Graveyard Rogue

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Sadly, our very own Swizard has decided to quit Hearthstone. I have high hopes he'll make a comeback soon with nerfs around the corner, but in the meantime, making sure the Wildest of Wednesdays series stays alive is something I'd like to contribute to. My idea of a possible solution to Swizard's absence is as many members of the Wild community as possible jumping in to showcase interesting decks of their choice.

My first contribution to this hopefully growing section of this beautiful site is Graveyard Rogue. Snowfall Graveyard and Forsaken Lieutenant are very interesting additions to the well-known Deathrattle shell featuring every Rogue's favorite kobolds Necrium Apothecary and Kobold Illusionist.

Please note: I'm an awful deckbuilder so this is a net deck. I'd happily give credit to the original creator, but I don't remember where I've found this exact list. Finally, this is a Tier 3 deck that works pretty well against Odd QL Hunter and QL Pirate Warrior if you know how to mulligan and have some draw RNG luck. Finding the balance between the three main ingredients for this deck isn't easy so don't expect this to get you to legend on your first try.


Now, let's get into a guide on playing the deck. I'll honor Swizard's legacy by following the established structure of this series, going through major overarching strategies to keep in mind, how to mulligan, gameplay tips on key synergies and card choices.

 

Strategies

Graveyard Rogue needs to survive at least two or three turns of preparation (pun intended) before starting to do something worthwile. You'll generally try to win during the midgame, but there are ways to make a strong comeback later if your first wave(s) of Deathrattles get cleared.

Early Game - Use Backstab and SI:7 Extortion to clear dangerous stuff like Ship's Cannon. They can also serve as combo activation or draw if you face slower decks like Celestial Druid. Your Hero Power can put down smaller nuisances like Southsea Deckhand. Curving Forsaken Lieutenant into Necrium Blade not only almost guarantees a strong turn 4 but also helps keeping the board in check. Preparation into Snowfall Graveyard is the icing on the cake but should only be played if you have a target minion in hand. Don't play Spiritsinger Umbra early unless you're desperate for board presence since she'll usually get removed immediately.

Mid Game - If you've remembered to make your daily sacrifices to our lord and savior Yogg-Saron, you'll be able to pump out high stat Taunt minions around turns 4-6 with the help of Sketchy Information, Kobold Illusionist and Necrium Apothecary. Cheating out as many Scrapyard Colossuses (? Colossi?) and Burning Blade Acolytes as possible as early as possible is the main win condition of this deck.

Late Game - If your first wave of Deathrattles whiff, there's always Anka, the Buried who can help put out huge piles of stats later in the game. You shoul also save up Spiritsinger Umbra for that scenario along with the more expansive Necrium Vial as an activator.

Graveyard Rogue has a decent chance of winning against most meta decks with the exception of Giants Warlock lists.

Here's a little highlight of what the deck is capable of if you draw your stuff in the right order.


Matchups and Mulligans

Graveyard Rogue feels solid against Odd Questline Hunter and Questline Pirate Warrior. Both of these can't really deal with a Taunt wall around turn 5 and the high attack values of Demonspawn and Felcracked Colossus usually close out the game pretty quickly. Make no mistake though, Hunter and Warrior are Tier 1 decks for a reason and you are on a clock against both of them.

The same goes for Celestial Druid, you need to get those Combo Cards out before Celestial Alignment hits. After that, the Cost reduction to (1) actually helps with pumping out stats via Necrium Vial and friends (if you survive the Druid's first turn after CA, that is).

Ignite Mage is quite unfavored due to Ice Block. You do have a chance against Flamewaker APM Mage though since your Taunt minions are able to soak up quite some damage.

Warlock is rather unfavored as well, once they get out their Giants and Battleground Battlemaster the stats are no longer on your side.

Handbuff Paladin is slightly favored if you don't take too long to get your stugg online.

I haven't played many games against the new Freeze Shaman archetype, but it feels rather unfavored due to them being able to lock your board with Freezes.

All in all, much depends on getting a hang for the mulligan and a little draw RNG. While the latter lies in the ... tentacles of our lord and savior Yogg-Saron, here are some tips for the former:

Keep one copy of SI:7 Extortion or Backstab unless against Hunter or Mage.

