Midrange paladin is back !!! The deck that has been for a very long time the best paladin deck around and that got kicked out of the meta by secret paladin when the grand tournament came out has its revenge. N'zoth paladin has been in an awkard spot for the last seasons with the hunters, rogues, face shaman and others destroying him on the ladder, and we slowly saw uther either disappeared or tried to get back to secret paladin without that much success. With the third wing of Karazhan, midrange dragon paladin is on the verge of taking over the class and ready to carry it to success again.
The deck is a mix between Dragon warrior midgame mechanics of valuing big bodied minions to get the board and N'zoth paladin that has insane value lategame and overwhelmes his opponents with big threats. We can find all what makes a paladin deck good with great zone removal (equality + consecrate) alonside 1 threat answers (aldor peacekeeper, keeper of uldaman), and we added to that what could be the best turn 3 to 8 curve in the current meta combining big bodied dragons with great value minions.
Decklist and Techs :
The list could be oriented toward a more controlish style, but i found this slow tempo version to be the best in the current meta as it does very well against other tempo deck such as warrior, druid and makes the fast decks like hunter and shaman better than just a coin flip on having the good card at the good time.
Here are my choices for the cards :
1 Aldor, 2 Uldaman : Here the reasonning is that we are a tempo deck, so we need cards that we can use at any time. Uldaman is just better in that regards than aldor since we can buff the whelps from the templar, our hero power or a damaged minion after a trade. Also, the goal is to remove big minions, and aldor only touches attack points so it actually doesn't remove the minion, while uldaman gives us a better trade at 3 hp.
1 Selfless Hero : All deck i've seen right now are running 2. I run one for 2 main reasons : I needed a slot for the double technician and double templar, the stats are more important than the divine shield and help stabilise the board more. And it is a 1 health minion that usually get's killed by almost every deck when drop on turn 1 alone. Shaman drops a 1/3, warrior has weapon, druid mage and rogue can hero power it... We play it for the divine shield, not for the stats.
2 Azure drake, 1 Consort : The one consort is enough since we don't need to go that much faster overall, it is only very good on coin to curve chillmaw (consort on 4, chillmaw on 5) or to get alexstraza earlier against face decks.
Alexstraza as the big dragon : A ton of dragons can make a case in this slot (ysera, onyxia, nefarian, deathwing...) but running no heals outside of ragnaros lightlord, alexstraza saved my life numerous times. Plus she can also be a huge tempo card on our opponent face, even be an Otk if she follows N'zoth.
N'zoth synergy : The deck could be much faster, or run more midgame dragons and stop his curve at 8 (like with double dragonid crushers instead of alex and N'zoth for example, if you want to try it out, go for ragnaros firelord then). But this just doesn't fit paladin and even being a tempo based deck, we win through valuing our minions in the end.
No braan bronzebeard: This hurts me, but there is just no room for him, maybe instead of a blackwing technician, but 2/4 and 3/5 makes a huge difference actually in the early game. Plus, our battlecry minions stop at the 5 drop, so if braan is not with us early, he becomes dead unless the game drags for a very long time.
The deck can do 2 things, put bodies on the board or prevent our opponent from doing so. In this section, we'll divide the mulligan into aggro / midrange / control opponents.
1 rule : always try to get dragon synergy in your opening hand. Twiligh guardian is the best one to activate 3 drops, and give you more time to dig for the other ones.
