Its day 1 of TGT ( The Grand Tournament ) and I break open my 50 packs. I must admit that my biggest excitement for it was the Lock and Load card for Hunter. I scan my collection and come across a Mysterious Challenger. Little did I know at the time, that this would become one of the strongest cards of TGT, and possibly the game. After rigorous playing and watching it rise to tier 1 greatness it has proven itself to be one of the strongest decks in Hearthstone. It is also making appearances in conquest lines in tournaments with such big names as Kolento and Strifecro implementing it into their line ups.
Although I do believe that this deck is still in its infancy, it has made rank 1 legend in both Asian and NA servers. This guide will teach you basic mulligan guides and individual takes on each class and the different archetypes that you will commonly see on the ladder.
Secrets Paladin is much like its little sister in prior seasons, the Aggro Paladin. There is only one big difference. How do we fit in 6-10 secrets? Well the deck list may be a little intimidating due to the secrets being in such great numbers and appearing less then ideal individually. The thing about these individual secrets is that they can be used very effectively with other minions and secrets to gain board control, or keeping minions alive. You also have the added effect that your opponent has to think and sift through 5 possible secrets to figure out what to play around, rather then knowing each secret that’s played due to the reaction.
All of your divine minions synergise very well with Redemptions, as they are returned to life with divine. This deck is home to the infamous turn 6, 7, and 8 Dr. 6, Into Dr. 7, into Dr. 8. One of the strongest lines in the game I would say, but don’t let this fool you, there are still ways to get around this and this is far from being a brainless deck. Effectively using your secrets in combination with your early game minions is crucial. Knowing how your opponent will react and triggering secrets in your favor.The Secrets Paladin deck aims to take early board control, and then maintaining and buffing your board through drawn secrets in hand. It then curves into Mysterious Challenger, thinning your deck of the pesky secrets and playing them all at once for ultimate effect. The deck also uses Dr. Boom and Tirion Fordring to keep the late game alive, if you are unable to finish they are both very strong finishers.
There is also another version of the Secrets Paladin which I find a little less effective that takes out the late game mechanics for more early game, with Leper Gnomes, Abusive Sergeant’s, and Argent Squires. It is also a bit cheaper as you are not running Dr. Boom and Tirion Fordring so as we will get into later this is possible substitutions for the deck while you are getting your legendary minions.
In any match up you are going to be doing a couple things when you mulligan as a Secrets Paladin. Always keep your Muster For Battles and go for early game minions, and if possible a good secret like Noble Sacrifice. Say I am going against a warrior and I play Noble Sacrifice turn 1, he is more then likely going to pass turn rather then coining out the weapon they always seem to have but knowing I used my free turn to secret a Noble Sacrifice I can play a Knife Juggler that would otherwise be countered by an axe. This can also be used with Redemption. Turn 1 Redemption, Knife Juggler, warrior kills Juggler, Juggler returns, Muster For Battle. This would be an ideal opener for your Secrets Paladin.
The other way in which my deck list differs from the generic is, I like to run only 1 Divine Favor. The reason being, I am going to either mulligan for that (if it shows up in your hand going to be another card you always keep) or hope that it shows up by the time I need it. Some games you end up with such a great curve you don’t end up needing the extra card draw. On top of that, it seems to me that when you run 2 Divine Favor’s they either never show up together, or they end up showing up together. Strangely there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground for this card. The 2nd Divine Favor is something you could definitely consider swapping if you feel like your luck with it is a bit better.
Paladin matches are going to end up one of two ways. It is going to be a mirror match and rule on whoever get the Mysterious Challenger first, to Repentance the others, or you will be seeing a mid range version of Paladin. In a mirror match with Paladin obviously you are not going to know what kind they are running. You can however know that they are playing similar to you in early turns no matter what kind they are. I like to always mulligan for a Consecration in a mirror match. Muster For Battle is one of the strongest 3 drops in the game and almost every Paladin will either have it or mulligan for it. It really seems to pop up in almost every Paladin match up. Along side a Shielded Mini Bot this can become a disaster if you don’t have a direct answer to early game aggression. Be careful not to play into a Consecration as an overly aggressive Secrets Paladin. Sometimes 4-5 minions on the board is enough and they are baiting out your last few minions hoping that you don’t have Divine Favor in your hand and you end up card less.
