Think of Odd Rogue like this: you are an Anaconda that relentlessly strangles your opponent. You take the air out of his lungs until he has nothing left. That’s how you win.
Hi there, welcome to my Wild Odd Rogue guide, featuring the list that took me to #7 Legend on EU. My in-game moniker is Mørbeck and I am a ‘young’ wild player that switched from Standard at the start of last rotation. I always had a soft spot for Odd Rogue since it was in Standard, but it wasn’t until the Kingsbane nerf that I started playing it in Wild.
Disclaimer: This guide was written in June during the Rise of Shadows meta, so my stats and results are from that time. The main strategy of the deck
Beeozan’s Odd Rogue
Corbett’s Odd Rogue
Stats & Rank Proof
Proof of #7 Legend: https://imgur.com/ADyVcTm
Stats: https://imgur.com/NA9a1BJ (72% WR at Legend this season, 64% WR overall including last season)
Decklist & card choices
The list I’m featuring is very streamlined and a good place to start if you’re new to the archetype. The original creator of this particular list is Memnarch, and I have made only 1 substitution: Zilliax for Tar Creeper. Both cards serve a similar purpose but Zilliax is a better card overall, has synergy with SN1P-SN4P, and deals with 3 health minions which can be tricky because our hero power only deals 2 damage.
If you’re wondering why SN1P-SN4P is in the list, hear me out:
- it is the only minion that leaves stats on the board after dying, making your board more resistant to AoE (the synergy with Fungalmancer is a big deal);
- it fixes the 3, 6, and 9 mana slots by itself (this deck is all about curving out after all);
- it can go both wide and tall, letting you tweak your strategy based on the matchup.
So much value and versatility in one card simply cannot be ignored.
How to play Odd Rogue?
One of the biggest mistakes I see people doing when playing Odd Rogue is rushing your opponent down too early. Odd Rogue is an aggressive tempo deck that seeks to control the board with the upgraded hero power from Baku the Mooneater and win through the tempo advantage this generates turn after turn.
Rushing is only correct in fringe cases, most of the time you want to clear your opponent’s board and constantly apply pressure with the damage your minions are representing. Everyone likes going face, but Odd Rogue lives and dies by its board; lose your board, and you’ll run out of steam within seconds. I usually value trade turn after turn until I just have lethal on board and ship everything face. The chip damage you deal throughout the game should be enough, no reason to overkill. Remember, you are the Anaconda.
With this in mind, the cards in your deck are at their best when they are used proactively and not reactively. For example, being greedy with Vilespine Slayer and wait to hit a big minion is mostly incorrect. The only time you need to keep her is against Priests, because of Obsidian Statue and Inner Fire combos.
In all other cases, play Vilespine Slayer proactively, before he can to do his power plays, and think of her in terms of tempo differential. With this I mean the tempo you gain versus the tempo you ‘steal’ from your opponent. A Vilespine Slayer killing a 4/4 is still a 7/8 net tempo gain for you! (+4/4 you removed and +3/4 you put into play). Similar reasoning goes for SI:7 Agent: play it to get ahead on board, don’t wait to get behind and then try to swing it back, because Odd Rogue shines when it is dictating tempo, but suffers when it gets behind on board. Don’t think of Vilespine Slayer as a premium removal, but rather as a tempo bomb.
The last card I want to touch upon is EVIL Miscreant. Since the Cold Blood nerf, Odd Rogue definitely shifted from being an aggressive, burst-oriented deck to a more board-centric/value one. I’m convinced that EVIL Miscreantis one of the cards that keeps Odd Rogue relevant, because it made this shift possible, and gave the deck a new face, with more utility. EVIL Miscreant is our Swiss Army Knife.
We can solve any kind of problem we are presented with thanks to this card. Need some extra oompf on the board? Play Fungalmancer/Vilespine Slayer into Witchy Lackey. Need some extra damage? Fish for some burst spells from Ethereal Lackey. Need to get back into the board? No problem, Kobold Lackey, Faceless Lackey, and Goblin Lackey are all there to get you back in the game. Learn to appreciate this card and how to use the Lackeys – it is going to be a cornerstone of every Odd Rogue for quite some time.
Beatdown or control?
I consider Odd Rogue to be closer to a midrange deck than an aggro deck. It is usually the control versus aggro (Aggro Druid, Odd Paladin, Mech Hunter, Pirate Warrior, etc.) and the beatdown versus control (Control Warlock, Big Priest, Odd Warrior). This means that the mulligan and the general strategy can be roughly split into two:
1. Versus aggressive decks: Respond to your opponent’s threats in the most efficient way possible. Prioritize going wide at the cost of your own development. The usual curve of T1 1-drop into T2 hero power into T3 Hench-Clan Thug might be too slow. Play for maximum tempo and go wide. Play as many minions as possible to give you a chance to deal with their early aggression. In the midgame, you will turn the game around, since your minions will on average be beefier. Fire Fly and EVIL Miscreant are your best friends here.
2. Versus control decks: Maximize your damage output. Here you want to curve out the classic way and start going tall at the earliest occasion (depends on the opponent’s class of course, but you get the jist of it). In these matchups, I never keep EVIL Miscreant, and prefer playing higher attack minions before it.
Odd Rogue rewards clean technical play and solid fundamentals. Some advice:
- Always attack with Southsea Deckhand first, even if you still have 2 charges left on the dagger; this will create a good habit and you won’t misplay on difficult turns.
- Always think about how you want to position your minionsfor Fungalmancer. Start early on. I like to keep as many options open as possible, so I would, for example, place the Hench-Clan Thug next to two 1-drops, giving me the option to either Fungalmancer the two small minions or the Hench-Clan Thug and a 1-drop.
- Plan ahead and generally, keep a 1-drop as combo activator in hand if you can. You have limited resources, limited mana, and no card draw. You should know your next move. Count your mana and see what you have available the following two turns and take that into consideration. Prioritize minions that have combo if you feel like you won’t be able to activate the effect later on.
4. Use your dagger very aggressively early on. I would use it without much thought until I am around 15 LP. At that point, start thinking of the possible burst damage your opponent has and how much more you can afford to keep using your life as a resource.
5. Play cards that generate other cards first. I try to play Swashburglar as soon as possible to see if what I get makes me re-evaluate my plans. The same goes for EVIL Miscreant. In matchups where you want to play it, do it early and use the information to inform your decisions.
6. Don’t be too greedy with your battlecries and combos. Playing an SI:7 Agent without combo is usually better than playing nothing at all.
7. Try to put as much tempo on the board as possible (while being mindful of your curve and opponent’s removal). For example, I prefer playing Southsea Captain on T3 if I have Patches the Pirate in the deck or another pirate on the board instead of Hench-Clan Thug because it will put a total of 5/5 stats on the board, which is more than 4/4.
Matchups and mulligans
We assume Jade Druid. This matchup is hard and requires clever strategic thinking from T1. Think about your curve and try to go as tall as possible from the start. This might mean trading minions in just to play around Spreading Plague. Don’t play 1-drops for no reason after T1. Similarly, don’t play EVIL Miscreant early on until absolutely necessary, since he doesn’t fit in your gameplan here – you’re the beatdown. You win by dealing lots of damage early on and keeping the value of Spreading Plague low.
In case it turns out to be Aggro Druid, try to align your Dark Iron Skulker with their Living Mana if you can. It will usually look bleak at the beginning because they are faster, but you should be able to stabilize just in time to turn the game around. Playstyle-wise, you want to try and go as wide as possible to have a chance to fight with their spread. Coining out an EVIL Miscreant is a good play for this.
We assume Mech Hunter. This matchup is good and your hero power is the MVP. If you’re on the coin, coin out the hero power to deal with an early Cogmaster. Otherwise just curve out naturally and clear his board religiously.
We assume Secret Mage. This matchup is all about fighting for board. It usually ends up being a slugfest where all minions trade into each other: whoever is the last man standing can usually carry the pressure until the end. Your advantage in this matchup is that you don’t rely on spells, so his Counterspells are dead cards. Also, with your cheap one drops you should be able to test for secrets very efficiently, while the 2/2 dagger gives you a recurrent damage advantage on the board.
