Our Tempo Rogue deck list guide features the best Descent of Dragons deck list for Season 69 of Hearthstone (December 2019). Our Tempo Rogue guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.
Tempo Rogue is a Hearthstone deck archetype that we’ve seen in many forms over the years.
The aim of the deck is to field an aggressive collection of minions from the very start of the match and gain incremental advantages over your opponent as the game goes on with value-oriented minions or spells. That’s usually enough to leave your opponent in the dust, or you can often finish with a surprising chunk of burst damage too!
In this latest update to our Tempo Rogue deck guide, we’ve highlighted the new version of the deck. It includes the new Deathrattle package brought about in Descent of Dragons thanks to Necrium Apothecary. Play it well though, and you can go on a nice win streak. You’ll also find a basic overview of the strategy involved in playing it, as well as some Mulligan advice to get you off to the best start in each match. Right at the bottom, we have all the important cards and combos in the deck that you’ll need to learn in order to get the most from Tempo Rogue.
|2 x Shadowstep||2 x EVIL Cable Rat|
|2 x Backstab||1 x Leeroy Jenkins|
|2 x Bloodsail Flybooter||1 x Zilliax|
|2 x Sap||1 x Cairne Bloodhoof|
|2 x EVIL Miscreant||2 x Mechanical Whelp|
|1 x Edwin VanCleef|
|2 x Necrium Blade|
|2 x SI:7 Agent|
|2 x Necrium Apothecary|
|2 x Spirit of the Shark|
|2 x Waggle Pick|
|1 x Flik Skyshiv|
|1 x Heistbaron Togwaggle|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAaIHBrICrwSggAOkA8GuA5KXAwy0Ae0Cv64DtJEDzQOPlwPe+gLdCLuuA7SGA4mbA7T2AgA=
This article contains additional reporting by James Pickard.
While this version of Tempo Rogue certainly favours aggression, it would be wrong to call it a pure aggro deck. Instead, it favours clearing off enemy minions, establishing a strong board, and then finishing off your opponent with a chunk of burst damage. It’s basically a slow and steady increase in power that, if left unchecked, can storm into a lead and finish the game before an opponent even gets a strong enough foothold.
The deck also features a handful of useful utility cards that give you some flexibility in how you can find your win condition. Many of these take full advantage of effects unique to the Rogue class, including minion bouncing and Combo cards.
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. Alternatively you can try to combo out a solid EVIL Miscreant play. If you can drop a big Edwin VanCleef on the board you should always consider that option too.
Maintain control of the board and start pushing for damage where you can. Aim to nick more cards from your opponent and use them if they’re helpful or hold them in hand to buff your other cards. You can keep the tempo up with plays like SI:7 Agent and Vendetta, dealing damage to the opponent whilst putting your own cards into play. Waggle Pick is a solid pickup here too, as is can allow you to replay a strong Battlecry whilst clearing enemy minions or going face.
If you can play the mid-game combo of Necrium Blade on turn 3 followed by Necrium Apothecary on turn 4, you'll be able to break the blade immediately, allowing you to trigger the Deathrattle effect of either summoning a 4/5 or a 7/7.
If the game’s not already been won you’ll be hunting for your last burst of damage – most likely through Leeroy Jenkins. If you didn’t have an opportunity in the early game then now is the time to go for a large Edwin VanCleef as well. Heistbaron Togwaggle is an amazing late play, particularly with a bit of luck using Zarog’s Crown.
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, and grabbing those Lackeys from EVIL Miscreant can also be good here.
- 3. Setting up a huge Edwin VanCleef 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 card thieving options and Shadowstep.
- 4. You might struggle against larger minions, but with weapon buffs and removal spells you should be able to handle one or two if needed.
Tempo Rogue Mulligan guide
These are the cards you’ll want to search for in your opening hand with Tempo Rogue.
- 1. EVIL Miscreant: Provides the potential for incredible value if you can play it with the combo (which you really, really should!)
- 2. Edwin VanCleef: Playing a bunch of cheap cards like Backstab and various Lackeys, before slamming down a huge Edwin VanCleef early on can immediately win you the game.
- 3. Necrium Apothecary: Despite costing 4 mana, it's a massive play tempo-wise, bringing onto the board a whole host of stats both immediately and for the future.
- 4. Backstab: Can outright kill or weaken early game minions for zero mana. That’s value.
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:
- Certain cards such as SI:7 Agent become more powerful if another card is play earlier on in the same turn. Always look for the extra value afforded by these plays. The Combo value is doubled up with Spirit of the Shark too!
- EVIL Miscreant will add two random Lackey minions to your hand when played. These can include:
- Ethereal Lackey - Discover a Spell
- Faceless Lackey - Summon a random 2-cost minion
- Goblin Lackey - Give a friendly minion +1 Attack and Rush
- Kobold Lackey - Deal 2 damage
- Witchy Lackey - Transform a friendly minion into one that costs (1) more
- Titanic Lackey - Give a friendly minion +2 Health and Taunt
- Draconic Lackey - Discover a Dragon
- In order to make the largest Edwin VanCleef possible, see how you can combine you zero cost spells with other minions and bounce effects to build up your pool of played cards.
- Bloodsail Flybooter is a 1 mana 1/1, but you get another couple of 1 mana 1/1s in hand thanks to its Battlecry. This is hugely beneficial thanks to the potential to activate Combos and generally flood the board.
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.
- Underbelly Fence: Feel free to add this if you’re looking for a bit of mid game swing. As long as you fulfil the card’s condition, you’ll receive a 2 mana 3/4 with Rush, something that can bring the game back to your side.
- Blink Fox: One of the minions that enables you to steal cards from outside your deck. It has decent stats for the cost, too!
- Edwin VanCleef: As you can play so many cards in a single turn this can end up as quite a hefty minion that your opponent may struggle to remove. Hench-Clan Thug is a reasonable replacement if needed.
- Vendetta: A free four damage if you’re holding a card from another class, which represents some incredible value considering how often you’ll meet the requirement. You can also run Sap for a more consistent - if slightly less permanent - option.
- Waggle Pick: This weapon already offers decent damage but you can make full use of the bounce effect on some key cards such as Leeroy Jenkins to use their burst damage once again.
- Bazaar Mugger: A card that adds value to your hand whilst immediately impacting the board with Rush.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Play it for the burst finish potential. You can run Reckless Rocketeer if you need a cheaper alternative.