With Scholomance’s Academy on the horizon, the Hearthstone metagame will once again be bracing for sweeping changes. It’s the perfect time to explore something new, and whether you are a new player or an experienced one looking for something new, the Warrior class surely has something to offer with the next Hearthstone expansion, Scholomance’s Academy. If you like having a life total too high for your opponent to count, blowing up your opponent’s board with a 1-drop, or finishing your games with over 20 damage out of hand, then Warrior might be the class for you. Since playing Control Warrior for the first time when the game released, I have loved the class, and Odd Warrior was one of my favorite decks during its time in Standard. In this article, I will be walking through the archetypes for Warrior that excite me the most for Scholomance Standard, and discussing which cards I will be looking for as reveal season continues.
Enrage Midrange Warrior
Since the beginning of the Year of the Phoenix, Enrage Midrange has been a format staple and a top Standard deck. It has it all; Risky Skipper is the glue that holds this deck together, providing insane board clears, an activator for damaged minion synergies, and a body searchable by Ancharr all for the low price of 1 mana. Battle Rage, Armorsmith, and Bloodboil Brute benefit immensely from this card’s existence, and they form the core of this archetype, allowing for huge armor gain, card draw, and tempo swings to navigate the early game.
Risky Skipper also makes Rampage a reliable option, and a buffed Warmaul Challenger can take over the game on turn 4. All of these threats are supported by Corsair’s Cache, Ancharrr, and Livewire Lance, which give the deck remarkable consistency and ensure that a huge Risky Skipper turn will win you the midgame. In the late game, burst damage from Kor’kron Elite, Grommash Hellscream, and Bloodsworn Mercenary can end the game on the spot. With all of the card draw and card selection, this deck will execute its gameplan reliably, and this is unlikely to change when Scholomance releases.
Enrage Midrange Warrior’s biggest weakness
As for weaknesses, this deck has very few. It is a well-oiled machine, and the strategies developed to exploit them have only had limited success. Different versions of Galakrond Priest are the most successful counter, boasting a winrate nearing 70% in the matchup. By taking the Enrage to the late game, they outvalue the deck and use healing to stay out of the burst range of their opponents. Spell Druid is favored against Enrage, overwhelming them with waves and waves of treants, beasts, and dragons.
That said, neither of these decks can maintain positive win rates at legend. Unless the Scholomance Academy brings token and long control archetypes back into relevance, Warrior will continue to benefit from the presence of high tempo decks. Otherwise, although the high synergy of the deck is a strength, it limits your options in deck-building. If decks emerge in the meta that is weak to tech cards, then Enrage will have more difficulty responding than other archetypes.
Unfortunately, Scholomance does not seem to offer much additional support for this archetype. Since it is so synergy-driven, this deck will not find a role for new cards unless they benefit more from Risky Skipper and damaged minions than the current cards in the list. Despite this problem, the deck has the tools to succeed in its current form, even if Blizzard prints no additional support. Look for cards that benefit from being damaged or capitalize on damaged minions in the reveal, but they have a high bar to clear; the odds are that this deck won’t change, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Control Warrior in Scholomance
Instead of playing Enrage, you could lean into Warrior’s removals and card draw to slow the game down and disrupt your opponent’s gameplan, cutting the aggressive tools like Rampage in favor of a late-game strategy. Since the dawn of Hearthstone, Warrior has been pushed in this direction by their hero power. Armor creates a natural buffer against combo decks that win with direct damage, rewards your passive play, and punishes opponents for under-committing into board clears and removal.
Risky Skipper also is joined by Bladestorm and Brawl in keeping your opponent’s board clear, shutting down decks that rely on going wide, and swarming the board early. Shield Slam and Execute both continue to serve as Warrior’s efficient single target removal. Still, other cards like Omega Devastator and Molten Breath are candidates to return despite falling out of favor recently. Like in Enrage, the card draw and selection provided by Corsair’s Cache, Battle Rage, and Ancharr ensure that you will always have an answer to opposing threats.
Control Warrior’s biggest weakness
Currently, Control’s greatest weakness is an inability to generate cards and match up against the value engines in the standard format. The win rate against Priest is anemic, and Control Warrior can only compete by playing low-tempo options such as Archivist Elysiana and Wrenchcalibur. All flavors of Druid prove too much for Control to handle, and they play more wide boards and large dragons than you can remove in most games.
Highlander Hunter also preys on the current deck’s inability to remove large minions while generating armor. It can deploy enough threats that the Warrior will eventually run out of answers or get chipped down. Silence also has fallen out of favor in the meta, and Control does not handle sticky minions well. Guardian Augmerchant and Bonechewer Brawler can steal wins against Control Warrior now, and Scholomance may include more minions that can avoid removal spells and connect for damage.
