While talking to my friend Iksar (who also happens to be a balance designer on the Hearthstone team) about how to tweak my Paladin, he suggested trying a more aggressive Paladin deck. Now I am generally averse to aggressive play, but there is still a heavy garnish of control in this deck. One of the concepts I have had to get my head around lately is that aggro decks have the potential to control. Since minions can attack other minions in Hearthstone, any deck can flip on the control switch should the situation call for it and start trading to help gain board control.

The entire goal of this deck is to mulligan aggressively for 2 and 3-drops. There are 18 cards in this deck under 4 mana. Excluding both Equality’s, the Divine Favor, and the Big Game Hunter that we would prefer not to have in our opening hand that leaves 14 potentially great cards to open the game with. Exceptions to this are Priests and Warriors. Should you find yourself going up against either Anduin or Garrosh, hold onto Truesilver Champion in your opening hand to help remove their high-health early minions.

The Aggro
This deck has plenty of low-cost minions and just about all of them have the potential for high value. Shielded Minibot is a card I just can’t find a reason not to run in every single Paladin deck I’ve made since GvG’s release. The 2 Attack allows minibot to trade with many other 2-drops and the Divine Shield lets the little mech live through the engagement. Muster for Battle has also become an auto-include in Pally decks, helping our hero Uther gain a strong early board presence. Haunted Creeper is just a good sticky minion and is one of the many reasons Knife Juggler is hanging out in the 2-drops as well.

Aldor Peacekeeper can also fall under the quick opening of this deck. Yes, changing a minions attack to 1 is incredibly powerful on later minions. But do not dismiss the value of dropping a 3/3 on turn 3, neutering an opposing minion, and removing that minion with a 2-drop that now lived through the fight. Knowing the correct time to “follow the rules” is a big component of being successful with this deck. Playing a Handlock? Ok, maybe save the Peacekeeper for a giant. Aggro Hunter? Play fast and loose with the Peacekeeper since the chances of having an Equality to deal with Savannah Highmane later is high.

The Control
Equality, Consecration, and Truesilver Champion have all comprised the backbone of just about every paladin deck since Hearthstone’s launch, so why change a good thing? This holy paladin trinity of cards gives this deck a seriously strong mid-game compared to other decks that have this many low-drop minions. Knife Juggler helps on the control end as well thanks to it’s ability to soften up the enemy’s board when combined with a Muster, Dr. Boom, or a Haunted Creeper's Deathrattle. The Juggler’s knives can also be a saving grace when combined with an Equality. Just make sure to have a backup plan should the knives miss their marks. I suggest saving a charge on the Light's Justice every paladin inevitably receives from a Muster.

There are plenty of cards in here that also help slow down the game for the opponent. Zombie Chow is an auto-include in most decks nowadays to help deal with early drops from aggresive decks and he serves the same purpose here. Sludge Belcher has allowed me to stabilize on more than one occasion where I had an awkward opening. Belcher also has this delightful side effect of becoming the target of removal and helping Tirion Fordring stick to the board later on. While we’re on the subject of amazing 5-drops, Loatheb can preserve a strong board for an entire turn longer than spells like Flamestrike would normally allow. The Black Knight makes taunted up giants and Druid of the Claws a cheer-worthy event.

The Finishers
This deck doesn’t have any big blowout combinations. There is a lot of potential damage though, so constantly be adding up everything available to you every turn. If Silver Hand Recruits aren’t dealt with Quartermaster can add a lot of damage to the board. Any minions still on board along with a durability charge left on Truesilver Champion plus a Consecrate in hand can lead to game-ending combinations as well. Don’t rely heavily on Dr. Boom for lethal damage since he tends to guarantee the appearance of an enemy Big Game Hunter. However his Boom Bots frequently bring opponents within lethal range at random. Tirion and his mighty Ashbringer also help seal the win for this deck providing any enemy minions with Taunt can get out of the way.

Final Thoughts
Mind Control Tech and Big Game Hunter are the two most recent tweaks to this deck. When I first started playing with it there was a Sylvanas Windrunner and a Piloted Sky Golem in those two slots. In the interest of making the deck a leaner low-drop monster I subbed those cards out for Harvest Golems. The Golems worked really well, however with the abundance of Dr. Boom in Ranked play Mind Control Tech is just too handy of a tool. Big Game Hunter is the card I am still teetering on the edge of removing. With two Equality’s this deck tends not to have much of an issue removing threats. But everytime I think of removing BGH I top deck him in a game where Equality seemed to be nowhere in site.