Deck of the Week – Broke @$$ Warrior
Kyle “End Boss” Smith
For fun, a week ago, I decided to set up a second account for myself. I know the statistics say that most people who play Hearthstone do so without ever putting a dollar into their accounts, so I wanted to see what I could do with an account going total “free to play” mode.
I started scouring the internet to find some powerful FTP (“free to play”) strategies, and found one better than I could have possibly expected. Mad respect to LokShadow, who made rank 57 legend on the Asian server, and rank 71 legend on the EU server with a creation that plays only common or basic cards (including zero adventure cards). He calls it F2P OTK (aka “one turn kill”) Warrior, but I didn’t think that had enough flare to it, so I have renamed it Broke @$$ Warrior!
While this deck is cheap enough to be played by anyone (I dusted poor Hogger, who gave me enough dust to craft all the cards I was missing), it is also mechanically complicated enough that your record with the deck will vary wildly based on your level of play skill. I found the deck to be shockingly effective against fully powered archetypes, and you can’t argue with LokShadow’s double top 100 legend runs with it.
Since the deck is largely full of underpowered cards, the power of the deck comes from its synergies, most notably it’s combo finish. Your primary win condition is the Raging Worgen + Charge + Inner Rage (or Cruel Taskmaster) combo. Drop the Worgen for 3 mana, play charge for 3 mana, then play Inner Rage for zero mana and you get to attack for 16 damage out of absolutely nowhere. The basic combo does 16 damage, or if you have a second Inner Rage or Taskmaster, you can combo for 20 damage.
The ability for this sort of an explosive combo finish is an enormous advantage. Many of your opponents will not know what your deck is trying to do until it is too late, and will leave themselves open, simply because they think their 15 life point buffer is sufficient. On the other hand, if your opponent does know what you are up to, they will often end up playing sub-optimally because they fear the combo. Sometimes an opponent will just play too defensively, unwittingly allowing you the extra time you need to assemble the combo, or making suboptimal trades because they fear having their life total drop to the magical 16 life points. It is very hard to play against combo decks like this, and that will definitely earn you wins.
In terms of matchups, decks without a significant taunt defence have a lot of trouble with this deck. Miracle Rogue and Tempo Mage fall into this category, as neither has many tools to prevent you from sending the Worgen to the face. Similarly, Zoolock’s Voidwalkers are not enough to hold the werewolf back, while Ravaging Ghoul and Bloodhoof Brave give you solid ability to control Zoolock’s minion rush. Additionally, Zoolock has a tendency to help you get to that magic 16 life point total by drawing extra cards. If your opponent doesn’t know what you are playing, they will very frequently do your work for you and set up your win with their own hero power.
Control and Tempo Warrior are also favorable matchups, but are much more difficult ones to play, and punish errors much more than the matchups I discuss above. Against Control Warrior, you need to push through enough damage to get your opponent in range, but you can’t always do this. Control Warrior has a lot of ways to defend itself, and can pull away from you with its hero power and other armor cards. You want to make sure you get good value off of Acolyte of Pain and Battle Rage to stay up on cards. You also need to hold back your Executes for Bloodhoof Brave, if at all possible. Drawing deep into your deck, you will often need to at least partially combo off a second time to win this matchup. This won’t always mean getting both Worgens and both Charges, but may mean throwing two pump cards on a Kor’Kron Elite to get in for 8, or a Bloodhoof Brave + Charge + Inner Rage for 9 charge damage. Math is very important here. Keep track of how many armor up spells they have left (Bash and Shield Block), and try to set up situations where your opponent has the least amount of “outs” possible (ie. If you get him to 9, then Shield Block and hero power won’t get him out of Worgen combo range).
Against Tempo Warrior, remember that your opponent probably does not play any Brawls, so you can commit to owning the board in the early game. Kor’Kron Elite can be an important way of removing Frothing Berserker (since you still want to save your Executes for Bloodhoof Brave, if you can), so don’t simply throw them at your opponent’s face, unless you are close to setting up a win. Also, get your Whirlwind effects in for advantage when you can. You don’t want to be staring down an Acolyte of Pain or an Armorsmith with a Mad Bomber or Ravaging Ghoul as your only proactive plays in hand. Mad Bomber on turn 2 on an empty board is a fine play in this matchup.
