The inspiration of this deck is the new legendary warrior card, Rattlegore.
Reno/Highlander Decks have been a deck archetype since the introduction of Reno Jackson in the League of Explorers. For those unfamiliar with Highlander builds, they are decks that utilize only one copy of each 30 cards included in a deck. Since the introduction of this initial payoff card, it has always been on people’s minds – how to continually update the list with each release of new expansion cards.
Over the years, more and more “highlander” expansions feature support cards for the old archetype. In addition to this, many more cards fit into various highlander decks. The reason for the easy introduction of upgrades to old Highlander decks is the value of the average card in the deck. Most regular decks include 15 to 18 highly refined cards, which you play as many as allowed off. However, with Highlander, you can introduce any better card than the worst card in the deck.
In the past, Warrior did not gain many support cards for the highlander archetype. Because of this, the creation of a functional highlander deck was quite a challenge. However, I believe in having succeeded at making the archetype work, creating a list achieving a winrate of 53% over 81 games within the American Legend ranks.
Core Cards of Wild Rattlegore Highlander Warrior
With Reno Warrior, you must have certain cards, no matter what. These must-have cards include Zephrys the Great, Reno Jackson, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza. While you can win and play the deck without it, the list working for me include Rattlegore and N’Zoth, the Corruptor are must-haves. The reason for this is to build the list towards having enough pressure to contend against combo decks like Priest or Druid to win. While other builds of the deck are possible, this is what worked best for me in the current meta.
When it comes to the defensive cards, there are so many options and synergies to try that it’s hard to say what all is worth running in combination, and what is worth solo running. A new card that has been a star thus far in the list when it comes to defense is Lord Barov. Lord Barov is a very flexible tool that is easy to activate using Whirlwind or other damaging effects.
I tried to build the list with many good removal options to last till we start to go for our big value plays, and so there are so many niche multi-purpose removal cards in the list to cover our bases. The goal is to survive as best we can until we play the deck’s star, Rattlegore. Rattlegore’s synergy with N’Zoth the Corruptor is a nearly unmatched value source in Hearthstone, allowing you to win against many other control style decks in the meta.
In case this plan doesn’t work, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza is a good backup value option. Alternatively, you can use Dragonqueen Alexstraza to bait removal that would otherwise be targetted at N’Zoth instead.
More flexibility for Wild Renogore N’zothWarrior
Most of the flexibility in the Reno Warrior archetype comes from the way you want to build it. My list aims to be quite effective/responsible against aggressive matchups while also relying on the N’zoth Rattlegore value to carry you to victory in longer games.
It’s entirely possible to make the deck more reactive and remove some of our win conditions to improve our matchup against Priest & Combo druid. However, this comes at the cost of our other matchups, which are currently more common. If you are not happy with the number of removal tools in the deck against certain archetypes, there are various paths to take to change the list to your liking.
Build options & tech cards
My Reno Warrior list I built towards surviving, and it relies on N’Zoth, the Corruptor, and our deathrattle effects to help keep us alive and optimize our health with taunt minions and defensive toolkit. I am still toying with cards in the list, highlander lists have always been hard to assess what one card we can run to make the list better and takes a lot of stats to optimize.
In other words, find cards that are universally good in any matchup, and only run necessary tech for the terrible matchups as long as it doesn’t destroy our average win rate by running too many of these specific tech cards.
Draw options for Highlander Rattlegore Warrior
I’ve had a hard time testing draw engines with this deck (mostly needed to find Dirty Rat or Zephyrs or an emergency Bulwark). There is no doubt in my mind that Town crier belongs in the deck. However, other card draw options such as Acolyte of Pain just aren’t good enough with the number of aggressive matchups going around. One card I tested was Jepetto, a card very common on the Chinese Hearthstone servers. In the end, however, this card is too slow for the current meta on America.
Coldlight Oracle feels like a great option for the deck. It is by far the best drawing tool in control vs. control matchups, due to the unexpected overdrawing problem for your opponents. Being able to take a chance at overdrawing one of your opponents win conditions makes it one of the most valuable cards in the deck overall.
Another draw option worth considering is Battle Rage. However, I’m still too early on in testing this card for the archetype. So far, Battle Rage is showing great promise, but again, it might prove too slow against the current aggressive decks such as Darkglare Warlock.
The final consideration is the Forge of Souls card. However, this depends on the build you are playing. To make Forge of Souls function, you need at minimum three weapons, which is already limiting to the deck’s flexibility overall.
Other tech options for Warrior
The list of defensive tools worth considering for Highlander Rattlegore Warrior is nearly endless.
Here is a list of defensive tools I have tested so far, and I believe to be worth including in your deck. In no particular order: Sword and Board, Sleep with the Fishes, Shield Block + Shield Slam, Execute or Coerce, Tar Creeper, Doomsayer, Overconfident Orc, Mistress of Mixtures, Slam, Eternium Rover, Supercollider, Bone Wraith, Dry Whisker Armorer.
When it comes to anti-combo deck tools, unfortunately, all we have to save us against Druid and Priest are Dirty Rat, Deathlord, and a recent addition to my list in Hecklebot. Loremaster Polkelt is very good at drawing big threats, particularly Rattlegore and N’zoth, always on their respective turns.
Zephrys, the Great on turn two, can help due to it always offering Wild Growth. Using Wild Growth allows us to use our more expensive tools and to pressure the opponent a turn faster. Bulwark of Azzinoth buys us a lot of time in most matchups and is the main reason for us not to include Kobold Stickyfingers in the deck. The taunts, combined with the Bulwark, makes the Kingsbane matchup more than good enough.