I believe that Warrior is a good match up for the Secrets Paladin. I do very well against control variations and have a bit less luck with patron decks, but when patron does pull it out I feel like they had a very good opening hand. In this match up it is definitely safe to keep things like a Redemption to protect important early game creatures, just make sure to be able to back it up if you end up keeping it. I will always mulligan for my early game creatures like Secret Keeper and Knife Juggler but if your hand is overpowered feel comfortable keeping a well placed secret.
I’m not going to lie to you here. Priest is one of the hardest match ups for the Secrets Paladin at this point for a few reasons. They have early game taunts, which either eat up your board as they heal it back to full life, or they are doing the same with a Northshire Cleric and drawing cards off it, not ideal either way. The key to beating a priest is Equality. Equality is a must to mulligan for but also cannot be played too early.
When facing against a Dragon Priest I like to wait until I see the Twilight Guardian as it is very powerful at 3/6 with taunt and getting healed. If you are patient enough and the aggression isn’t too severe, you should be able to Muster For Battle off a Wyrmrest Agent and a Twilight Guardian which is definitely ideal. You always want to be attempting to curve into your stronger minions as quickly as possible such as Piloted Shredder. The other mechanic that I very much struggle with with Priest is the stealing. Little Thiefs at turn 6 will take a 2 attack minion, which if you’re not careful can be partnered with Shrinkmeister to take up to a 4 attack minion, no fun! This is a match up definitely favored for the Priest so do your best and good luck!
Mage is a decent match up for both sides depending on which type you go against. Freeze Mage is the first I will talk about as it is the rarest and probably the most difficult. The
Freeze Mage is going to let you feel good about your board and then crush your dreams with freeze spells and board clears. This is far from an unwinnable match though. You need to mulligan as aggro as you can and keep your aggression strong under whatever circumstances, while limiting the card draw from the acolytes and other card draw mechanics.
You will need to get as much damage as you can by turn 6, because if you are too far behind then you just wont be able to catch up once the AoE starts flowing and they have full secrets. Pop the Ice Block as fast as you can and hope for the best. Truesilver is a possible mulligan for as it is a bit of healing once they decide to Alexzastra on turn 9 but who is gonna mulligan for turn 9?
Mech Mage and Tempo Mage are very different decks but for the Secrets Paladin they are played against very similarly which is good for a mulligan. Just try to get the strongest opening hand you can to counter the aggression that they will put out. This is a pretty even match up with the Tempo Mage in my opinion being a bit more difficult. The key way to spot a Tempo Mage is Sorcerers Apprentice!
Druid is another match up that I believe is slightly favored for the opponent. If you look around at other websites you will not have to look far before hearing this is a good match up, I strongly disagree. They have very powerful AoE in Swipe so be very careful not to overextend early game into it. You should be doing two things, trying to establish a decent board as they are going to be removing with Wrath and Living Roots as well, and you need to make sure they do not ramp with the Darnassus Aspirant. Remove it as quickly as possible as it is ramped directly into a turn 3 Piloted Shredder which is very effective for the Druid. If you make it through the early game and have a decent board curing into Mysterious Challenger and stronger late game should do you well but always be on alert for the devastating Force Of Nature, Savage Roar. Remove the minions!
Rogue is one of the rarest classes on ladder right now probably being matched with Shaman, but that being said the people who continue to use it, usually know what they are doing. It is actually favored in the Secrets Paladin direction but I would personally put it closer to 50/50 due to pilots skill generally. If you get matched against a Rogue just make sure you keep the board clear, as they throw out oils and Blade Flurry for massive amounts of instant damage. You should be able to develop a good board against a Rogue, although they do have a lot of removal and annoying tricks. Assume they will have a Fan Of Knives for your Muster For Battle so don’t overextend just like in the Druid match up and just do your best to build your board and curve into late game strength!
