Everyone’s favourite combo deck is back. Despite two nerfs, four expansions, and a set rotation, Quest Rogue is still terrorising control players. From ladder to tournaments, nowhere is safe (except maybe Puzzle Mode). But why has this deck proven invulnerable nerf after nerf? How has it managed to cling on in changing metas? And what can be done to finally tame it?
The Revenant Deck
The original incarnation of Quest Rogue was a very different beast to the one we face today. On launch, the Rogue Quest required a single named minion to be played four times, and made all minions permanently into 5/5s. Now, after two nerfs, those numbers are reversed. But even after requiring a minion to be played five times and making minions into 4/4s, the deck lives on.
This is a problem. In its current form, the deck is incredibly polarising. It has terrible matchups against decks with strong proactive early plays, with win rates dipping below even 20% versus certain decks. On the flip side, it dominates control, with similarly one-sided matchups in the other direction. Naturally, this is seen as an issue. Players tend not to enjoy it when their win rate is determined almost entirely by how many of a certain type of deck that they queue into. But why the resurgence?
The Giggling Elephant in the Room
One of the biggest offenders for the return of Quest Rogue is Giggling Inventor. This anti-aggro staple is continuing its massive surge in popularity. According to HSReplay, it’s currently breached 50% inclusion rate at and near Legend (despite the proliferation of counters like Mossy Horror and Blood Knight). It’s also a perfect fit in Quest Rogue. Not only is it perfect for stalling until you assemble your combo, it’s also a great threat for after your Quest is complete, adding two beefy shielded taunts to the board.
But outside of its effectiveness in Quest Rogue itself, Giggling warps the entire meta in favour of Quest Rogue. Giggling rewards decks that Quest Rogue preys on, and punishes its counters. Not only that, but by slowing down aggressive decks with clunky counters, it pushes those horrible win rates a little bit towards the Rogue.
With Giggling Inventors being odds on for a balance pass, things might be a little harder for anti-control decks. But will this be enough to put Quest Rogue down for good?
Why Nerfs Didn’t Work
The problem with Quest Rogue is that it doesn’t lose hard enough to aggro. The core issue, and the one that repeated nerfs have failed to address, is the polarisation. Against control, it doesn’t matter that much if you have a slightly harder time completing the combo, especially considering Rogue’s tools since Un’goro like Valeera the Hollow, Sonya, and Zola. Likewise, while reducing the size of minions lessens their burst, it does nothing to interfere with the ability to generate a board of 4/4s turn after turn with Zola and Valeera.
Because Quest Rogue is so strong against Control, it will always appear in a meta with little aggro. While this is healthy to an extent, it simply creates too much unsatisfying coin flip matchups.
Pirates, Boars, and Infinite Value.
If Team 5 want to put Quest Rogue down for good, they have to target its anti-control capabilities. With only one expansion until it rotates, they may not bother; but that’s still up to six months of extreme tilt from anyone who plays control decks.
The solution would need to come to either their Charge burst, their infinite value with Zola, or their ability to burst heal out of range of Control’s direct damage with Scalehide. Alternatively, more cards that can interfere with Rogue’s gameplan. If that doesn’t happen, we may be looking at a rough six months for us greedy control players.
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