Deck Tech: Secrets Paladin
A new season signifies the Hearthstone metagame slowly stabilizing. The first week or so after The Grand Tournament came out, the Secrets Paladin deck was viewed as a novelty deck. It received a closer look at the start of last month after it was consistently performing well and taking players to legend. While it certainly has some expensive components, it isn’t as costly as the Dragon Warrior deck.
The deck is a great example of how one card can instantly turn a few mediocre cards into an awesome deck. The Mysterious Challenger is the creamy Oreo center that holds this deck together. Without it, it would just be a sad pile of junk.
League of Explorers update: This adventure added Sacred Trial, another new secret. I’m not sure if it fits in here though as it’s a fairly specific secret designed to control the board. It won’t be that beneficial against slower, control oriented decks but it does help you catch up and mitigate threats against decks that rely on aggressive board control. I’d swap out Competitive Spirit for one copy of Sacred Trial just in case you’re expecting it. The card’s great if you’re playing from behind. But then again, if you’re playing catch up, that’s not a good place to be.
You’ll find several variations of Secrets Paladin running around. There’s a few that go for earlier board dominance with cheaper minions and there’s a slower, midrange decks that thrive on outvalueing opponents. Anyway, here’s one potential deck list below which is the slower version that features Sludge Belchers for added survivability.
On the mulligan
Ideally, you don’t want to have any secrets in your hand at all. However, there are some neat little tricks with having Annoy-o-Tron, Shielded Minibot, and Redemption. If I happen to catch Redemption and an Annoy-o-Tron against a Hunter or a Warlock deck, I’ll play Redemption on turn 1 and Annoy-O-Tron on turn 2 and watch as it manages to hold off a horde of demons (or other minions) for a bit. Aside from that, Knife Jugglers and Muster for Battle are excellent cards to keep.
- Avenge x2
- Competitive Spirit x2
- Noble Sacrifice x2
- Redemption x2
- Shielded Minibot x2
- Muster for Battle x2
- Truesilver Champion x2
- Consecration x2
- Mysterious Challenger x2
- Tirion Fordring
This part of the game is all about board control. Use your Annoy-O-Trons and Shielded Minibots to handle the early game minions. They can trade against other low health minions and survive with the Divine Shields. Muster for Battle and Piloted Shredder can be played on curve. Just be mindful of the Muster for Battle especially since it can be easily countered with an opposing Hunter’s Unleash the Hounds or other similar spells. Don’t forget your Knife Jugglers. Try not to play them unless you can follow it up immediately with some minions to trigger at least one knife proc.
As you enter the midgame, you can start preparing for your Mysterious Challenger on turn 6 by protecting it with a Sludge Belcher on turn 5. Your Quartermaster can come out but I usually don’t like playing it unless I have at least two Silver Hand Recruits on the board. 2 copies of Consecration along with 1 Equality should provide you with some buffer and board clear in case you run into an overwhelming situation.
Thankfully, your late game options are pretty simple. Play Mysterious Challenger and watch as it fishes out of all your secrets into play. Always remember the correct sequencing of events. If your opponent attacks anything, Noble Sacrifice will activate first. The death will trigger Avenge and land on any minion that you still have alive (usually the Mysterious Challenger). Redemption will then activate and bring your Noble Sacrifice minion back to life. If you played the Challenger by itself, you should end up with a 9/8 Mysterious Challenger and a 3/2 Noble Sacrifice minion at the start of your turn when Competitive Spirit activates. There isn’t a ton of ways to deal with it but if your opponent manages to blow it out of the water with a well-timed Big Game Hunter or an Ironbeak Owl, it’s going to hurt as you’ve lost all that secret value. On the bright side though, it’ll have knocked out an additional 4 cards in your deck allowing you to draw into more quality minions later like Tirion.
Alternative cards to consider
- Leper Gnome
- Ironbeak Owl
- Haunted Creeper
- Argent Protector
- Divine Favor
- Blessing of Kings
- Murloc Knight
- Big Game Hunter
There is a huge variety of cards you can substitute in here. If you want to go for a stronger early game, include a Coghammer, Secretkeepers, Leper Gnomes, and Haunted Creepers.
Add: 2x Secret Keeper, 2x Leper Gnome, 1x Coghammer, 2x Argent Protector
Remove: 1x Truesilver Champion, 1x Quartermaster, 1x Equality, 1x Consecration, 2x Sludge Belcher, 1x Competitive Spirit
That’s one example of retooling the deck. Big Game Hunter and Sylvanas are tech choices in case you’re coming up big against control decks or are squaring off against bigger minions and you’re having trouble with them. Divine Favor helps speed up your draw a little bit and I’d recommend finding room for that if you decide to go for the early game dominance route. One copy of Blessing of Kings can easily surprise your opponents and turn that unassuming Silver Hand Recruit into an explosive giant.
Oh and uh, please don’t use Murloc Knight. I know I listed it as an alternative and I know that it can generate some insane value, but ugh. Besides, to really take advantage of the Inspire ability, you’d have to play it on turn 6 which is already reserved for your Challenger.
- Druid: Combo Druid decks and Ramp Druid decks are back at the top of the list especially with Darnassus Aspirant. Unfortunately, you don’t have a quick and easy spell to get rid of it. Don’t leave it in play for too long otherwise the Druid will get their bigger minions into play earlier and completely stifle you. Loatheb can provide you some protection against their Force of Nature and Savage Roar combo.
- Hunter: This is one of the more difficult matchups as Hunters can simply race you out. That and they possess one of the most potent anti-secret cards in the game: Flare. If they get that off against you when your all of your secrets are active, it becomes almost impossible to recover from. Face Hunter decks will feast upon Secrets Paladin easily based on the speed.
- Mage: Tempo Mage and Mech Mage continue to be incredibly popular. Be wary of both Mirror Entity and Effigy. Thankfully, you have some cheap minions of your own that you can bait it out with like Shielded Minibots or Annoy-O-Trons.
- Paladin: The mirror match can be hard for you to cut through. If both of you have your array of secrets set up, I’d say be patient and let the opponent make the first move unless you have a clear advantage (like a Tirion in play that can help mitigate the subsequent turn from your opponent).
- Priest: Dragon Priest can be a tough one. All of the early taunts from Wyrmrest Agent and Twilight Guardians can stymie any early game offense. Northshire Cleric and Twilight Whelps will make short work of your Silver Hand Recruits. A well-timed Equality and Consecration can serve to clear the board at just the right moment.
- Rogue: Rogue decks continue to be one of the least used classes on the ladder. They’re going to try to remove as many of your minions as they can or bounce them back to your hand. But many of your minions are quite durable and should help keep the board neutral until your bigger minions enter play.
- Shaman: Lightning Storm and Hex can ruin your day here. If they’re smart, the Hex will be saved for the buffed up Mysterious Challenger. Totems generated by the Shaman hero power or from Tuskarr Totemic can give them extra power against your early game minions.
- Warlock: Zoo Warlock decks are fairly simple. You can match them easily pound for pound. Hand Lock decks can give you a tougher time. Push too early and their giants will stall you and shut you out. Push too late and you might not be able to overcome all their late game minions and firepower. Get their health between 15 to 20 until you can put enough damage on the board to muscle through and take them down in one turn.
- Warrior: Patron continues to be the king of the ladder and you have to hold out until you get your pieces into play before they do. An Ironbeak Owl will come in handy. Consecration won’t do enough to clear a board full of Grim Patrons. Control Warriors can drag games on for a while and even take you to fatigue. However, if it gets to fatigue, you’ve already lost. They have many tools to remove your buffed minions.
Expect games to be long — and good luck!
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