In my last article, I’ve introduced Holy Wrath Paladin, summarized its typical playstyle and went through the card choices in the deck. In this article, I will be talking about some of the matchups you will run into most often on ladder, and have a quick discussion on what we should do should we play each of them. An assumption that we should often make here is that the opponent would have a good to great hand; based on that assumption, we will look at the cards on our hand and determining what the best play is, to play around that possibility of getting countered.
Mage can usually only drop Mountain Giant – the 12 mana 8/8 starting from turn 4 onwards. That would give us a lot of time to draw with Novice Engineer, or to simply hero power and accept 8 damage to the face on the next turn, rather than using Flash of Light while at full health. This waste of healing is actually a mistake that many people make.
Pushing draws in the first few turns is not really meaningful in this matchup, because you will very easily overdraw and when you start taking face damage, the tools to survive the through first phase are gone, and you will be looking at your topdecks to save you. That 4 Health from Flash of Light would actually buy you another turn.
Going to turn 5, you can think of using Crystalsmith Kangor + Flash of Light to recover 8 health, leaving you at full health (as if the Giant never went face!) and forcing the opponent to handle a 2 mana minion with Divine Shield, or ignore it and keep on going face. Starting from turn 5 and 6, Time Out! combined with continuous draws and board clears become very effective. Of course, the Mage will constantly put pressure on the turn after being cleared by successive big minions, but you would expect to fend them off with your arsenal, into the turns where you can comfortable drop Shirvallah for very cheap.
These decks are very reactive, which means YOU would be the aggressor.
With Control Warrior, you need to extract as much chip damage as possible from your minions and when needed, clear the whole board in one turn and then continue to face. Alexstraza can be used, to make it easier and more comfortable to deal damage to your opponent.
Against Shaman, your priority is to clear the board instead of chipping in damage, because Shaman has many small healing tool, but can almost never recover enough health after your first 25 damage Holy Wrath (unlike Warrior, they can’t go above 30 HP!).
The advice here is that when starting the combo for 25 damage, you should clear the board first to avoid the enemy taking advantage of the available healing minions on the field, ESPECIALLY THOSE MECHS! Zilliax is a real thing!
Hunters & other Aggro
Definitely do NOT waste The Coin (especially against Token Druid). Although spending the Coin on turn 3 for Prismatic Lens sounds great on paper, then the ability to handle a huge board with a limited amount of mana is impaired, which leaves you so behind on board that even two turn Immunity wouldn’t save you. Instead, try to survive as long as possible and don’t be afraid to lose HP, as long as you keep your HP level at around 15 because then you can fully recover at the late game with your healing abundance.
One example of how to use the Coin: if you can get either the Hammer of Wrath or the Truesilver Champion out on turn 3, then use the weapon first so you can clear up to three minions over two turns. Truesilver Champion is a great card into many early minions, since not many of them are out of its range with the given mana.
There are many other matchups that we could consider here, but it’s very difficult to explain in-depth in a single article. If you’re looking for a particular matchup to play against, check out the next articles in this series!
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