Wild Recruits Paladin Decklist and Guide
Wild Recruits Paladin (or Dude Paladin) is a great example that shows a great characteristic in Wild where a forgotten deck from years ago can suddenly spring back life with the help from a few new cards.
Recruits Paladin can be described as a mid-range deck recruit token generation cards to flood the board in overwhelming numbers and then use AOE buff cards such as Quartermaster buff recruits and close the game with value. The core cards of this combo: Muster for Battle and Quartermaster was actually added to the game 3 years ago in Goblin vs Gnomes expansion, but mid-range paladin then was merely a tier 2 deck at best and it was quickly out-shadowed by infamous Secret Paladin which came soon after.
However paladin started to receive more recruit-synergy cards in the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion such as Steward of Darkshire, Stand Against Darkness, and Rallying Blade. They were slightly not enough to push the archetype yet. But when Lost in the Jungle, Lightfused Stegodon, and Sunkeeper Tarim were released in Journey to Ungoro expansion, it finally hit the critical point and the deck was revived.
I started theorycrafting the deck as soon as Ungoro came out and got to be one of the first players to hit legend with it during the first month of the expansion. It was a deck that consistently did very well versus Reno decks, however it was slightly unfavored versus pre-nerf Pirate Warriors without the Golakka Crawlers tech. Control Shaman was also a popular deck that countered Recruits paladin very heavily. Even so, first Wild data report from Vicious Syndicate showed that it was still the highest win-rate archetype in the format.
After the Frozen Thrones expansion release,
Recruits Paladin became favored versus Aggro decks with the addition of Righteous Protector and Pirate Warrior was also nerfed considerably. Even its worst match up, Control Shaman, has disappeared from the meta due to not receiving any new cards this expansion. All of this benefited Recruits Paladin tremendously. Recruits Paladin might not be as prevalent as Reno Priests in Wild, but it is still a dominant tier 1 deck with one of the highest win-rates in the metagame.
For the past 4 months, I managed to always stay within Top 30 Wild Legend with 71% overall win-rate and I was able to hit legend with 81% win-rate with Recruits Paladin last season.
II. Recruits Paladin Decklist
Deck code: AAEBAZ8FCKcFrwf1DfoOu68CkbwCucECg8cCC9QFsQjqD+wP7Q/JFtmuAv+vArjHAtnHAuPLAgA=
- Lost in the Jungle
- Righteous Protector
- Knife Juggler
- Shielded Minibot
- Divine Favor
- Muster for Battle
- Rallying Blade
- Steward of Darkshire
- Lightfused Stegodon
- Sunkeeper Tarim
- 2nd Haunted Creeper
- 2nd Stand Against Darkness
- 2nd Divine Favor
- Golakka Crawler
III. Card Choices
- Lost in the Jungle – It is always a played on turn 1 vs aggro decks however against control decks with lots of early game AOE, it can be utilized much better when combined with other cards. It combos with Knife Juggler, Steward of Darkshire, [Lighfused Stegodon], Quartermaster, and Sunkeeper Tarim. Sometimes I do not even play it on turn 1 if Steward of Darkshire is also in hand or play Righteous protector instead as decks like Reno Priest can have Potion of Madness, Northshire Cleric, Doomsayer, and Spirit Lash.
- Patches the Pirate, Southsea Deckhand – This package was not used in the older versions of the deck but it was proven to be very useful when trying to out-tempo the opponent early game. Combos with Knife Juggler and Steward of Darkshire
- Righteous Protector – Very solid 1-drop and very annoying for aggro decks as it protects turn 2 Knife Juggler and Steward of Darkshire. Great against Pirate Warriors who equip a weapon and start going face mid-game.
- Haunted Creeper – Pretty good vs aggro decks and combos well with Knife Juggler, Steward of Darkshire and Sunkeeper Tarim. However it can be detrimental when stolen by priests with Potion of Madness so it’s good idea to buff this with Blessing of Kings or Keeper of Uldaman as soon as possible against them.
- Knife Juggler – Amazing synergy with a token decks like this one and it’s very useful when timed well vs aggro druid as the deck lacks AOE.
