Welcome to Budget Deck Breakdown, the series that finds ways to enjoy Hearthstone without spending all the dust we've spent years hoarding. We're celebrating the end of the Year of the Phoenix and the rise of the Year of the Gryphon with a very special Budget Deck Breakdown featuring a very special minion with the potential for infinite* value, if you know how to wrangle it. This week we've got a handful of ways to make use of Recurring Villain.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackguard
Recurring Villain is one of the more interesting cards that never saw a lot of play. His Deathrattle promises to continue re-summoning him if you can buff his Attack before he dies, but his weakness to SIlence and Attack debuffs always made him a risky minion to build around. Today we're throwing all caution to the wind and spotlighting not one, not two, not three (hey, what's that behind you?), not nine, but TEN different decks all built to make maximum effect of Recurring Villain's Deathrattle. Sounds crazy, right? That was a rhetorical question, you weren't supposed to say yes.
In preparation for this week's article I spent a lot of time in silent meditation, really getting to know myself and appreciate my relationship with Recurring Villain so I could determine the best class to feature him as he leaves Standard behind and goes to the great Wacky Races in the sky. I quickly had a revelation: I was asking the wrong question. The question I should have been asking was, "Which class isn't a good choice to feature Recurring Villain?" So I made ten decks, all built around Recurring Villain. Sounds crazy, right? Wait, we already did that.
Key Cards and Villain Combos
Recurring Villain decks are built with one thing in mind: Getting extra Attack onto Recurring Villain so his Deathrattle brings him back. Get used to seeing Wriggling Horror and Costumed Entertainer, because they're the cheapest ways to make Recurring Villain live up to his name and we've jammed them into just about every deck featured today.
The way many of these decks will want to play is by finding our Villains and finding ways to buff those Villains. Each deck has their own way of doing that, and we'll get more into those particulars when we discuss each deck individually. Every deck is equipped with ways to fight for the board while waiting on the Villain, but they all have tools to make Recurring Villain stick around for a while. Without any further ado, let's get to it.
This deck is built from the shell of the traditional Aggro Demon Hunter list, but with just enough of a Recurring Villain funk to make the deck just a little weird. Sure, it's got the expected Battlefriend, Demon Companion, Intrepid Initiate, Twin Slice, and Acrobatics, but we've also got Darkmoon Statue. Playing Recurring Villain can Corrupt the Statue, giving us extra stats while serving as an annoyingly persistent way to bring the Villain back.
You want to mulligan for the cheap minions that are abundant in this list, and play it like you're a normal Aggro Demon Hunter. That way, your opponent will be all the more surprised when you slam that Villain and keep bringing him back.
This deck is probably the lightest of our ten on enabling the Villain's hijinks; instead it mainly opts to do its own thing and if Recurring Villain happens to show up and do something, then I guess that's cool, too. We don't have much to say about the deck otherwise, so let's take a quick gander and move on to the next one. Did I mention we've got ten of these?
Druid opted for a Token-style build that splashes Recurring Villain for an extra sticky body to pair with its AoE buffs. The deck starts with your basic Gibberling nonsense then builds to a spectacular finale with traditional Token cards like Power of the Wild, Arbor Up, and Blessing of the Ancients combining to make our Villains a headache to deal with. We've even got time to say goodbye to Savage Roar.
The rest of this list's Villain package consists of Wriggling Horror, Adorable Infestation, and sneaky synergistic tool Resizing Pouch. You might already know that playing Resizing Pouch into 0 Mana has a 50% chance of finding Embiggen and that Embiggen has a 100% chance of making the Villains in our deck big enough to come back on their own.
Mulligans in this deck involve finding Gibberling and cards that make Gibberling summon more Gibberlings. It's almost like a mini-Recurring Villain in that regard. Like the Demon Hunter list, this deck plays like a regular old Token Druid until Recurring Villain shows up and the fun can begin.
Long story short: There's a lot of AoE buffs in this list, which work well with Recurring Villain beyond their expected uses as Token buffers. Moving on...
I can only hope that this deck looks familiar to you, since it's very similar to a deck we featured on Budget Deck Breakdown a few weeks ago: Tonk Hunter. That deck had a cameo from Recurring Villain because of his synergy with Mok'Nathal Lion. This time we've gone full featured player on Recurring Villain by getting more cards to enable him while maintaining a core Deathrattle strategy for the rest of the deck.
This deck plays well with Recurring Villain. Beyond the usual suspects of Wriggling Horror and Costumed Entertainer, we've also got Hunter staples Adorable Infestation and Demon Companion. Dark horse Darkmoon Statue is back again to get Corrupted by Recurring Villain and donate extra Attack to the deck's smaller minions. It's a bit janky, but it gets the job done.
