Ostkaka's Patron: the Undefeated Warrior
The Midrange Patron Warrior played by our Sebastian "Ostkaka" Engwall during the Hearthstone World Championship 2015 has proven to be the best Patron's deck in the tournament, scoring a flawless 5-0. The deck's list has been realized by our player Sebastian "Xixo" Bentert. Today we are going to take a look at the differences with the Patron used by the semi-finalist Thijs "ThijsNL" Molendijk.
Xixo shared with us his opinion on the current state of the deck!
"With the nerf to Warsong Commander, the Patron Warrior archetype has transitioned into a midrange/tempo. A lot of the best tempo cards in the current meta-game are neutral and, when combined with cards like Death's Bite or Battle Rage, they probably make this deck the strongest one in the game. Some of the current builds are still very close to the old ones, but as you don't want to stall to your combo as much anymore, but just keep playing threats that your opponent can't handle, cards like Shield Block lose their value and just don't make the cut anymore. I think that there is room for improvement in the current lists, but I also believe that ours is the strongest one out there right now. Lastly, I want to thank Ostkaka for trusting me enough to play my deck even if he didn't have time to test it before the deck submission for BlizzCon (: ."
Patron’s deck, picture from hearthstonetopdeck.com
The Patron isn't an easy deck to build because there are many small possible choices that can make a big difference on its outcome. Every player has his own version with advantages or disadvantages against different matchups. An example is the combo that uses two Shield Block to gain extra armor and a Shield Slam that inflicts 1 damage to a minion for each armor that you have - it is a strong removal that with the cheap price of just 1 mana can kill even strong minions. Together with a weapon, Slam and Execute, you can totally clear the enemy cards from the board. Both the players picked most of these removals, but neither of them opted for the Shield combo. Thijs already utilized it in the past, but this time we found him with just one Shield Block and no Shield Slam.
Ostkaka instead preferred the build recommended by Xixo with a Cruel Taskmaster and two Dread Corsair. As a warrior you always have weapons, so the Corsair is a good tempo play, an almost free card great to slow down aggro decks. The Taskmaster is a good multipurpose card and in this deck, for example, it can be used to trigger Grommash Hellscream enrage effect, bringing his total damage to 12, a good finisher with a charge attack to end the game. Of course, both the decks have multiple ways to damage their own minions, like Unstable Ghoul or Whirlwind. In fact, they have many cards that trigger when damaged: Acolyte of Pain to get extra cards, Armorsmith to increase your own armor, or the Grim Patron itself! The Taskmaster is of course a personal choice, but we believe that it is a solid card that can be used to: trigger effects as a removal (against minions with just 1 health left), or boost a minion's damage, trading 1 health for 2 damage. Finally, Ostkaka played with only 1 Slam in order to have an extra neutral card.
About the remaining cards, there are many alternatives, and usually each player will pick the ones they are accustomed to the most. On Thijs’ side we find two Gnomish Inventor. The card has pretty low stats for his cost, but in the end its purpose is to let you draw useful cards earlier, not to gain board advantage. Together with the choice of Shield Block, Thijs probably wanted to draw all the cards needed to carry out his tactic as soon as possible, to end the game.
Instead, Ostkaka opted for two Piloted Shredder, the main purpose of which is to gain tempo and card advantage thanks to its deathrattle effect – also it works very well in combination with Armorsmith, gifting extra armor to your hero. Loatheb increases the enemy's spell cost by 5 for the next turn, it has the double effect to protect your minions on the board from being removed by devastating AoE spells like Flamestrike and, if you can predict your opponent's hand, it will help you so survive an extra turn by stopping a possible finishing combo from the enemy. Finally Dr. Boom is simply one the most cost-efficient cards playable with 7 mana points. It has a small RNG component because the Boom Bot damage can vary from 1 to 4 but still, this card value for 7 mana is great, and you can use it to clear the board, kill a dangerous minion or even finish the game.
It is difficult to forecast how the Patron's deck will evolve in the future, but the recent change to Warsong Commander is a clear example on how the game keeps changing and forces the players to find new solutions.