Keep Forsaken Lieutenant if you have one of the Kobolds.

Keep Necrium Blade.

Keep Kobold Illusionist.

Keep Necrium Apothecary if you go second or have a Counterfeit Coin.

Keep one of your target minions (Scrapyard Colossus, Burning Blade Acolyte, Korrak the Bloodrager in that order of priority) or Shroud of Concealment if you have a Kobold Illusionist.


Gameplay

The key to playing this deck is getting a feeling for the right balance between Combo cards (mainly the Kobolds), target minions and Combo activators (Forsaken Lieutenant, Necrium Blade, Necrium Vial and Snowfall Graveyard). Keep an eye on your hero's Health and try to get the most out of your Deathrattles. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes draw RNG decides whole matches for you. There are some anti-synergies you can try to play around and thus boost your chances at winning though. Which leads us to the next section, showing some synergies in this deck and how to use them effectively:


Synergies

Your main win condition is cheating out Scrapyard Colossus, Burning Blade Acolyte and Korrak the Bloodrager (in that order of priority) with Kobold Illusionist and Necrium Apothecary, then trigger their Deathrattles as often as possible via Forsaken Lieutenant, Necrium Blade, Snowfall Graveyard and Necrium Vial. Sketchy Information is another way to get a copy of Korrak or Illusionist online, but this card can also draw you Necrium Blade or Apothecary so be careful and weigh your odds before trying this.

Remember that it's possible to hit your own minions with Backstab and SI:7 Extortion if you're in a tight spot or don't want to let a Snowfall Graveyard go to waste.

Don't be afraid to throw away a Preparation to activate an Apothecary either.

If you find yourself stranded with Illusionists and activators but no target minions, Shroud of Concealment is your best friend.

Once the game reaches turn 5 and you have Anka, the Buried in hand, keeping her in hand for a potential late game comeback has to be weighed against the risk of pulling a 1/1 copy of her with Illusionist.


Card Choices

This section is going to go through the main packages of cards in the deck. Each package has cards that help the deck with a specific goal. When playing the deck, it's useful to know what purposes each card serves and what other cards in the deck have synergy with it or help achieve the same purpose. This section might also be useful if you're interested in the reasoning for why each card was included in the deck.


Combo Cards

Kobold Illusionist Card Image Necrium Apothecary Card Image  Sketchy Information Card Image

Anka, the Buried Card Image

These cards cheat out your target minions.


Combo Activators

Forsaken Lieutenant Card Image Necrium Blade Card Image  Snowfall Graveyard Card Image

Necrium Vial Card Image  Spiritsinger Umbra Card Image

These cards activate and / or multiply the Deathrattles of your target minions.


Target Minions

Korrak the Bloodrager Card Image Burning Blade Acolyte Card Image  Scrapyard Colossus Card Image

These Deathrattle minions and their tokens are what you want to kill your opponent with. You'll want to cheat them out as early and in as big numbers as possible.


Support Package

Backstab Card Image Counterfeit Coin Card Image  Preparation Card Image

SI:7 Extortion Card Image  Blackwater Cutlass Card Image Shroud of Concealment Card Image

Removal, draw and Comboy activators with a little mana cheat on top.


Graveyard Rogue utilizes the well-known Deathrattle shell around Kobold Illusionist and Necrium Apothecary with Necrium Blade as the main Deathrattle activator and multiplies the value of your swing turns with the help of Forsaken Lieutenant and Snowfall Graveyard. The Year of the Gryphon has added a lot of synergizing cards to this archetype that greatly improved its consistency.

On a sidenote, this deck can be used to hunt Korrak's achievement without too much fuzz and completely wrecking your win rate.

Finally, I've already seen an alternative version of this deck focussing on cheating multiple copies of Malygos (Malygees?). If you like cheating out expensive minions with the help of Rogue's Deathrattle package, I recommend you Dane's twitter account. You might even find a more refined version of this deck.

If you have a question or comment, or are wondering about a card substitution, post below. I'd also love to hear from other Wild players that would like to help keeping the Wildest of Wednesdays series alive!

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