Control Warrior has been a staple on the ladder for several seasons now and continues to be strong. Face Warrior, on the other hand, has seen a dramatic decrease in play as it tends to run out of steam to any deck running taunts or a lot of removal although it is still a viable option in tournament play as it matches up well with Miracle Rogue. OTK Warrior was destroyed by Blizzard when Charge and Warsong Commander were nerfed which really only leaves Control Warrior although a new Tempo Warrior may be gaining popularity soon.

In this write up I’ll discuss one version of the Control Warrior that I have been running on the ladder and give some options for alternative cards that can be used instead. This deck has many variations and utilizes a bunch of early removal and late game legendaries but the flavor of Control Warrior can be tweaked to fit each player’s style. It is not a cheap deck by any means as it usually runs between 6- 8 legendaries. It is not a fast deck either and many games, especially the mirror match-up, can go to fatigue before a winner is decided. What this deck does do well is provide a consistent win rate at almost any rank on the ladder and absolutely smashes some popular decks like Freeze Mage or Aggro Hunter.

The Deck

My current Control Warrior deck

Execute x2 - a staple in the deck. Since there are a lot of ways to get a bit of damage on a creature this card allows for big tempo swings by removing a big creature for 1 mana. Whirlwind, Cruel Taskmaster and Slam all get the damage in or you can run a small creature, like an Acolyte of Pain in and trigger the Execute

Shield Slam x2 - this deck builds up massive amounts of armor so Shield Slams for 10+ damage are common. If you have a Shield Block and this in your hand it’s a good idea to save them to use in the same turn to kill Chillwind Yetis

Whirlwind x2 - this card allows for insane armor and card draw combos with Armorsmiths and Acolyte of Pain. It also enrages Grommash Hellscream and Frothing Berserkers, allows Executes and clears boards against aggro decks. This card is just really good.

Fiery War Axe x2 - this might be the best weapon in the game as it helps build an early tempo lead by clearing 2 minions for 2 mana. It also allows for some extra damage late game as one problem with this deck is pushing through the last amount of damage for the win.

Slam - most Control Warrior decks used to run two of these but recently one has been replaced with a Gnomish Inventor since two in your hand is usually a bad thing. You almost always want to draw the card with this rather than just kill something but in certain cases, like a Knife Juggler, it is okay to use it simply for removal.

Armorsmith x2 - against aggro, Miracle Rogue and Freeze Mage this is the card that gets you out of range of their burn. Whirlwind with two of these on board and some other creatures and you will never die.

Cruel Taskmaster x2 - with Grommash this card gets you 12 damage for 10 mana but also allows you to trade up with Acolyte of Pain and Armorsmith and also kill of 1 health creatures. This card is all kinds of good.

Shield Block x2 - a huge mistake I see people make is using Shield Block when they have 3 extra mana without utilizing the armor the very same turn. Unless you plan to use Shield Slam or you need the card draw it is ALWAYS better to just armor up instead even if you leave 1 mana on the floor. This is because you can only armor up once a turn but the Shield Block remains in your hand and can be used later anyway.

Frothing Berserker x2 - this card has been taken out of some Control Warrior decks recently but really shouldn’t be in my opinion. Sometimes it just wins the game and even at it’s worst it baits out removal early before the real threats hit the board.

Kor'kron Elite x2 - for a while people were running Sen’jin Shieldmastas but eventually this card replaced them as it allows proactive play rather than hoping the taunt lives. Often times it can remove something and live causing 2 for 1s and deals with Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Azure Drake cleanly.

Brawl - this card has been in and out of my version for a while. It always felt to random to use reliably but with Cairne and Sylvanas in the deck it just makes too much sense. If Sylvanas is on board you cannot lose the Brawl since once she dies you steal whatever lives if it’s something from the opponents board. Also, according to KitKatz, the Armorsmith will always win…unless he lied.

Acolyte of Pain x2 - this is one deck that can often get 3 cards and full value from this guy. You can Whirlwind, Cruel Taskmaster and then attack something in the same turn. Suddenly you have 3 more cards and killed the opponents board. That’s value my friends.

Gnomish Inventor - this card replaced the second Slam. It’s a fairly decent body and replaces itself instantly which allows for more flexibility when starting with awkward hands. I instantly noticed how much smoother my curve was once adding this card to the deck.

Faceless Manipulator - I have previously run two of these and probably will again at some point since there are so many great targets in this deck. However, there are times when two of these are in the hand and none of the threats live long enough be copied. When they do live, however, this card is amazing.

Cairne Bloodhoof - buy 2 Yetis get one half off. It is hard to deny the strength of this card and in this deck it can act as a threat on it’s own or as Hex bait before the Ragnaros comes out. Either way Cairne gets the job done more often than not.

Sylvanas Windrunner - even at 6 mana Sylvanas is worth it because she creates so many issues for your opponent. This card changes the entire state of the board and leads to massive tempo swings. Try not to play it to empty boards if possible but don’t be afraid to use it as a 5/5 if there is no other play.

Baron Geddon - this card has gone in and out of my deck for a while. If Zoo is popular then Geddon stays but if Face Hunter is popular it’s better to have a Gorehowl or Harrison Jones instead. This card is a great board wipe against aggro and also baits out the Big Game Hunter to allow Ragnaros or Alexstaza to live.

Ragnaros the Firelord - I love this card. Maybe a bit too much. Ragnaros can finish games or can snipe a big target from the opponents board. Either way it must be dealt with and is perhaps the biggest threat in the deck. Try to play Alexstraza first, however, so as not to waste Ragnaros’s damage.

Alexstrasza - I found that playing this deck with out Alexstraza was difficult as finding the fule 30 points of damage can be challenging. This card allows you to knock half the health off and play a much more controlling style in the early and mid-game, knowing that only 15 points of damage is needed to finish the job.

Grommash Hellscream - the big finisher in the deck. I must stress this. DO NOT PLAY THIS CARD UNLESS IT IS FOR THE KILL. I have played a version of this deck with Leeroy Jenkins that allowed Grommash to be played for value but if you play him and can’t finish the opponent off you may never find the damage again.

Optional Cards

Harrison Jones - against Hunter, Shaman and Rogue this card can swing games in a big way. However, if the meta isn’t favoring a lot of weapons he doesn’t have a lot to put into museums and ends up being an expensive 5/4 so he is in and out of this deck.

Ysera - I only use Ysera at the expense of Alexstraza but she can outright win games. If you draw Ysera Awakens and play it with a Grommash that’s 15 damage and is usually enough to finish the game. She’s also a fantastic Faceless Manipulator target.

Gorehowl - A potential 7 for 1 (although rarely) but you do end up taking quite a bit of damage in the process. I took it out of the deck because if it does get oozed or Harrison Jones’d then you lose a 7 mana card for free and that can be a brutal swing and lose games.

Azure Drake - a lot of decks find a spot for this card. The spell damage can come in really handy with Whirlwind or Shield Slam. I have run two of these in the deck before and had success.

Sen'jin Shieldmasta - also known as Taz'dingo, this guy can protect your other cards and often provides 2 for 1s but I prefer using Kor’kron Elite in the 4 spot as it allows me to choose the attack instead of hoping that the taunt will stick and get the job done.

Some well know Control Warrior players include Kitkatz and Tides of Time so I recommend watching their streams to really learn the ins and outs of playing the deck.

Please feel free to leave comments with any other cards you include in the Control Warrior deck as this is one deck that has so many possible variations.