whirlwind, etc. Occasionally you can go on the offensive with Alexstrasza’s Champion, getting in a ton of free damage, trading it off later, and having the damage done early game allowing you to finish your opponent earlier.
Adopting the Dragon archetype allows Warrior to transform into a deck with an insane mid-game. Twilight Guardian is an all-star at stopping aggressive decks in their tracks and has a decent body to help trade well against most mid-game creatures such as Piloted Shredder. Warrior can utilize one of the best 5-drops in the game now … if you can activate it: Blackwing Corruptor. With a Dragon in your hand this guy is a mini Fire Elemental, which is arguably the best Shaman class card. Azure Drake has always been a solid cycle card that most mid-range decks have favored since the game’s inception. It fits perfectly in this deck, and most importantly it is a Dragon, which makes the deck more consistent.
The deck’s late game is reminiscent of the standard Control Warrior late game with a plethora of diverse bombs. Conveniently, some of the best late-game cards Control Warrior already played also happened to be Dragons, so adopting the Dragon shell synergizes well here.
Warrior also gains Varian Wrynn, which is one of the best late-game cards created. Even if you hit all spells, 10 mana for a 7/7 draw 3 cards isn’t bad during a late-game stalemate when both players are down resources. Obviously, there are times where you hit the nuts and play Varian Wrynn and hit multiple creatures or bombs like Ysera and just win the game instantly. Overall I love Varian Wrynn and it is my favorite card from TGT.
>So to recap, this deck plays like a more aggressive control Warrior that utilizes the Dragon archetype and has stronger mid-game threats.
I think a standard Control Warrior is stronger against hyper-aggressive decks and the late game is similar. This deck is far stronger against a metagame consisting of mid-range and control decks. At the moment the metagame is changing sporadically and needs more time to settle before I can properly assess which version of Warrior is the best. With that being said, I do want to go over the other two popular Warrior decks, Control Warrior and Patron Warrior.
Before I get to those decks though, the last time I wrote people asked me to make a mulligan guide. For this deck it is easy to generalize mulligans since they are similar in most matchups based on whether the deck is Aggro, Midrange, or Control.
Aggro Mulligans: Any Weapon, Armorsmith (or Blackwing Technician), Alextrasza’s Champion, Shield Block and Shield Slam (only if you have them in hand at the same time), and Twilight Guardian.
Midrange Mulligans: Weapons, Alextrasza’s Champion, Twilight Guardian, Shield Slam and Shield Block in the same hand, Blackwing Technician (if you play it), and Brawl if you are playing against another Warrior deck.
Control Mulligans: Execute, Death’s Bite, Twilight Guardian, Azure Drake, and Acolyte of Pain.
Obviously, if you tech in cards for specific matchups you should mulligan for those cards if you hit the matchup.
Good old faithful Control Warrior. This has been my favorite deck to play for the longest time now. With the addition of TGT there actually aren’t that many changes the deck wants to make, at least at the moment. The standard list is nearly identical to what it was without TGT, if not the same aside from a few card choices.
Again, if I had Justicar I would likely play it, but at the moment I do not have it.
The only additional cards I would consider adding to the deck post TGT are Varian Wrynn and Justicar. It is odd that even with the addition of a whole new set this deck remains top tier without changing the list much if at all. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Having played this deck for so long I am having more fun playing Dragon Warrior, but like I said before I don’t know which version is better yet. There is a chance the metagame settles down a bit and this deck still ends up being the best version of Warrior aside from Patron. If that ends up being the case, this deck has truly stood the test of time.
Last format this deck was dominant. Currently, Patron is nowhere to be found on the ladder. I hit it every now and then, but compared to just a couple weeks ago it is quite uncommon. I’m not even sure why; the deck is still good. For reference, here is a standard Patron list similar to what I have seen on ladder:
My guess is that Patron didn’t necessarily get worse, but people are wanting to try out new decks these first couple of weeks that TGT is out. People are excited for new cards and Patron plays none of them. Once the inaugural hype of TGT settles down I think we will start to see Patron on the rise again. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy not having to worry about getting one-shot by Frothing Berserker every other game and instead have fun messing around with new stuff from TGT.
Thank you all for reading this and good luck on the ladder!