Welcome to Budget Deck Breakdown, the series that's all about finding ways to have fun in Hearthstone for as cheap as possible. Why waste your dust on legendary 8/8s like Tickatus when there are perfectly good legendary 8/8s like Nozdormu for free? Our list today is based on the storied archetype of Midrange Paladin, and it features a consistent curve, powerful legendaries, and one very good preacher. So let's stop and talk awhile about Invigorating Sermon Paladin.
Putting the "Beat Down" in the Beatitudes
Midrange may be somewhat of a lost art in Hearthstone these days, but that doesn't mean it can't still survive in a world of Face Hunter, Token Druid, and Control Warlock. Paladin in particular has exactly the kinds of tools a good Midrange deck needs: powerful minions at every mana slot, defensive tools to stay alive against aggro, and good finishers that can push a lot of damage against slower decks. What truly stands out about this particular Midrange Paladin is its use of Invigorating Sermon to get extra stats on all of its minions. Don't call it a handbuff. It's much, much more than that.
Our deck wants to curve out with its stable of chunky minions, control the opponent's board, then overwhelm them with a timely Sermon ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" usually does the trick). We've got a curve that can punish aggro, the stats to out-beef midrange, and the sticky bodies to outlast control. A budget deck filled with true value tools... What a time to be alive.
And does this deck have Nozdormu, or what?
Blessed Are the Poor in Dust, For Theirs Are the Ranks Below Legend
What makes this deck good, beyond Nozdormu? The answer to that question revolves around our main draw synergy of Knight of an Ointment and Holy spells like Invigorating Sermon and Hand of A'dal. Both are great ways of making our minions bigger and using the Knight to tutor them gives us a good chance of buffing our minions in a timely manner.
We also have Redscale Dragontamer, who's in a really good place in a Standard where you can run Dragons like Alexstrasza the Life-Binder and Ysera the Dreamer. It just so happens that we are (running them, that is). Taelan Fordring can also tutor one of our Dragon finishers, or draw his Pops.
The deck also just has a good curve, with a minion for every man cost below 10. It can do something impactful with its mana just about every turn, which is good because we'd like to be playing Invigorating Sermon with a few bodies already on board. There are six sold 1-Drops, with six good follow-up plays in Hand of A'dal, Crabrider, and Redscale Dragontamer for turn 2. I also want to give a shout-out to Venomous Scorpid, a minion that's great at keeping our opponent on their toes while finding us a useful spell.
What's the Plan?
Against aggro, we want to mulligan for a low curve, and specifically defensive minions like Righteous Protector and Crabrider. Hand of A'dal is a good keep with either of those minions. Our other 1-drops can be kept since First Day of School provides us with multiple early options and Knight of an Ointment can find us Hand of A'dal for an early board win.
We play pretty defensively early against aggro, looking to value trade with their minions while building our board until we can land Invigorating Sermon and really start to take over. Divine Shield minions like Goody Two-Shields and Carousel Gryphon can eat their stuff and stick around, while Fishy Flyer or Truesilver Champion can answer some of their mid-game threats. If we survive the early onslaught, we usually have enough power left over to kill them before they can kill us.
Against Midrange we're looking for Knight of an Ointment as our main 1-Drop to dig in our deck for Invigorating Sermon so we have it available to play at the time it would be most deadly. We're also looking for Hand of A'dal and Redscale Dragontamer to give us more early card draw and keep our threats coming. Venomous Scorpid can be a nice keep if we have our early curve settled, as can Mankrik. Just don't mention his wife; I mentioned her once, but I think I got away with it alright.
Other curve-based, minion-built decks have a lot more Rush minions to fight back against us on board, so we need to find times to take advantage of our Taunts and their ability to control those attacks. It's to our benefit to stay on the board for Invigorating Sermon, so we need to look for smart trades and ways to control their board while we slowly take over the game.
We are again looking for early card draw: Knight of an Ointment, Redscale Dragontamer, Hand of A'dal. It's also worth finding Truesilver Champion to protect our minions from their early threats. Goody Two-Shields is an annoyingly persistent 3-Drop, and Mankrik is a good minion and a wife way to get some extra damage in the late game. Sorry, a nice way to get extra damage in the late game.
We want to keep up a persistent curve of minions, posing a constant threat to our opponent and forcing out their removal. This is the matchup where Ysera the Dreamer shines best, refilling our hand with powerful cards in the late game and putting our opponent on the ropes. Our other late minions, Alexstrasza the Life-Binder and Tirion Fordring are great ways of getting more damage to their face. Cairne Bloodhoof and Nozdormu the Eternal round out our top end of must-answer minions.
Card Replacements for the Rich and Famous
Cariel Roame is a good Rush minion with resilience that works both as a body to be buffed and as a way to make our Sermons cheaper. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Blademaster Samuro was designed to be buffed and could be one of the deck's few ways of dealing with a wide board. Murgur Murgurgle is a familiar face in Paladin decks and he works well in this one if you have him. If you want the deck to have a 10-Drop finisher, N'Zoth, God of the Deep can do that while bringing a few hefty bodies along with him.
If you're wanting to change the deck on the cheap, we've still got plenty of options. Animated Broomstick might work well in an aggressive meta by giving our bigger bodies Rush for a chance to clear the opponent's board. You can also add in cheap Taunts like Annoy-o-Tron or Bonechewer Brawler to make it even harder for an aggro opponent to hit you in the face. Overlord Runthak can be a fun include if you're looking for more buffs. Finally, if you're really worried about dying to aggro you can bring in Guardian of Kings for a late-game Taunt and heal.
Invigorating Sermon Paladin is a resilient Midrange deck that likes to get on the board early then use buffs to stay there while curving out with a menagerie of strong bodies. It's a pretty fun deck to pilot, but more importantly, it's something you can do with Paladin that doesn't involve Librams or Secrets. Thanks to the Core set, this deck also runs seven legendaries, which is more legendaries than I think I've ever put in a single deck. That in itself is a triumph for budget Hearthstone.
What are your thoughts on Invigorating Sermon as a budget build around? Are you brave enough to try this deck on the ladder? Let us know in the comments!