Odd Paladin is arguably the best deck in the game right now. With stunning win rates across the board, its power is undoubtedly substantial in tournaments and on ladder. A friend of mine, an arena player who rarely if ever dabbles in constructed, rocketed to Legend with it in just a few days after months of ignoring Ladder.
But Odd Paladin is not a hard deck to beat in the right circumstances. Pack enough board clears and it eventually runs out of gas. This gives it a number of heavily unfavoured matchups. Control Warriors in particular can dunk on it with abandon. Will the new cards of Rastakhan’s Rumble allow other decks to pick apart Odd Paladin without so many sacrifices?
One key way to take Paladin down a notch is with Overkill. Overkill as a mechanic thrives on having lots of cheap chaff to crush. Flooding the board with eminently killable tokens is a potent strategy now, but it may not last when it can come back to haunt you.
Just take a look at the new Mage card, Blast Wave. This 5 mana spell deals 2 to all minions, with the Overkill effect of adding a random minion to your hand for each. This is a disastrous card for any Odd Paladin, cutting off their crucial turn 5 buff turn as well as giving the mage a whole host of new reactive tools to deal with future boards.
While we’ve yet to see many Overkill cards, if many others are similar to Blast Wave, they could prove cataclysmic for Odd Paladin’s win rates.
As well as the potential for powerful Overkill cards, Rastakhan is also bringing a host of class and neutral anti-flood techs. Mage’s Spirit of the Dragonhawk allows for every hero power to become a mini-clear, Shaman’s Zentimo sends every spell wide, the neutral Belligerent Gnome powers up well against early wide boards, and Rabble Rouser can easily come down for very little mana to lock up the game.
The neutral anti-flood cards in particular could potentially be a big deal for Odd Paladin. Currently, there’s not that many good options to counter Odd Paladin. Its sheer ability to build and rebuild boards needs a deck virtually dedicated to board clears to beat. And tempo techs like Mind Control Tech don’t do much against 1/1s. But more viable neutral anti-flood techs could let decks flexibly react to more Odd Paladin in the meta far better than we’ve seen before.
Aggro Always Survives
Of course, the fabled ‘Control meta’ never comes. Even if Odd Paladin is forced out by anti-flood techs, those techs will die out as their purpose goes unfulfilled, and Odd Paladin may sneak back in. The only thing to likely keep it out for good would be anti-flood hate that incidentally is good against all other archetypes (like an all-class Spreading Plague or Maelstrom Portal).
But there’s a very good chance that Odd Paladin won’t be able to ride roughshod over Hunters, Rogues and Mages with the same impunity as before. So if you want to catch that rocket to legend, now might be the time. Just try and hope your opponents don’t run Blood Razor.
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