Our Tempo Rogue deck list guide features the best deck list for The Witchwood (April 2018). Our Tempo Rogue guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.
Tempo Rogue is one of those Hearthstone deck concepts that isn't new for the game by any means, but enjoyed a major resurgence in popularity during the second half of 2017. The idea behind playing this kind of deck is to begin fielding an aggressive collection of minions onto the board at the very start of a match, and then slowly snowball an overwhelming threat against the opponent.
In our Tempo Rogue deck guide, we've highlighted one of the most promising deck lists for this archetype right now, and provided a basic overview of the strategy involved in playing it. We've also added in some basic Mulligan advice which should help you start each match on a strong footing. We've then also listed all of the card combos that power the deck - study these carefully to get a feel for how all these powerful cards come together.
UPDATE - THE WITCHWOOD
We've updated our recommended Tempo Rogue deck list this morning and have also expanded on all areas of the guide considerable. You'll now be able to read through advice for handling aggro and control opponents, tackle the Mulligan phase with ease and even pick substitutions for any core cards you don't currently own.
Tempo Rogue deck list and strategy
This is the latest version of Tempo Rogue that's seeing the most competitive play at this early stage of the Witchwood meta:
|2 x Backstab||2 x Fire Fly|
|2 x Shadowstep||2 x Southsea Deckhand|
|2 x Cold Blood||1 x Prince Keleseth|
|2 x Blink Fox||2 x Hench-Clan Thug|
|1 x Edwin VanCleef||1 x Tar Creeper|
|2 x SI:7 Agent||2 x Saronite Chain Gang|
|1 x Sonya Shadowdancer||1 x Spellbreaker|
|2 x Elven Minstrel||2 x Cobalt Scalebane|
|2 x Vilespine Slayer||1 x Leeroy Jenkins|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAaIHBrICrwTyBcrDAs/hApziAgy0AYwC7QLUBd0IgcIC68ICm8sCyssC2+MCpu8Cx/gCAA==
Tempo Rogue is not quite as aggressive as a pure aggro deck, but instead favours clearing off enemy minions, establishing a strong board and then finishing off your opponent with a chunk of burst damage.
There are also a number of exciting utility cards in the deck that give you multiple routes to your win condition and allow you to exploit the class’s unique mechanics, such as combo cards, minion copying and card stealing.
Early game: The first thing you need to consider is do you have Prince Keleseth and Shadowstep in hand? If so, you’ve just hit the jackpot, and can buff all the minions in your deck with +2/+2.
In every other instance when you don’t stumble upon this silly combo, you’ll want to establish a board presence with your early game cards and remove your opponent’s minions with sensible trades, Backstab and your hero power. Blink Fox is an excellent card to give yourself some more options from beyond your class, while you can always go for a massive Edwin VanCleef if the right combination of low cost cards are in your hand.
Mid game: Maintain control of the board and start pushing for damage where you can. If you can start growing your Hench-Clan Thug then he can very often spiral out of control, while Tar Creeper and Saronite Chain Gang can slow down any aggro decks you face. If you find yourself running short of cards, the combo effect from Elven Minstrel can help refill your hand. Cobalt Scalebane can also start to buff your minion’s attack to ridiculous levels.
Late game: If the game’s not already been won you’ll be hunting for your last burst of damage – most likely with Leeroy Jenkins and Cold Blood. The combo effect from Vilespine Slayer can be used to eliminate any of your opponent’s big late game minions too while leaving a body on the board for big tempo swing.
Here are some useful tips for dealing with aggro opponents on the ladder:
- Play like a control deck for the opening few turns, using removal and your hero power to keep their board under control.
- Try to stake your claim for the board early too with cards such as Fire Fly and Blink Fox.
- Tar Creeper and Saronite Chain Gang are great cards for slowing down aggro decks further, but try to avoid playing defensively for too long.
- Setting up a huge Edwin VanCleef or Hench-Clan Thug can often be too much for an aggro deck to handle, or they’ll be forced to waste too many resources clearing it off.
- Racing is a viable strategy against some aggro decks, especially if they rely more or damage from hand instead of building a strong board.
Here’s what to keep in mind when facing a control deck:
- Become the aggressor: you’ll be looking to eliminate them before they can start to take control of the game.
- Be careful of pushing too hard and over-extending into a board clear, though.
- You do have multiple resources to refill your hand if you’re struggling to hold onto a board presence, including Elven Minstrel and Blink Fox.
- Spellbreaker or Vilespine Slayer can be used to take out their larger threats and allow you to push damage through.
- Cold Blood is a good card to save for some surprise damage to win the game, but if you think a minion already on board is going to survive a couple of turns then buff that and wail away on your opponent’s life total.
