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HearthstoneSep 20, 2015 8:00 pm CT

Deck Tech: Control Warrior

At a Fireside Gathering tournament I held last weekend, it didn’t surprise me (or anyone) that the final four players brought Warrior decks. Three out of the four finalist decks were Control Warriors. It does seem that Warrior decks in general are trending down, but of the 17 players who attended, five were Control Warrior, and four were Patron Warrior.

Anyway, I digress. Control Warrior received massive upgrade from Grand Tournament: Justicar Trueheart and Varian Wrynn. The updated deck has no less than 10 legendaries, which means it’s not an affordable deck for most players to put together — but if you have the resources, it’s an effective one.

You might have been able to figure this out from the name of the deck, but the goal of Control Warrior is aimed at controlling what minions stay alive on the board and what doesn’t. The Warrior has the power to develop an insane amount of armor and increase their survivability to help keep themselves alive long enough to start dropping their big legendary bomb cards at the end of the match.

On the mulligan

Your typical Warrior openers should involve an Acolyte of Pain, Fiery War Axe, and an Armorsmith. Cruel Taskmaster is a keeper if you happen to find yourself with extra minions.

Warrior (17)

Neutral (13)


Not a bad opening hand. In this case, Armorsmith gets played first to help handle the mini-Groots.

Early game

Much of your early game is going to be spent reacting to what your opponent plays. Shield Slam can help eliminate smaller minions. Taskmasters can either help remove minions, buff your minions, or help you dig for cards via Acolyte of Pain. Try not to sacrifice or trade your minions into theirs. That’s what your weapons are for. You have plenty of armor sources here to offset the damage.

Mid game

Armor, armor, and more armor! Shieldmaiden and Shield Block! Justicar Trueheart grants your Armor Up four armor per turn if she hits play. That will help you provide increased longevity to get you into the late game. Shield Block even nets you a card and reinforces you a little before you attack a minion head on. Keep your taunt minions up, armor up, and Execute anything in your way. Use your weapons and directly attack  If you have to, there’s a Brawl in there to help you clear and reset the board. The Execute usage is going to depend strongly on what class your opponent is. For example, if you’re up against a Paladin, hold Execute until you can crush the Mysterious Challenger.


The offensively-minded Alexstrasza.

Late game

Where does one start on late game options? You have so many — and if you pull Varian Wrynn early on, you get to bust out several of these for free! In one of the matches I witnessed, Varian hit the board but Ysera was already in play. Ysera generated a Dream allowing the Warrior to bounce Varian back to his hand and play him again the subsequent turn. He hit six total minions. That’s why most of the minions in this deck have Deathrattle effects, since Battlecry effects will not trigger.

Baron Geddon, Dr. Boom, Ysera, and Grommash Hellscream will headline your finishers. Seriously, just take your pick. Any one of them on their own can close out games. If there’s any existing threats on the board from your opponent, Baron Geddon should be able to sweep or soften them up for the rest of your minions. Just dump all your legendary cards and win out.


Executes are reserved for both threats and any annoying minions that happen to get into your way.

Alternative cards to consider

There’s not much margin for variety in this deck, so you won’t find many alternatives.  Most of the cards here are needed for the core of the deck — the only adjustments you can make are quantities. But in case you’re missing a few pieces, you can put in generically useful cards like Annoy-o-Tron or Ironbeak Owl. If you have Blackrock Mountain Adventure completed, you can sub in Nefarian for one of the dragons. The Black Knight is an excellent situational card to add that can allow you to cut through Sludge Belchers or Ancient of War.

Class matchups

  • Druid: With Druids, turn nine continues to be the key as to when the Savage Roar and Force of Nature combo go off. As long as you’re above 14 effective health (that is, player health and armor combined), you’ll be fairly safe. Between your Executes and Armor spells, this shouldn’t be a problem. You have many tools here at your disposal.
  • Hunter: You probably won’t run into many Face Hunters, but if you do, the longer the game drags on, the higher the chances of you winning. Use your weapons against key threats. Against Midrange Hunter, Executes should be saved for their Savannah Highmanes.
  • Mage: Tempo Mage seems to be all the rage at the moment. Be careful of Mirror Entity and Effigy. Bait out the Mirror Entity with your Cruel Taskmaster or other cheap and disposable minions. Focus on survival and dragging it out to the late game.
  • Paladin: As mentioned earlier, you absolutely need to have an Execute on hand by the time turn 6 rolls around. That’s when their Mysterious Challenger hits the board and you’re going to need a way to respond to it — or you can get lucky with your Brawl. Chances are, you’ll have to punch through one or two Challengers to get through, but if you can navigate through that and negate their secrets, this match should go your way.
  • Priest: I find Dragon Priest to be a bit of a coin toss here actually. They have healing and numerous dragons to help keep them in the field. Your Brawl can help clean up the board in case you find yourself against a swarm (Flock? Herd? School?) of dragons. Sit on your Executes against Ysera and other dragons. If they run the Shrinkmeister and Cabal Shadow Priest package, they can steal some of your minions like Sludge Belcher.
  • Rogue: Oddly enough, I have encountered almost no Rogue decks. Stick to your original game plan of surviving and you’ll have a decent shot of taking the late game easily.
  • Shaman: Shaman are no trouble for you. Most of their removal is going to from Hexes. Their spells can knock out some of your early and mid-game minions but if you can outlast it, you should be able to take this match-up easily.
  • Warlock: Hand lock is the one that I find the most frustrating to play against, namely due to the all the Molten Giants and Mountain Giants. You have Executes and Big Game Hunter, so use those to respond to the Giants.
  • Warrior: The mirror is even worse than Warlocks! Both Warrior decks have so many different late game threats so it’s going to boil down to whoever assembles their cards in play first and can stay on the board. Against Patron, you’re racing against time. Statistically, I find Control Warrior decks tend to have a slight edge here. Your Executes will be free and you can target Frothing Berserkers. Save Brawl for Grim Patrons.

Expect games to be long — and good luck!

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