Let’s start with a cliché: you never forget your first love. For me, this love was the somewhat intangible concept of “aggro bullshit”.
MSoG has brought about a meta defined by vast legions of bloodthirsty pirates. These nautical knaves constitute the low-ends of many competitive decks, led by the scurviest, slimiest, saltiest sea-faring scoundrel of them all: Patches.
Quite a few decks have been homogenized by these pirates. Shamans, Warriors, and even combo Rogues draw from this powerful package of neutral minions. It pains me to say it, but these are not the pirates I fell in love with (and wrote about) several months ago. In a word, they are better. They lack the inconsistencies that made the Pirate Warrior of October 2016 a fun and experimental deck. Now, everyone and their little brother are playing pirate decks, and are doing well with them. It’s time to cut back on the doe-eyed nostalgia.
*Pour out some of my 40*
It’s time to… R E N O U N C E A G G R O. I have a new mistress, and her name is Reno Jackson.
Before I ever laid a hand on a sweet, savory aggro deck, I got my rocks off playing variants of Control Warrior. Nothing got me harder than 45 minute games of button pushing and accumulating ridiculous amounts of armor. Control Warrior was the first deck I ever came close to legend with. Unfortunately, my all-time favorite deck is being phased out in favor of more tempo-based Warrior variants. The extreme value that Jade Druids can achieve in fatigue means that Control Warriors are no longer the number one seed for drawn-out fatigue battles. The new kids on the block have usurped the throne from Garrosh. All of this sucks, but control decks aren’t going anywhere. Led by Kazakus, perhaps the strongest card in the game, Reno decks are the new wave of control, and they’re better than ever. Take your Tunnel Troggs and throw them in the fucking garbage – it’s control time.
Now, I can’t speak for Anduin. I’ve played very little Priest, Reno or otherwise. Ruling out Priest makes writing this article a whole lot easier, and if you want to know about the subtle nuances of Priest, go ask Kibler. As for Renolock and Reno Mage, both are decks that I’ve piloted to high ranks and played for countless games. While Renolock is objectively the stronger of the two decks, Reno Mage matches up very well against Renolock and is able to hold its own against the swarms of pirates. Don’t sleep on Jaina; sleep with her. Allow her to be your dominatrix, and soon you will be spanking all of the Renolock Jabronis and aggro shit-heads on the ever-devolving Hearthstone ladder.
The reason that Reno Mage has favorable match-ups against Renolock is because it denies the Renolock’s most powerful control card – Jaraxxus – with the threat of lethal burn damage. Fireball, Frostbolt, and Forgotten Torch or your best friends; all are effective removal, yet in the Renolock match-up, they serve a much more central role. If one can avoid using these cards for removal and instead holds on to them, they grant the Mage a significant reach, or damage that can be dealt from the hand. Because of the Warlock hero power, you will already be ahead in the fatigue war, but instead of playing Jaraxxus, the Warlock will be left with few options. If they play him, that’s even better. Jaraxxus’s meager health pool makes him a lightning rod for Fireballs to the face.
Many of the MSoG cards have allowed Reno Mage to perform more favorably against increasingly powerful aggro decks: Mistress of Mixtures, Dirty Rat, Second-Rate Bruiser, and of course, Kazakus. These cards have pushed Reno decks into the upper echelon and have nicely increased their consistency. The beauty of Reno Mage in particular is its versatility. The Mage hero power has never been better: because pirate decks are so prevalent, “turn 2s” that would be otherwise unproductive can be filled with pinging off any of the dangerous one health minions saturating the meta. However, unlock Renolock, one must be wary of hand-size. Reno Mage obviously lacks life-tap, which will inevitably mean that you will often have fewer plays than your opponent. This can be mitigated by proper resource management and draw cards. My deck list is surprisingly light on draw, but it has been very successful: surprisingly, 10-1. Because of the nature of Reno decks, feel free to make any tech changes you feel are necessary. I’m wary that Harrison might be a tad bit excessive, but this deck is designed to crush pirates into the ground. Time permitting, I will pilot this deck to legend and report back more explicitly about match-ups and resource management.
Happy Holidays, Xfyre
-InVade Xfyre, tag Blawps2 #1400, is a member of Invade Clan Hearthstone and Overwatch. He is a legend player with a specialized knowledge of control warrior builds. He is also one half of the gruesome twosome “Double Deeks,” made infamous by CoD search and destroy strategies that revolved around camping with shotguns.