We can mulligan for a slower match in this deck, finding Deathrattle enablers like Carrion Studies and card draw like Ursatron and Diving Gryphon, rather than immediate board presence. Play to take advantage of your inherently sticky minions, and get some buffs on Recurring Villain when you get the chance.
Once you've finished admiring this list, let's drop down and see how the Villain handles a class that isn't built to break him.
Jaina doesn't really want to play with Recurring Villain. She has no native Attack buffs and no Deathrattle synergies. It's almost like her class identity is less focused on minions and more about spells or something. It doesn't matter. We'll just jam in the Neutral minions that have carried our other Villain shells, make use of some fairly powerful card draw, and call it a deck.
Despite the reticence of Mage, this deck can still do some fancy things with Recurring Villain. Conjure Mana Biscuit is a great way to bank some Mana and make use of our Villain combos a bit earlier. We're also taking a chance by running a single copy of the soon to be rotated (and sooner to be unnerfed) spell Conjurer's Calling. The dream is to have a buffed Villain on board, kill it with the Calling, and get it back plus two extra 5-Drops. It's a small dream, but it's all ours.
This list mulligans for card draw: Elemental Allies or Cram Session, and ways to trigger that card draw so we can get Recurring Villain in our hand then on the board. We've got plenty of ways to keep aggressive decks from killing us early, and from there it's just a matter of crime.
We don't have much else to say, and we've still got six more of these decks to look at. Hopefully more than a handful of you are still reading, because it's about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Now we're cooking with gas. Paladin's entire shtick is "buff minions and get out of the way," which, coincidentally, is also the thing we want to be doing with Recurring Villain. Libram of Wisdom is a potentially infinite source of buff spells to cast on a potentially infinite number of Villains, but it's not the only trick this deck has. There's also Hand of A'dal, Costumed Entertainer, and one copy of Blessing of Authority to give us a good chance of recurring the Villain.
This deck also opts to include the oft-maligned Pen Flinger package, but we're letting ourselves get a little fancier with our flingers. Underrated buff spell Shield of Honor is great, but can only be cast on damaged minions. We like Pen Flinger to consistently be our source of self-damage, and we've got Salhet's Pride to tutor it and Animated Broomstick. Drawing those cards from our deck makes it easier to find Recurring Villain.
This deck wants to find early card draw like Hand of A'dal, Redscale Dragontamer, and Salhet's Pride in the mulligan, as well as Libram of Wisdom and Aldor Attendant. We can play the deck like every other annoying Pen Flinger Paladin, even after we start jamming Recurring Villain and really get going.
It wasn't much of a stretch to expect that Paladin could do a lot with Recurring Villain and, as we'll see, our next class doesn't struggle, either.
Here are the facts, as we see them: Nazmani Bloodweaver discounts Costs when you cast spells. Gadgetzan Auctioneer draws cards when you cast spells. Priest has a few spells that do incredibly busted things. Mix all that stuff together and baby you've got a stew goin'.
This deck probably has the highest ceiling when it comes to Recurring Villain shenanigans, mainly because of its ability to use Nazmani Bloodweaver to discount the Cost of Villain combo pieces Grave Rune and Psyche Split, which can make it exceptionally hard for your opponent to get rid of the dastardly devil. This deck also runs some cheaper Villain enablers like Power Word: Feast and Apotheosis. Heck, even Embalming Ritual can get Recurring Villain to come back. We've also got Raise Dead just in case our Villains don't recur enough.
The ideal mulligan for this deck involves finding Palm Reading and Insight to make things cheaper so we can go off sooner. We can play Nazmani Bloodweaver as soon as we have a few spells to play with it, and later use Gadgetzan Auctioneer to dig through our deck to find Recurring Villain and one of our many buff spells.
Now that we've had our glimpse of the truly bonkers value that Recurring Villain has to offer, let's take a step back and look at a deck that plays more for tempo than value.
Anyone who's played Standard over the past few months should be familiar with the trappings of Weapon Rogue, which we have elected to ape mainly due to its ability to make spectacular use of Nitroboost Poison while also giving us a good and cheap way to buff Recurring Villain.
Costumed Entertainer and Wriggling Horror are back again to do their thing, which is making sure that Recurring Villain can do his thing. The emphasis on Weapons and card draw gives us a better chance of getting the handbuff onto the Villain, which is already a great place to start. We're also running a copy of Cold Blood because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The rest of the deck either makes big Weapons or likes it when we have a big Weapon equipped.
