Playing Hearthstone’s Cavern Rogue
I have to admit, I did not expect The Caverns Below to be that amazing of a quest. I initially wrote it off because I didn’t think it’d be easily activated. Little did I know how consistent and easy it would be to complete the quest as early as turn 4 consistently. Though depending on your cards, it is entirely possible to complete the quest on turn 1!
The list we’re going to check out today was conceived by pro player Dog.
- 1 x Edwin VanCleef
- 2 x Preparation
- 2 x Fan of Knives
- 2 x Eviscerate
- 2 x Backstab
- 2 x Shadowstep
- 2 x Swashburglar
- 2 x Gadgetzan Ferryman
- 1 x The Caverns Below
- 2 x Mimic Pod
- 1 x Patches the Pirate
- 2 x Novice Engineer
- 2 x Stonetusk Boar
- 2 x Southsea Deckhand
- 2 x Youthful Brewmaster
- 1 x Moroes
- 2 x Violet Teacher
The main premise of the deck is to activate The Caverns Below as quickly as possible. You need a cheap minion that can be played repeatedly. Not only that, you need to get your bounce engine going. Youthful Brewmaster, Shadowstep, and Gadgetzan Ferryman serve this function. When in doubt, look for and keep Swashbuckler, Preparation, and Shadowstep. Don’t throw away The Caverns Below. However, depending on your opponent, you may need to focus on a little board control early on before popping the quest. If you think you’re squaring off against an aggro deck (a la Pirate Warrior), Backstab and a Swashburglar (to help proc Patches) for board presence might be the better play.
Your opening hand will dictate what your best move is. If you have the cards to complete the quest, then go all in and get it done. If not, you’ll have to find ways to control and ensure that your opponent’s board doesn’t get too overwhelming.
At this point, you should be well on your way to completing your quest. You’ve identified which minions you want to use as an activator. Make sure you bounce your activator back to your hand at the end of your turn (unless you already have another copy). Don’t allow your opponent get rid of your activators.
Always remain aware of the cards in your hand. During a recent Hearthstone Fireside tournament, I counted two players who overfilled their hands and when Caverns Below was completed, they milled themselves of their quest reward. So before you go off and repeatedly bounce your Novice Engineer or Swashburglar, confirm that you have room in your hand before completing the quest!
To be frank, the deck doesn’t exactly have a “late” game. It usually goes off around turn 4 or 5 and your new, buffed charging 5/5s should make quick work of your opponent. It feels weird when I mention that turn 5 is late game but Face Hunter featured a late game around the same area. At this point, you have to assess the board and determine if you need to go for the face or maintain board control. Both Violet Teacher and Moroes can continuously generate 5/5s for you at this point (and Moroes can’t easily be removed).
In general, if you’re unsure of what to do next, attack the face.
Alternative cards to consider
Don’t have everything you need to complete the deck? Need a bit of an extra edge?
Vanish helps to defensively clear the board, especially if there’s a multitude of Taunts in play. If you’re on turn 7 or beyond, you still have that extra mana to play Patches (or some other charge minion) to get extra damage in.
Igneous Elemental and Firefly both serve as another activator due to the Fire Elementals created from the Deathrattle. Even if you’ve already activated the quest, you’ll end up getting two additional 5/5s for your opponent to contest and apply pressure. Honestly, the elemental version might end up being superior in the long run due to it’s potential.
Glacial Shard’s an interesting tech choice. It’s quite cheap to play and there’s a tactical benefit to the Freeze effect. You can use it to deny your opponent the user of their minion-based win conditions (like a hulking 12/12 Edwin VanCleef) or freeze your opponent’s face and deprive them of their buffed 6/3 Arcanite Reaper. The bounce cards in the deck provides extra reach in case you have to freeze something repeatedly over the course of the match.
Tar Creeper might be one of the best, unsung hero cards in the entire set.
Druid: If you suspect you’re playing against an Aggro Druid, Backstabs become an immediate priority. Southsea Deckhands and Eviscerates aren’t a bad idea either. Fend them off and activate your quest quickly.
Hunter: Midrange Hunter seems to be the deck to beat at the moment. If you can survive the Highmanes and the Bittertide Hydra, you should be able to win this matchup. This one will end up being a race. Activate that quest quick!
Mage: You can afford to be a little greedy here. Mull away your Deckhand as you’d rather get it later on in the game when the Charge is more relevant. The game gets more dangerous for you the longer the game goes on.
Paladin: Follow the standard gameplan here. Use Backstabs to control for any Murlocs (or other minions) that hit the board and look to activate your quest.
Priest: You can relax a little and pursue quest completion. Personally, I’ll try to bounce the Swashbuckler to see if I can steal some of their class cards. If you don’t happen to draw one, then finish out the quest. The Violet Teacher and Moroes will continuously generate threats and overwhelm them even if Amara gets activated.
Rogue: With Rogue, it’s either the mirror match against another Cavern Rogue or you’ll square off against Miracle. In the mirror, whoever can activate their quest first will generally win. Just make sure you crush their minions to minimize their board.
Shaman: Mulligan for the standard anti-aggro cards (Backstab, Eviscerate, etc) to eliminate Murlocs. If you’re playing against Elemental Shaman, they can overwhelm you in the late game if they hit all their elementals in sequence. Get the quest done fast and don’t give them that opportunity. Tol’vir Stoneshaper and Tar Creeper can slow you down midgame. Their Blazecaller and Kalimos can stop you cold. A well-time Vanish can close out the game for you.
Warlock: Against Handlock, look for cards that will help you finish your quest early on. With Zoo, you might have to lean more towards getting minions out to contest the board and sacrificing some bounce potential. Hold on to Backstabs if you catch any. Oddly enough, Vanish isn’t a bad thing to hold onto either. If you can stabilize and get your quest finished, you can breathe easier and put the pressure on them as you as pump out your 5/5s.
Warrior: Pirate Warrior has the potential to race and defeat you before your quest can get activated. Berserkers can grow out of control and start swinging for freight train-like numbers. Mull aggressively to find cards that will activate your quest and Backstab for board control. Taunt Warrior might represent a problem but they take some time to setup. Novice Engineer’s a good card to dig up. Once you hit your quest reward, your Violet Teachers and Moroes will begin generating tokens that they’ll have trouble contending with.
Enjoy the deck and let me know how it works out for you on the ladder!
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