This last weekend was spent recuperating from the heavy drinking that occurred while watching my favorite baseball team, the Giants, win the pennant, by watching some Hearthstone tournaments. And we had a damn fine Hearthstone tournament to watch with the Seatstory Cup II event that took place. I knew that I would likely write up one of the decks used by the winner but I had no idea it would be the Malygod deck that shined brightest. Savjz, from Team Liquid, (pronounced SAV-EEE.....eh, I have no idea) has a special place in my heart since he was the winner of the first ever Angry Chicken Invitational, so it was quite entertaining for me to watch him do so well with such a fun deck.

The Malygod deck has been around for a while. As far as I know it first popped up on the Asia servers but was quickly adopted across all of them once it had taken people to rank 1 on the ladder. Since the nerf to Leeroy Jenkins there has been a lot of variations on the Miracle Rogue deck floating around but the Malygos version has become the frontrunner after this last weekend. I will not pretend that I am an expert on this deck since it is one that I have only played briefly but I can walk through the basic strategy and the uses for each card. Hopefully that will get you started if you are interested in playing this deck. I will say that during my small sample size of games played with the deck that I have had a blast and that this deck can be one of the most satisfying to win with.

Let's take a look at the version Savjz used and break down each card and its place in the deck.

The Deck

Backstab x2 - a Rogue deck without this card doesn't exist. In this deck, however, it's insanely valuable. You can board clear early with Backstab + SI:7, you get 0 mana cycle with Auctioneer or you can just kill a lot of creatures for free which allows you to gain tempo early on for board control.

Preparation x2 - this card is actually a little tricky in this deck. A lot of people make the mistake to save preps for big Malygos damage, which isn't necessarily wrong, but if you can cycle in the midgame with Auctioneer then it usually right to do so. Especially if you don't have Malygos in hand yet. This is also the key to making huge Van Cleefs which is the secondary win condition in the deck.

Conceal - the conceal targets are generally Auctioneer, Van Cleef and Malygos but you can also conceal some of your other minions if they represent lethal damage. You could argue for running two conceals in this deck but if Savjz went with one then that's good enough for me.

Deadly Poison x2 - it's a 1 mana spell that allows you to turn your hero power into a Fiery War Axe. This is also the key to setting up huge Blade Flurry turns which can give you the tempo to swing games. I don't see a downside to this card and I would run 2 more if I could. Put one of these on your Assassin's Blade and you can get 20 points of damage for 6 mana over 4 turns which is pretty good. And I'm pretty good at stating the obvious!

Sinister Strike x2 - there were Miracle Rogues that ran two of these without Malygos and they're actually fine since it's cheap damage that cycles well with Auctioneer but once you add in the possibility of 8 damage for 1 mana this card becomes a no-brainer. Feel free to use them to cycle but only if you know you can find the damage elsewhere to finish the game as this is one of your win conditions.

Blade Flurry - running a second copy of this is fine but with the ability to use spell power Fans which cycle, the decision to double up there makes the deck a bit more consistent. Since you only have one you really want to get big value out of it so if you can wait one turn and get an extra creature then don't hesitate to do so.

Eviscerate x2 - if you can use Preparation + Malygos + Eviscerate you can get massive finishing damage with this card but in most cases I found myself using it to clear creatures or cycle with Auctioneer while getting some damage in early on. Either way, this card is sick value and no Rogue ever leaves home without it.

Sap x2 - most decks you play against will have some heavy hitting minions that cost a lot of mana. When you bounce them back into their hands you essentially take a turn away from your opponent which often leads to victories. You can also remove a taunt like Sludge Belcher to get finishing damage in which is one of the cleanest ways to deal with that card in the game.

Shiv x2 - this card is there for the cycle but you can also get some value with all the spell power in this deck. Hard to believe this used to cost 1 mana since it's actually in a good place today.

Fan of Knives x2 - most traditional Miracle Rogues ran 1 of these since it costs a little much for what it does but with the spell power having two of these can be great value. Don't be afraid to just Fan an empty board if you have excess mana since cycling your deck is extremely important so you can find the finishers.

Edwin VanCleef - speaking of finishers, this guy is one of your win conditions. Anyone who saw the 14/14 Van Cleef play on turn 3 knows that you can just win with this card. If you can play it early and make it big then you put the pressure on the opponent to have removal to deal with it. Even if they do that gets it out of the way for your Auctioneers and Malygos. Also, don't hesitate to play it as a 4/4 on early turns to build tempo if you have no better play.

SI:7 Agent x2 - this is one of the best cards in the game and is the key to clearing the board early to allow for the big Auctioneer turns. It's also a bit more potential face damage to finish games.

Assassin's Blade - this is one of the main sources for mid-game damage since you will be mostly concentrated on clearing. It can be tough to find a turn to develop it so if you do then get it equipped ASAP. Applying Deadly Poison to this thing is downright scary.