Once you have the board, it will be hard for the mage to comeback. However, be wary of Duplicate: if there a Kabal Crystal Runner and a Secret that might be Duplicate, it might be better to avoid killing it on your turn. The tempo swing of 10/10 worth of stats coming down for 0-mana is too much to handle for Odd Rogue. This matchup depends who goes first and the start he has, but should on average be slightly favored for the Rogue.
In the case of Quest Mage, this is one of your best matchups. You want to be very aggressive, hit all your curve, and apply as much pressure as possible before T5. Going into T5 and their Flamewaker + Sorcerer’s Apprentice combo, keep a Southsea Deckhand, Deadly Poison, or SI:7 Agent to deal with their Flamewaker. If you have Loatheb, play him as soon as possible to protect your board and basically negate one full Mage turn.
We assume Odd Paladin. This matchup is all about board control. It is probably unfavored but not as bad as it seems on paper – it’s pretty close. Go as wide as possible, prioritize EVIL Miscreant over Hench-Clan Thug because it gives you more tempo and resources. A common line of play is to play a 1-drop T1 into double 1-drop T2 into 3-drop T3. This is better because your dagger costs 2 mana to deal 4 damage, which would be wasted into 2 recruits, giving him a 2/2 tempo advantage.
If you play, say, two Fire Fly, they are 2/4 worth of stats that align perfectly into 2 of the Paladin’s hero powers. Additionally, if you’re on the coin, coining out a second Fire Flyis a good play if you don’t have EVIL Miscreantin hand already. Otherwise, coin EVIL Miscreant on T2 and start using his 1/4 body to trade into his recruits over multiple turns.
We assume Big Priest. This matchup is slighty favored. The gameplan is similar as to versus Jade Druid. Be aggressive and hit them hard. I go as far as always keeping Loatheb even without a 1-drop because 3-drop into Loatheb is strong enough by its own, but this is my own personal preference. This matchup requires really clean play and tactical nuance. This is how I break it down: his key turns are T4 Barnes/Archmage Vargoth, T5 Mass Hysteria, T6 Shadow Essence, T7 Psychic Scream.
The response to an early Barnes is always to kill the Barnes. You want to have a 50/50 chance that he resurrects the wrong minion. If he plays Archmage Vargoth on T4, it is in my opinion correct to ignore it for one turn. This because the punish for ignoring it is better than the punish for killing it. If you kill it, he will resurrect it the turn after, and curve into T6 Shadow Essence summoning 4 minions. This is the nightmare you absolutely want to avoid. Leaving him alive means that he can play Spirit Lash, healing for a ton, or Mass Hysteria, basically always with a full clear, since Archmage Vargoth will recast it at the end of the turn.
In this scenario, you reload the board and play into his T6 Shadow Essence which will summon only one 5/5. This we can deal with. In case he re-summons two Archmage Vargoth on his T6, we made his curve awkward because he likely wants to play Psychic Scream the turn after. The best answer here is to kill at least one Archmage Vargoth, maybe both, depending on the situation (how much damage we pushed and if we have Vilespine Slayer/Ironbeak Owl in hand.
In case of Combo Priest, Inner Fire or Mind Blast, play it as a tempo matchup. Versus Inner Fire clear the board as much as possible to limit his ability to combo on his minions, and keep Vilespine Slayer to deal with his Inner Fire minion. Versus Mind Blast Priest try to squeeze in some extra damage if possible before his Mass Hysteria or Psychic Scream turns, since they afflict his board too. Be mindful of your life total and remember to consider Alexstrasza when deciding to go all-in or not. This matchups are good.
We assume Odd Rogue. This matchup is all about fighting for the board as hard as you can. Be sure to not miss a beat, keep up with his tempo from the first moment because the game will snowball were quickly out of control if you don’t. The coin must be used to seize tempo back in the early turns. Don’t start going face for no reason. In almost every case who wins the board wins the game.
We assume Even Shaman because it is the toughest matchup (we don’t mind Murlocs). This matchup is very hard to play perfectly. Play for tempo but sequence your turns correctly. For example, if you are on the coin, and you play a pirate T1, and your opponent answers with Murkspark Eel, you want to coin out an SI:7 Agent to kill it and contest the board with a 3/3. In case you only hero power to curve into Hench-Clan Thug, you will start playing from behind and open up your 4/4 to his T4 Jade Lightning.
