Hearthstone Preview: Paladin Minions and Strategyby Zenstyle
July 25, 2013 Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
In our Hearthstone preview on Tuesday, we discussed the interesting mesh of spells Paladin have access to. The deck will not feature the ability to DPS someone down with burst damage spells, so it’ll likely come down to minions to get the job done. Fortunately, given Uther’s ability to buff and protect those fighting alongside him, this deck will be in a good spot when it comes to transforming the average minion into a weapon of the Light.
That said, the Paladin deck features all of four actual minions at present, making it difficult to figure out what the final product will look like. We’ll definitely take a gander at those, but just keep in mind that there’s room for more to be introduced. Moreover, in the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at some generic minions and which ones could help bolster the ranks.
If you’re looking for a solid two energy minion, Argent Protector‘s the card for the job. It has a sound foundation, being a 2/2 for two, and also features the added perk of bestowing divine protection upon another minion. For those who might not recall, divine protection causes the minion to ignore the first bit of damage it receives. After, the divine protection buff is removed and it’s business as usual. Thus, Argent Protector has the potential to vastly increase the survivability of another minion on the battlefield. Very reasonable minion, definitely recommend it, has use all throughout the match.
This is another measured minion, sitting at 3/3 for 3. Aldor Peacekeeper‘s battlecry ability is a clone of the one energy spell Humility, lowering a minion’s attack rating to one. This minion fits in great with the slow, even pace of the deck and can be an absolute pain in the butt to deal with due to stalling potential. I’d recommend this card even if you don’t run Humility, but if you do, expect to be incredibly difficult to mount an offensive against.
Guardian of Kings
Of all the cards we’ve previewed thus far, this has been the hardest to decide on. Guardian of Kings isn’t a bad card, but if I were building my Paladin deck, I feel like there would be cheaper, better options in the generic minion pool. It’s worth having this minion available though, especially if your ultimate goal is to stall out your opponent. Seven energy for a 5/6 isn’t awful per se, but it’s the six health battlecry that would sell me here. Playing against Mage, Shaman or even just high octane aggro decks, Guardian of Kings could be invaluable when it comes to surviving an onslaught of spells or low cost early game minions. Against those kinds of decks, exhausting the opponent’s hand is always crucial to victory, something to keep in mind.
I am a huge fan of Tirion Fordring, both in World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. The guy’s just a straight up BAMF who spends his afternoons challenging the Lich King and freeing enslaved Death Knights. In Hearthstone, he’ll spend his matches protecting you, your friends, and handing you a badass sword, should he pass on. Tirion Fordring costs eight energy and enters the battlefield as a 6/6 with taunt, divine protection and a deathrattle that equips Uther with a 5/3 Ashbringer weapon. The Paladin deck features a lot of stall, but this is a card that will allow Uther to get on the offensive while the legendary Paladin minion holds the line. When he is defeated, he’ll only serve to bolster your offensive capabilities. This is just a great card, and in my opinion one of the strongest class specific legendaries available.
There’s not a lot of glitz and glam to the Paladin deck, but don’t let that turn you off to it. It is incredibly consistent, despite having a decidedly weaker hero power. There are a couple of ways to approach playing the deck, and we’ll lightly touch on them.
The first, and most obvious route, is just to stall the game while systematically weakening enemy minions until you have board control and can just cut your opponent down. Between Humility and Aldor Peacekeeper, it will be very possible to ruin an enemy offensive and then take the time to dispatch the minions with little return damage. Between the divine protection and healing mechanics, it’ll be possible to ensure that your buffed minions stay on the battlefield. If you choose to invest in certain secrets, it’ll be even more difficult to finish them off. Moreover, the myriad of card draw sources available in the deck can give you a consistent card advantage while you nickel and dime your opponent to death. There is no major risk to this strategy, but a more minor one is fatigue, as is shown in the only available Fireside duel featuring the Paladin deck. This strategy feels kind of boring, but once a competitive scene emerges, the name of the game will be winning, something most of us are all too familiar with from prior stints in competitive TCG scenes.
Another route is aiming to buff up one or two super irritating minion with the various Blessings cards, divine protection, et cetera. While it could definitely be awesome to try and run someone over with a 13/13 Tyrion Fordring or something equally absurd, there are a lot of risks associated with this sort of build, even if you slather your side of the board with minions featuring taunt. Honestly, while it could work, it’s better suited to the Shaman deck, simply because they have access to the windfury mechanic, making giant creatures hit incredibly hard.
Regardless of how you choose to do it (and there are a lot of other, more obscure options!) the Paladin deck is good at surviving. It’s weakness is a sustained offensive, but that can be worked around with some clever use of generic minions. We’ll be discussing those minions more in the coming weeks.
We’re getting down to the wire with deck previews, having only Warlocks, Druids and Rogues left. The remaining three decks are all decidedly complicated and should be very exciting to read about. Once again, we’ll leave it to you. What preview would you like to see next week? The shapeshifting Druid? The self-destructing Warlock? The cunning Rogue? Comment below and let us know!
Miss some of BlizzPro’s earlier previews? Take a look at those and other Hearthstone articles here. Have a question about Hearthstone or just want to talk deck ideas? Drop me a line at @RobertAWing on Twitter, or at ZenStyle@BlizzPro.com.