Uldum is here, and Control Warrior is already dampening the fun. Creative new decks are struggling to defeat the waves of Rush mechs from Doctor Boom, Mad Genius. Control lists are largely unchanged bar an occasional taunt package, but still see great success. But there is an archetype saving Warrior from overpowered stagnation. Tempo Warrior sees surprising early success for the first time in years. But why is Tempo Warrior suddenly viable after so long in the dumpster? And can it sustain its early power?
Seizing the Board
Warrior has two premium one-drops in Town Crier and Eternium Rover. But the follow-up was mediocre. With Fiery War Axe nerfed, there were no high-tempo two drops besides potentially Cruel Taskmaster. And while Frothing Beserker was always powerful, it’s pretty mediocre when behind.
But with Saviors of Uldum, Warrior has a whole load of new early options. With the Neutral Temple Beserker, there’s a sticky Enrage (sorry ‘when damaged’) option.
Frightened Flunky adds an efficient defensive discover. Livewire Lance is a ridiculously efficient 3-cost lackey generator. And Restless Mummy is a more flexible and aggressive Rush minion.
Powerful Draw, Devastating Combos
All this extra tempo means more cards. Tempo Warrior’s defining card is Battle Rage, and the further ahead you are, the more effective it is. When Battle Rage can reliably draw 2-5 cards, then you can set up some incredible swings. In the past, Tempo Warrior hasn’t especially been able to capitalise on this draw.
Bloodsworn Mercenary changes all that. This 3 drop that duplicates damaged minions is almost always amazing value. But in the late-game, it can activate some devastating burst combos. Inner Rage, Rampage and charge minions like Kokron Elite combine with Bloodsworn into anything from 12 to 24 damage. This is a flexible combo with very little opportunity cost. This means that your deck can have massive burst potential without sacrificing early power.
Limited Time Only?
Despite Tempo Warrior’s early successes, time may be running out. Tempo Warrior’s aggressive gameplan and unexpected burst works well early in the season, where decks are largely unrefined. But later on, it may struggle. When its early boards are more effectively contested, Battle Rage becomes less effective. And when opponents know charge minions are coming, well placed taunts can ruin your day.
Despite all this, Tempo Warrior may prove flexible enough to adapt to cannier opponent. Warrior now finally has the tools to build a variety of tempo decks. And surely that’s better than yet more Omega Devastators?
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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