Welcome to the new series; THL Fiery War Primers! In this series, we will bring you all you need to know about some of the strongest decks, from the best THL players, with new guides coming regularly. Our goal here is to bring you intel on the major aspects of a deck: core cards and card choices, piloting advice, advice when playing against it, and how it can fit into your THL lineups. We’ll bring you a different deck every week, based on meta trends. Today, we are finishing our in-depth analysis on Bomb Warrior, enjoy!
6) What is the Deck's General Gameplan?
Ideally, Bomb Warrior seeks to play Corsair Cache, thereby drawing and buffing Wrenchcalibur, and then use weapon synergy cards to swing face repeatedly, closing out the game with cards like Dr. Boom and Galakrond. Opponent’s boards are dealt with via cards like Risky Skipper, Bladestorm, Brawl, etc. As you can imagine, things don’t always go according to plan.
Your goal is to survive in the early game and swing the board in the mid-to-late game. Survival in the early game typically involves clearing small minions with Risky Skipper (ideally paired with Armorsmith) and weapons. Swinging the board in the mid-to-late game typically involves cards like Krastinov, Dr. Boom, and Deathwing. Deathwing, in particular, frequently wins games against aggro because it simultaneously clears the board and presents a massive threat.
Because Bomb Warrior usually plays very passively in the first three turns, it struggles against hyper-aggro decks that close out games with burn from hand. You can occasionally win by running your opponent out of resources, but this is becoming increasingly difficult because cards like Secret Passage and Lorekeeper Polkelt significantly increase the consistency with which aggro decks find their burn.
Winning against aggro requires you to use your removal intelligently. It’s tempting to hold onto Bladestorm until it lines up perfectly with the opponent’s board, but the reality is that a good aggro player will play around Bladestorm when they can. If you lose to aggro with removal in your hand, ask yourself whether you should have used the removal more liberally.
Important cards: Risky Skipper, Sky Raider, Sword & Board, Corsair Cache, Ancharrr, Bladestorm, Armorsmith. All of these cards should be kept in the mulligan.
Against control decks, Bomb Warrior is the aggressor. Bomb Warrior’s ideal prey on ladder is an un-teched control deck, since consistent weapon damage and bombs’ inevitability puts too much pressure on slow decks. However, since cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze and Kobold Stickyfinger have become more popular, you have to be careful not to overcommit your weapon buffs.
Since control decks are generally Bomb Warrior’s best matchups, your gameplan closely resembles the ideal gameplan. You want to play Corsair Cache on turn 2, drawing your Wrenchcalibur, and follow up with your weapon synergies before closing out the game with Dr. Boom and Galakrond. Of course, your opponent will also play cards of their own, and this introduces an absolutely crucial skill in all current control matchups:
You need to recognize when you should ignore your opponent’s minions.
In other words, you have to be ready to take some damage so that cards like Brawl get enough value.
Yes, your opponent will play must-answer minions like Sethekk Veilweaver and Twilight Runner, and yes, you will have to kill them with your weapon when you don’t have better options. But your opponent will also play very ignorable minions like Cobalt Spellkin and Lake Thresher.
Guess which kind of minion is more common: must-kill or ignorable? EU Grandmaster Bunnyhoppor sums it up quite nicely:
Important cards: Corsair Cache, Wrenchcalibur, Cutting Class, Dr. Boom, Galakrond. Keep Corsair Cache in the mulligan, it is the best card. Keep Wrenchcalibur in the mulligan if you do not have Corsair Cache. Keep Cutting Class in the mulligan if you have Corsair Cache or Wrenchcalibur.
This section only applies to Turtle Mage in the current meta, since the other “combo” decks in the current meta are not what we traditionally consider combo (e.g. Malygos Druid today vs. Malygos Druid in 2016). The plan is extremely simple: kill your opponent before they permanently freeze your board and copy Nightblade/Sunreaver Warmage. As usual, the ideal scenario involves playing Corsair Cache on 2, drawing Wrenchcalibur, and swinging face. Keep in mind that shuffling bombs into your opponent’s deck will undo Lorekeeper Polkelt’s effect.
Important cards: Corsair Cache, Wrenchcalibur, Cutting Class. The mulligan guide is the same as against control decks.
If you have weapon removal and your opponent doesn’t, you are strongly favored. Recognizing when you need to draw is an important skill in the mirror. Mirrors are usually won through tempo - not fatigue - so don’t make the mistake of playing too passively. (This is not to say that fatigue is irrelevant; for example, there are certainly cases where it’s correct to draw fewer cards off of Battle Rage.)
Usually, whoever plays the first Wrenchcalibur is the aggressor, and the other player is constantly looking for an opportunity to swing tempo.
Important cards: Corsair Cache, Wrenchcalibur, Cutting Class, Dr. Boom. The mulligan is the same as for control matchups, although you should keep any weapon removal cards you may have added to your list.
7) How Do You Play Against the Deck? What Tech Cards Should You Add to Beat It?
If you’re an aggro deck, your games will often be decided by how quickly your opponent draws Risky Skipper + Armorsmith. When Bomb Warrior doesn’t find Risky Skipper + Armorsmith in the first 5 turns, it usually dies. Though it’s important to play around removal like Bladestorm and Brawl, it’s equally important to recognize when you have to play into them. Since it’s likely you’ll lose board in the mid-game, the general rule is to prioritize chip damage in the early turns, saving card draw and burn for later.
If you’re a control deck, you need to remove or steal Wrenchcalibur. The vast majority of Bomb Warrior’s damage comes from Wrenchcalibur, so your primary goal is minimizing the number of times they swing with it. To that end, Stickyfinger is better than Ooze because stealing Wrenchcalibur prevents Hoard Pillager from re-equipping it, but Stickyfinger is worse than Ooze in practically every other matchup. Secondary goals are to play around the burst from Dr. Boom and to make it difficult for your opponent to comfortably play Galakrond.
