June 28, 2016
Table of Contents
Mastering Miracle Rogue: Beginner Guide
When Miracle Rogue started seeing play right after the introduction of the Standard format, I was at first quite sceptical about its viability, because Blade Flurry was nerfed. Although the deck is not without flaws and weaknesses, I’m quite successful with it on the ladder. A good friend of mine, Sedris, even finished last season with Miracle Rogue at Legend Rank 30 on the EU server (which is a big achievement considering that Pirate Warrior was way more popular last season than nowadays). The decklist in this guide is the one Sedris and I have settled for in the current metagame. Whether you want to climb to Rank 10, Rank 5, Legend or even improve your Legend Rank further, you can be sure that this decklist is quite optimal for whatever particular ladder goal you want to achieve.
There are quite a lot of Miracle Rogue enthusiasts out there, and the reason for that is that the deck is very fun to play. Unlike other decks like Midrange Hunter or Aggro Shaman it is not one-dimensional. There are many paths to victory. In one game you will play a quite ordinary game of Hearthstone, where your opponent plays minions and you play minions, you then at some point gain board control, pressure the opponent’s life points further and finish the game with burst or even without burst. In another game, you will play Cold Blood on a minion, deal damage to the opponent, then Conceal it and end the game on the next turn. And on other occasions you will play Gadgetzan Auctioneer and simply draw your entire deck and beat your opponent with the insurmountable card advantage and/ or burst damage from your hand.
Miracle Rogue-An Analysis
Whenever you pick up a deck, it is of utter importance to understand the deck and how it wins games. At first sight, you might think that Miracle Rogue is a combo deck. It can draw a bunch of cards with the help of Gadgetzan Auctioneer and then it finishes the game with double Cold Blood, some other damage spells and Leeroy Jenkins. Personally I would describe it as a Tempo deck with some combo elements. Describing Miracle Rogue in its current incarnation as a pure Combo deck is kind of misleading. Usually Combo decks are sustainable and have the opportunity to play quite a long game, because not only they have mass removal in the form of board clears (Flamestrike), but they also have a lot of life gain. Miracle Rogue cannot deal with a big board, because of the loss of Blade Flurry and it also does not have good life gain.
Miracle Rogue is a fragile archetype, it’s very squishy and if it is under constant pressure it will simply lose. To make up for this fragility, it is very explosive because it has some very high tempo plays (f.ex.: playing Violet Teacher together with Preparation and Sap) and it features a lot of burst and can also easily set up lethal over two turns, out of seemingly nowhere.
- Very efficient minion removal (Deadly Poison, Backstab, Eviscerate, Shadow Strike etc.)
- Has an absurd draw engine with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, which can draw your entire deck even before Turn 10.
- Very flexible deck, which means that you can win with superior board presence and your minions, but can also “steal” games by playing Conceal to hide Gadgetzan Auctioneer or to make your opponent unable to trade into your minions.
- Has a lot of (extremely) good matchups, mainly Control decks (Paladin, Priest and Control Warrior), but also decks that lack good minion removal like Midrange Hunter, Zoo Warclock and Druid
- Sometimes clunky hands, where you draw too many minions against faster decks and too many spells against Control decks
- Struggles with Face decks like Pirate Warrior or Aggro Shaman, because of the lack of taunts and heal (even putting double Earthen Ring Farseer won’t help that much)
- The most efficient removal in the game, very good at triggering Rogue’s combo cards. Especially potent when combined with SI:7 Agent against fast decks.
- Rogue’s Innervate. This card can give you a great mana discount and is very flexible throughout the game. Gives you the possibility to play a four mana minion on Turn 4 and at the same time remove the opponent’s four mana minion, which results in a great tempo swing. Is also very good when combined with Gadgetzan Auctioneer to start drawing a bunch of cards.
- Very cheap weapon buff. One Deadly poison turns your small dagger into a Fiery War Axe, two turns it into an Arcanite Reaper. Very good at removing early game minions and triggering combo effects. Can also be used to pressure the opponent’s life total, because one Poison is four damage over two turns. The mana investment to damage ratio makes it very good against both Aggro and Control decks, therefore it is a mistake to not run both copies of Deadly Poison.
- A five mana neutral Fireball. Leeroy Jenkins gives the deck the opportunity to have access to big burst, even without having any minions on the board. In a very aggressive metagame, Leeroy Jenkins can be cut for Southsea Deckhand, because the latter does match-up very well against early game minions, whereas Leeroy obviously does not.
- Very good removal for midgame minions like Darkshire Councilman, Druid of the Claw or Sylvanas Windrunner.
- Very good minion removal for bigger minions, but is also very good at removing the opponent. Plenty of 5 health minions fall to Bloodmage Thalnos or Azure Drake + Eviscerate.
- Pseudo removal for bigger minions. Sap is very good at removing big taunts or annoying minions with Death Rattle (like Savannah Highmane). It is incredibly potent and outright devastating if you sap an expensive minion, while you have a board that deals a lot of damage. (You invested 2 mana, while your opponent invested a lot more mana, which will result in huge tempo loss for your opponent).