- Shielded Minibot – One of the best 2 drop in the game that is very resilient to board clears. Rallying Blade can also buff it the following turn.
- Steward of Darkshire – It is rarely used just as 3 mana 3/3 since it is a critical combo piece against control decks to give divine shield to all the recruits you summon and nullify their AOE.
- Blessing of Kings – You will always have something on board to buff on curve. You can deal more face damage or make your board awkward for the AOE spell to be used on.
- Keeper of Uldaman – It can be used as a removal for their big minion but more often it is good just as a buff since giving +2/+2 to a 1/1 still gives you same stats as Houndmaster. If you equipped Rallying Blade on turn 3, you can kill any minion your opponent might play next turn with Keeper of Uldaman. It is also game winning against Inner fire Priest and Flamewreathed Faceless.
- Lightfused Stegodon – Core recruit buff card that follows up on turn 3 Muster for Battle. You get pretty good value for buffing only 2 recruits and only bad options are taunt and stealth. Even Lost in Jungles and hero power on turn 3 is a good play if you have this in your hand.
- Loatheb – Anti-control card that prevents them from using AOE spell for a turn. It is much better to save this card for a critical turn when you have some minions on the board rather than just playing it on curve on a empty board. Good to have in the deck but it is not absolutely necessary and you can replace it with second Stand Against Darkness
- Quartermaster – The card that started this archetype. Just buffing two recruits is enough to win you most games.
- Stand Against Darkness – Turn 5 Stand Against Darkness is a huge threat if not answered due to Sunkeeper Tarim on 6. It is also great board refill.
- Sunkeeper Tarim – Third Quartermaster in the deck with a taunt that also nullifies the big minions on the enemy’s board. It needs no introduction.
- Vinecleaver – Very good weapon in Recruits Paladin to top it off. Deals staggering 12 damage by itself over 3 turns and the 2 recruits it summons each turn is so awkward for opponent to use AOE on but still threatening enough to be left unchecked. It was used even when every deck ran weapon destruction and it will very rarely get oozed nowadays.
Thoughts on cards not appearing in this deck
- Justicar Trueheart – This deck generally does not want to drag the games longer than necessary. Average number of turns for each game is only about 8.3 turns. So even if you play Justicar right on turn 6, you will usually benefit only two 1/1s on average. It is also horrendous against aggro and there are already enough token generation in this deck.
- Equality – It is powerful card for sure, however this deck does not utilize consecration and there are not many large minions in the meta for this card to be consistently useful. It also sits in your hand for too long against decks like Renopriest where you are the aggressor and have the board control at all times. I like to use double Keeper of Uldaman instead since it can helps dealing with large minions but also serve as minion buff when you are ahead.
- Wickerflame Burnbristle – This deck does not require you to be defensive at all. 3 mana 2/2 divine shield is not a good stat to win board control.
- Tirion Fordring – With average game lasting only 8.3 turns, there is no time to wait for Tirion to die and use all of the weapon charges. It also gets clunky with many other weapons in the deck already.
- Spikeridged Steed – Older versions of this deck during pre-nerf Pirate warrior meta ran couple of this card but there are not many contenders in the meta for Recruits Paladin to be defensive. It is better to use Blessing of Kings to push more face damage early on instead.
IV. General Mulligan Guide
V. Match ups and Strategy
Pirate Warrior : Favored
Reno Priest: Slightly Favored
Aggro Shaman: Slightly Favored
Aggro Token Druid: Even to Slightly Unfavored
Giant Hunter: Very Favored
Innerfire Priest: Very Favored
Jade Druid: Favored
Exodia/Freeze Mage: Favored
Reno Warlock: Unfavored
VI. Looking into the Future
With that, my guide on Recruits Paladin comes to close. I hope this helped whoever wanted to try Recruits Paladin in Wild. The deck is very powerful and fun to play with so many synergies between cards. It is a fairly inexpensive deck with a great curve so new users can get into it easily. However, there are many ways one can improve their gameplay as managing resources and predicting opponent’s plays become very crucial at a high level. With even more recruits synergy supporting cards coming out next expansion, I am curious to see how well it will perform in the next meta, but this list will definitely win you a lot of games until then. Thank you so much for reading and good luck on ladder!