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Midrange Secrets Paladin Karazhan Standard Deck

Last updated on Aug 20, 2016 at 08:38 by Sottle 7 comments

Table of Contents

This guide outlines how to play a Midrange build of the explosive Paladin Secret deck. Although Paladin Secrets are weak individually, the potential to play 4 of them for free with Mysterious Challenger is too powerful to overlook. This deck play a stable curve of minions, and plays in a Tempo focused style.

Although Standard format removed many of the most powerful proactive options from Paladin, this deck still has enough power to be effective. Since the release of the Karazhan expansion this deck benefits enormously from the addition of Barnes, which can result in numerous favourable outcomes.

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. Midrange Secrets Paladin Karazhan Standard Deck

Our deck costs 4,940 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Paladin Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

Secret Paladin was a deck that was fairly dominant during the pre-Standard meta. It relied heavily on curving out with high quality minions and maintaining a board advantage over the opponent. Although most of Paladin's best proactive cards like Shielded Minibot and Muster for Battle have rotated out of the set, Mysterious Challenger itself still remains, and is still a strong enough card to build a deck around.

The big loss to this deck from the previous version is in the early-game. Prior to Standard, Paladins had arguably the most powerful early-game package in the game. Now however, this deck has to be a little more creative with its opening options. As you will see from the decklist there are no 2-drop minions in the deck which makes it extremely important to mulligan hard for multiple 1-drops in your opening hand as you will be looking ideally to play 3 1 Mana cards on the first two turns. This has the added benefit of pulling the 1 Mana cards out of your deck so you are less likely to draw them later which is important since the deck relies on drawing powerful plays each turn in the later game.

Dragon Egg and Argent Squire are key cards in the early-game as they provide a great platform for many of your buff cards moving forward. They both function extremely well with Abusive Sergeant, Keeper of Uldaman, and Blessing of Kings as well as being very annoying targets to activate a Redemption.

Moving past these early turns your goal will simply become to play on curve as much as possible. Turn 3 is a key turn for you a lot of the time as you will be looking to protect your board going into turn 4. Many of your most powerful cards like Blessing of Kings and Keeper of Uldaman rely on having a board already in play, so you should often aim to use cards like Rallying Blade and Argent Horserider defensively in order to protect your existing board. This is also where Silent Knight comes into play, which may seem like an odd inclusion, but fits this game plan perfectly.

Part of the skill of this deck is learning how to use Secrets effectively when you draw them. Ideally, you would never draw a Secret until you play your Mysterious Challenger on turn 6, but this scenario is not reliable. You will have to learn how to get some value out of what are essentially bad cards that you have put into your deck because of the insane advantage that they represent when they are all summoned for free.

Noble Sacrifice is a reasonable card that can be used similarly to an early Taunt against aggressive decks like Face Shaman, or used to protect an early minion from removal. Redemption is a very awkward card to use, as a lot of the time you will have small minions on the board which can be targetted to reduce the value of the card. Try to engineer situations where you only have 1 minion on board of high value and play Redemption in these scenarios only. Competitive Spirit should be aimed to combine with cards like Dragon Egg ideally in order to get maximum value from the buff, but any time you have more than 1 minion in play it is usually ok to play it.

Aside from the concerns of the Secrets, this deck just plays out as a standard midrange deck. The correct play on most turns is simply the one that advances your board presence the most, you will look to play for Tempo in most situations, with value and card advantage being secondary concerns. It is important however, to play around opponents key AoE removal turns, since this deck cannot be relied on to consistently draw good cards, due to the inclusion of the Secrets. On key turns where the opponent can use AoE, such as a Paladin's turn 4, or a Mage's turn 7, you should hold back minions in your hand unless you can generate a board that is suitably resistant to their AoE options.

One specific card in the mid-game that deserves special attention is Keeper of Uldaman. Keeper of Uldaman is a nice inclusion that can allow you to create more pressure in the mid-game by buffing a small token minion into a larger threat. However, you should carefully consider whether you need to hold on to Keeper of Uldaman in order to deal with a huge threat that your opponent is likely to play on a following turn, such as a Flamewreathed Faceless from a Shaman or a large Taunt minion from a Druid.

Barnes is also a hugely powerful card in the mid-game for this deck since you play so many minons that can result in favourable outcomes. At the absolute top end of outcomes, Ragnaros the Firelord and Tirion Fordring are both potentially game winning, but the deck also plays many other options that are well above the standard outcome such as Silent Knight, Argent Commander, and Argent Horserider.

Mysterious Challenger is the focal point of the deck, and if you are able to drop it on turn 6, the power in brings onto the board is incredible. In puts your opponent in a position that is almost impossible to navigate favourably, by combining the effects of several lackluster cards, to create one immense effect. If you summon all 3 Secrets into play at once, the chain of events is as follows; their first attack will trigger Noble Sacrifice, the 2/1 Defender will then be revived using Redemption, and any minions your opponent is unable to deal with will receive a buff from Competitive Spirit on your next turn. This amount of power in a single card is almost unmatched in Hearthstone, and can be single handedly game-winning.

This deck follows up Mysterious Challenger with the additional threat of Tirion Fordring if you need more board presence of a defensive play, or with the threat of burst damage from Charge minions like Argent Commander and Argent Horserider if you simply need to push for a race.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

The primary synergies in this deck all come from small token minions and the ability to buff them with cards like Blessing of Kings and Keeper of Uldaman.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

Your primary goal with this deck should always be to hit a 1-drop minion. As mentioned previously, the deck plays no 2-drops, so you can choose to keep a Secret in your opening hand if it will help you to curve out with a second 1-drop on turn 2.

A 4-drop buff card like Keeper of Uldaman can be kept if you have The Coin, especially against Shaman where it has the added benefit of being able to answer an early Flamewreathed Faceless.

Rallying Blade is also a solid keep in order to help set up a powerful turn 4, especially if you already have Argent Squire in your opening hand.

3.3. Card Swaps

Leeroy Jenkins can be included in place of Argent Commander or Ragnaros the Firelord.

Divine Favor can also be included in the same slot as an additional win-condition if you are struggling to outlast Control decks.

4. ChangeLog

  • 20 Aug. 2016: Deck added.
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