- Bloodmage Thalnos is incredible in this deck, due to the high amount of spells. He can give you 3 damage Backstabs or a 2 damage AOE clear that also draws you a card with Fan of Knives.
- With the loss of Blade Flurry, Rogue now has only Fan of Knives to deal with a board of 1/1’s or 2/2’s (when you have a Spell Power minion).
- Is currently the best four mana minion in the game. He even saw a decent amount of play in Oil Rogue when the best four mana minion of all time, Piloted Shredder, was available, which should tell you how crazy powerful Tomb Pillager is. The free Coin helps you to speed up your plays, it also has synergy with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Violet Teacher, Edwin VanCleef and all your other combo cards.
- The strongest 3 drop in the game. When combined with the Coin or Backstab on Turn 3 his effect can swing the game.
- Can consistently be a 4/4 for 3 mana (with the Coin on Turn 2 or Backstab on Turn 3), a 6/6 (f.ex.: Turn 3 use the Coin for Deadly Poison then VanCleef) and sometimes even a giant 12/12 and bigger. This card can win you games on its own sometimes, while always being at least decent. With the nerf to Big Game Hunter and various silence effects, Edwin VanCleef is now even more powerful than before. A lot of decks like Tempo Mage or Aggro Shaman have a hard time dealing with an early very big Edwin VanCleef. Especially against Miracle Rogue’s very bad matchups, like Pirate Warrior, making a very big Edwin is a very good way to win an unfavorable matchup.
- Cold Blood is very powerful in Miracle Rogue. It gives you the possibility to put huge pressure on the opponent. A mere 3/3 can be tunred into a 7/3 that must be dealt with. Also has some nice synergy with both Violet Teachers (you can now trade up with your 1/1’s) and Gagdetzan Auctioneer (you buff your Auctioneer to a very hard-hitting minion and play Conceal after the attack).
- Violet Teacher has always been better than Piloted Shredder in Rogue, which is quite a weird thing. Against faster decks like Warlock Zoo, Aggro Shaman and Midrange Hunter, Violet Teacher is your primary win condition. Removing opposing minions with a flurry of spells, will give you an army of 1/1’s that put you in a commanding position. Faster decks are all very inefficient at handling a Violet Teacher. In some metagames it can be correct to only play 1 Violet Teacher and cut the other one for Shiv or even Xaril, Poisoned Mind if you want to be really greedy or simply hate losing to Control decks. But in today’s metagame, where Shaman, Zoo Warlock and Midrange Hunter are very popular not playing two Violet Teacher is simply a mistake. Auctioneer wins you games against Control decks, whereas Violet Teacher will win you a lot of games against faster decks.
- A 5 mana 4/4 that replaces itself, while providing a boost to your spells. This card was a key card in every good Rogue deck in the past and will still be in the far future.
- Conceal is outright devastating for a lot of decks when you have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer, but also can be used to set up lethal by making your opponent unable to trade into your board. Simply playing Leeroy Jenkins together with Cold Blood and then afterwards using Conceal to hide your Pyroblast on legs is very powerful against a lot of decks.
- The key card against every not so fast deck out there. Playing a Gadgetzan Auctioneer on Turn 7 together with Conceal is a rather common sight. A lot of the time you will buff him to a 12/4 with both Cold Bloods, deal 12 damage to the opponent, and then play the second Conceal to deal 12 damage on the following turn. Very dirty!
How to Play / Basic Mulligan Guide
In general you want to look for the cards below against every deck (there are some exceptions, such as Control Warrior, Priest, Control Paladin etc. and I will cover them in the matchup analysis; just a quick note: against Control Warrior, Control Paladin and Priest you mulligan everything in search for Azure Drake and Gadgetzan Auctioneer, even Tomb Pillager).
Backstab is the best card to trigger your combo cards like (Eviscerate, Agent,..) It is an extremely efficient removal (and a tempo booster), because it costs zero mana and can deal more than two damage with the help of Bloodmage Thalnos and Azure Drake.
Like Backstab this card is a very good early game removal. You can take out smaller minions and can easily trigger your combo cards.
3. SI:7 Agent, Tomb Pillager, Violet Teacher and sometimes Edwin VanCleef
Agent is a very good minion to play early on to deal with some smaller opposing minions like Flame Imp. With the Coin the Agent is obviously very powerful, but even without the Coin you have a decent amount of ways to trigger the combo effect quite early (Deadly Poison, Backstab, Preparation).
Edwin on the other hand is a very tricky card. He is very powerful and can be outright game winning sometimes. In general you should only keep him if you have the Coin or already good removal (Deadly Poison, Backstab) against aggressive decks. Otherwise I would mulligan him in search of better cards. A Turn 2 4/4 with the Coin is good in every matchup. Never keep multiple 3 drops if you don’t have some early game removal (Keeping double Agent without the Coin is not good. Just keep one.)
