- Shirvallah Paladin
- Midrange Paladin
Wild Hearthstone has thousands of cards, and a wide variety of possible decks. This incredible deck diversity is sometimes lost when only looking at the few decks common in the highest ranks. Wednesday, the Wildest of Days is a series aiming to highlight a different off meta deck each week with an in depth guide into its strategy and gameplay. The decks are selected for having interesting synergies and using rarely seen cards.
Imagine an aggro, midrange, and combo deck - all in one deck. Shirvallah Paladin is an old archetype which was historically based on lots of removals and draw to get to fatigue, then cycling in 2 Shirvallah, the Tigers with Baleful Bankers in order to deal 50 damage with Holy Wraths. This was purely a combo deck. This week, this old archetype is being revisited and has gotten a major boost and revamp due to a number of new cards. First of all, Northshire Farmer can actually shuffle in 3 copies of Shirvallah since it's a beast, unlike just one for a Baleful Banker. Furthermore, since Northshire Farmer costs 3 and not 2, you can run a Call to Arms package which you couldn't do with Baleful Bankers. Therefore, instead of being a pure combo deck, Shirvallah Paladin can now be a midrange deck with powerful aggro and midrange shells that often win games by themselves. Using Sunwing Squawker, we can repeat buff spells which are also great after Call to Arms and reduce the cost of Shirvallah. Due to Call to Arms' deck thinning ability, and a card draw package using the new Stonehearth Vindicator, the deck can be aggressive while also having enough draw to consistently get to the combo. Finally, the deck uses Lorekeeper Polkelt to be able to combo without needing to draw your entire deck first, as well as Molten Giants which can be backup Holy Wrath targets as well as cost 0 and be playable to help the aggro side of the deck after a High Priest Thekal play. Overall, the deck is way more multidimensional now, and if you liked the old Shirvallah otk decks or just like the idea of a deck that can both win with aggro and deal up to 50 damage from Holy Wraths starting as early as turn 5, give this one a try!
Note: Shoutout to Fallugaloog for helping with some of the testing in this deck's development!
Additional Note: The following prior decks from the series have had their decklists updated since the latest expansion. If you liked or tried out those decks before, take a look at the updated decklists as they may have become significantly stronger or more interesting:
Healbuff Priest - Added Bless and Gift of the Naaru - These cards have been perfect for the deck as they help both its healing and buffing aspects, and have made it significantly stronger.
Quest Taunt Warrior - Added Glory Chaser for improved card draw.
Galakrond Warlock - Added Wicked Shipment and Tamsin's Phylactery. Wicked Shipment helps with demon generation while Tamsin's Phylactery allows you to give your wide boards the deathrattle to summon a 4/4.
Now, let's get into a guide on playing the deck. It's going to go through major overarching strategies to keep in mind, how to mulligan, gameplay tips on key synergies, and card choices.
This deck has an aggro start transitioning into midrange, and a potential combo finisher. Crucially, the aggro and combo parts of the deck complement each other as if the aggro part can deal just 10 damage before getting shut down, you can do a smaller and easier combo than your full one to deal 20 damage and win the game as early as turn 5.
Aggro - Use your cheap minions, low cost buffs, and Call to Arms boards to push face in the early game. In addition, you can cheat out a lot of stats early on with free Molten Giants after playing High Priest Thekal.
Midrange - Use high quality midrange buffs like Blessing of Kings and Blessing of Authority to dominate the midgame, along with Sunwing Squawker to repeat those buffs. These buffs also help reduce the cost of Shirvallah, the Tiger for your combo strategy.
Combo - If you play Lorekeeper Polkelt while you have 10 mana, you can guarantee that Holy Wrath will draw your highest cost card. This will deal 25 or 20 damage depending on if you have Shirvallah, the Tigers or Molten Giants in your deck. You can also play this combo at any point before 10 mana. Next turn, you will draw one of your high cost cards (for example, Shirvallah) and Holy Wrath can then pull a Molten Giant for 20 damage. This setup can be done as early as turn 4 with the coin, and turn 5 without it. There is also a full combo to deal 50 damage discussed in the gameplay section. If your aggro offensive didn't work and your opponent is healing or arming up, you may need to do a full combo to win.
Compared to the old draw and otk Shirvallah Paladin decks that always relied on drawing to the combo to win, this one actually wins with aggression instead of combo about 2/3rds of the time. However, the combo part of the deck is very important to win those final 1/3 of games where your aggro start would have failed. The aggression makes this deck flexible and sometimes, the Shirvallah combo is just too slow against certain decks that can combo off faster while your aggression can win you those games.
- Keep High Priest Thekal, and any Molten Giants if you have him. The dream mulligan is him and 2 Molten Giants, you can have 2 giants out as early as turn 2 with the coin.
- Keep Stonehearth Vindicators.
- Keep Call to Arms.
- If you think you're against an aggro deck, consider keeping a Righteous Protector or Shielded Minibot.
The key to playing this deck is feeling when to transition from all-in aggro and midrange aggression to focusing on the combo strategy.
Below are gameplay tips regarding many of the synergies in this deck and how to use them effectively.
Thekal and Vindicator Synergies
Be aware that Stonehearth Vindicator will tutor out and set cost to 0 for the turn either a Hand of A'dal or Potion of Heroism. If you have already drawn 2 of one of those spells, you can predict what spell will be drawn.
If you have High Priest Thekal, you should play him to be able to play Molten Giants for free. However, if you don't have giants in hand yet, it's not urgent and you should instead play higher tempo plays if you have them like Call to Arms or a Vindicator which can actually help you draw the giants quicker.
Sunwing Squawker Synergy
You have to balance going for the combo versus going for maximum aggro stats. If you're against a control deck that's removing all your minions, you should probably use Sunwing Squawker for a card draw spell rather than going for maximum stats. Otherwise, it's often good to repeat a Blessing of Kings or Blessing of Authority.
