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(This is a guest article by mightyfrog)


Here is the deck I've been using the most on version 1.28. Before going through the details you should know a few things. Rogues are not top class, quite the opposite, so if your purpose is to win at all cost and reach the highest spheres of the ranking, this deck is not for you. However, if you want to have fun with a deck that nobody else plays, use more deception that brute force and win with a hero everybody laughs at, you should definitely give it a go. This deck brought me from ranking of 180 to 190, then I got stuck. Ranking doesn't mean much but staying at this level on 1.28 just before the rating reset was not too bad. I did beat a good few players ranked over 220 and was winning on average 2 games out of 3, based on real figures of my first 30 games with this deck (20 victories out of 30 plays, 5 out of 9 against players ranked 200 or above).

Deck List

  Hero: Lance Shadowstalker
  Allies (17):
  Kris x4
  Jasmine x4
  Aldon x3
  Raven x4
  Aeon x2
  Removals (14):
  Assassination x4
  Retreat x4
  Stop Thief x4
  Misplaced x2
  Draw and Support (10):
  Reconnaissance x4
  Bazaar x3
  Bad Santa x3


As you can see, there are 42 cards instead of 40 in this deck, this is important for reasons I will mention later.

This deck has only 10 cards costing more that 3 resources, that makes it fast enough and you won't need to sac a lot. The way to play it is : Establish board control as soon as possible and remove everything they get out of their hands.

The key cards here are first the removals :

  • Assassination and Retreat, : Remove allies and help for board control. No need to say much there.
  • Misplaced : very useful to send back a bazaar or research in its owners hand on turn 2, remove Ambers empowered weapon or just get rid of rain delay or full moon before a final blow.
  • Stop thief : the most underrated card in the game. The extra resource it gives you is invaluable, especially because you can use it on the same turn. And do you know of another card that can remove any item ? There's only one and it's Destroy Arms. People, don't stay focused on the "5" on the top left, this card is amazing and it is the first card in this deck that I almost never sac.

Then, the draw engines : There are 3 bazaars and 3 bad santas. I personally use the bazaars only against warriors to try and keep up with their blood frenzy and I use bad santa otherwise. Reconnaissance gives a great card advantage too. It gives one extra card and the extra damage your allies get can very often make the difference between a dead ally and an injured one. That's because a lot of allies in this deck have 3 attack and a lot of allies generally have 4 health. Also, seeing your opponents hand can prove very helpful. This is the second card I almost never sac.

Lastly, the allies. Jasmine is the best combination with Lance skill. For 5 cc, she enters play and can right away block an ally and deal damage to another one. Second to Jasmine are Aeon and Raven. Aeon can protect everyone while being cloaked and Raven can disable someone. These 3 allies, when used at the right moment can turn a lost board.

Other ones are Aldon, an obvious choice when your only source of damage is allies and Kris. Kris can combine with retreat, assassination, reconnaissance (the feeling of having Aldon in play, playing reconnaissance and drawing a Kris while you still have a resource to spare is just great). Kris is the third card that I try not to sacrifice. There is no turn 2 drop in this deck, it's a question I thought of a lot, I tried many options (nightshade, Puwen, mix of both) and none worked well. Turn 2 drop can be a misplaced, a bad santa, a bazaar, depending on circumstances.

Another specificity of this deck is that there is no card costing 4cc. Even though it is very convenient, it has nothing to do with any strategy. It's just that I can't think of any 4cc card that would be better than any of the 3cc ones.

One advice about using this deck : Even though it's tempting to use Lance ability or throw a Kris into play to do damage to the hero, always think about the alternatives. This is a counter deck that means you should always keep what you need to react to your opponent's move, throwing everything mindlessly works only against death race style, and not very well. The only moments when this should be done is if you also have an Aldon and a reconnaissance in play because then you'll deal big damage and your opponent will be under huge pressure.

Sacrificing is not too much of an issue. I very rarely go over 6 resources, sometimes 5, and then stop thief does the job. About sacrificing, except for the 3 cards mentioned above, nothing is sacred and it all depends on your hand and your opponent.

The hidden strategy : Play like a rogue. If you've read through all the boring text above, you then deserve to know the true meaning of this deck. Ask yourself the following : What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you go for a quick game and you see a rogue in front of you? And when you see that your opponent has more that the standard 39 cards that maximise the probabilities of drawing what you need? You'll tell yourself "cool, an easy win". Don't lie, you'll do it. And that is what most players will think when meeting an opponent playing this deck.

Then they'll realise after a few turns that everything they put into play leaves as quickly as it came, either because of your allies, or your cards and they'll get frustrated, just because they thought you were an easy prey, and also because they're in a bad situation against one of the worse heroes of the game. And what do frustrated people do ? They make mistakes or they give up. And that's what will get you closer to victory. Never forget that the pressure is on them. You are playing one of the worse heroes, one that every player looks down at and complains about the weakness on the forums (yeah, I do that too), and you still have a very good chance to win ! Your opponent will always feel that losing against a rogue is a humiliation, their lucidity will leave them and ultimately they will lose.

Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration but you can feel when your opponent is nervous. I've been playing Zhanna a bit lately and my opponents are much more chatty and give more compliments when I win, even though it doesn't happen as often. With Lance, I've been told so many times that I was lucky, sometimes the rude way, had so many rage quits and saw so many stupid moves being made.

Just to illustrate a small point of strategy that experienced players surely use and that will help you a lot with this deck. If you have a retreat and an assassination in hand and your opponent plays Plasma Behemoth, what do you do ? You retreat it first and if it comes again next turn you assassinate. If you can retreat it twice before killing it, you just bought yourself the game by having your opponent losing three turns and a big part of his morale with what just happened.

To finish, a point on the different opponents.

The bad matchups of this deck are :

  • Logan because everything seems to be a bad matchup for him.
  • Ter Adun because he can destroy your bazaars while still drawing his cards.
  • that's it.

The difficult but possible opponents :

  • Human warriors. They have a very good card pool, strong abilities and blood frenzy but are not impossible.
  • Human mages because they don't throw much on the board. Racing them to death can work if you have some Kris, Aldon and Reconnaissance in your first hand but it's counting on luck. Also, getting rid of their draw engines can buy you some necessary time but then again, the odds are not for you.

The easy match ups :

  • Darkclaw. With all the item removals, darkclaw is not a problem. The only card that could annoy you is evil ascendant so just keep the retreats for your allies getting weak. Except for that, send some cannon fodders on the JDs, steal the teeth and when you have enough cards in play : misplace his full moon, send reconnaissance and all your Kris in play, victory is yours.
  • Elementalis : His skill will help you make good use of retreats and assassinations.
  • Other rogues : because you have the best rogue deck out there.

The ones I never met with this deck : Shadow hunters (I expect them to be very easy though), Moonstalker, Majiya.

All the others I almost never lost against but I can't say they're easy. That's where you'll need a bit of strategy but if you know a bit about the meta (Gravebone is lost without portal, Gwen is nothing without soul seeker...), then you stand a very good chance.

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