During his monthly grind to Legendary, Trump is finally attempting to learn the intricacies of Grim Patron Warrior. Long known for his Handlock play, Trump swore off the Warrior deck, vowing that he could earn success without it. After a disappointing performance at Viagame House Cup 3, he finally gave in.
Trump is familiar with the levels of mastery that must be achieved to truly be good at the more difficult decks in Hearthstone. That said, he's had a bumpy ride thus far, even going as far as to employ the help of Th3Rat as a coach during one of his streams. It's a tremendously difficult deck to play, one many say is the hardest ever made. Just recently he spent more than thirty minutes following one of his matches trying to figure out if he missed 32 points of lethal damage. With the help of his Twitch viewers and Reddit, it was discovered that through about 15 steps in one turn, Trump could have claimed victory.
Those kind of calculations must be done every turn when part of the combo is in your hand. But to even get there you need to have a critical understanding of how to approach each and every class archetype out there.
Assuming you have all of the key cards, mulligans are perhaps the most difficult part of learning Grim Patron Warrior. Based on your opponent you need to decide when to keep parts of your combo and when not to. Against Freeze Mage for example, you'd probably want to keep Emperor Thaurissan in hand.
Other times you need to know what basically equates to garbage as many professional players oftentimes throw out the Fiery War Axe alone rather than reveal any other crucial cards. Even something as simple as an Armorsmith can be better left in the hand than on the board where it can easily be dealt with.
Warsong Commander, Grim Patron, and Frothing Berserker simply can't be replaced. So acquiring those cards is step one for those looking to learn the deck.
There are a variety of ways to activate their effects including Whirlwind, Death's Bite, Inner Rage, Unstable Ghoul, and Cruel Taskmaster. Understanding when it's appropriate to utilize these for removal instead of ability activation is of importance.
In mirror matches, Unstable Ghoul can frequently work against you as you don't always get to choose when to activate it. Other times it might be a good idea to just use the Inner Rage to get one more point of damage of, or to enable an Execute.
With Acolyte of Pain, Battle Rage, Slam, and Gnomish Inventors, cycling for more parts of the combo is a frequent undertaking. Sometimes though you'll need to understand that playing a naked Grim Patron or playing one with only a few activates still might be better than continuing to wait for more of the combo.
Of course the Dread Corsairs, Armorsmiths, and Unstable Ghoul (to an extent) gives you some survivability. However, it's interesting to note that many times great Grim Patron Warrior players will opt out of armoring up, choosing to pass, in hopes that they'll take some damage for an additional draw out of Battle Rage.
Each and every turn these decisions in the larger picture of things need to be made. Unlike other decks, you don't just go along with your curve and keep applying pressure, tempo, or value. Much like Handlock there's a fine line you need to tread to make lethal possible before you lose.
Once you finally start to understand these larger picture decisions, you can start worrying about calculating how much damage you have available. And when that comes, you better be ready for the rope. This isn't a deck you can play while paying half attention as every move your opponent makes directly affects whether they're able to be defeated or not.
There comes a point in every match where you have to just make a move even if it isn't ideal and knowing exactly when to do that is just part of the reason Grim Patron Warrior is so hard to play.
Share your own tips to the Patron Warrior faithful in the comments below!