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Control Warrior deck list guide - Forged in the Barrens - Hearthstone (April 2021)

Our guide to climbing the ladder with the latest Control Warrior in the Barrens meta.

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Our Control Warrior deck list guide features the best Descent of Dragons deck list for Season 85 of Hearthstone (April 2021). Our Control Warrior guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

Control Warrior is a Hearthstone deck archetype that explains exactly everything you need to know about it through the name alone. Your goal is to maintain control of the board in every stage of a match through many of the efficient removal cards available to the class, while also steadily moving towards powerful late game threats that can overwhelm your opponent.

It’s a deck archetype that’s been around in Hearthstone for quite some time and has always found a position in the meta. Do be warned if you’re considering playing it though as the cost is extremely high due to all the epic and legendary cards you’ll need. Nevertheless, it can be well worth the investment as it does a great job of holding off all the aggro decks in the early days of an expansion release, while remaining a solid meta pick at all times.

In our Control Warrior guide, we'll start with a look at the most commonly played deck list right now and offer some insight into how you should be piloting the archetype. Later on you’ll find Mulligan suggestions, as well as a closer look at the important cards and combos found in the deck.

Control Warrior deck list and strategy

Here’s the Control Warrior deck with the best win rate at the moment. Keep an eye out for changes though - Forged in the Barrenshas plenty of time left so there’s always the chance things go differently!

2 x Whirlwind1 x Ironbeak Owl
2 x Shield Slam1 x Overlord Runthak
2 x Execute1 x Cairne Bloodhoof
2 x Slam1 x Baron Geddon
2 x Cruel Taskmaster1 x Ysera the Dreamer
2 x Armorsmith1 x Deathwing the Destroyer
2 x War Cache
2 x Fiery War Axe
2 x Warsong Outrider
2 x Brawl
2 x Shieldmaiden
1 x Gorehowl
1 x Grommash Hellscream

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAQcIqooEtIoEuIoEiqAEi6AEkqAEo6AEqqAEC//nA6+KBJ6fBJ+fBLSfBIagBIegBIigBImgBIygBO2gBAA=

More great Warrior guides:

The following guide refers to an older version of Control Warrior - we'll be updating this in future if the deck makes a splash in the meta though!

General strategy:

Control Warrior aims to do exactly what its name would suggest: take control of the game by removing or denying its opponent’s plays to completely starve them of resources, and then win in the late game with many powerful legendary cards. There is so much removal in this deck that even after multiple big plays you should be able to find a way to ruin your opponent’s plans – whether it’s a big board clear or hard removal on a single beefy target.

When you’re ready to play more aggressively in the late game the deck has some absurdly powerful options. Many of these will be too much for your foe to deal with, or will enable you to outlast them as they slip into Fatigue.

Early game: You’ll want to take a slow and reactive approach in the early game. There’s no need to rush anything at all. Clear your opponent’s creatures where you can, or lure them into playing more so you can take everything out with a single board clear. It’s perfectly fine if you just spend a few turns bulking up your Armor with you hero power too.

Mid game: Stick with the reactive approach to each of your opponent’s plays and they’ll find it impossible to get a foothold in the match. If they’ve managed to build a wide board you can use Brawl to reduce it down to a more manageable size. For weapons there’s Harrison Jones.

Late game: Now is your time to assert full control of the match as you drop continual threats that your opponent will struggle to remove. For starters, you can combine Dr. Boom, Mad Genius with Omega Assembly to generate a electrifying army of Mech minions with Rush. Or, you can make use of Archivist Elysiana as a way to fill your deck with more copies of your most powerful cards.

As you keep piling on the pressure your opponent should be running out of resources and looking to concede. If the game looks like it’s going to Fatigue that’s perfectly fine with you as you have the reach and the Armor to see it through. Make sure you save Omega Devastator for turn 10 as well, just in case your opponent has one last surprise ready to go

Aggro opponents

Here are some important tips to help you best aggro decks:

  • 1. You have so much control packed into this deck that you should be more than capable of keeping them in check in the early game.
  • 2. Once they realise you’re a control deck they may decide to play more aggressively to try and finish you quickly. Don’t get too laid back and leave yourself open to surprise lethal damage.
  • 3. Weapons Project is great for smacking away their little creatures, but be careful you’re not giving them too much extra damage as well with their weapon.

