Our Tempo Rogue deck list guide features the best Rastakhan deck list for Season 59 of Hearthstone (February 2019). 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.
UPDATE - JANUARY #1
Tempo Rogue underwent a lot of change over the Christmas break, and so we've taken the opportunity in the new year to overhaul our recommended deck list and the rest of the guide. This deck is a bit middling at the moment, but the list highlighted here is about as good as things get for the archetype at this stage of the Rastakhan meta.
Tempo Rogue deck list and strategy
This is the latest version of Tempo Rogue that's seeing the most competitive play at this stage of the Rastakhan's Rumble meta:
|2 x Backstab||2 x Fire Fly|
|2 x Cold Blood||1 x Prince Keleseth|
|2 x SI:7 Agent||2 x Hench-Clan Thug|
|1 x Gral, the Shark||2 x Southsea Captain|
|2 x Vilespine Slayer||2 x Tar Creeper|
|2 x Cursed Castaway||2 x Corpsetaker|
|1 x Captain Hooktusk||2 x Ticket Scalper|
|1 x Leeroy Jenkins|
|1 x Zilliax|
|1 x Argent Commander|
|1 x Stormwatcher|
|1 x The Lich King|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAaIHCJkCrwTvwgLCzgKc4gKggAPWjAPXjAMLtAGMAqgF3QiBwgLrwgLKwwKW6AKm7wLf7wKq/wIA
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 in hand? If so, you’ve just hit the jackpot and can buff all the minions in your deck with +1 /+1. In every other instance when you don’t stumble upon this stupidly powerful card, 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 you continue fielding supporting minions. If you find yourself running short of cards, 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.
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. 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.
- 4. Racing is a viable strategy against some aggro decks, especially if they rely more on damage from hand instead of building a strong board.
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 Ticket Scalper and Cursed Castaway.
- 4. Vilespine Slayer can be used to take out their larger threats and allow you to keep pushing 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.
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:
- Once Prince Keleseth has been put into play, all other minions remaining in your deck gain an extra +1 / +1 of stats.
- 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 and SI:7 Agent. Consider keeping it in your hand for a cheap piece of a future combo.
- Each time you swing with your weapon, your active Hench-Clan Thug will gain an extra +1 / +1 of stats.
- 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.
- You can combo Leeroy Jenkins with Cold Blood for a whopping 10 points of burst damage that is usually enough to defeat your opponent.
- 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 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.
- At the end of each turn The Lich King will pick a Death Knight card at random and add it to your hand. Here are the special cards he has access to:
|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.
- 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.