Many complaints emerged prior to the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, about the state of Rogue. A combination of lackluster laddering ability against a hostile meta, and gimmicky expansion cards, and a host of other reasons led tot his “uprising.” It all hilariously culminated on Thanksgiving, when Gadgetzan Ferryman was revealed.
Flash forward to today, January 2017, and Rogue is the third most-played class in the meta. While it is easy to attribute the bounceback of Rogue to the introduction of new neutral pirate cards, other innovations have been made to the class that have it’s current success. Namely, the rather large core set of Rogue cards is seeing variation, allowing the building of various viable Miracle Rogues.
Entrenched Core Cards (20)
- 2x Backstab
- 2x Preparation
- 2x Cold Blood
- 2x Eviscerate
- 1x Edwin VanCleef
- 2x Fan of Knives
- 2x Tomb Pillager
- 1x Patches the Pirate
- 2x Small-Time Buccaneer
- 2x Swashburglar
- 2x Gadgetzan Auctioneer
Core Cards of Debatable Usage
- Counterfeit Coin – Most Miracle Rogue decks have one Coin, but other builds run two Coins, which could lead to a bigger Edwin VanCleef in the early the game to contend with. Obviously, the problem with this is that adding two Coins adds more dead cards to the deck.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – Thalnos has had a firm spot as a Rogue legendary since the beginning of time, until now. He just doesn’t do enough against a Pirate Warrior, serving as a 1/1 on Turn 2. While the spellpower is nice, doing 3 damage on a Backstab, or 2 damage AoE on Fan of Knives could be too late against a Warrior.
- Sap – Still an entrenched core card, but decks are starting to use only one Sap instead of two. Sap is still very good against any slower decks, and Shaman overloads, but does next to nothing against Pirate Warrior.
- SI:7 Agent – Definitely a former core card that usually is played with two copies or none. Most decks will either use SI:7 in lieu of Questing Adventurer or vice versa. Can also be used in conjunction with Questing Adventurer in decks without Leeroy.
- Questing Adventurer – Certainly the most fluid card in Miracle Rogue, where he can serve as the primary win condition, be an intermediate threat, or be cut altogether. While I have seen/used decks with Questing and Leeroy, I think they are cards that basically do the same thing, and don’t synergize well together. Questings are meant to stick around on the board and do the snowball damage over a few turns, while Leeroy is just the end-game burst.
- Azure Drake – Still an entrenched core card that is often run two of. I have tried running just one copy in Questing-dedicated decks, to offer a lower mana curve. I’ve also had experiences against other Pirate decks, where the Azure Drake just doesn’t get you out of a tough spot.
- Leeroy Jenkins – Mostly still a core card in Miracle Rogue, except for in dedicated Questing Adventurer decks. He is being cut, as the one time burst mechanic doesn’t do much against heavy aggro Pirate Warriors, and doesn’t fight for the board.
- Conceal – Many decks, especially Questing decks, still run one Conceal. With the usage of Counterfeit Coin, decks are trying to reduce the amount of dead cards. This has lead to some decks cutting the card altogether, in favor of more coins.
- Shadow Strike – Typically Shadow Strike is the replacement for the second Sap in decks. While it is better against cards like Thing from Below and Kor’kron Elite, I can still see Sap being better run as a double, against most other cards.
- Shaku, the Collector – A new tech choice of a card that was ballyhooed (by people like me) when it was revealed. The reasoning for Shaku is that he provides a “sticky” 3-drop, while being super effective in getting cards against classes like Shaman and Mage. I have to say that he has been solid so far, and will see further innovation in future decks.
- Beneath the Grounds – Purely a tech choice against any Kazakus or Reno shenanigans. Not a horrible idea, given that Priests, Warlocks, and Mages comprise about 1/3 of the meta. Also solid against the mirror, but pretty bad against Warrior.
- Burgly Bully – KremePuff (@KremePuffHS) runs a Burgly Bully, presumably to serve as a sturdy 4/6 body, and to generate coins. I can’t speak as to hell well this card does overall against other classes, but I assume it is working.
The Future of Miracle Rogue
- From my experience, and according to data, the current Miracle Rogue struggles a lot against Pirate Warrior. I have tried Earthen Ring Farseer, but it doesn’t seem to do much against this powerful deck.
- The cards being played now are all based on the dominance of Pirate packages in Warrior, Shaman, and Rogue. Rogue typically dominates versus Control matches, but the inclusion of more Midrange decks could force changes.
- This is the last stand for Tomb Pillager. The card, along with any other card from League of Explorers, is rotating out in the next expansion release in a few months.
- The potential replacement for Tomb Pillager is anyone’s guess, but Xaril immediately comes to mind. I can also see Ethereal Peddler fitting in as the big body drop of Miracle Rogue, though the Coin being a card/spell is big.
- There is also new speculation that Azure Drake will get cut from the Standard Set. This speculation comes from the popularity of Azure Drake, and Ben Brode’s comments on potential changes (https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/5mqebr/ben_brode_has_spoken_about_changes_in_classic_set/).
- I tried using Undercity Valiant (while I can), and I lost all the games with this deck. You can’t just put any card in and expect to win after all.