The deck’s biggest weakness is against decks with significant taunt defence. The deck is better than you would expect at getting past those obstacles, but you still don’t want to be playing against a big Druid deck that is constantly dropping cards like Druid of the Claw and Dark Arakkoa. Similarly, Twin Emperors is one of the worst cards that this deck can play against, so C’Thun Druid is one of the worst decks to play against.
Aggro Shaman can also be a tough matchup. The combination of Thing from Below and Feral Spirit is tough to fight through, given that they also have an aggressive clock. Fiery War Axe in the opening hand is more important than usual here. Killing their turn 1 Tunnel Trogg, or combining with Slam, Mad Bomber or Ravaging Ghoul to kill their turn 2 Totem Shaman is very valuable.
Play & Mulligan Advice
This is a deck where you need to do a fair amount of math and play pretty tight. As LokShadow has proven, this deck can post a very high win rate, but it has a low margin for error.
You mulligan very similarly across your matchups. You want to keep early drops like Fiery War Axe, Mad Bomber, Loot Hoarder and Acolyte of Pain in pretty much any matchup. You can contextually keep Bloodhoof Brave against aggro, if you have something like War Axe in your hand to help you get to 4. Always mulligan combo pieces (ie. Inner Rage, Raging Worgen or Charge), although you can keep Taskmaster, as he is the one you will often play for early value (ie. To kill small guys, or draw off Acolyte of Pain).
In terms of play advice, you are intending to churn through a lot of your deck, which is how the deck can combo off so consistently. Setting up a 3 card Battle Rage, as opposed to needing to cycle it for 1, can absolutely be the difference between winning and losing. You need to be able to judge the situation and feel when you need to play cards like Mad Bomber offensively, and when you need to wait and set up something like an Acolyte of Pain/Mad Bomber turn to try to get some extra value.
The most important piece of play advice I can give is to be patience and play to your outs. Sometimes it is correct to use a card like Taskmaster for value, but you really need to keep your eye out for situations where you need a particular set of cards to win the game. Sometimes, even if the Taskmaster will give you solid value (such as removing an opposing minion), you may need to hold back if you have lost the board and are going to need a big combo turn to win. Sometimes, you need to make counterintuitive plays to set up your combo turn. For instance, with the powered up version (which I will talk about below), I won one game by sweeping my own board with a Wild Pyromancer/ Battle Rage, because it was the best way for me to dig deep into my deck, and the only way I was going to win was by drawing a Charge. I got the Charge and won that game on the next turn.
Normally, I would talk about what legendary minions or epics you could replace with cheaper alternatives, but obviously that doesn’t really apply here, so instead I will talk about the ways you can power the deck up a bit by adding more expensive cards.
The substitution that LokShadow recommends, and which I have found works very well is:
-1 Loot Horder
-2 Mad Bomber
-1 Gnomish Inventor
+2 Frothing Berserker
+2 Wild Pyromancer
This turns the list into the one posted on the right. ->
While I certainly won’t argue with LokShadow in this regard, I like to add a couple legends which I think help give the deck a little more oomph. Sir Finley is a card I prefer in that second Loot Horder slot. Not only can the Warlock or Hunter hero power win you games that armoring up could not, but the 1/3 body is actually pretty well positioned in this deck. That extra toughness at his low cost can help you set up a better Battle Rage, while he can also combine with a turn 2 Taskmaster to present a pretty decent early threat.
As much as Gnomish Inventor is much better than you think it is, I still think that a single Blood to Ichor and a Grommash Hellscream provide more power in those slot.
As always, I hope you enjoy the list, and please feel free to leave any questions and comments on the reddit thread here. I will also be switching my articles to Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays, so tune in on Tuesday July 19th, when my next article will be going up!
In addition, if you live in the Toronto area, and are interested in Counterstrike, just a reminder that our first live event will be on July 30th, where we will be running a viewing event for the CS:GO ELeague Championship Finals. You can check out the details in our events area here.