Yogg and Load
Welcome, once again, to Deck of the Week where, for the second week in a row, I provide you, my readers, with another reason to Praise Yogg!!!
Do not be fooled by online videos of Yogg slaying his own followers. Make no mistake, the God of RNG wins games that he has no business winning, so long as we trust in his mysterious ways. There is no decklist I have played thus far that showcases the power of our unstable lord and master more than this one, right here.
BigTallGuy took this list to top 20 NA on ladder, and posted a short summary of the decklist on reddit. Not only is this one of the most entertaining decks that you will ever play, it is also incredibly powerful, and has put together some pretty solid win steaks for me in ranked play.
This deck has some unique features, due to the fact that it is 26 spells, 3 creatures and 1 weapon. One of those features is that Yogg is a beast. No one who knows anything about Hearthstone will argue that Yogg is not a ridiculously powerful card, when he wants to be. The problem is the random aspect of what he gives you. Well, most spells in Hearthstone are good for you, so if Yogg gets to cast enough spells, he will be good for you, too. When you have 26 spells in your deck, Yogg is far more consistent than he has any right to be. He will almost always clear your opponent’s board, will often leave you with creatures, will draw you a bunch of cards, will usually give you some secrets, and will usually deal some damage to face or give your Hunter some attack power so he can do so. Not only that, but you draw Yogg so much more consistently in this deck, due to King’s Elekk, which will always reveal either Yogg or Emperor Thaurissan. What this means is that against any midrange or control deck, even if you fall behind, you will almost always get the chance to Praise Yogg, and he will usually come through for you.
Generally, I find this deck to be very strong against control decks, while also being quite solid against aggro decks (except Pirate Warrior…you basically can’t win that matchup). Control decks often fall to Yogg, or due to the advantage you gain from a big Lock and Load. Remember not to blow your Load too early, you should save up so that you can fire a big Load at your opponent’s face or their minions’ faces. Doing so will often put them in a sticky situation. (Yup, I know I am immature, but I couldn’t help it…and it just happens to be good advice for playing the deck, too)
Against aggro, or midrange, the key is being able to survive and control their rush. This is usually easier against aggro. Zoolock, for instance, is a pretty solid matchup because Powershot and Explosive Shot will generally net you a lot of value. Unleash the Hounds wins the straight up battle against Forbidden Ritual, and Zoo normally can’t deal with your board once you turn the corner with Call of the Wild.
Regardless of the name, this deck really is a Call of the Wild deck, more than it is a Lock and Load deck. Call of the Wild is the card that will usually turn the game from a losing position to a winning one. Against aggro, you want to survive until you can Call, and from there you should usually be able to turn the game and win, as long as you aren’t too low on life.
Note: do not try to build to a big Lock and Load against aggro. You need to use your resources to survive. If you have the chance to Lock and get two cards or so off of it, then you often want to do so. Holding on to cards like Arcane Shot in hopes of pulling off a bigger Lock turn will get you killed. Use your removal and keep yourself alive. You win the game with Call of the Wild or Yogg, not Lock and Load.
While the deck’s removal spells are great at dealing with multiple small threats (with Powershot or Explosive Shot), and great at dealing with a couple of big threats out of a control deck (with Deadly Shot and Hunter’s Mark), midrange decks that can present several big threats, which causes this deck issues, especially if they are backed up with smaller threats that can trigger your Freezing Traps. This usually means that Midrange Hunter and C’Thun Druid are tough matchups.
These midrange decks can often put together sufficient large bodies to overwhelm your removal, while also having the ability to finish the game before Yogg comes out to play. That having been said, these matchups are certainly not hopeless, but they are tricky. Deadly Shot should be used to clear big taunters out of the way, ideally, and you need to use your removal to clear out smaller minions so that your opponents have to take the tempo hit of attacking a large minion into Freezing Trap. The key in these matchups is setting up a situation where you can turn the tempo quickly. This can mean Emperor with Freezing Trap backup, a big Lock and Load turn, or surviving to fire off a Yogg. It can sometimes be helpful to let your opponent get a bit of a board presence in the early game, so you can get better value off of your AOE (area of effect) cards and Unleash the Hounds.