Scholomance gives Garrosh some new tricks up his sleeves, and I believe that they will help the deck overcome some of its shortcomings. Wretched Tutor immediately caught my attention as yet another board clear that fits in Control Warrior’s arsenal. It can cheap spells, like Inner Rage, Boom Squad, and Sword and Board, and turn them into board clears with an extra effect. This minion can directly answer a Glowfly Swarm, and if tokens, zoo, murlocs, or other similar archetypes rise to the talk, then Wretched Tutor can check them and give Control an edge.
Headmaster Kel’Thuzad is an absurd tempo tool, and the board swings it provides make it an instant consideration. Turning Shield Slam into Mind Control or Ramming Speed into a card that reads “Win the game,” the Headmaster will be a headache for any opponent trying to win the board in the midgame.
Onyx Magescribe is another great addition, both because it generates huge value and enables Molten Breath while threatening the opponent with a 4/9 body. Troublemaker, harkening back to Ragnaros, the Firelord, acts as another top-end threat for Control but faces stiff competition in the eight mana slot from Deathwing, Dragon Aspect, and Twin Tyrant. This card definitely could slot into a Highlander version of the build or one that cuts Dragon synergies, and I will certainly be including it in some of my lists.
Finally, Rattlegore is a potential mirror breaker, but it is likely too slow in other matchups. Although we have only seen the first of the Scholomance spoilers, Dragon Control looks like it may have another chance to make waves in Standard if the team prints more support. Cobalt Spellskin, Onyx Magehide, Deathwing, Dragon Aspect, and Molten Breath represent a solid foundation.
Control Warrior is already in a strong position. Still, additional win conditions that come with a lower deck-building cost would help them considerably. If Scholomance holds upgrades from bombs and Archivist Elysianna, a move to Tier 1 might be within reach.
Big Warrior’s return
While the former two archetypes have a presence in the existing standard format, a third one seems poised to make a play in Standard: Big Warrior. Virtually unseen since the rotation to the Year of the Phoenix, the archetype failed because of a poor selection of minions to cheat into play and an insufficient set of tools to win the early game. Big Warrior still has its strengths, though; it has access to the same suite of spell-based board clears and removal as Control Warrior, and it can leverage these tools to good effect in board-centric matchups.
The Boom Reaver and Dimensional Ripper are still excellent win conditions as well, and they can close out a game decisively if they can hit good targets. Like Dragon Druid, the deck generates big minions repeatedly, and this game plan can overwhelm control decks and shore up one of Warrior’s biggest weaknesses in the current meta, the matchup with Priest.
Of course, this plan isn’t perfect. The Risky Skipper package is anti-synergistic with Big Warrior payoffs, and excluding it leaves the deck in need of card draw and early board clears before Brawl can come down. Without minions, Big Warrior has fewer ways to contest the board in the early game until turn 3, when weapons like Livewire Lance are playable. Even if the deck manages to survive the early game, it has had trouble matching the high tempo plays of other late-game powerhouses.
Important new additions for Big Warrior
Scholomance scrubs these weaknesses away and instead provides Warrior with huge incentives to go big. Troublemaker and Rattlegore are some of the best big minions available, and creating two copies of either with Dimensional Ripper will end the game against slower decks. Even in the midrange and aggressive matchups, a Dimensional Ripper into Troublemaker can put 24/28 of stats into play and send 12 damage to your opponent’s board and life total, a massive swing worth building around.
The “Studies” cycle of spells can give Warrior more ways to generate cards early on and allow them to bank mana for explosive turns later, and I know that I will be eagerly awaiting the reveal of this card. After the initial reveal, I started to hope that the set also could include ways to cheat minions into play and spells or weapons that can interact early on, and we got both in one card, Ceremonial Maul.
Acting as removal on turn 3, it can then summon a minion with the next spell you play. It even scales as the game goes on, giving Brawl and Plague of Wrath some extra value and adding an extra 10/10 Taunt to Dimensional Ripper. Even though it was a non-factor in Ashes of Outlands, Big Warrior is a strong sleeper deck to look out for when Scholomance drops in August, and it will be the first Warrior deck that I play on ladder.
Closing thoughts on Warrior in the upcoming Scholomance Expansion
Thank you for reading, and if you’ve made it this far, then you might be a Warrior aficionado like me. I hope that these three builds make a good foundation for evaluating card reveals and breaking down Scholomance. As the team reveals more cards, I will update this guide and highlight new potential inclusions to these archetypes and any new decks that may arise. Have fun, and look out for Shaman’s primer next week!
For more strategy guides for Hearthstone be sure to read all about Discard Warlock in our recent guide for the Wild format. Looking to talk strategy with other like minded individuals? Make sure to join the AGG Discord today!
Story by DankestDad