Deck Tech: Standard Tempo Warrior
Over a month after the release of Whispers of the Old Gods, the meta is slowly starting to settle down in standard. One of the more popular decks to emerge is Tempo Warrior. In fact, it was the most popular Warrior deck in both the European and North American preliminary events.
Cards like Battle Rage help you fuel your hand if it gets low. Removal and strong minions early on maintain board supremacy until the late game when you can whip out your heavy hitters to close out the match. While not quite as slow as Control Warrior, you’re still looking to slow the game down until you can draw into your key cards. Patron Warrior players should have a fair understanding of how the deck works due to some similarities.
- Blood To Ichor x2
- Execute x2
- Whirlwind x2
- Fiery War Axe x2
- Battle Rage x2
- Slam x2
- Armorsmith x2
- Fierce Monkey
- Arathi Weaponsmith
- Ravaging Ghoul x2
- Bloodhoof Brave x2
- Kor’kron Elite x2
- Grommash Hellscream
- Varian Wrynn
If you see your Fiery War Axe, keep it. This card is essential in staving off early game threats.
Other cards to hold onto include Blood to Ichor and Slam. If you’re playing against a Shaman, holding an Execute isn’t a bad idea either due to the early game potential of a Flamewreathed Faceless or a Thing from Below. Use these cards to help you control the board so you can smoothly transition into your midgame threats.
Against aggro decks like Zoo, Ravaging Ghoul is worth a keep along with a Fierce Monkey. Blood to Ichor and Armorsmiths are other excellent options.
Against control decks, I like to look for an Acolyte of Pain along with a Battle Rage.
It’s okay to play a little passive early on (like Armor Up and pass the turn). As mentioned earlier, Fiery War Axe is a key removal card. Ravaging Ghoul does provide you with some additional reach and can combine with the War Axe to inflict 4 damage.
As you transition to the midgame, Frothing Berserkers and Bloodhoof Braves can both get scary really fast, especially if you can hide the Berserker behind a Brave. If you wish, you can activate their Enrages with a Whirlwind effect and follow up with a Battle Rage to get them both going and net yourself some cards in the process. Warsong Commander’s charge ability allows him to provide a quick burst against your opponent or clear a threat on the board.
In most cases, Malkorok provides you with significant value — unless you’re unlucky enough to draw into a Cursed Blade. If that does happen, try to replace it with your War Axe or the weapon from the Arathi Weaponsmith and get rid of it as soon as you can.
Obviously, you can’t forget about Grom Hellscream, one of the few centerpieces in the deck. You have numerous same-turn activator options with Whirlwind, Slam, or Blood to Ichor.
Alternative cards to consider
Don’t have everything you need to complete the deck? Need a bit of an extra edge?
I don’t really recommend Sylvanas, but she is an option in the event you’re missing a few cards. Opponents do play strangely when she’s present on the board. Speaking of legendary cards, Rafaam is another interesting selection. He can close out the game in the next few turns easily if you go for Mirror of Doom to fill the board or Lantern of Power for extra attack damage. Both Hoggers can be played to provide pressure in the form of their taunt Gnolls. They’re not my first pick, but they’ll do in a pinch in the event you’re missing some cards.
As for the rest, most of the core warrior cards need to stay in. You can alter the makeup by dropping a Fierce Monkey or an Arathi for the other card (to run 2 copies) if you want extra staying power or if you need extra weapons to deal with more minions on the board.
Druid: Hold your Executes against any Druid minions with major health. We’re talking Dark Arakkoa, Ancient of War, and Klaxxi Amber-Weavers. Assuming C’Thun itself doesn’t kill you, Executes can get rid of it as well. Realistically, if C’Thun hits the board and you’re not in lethal range, the game is going end quickly for one player (or the other).
Hunter: If you see a beast, get rid of it. A Houndmaster will turn an innocuous Spider into a pain in the butt. Savannah Highmane can stop you cold. You can ignore and push, but if they slap a Houndmaster on it, you better hope you have an Execute handy and another way to deal with annoying hyenas. Naturally, you can also expect Call of the Wild on turn 8.
Mage: Hold your Executes against a Ragnaros or an Antonidas. If you can eliminate their Flamewakers, the rest of the match should go your way. If you happen to match up against a Freeze Mage, your Armorsmiths can help win you the game here by providing you with extra buffer health.
Paladin: One thing I’ve learned in my experience against N’Zoth Paladin is that playing a Frothing Berserker on turn 3 allows them to immediately respond with a Truesilver Champion on the following turn where my poor Berserker gets removed. So learn from Matt’s mistake: Do not play Berserker on turn 3 until you’ve seen their Truesilver or if the Berserker gets to hide behind something like a Monkey or a Brave. If you can build the Berserker’s attack large enough so that it causes them to burn an Equality, it means your Ragnaros or Varian can stick around that much longer.
Priest: I’ve seen Cabal Shadow Priests steal my Bloodhoof Braves a few times. My advice is to buff them out of range so they can’t steal them. If they burn their Shadow Word: Deaths on them, it means one less your heavy hitters need to contend with later in the game. Remember, there are no more Lightbombs in Standard. Most of their board clears are going to be either Holy Novas or Auchenai Soulpriest with Circle of Healing.
Rogue: A Sap can ruin your day, especially if it connects with something like Cairne. A Rogue’s ability to deal with multiple threats on the board is limited due to their lack of board wipes. Try to win (or be within lethal range) before they go off and plant a giant 12/12 Edwin VanCleef or a mega buffed, stealthed Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Shaman: You need that Execute on turn 4 to take out the Flamewreathed Faceless. If you can pull that off, you can breathe easier. Remain wary of idle totems though. Sure, they may not seem like a threat, but then they play Thunder Bluff Valiant and things start getting unmanageable.
Warlock: With Zoo continuing to be popular, having a Whirlwind effect card to counteract their Forbidden Ritual will stall their momentum big time. Weapons become even more important in this matchup (especially the Arathi Blademaster). If you’re going up against a Reno Warlock, be mindful of their clears like Hellfire, Twisting Nether, and a well placed Shadowflame.
Warrior: If you can recognize that you’re squaring off against a Control Warrior early, try to make them burn a Brawl early on. The mirror match is often going to come down to your draws, though. Use your Berserkers to neutralize their Acolytes before they can get too many draws off of it. Whoever has the best card draw and makes the most efficient trades will win here.
Enjoy the deck and let me know how it works out for you on the ladder!
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