Recruiting Some New Control Warriors
In my last article I wrote I tried to justify playing control decks. It wasn't easy. In fact, control was in a position where it needed to be able to close the game almost immediately in order to win. The metagame was dominated by aggressively costed decks that would outpace and in some cases even out power the late game grind of many control decks. The major culprit was Even Paladin by a pretty large margin, but The Caverns Below didn't help the case for slow decks either. Well with the recent balance changes, it may be time to slow it down.
A few weeks ago, I would have told you that playing any form of control Warrior was a risky endeavor. Various builds of control Warrior saw some tournament play, but on ladder in particular, it felt like a difficult task to slog through endless Even Paladins and Quest Rogues. Well, the meta will probably slow down enough to make space for playing a lot of top end in our control decks. Previously, it felt like the best decks were simply cheating on mana to get a massive board advantage, and playing a bunch of slow, expensive cards would leave the majority of them stranded in your hand while you lost on every angle. Fortunately, times are changing, and it might be a good time to dust off the Warrior decks that have been rotting on the shelf for so long.
The first deck I want to talk about today is a deck Fr0zen has been championing: Recruit Warrior. Like the other top tier decks, Recruit Warrior is trying to cheat on mana as well. The difference is that this deck is aiming to cheat obnoxiously large threats and minions into play by casting Gather Your Party, Geosculptor Yip, Rotface, and Woecleaver. The deck's goal early is to survive. Turning the corner and winning the game shouldn't be too difficult so long as we can survive long enough to overpower our opponents. Surviving the early game is done through a combination of Armor generation and removal. The majority of the deck's AoE is designed to sweep up small minions: Slam, Warpath, and Blood Razor.
Conveniently, Forge of Souls helps us find both our Blood Razor for early clear and our Woecleaver for late game power. The deck is also packing the ever important Shield Slam for dealing with problematic large minions. It should be noted, however, that it is important to be able to keep your Armor high, not only for Shield Slams but for Geosculptor Yip. This should be relatively easy, though, as we can simply save an Iron Hide for later in the game to ensure we have enough Armor to matter.
Another approach to slowing down with Warrior is an old classic: Taunt Warrior. This deck was previously limited by its glacial clock. Randomly assigning 8 damage every turn was not the most efficient way to win, particularly when your opponents could flood the board with Divine Shield 1/1s through Call to Arms. With the balance changes, Sulfuras might be a valid way to grind opponents out with an efficient but slow method of winning the game.
A more innovative approach might be taking Odd Control Warrior out for a spin and taking advantage of Baku's hero power buff. This deck works to control the board using more minions than the other versions, employing Darius Crowley to snowball advantages and Town Crier to set it up while also creating a board advantage. I'm a fan of Baron Geddon in this deck, as it is possible to combo him with a follow up Crowley to prevent your opponent from playing anything that risks dying to these two minions for a couple of turns. Given the possible increase in other Warrior decks, as well, Harrison Jones might return as a meta favorite, which this deck is happy to play.
Moreover, I think this particular build of control Warrior has an excellent Mage matchup. Control Mage has an extremely difficult time winning versus a finished Quest, as their lack of threats prevent them for properly dealing with the hero power by flooding the board. Make sure to save a Brawl for Dragoncaller Alana and Shield Slams for the other big threats and you should be good.
In any case, I think we will certainly see a rise in control Warrior of different varieties over the next few weeks. I am looking forward to the Summer Championships and some nice, grindy decks! Let me know in the comments what you think is the best control Warrior strategy or any interesting tech choices you've made.
ps. I neglected Dead Man's Hand Warrior here because we've talked about it in other posts, but that is also a viable option going forward.