Hearthhead has provided multiple community guides for Miracle Rogue, but most of the time they're aimed specifically at the decklist that is being provided. Kre'a has put together a great How To guide on the topic of Miracle Rogue. As someone who didn't get into the archetype until much later in Hearthstone's lifecycle, it really can be hard to put yourself in the correct mindset and outlook for a deck that plays like no other.
As a quick overview, you'll learn how to evaluate the cards at your disposal correctly, the importance of identifying the meta and adjusting your decks, the value in being able to determine your opponent's archetype, resource management, and the significance of playing to win.
Everything following this point is written entirely by Kre'a. Reposted with permission.
Hello everyone, Kre'a here. I'm the author of this post where I explore a variation of Miracle Rogue that I took to Legend from Rank 5. I would like to present this new post to you all, where I go into more detail about how to pilot Miracle Rogue decks as a whole, regardless of what's in the individual list. My hope is that after reading this, you as a player will have a better understanding of how to pilot a Miracle deck.
The Miracle Mindset
Before I get into any specific details, I want to go over what I think is the most important factor into piloting any combo deck, regardless of its specific win condition. Miracle is more than an archetype. There is a specific type of mindset required to successfully pilot a Miracle Rogue deck.
It's not as cut and dry as playing on curve and the specific win condition will often change throughout every single game that you play. This is part of the reason why this deck is considered a 'high-skill' archetype. Many factors go into how you play out your turn and each play will alter your future turns significantly. Many of the cards in a Miracle list will often have the same outcome. The difference between them is how you use them and this is what I want to touch on with my post.
A lot of players often attribute their losses to things like RNG, poor draw, opponent had great draw, etc. But the difference between a high caliber player and a low caliber player is the ability to mitigate these factors over the course of many games in order to achieve a high win rate. More often than not, there will be one specific misplay on a certain turn that you as a player will make that will throw you the game. There are many games where you can look back on the game in its entirety and realize that if you would have made a certain play differently, you could have won the game despite all of the RNG. Identifying these plays are very important when attempting to grow as a Miracle player. More specifically, most errors will come from using the incorrect card at the incorrect time. Let's look at some cards and compare them.
What's the difference between these two cards, outside of the fact that one is a minion buff and the other is a direct damaging spell? They functionally do the same thing, however, being able to identify the difference between these two spells will substantially increase your win rate by a couple % points.
Both of these spells can act as removal or reach. They also have different mana costs which is relevant during a Gadgetzan Auctioneer turn. But the most important difference between these two cards is that Cold Blood can potentially connect with the opponent's face multiple times, while Eviscerate has a 1 time use. Often, new players to Miracle Rogue will mistake the value of Cold Blood as a simple finisher with Leeroy Jenkins or a charger from hand for that last push for lethal. But the real benefit to Cold Blood is that you are vastly rewarded for playing this card on a minion that you know has a very good chance of living at least 2 turns. My general rule of thumb is 'if I can connect with face at least twice, I will Cold Blood a minion'. Being able to identify when to use Cold Blood vs when to use Eviscerate will easily increase your win rate by a significant margin.
Now let's look at the these two spells in the context of removal. It seems obvious that Backstab is often the better choice when you only want to do 2 damage to a minion. However, I challenge you today to think more critically and recognize the benefits of using Backstab for 2 damage vs Eviscerate for 2 damage. Let's take a look at a replay of a player who's game I was spectating at rank 10. We are specifically looking at the play on turn 4.
When I questioned the player about what the appropriate play was here, his natural response was Backstab the Tar Creeper for 2 damage and Eviscerate for the kill. Or to Backstab the Tar Creeper and trade into it the minions + dagger on board. But I instead offered a different point of view. Our enemy is a Quest Priest and it's turn 3. Because we are knowledgeable players, we decide to think ahead to turn 4. The best possible turn 4 play for our opponent would be to play Tortollan Shellraiser, a 4 mana 2/6 taunt with Deathrattle: Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. We also see that we pulled Lyra the Sunshard off of Swashburglar, and the rest of our hand is very very poor, given that in this specific matchup we want to put more pressure on our opponent before he can complete his quest. So by instead using Eviscerate to deal two damage as opposed to Backstab, we enable ourselves to easily answer our opponents potential Shellraiser with a Backstab, Preparation, Eviscerate, which will both answer the board as well as cycle our less useful cards into potentially better cards with Lyra.
