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Basic Rogue Deck

Last updated on Jun 18, 2016 at 20:28 by Sottle 56 comments

Table of Contents

This Rogue deck:

  • is meant for players who are new to Hearthstone, and/or who have not invested much (or any) real money into the game;
  • is comprised only of cards that are granted to you for free as a reward for completing the tutorial and leveling a Rogue to level 10;
  • does not include any Common, Rare, Epic, or Legendary cards.

While there are obvious weaknesses due to the Basic-only limitation, this deck is balanced, and quite strong. It should allow you to defeat the AI (in both Normal and Expert modes), and it can hold its own against players using Rare, Epic, and even Legendary cards in Play mode.

In addition to listing the deck, we will also explain why some cards have been included or excluded, how some of the minions in the deck are best played, and what changes you can make to the deck.

Note that to succeed with this deck (as with all decks), you need to make the correct decisions while playing. For this reason, we advise you to also read these two articles: Card Advantage and Why Am I Losing?.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Basic Rogue Deck

Our deck costs 0 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Rogue Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve

2
2
8
5
6
4
2
1

3. Strategy

Rogue is a fine choice for a Basic class, mainly due to the strength of their Hero Power. The Rogue Hero Power is able to deal 2 damage over the course of 2 turns, which makes it compare very favourably to other classes. For example, Mage and Druid will have to spend 4 Mana over 2 turns in order to deal 2 damage, while one Rogue Hero Power activation will remove 2 Paladin Hero Power tokens.

Due to this, using your Hero Power effectively is key to being successful with the class. You should maintain your Wicked Knife charges at all times and avoid using them to deal 1 damage to the opponent's hero. Clearing your opponent's minions to gain an advantage on the board is usually much more beneficial than the 1 damage to the opponent, and in the situation where you have no other target to hit, you would usually rather carry your weapon charge into the next turn to avoid having to spend the Mana again to re-equip a weapon.

Rogue is best played as a Tempo class. By combining the Hero Power strategies outlined above with Rogue's low cost removal spells, you can often remove the opponent's minions for less Mana than they have used to play them, which will gain you a small advantage on each turn, eventually compounding into winning the game.

3.1. Card Choices

In this section we will discuss some of the cards that have been chosen, how to use them effectively, and why they are chosen over other possibilities. Hopefully this will both help you to succeed with this deck, as well as inform your own deck building decisions in the future.

Backstab is one of your best removal spells, and is a fantastic tool for gaining board advantage and Tempo in the early turns. For example, if your opponent plays a Bloodfen Raptor on turn 2, you can play your own Bloodfen Raptor in response and use Backstab, immediately reversing the position of the board.

Deadly Poison is another extremely valuable removal tool. Deadly Poison will often create a 2-for-1 situation in your favour. As with the regular Wicked Knife, you will want to hold onto your Deadly Poison charges until an appropriate situation arises to clear a minion. Avoid using the damage to attack your opponent's Hero unless you are very close to winning the game.

Sap is included in the deck as a powerful Tempo card. Once you are able to build a board early using your efficient removal spells, your opponent will often be playing from behind. In this situation, Sapping a mid-range or late-game card that they play and continuing to press your advantage can create an overwhelming amount of pressure. Sap can also be combined with Assassinate on consecutive turns, causing your opponent to waste the Mana to play their big card twice.

Shiv is a useful card that can function as both a removal spell and a card draw effect. It also combines very well with your Hero Power to remove 2 health minions.

Kobold Geomancer is included in the deck as a one-off card. Due to the amount of of removal spells in the deck, Kobold Geomancer can be a very effective tool to buff your Backstab, or to turn Fan of Knives into a strong AoE tool.

Fan of Knives is your only AoE tool in the deck, since you do not have access to Blade Flurry from the Expert Set. Although it is fairly weak in isolation, it can be buffed using Kobold Geomancer to create a more powerful effect.

Assassin's Blade is a versatile tool that can be used both to clear multiple minions in a game that is in the balance, or to aggressively push for damage to the opponent in a game where you are ahead, especially in combination with Deadly Poison.

Assassinate is your hard removal spell in the deck and should be reserved for the largest minions in your opponent's deck. Assassinate can be your tool to bridge the gap in cost to more expensive decks, since this card can effectively answer your opponent's Ragnaros the Firelord or similar cards.

Sprint is a great tool in the late-game to refill your hand with options. Since cards like Backstab and Shiv will often be used in combination to remove minions, you may eventually find yourself at a card disadvantage. Sprint can be used to effectively recover this position.

3.2. Card Omissions

Here we will talk about some of the cards that are not included to help you understand and identify weaker cards, hopefully improving your deck building skills.

Sinister Strike is not included since the 3 damage to the opponent is not worth a card. Although Sinister Strike is useful in very aggressive Rogue decks, without access to the Expert Set, it is not possible to back it up with enough aggression to justify including it.

Vanish is not featured in the deck since the aim is to be ahead on board. Due to this, Vanish will often be more detrimental to your own side of the board than your opponents. Even in situations where you are behind, Vanish simply costs too much to recover the position.

3.3. Card Swaps

Obviously, as a Basic deck, this list has a lot of room for improvement. As you progress with the game and gain access to more cards and Arcane Dust, here are some additions that you may consider.

If you have access to the Naxxramas set and are playing Wild format, the following additions are excellent:

  • Loatheb can be included in place of one Sen'jin Shieldmasta. Loatheb is a powerful minion to protect your board from removal spells once you have built an advantage.
  • Haunted Creepers can be included in the deck in place of the Bloodfen Raptors. Haunted Creeper is a very difficult to remove minion, and the multiple 1 attack minions it creates combine very well with your Hero Power and cards like Shiv.

If you have access to the Blackrock Mountain set, we recommend the following additions.

  • 2 x Dark Iron Skulker can be included in the deck in place of 1 x Boulderfist Ogre and 1 x Sen'jin Shieldmasta. Dark Iron Skulker is another very strong Tempo card that can compliment the style of the deck nicely.
  • 1 x Drakonid Crusher can be included in place of 1 x Boulderfist Ogre. Since this an aggressive, Tempo focused deck, you will quite often have lowered your opponent below the required 15 by the time you are able to play this card.

The League of Explorers set offers the following cards for your deck which are excellent:

  • 2 x Tomb Pillager for 2 x Sen'jin Shieldmasta. Tomb Pillager is a very high value card that is able to represent a huge threat on the board and then allow you to speed up your play on a following turn after it dies.
  • Other welcome additions from the Expert Set are listed below. However it should be noted that these cards should be added only if you open them from a pack. Spending dust to improve a Basic only deck is not particularly efficient, and you should instead try to save dust towards one of our low, or mid-budget decks.

    4. ChangeLog

    • 18 Jun. 2016: Edited for clarity on card swaps for Standard and Wild.
    • 29 Jun. 2015: Added options for Blackrock Mountain cards to be added to the deck.
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