More great Rogue guides:
- 1. Tempo Rogue - Tempo Rogue deck list guide (Witchwood)
- 2. Miracle Rogue - Miracle Rogue deck list guide (Witchwood)
- 3. Thief Rogue - Thief Rogue deck list guide (Witchwood)
- 4. Odd Rogue - Odd Rogue deck list guide (Witchwood)
- 5. Witchwood Decks - Best Witchwood decks
- 6. Budget Decks - Budget Witchwood decks
- 7. Monster Hunt - Hearthstone: Monster Hunt guide
Tempo Rogue Mulligan guide
These are the cards you’ll want to search for in your opening hand:
- 1. Prince Keleseth: Will give every minion in your deck +1/+1 which is a huge advantage for the rest of the game.
- 2. Fire Fly: A solid and dependable turn one drop that refills your hand.
- 3. Backstab: Can outright kill or weaken early game minions for zero mana. That’s value.
- 4. Hench-Clan Thug: A three-mana 3/3 is decent, but this will usually be a 4/4 the turn you play it if you follow up with a weapon attack.
Tempo Rogue tips, combos and synergies
A Rogue deck like this is only as strong as the synergies contained within it. Here are the most important card combos you need to commit to memory when playing the Tempo Rogue:
- If Patches the Pirate is still hidden away in your deck, any other Pirate class of card you play will pull him into play free of charge. In this particular version of the deck, that's Swashburglar, Southsea Deckhand and Southsea Captain.
- Should you be holding a weapon when he's played onto the board, Southsea Deckhand will be able to attack immediately.
You can combo Prince Keleseth with Shadowstep for an outrageous amount of value, especially if you have The Coin in your hand!
- Edwin VanCleef grows by +2 / +2 of stats for each card you played before him on the same turn. You've a lot of cheap cards in this deck, and so it's possibly to build a pretty mighty minion here.
- If Southsea Captain is taken out of action, then any other Pirates being buffed by this minion will lose their bonus stats. The effect is not permanent.
- The bonus Elemental creature created by Fire Fly makes a great enabler for cards like Vilespine Slayer, Elven Minstrel and SI:7 Agent. Consider keeping it in your hand for a cheap piece of a future combo.
- You can only target an enemy minion to be destroyed by Vilespine Slayer if you've already played another card on the current turn. See above for details on common activators.
- Elven Minstrel also requires an activator if you're to achieve the bonus card draw from this minion.
- As long as he remains out on the board the Lich King will grant you one of eight possible cards at the end of your turn:
|2||Death Coil||Deal 5 damage to an enemy, or restore 5 Health to a friendly character.|
|2||Death Grip||Steal a minion from your opponent's deck and add it to your hand.|
|2||Obliterate||Destroy a minion. Your hero takes damage equal to its Health.|
|3||Death and Decay||Deal 3 damage to all enemies.|
|4||Anti-Magic Shell||Give your minions +2 / +2 and “Can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers.”|
|5||Doom Pact||Destroy all minions. Remove the top card from your deck for each minion destroyed.|
|6||Army of the Dead||Remove the top 5 cards of your deck. Summony any minions removed.|
|7||Frostmourne||Deathrattle: Summon every minion killed by this [5 / 3] weapon.|
Tempo Rogue card choices and substitutions
These are the most important cards in Tempo Rogue, as well as some ideas for substitutes should you be missing any from your collection:
- Backstab: A free answer to the majority of early game minions and an excellent combo activator.
- Cold Blood: Can offer a huge burst of damage on a single minion and regularly sets up surprise lethal if you cast it on a Charge minion.
- Prince Keleseth: With Shadowstep you can get some incredible value off this card by buffing your deck multiple times. If you want to go for something a bit faster you can run Eviscerate in its place.
- Edwin VanCleef: With the way Rogue can cycle many cards in a single turn, the possibilities for a huge game-winning Edwin are massive. Questing Adventurer is a viable replacement, as is Vicious Fledgeling.
- Hench-Clan Thug: Can often quickly be a three mana 4/4 which is a very good play. Opponents may have to make a sub-optimal play to remove it before it gets out of control.
- Sonya Shadowcaster: This card works well if you can trigger the effect on Edwin VanCleef, Blink Fox, SI:7 Agent as well as many other Battlecry or Combo cards. Seek similar replacements to Edwin if needed.
- Elven Minstrel: Always try to play this for the card draw to refill your hand, as the stats for a four mana minion are awful.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Play it for the burst finish potential. You can run Reckless Rocketeer if you need a cheaper alternative.
- Vilespine Slayer: Destroying an opponent’s minion while also putting a creature on board is the quintessential tempo play. Assassinate works if you just need the removal, but is far less impactful.