Playing against Bomb Warrior without anti-weapon tech is … an uphill battle. We don’t recommend it.
If you’re playing Pure Paladin or a highlander deck, remember that bombs are neutral cards and that multiple bombs will count as duplicates in your deck. In that case, try to play your pure cards or your highlander cards as fast as possible, so they are not disabled by the bombs. Using Zephrys to generate weapon removal cards as soon as they equip Wrenchcalibur can be game winning, as it will give you a huge tempo swing, and help you increase your chance of having an active Brann or Dragonqueen a few turns later.
8) What Will the Deck Look Like in the Future?
Over the past couple of weeks, a variety of Bomb Warrior builds have emerged, and the main decision point has been pirates vs. Galakrond. Lately, however, builds have emerged that fit in the core elements of both packages by cutting auxiliary cards. For instance, some builds only have 1 copy of Sky Raider and others cut Kronx. Other builds cut copies of cards like Upgrade! and Brawl.
For the foreseeable future, it looks like the builds which compromise between pirates and Galakrond will do best on ladder, where the field is quite varied. Galakrond helps the deck in slower matchups, while the pirate package is really strong against aggressive decks.
In tournament play, however, Bomb Warrior becomes extremely flexible. A few Grandmasters showcased this flexibility in the Grandmasters Specialist week. Check out these interesting sideboards:
The most prominent aspect of kin0531’s lineup is his tertiary deck, which strikes me as a very original way of teching for control and combo matchups. The last time Jepetto saw serious play in Warrior was as a Mecha’thun tutor in a very sub-optimal Mecha’thun Warrior (everyone knows the Boomship lists were far superior to the Undatakah lists). Clockwork Goblin also hasn’t seen high-level competitive play since Specialist was the default format.
It’s easy to get caught up with the novelty of kin0531’s tertiary list, but look at the primary list: it’s running Ancharrr with no Skippers or Sky Raiders! The only pirates are Hoard Pillager and Kobold Stickyfinger. This takes the Pirates vs. Galakrond debate, which generally revolves around the strength and importance of Risky Skipper/Armorsmith, and turns it on its head. kin0531 seems to be saying, “I just need to draw my good cards. I don’t care how it happens.”
With that in mind, the Jepetto tech makes sense...
Looking at the lineup Felkeine, xBlyzes, and Zhym brought, you can see some really cool techs. Wyrmrest Purifier, which you can find in the secondary list, will turn all neutral cards in your deck (including bombs!) into class cards, effectively serving Archivist Elysiana’s purpose at a much cheaper cost and smaller tempo loss. The addition of Alexstrasza and Zephrys in the tertiary list practically guarantees fatigue victories.
9) Will This Deck Get Nerfed? What are the Likely Targets?
It is hard to see any card deserving a nerf. Although this is a very strong deck, none of the cards feel particularly oppressive. At the same time, there is a significant chance they hit something in the deck during this expansion. Even if something is hit, there isn’t a single card that dominates the power level of the deck; thus, the other cards should still be strong and the deck should remain viable in some form.
The most likely card to be nerfed in our opinion is Lord Barov. The statline is fine, but the card’s effect is very overtuned for its cost. If nerfed, it will most likely go to 4 mana, in which case it will still be playable and should not change the viability of the deck.
There is a small chance Risky Skipper gets nerfed at some point, but we do not expect it right now. As they have been printing stronger aggressive cards, such as Voracious Reader, Spymistress and Secret Passage, Risky Skipper is needed to keep the aggressive decks in check. If it does get nerfed, it will reduce the potential of the deck to prey on aggressive opponents, but should not affect control matchups. In that case, Bomb Warrior should continue being a significant player in the meta.
10) Is The Deck A Strong Bring in THL's Legacy, Hero & Pro Series?
In Legacy and Hero, the answer is definitely yes. Warrior as a class is very flexible in closed list formats. You can go Enrage, Control, or Big Warrior if you feel like Bomb Warrior is being targeted. Bomb Warrior can also bring cards to target particular matchups, as presented in Section 3. If your opponent does not realize you are running Zephrys or Kronx, for example, you can surprise them by buffing your board to swing face and close the game. You can bring Kobold Stickyfinger to steal your opponent’s weapon and gain a huge lead in the mirror. This is the biggest advantage of Bomb Warrior in a closed decklist format, or even Specialist format, and it shouldn’t be understated.
In open decklists, you can target Warrior more effectively. There is an argument to not bringing Warrior if your opponent decides to target it with multiple weapon removal cards per deck. That being said, they will have to significantly reduce their winrate in other matchups by bringing multiple weapon removal cards every match. You can see how much respect people are giving Bomb Warrior when every single NA Grandmaster is using their sideboard to tech against Bomb Warrior in Specialist format, but no one ended up bringing it. Many teams in THL’s pro series built their lineups taking this deck into account. A lot of the lineups right now are basically boiling down to whether you ban rogue or Warrior, and target the other one hard, so that may be what we get to see happen to Bomb Warrior over the next few weeks.
We hope you've enjoyed our comprehensive dive into everything Bomb Warrior; make sure you join us again next week for more contributors, more decks, and more Hearthstone. Detailed, just the way you like it.
-LotusKnight & BZRK, edited & compiled by rebobson
The THL blog is curated and edited by Donde & rebobson. All THL members are welcomed and encouraged to pitch ideas for articles they would like to see on the site. If you have an idea, please reach out to us on Discord at Donde#4239 or rebobson#3620, or via the THL Help email address: firstname.lastname@example.org