Hearthstone Deck Tech: Patron Warrior
Patron Warrior is one of the most complicated decks to play. But if properly piloted, it is widely agreed as the most dominant deck in post-Blackrock Mountain competitive environments. The list that you see here below is one pioneered by legendary player Th3Rat.
Origin of Patron Warrior: As you can guess, the deck is named after Grim Patron, one of the new neutral cards that emerged from the recent Blackrock Mountain adventure. This particular warrior deck utilizes numerous Whirlwind methods of activating the Grim Patron’s unique abilities. It has a secondary win condition with Frothing Berserker. Lastly, Warsong Commander amplifies the lethality (and speed) of this deck even further. The potential explosive card draw allows this deck to dig for answers quickly. Patron warrior has it all.
Lots of variations of this deck exists and we’ll touch upon some of the differences further below.
On the Mulligan
The key cards you want in your hand are always going to be a Cruel Taskmaster and a Fiery War Axe. Acolyte of Pain comes in a close third. Your finishing pieces like Frothing Berserker, Warsong Commander, and Grim Patron should be drawn into your hand later in the game. With class-specific matchups, a few other cards in the deck will increase in value. Against aggro decks like Zoo Warlock or Hunters, hold onto your Whirlwind and Unstable Ghoul. You can optionally keep a Death’s Bite if you happen to have the Coin. Depending on the matchup, it is entirely possible to keep Emperor Thaurissan especially against ridiculously control-oriented decks.
- Execute x2
- Whirlwind x2
- Fiery War Axe x2
- Battle Rage x2
- Commanding Shout
- Slam x2
- Cruel Taskmaster x2
- Frothing Berserker x2
- Warsong Commander x2
- Death’s Bite x2
Using your Fiery War Axes and early game minions, start establishing control of the board. Your secondary objective is to get cards out like your Acolyte of Pain and begin drawing cards. Battle Rage is one of the key cards for this so you want to make sure you have a nice and ample supply of damaged minions. Remember that your warrior hero counts as a damaged character. Mages have gotten smart and are no longer using their Fireblast hero power against warriors as much to avoid feeding them free cards.
The Armorsmith can be played anytime but it warrants a mention as it helps provide you with additional longevity against Freeze Mage or Face Hunter. If played in tandem with Whirlwind on the multiple minions you have on the board, it can generate a large amount of armor.
Ideally, an Emperor Thaurissan will be in play around this time. Having it reduce the cost of cards like your Warsong Commander, Commanding Shout, and Grim Patron will allow you to close out the game early.
Patron Warrior decks don’t have a ton of removal at their disposal. Choose your Execute targets very carefully. If properly timed, Execute pairs well with Whirlwind or a Death’s Bite. Ideally, you want to save those two cards to activate your Patrons or Berserkers. Alternatively, Whirlwind can even feed into Battle Rage to help net you additional cards. The lone Commanding Shout gives you one method of clearing a jammed board as long as you have a Warsong Commander and a Grim Patron to follow it up with.
Your finishers are either going to be Grim Patron or Frothing Berserker. You want to save the Berserker’s burst damage for the late game and not use it right away on curve. What gets sickening is you can set up a board where you have a partially used Death’s Bite equipped. Your Warsong Commander will let the Berserker charge in. All you need to do is light up a Whirlwind, attack with the weapon, and maybe sacrifice an Unstable Ghoul to generate a really larger Berserker.
However, you can also flood the board with Grim Patrons if there’s enough ways to trigger their ability. Even if the Patrons are removed, if the health of your opponent falls low enough, a well-timed Berserker can earn you the win.
Alternative cards to consider
There’s a narrow number of alternative cards you can include in your deck. Inner Rage provides an additional way to activate your cards or provides spot removal for annoying, low-health minions. Grommash functions as an additional win condition if you need it. Sludge Belcher and Shield Block buy you more time against aggro decks. The Loot Hoarder gives you a little more early game presence. I’d advise against the Dr. Boom because you’ll end up having other cards to play around turn 7 but he’s a good filler in case you’re missing certain cards.
