Hearthstone at its core is a game that people should have fun with, but that can get bogged down in the pursuit of competitive meta strategies. Thus, I humbly present Memes and Dreams, a series on Out of Cards looking to bring some good ol' memey fun into people's Hearthstone experiences. Each week we will do a deep dive on a different 'for fun' deck, discussing the basic ideas of the deck, what makes it tick, and roughly how to pilot it. This week we look at controversial Secret Paladin with a tentacle-y twist.
Oh. My. Yogg.
Paladins have arguably had the most turbulent identity among all the Hearthstone classes. They got healing and buffs like Priest, small and swarmy cards like Warlock or Hunter, weapons and control like Warrior, and the weirdest of all, Secrets like Hunter and Mage. Paladin never felt quite right as a Secret class since a secretive Paladin sounds oxymoronic and Rogues make much more sense (thank goodness they are finally addressing this). That said, Paladins Secrets have some of the wackiest and memey Secrets of all time. Eye for an Eye is the OG meme Secret, showing up in highlights since the very beginning. Recently the Darkmoon Faire has brought us Oh My Yogg!, a Secret with immense amounts of clown fiesta potential much like its namesake. Despite this, Secrets haven't been pushed for Paladin since Rise of Shadows with the likes of Commander Rhyssa, so making a dedicated deck has been tricky. However, Rally! brought with it some spicy potential with the ability to target-resurrect Rhyssa and help the dream go on. The Christmas tree-esque appearance of Secrets along with the many tentacles friends featured in the deck gives it the moniker 'Squidmas'! Gift your opponent with brand new spells, courtesy of Oh My Yogg!
The Meme - A silly little Aggro Secret Paladin, trying to make its way in a world with much faster and more consistent options.
The Dream - Keep your board nice and healthy by throwing a wrench in every removal plan your opponent tries (Oh My Yogg!-ing a Skull of Gul'dan is truly a sight to behold). If they hit the late game and think they're safe, bust out the giant tentacle monsters and swing things back in your favor!
Commander Rhyssa has always interested me as a card and I have desperately tried to make work (totally not because she was my pre-order legendary). Paladin Secrets rarely get much love ever since the Mysterious Challenger fiasco way back when, but Rhyssa is a pretty cool design and works well with many of the Secrets in Standard. Although I confess even after all my playtesting I do not know how Rhyssa interacts with Oh My Yogg!.
Rally!'s unique ability to bring back Rhyssa and refill the board makes it integral to keeping the Rhyssa meme machine running. However, until Rhyssa is drawn and dies, it is, unfortunately, a dead card and thus is only a one-of in the deck.
Octosari makes a surprise appearance before he rotates out in a couple of months! I originally had Voracious Reader as a draw engine, but became afraid that she would gunk up the resurrect pool and stifle the Rhyssa dream. Octosari on the other hand provides a ludicrous amount of draw and late-game threat without screwing up any Rally! shenanigans.
Spellkin is a very nice way to refill Secrets after you very quickly run out of steam. What makes Spellkin really nice is the fact that Redscale Dragontamer will draw her, helping out with the draw that decks like this desperately need.
Broomstick helps out a ton when trying to get board control. Although it isn't great to get back with Rally!, it synergizes well when played alongside Rally! to mobilize your newly resurrected minions against the enemy board.
Budget / Alternate Options
This is on the cheap side for a meme deck, and there plenty of strong cards that could be slotted in. As mentioned before, Octosari could be replaced with Voracious Reader to offer a more consistent early-mid-game draw engine. Heck, Loot Hoarder works alright as a draw card since you can also get it back with Rally!. If you decide to include a Reader or two, I highly suggest also finding room for another Rally! since it will less frequently be a dead card with another high-value 3-drop in the deck. Commander Rhyssa is a bit harder to replace since the deck is themed around bringing her back many times, but Reader works as a sufficient replacement if you just want to play an Aggro Secret Paladin deck. Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate is truly in the deck just for the meme and because he is exceptionally easy to activate with all of our Secrets and spell generation. He can be replaced with the aforementioned Reader or Rally to help with early-game plays, or really with any card that you think would go well in the deck!