Shaman is underplayed and underdeveloped right now unfortunately. The decks that you see are going to be in the higher ranks of ladder and they are actually pretty strong. Fortunately for the Paladin they are just that very situational. You should have a very good match up against the Shaman as you can finish the game much faster then they would like you to. They have AoE but it’s not horrible for you, just don’t overextend again into a Lightning Storm but know that even if its played on turn 3 or 4 they are severely overloaded the turn after which gives you a fantastic opportunity to catch up. The only tough part about Shamans I would say is the totem type. Be careful for them showing aggression on you and playing a mid game Thunderbluff Valiant as leaving up a lot of totems equals a lot of angry totems, that being said clear them as often as you can.
The most popular type of Warlock right now is the demon variation of the handlock. Now going into this handlock is the reason why Equality is kept in the deck list. It is good in a lot of situations but absolutely wrecks handlock. You are beating the handlocks face in until what? They have 10 health left and they just dropped 2 Molten Giants and locked it up with a Defender Of Argus. Equality is the ultimate answer to the otherwise game winning situation. You definitely want to mulligan for the Equality in this match up to make sure you have it even if it may not come out till turn 5 or 6 or later. They will have a bit of early removal in Dark Bomb but its really not to bad and you can usually just keep aggression strong through. The one AoE that they carry is Hellfire, so if it looks to good to be true. It is! What do I say? Don’t over extend, no matter how good it feels!
The other type of handlock that you will see a bit less frequently is zoo, which is just a face deck and it is going to depend on who can get and maintain a good early game board. If zoolock takes off on you on the board and you have no way to answer the early game minions he may just overwhelm you. Hopefully you should be able to keep up just enough to curve into a later game Mysterious Challenger to take the board lead very easily.
The harder match up for Secrets Paladin I would say is the midrange Hunter. They have a little more room in the deck for up and coming things like Flare and stronger minions mixed with good removal. The worst thing I come across in midrange is being very close to lethal and they throw down a last minute Houndmaster taunt in front of a single Mysterious Challenger. Ironbeak Owl was a substitution option in this deck for handlock and situations like this so if you feel you are running into problems and need to get through a little more, try out an owl!
Again, the Hunter is a class that has two popular play styles at this time. The face deck lists I have found much easier to take care of except for one thing, Unleash The Hounds. You see, face hunters will not be paying attention to your board either requiring you to remove their minions as quickly as possible or you will try to race them down. The problem with racing them is your board can get so big they will have a very favorable Unleash The Hounds for even more devastation to your face. Always be removing creatures as much as you can and try to keep your board down to 3-4 minions, until you have seen at least one early unleash. Be VERY careful about turn 5 with a big board them playing Knife Juggler into an unleash. Then they not only get the massive amount of juggles but chargers to clear or wreck that pretty face!
I get asked a lot for substitutions for things like Tirion Fordring, and Dr. Boom. As I stated earlier in the article there is a much cheaper version that still run the challengers with a more aggressive front line of 1 drops. This will be a very strong deck as well and will climb you many ladder ranks. If you simply do not want to use either one of these legends I would say that Tirion can be replaced for Blessing Of Kings causing big minions at your disposal along with your challengers, or another good replacement would be Loatheb. This is a good body minion and annoying for any class and played right can get you out of a late game lethal swaying the game in your favor. I would say Dr. Boom is almost a must unless you are running the aggro version, but for this I would also say Blessing Of Kings. It is very common for even the midrange versions of the deck to try and fit in at least one Blessing Of Kings as it is very effective and establishes a very strong board on curve.
In conclusion, Secrets Paladin is a deck that can surely help you climb the ladder with once you are familiar with the mechanics. Learn from your mistakes as I stated, as this is not a dumby deck and always think of the most advantageous path to play your secrets, because your opponents are not dumb! If you like this decklist and want to see more you can find me on twitch.tv/3demon3 Tuesday through Friday 6pm-12am PST, where I would be more then willing to answer any of your questions or help you with any other aspect of the game you might be having trouble with. I want to take a moment to thank the mYinsanity team and I look forward to producing the highest quality of content. Thanks for reading!