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Tempo Rogue deck list guide - Rastakhan - Hearthstone (December 2018)

The latest Tempo Rogue deck list for the new Rastakhan meta.

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John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.

Our Tempo Rogue deck list guide features the best Rastakhan deck list for Season 57 of Hearthstone (December 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. With the launch of Rastakhan’s Rumble, it's being picked up by more players once again, although only a couple of new cards have made the list

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.

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 Rastakhan meta:

RogueNeutral
2 x Backstab2 x Fire Fly
2 x Shadowstep1 x Prince Keleseth
2 x Cold Blood2 x Hench-Clan Thug
2 x SI:7 Agent2 x Southsea Captain
2 x Elven Minstrel2 x Saronite Chain Gang
2 x Vilespine Slayer1 x Spellbreaker
2 x Cursed Castaway2 x Ticket Scalper
1 x Captain Hooktusk2 x Fungalmancer
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: AAECAaIHBJziAvIFrwTWjAMNtAHtAowC68ICpu8C3QioBdvjApvLAqr/AtHhAoHCAt/vAgA=

General strategy

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 and minion bouncing. New cards from the Rastakhan’s Rumble set gives the deck some extra draw power, while also buffing a number of the Pirate cards in the list.

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.

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 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, or you can hope to trigger the Overkill effect on Ticket Scalper.

Late game: If the game’s not already been won you’ll be hunting for your last burst of damage – most likely through 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 a big tempo swing.

If you need a way to catch up then Captain Hooktusk is a great way to pull multiple Pirate minions from your deck onto the board and grant them Rush. This can help trade off your opponent’s board and swing the momentum back into your favour. Anything of yours that survives can be buffed by Fungalmancer to push even more damage on the following turns.

Aggro Opponents

Here are some useful tips for dealing with aggro opponents on the ladder:

  • 1. Play like a control deck for the opening few turns, using removal and your hero power to keep their board under control.
  • 2. Try to stake your claim for the board early too with cards such as Fire Fly and Hench-Clan Thug.
  • 3. Saronite Chain Gang is a great card for slowing down aggro decks further, but try to avoid playing defensively for too long.
  • 4. Setting up a huge 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.
  • 5. Racing is a viable strategy against some aggro decks, especially if they rely more on damage from hand instead of building a strong board.

Control opponents

Here’s what to keep in mind when facing a control deck:

  • 1. Become the aggressor: you’ll be looking to eliminate them before they can start to take control of the game.
  • 2. Be careful of pushing too hard and over-extending into a board clear, though.
  • 3. You do have multiple resources to refill your hand if you’re struggling to hold onto a board presence, including Elven Minstrel, Ticket Scalper and Cursed Castaway.
  • 4. Spellbreaker or Vilespine Slayer can be used to take out their larger threats and allow you to push damage through.
  • 5. Cold Blood is a good card to save for some surprise damage alongside Leeroy Jenkins 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:

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.

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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:

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.

- You can combo Leeroy Jenkins with Cold Blood for a whopping 10 points of burst damage that is usually enough to defeat your opponent. You can even use Shadowstep to return it to your hand and play again for an additional six damage.

- Cursed Castaway will draw a combo card from your deck when it dies, so you can use it to fish for Cold Blood, SI:7 Agent, Elven Minstrel and Vilespine Slayer.

- When you play Captain Hooktusk, it’ll summon three Pirates from your deck and give them Rush. It’ll enable you to make powerful plays with the likes of Ticket Scalper, and better guarantee the draw effect from the Overkill ability, for example.

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.
  • 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.
  • Southsea Captain: This version of Tempo Rogue runs quite a few Pirates, so you can give them all a very useful + 1 / +1 buff when this minion is on the board.
  • 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.
  • Ticket Scalper: The low Health is an issue, but if you manage to Overkill a minion it’ll draw you two cards from your deck.
  • Fungalmancer: Buffs the two minions adjacent to it with a +2 / +2 buff, which can be hugely impactful in this minion-heavy deck.
  • 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.
  • Captain Hooktusk: Can set up a big tempo play by pulling three Pirates from your deck and giving them Rush so they can have an immediate impact on the board. Pairs excellently with Ticket Scalper.

Comment on this article

  • kwasylyk #1 A year ago
    I’m getting trounced with this deck against every priest, to the point I just auto concede at turn 1. Throw me a bone here!
    Sign in to reply

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