You can play Stonehearth Vindicator on turn 3 to draw and play a free spell, and then play a Squawker turn 4 to repeat it if you don't have any other good 4 drops like Call to Arms.
Holy Wrath Combo Synergies
First of all, it's important to realize that even if a Molten Giant or Shirvallah, the Tiger would cost 0 in your hand from discounts, they still count as their full cost of 25 or 20 when drawn from your deck with Holy Wrath.
In the early or midgame, starting from as early as turn 4 with the coin, you can play Lorekeeper Polkelt if you have a Holy Wrath in hand. Do this only if you have not drawn at least 2 of your 3 highest cost cards (Shirvallah and the 2 giants). This way you will draw one of the high cost cards next turn and be able to Holy Wrath for 20 damage when drawing your other one. This is usually good if your aggro strategy has dealt at least 10 damage and your opponent is at 20 or less hp. Otherwise, it's better to save Polkelt for the full 50 damage combo.
On turn 9 or 8 with the coin, you can do this even if you only have one high cost card in the deck, so you can play Polkelt and Holy Wrath for 25 or 20 damage.
The full damage combo can be done if you have a discounted Shirvallah, the Tiger, Lorekeeper Polkelt, a Northshire Farmer, and one or two Holy Wraths in hand. First, play Shirvallah and shuffle 3 copies into your deck. Then, play Lorekeeper Polkelt. This is possible on turn 10 if Shirvallah costs 2. Next turn, you will draw one Shirvallah but have 2 others on top of your deck, so you can play one or two Holy Wraths to deal a total of 25 or 50 damage. Along with your aggro and midrange strategies dealing some damage, this is almost always enough to win even against decks that have gained some armor.
You can do the full combo even if you have not drawn Lorekeeper Polkelt. Since you shuffle 3 Shirvallahs into your deck, you have 3 out of however many cards will be in your deck chance to hit a tiger with Holy Wrath and deal 25 damage. If your deck is empty, this combo will always work even without Polkelt.
In desperate cases against an aggro deck, you may want to play Shirvallah for the healing before you have either Polkelt or a Wrath in hand. In this case, you can play Shirvallah and then use the farmer to shuffle in 3 copies. Since you have shuffled 3 copies in, there is a good chance that you will draw the last remaining card you need for the combo before drawing all 3 copies of Shirvallah.
Another edge case is that against some hyper aggressive aggro decks, you don't really need the combo to win, so don't be afraid to play the Northshire Farmer turn 3 if you have nothing else to play - it's better than skipping a turn or just hero powering.
Remember that Holy Wrath can deal a bit of damage even without the full combo. Late in the game, if you just need a few points of damage for lethal, it can be used for that.
Finally, if you're about to lose a game, you may as well aim Holy Wrath at your opponent's face and hope to highroll a win. If you have 2 high cost cards in your deck and your deck has 20 cards in it, that's a 10% chance.
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.
Call to Arms Package
These minions are playable by themselves in the early game and are great to be put into play by Call to Arms. An especially great synergy is that Injured Tol'vir won't activate its battlecry when put into play like this and will be a 2 mana 2/6 with Taunt.
These are all high quality buffs, and Sunwing Squawker repeating any of them can be useful. At best, it can be a 4 mana 11/12 after Blessing of Authority. These buffs also help reduce the cost of Shirvallah, the Tiger, which is great with buffs when played to heal more and deal more damage. Since so many of your cards from Call to Arms have Divine Shield, buffs will be extra valuable.
The combo package in this deck exists to enable Holy Wraths to deal 25 or 20 damage each by hitting either a Shirvallah, the Tiger or a Molten Giant. You use Lorekeeper Polkelt to put these targets on top of the deck so you don't have to wait for fatigue to do the combo, while Northshire Farmer can shuffle 3 copies of Shirvallah into your deck to provide you with targets if you happened to draw Shirvallah and both Molten Giants already. Unlike the old Baleful Banker decks, only one Northshire Farmer is needed which makes for less otherwise useless cards in your hand. Molten Giants aren't useless by themselves either as they are also part of the aggro strategy with High Priest Thekal.
High Priest Thekal Package
Since you play Molten Giants anyway for the combo, you may as well play High Priest Thekal to be able to highroll free giants early in the game. This can sometimes win you games by itself, and having a lot of draw and deck thinning in the deck to get to the combo also helps trigger this synergy more consistently.
Card Draw and Deck Thinning
These will all draw cards for you. Loot Hoarder, while not too strong by itself, is generally going to be put into play from Call to Arms, and the extra card draw it gives is very useful. Something to note is that the new expansion card Stonehearth Vindicator is insanely good in this deck. It is guaranteed to draw a spell which draws a card and set its cost to 0. Therefore, it's a 3 mana 3/1 that in effect draws 2 cards and applies a buff to a minion. Sunwing Squawker can be used to repeat one of the card draw spells as well, curving nicely from a turn 3 Stonehearth Vindicator. Furthermore, while Call to Arms is technically not card draw, it thins your deck by 3 cards and thus helps move you closer to your combo pieces. Finally, Holy Wrath is generally a combo piece but remember that it can draw you a card if you're desperate or think you only need one copy for the combo anyway, which is often the case against decks that don't gain armor.
When playing this deck, you usually start off aggressively, and often that can be enough to win the game. If it's not, the opponent may have been able to clear your waves of pressure. You will be able to have a backup win con of 20, 25, or 50 damage from hand to win even if the aggro offensive has stalled. If you have a question or comment, or are wondering about a card substitution, post below.
What are your favorite wild decks? Which off meta decks have you been playing? Let us know in the comments below!
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