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HearthstoneApr 24, 2017 7:00 pm CT

Playing Hearthstone’s Taunt Warrior

Taunt Warrior is the new standard version of the Control Warrior archetype: stall the game and control the board long enough until you find your win condition. In this case, the deck utilizes Fire Plume’s Heart and Sulfuras to finish off your opponent in the end. Playing 7 Taunt minions is fairly easy to pull off with the number of them in this deck (and those that you can Discover).

Specifically, we’ll be checking out Sjow’s Taunt Warrior which he played to hit rank 1 legend.

The deck

Warrior

Neutral

The mulligan

In most cases, you’ll want to play the Fire Plume’s Heart and start working towards activating your quest. But different classes and matchups are going to dictate the cards you want. I go in more detail later on at the end of the post. If you think you’re playing against aggro, start looking for early removal (Fiery War Axe, Whirlwind, etc). If it’s a control deck, relax a little and start dropping out taunts. Brawls will help keep them in check.

Early game

The early stage of the match is going to be spent on developing your board. Use your Axe to eliminate opposing early game minions and control the board a little to buy time for your Tar Creepers and Stonehill Defenders to enter the field. I don’t generally recommend Dirty Rat on curve unless you’re reasonably confident you’re not going to pull anything dangerous. Sure, you pulled out Alexstrasza out of their hand, but you better have an Execute to deal with her.

Remember, attack first, THEN play the Drake.

Mid game

It’s about this stage of the game that I’ll play Dirty Rat and play Brawl to clear their board. In my experience, most of my time at this stage of the game is to start playing more heftier taunt minions to try to assert board control. If you’re behind, Execute can answer any threat between now and the late game. If you don’t happen to find a Brawl anywhere, the Primordial Drake and Sleep with the Fishes can devastate the board.

You should be well on your way to completing the quest now.

Late game

Your quest should be completed and Sulfuras is now in play. Feels good, doesn’t it? Use your minions to clear out any of their smaller minions. Sulfuras ideally wants to land on your opponent or any big minion that you can’t seem to effectively trade your minions into. You should be using the Hero Power every turn and just grinding out your opponent. When to play Sulfuras can be stressful. For example, if you’re up against a Hunter, getting rid of the Armor hero power might put you in lethal range if you’re too low on health.

Can you spot the optimum play regardless of what happens from the Brawl?

Alternative cards to consider

Don’t have everything you need to complete the deck? Need a bit of an extra edge?

Shield Slam alone is a dead card as you’re not going to be able to generate much armor for it to really matter. That is, unless you sub in Shield Block and Armorsmith to add more armor sources. So if you’re going to want to put in Shield Slam, you need to find room for at least one other armor slot like Shield Block. And against aggro decks, Shield Block does give you a bit of extra longevity and survival. Armorsmith is great if you’re still missing a few cards that you haven’t picked up from the new expansion yet. Cleave is another solid response for aggro, but I recommend running only one copy of it.

If you happen to be missing Curator or other late game minions, Deathwing and King Mosh will help further clear the board for you. By the time you drop either of these, your quest should be completed and Sulfuras will continue to help do work for you.

I wasn’t 100% sure on Black Knight, but I threw it in here just in case. Might be a good pick in tournament play if you’re expecting Taunt Warrior in opposing lineups.

So many answers here against the mirror, but it does depend on you drawing well.

Class matchups

Druid: Look for at least one form of early game removal. Need to be able to Whirlwind or Infested Ghoul stuff away. The critical turn is going to be when they drop Living Mana and whether or not you have a way to respond to it. Sleep with the Fishes and an activator is usually enough (or a well-timed Brawl). Keep dropping taunts and controlling the board. You’ll outlast them and win the late game easily.

Hunter: Against Hunter, you want to mulligan away the Quest. The reason being is you need to draw better options like a Fiery War Axe, a Ghoul, a Whirlwind, or something to help you handle their board. Even then, if you complete the quest later, you might opt to hold it because the Armor hero power remains more important depending on what your life total is. Deadly Shot can screw you up. I did play against a Hunter who ran an interesting tech choice with Infest which essentially refueled their hand after a Brawl.

Mage: Dirty Rat is an amazing MVP here. Against the variant with infinite Fireballs, if you can catch Archmage Antonidas and remove it, you win the game. There’s been rumblings of Secret Mage making the rounds on ladder but I haven’t played against many of them yet and don’t have a firm strategy against it other than just working on your game plan.

Paladin: Control Paladin can be a tough matchup. I haven’t played against many on the ladder either, but they have similar ways to deal with your minions as you do theirs (Equality, Wild Pyromancer, etc). Don’t overextend it too much or else you’ll fall victim. Save your Executes against their big drops (especially Ragnaros, Lightlord). Stonehill Defender is just too good for Paladin. The amount of times they’ve been able to discover Tirion Fordring, Sunkeeper Tarim, or Wickerflame Burnbristle is just ridiculous.

Priest: You should be able to outlast a Priest player in the long run between Brawl and Primordial Drake. Cabal Shadow Priest absolutely wrecks you though as it can steal a potential Alley Armorsmith, a Bloodhoof Brave, or Dirty Rat. Anyway, your plan here is to wait until they overextend. If they happen to go big with buffs, that’s where your Executes come in. Be patient and this should be an easy (albeit slow) win for you.

Rogue: Honestly, just concede. Tough matchup here. Play your quest as normal and look for a Dirty Rat that you can play in order to disrupt their ability to activate their quest. I’ve had to Whirlwind with just 1 or 2 minions on board to try to deprive them of potential quest conditions. Primordial Drake and Sleep with the Fishes can clear the board. Brawl can sort of clear the board. You can punish them if they go wide and overextend. They’ll run out of steam eventually and won’t be able to hold up against your taunt minions and other removal. But, this assumes they don’t manage to defeat you with their plethora of 5/5s.

Shaman: You can afford to play slower here against Shaman. If you play any Adapt minions, try to pick the one where they can’t be targeted by spells. It removes their ability to us Hex, Lightning Bolt, or some other spell to remove your minion. Mulligan for a War Axe, a Slam, or one piece of removal.

Warlock: With Zoo, I would play it in a similar way I do against Hunter. Mulligan away the quest. You need a response to deal with their initial rush of minions. Executes should be held against their Doomguards. Board clears will help you. Taunt minions will help you. You just want cards you can play as you curve out. If you have to Armor up and pass your turn, that’s not a good sign at all.

Warrior: Pirate Warrior can run over you quickly. Look for Axes, Ghouls, and other removal to contest and control the board. The longer you last, the better your chances. Reserve Executes against buffed Bloodsail Raiders, Frothing Berserkers, or anything really scary early on. Expect to stabilize just above 10 health. The mirror game is going to be a chess match and can depend on who decides to blink and play Brawl first.

Enjoy the deck and let me know how it works out for you on the ladder!

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