Code 1: Highlander Control Main
Code 2: Highlander Anti Combo
Code 3: GREED is Good
Mulligan for Wild RenoGore Warrior
Against Rogue & other aggressive matchups, my mulligan usually prioritizes cards such as Town Crier, Warpath, Ravaging Ghoul, Bloodrazer, Zephrys the Great, Reno Jackson, and Dirty Rat. Against Warlock, in particular, however, Lord Barov, Brawl, and Zephrys the Great take priority instead due to the speed & explosiveness of the Darkglare build of the deck.
For combo decks such as Priest & Druid, the only card that matters is Dirty Rat. While our other disruption tools such as Deathlord and Hecklebot are alright, Priest, in particular, has more options to play around these options.
Druid & Priest
Against Priest/Druid (Combo Decks): Dirty Rat is Far Above all Other Tech Cards, it’s also better than keeping even Zephyrs. While keeping a Hecklebot or Deathlord is in the alley of what we aim to do, just know the best is Dirty Rat. Another card we keep against Raza Priest is Jusiticar Trueheart, the increase in armor gain gives us a shot at gaining too much life if they have a slower hand.
For Druid, in particular, I also usually keep a good removal for when it is the token build of the deck. In addition to this, against Druids, keeping a good early removal tool is generally worthwhile with the increase of Token Druid players on the ranked ladder.
Against Warrior: Usually, I assume it’s Pirate Warrior of some kind. The reason for this is that we generally just beat the other available warrior decks with the number of value-oriented tools we include in our list. So, preparing to defeat aggressive decks such as Pirate Warrior, in case they show up, increases our chances of winning against the class as a whole.
The final class I wanted to mention is when you find the elusive Shamans. Since the new expansion, Shaman has taken a backseat due to its weak matchup against Darkglare Warlock. However, since Big Shaman is a tough matchup for us, due to cards such as Hex, it’s worth preparing a mulligan strategy for this matchup in particular. Keeping cards such as Lord Barov, Brawl, Zephrys the Great, Town Crier & Reno Jackson improves our matchup drastically against Even Warlock. And against Big Shaman, we just hope for the best and try to make a threat stick onto the board.
The general strategy of Highlander Rattlegore Warrior
The deck’s general strategy is to survive until the N’zoth the Corruptor, playing Deathrattles along the way to add to the N’Zoth the Corruptor summoning pool. The deck has many big plays to pressure your opponent along the way to help, those being Rattlegore, DragonQueen Alexstrasza, Deathwing Mad Aspect, and Kargath Prime.
The easiest path is to focus on finding adequate removal options and putting taunts in the way of aggressive decks and trusting your value and big threats to win you the game as your opponent can’t kill you and runs out of removal options.
Matchups & Meta
The most common question people ask me about matchups with the decks is – How does this deck do against Darkglare Warlock? THow we approach the matchup depends on the person we play against, their patience, and understanding of what they are facing.
Unless Darkglare provides the mana for it, most people go off without Loatheb/ as early as possible, which means that Brawl and Zephyr’s Shadow into Shadow Word: Ruin will work. Dealing with Loatheb on top of giants is very difficult, most of the time, resulting in a game loss.
The good news is that the deck has lots of removal tools and taunts and usually has at least a good chance to find an answer when the giants start to come out.
Against combo decks, Lorekeeper Polkelt becomes effectively unplayable. The reason is that it pushes the cards we want, Hecklebot, Dirty Rat, and Deathlord, very low in our deck. At the same time, it is unfortunate to have a dead card in the matchup.
The worst matchups for Highlander Rattlegore Warrior
Several popular decks are quite a challenge for Highlander Rattlegore Warrior at this point. Some of our worse matchups include Raza Priest, Darkglare Warlock, Big Shaman, and Cube & Mechatun Warlock. Because of this, Highlander Rattlegore Warrior may not be the best deck in the meta, but it is starting to compete.
If Raza Priest or Darkglare Warlock see a relevant nerf soon, this deck might become one of the stronger decks in the overall meta.
Our matchup against Raza Priest is about armor maximization and finding Dirty Rat and a less consistent combo disruption tool with a lucky result. Usually, that deck is very consistent at drawing their tools and can challenge us before gaining enough armor.
With the Kael’thas nerf to one cost spells every three spells, Druid (Maly and Burn Miracle) will be less consistent, and so this deck will get better when other decks see play instead.
Other Important Interactions
Town Crier can draw the final version of Kargath Prime. Besides this, Kargath Prime has Rush when summoned off of N’Zoth the Corruptor.
In some matchups, the best Zephrys the Great target is a Faceless Manipulator on our Rattlegore, don’t necessarily hold zephyrs especially for this but has won me games. Important note, Faceless Manipulator is not offered when you play Zephrys the Great with 10-mana available. Instead, use a card or Hero Power and then play Zephrys the Great to guarantee Faceless Manipulator.
Rattlegore N’zoth Reno Warrior is a fun take on the Highlander strategy utilizing the Warrior class cards. For me, Rattlegore is in the top 5 of my favorite new expansion cards, and this deck utilizes that card well. Rattlegore combines well with the good removal cards Warrior has access to and the old god N’zoth the Corruptor. To me, this is one of the most fun decks of the Scholomance Academy expansion so far.
For more Warrior madness, be sure to read all about Laboresangre’s guide to Wild Big Warrior! Can’t get enough of Laboresangre? Be sure to watch all his creative deckbuilding on Twitch, or follow him on Twitter & join his discord channel!