Play and Mulligan Advice
As a general rule, matchups against fast aggro decks are about removing creatures and staying alive long enough to turn the tide, while slower matchups (including midrange) are usually more about building up for big turns. With this in mind, mulliganing in aggro matchups is about getting to your Quick Shots, Snipe, Bear Trap, and Arcane Shot. On the Hunt is a keep against Zoo, but a mulligan against Shaman. I will keep Lock and Load if I have the Coin and some cheap removal, but will almost always mulligan it if I am on the play. King’s Elekk is always a keep, whether against aggro or control. It comes down early, and usually nets you a late game bomb. Against aggro, this means that King’s Elekk also pulls a bad early game draw out of your deck, so you are drawing into more Quick Shots, and less Yogg. Unleash the Hounds is a keep against Zoolock, as they flood the board quickly with low cost dudes, while it is a mulligan against Shaman, who has beefier minions and usually floods the board in the midgame.
Against Midrange Hunter, you want an early removal spell or two (to deal with Firebat or Huge Toad), but you also want some proactive cards like King’s Elekk, Bear Trap, Freezing Trap, Animal Companion or Bow. Ideally you want a bit of a mix in your hand, so if you have 3 early removal spells, you probably want to send back two of them. I would be hesitant to send back any of the proactive cards I list above, however.
Against C’Thun Druid, you want the same sort of cards as against Midrange Hunter (King’s Elekk, Bear Trap, Freezing Trap and Animal Companion), however, you don’t want the early removal spells. You don’t really care if your opponent is dropping C’Thun followers, you don’t lose to them, you lose to Dark Arakkoa and Druid of the Claw. You need to have the ability to deal with these big taunt dudes, so Deadly Shot is key. I would keep one Deadly Shot in an opener, but not two, to ensure that I can deal with the first big taunt minion. Freezing Trap is also a hugely important card in this matchup. A timely Trap can give you the opening you need to turn the tide. In my last game against C’Thun Druid I won by keeping Emperor on the board for 3 turns. I pulled that off by clearing my opponent’s board and dropping Freezing Trap the turn before to set up Emperor. My opponent then played Dark Arakkoa, so I played my Emperor. He did not have the tools to remove my Emperor for a couple turns, and by then I had a 5 casting cost Call of the Wild and a 1-cost Unleash the Hounds to wreck his dreams. You need something explosive like that, a big Yogg turn or a big Lock and Load turn to beat C’Thun Druid, because they just have so much more value than you. Their dudes are just too big, and they stand in your way, so you need to engineer something big to punch through. Keep this in mind while playing the matchup, and try to play towards one of these big scenarios. You need home runs, not singles here.
Against Warrior, you should mulligan as if you are playing tempo warrior, which means mulliganing like you are playing against Druid (mull to King’s Elekk, Bear Trap, Freezing Trap and Animal Companion), although you also want to keep Snipe, which can get great value here. Hitting a Frothing Berserker with Snipe is sweet. There are many different types of Warriors. You would prefer to be playing Control Warrior, which can’t put on much pressure, and allows you to build up to a big explosive turn they can’t handle. Tempo Warrior is less fun, as they put on more pressure. You need to balance the need to survive with the need to build to a big turn. Minions like Frothing Berserker need to die right away, and unfortunately, you usually can’t get much more than one minion worth of value out of your RNG effects. This is a tricky matchup, but luckily, you usually have the ability to get to Call of the Wild and Yogg, and when you can do that your winning percentage still remains quite reasonable.
One of the really nice things about this list is that it is relatively cheap to acquire, with only 2 legendary cards (Emperor and Yogg), and only 4 Mythics (2 Call of the Wild and 2 Lock and Load). The other side of the coin is that there really are no substitutions that you can realistically make. It is actually just a different deck if you try to play it without any of those cards. Emperor is the only one of the legends or mythics that you could realistically play without, but it would be a big loss and there is no card that effectively replicates his ability.
Tune in next week where I will be featuring the first of my original brews in this article series, and it’s a spicy number. See you next Wednesday.