Druid: You’ll mostly run into Combo Druid decks that aim to finish with Force of Nature and Savage Roar. Fortunately, there are a few cards in your deck that will help stall and buy you time. Unstable Ghoul will help you hold the line until your combo pieces are ready. Hold onto your Executes against their Innervated bigger minions. Don’t play your Patrons until you can start creating more of them. Druids don’t have as many weapons at their disposal to deal with a large board of Patrons. Don’t fall too far behind against them or else you’re going to have a difficult time recovering. Ramp Druid isn’t as prevalent but the idea is largely the same. Executes should be saved against their major taunt minions. Commanding Shout can be pair with Patrons and Warsong Commanders to help create an overwhelming board that can dominate the Druid’s side of the game.
Hunter: I mentioned a few cards you’re going to want in your hand against Face Hunter earlier in the article. Unfortunately, you can’t ignore their game plan and focus on yours. Their threats have a potential to snowball out of control before you can execute your victory conditions. Quick Shot increased the potency of this deck in a big way. Having taunt minions like Unstable Ghoul and Sludge Belcher let you stall for time against them until you draw your threats and options. If you can, take every opportunity you get to use your Armor Up hero power as it’ll negate the Hunter’s hero power. It might be best to hold onto your Armorsmith until it can be followed up with a Whirlwind effect to give you some much needed armor in this matchup.
Mage: Against Freeze Mage, your Berserkers will be leading the way. This is about armor generation. You have to be able to take care of your Armorsmith and play around their Ice Block. Many of their spells will only freeze the board so if you can pop their Ice Block with a weapon in reserve, you’ll still have the ability to follow up with a weapon to their face.
Paladin: Against Muster for Battle and other Silver Hand Recruits, cards like Whirlwind, Death’s Bite, and Unstable Ghoul will easily shut those down early in the game. Tirion Fordring is one of the few major threats in the deck due to the Taunt and the Divine Shield. Most warrior decks don’t have a silence to deal with it so you might simply just have to brute force him out of the way. Many of your early game minions can go toe to toe against theirs. Ashbringer won’t be able to do much for the Paladin player if their life total is already low. Equality is the scariest card in the deck, but you won’t run into many paladins who use more than one copy.
Priest: Against Priest decks, I recommend holding an Execute on the off chance there is an Injured Blademaster and Circle of Healing package. The Execute comes in handy against an overextended and overbuffed minion with a Power Word: Shield or Velen’s Chosen on it. Lightbombs, Holy Nova, and the Auchenai Soulpriest with Circle of Healing will easily clear your board. Play patiently and wait until you have your pieces ready to go. If they don’t play many minions, your Patrons will end up being useless and your Berserkers end up being necessary to secure the win.
Rogue: Oil Rogue is the deck you’re going to encounter the most. Thankfully, Death’s Bite can eliminate a Violet Teacher and any of the spawned minions on its own. Once again, your Berserker is going to be your main victory condition since a Rogue Blade Flurry coupled with any weapon buffs will instantly destroy your Patrons. Play your minions so you can fuel the large Berserker attacks. Their Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil can surprise you with a loss.
Shaman: More often than not, Mech Shaman is what you’ll encounter on the ladder. If a Fel Reaver does happen to hit the board, your Execute can remove that with ease. Your weapons and Slam will be needed to remove some of their early game threats.
Warlock: Zoo or Demon Warlock decks are going to be one of the more popular decks that you encounter on the ladder. You have to respect the fact that there might be a Mal’ganis in the deck somewhere. Aside from that, you have numerous tools in the deck to help deal with the Imps that will spawn. Thankfully, most of their minions have low attack and health allowing you a greater chance to create more of your Grim Patrons. It might be best to leave their Voidcallers untouched since it can morph into a Doomguard or Mal’ganis. Save Executes against potential Sea Giants or Dr. Booms. Your Berserker will largely serve as a distraction. With Handlock, it’s going to be a little trickier as their taunts can easily stop your offense. If you’re anticipating running into those, consider subbing in a Brawl to help you remove their giants.
Warrior: The mirror matchup has the potential to speed the game up for you. In games like that, it all boils down to whoever can dig for their combo pieces first. Both warriors would have the ability to pull cards that can activate Patrons on Berserkers and Patrons on either ends. On the other hand, the Control Warrior matchup is against you largely due to the number of answers they have available. Cards like Baron Geddon can make short work of your minions. Their ability to generate large amounts of armor means they can shrug off your attacks. Plus, Control Warriors tend to run Brawl which can level whatever Patrons or Berserkers you have.
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