Control opponents

These tips will see you to victory against other control decks:

  • 1. Use the early turns to draw cards and Armor up. Both of you will be playing quite slowly so you can take your time at the start to better prepare for the late game.
  • 2. Weapons Project can work extremely well in these matches as a way of destroying your opponent’s preferred weapon. Of course, you have Harrison Jones too.
  • 3. If you think the match is heading the way of Fatigue you should be happy as this Control Warrior list has a much better chance of surviving it thanks to Archivist Elysiana.
  • 4. You can generate a lot of extra value way into the late game with Dr. Boom, Mad Genius and Omega Assembly.

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Control Warrior Mulligan guide

For the best start with Control Warrior these are the cards you’ll want to aim for in the Mulligan phase:

  • 1. Town Crier: An immediate minion to contest the board, and you'll also draw into either Militia Commander or Zilliax.
  • 2. Eternium Rover: Another solid early game minion that will also help beef up your defenses.
  • 3. Dr. Boom, Mad Genius: Despite his high cost for the purposes of Mulliganing, the amount of value generated by this card justifies the early keep.

Control Warrior tips, combos and synergies

Control Warrior has a pretty obvious game plan but there are some cards combos in the deck that are especially powerful. We’ve listed the best and most important ones here.

- Always aim to hold back Omega Assembly until you have ten Mana. That way you'll receive all three Mechs that were selected as part of the Discovery process and they will synergise perfectly with Dr. Boom, Mad Genius.

- Shield Slam becomes more powerful for each point of Armor you have at the time it's cast. You can boost its damage using your hero power as well as cards like Shield Block and Weapons Project.

- Speaking of Weapons Project, you can combine it with Harrison Jones in order to negate half of the benefits for your opponent and give you some much-loved card draw.

- If an enemy minion has received even the most minor of wounds, you can use Execute to take it out of play. Cards that empower this removal effect in this deck are: Shield Slam, Warpath, Dyn-o-matic and any of your actively inflicted weapon damage.

- If Militia Commander or Zilliax are still in your deck, Town Crier will pull one of them into your hand when played.

- Dr. Boom, Mad Genius grants Rush to all the subsequently played Mech minions. That means they can attack enemy minions immediately. You also gain five new Hero Powers which are selected at random each turn:

  • Blast Shield
  • Delivery Drone
  • Micro-Squad
  • Zap Cannon

- Consider carefully which cards you want to replace your deck with when using Archivist Elysiana. Anything that gives you more late game reach and Fatigue survival is good, such as Omega Assembly, Weapons Project, Zilliax and so on.

Card choices and substitutions

As it’s loaded with epics and Legendaries you can expect to invest a lot of dust into Control Warrior. There are some cards that are vital to make it work but some others can be substituted, as we’ve listed below:

  • Omega Assembly: Never cast this until you have ten Mana as it’s necessary to grab all three minions for some immense late game value.
  • Shield Slam: Shield Slam is strong removal that will be able to take out most minions thanks to all the Armor you’re building up over the course of the game.
  • Brawl: This classic removal option is still around as a powerful way to even out the board if you’re falling behind.
  • Omega Devastator: The card reads 10 damage but that basically equates to instantly killing another minion. It’s not vital to have even more hard removal in the deck, but nice to have one copy just in case. Devastate is an OK replacement.
  • Harrison Jones: Weapon removal with the added bonus of drawing you a few cards. A strong pairing with Weapons Project.
  • Supercollider: Can help you deal with minions that are out of your reach due to Taunts while turning your opponent’s strong minions against each other.
  • Zilliax: An all-round solid card. Immediately impactful on the board while also providing some healing and a roadblock for aggro decks.
  • Unseen Saboteur: Can completely spoil the plans of combo decks or just completely waste a powerful card in your opponent’s hand.
  • Dr. Boom, Mad Genius: One of the best ways to keep you going into the late game thanks to a rotating hero power that offers extra damage, the option to generate you more minions and so much more.
  • Archivist Elysiana: Some more late game power for the deck that lets you create more copies of your most powerful cards while also helping you survive Fatigue.

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  • NobleGuy #1 A year ago
  • NobleGuy #2 A year ago
  • NobleGuy #3 A year ago
  • NobleGuy #4 A year ago
  • NobleGuy #5 A year ago
  • NobleGuy #6 A year ago
    I like this deck it’s pretty good too
  • Bedders #7 5 years ago
    @mikekoopmans50 This is actually one of the few decks I got all the pieces for and I too played around with it last night. Had an absolute blast (and picked up no end of Concedes after what looked like certain losses!), but I share your thoughts on Rotface.