Against everything but the fastest decks, I would always keep both Tomb Pillager and Violet Teacher (if you have the Coin) in your opening hand. Sometimes if you already have a good amount of removal (f.ex.: Backstab and Eviscerate) keeping Tomb Pillager or Violet Teacher even without the Coin is a good idea.
Preparation is together with Innervate the most powerful spell in the game. I would recommend keeping it against every non- Control deck, especially because this version plays two Violet Teachers. The reason why you don’t keep Preparation against slower decks is that Tempo is a non- factor against them. They usually have no good early game minions, their entire early game consists of removal spells.
If your hand lacks any kind of early game removal, but you have Eviscerate I would recommend keeping Eviscerate so that you have at least one way to kill a small minion like Flame Imp, if you still don’t draw into one cheap removal spell. Against decks that have a lot of higher health midgame minions like Shaman you always keep Eviscerate together with Deadly Poison or Backstab to have a very clean way to kill something like Totem Golem or Frothing Berserker.
Miracle is a very complex deck to play, especially for beginners. Therefore I will now describe what the majority of time you are doing on a given turn. I won’t list every possible play on any given turn, because of the scope of the article. The longer the game goes, the more possibilities Miracle Rogue has on a given turn, because of the high amount of cheap spells.
Early game (Turn 1-3)
Turn 1: You won’t play anything besides Backstab on a threatening minion (such as Flame Imp)
Turn 2: You will use your hero power to get a fresh dagger for future buffs and some occasional Backstabs on smaller minions. Sometimes you will even play Eviscerate to deal with 3/2 minion. A turn 2 Edwin VanCleef with the Coin or a Turn 2 SI:7-Agent with the Coin are also some very common plays. Simply dropping Bloodmage Thalnos can also be a decent play if you are in desperate need of the card draw or want to contest a 1 toughness minion.
Turn 3: If your opponent’s board is empty l, simply dropping a 3 mana minion is a good play. You are not a value based deck, your late game is a quick death for your opponent. So the majority of time you don’t need to save your SI:7- Agent to later make use of the combo. Using Dagger Mastery and playing Deadly Poison is also a very common Turn 3 play, even if your opponent does not have any minions on the board, because maybe later you won’t have time to play it because you want to play a 4 mana minion and then maybe a 5 mana minion etc. If you have the Coin playing Tomb Pillager is also a good idea (except against some very slow Control decks, where you want to save all your Coins for Gadgetzan Auctioneer) because you later can get the coin back.
Summary: The early game consists of removing your opponent’s minions, while preferably playing your own minion. So you are like a control deck, that makes sure that the opponent’s board is empty.
Mid game (Turn 4-7)
Turn 4: You play one of your four 4 mana minions. Or you play a freshly drawn SI:7 Agent.
Turn 5: Azure Drake turn! Get that 4/4 out on the battlefield and get a fresh draw.
Turn 6: Tomb Pillager/ Violet Teacher and Eviscerate/ Sap on a minion is a very common play.
Turn 7: This is usually the turn, where you start drawing cards with Gadgetzan Auctioneer, sometimes with Conceal or even without Conceal. Against faster decks it is not of great importance to draw as many cards as possible, whereas against Control decks getting as many cards as possible with the Auctioneer is of utter importance, and you should therefore only play Gadgetzan Auctioneer if you have a Conceal.
Summary: The midgame mainly consists of further developing your board, while removing your opponent’s minions with your extremely efficient removal. In general you want to get a decent amount of damage in, so that you can then burst your opponent down in the late game. Sometimes killing him in the midgame is also possible, if you have a good minion curve coupled with Conceal/ Cold Blood/ Leeroy Jenkins
Late game (Turn 7-10+)
The late game is usually the time where you are busy drawing your entire deck, or if you did not draw Auctioneer, you look for a way to finish off your opponent. This deck has a lot of burst, and not missing on opportunities to get lethal with a potential topdeck is very important. Especially if you don’t draw Gadgetzan Auctioneer it is very important to not miss any kind of damage, whenever you can afford to. Especially the small pings from your hero power can add up over multiple turns, and suddenly you will find yourself having lethal, without ever playing Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Mathematically the majority of time, you have access to Gadgetzan Auctioneer in the late game and then want to deal as much damage as possible to the opponent to finish the game. Try to have a fresh dagger when going off with the Gadgetzan Auctioneer, because both Deadly Poisons deal 10 damage over two turns.
Sometimes you can play an absurd amount of spells in one turn, so that you can then even Conceal a 20/20 Edwin VanCleef. And a lot of decks have no way to deal with a 20/20 they cannot target.
If you wish to learn more about Miracle Rogue, check out my Advanced Guide.
Miracle Rogue is in a very good spot in the current metagame. It is also a blast to play and if you never played it before you will be amazed from the fresh and new play style of this deck. If you have any questions regarding this deck, feel free to ask me in the comment section.