Walaoumpa’s Two Princes Rogue
After attending DreamHack Montreal, I was impressed by Walaoumpa’s Two Princes Rogue deck. This deck has seen an increasing amount of play in ladder, and I’ve seen various legend ranked players running it from time to time. I think there are numerous minor tweaks to the deck, but overall it is an innovative and interesting deck to play that is worth talking about.
As with most Rogue decks, there are a lot of sequencing decisions and unintuitive plays that make the deck rewarding and interesting to play with. It’s refreshing to see a list like this perform well. Having said that, part of Walaoumpa’s success at DreamHack Montreal with the deck was that it was unknown. In the LHS format, which we talked about here last week, having a strong game one deck can help to steal a lot of best of three matches. Talking to Walaoumpa after his top eight run, he mentioned that he won all of his game ones with the deck on the first day of Swiss. He credited this success to his opponents being unable to play around cards in the first game.
In my recent experience, the main goal of the deck is to keep up a tempo advantage by controlling the board at the expense of card advantage. This deck’s advantage comes from controlling stats on board and eventually overpowering the opponent.
After controlling the board with early tempo advantage via Backstab and SI:7 Agent, the deck’s late-game power comes in the form of Colbalt Scalebane and Bonemare. Its reach can be found in the form of Shadowstep and Shadowcaster. Cobalt Scalebane helps the deck keep the aggressive tempo plan going, as it upgrades the any early Fire Flies or Stonehill Defenders that survive.
Having said this, the best starts from the deck begin with an early Prince Keleseth, thereby making all subsequent Southsea Captain + Patches turns into a much more powerful sequence. Moreover, any time you can Shadowstep a Prince Keleseth on turn two it is almost always worth it. Providing the entire deck’s minions with four additional stats is a tremendous gain, and allows the deck to overwhelm control decks in the late game. Apart from Shadowstepping Princes, Vilespine Slayer is an obviously powerful target. Using either Shadow card on a Slayer will result in a lot of wins as any minion the opponent plays can be swept up for almost no loss in tempo or mana. With the discount, it is possible to have enough mana leftover to play a Bonemare in the same turn, creating an insurmountable board. Moreover, occasionally you get to take the obnoxious line of using Shadowcaster on a Bonemare and create a single massive taunt minion, which always feels nice.
The deck has a lot of interesting card choices besides its bread-and-butter tempo and late game power, as well. Hallucination and Shaku, the Collector give the deck advantages versus other classes, as well as potential card advantage, as certain classes own cards are great against themselves. Moreover Hallucination is an easy way to enable Combo and should be saved for crucial turns. It also helps to wait so you have more information about what card you want to take versus your opponent. These kinds of cards can help the deck compete should the tempo plan fail and the deck is forced to play the late-game. Plague Scientist as a one-of has been very good for maintaining tempo and keeping control of the board, as well, and while I wouldn’t like two in the deck one feels like the right number. There are awkward occasions where your minions are underwhelming versus the board and it helps deal with a huge early minion or annoying taunt from the opponent.
If the deck has a problem, it is drawing too many underwhelming threats (one drop minions) and running out of steam to keep the pressure on certain decks. The Token Shaman deck hasn’t felt great to me, partly because it is difficult to control the board and tempo them out. The real problem is that Backstab and SI:Agent only deal two damage versus Primalfin Totem, Flametongue Totem, Manatide Totem, and Saronite Chain Gang. The Rogue deck is great at picking off single minions and using spot-removal, but token Shaman is excellent at flooding the board and stymieing targeted removal. Moreover, any of the Rogue deck’s late-game power via Bonemare or Prince can be nerfed by a well-timed devolve.
I have also experimented with different builds of the deck, and in the spirit of these kinds of brews I encourage you to do the same. For example, I have seen and tried lists that have played Edwin VanCleef. I think there may be too many 5+ costing minions to play it effectively, but if we add a second Shadowstep I can maybe see it. Speaking of, adding a second Shadowstep was an early change I made in favour of Nerubian Unraveler. I hadn’t been playing against much Mage and Druid decks – what the card is tech’d for, and cut it for a more generic value spell that helped the general game-plan of the deck. It’s been great and I recommend trying the same. I also tried cutting the Prince Valanar in favour of some other cards, but found that Valanar gave additional value versus the aggressive decks that Rogue can occasionally struggle with. In any case, I’ll be back later this week to talk about some variations on Mage lists and why the deck is secretly so great right now.
To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone