Sometimes you just need to grab a big axe and punch a face! This Warrior deck is all about sending troops behind enemy lines to cut down the hero’s health total and then close it out with a few hefty swings of your own weapon. It’s aggressive when it’s allowed to be, and controls other aggressive decks when it needs to.
Find out more about this deck and watch it in action in the latest episode of Happy Hearthstone!
Note from Josh: The rest of this article was written by Redbeard. Thanks, Redbeard!
The Barbarian Warrior
“If you only use one ability, use mortal strike” –The Warrior Code, Line 6
When I started playing Hearthstone, I immediately gravitated to the warrior class. I played it in WoW for 6 years, so it’s my favorite class, plus I thought weapons were so cool. So when I went to try ranked play out, I wanted to play warrior, and I wanted to smash faces in with Mortal Strike. That is what I do. I play aggressively, kill minions, and send big damage upstairs.
Let’s get straight into the cards I used in my deck for the mighty showdown with Josh. You can find a completely plain deck list on the podcast episode. Here, I’ll provide additional commentary where I feel it’s helpful or necessary.
2x Leper Gnome
Aggressive decks need to play 1-mana minions, and this boy is the best option without buffs if you aren’t a warlock. He’s a 2-power dude you can drop on turn 1, and barring some kind of silence effect, he’s at minimum a guaranteed 2 damage, usually 4-6.
I wanted a third 1-drop to increase the likelihood of having a play on turn 1, and since I play no ways to buff a small minion, the Infiltrator just edges out Argent Squire. Stealth stops him from dying for free to a hero power, which does a good job of getting him in for at least 2 damage.
Including Weaponsmiths, this deck has access to 6 weapons, meaning odds are good you’ll have one up most of the time. You can sequence your plays to drop him as a 5/3 early, a 4/3 in the midgame, or a 7/3 off the top of the deck late. All of those represent must-answer threats to your opponent’s health, and a 2-power minion on turn 2 is acceptable, if unexciting.
This is kind of a flex-slot for a 2-drop in the deck. I was playing Faerie Dragon here for a long time, but with the reduced popularity of mage and druid lately, the juggler may be worth playing again. If you find yourself facing a lot of single-target removal spells, switch to dragon, or in case of lots of weapons, feel free to try Acidic Swamp Ooze. Basically, any 2-mana 3/2 can fit here, so use what you feel is appropriate for the metagame.
This troll is the man. He’s possibly the best 3-mana minion in the game and the best warrior card around. 2/4 for 3 is about a point of power under curve, but he grows very quickly and if he goes unanswered, he can take over a game and make your opponent have a very bad day. He synergizes with clearing your opponent’s board, with warrior weapons and removal, and actually makes it quite painful for your opponent to fight back if they’re killing anything but him.
Generic strong 3-drop. This slot could easily go to King Mukla or Arcane Golem if you are interested in faster beatdowns, or Scarlet Crusader if you prefer higher power and a divine shield, but I like the resilience of the Harvest Golem, especially to AoEs.
Arathi Weaponsmith is another big reason to play warrior. By the generally accepted maths, 1.5 mana of his cost pays for the weapon, and since so many early minions have 2 health to start, or end up with it after battling a minion, that 2/2 axe usually contributes to 2 minion deaths on the opposite side. Huge value with a respectable body on a female orc, which you have to love.
This is yet another powerful warrior minion. 4 power with charge means this guy represents a big surprise hit to your opponent’s board or face, and 3 health is more than most charge minions get to have, which all adds up to a big value.
If you’re only ever going to craft 1 legendary, it should be Leeroy. He’s basically a neutral fireball, because his drawback means he almost never lives a whole turn after being played, but your opponent rarely does, either. The paupers among us can get by with Reckless Rocketeers, but crafting Leeroy should be a top priority if you plan to play aggressive decks.
Nightblade is not a very good card, but this deck needs ways to get the final few points of damage through after the opponent puts up a big taunt wall. I refused to play this card for a long time because I thought it was not worth it, but it is essentially more copies of Kor’kron Elite. Since the deck plays so many 4-mana minions, having a couple 5s doesn’t make much of a difference, and you trade off 1 up-front damage for an extra point of health.
You may be noticing a theme. Every minion that costs 4 or more does some damage the turn it is cast. Argent Commander has 4 power, charge, and divine shield, which makes him surprise damage, resilient to removal, and a form of removal himself. This is another generic aggressive card that is hard to replace.
This is another flex-spot for the deck. I play The Black Knight because “shields up” is the name of the game these days with so many ancient watchers getting in the way of finishing off an opponent. Spellbreaker is a fine substitute if you don’t have The Black Knight, and shifts in the popularity of certain decks could make Harrison Jones, Lorewalker Cho, Gorehowl, or Big Game Hunter a better choice.
This one-off is the most recent addition to the deck. I saw another aggresive warrior deck play one, and decided to try it out. I realized that in a world full of giants and legendary 8/8s, a card that can kill any size minion for a single mana is pretty worthwhile. I would not add a second copy because even with just one it has a tendency to sit in my hand a while some games, and I feel like 2 would risk hurting my ability to build a board presence too much if I drew both of them.
Heroic Strike is cheap removal that can also be sent upstairs to finish the opponent off. It synergizes with weapons, helps lower your health for mortal strike, and is cheaper than comparable cards from other classes.
Warriors have to work hard to get a Fireball. Mortal Strike is one of your primary finishers because it sends a lot of damage that is not subject to taunt. You should remember that you play this card at all times, because armoring up can sometimes be a bad move if it will keep you above 12 health for too long.
One of the keystones to the deck, the Fiery War Axe is cheap removal, usually a 2-for-1, and a nice synergy with Bloodsail Raiders. That said, if your draw if heavy on weapons and weaponsmiths, don’t be afraid to send a durability or two at your opponent’s face.
This is the big axe. While Arcanite Reaper is usually meant to be a 5-mana pyroblast spread over 2 turns, it also excels at killing Chillwind Yetis and other annoying high-health midgame minions. It’s most appealing quality is the ability to make a 2-mana 7/3 out of Bloodsail Raiders, which is a pleasure virtually unique to warriors.
There is a lot of room for customization in an aggressive warrior deck, so there are many cards one can use to suit this deck to the current run of opponents or one’s particular collection. Your minion choices offer a lot of flexibility, and there are too many options to list all of them, so I include here only a small selection.
Faerie Dragon is a replacement option for Knife Juggler. If your jugglers die too often to wraths, frostbolts, and backstabs, or if you just can’t spare 100 dust to make one, feel free to replace them with little dragons.
Similar to Faerie Dragon, the ooze is a possible candidate for Knife Juggler’s job. He comes in if your jugglers are instead being killed by Perdition’s Blade, Deadly Poison, or Stormforged Axe.
2x Arcane Golem
Arcane Golem is a contender for Harvest Golem’s spot if you find the deck doesn’t put out damage fast enough for your tastes.
Scarlet Crusader is a middle-ground between the unfettered aggression of Arcane Golem and the resilience of Harvest Golem.
Reckless Rocketeer is the budget replacement option for both Leeroy Jenkins and Argent Commander. It should never be played if you have access to those more expensive cards, but can stand in if your collection is lacking.
Spellbreaker is what you play if you can’t afford The Black Knight’s hefty price tag. It still gets your attacks past a taunt, but since it doesn’t remove that minion from the battlefield, it’s an inferior choice.
Gorehowl is another possible replacement for that 30th card slot. It can go to the face for a lot of damage, and can clear up a messy board over a few turns, but at 7 mana is probably more than you want to spend on an aggressive finisher.
Lorewalker Cho is an option I’ve never really tried, but sounds exciting. Since the spells you play are not very good in the hands of an opponent (Heroic Strike is removal that damages its caster and Mortal Strike is rarely deployed before the final turn) and you only play a handful besides, Cho is a nightmare for opponents who rely on spells to handle your minions, such as mages and druids. The one caveat for the legendary panda is that Execute is not his friend, so if you include this in slot #30, be sure to swap out that Execute for a second Worgen Infiltrator.
If you fear things like Lord Jaraxxus, Doomhammer, Gorehowl, and Assassin’s Blade, let Dr. Jones put them in a museum as your 30th card.
Big Game Hunter is the 30th card to use if what you fear most are giants and Ragnaros, the Firelord.
Aggressive warrior walks a fine line between midrange and all-in aggro, and is very much unexpected by ranked play opponents. If you like to watch your hero fly around the screen crushing things under his massive boot heel, you will definitely enjoy playing the Barbarian Warrior.
Be sure to listen to our last episode of the podcast, where we talk about the deck at length. If you try it out, tell us what you thought of it, and what cards you swapped in to have the most success.