Oh My Yogg! is a very fun card in the deck, but is not wholly necessary for any game plan. Being able to semi-Counterspell removal spells like Cascading Disaster or Devolving Missiles is nice, but other Secrets such as Repentance or Redemption are alright replacements. Redemption especially works since it synergizes with Rhyssa whereas Repentance does not.
There are also plenty of ways to adjust this deck if you want to pursue some archetypes Paladin has actually gotten support for! Going Pure Paladin isn't too hard since there are plenty of early game cards such as Brazen Zealot or Air Raid. Goody Two-Shields and Shotbot are also fantastic targets to hit with Rally! since they are annoying for the opponent to get rid of. Goody is also quite nice since Secrets are an inexpensive way to proc her Spellburst. The Libram package, or a version of it, is also easy enough to slot it. You might not want to go all the way up to Libram of Hope or Libram of Judgment, but the smaller Libram of Wisdom and Libram of Justice are fantastic at keeping board control. Not to mention Aldor Attendant is a very strong 1-drop for the early game that the deck does not run otherwise. Mysterious Blade was a card that very nearly made the cut, but lost out to 2-drops that offer a tad more consistency/ability to be resurrected with Rally!.
This is not a fantastic matchup even though we are also an Aggro deck. Dedicated Aggro decks tend to be much faster than this and will ramp up board threats earlier. This deck's minions also aren't especially hearty, so it can be difficult to make value trades and maintain board control. Animated Broomstick is great to keep up board control but can be a bit risky to keep early since the 1-drops in the deck are somewhat weak without any Secrets or buffs on them. Noble Sacrifice is a great Secret to use here since Aggro decks typically rely on attacks to remove minions, so your Secretkeeper might be able to stay alive longer. If you're running into a lot of trouble against Aggro decks, Mysterious Blade is a good inclusion to help maintain board control. This deck also has a terrible time if once any large threats are dropped, such as Flesh Giant, so try to get through the game ASAP!
Control will naturally counter this deck since they are designed with the idea to crush Aggro, so don't fret too much about a bad matchup. Octosari can really shine here since they will have to remove him and you will likely be out of gas when they do. It can be a bit tricky in some matchups though, namely Mage and Shaman, who can very easily transform him and deny you any refill. Otherwise, the key to winning this matchup is timing Oh My Yogg! well to deny board wipes. Particularly cancelling Bladestorm, Brawl, Cascading Disaster, or Consecration will really help cement a strong early-game and might snowball into a victory. If the late game does come around, the last thing you can do is play Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate and pray that your dedication to memes will pay off!
The best matchup of the three one's we are going over. Aggro decks will outpace Combo decks, but they typically have a trick or two up their sleeves to counter and survive. However, the deck's use of Secrets like Never Surrender! and Oh My Yogg! can make it difficult for the opponent to properly remove our minions. Similar to the Control matchup, timing these Secrets will be the key to keeping your board alive and capable of killing the enemy. If things get close but you can't finish them off before they can use their combo, Desperate Measures has a chance of getting Eye for an Eye which can then be doubled by Commander Rhyssa. Depending on the Combo, this might just right out kill the opponent and they will be left distraught and in utter despair as they have just lost to one of Hearthstone's oldest meme cards.
Secret Paladin had its heyday way back in the Grand Tournament when Avenge and Mysterious Challenger allowed to dominate every and anything that stood in its path, but this one's pretty fun too. Oh My Yogg! sets the stage for some serious disruptive shenanigans to take place like a Demon Hunter or Warlock coining into Sacrificial Pact on their own demon, or a Mage's Blizzard turns into Skull of Gul'dan and they overdraw, or a Rogue's Secret Passage becoming a Soulfire to their own face. Although Oh My Yogg! will be around for a while, Commander Rhyssa will be leaving to the Wild format, taking her unique double-down shenanigans with her without ever really getting a chance to shine. Like many of the decks I've covered thus far, I hope to give this meme-y card one last 'Hurrah!' and let Octosari tag along for the ride. At least Octosari has had time in highlight reels of making mill themselves to death when he's randomly generated. Until the next article, I wish a Happy Squidmas to all!
What is your meme deck of choice? Do you try different ones for each expansion or do you try to evolve old ones with new cards? Do you have any meme dream stories? Tell us in the comments below!