What a 73% Win Rate Rogue Taught Me About Deckbuilding

Every once in a while when you’re playing Wild you come across a deck that seems as if the creator of the deck just hit the randomize deck button and ran off to the ladder. Today I ran into a deck that made me wonder if the win was just a fluke, or if there was any substance behind what seemed like mad scientist deckbuilding.

The game started out with coin Prince Keleseth Shadowstep. As the game progressed he continued into midgame with combos like Vilespine Slayer Shadowcaster, and shut out me out from chaining spells to try and make a comeback with Nerubian Unraveler. I had to find out what on earth this guy was playing. After doing some research online, I found this  on HSReplay.net:

It turns out that this was a crazy standard deck that happened to be having more success in Wild than in Standard. The Deck had an absurd 73.6 % winrate, far higher than any other deck on HsReplays, albeit with a small sample size of 280. Even considering the smallish sample size and somewhat inbred data that HsReplays can sometimes produce, a win rate that high means that there’s something about the deck that is producing a lot of wins. If you had shown me this deck without any context, I would say you were crazy if you thought this deck could survive in the wild. Here are just some of the absurd things about this deck:

  • Prince Keleseth and Prince Valanar in the same deck means no other 2 drops and 4 drops.
  • “Clunky”, slow cards like Cobalt Scalebane and Nerubian Unraveler
  • No clear game plan other than just playing midrange cards and getting decent value.
  • A rogue deck with only 3 spells, one of which is Shadowstep.
  • Weird singletons like Plague Scientist.
  • Perhaps the most exciting thing: The Deck is ported over from Standard, meaning it’s not even optimized yet for Wild. There’s a lot of discovering, tweaking, and new card choices you could add to this deck.
  • If decks like this can be so successful in wild, what other “unicorn” decks are out there that we have no idea about?

These are my Hypotheses about why this deck is KILLING IT in wild right now.

  • Reno Kazakus Priest is really popular right now, and this deck fares well against Priest with cards like Shadowcaster, Bonemare, and Cobalt Scalebane.
  • A card I thought previously unplayable, Nerubian Unraveler might have something to do with its success. This deck is actually really good in some matchups, making cards like Ultimate Infestation uncastable, and really punishing spell heavy classes like Mage and Priest.
  • A Strong game plan against aggro with Prince Valanar ,Stonehill Defender, and a plethora of effective one drops, and cheap removal. Prince Valanar might seem innocuous, but Taunt and Lifesteal is an extremely potent combination against aggro, especially if it has been buffed or can takes multiple hits.

Other than that, your guess is as good as mine as to why this deck is showing up. I’m still extremely hesitant to craft cards like Prince Keleseth and Prince Valanar to try it out, but if you have the bravery or more likely insanity to try this deck out, then I would love to hear your experience. What Wild additions would you add to this deck as it seems to just be a port over from standard?  Loatheb over Nerubian Unraveler seems like a good place to start as it’s generally a more powerful effect for a mana less, and has synergy with Shadowcaster. [Bran Bronzebeard] also has a ton of synergy with the deck, from Swashburglar, Bonemare, Shadowcaster, Stonehill Defender, and Loatheb if you add him. He could possibly replace the odd singleton Plague Scientist.

So what do you think? Just a fluke deck that made a small blip on the Wild hearthstone Metagame, destined to fade into the shadows? Or is there something here that we can all learn from about deckbuilding and questioning what cards can succeed in the Wild? I know one thing is for certain, there are tons of decks in wild out there, waiting to be discovered, and we’ve just touched the surface.


AmpLive is a regular Legend player and has been playing Heathstone since the Beta in 2013. Ever since the release of the Wild Format, he has dived deep into the format and not looked back since. He created the website WildHs.com in the hopes to grow the Wild Community and provide much needed Wild Content. His favorite decks in the history of Hearthstone are Handlock, Classic Control Warrior, or any deck involving Aviana/Kun. When he isn't playing Hearthstone, he can often be found studying, programming, and enjoying the California sunshine.

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4 Responses

  1. Gabriel says:

    I was also wondering what the fuss was about, and decided to give it a try since I had already crafted Keleseth but I’m not brave enough to craft Prince 4.

    I just went from rank 7 to rank 4 smoothly (12-2) without previous experience and Prince Keleseth only showed himself less than half of those games, and half of that was shadowstepped.

    If I had to describe this deck I would say : “It’s like magic”.

    Another point to it’s favor is flexibility, i.e. I don’t have the 2nd Vilespine Slayer and took the advice of Argent Horserider (only wild card so far), I have Shaku but don’t want it right now and don’t want to craft Valanar, both are now Saronite Chain Gang, or following the Elemental route, it can be adjusted to your needs.

    I know my subtitutions don’t fill the same role, but they didn’t felt wrong to test before commiting any dust to the deck.

    • Antoine says:

      Hey Gabriel, thanks for your valuable insight!
      Argent horserider seems like a great add, charge and divine shield get a lot of benefits from being buffed. I think Shaku is more of a tech choice against control decks. Saronite is probably the 4 drop i would look at as well, and I think your substitutions fill actually very similar roles as the original deck, though it is difficult to replace vilespine. In fact, you don’t necessarily want to imitate the original deck, as its not optimized for wild! If you have Bran or Loatheb, try them out, i think they have a lot of potential here.

  2. Chris says:

    I don’t think that 280 games is enough to determinate a decks true win rate.

    • Antoine says:

      I agree that 73% is not the deck’s true win rate, that would be insane. It does point towards there being a viable keleseth rogue deck in Wild, and I think we’ve seen from the rise of the archetype as players experiment with it that theres a lot of potential.

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