Bloodmage Thalnos - to a new player this looks like a terrible card but this is one of the best legendaries and absolutely belongs. Adding damage to spells is key in this deck and so is cycling cards. This guy does both!

Earthen Ring Farseer - this is another card that historically was a 2-of in Miracle Rogue but there isn't much room for minions in this deck so one gets cut. Often times 1 is enough anyway so it's not a big deal and the deck runs smoother without the second one.

Azure Drake x2 - there is a secondary purpose for the Azure Drake in Miracle ROgue. It obviously is a good card for the draw and the spell power but it also is the removal bait before you slam Auctioneer. It is a card that cannot be left on board for your opponent so it forces them to take action which can deplete their hand and make way for the miracles.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer x2 - the card that makes Miracle Rogue so insane. A lot of inexperienced Miracle players will use this too early and then it will just get killed before you get full value. If you don't have Preparation or Conceal it is best to wait for at least 7 or 8 mana to start the big cycling turns. This deck doesn't have Shadowsteps so you need to be able to protect your greedy goblin.

Loatheb - (copy/paste from my last article because how many times can I talk about how good the card is) if you read my deck guides then you are probably seeing a trend. Loatheb is in every deck. What Loatheb does is protect your damage dealing minions allowing you to keep swinging as well as being a 5/5 body. I'm running out of ways to say that Loatheb is really good so I'll just stop there.

Malygos - and finally, Malygos! This guy makes your Shivs do 6, Backstabs do 7, Sinister Strikes do 8, Eviscerates do 9 and makes all of your AoE spells insane. The problem of course is that he costs 9 mana. So this is why this deck can be tricky and satisfying. The minigame is to play Malygos and keep it on board because if you do, you just straight up win the game. Luckily he has a 4/12 body so it takes a lot to remove him but the best way to get full value is to conceal him or use Preparation to cast spells the same turn you play him. However you do it, it's way more satisfying than dropping Leeroy 3 times.

Playing the Deck

In most decks you want to mulligan for early minions and low cost spells. This deck is a little different and it can take some getting used to. It is definitely one of the most difficult decks to play optimally because there are so many possible plays during the mid-game turns, and, as you draw, the texture of the game constantly shifts. Mulligan for Auctioneers, Conceals and Preparations. The Auctioneer + Conceal combo is going to win games even if you have fallen behind on board waiting for it to come so it is a fantastic starting hand. If you know you are facing aggro you can keep cards like Backstab and SI:7 as well but in most cases you just want to give yourself the best chance to get the Auctioneer. In a Tempo Rogue you will often use the Coin to activate combos and make plays like Coin + SI:7 but in this deck save the coin for the big Auctioneer play.

During the early turns you will often just be equipping a dagger and either clearing minions or swinging for the face. If you know you have no play the next turn go ahead and swing for the face since you will likely re-dagger the next turn. If you have Deadly Poison then hold the two charges until you can get full use out of the buffed weapon. The early turns are mostly spent clearing the board so that you can drop Azure Drake into Auctioneer into crazy Miracle turn. The only other really big play you can make at this point is to drop a big Van Cleef, so if the draws align for that then definitely consider going for it.

Once you get to the big Auctioneer turns the key is to use the mana efficiently. When you come into a stealthed Auctioneer turn you will have a full mana bar but in most cases you will have to fit as many spells as you can into the remaining mana after dropping the goblin which can be tough without Preparation. Another tip when playing the big Miracle turns is to decide you are going to or not early. The rope can be your worst enemy as you watch the draw animations go off one after another. If you wait too long to go off you may not have time to adjust the turn as the cards are drawn. It is surprising how often you can win even before Malygos hits the board as there is a lot of damage in the deck without it but 5 spell damage sure does make it easier. You should always keep track of how much damage you can do in any given turn and how much your opponent could potentially do as well. If you can't lethal the opponent or cycle then it is correct to clear the board and wait for the Malygos turns.

Here is the VOD of Savjz, after losing the first game of the match, going 4-0 with this exact deck. You will really get a sense of just how powerful the deck can be when the draws come in correctly as well as how complex some of the turns are. In this last match he plays it about as well as anyone could.

SeatStory Cup II Final: Savjz vs Mirrari (19.10.2014)

Good luck and always remember to thank Based Malygod.

I also want to thank everyone for the fantastic feedback to the Hunter article from last week. You guys seemed to really enjoy the deck and from what I heard it helped a lot of you crush the ladder. This deck is a bit trickier but keep the feedback coming in the comments below. Do you love the Malygod deck? Hate it? Wish that Zoo was still top dog? Never stop giving feedback, guys. I don't have a deck list in mind for next week yet so if anyone has a specific deck you would like to see covered let me know.

Until next time, job's done!