Top priority : Selfless hero – Consecrate – Nighbane Templar
Very important : Twilight guardian – Faerie Dragon
Good to have : Aldor peacekeeper – Blackwing Technician – Loot Hoarder
Top priority : Twilight Guardian – Blackwing Technician – Faerie dragon
Very Important : Truesilver Champion – Nightbane Templar – Selfless hero
Good to have : Aldor Peacekeeper – Blackwing Corruptor – Loot hoarder
Top priority : A dragon, any of them, but you need synergy to build a solid board
Very Important : Blackwing technician – Nightbane Templar – Dragon Consort – Twilight Guardian – Faerie Dragon – Selfless Hero
Good to Have : Aldor peacekeeper – Truesilver champion – Blackwing Corruptor – Azure Drake – Keeper of Uldaman
Overall Strategy :
Early game :
Setup the board but do not ovecommit. We are not an aggro deck, we are a slow tempo deck, early game is at the service of midgame. Our 1 and 2 drops are not very strong and there are here to trade out 1 for 1, selfless hero can provide a 2 for 1 on occasions (divine shield on faerie dragon, it's actually pretty good) but the good stuff starts on turn 3. Don't try to sneak in damage when you can trade (unless obvious reason on board)
Our turn 3 is where we are telling our opponent that he's gonna have a hard time, wheter it is blackwing technician or nightbane templar, they start the curve very well and provide very good stability. Consecrate is the card that can compensate for a bad early game and put us in a good situation for the transition to midgame. Do not hold the first one usually, since our minions should be good enough to trade later, so even if your board is empty on turn 4, it's okay as long as the opponent doesn't have minions either.
Every minion we have has a great stat line or a good battlecry here, and we need to take advantage of it. The goal is to start putting on the pressure so our opponent has to be defensive and is overwheilmed when our bigger come in. If you already used a consecrate, try to be conservative with the second one, play your minions that will trade and buy you time to get more value out of your zone. We have alexstraza in the deck so no need to go face and miss good trades. If we have the board, we are in a good spot and we need to worry about our health more than theirs.
Against a control deck that runs a lot of removals, we don't want to give him more than 2 cards at the time on the board, our hero power is great for forcing zones with high pressure but low amount of value. Against a midrange / aggro deck, we can be more agressive and really pressure them with our minions. In that case, we'll be agressive also with our support minions, aldor for tempo and uldaman any good target that comes around. Think carefully before using Chillmaw in this situation if you have a dragon in hand. Every other big minion is an instant drop.
We might be the only tempo deck that can challenge any control deck in the late game but also defend against any aggro deck. Apart from sylvanas, every of our big minions can provide immense value whether it is for pressure or for defense.
Chillmaw : A 6/6 taunt doesn't go away that easy, and if we have no dragons in hand, we can start going face with the rest not worrying that everything would blow up when he kills chillmaw.
Ragnaros Lightlord : Try to maximise healing face if at risk. If not, you just put on the agression and totally remove your opponent's chance to race you.
Tirion Fordring : He is a top 3 minion in the game, the guy does it all. If droping him doesn't mean dying, then you probably should drop him.
Alexstraza : Whether you use it for getting you out of range or to suddenly put some mad pressure on your opponent, you will always get something out of her battlecry, and the 8/8 body is pretty nice too.
N'zoth, the Corruptor : You taught it was over ? It's not. This card brings back taunts for aggro or value for control. N'zoth is the perfect end curve for this deck.
Versus Shaman (General)
Early game is very key against shaman and sets up the whole game usually. Controling the pace of the game early give us way more freedom to play later on, especially when we want to drop a slow minion that doesn't provide immediate impact on the board. Curve and consecrate are the best way to control a shaman in the early game. Once we get to the midgame, it is all about not dying and developping the board. The big taunts will block the way in the end. The is no need to go face in this case unless you want to race your opponent because you are afraid of burn damage incoming.
Versus Hunter (General)
Rexxar also has a lot of value in his early and midgame thanks to his deathrattles minions. His lategame has less greats cards than us but they are very powerfull (highmane and call of the wild) so it is very important to get out of the midgame on top to reduce value of these cards. Hunter is the kind of match up where we need to get that extra damage face or we could get chipped at with his hero power and then bursted. You can be more relaxed if you have rag or alex in hand.
Versus Druid (General)
Get the board whenever possible against druid, whether it is beast or token, the deck is made to put his opponent under pressure and we don't want to defend for too long. We have a lot of very good tools in the mid-lategame to deal with his big minions creating a lot of tempo in our favor. It is important to get to drop our big threats without being at risk of dying because of the board so whenever you have them in hand and know which turn you want to play them, go for the best tempo plays available to set them up.
