I was relieved to get back to the Lightforge scene last night, my first since late January. It is my 7th 12-win run overall, and my 4th with Valeera/Rogue. While I did not record any of the run or take useful screenshots, it would be useful to take a look at the deck retrospectively to see how everything worked together. Below is the deck, ordered in some confusing fashion with relation the card’s entry in Hearthpwn.

12-2 Rogue Arena [6.4.16]

Deck type/mana curve

Every deck that is drafted in an arena run will be unique, so it is impossible to categorize them like you would a constructed deck. Typically, arena decks can be generally categorized in a few broad categories:

  • Aggro – Lots of 1-drops and 2-drops, very little stuff after 4 mana.
  • Tempo – A cross between aggro and midrange. A good amount of 2-drops are typically present in tempo decks to fill each turn.
  • Midrange – Midrange decks have a mana curve that maxes out around 4 mana, with similar numbers of 3-drops and 5-drops, and a somewhat equal distribution of 2-drops and 6-drops.
  • Control – Slow decks that don’t really follow the 2-drop consistency rule. Lots of bigger drops. Most often seen with Mages for the arena, with lots of removal spells of all varieties.

Hearthstone Screenshot 06-04-16 23.58.26.png

Looking at the mana curve of this deck, it most resembles a tempo deck. Nothing to really play on Turn 1, but lots of 2’s, 3’s, and 5’s. And for the run, my gameplay was very tempo-based, which is very “natural” for those familiar with the Rogue playstyle. I continually loaded the board with minions with little fear of AoE removal or MC Tech, while trading to control the board.

Two drop consistency

A somewhat deceiving mana curve, as there are only 6 2-drops, with a pseudo 2-drop in Bladed Cultist. With some variety in the stat distributions, it caused me to think a little of what to play when I had choices. Unstable Ghoul was a card that could deal with an enemy 3/2, or something like a 3/1 Twisted Worgen. 2/3’s like Mechwarper or Bloodsail Raider were my choice plays on an empty board as a 2-drop. The more aggressive 3/2 Huge Toad was decent for dealing with tokens or something with 4 health. Echoing Ooze was typically a tempo play used to fill a turn later on. Loot Hoarder was a consideration against non-ping classes.

Middle game

The 3-5 drop corps of this deck was really solid. Argent Horserider, Scarlet Crusader, Unearthed Raptor, Aberrant Berseker, Tomb Pillager, Pit Fighter, all good cards to have in the deck.

Big drops

This deck had only 2 minions in this department with Boulderfist Ogre and Sea Giant. Sea Giant was easily the MVP of this arena run. Because almost everyone in the arena plays fast or tempo style, there will always be minions on the board. This allowed Sea Giant to virtually be a pain like Flamewreathed Faceless, a really big guy for cheap cost. Sea Giant also fitted really well with the deck, given the plethora of small removal and cheap minions. 2 Pit Fighters and Tomb Pillager acted like big drops for this deck.

Hearthstone Screenshot 06-04-16 23.58.10.png
Final Boss was not a Mage with 2 Flamestrikes and Pyroblast this time!


This deck was a bit weak in this department. Eviscerate, Deadly Poison, SI:7 Agent and Argent Horserider represented my reach sources. This meant that I often had trouble closing out games when I was still fighting for the board. I had an 18-turn game I lost, owing to the lack of reach at times.


No Bog Creepers here, but there are three taunts with Booty Bay Bodyguard, Sludge Belcher and Unstable Ghoul. While Sludge Belcher is a premium taunt, the others are not. Booty Bay Bodyguard is a poor value, but is definitely a card that is deceptively useful. Sometimes, even bad taunts all have value in doing their job in protecting your face and trading on the board.

Card draw/cycling

Loot Hoarder, Fan of Knives, Gnomish Inventor provided card draw, very useful for a tempo style deck. Sprint is considered inefficient card draw, but it is a virtual win condition in a topdeck fight. At times, I used Sprint when I was way ahead on the board.

Early removal

Deadly Poison was amazing in the run, as it is like having Fiery Win Axe early on. SI:7 Agent, Argent Horserider, Eviscerate, Stampeding Kodo are all premium cards that helped control smaller minions.

Hard removal

Sap and Assassinate got the job done in the hard removal department. Sap was a card I used to gain tempo often, bouncing a 4-drop or something similar, to gain advantage on the board. I got lucky with some topdeck Assassinates in this run. Because I only had 1 Assassinate, I tried to trade when I could and use my reads to determine what to Assassinate.

AoE/Board clears

Rogues don’t really have real board clears besides the (now) inefficient Blade Flurry. Fan of Knives did some work dealing with tokens or helping me trade. While not a real board clear, Betrayal was a very high-reward card that helped me turn the tide of a few games. Unstable Ghoul is a token clearer, though I did not use it for that function here.


I comboed Unearhted Raptor with Tomb Pillager a few times. The extra coins were useful for playing Boulderfist Ogre and Pit Fighter in the same turn, or even used for milling the entire deck of an opponent who played Fel Reaver. Most of the synergy in this deck revolved around Sea Giant, as Imp Master, and shielded minions like Argent Horserider and Scarlet Crusader allowed those cards to stay around. I always played Bladed Cultist with the combo to make it a 2/3.


This is probably one of the most boring decks I have played in the arena recently. 5 rares, 2 epics, and 23 commons. Almost every card is from the evergreen (Basic/Classic) set. No RNG in the deck besides Huge Toad. Quite a few vanilla minions.

But hey, the overall card quality is definitely there. The deck had a great tempo-style mana curve, had enough card draw to keep the deck going, and had enough removal. Most of all the cards I had just helped me control the board , which helped compensate for the lack of reach. Overall, it was a very boring deck that was just very fundamentally sound in most departments. Throw in my familiarity with Rogues and a good smattering of luck/topdecks, I made it back to 12.

Hearthstone Screenshot 06-04-16 23.58.38.png

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a 12-Win Arena Deck

    1. Thanks, yeah this is a useful checklist of sorts to go through if you’re drafting a deck without using a guide. Using Heartharena or some other drafting guide kinda takes the thinking out of the draft, all of this stuff to think about. I honestly only thought about a few of these factors when I was drafting.

      Liked by 1 person

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