Because Weapons are so important, it's a good idea to mulligan for Self-Sharpening Sword and cards that make it bigger. We would also like to see Swindle, since it's such a cost-effective way to draw cards and find Recurring Villain. This deck plays very aggressively, as you might expect from Weapon Rogue, and sometimes just uses Recurring Villain as a difficult-to-deal-with finisher.
You like Weapons? We've got more Weapons! Take a look at our next class, who's got Weapons as well as plenty of ways to buff Recurring Villain.
There are aggressive ways to build around Recurring Villain, and then there's this deck. We've got plenty of ways to swarm onto the board, buff the Villain, and punish our opponents for being slow to answer them.
We've got plenty of buffs to keep our Villains coming back. There's Whack-A-Gnoll Hammer (which we can tutor with Cagematch Custodian), Flametongue Totem, Storm's Wrath, and Mistrunner. If that's not enough for you, we also have Sludge Slurper, who can occasionally find Goblin Lackey. We've even found space for everyone's favorites: Wriggling Horror and Costumed Entertainer. Lightning Bloom gives us the freedom to play Recurring Villain early with a buff already to go. Unfortunately, we don't have access to Strength Totem, which would have worked a little too well with the Villain.
Mulligan for 1-Drops and Cagematch Custodian. Recurring Villain is one of this deck's better ways of using Lightning Bloom effectively, since it allows us much more freedom of when we can play him. Use your minions and buffs to control the board so that when the Villain comes down he overwhelms your opponent.
Speaking of aggro, our next deck is a familiar aggressive list with a little extra spice added to make our Recurring Villains *chef's kiss*.
This Zoo deck has that good Demon flavor, with a pinch of Recurring Villain shenanigans to make the deck a delicious meme. Instead of the expected Hand of Gul'dan for card draw (which we've omitted for a very good reason, depending on your definition of "good"), we have Free Admission. We have a lot of Demons for it to draw and potentially make cheaper.
Again we've got the dynamic duo, but Gul'dan has few of his own trick up his purple sleeves that will help us get value out of Recurring Villain. This deck has everything: Wicked Whispers, an Imprisoned Scrap Imp, a human garbage can... Plus, if you get a Recurring Villain in hand you can discard it with Expired Merchant and get another copy for later. See? I told you our Hand of Gul'dan omission was for a "good" reason.
This deck has a multitude of cheap Demons that it likes to see in the mulligan. It's also smart to keep Expired Merchant for the Villain combo and Free Admission to find more threats. Like Zoo, this deck aims to swarm to board and buff its minions, using Recurring Villain as a late-game threat that annoys any opponent who can't clear him.
If you're still reading, and didn't leave around the fifth or sixth terrible joke, you might be disappointed to hear that we've only got one deck left to talk about. Regardless, let's power through and look at the last list in our Budget Deck Blowout.
This deck was built through a combination of two premises, the first one being that Enrage Warrior is a pretty good deck with some interesting tools for buffing minions and controlling the board. The second premise was that Recurring Villain exists. From these two linked ideas, our deck was born.
Warrior can have a lot of fun with Recurring Villain, if given enough time to get going. Garrosh doesn't even need Wriggling Horror or Costumed Entertainer because he already has a pretty appealing buff package to dip into. For starters, we've got Inner Rage and Shield of Honor. We're also running Nitroboost Poison and a single copy each of Cruel Taskmaster and Rampage for more ways to enrage our Villains. Thanks to Enrage Warrior's timeproven tactic of Risky Skipper plus (???) equals powerful tempo swing, we've got our final deck.
We mulligan first and foremost for Risky Skipper and Sky Raider, as well as card draw like Battle Rage, Stage Dive, or Shield Block. Using Risky Skipper, we can control the board and dig for ways to buff Recurring Villain, then take out our anger issues on our opponent's face.
If you've made it this far, I want to tell you how grateful I am that you somehow saw fit to put up with my nonsense for ten (!!) consecutive Recurring Villain decks. Recurring Villain is one of my favorite cards in Hearthstone (if you hadn't already guessed that), and I felt that the best way to say goodbye was by building him a deck from every class. As sorry as I am to say goodbye to one of my favorite cards, I'm excited for the launch of a new year that brings new cards, new deck ideas, and new ways to play on a budget. Who knows, maybe Recurring Villain will make an appearance. You never can count him out.
What kind of decks are you going to be playing when Forged in the Barrens launches? In the meantime, are you going to take any of these Villain decks for a spin? Did you even read this far? Share your thoughts in the comments!