Small examples like this are good to identify in order to potentially give yourself more outs and answers to future plays by the opponent, which can occasionally swing games in your favor. Specific situations like this don't occur always, but when they do occur it's nice to be able to identify them to push the game into your favor.
Identify the Meta
Being able to identify the meta is a very important part to being able to climb the ladder in general, but in the context of Miracle Rogue it will greatly affect how you tech your deck.
Here are my current stats in Legend:
After 300+ games I still have managed to maintain a positive win rate of 57% on Legend Ladder, peaking at Rank 140, as seen here:
Part of this is because I consistently adapt my deck to the meta that I'm facing in order to better climb the ladder. I have a screenshot that I would love to show you all that will give you the best possible visual of how a player adapts to the meta.
Notice that there are 21 different edits to the deck, each with varying results based on the meta shifting. To give you some more context:
Here is where my deck started:
And here is where it is currently:
To give even more context, there were edits where the deck included Golakka Crawlers in a Pirate heavy meta pocket, Eater of Secrets in a Freeze Mage heavy meta pocket, the Bloodmage Thalnos/Fan of Knives package for aggro and hunter heavy meta pockets, and currently double Shadow Strike which has proven to be of great use against Quest Rogue, which has been a large sum of my opponents recently. The point of this section is, instead of forcing a list to work in a bad meta pocket for you, adapt it. Being able to identify when to change your list up will greatly increase your win rate while climbing the ladder.
Identify your Opponents
Being able to identify your opponent will vastly increase your win rate in certain match ups that are considered unfavorable. For example, Aggro Druid is a bad match up. But being able to identify why is what will give us the edge in being able to win these matchups more consistently.
As an example: https://hsreplay.net/replay/NDs6tLbPjFytucnuDutKX5
In this case, I have a very good idea that my opponent is likely an Aggro Druid, as that's the most common archetype at the moment. I also know that this is an unfavorable matchup because of the fact that they are able to overwhelm me with buffed up cheap minions that I can not remove efficiently while also putting enough pressure on them to kill them. So in order to win this, I have to race them. For this reason I make a very specific choice to keep Cold Blood in my mulligan. I know that they don't mulligan for removal and have a good idea that I can connect Cold Blood with their face multiple times. I also see that I get Edwin VanCleef in the mulligan, however I recognize that I have to employ him and the Cold Bloods at the appropriate time to get the most value out of them. Being able to recognize when you need to mulligan in an unconventional manner is a great way to improve your win rate against unfavorable matchups.
The same applies for most aggro decks in general. One of the biggest ways to give yourself the edge in the aggro matchup is to identify when you need to push for board control via trades or via spells.
Here's an example of a match vs a Pirate Warrior: https://hsreplay.net/replay/irPL3yBNgpRr4X2YZPycan#turn=3a
Let's look specifically at turn 3. Here we have a couple choices. We can save SI:7 Agent as removal and instead cycle with Shield Block. We can play the SI:7 naked on board to gain board control, or we can Hallucination and redagger. I opted to drop SI:7, because I have a good feeling that going into T3 my opponent will drop Frothing Berserker. T3 comes and he does so and I'm presented with a choice. I can either:
- Develop a minion in the form of Shaku, the Collector, and trade my SI:7 and dagger into the frothing to clear it.
- Sap and redagger.
- Cycle Shield Block, with or without prep
- Or I can do what I opt to do, which is draw from Hallucination specifically looking for a taunt or removal, then use Prep to Sap the Frothing while I develop my own Shaku.
The reason for this line of play is that I don't want to allow my opponent to remove SI:7 for free with just his current weapon charge, and I definitely want to get another minion on board. But the Frothing has to be answered and in this case Sapping it makes my opponent 'skip' his turn and will use up 3 mana later when he goes to redevelop it. I also have a good feeling that when he does choose to redevelop it that he will make suboptimal trades in order to buff the frothing, which he does on this turn.
My following turn I have another choice, to kill the Frothing with Shadow Strike, or to develop another minion and put my opponent further behind in Tempo by sapping, and I decide to sap. From there the game is pretty straightforward, but the deciding factor in the game was my turn 3, where I decide to get SI:7 agent on the board. Things could have turned out much differently if I hadn't dropped him there, and even more differently had I traded my SI:7 agent into the frothing on my T4. While playing, I was able to identify that my T3 was a key turn into swinging the match into my favor, and I was rewarded with a victory because of it. Being able to recognize where your swing turns are will greatly help you pilot this deck and win more unfavorable matchups.