Versus Warlock (General)
Zoo is a fairly good matchup if we get our curve going, they will have a better early game than us almost always but they can't remove all the minions which lets us dictate the trades. A good consecrate or taunt that can stop his progression for a turn is usually enough to gain tempo and start developping too much board for him to comeback. Chillmaw is an absolute MVP if you have a dragon in hand and still need to clear.
Renolock is a weird match-up, he has a lot of zones and value plays to slow us down and get into his comfort zone, but we have so much value that it is sometimes too much for him. Be aware of whatever zone clears your board and try to play around it every time. Be careful when you drop tirion that he doesn't have a 100% steal with sylvanas if he didn't play it already. N'zoth will win us the game if twisting neither is gone.
Versus Warrior (General)
That's the good match up that we like to see. Control warrior cannot handle all the tempo and threats we are throwing at him. If you value your hero power enough, he will have to brawl the board and use hard removal inneficiently paving the way for our endgame value minions.
Dragon warrior is the cousin we always admired in secret, learned from and now we're after his crown. The game will be him trying to be too fast for us, valuing his charges and cheap spells to make us defensive against us, trying to slow down the pace of the game and building a board impossible to remove. We have a zone clear (equality + consecrate) when he has none which is a huge advantage and high value source. We also have more and better lategame minions, but he has a way better burst than us. When trading, always see if you can get use of your 1 health minions, you don't want to keep them around for too long.
Versus Mage (General)
Freeze mage is a very hard match up, We are not running direct burst, so we need to do the damage through our minions, and weapons if we get them. The game is really about keeping the pressure up and getting the most face damage as we can without taking risks. If you don't have too use him, keep ragnaros lightlord to get back up after alexstraza or some spells. Make sure he goes face.
Against tempo mage, it is a board war where we need to remove his value minions as fast as possible. They usually don't run hard removal so our lategame can really turn the game in our favor, once you have board established, get out of range of possible burst and go face so he has less time to get his yogg saron.
Versus Priest (General)
Anduin turned to a more tempo approach with ressurects and bigger curve options then a mass removal deck. This means that if we can get on board early, we can lead the charge and make his tempo plays very bad. If you can, aldor his injured blademaster and leave it there, that's will mess up with his ressurect strategy. Never play Tirion as your first big minion if you haven't seen entomb or have information he doesn't play it.
Versus Rogue (General)
This is still not a good match up for paladin. It's not as bad as Control paladin, but we are still not fast enough to derail him from his turn 6 auctioneer if he wants to do it. The only thing we can do is play on curve and force his spells out early, our best removal is truesilver champion as it lines up very well with tomb pillager, azure drake and auctionneer. Our lategame is great, except against sap, and we can't do anything about it except force them out as early as possible. Try not to invest a whole turn into 1 minion if you suspect your opponent having sap in hand.
Versus Paladin (General)
The mirror here can go 2 ways : One of the two has the better curve and just cruise to victory or it becomes a value war that will usually settle in the late game. This list is more defensive so maybe more agressive techs could beat us in the long run as we would loose lifepoints more often. Also, we only have 1 aldor, and a deck running two could have a better chance a dealing with big minions. The equality is the most important card in the value war, it is the only card that can take care of a good n'zoth. If you have to use it before to remove something else, then you have to be agressive so N'zoth never comes in your opponent's side.
Against n'zoth control, we have a way better midgame but he has more clears. So the goal is to make him use premium removal on average boards. Our hero power needs to be valued once we have 1 or 2 dangerous minions on board. Once we strart dropping big minions, we need to get more agressive and get the damage face (or plan for some Alexstraza OTK) as his N'zoth could end the game.
This guide was powered by Battleriff, a place where you can bet on your games agaisnt your friends. For more infos, visit : https://play.battleriff.com/?affiliate=78f32905081647e613580