Keep all these things in mind when you navigate every turn. Another consideration is Sea Giant: try not to play into it, kill his totems and keep the board small. This is a difficult matchup, probably about even, but if use your Vilespine Slayer for big tempo swings you should be able to get there.
In the case of Murloc Shaman, your hero power will carry you big time, clean his board patiently and weather the storm. The only way he wins is with Everyfin is Awesome, so try to play around it as much as you can. This matchup is good.
In the case of Shudderwock Shaman, play it as you would versus other control classes, such as Druid and Priest. Be aggressive and keep refilling the board after his AoEs. Early on you can ignore the totems to play around Volcano, but later on, clear them or he might Evolve them together with Doppelgangster
We assume Control Warlock (Mecha’thun or Reno). Play around Defile, keep Ironbeak Owl for Voidlord or Voidcaller and keep getting chip damage in. You want to end the game quickly because you’re never winning against Bloodreaver Gul’dan. If the game goes on for too long, you might want to activate “the switch”: go berserker, push everything face and hope he doesn’t have a boardclear. Against Mecha’thun we are unfavored, against Reno Jackson it is about even.
In case of SN1P-SN4P
In my opinion you should accept some risk and not trade your beefy minions into say a 1/1 Mecharoo. There is nothing better than seeing your opponent being overly defensive and giving you time to draw into your combo. If he has the combo on 5 there is not much you can do — even if he doesn’t OTK
In case it’s Even Warlock, brace yourself for a really hard game. The matchup is bad. However, there are some avenues to victory. In my mind, there are two main ways to play the game. The first, which should be your main gameplan is to stop attacking his life totals at about the 15 mark. This is because you don’t want to give him free Molten Giant. The idea is to keep a strong, threatening board with about 15 damage showing and kill him in one go. The final blow usually comes in the form of an Ironbeak Owl, Leeroy Jenkins, or Vilespine Slayer.
However, in reality, this gameplan is quite optimistic, since he will fight for the board and try to go toe-to-toe with you. I found that in most cases I need to take more risks and hope he doesn’t have Molten Giant. In this scenario, we stay true to Odd Rogue’s strengths, and keep pressuring him as hard as possible. If on the coin, use Vilespine Slayer on the T4 Twilight Drake. You might think you need it later on some big taunt, but this is incorrect since his 4/9 will just trade with your all board and you’ll lose tempo.
Instead, the tempo swing Vilespine Slayer produces will give him no breath. At 5 mana, with possibly a 5/5 Hench-Clan Thug and a 3/4 Vilespine Slayer on board, it will be hard for him to scrap back onto the board. Keep attacking his life totals and let him decide how he wants to play it: he can either taunt up, heal, or clear board. He might have enough mana to do two of those things, but not all three, if he chooses incorrectly, you might win immediately.
We assume Odd Warrior. The matchup is abysmal and I haven’t won one since I started recording games with this deck. Fortunately, I have only faced two. I guess the path to victory is to curve out perfectly and drop an on-curve Loatheb to close out the game. Unfortunately, though, the hero power is too strong and gives him too much survivability for us to really pierce through it. Your only way to win this is to be extremely aggressive. Ship everything face and play for damage only. Try to present a board with 6HP total going into T5 to play around Dynomatic, and don’t overflood the board with weak minions to make his Brawl worse.
Versus Pirate Warrior, it is all about surviving the onslaught and not taking too much damage. This is pretty much the only matchup where your life matters more than the board. Try to trade with your minions and keep yourself healthy, because he will only go face.
Thank you so much for making it this far! It was a blast playing this deck and getting Top 10 Legend with it. I enjoyed writing this guide and hope you’ll find it helpful. For any questions feel free to post in the comments below. I will hang around and try to answer all of you. If there’s something missing from the guide which you’d like to be added, I’d love to hear that as well. Lastly, I want to thank my friend u/Iskari for helping me with editing the text, you are the best!
20/06/19: added parts about the importance of proactive play and the use of Vilespine Slayer, the key role of Evil Miscreant, and a more detailed turn-by-turn analysis vs Big Priest.
07/09/19: added an updated list for the Saviors of Uldum meta, and matchup guides vs Secret Mage and SN1P-SN4P Warlock.