Play to Win, Not to Not Lose
This is the last and most important point of piloting Miracle Rogue. Many players have the habit of playing to Not Lose, which means making suboptimal trades or using Eviscerate on minions instead of face, amongst other things. Every game will be different than the last and your method of winning will alter accordingly. Miracle Rogue is a very fluid deck in the fact that the win condition is never always as straight forward as Leeroy + Double Cold Blood, or Arcane Giants or whatever is the defining feature of that particular list. The win condition is fluid, and being able to identify what your 'outs' are will greatly improve your growth as a miracle rogue player.
Here's an example of a great game that I had on my climb to legend a couple weeks ago: https://hsreplay.net/replay/hykeab4QpwpKfpUPrrzZ8R
This particular match was a mirror match. Miracle Mirror matches are easily one of the most fun games you'll encounter because they are heavily skill based and require a lot finesse to consistently win. Notice how in the mirror, I recognize that he was probably running one of the popular 'Arcane Giants' builds, which immediately allowed me to recognize that my opponent has no real burst from hand as long as I keep his board clear. If my opponent had Leeroy, my playstyle would be much different. Because I am able to successfully recognize my opponent's deck, I realize that his 'outs' are to grind me out with minions on board, thus by removing everything, I position myself to slowly but surely chip away at his health over time, ultimately closing out the game only a couple turns from fatigue. A 15 minute game of very intense thought, but a fun game nonetheless.
Here's another game which is a great example of playing to win and not to 'not lose': https://hsreplay.net/replay/DoLViMkyMVZqUmysmR8SLG
Notice how after turn 5, I recognize that my only 'out' is to go full on aggressive, ignoring my opponent's board and just pushing more and more face damage with my weapon and spells. Had I instead used the weapon to trade, I would have been overwhelmed and lost.
When you play to win, you will realize that there are many games that couldn't have been won if you were too passive or too aggressive. Learning the balance is what will increase your skill as a Miracle Rogue player, allowing you to grow and ultimately hit whatever rank it is that you are aspiring to hit.
A great way to grow as a Rogue player, in general, is to learn how to manage your resources. Rogues have a few more resources to manage than most classes, with the most similar class being Warlock. Those resources are Mana, Cards, and Health.
Mana and Cards
Managing your mana is probably most important during Auctioneer turns, where you are looking to draw as many cards as possible without wasting resources unnecessarily. By wasting resources unnecessarily, I am referring to Cold Blooding your minions with summoning sickness, using Preparation with no spell in hand, or backstabing your own minions. There are definitely times where this is the correct answer, specifically when you need to dig deeper into your deck for lethal or for a very specific answer to the current board state, but if there is no true reason that you would need to dig deeper into your deck, it's better to save those cards for another turn. During Auctioneer turns make sure that you are drawing and playing cards in the appropriate order. For example, if you have Preparation in hand, it's often correct to use it before using a 2 mana spell so that you have more available mana while assessing your options as you draw new cards. This will save you 2 mana as well as allow you to draw two new cards which give you more options as your turn plays out. It's obviously not always that straightforward, but generally speaking, that's a good starting point for learning how to appropriately utilize an Auctioneer turn.
I would argue that this is the most valuable resource that Rogue has. Due to the nature of our hero power, we are able to maintain board control in the early game by using the weapon generated from our hero power at the expense of our Health. It's very important to recognize when you can use your Health as a resource and when it must be conserved.
For example, against a Pirate Warrior or Hunter, I am extremely careful when I decide to kill a minion with my dagger as opposed to trading on board. Health is extremely valuable in these particular matchups due to the fact that you must live until around turn 7-9 in order to exhaust the enemy of their resources before you are considered 'safe'.
Against a class like Priest, however, it's well known that they have extremely limited burst from hand. For this reason, I will often kill big minions, like Drakonid Operative with my dagger and take 5 damage to face, even if I'm in the 10-20 health range simply because I have a good understanding of my opponent and know that I'm still relatively 'safe' until I reach sub 10 Health.
Know your opponents limits and use this knowledge to aid in when deciding whether it is appropriate or not to utilize your dagger to kill big minions or if you should instead use minions on board to trade.
I really hope that this has helped you all who are still struggling with Miracle. My hope is that giving my perspective on how I pilot the deck at a high level will be enough to help those of you who find yourselves 'stuck'. Good luck on ladder friends!