    When he works, he's incredible, but by the time I got him on the board I found I'd actually used up quite a lot of my trigger spells. The Legendaries he spat out where good, but this is a deck that's going to need a huge amount of collective gameplay from the community before his spot's confirmed.

    A lot of fun though, I think I'm squarely back in the land of maining Control Warrior now!
  • mikekoopmans50 #8 5 years ago
    The deck is looking pretty good! Played one game so far, against a Miracle Rogue with Frozen Throne cards (the DK Valeera was played), and I was on top the entire game. The end was pretty tight, but I am really impressed with Bloodrazor. It is incredible, with Armorsmith and Acolyte this thing is just plain awesome. Didn't get to play the DK Garrosh, but did play the Lich King. Immediately got destroyed by Vilespine Slayer, but a good threat for sure.

    Only card I switched out (both because I am not convinced that it is really any good and because there is a perfect alternative that I already own and that doesn't cost me 1600 dust) is Rotface for Grommash. While I understand it has the potential to be good, I do not like the RNG part. Grommash does the trick quite well too, synergising very well with all the self damage in this deck for an almost guaranteed 10 damage charge. Really interested to see how this deck will hold its own in the meta and how it will develop!
  • pecata225 #9 5 years ago
    Control warrior without Elise and Gorehowl.
  • Bedders #10 5 years ago
    @kiljoyzn Sorry missed this for a while. That's a hangover from a previous version of the guide and I'm sorry it persisted - it's fixed now.

    There are Gorehowl variants of Control Warrior but this is still our preferred deck list for January. Apologies again for the confusion.
  • kiljoyzn #11 5 years ago
    The strategy for this deck says:

    "That late-game strategy is - we feel - pretty self-evident. Gorehowl keeps you chipping away at meatier enemy threats"

    But gorehowl isn't included in the deck list. What would you remove to include it?
  • TCF #12 5 years ago
    Old school control warrior works a lot better than this. No nzoth in that. Its to wierd grommash ysera ragnaros works better because you have 3 win conditions instead of 1.
  • Feels #13 5 years ago
    I feel it doesn't have enough removal and the N'zoth has done little for me.
  • Feels #14 5 years ago
    I've lost 6 games in a row with this deck. I'm at 17 now. all I'm seeing is Buff Paladin and Dragon Preist here. Really does not seem to do well against these.
  • Bludsh0t #15 5 years ago
    Seeing a lot of these. What's the best counter deck for it?
  • justinswanstrom72 #16 5 years ago
    would Grommash make a good replacement post Yogg Nerfs?
  • Bedders #17 6 years ago
    @Klck Yeah I've got a few decks going on at the moment where I'm really not sure how things are going to go in the long-run (more so with Karazhan than any other release, I think). It will be updated for the next season but sometime you've got to just dive in and see what works!
  • Klck #18 6 years ago
    I guess its smth wrong with me, but i find ironforge portal totaly crap. Paying 5 for RANDOM 4drop in the name of 4 armor is not valuable at all. Randomness is enough, it should cost 4 imo.
  • Bedders #19 6 years ago
    @vaidab Oops! That was meant to be Shield Slam. Fixed now and thank you for the heads-up.
  • vaidab #20 6 years ago
    Shield slam is repeated in the deck.
  • Bedders #21 6 years ago
    @CoryintheSwamp Job done!
  • CoryintheSwamp #22 6 years ago
    The only reason I got out of rank 20 was because of this deck.
  • Plzbuff #23 6 years ago
    Using an alternate version got me through the ealry stages of ladder faster.
    2x execute
    2x shield slam
    2x fiery war axe
    2x revenge
    1x slam
    2x armorsmith
    1x cruel taskmaster
    1x bash
    1x shield block
    2x acolyte of pain
    1x big game hunter
    2x deathlord
    2x deaths bite
    1x brawl
    1x sludge belcher
    * justicar
    2x shieldmaiden
    * sylvanus
    * dr. Boom
    * grommash
    * ysera
  • Bedders #24 6 years ago
    @markhertzler77 I'd recommend trying out a midrange deck like Druid, Hunter or Paladin. Take a look through our round-up of the best current decks ( and see if there are any that you can build. It's hard to be more specific without knowing which Adventures you've bought and so on.
  • markhertzler77 #25 6 years ago
    What's the best counter to Control Warrior? Consistently run into them in the meta but can't find a good match up against them with my somewhat limited card library (mostly missing control/class legendaries and some epics).
  • Sobtanian #26 7 years ago
    It would appear you're guide is for a different deck. This one doesn't contain Whirlwind :p