Coldlight is leaving standard, and with it all kinds of mill decks are forced to Wild. But Dead Man’s Hand Warrior was never entirely dependent on Coldlight, often squeezing out wins without it. However, it will definitely struggle. Coldlight is a unique self-sustaining win condition that synergises perfectly with Dead Man’s Hand. Without it, Warrior has no way to accelerate its gameplan to fatigue. With that said, there may be ways Warrior can utilise the infinite value of Dead Man’s Hand into a viable deck.
One simple option would simply be to cut the Coldlights and rely on simply fatiguing the opponent out of resources. This sounds attractive at first, but holds a number of key flaws. For one thing, unlike the fatigue Warriors of old, the lifegain will be few and far between. If you use your card draw and end up shuffling removal along with your Bring it On!, you’ll only be gaining 10 armour every 3-4 turns. That can’t outpace a Hunter or Guldan hero power or chip damage from hard-to answer minions.
Another problem would be decks with massive quantities of value, like Deathstalker Rexxar, Priests that stole a Dead Man’s Hand or Control Warlock’s Rin. You would simply end up running out of cards in hand or deck, especially when you consider you may have to spend several turns doing nothing in order to redraw your second Dead Man’s Hand to use that final copy of Execute. Meanwhile, your opponent could create a threat every single turn, that you would eventually become unable to answer.
An odd solution?
Alternatively, a Dead Man’s Hand style fatigue deck could end up ditching the Dead Man’s Hand altogether and going for a Baku-based Odd strategy. While powerful tools like Blood Razor, Execute and of course Dead Man’s Hand itself would be off-limits, there are other options. With 4 armor Tank Ups guaranteed from the get-go, you could capitalise on this with Shield Slams, Reckless Flurrys and Gorehowls that turn life into removal. What’s more, you could incorporate new Witchwood cards like Voodoo Doll or some Rush minions to provide additional removal.
With 4 armor per turn simply from hero-powering, you can simply outlast many aggressive strategies. However, you will have some key weaknesses. The draw engine will be heavily weakened, with only Acolyte and Shield Block viable options to cycle with. What’s more, you’ll find it harder to continually sweep boards with no Blood Razor or Scourgelord.
Nonetheless, this deck could be extremely worthwhile if burn-based strategies make their way into the metagame.
Marin, Yip and other memes
One answer to losing a late-game win condition would be to add big, powerful minions. But minions have to be of a particular variety to be worth reshuffling in Dead Man’s Hand Warrior. Just a Lich King won’t cut it. You want huge, slow value compressed into a single card, that becomes overwhelming when repeated. Here, Marin the Fox might excel. Each of his treasures are potentially game-ending in themselves, and become even more potent when combined with Dead Man’s Hand. The Golden Kobold gives you a hand full of shuffleable game-ending threats, the Wondrous Wand allows insane draw potential as well as creating possible infinite armour combos, Tobin’s Goblet gets you huge value and Zarog’s Crown grants you instead overwhelming board presence.
Yip would be another option. With the pool of 10 cost minions shrinking massively, Yip becomes far more attractive. Getting either Sea Giant, Deathwing, Tyrantus or Ultrasaur seems like a great prospect for closing out games. While one might be dealt with, multiple played across several turns quickly grows out out of hand. The downside is maintaining enough armour to keep it powerful, but if you’re judicious with your lifegain this could be very possible.
Of course, these minions are far less flexible than Coldlight. But they can nonetheless provide the same end-game inevitability.
A Woe-T-K solution?
OTK Warrior is back, and while impressive, still has a lot of refining to do. Copying massive charge minions with Sudden Genesis after pulling them with Woecleaver could provide an explosive finish. On the plus side, the Dead Man’s hand stops being necessarily and end-game win condition, and more of a fail-safe for when you draw your chargers.
Unfortunately, this may not be the best option. The strategy does comparatively poorly against aggressive lists, and cannot easily break through Voidlords. If other, non-Warlock control decks rise to the fore, then this might be a good option to burst down, say, Shudderwock Shaman. But most likely will be an inferior choice.
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