Hi this is Danny Donuts, and I am back again with another addition to the “Tech Your Deck” series. This week we will be looking at the king of control decks on the ladder: C’Thun Warrior. The game plan of this deck is very similar to the old control warrior decks pre-WotOG, in which the deck is not particularly concerned in tempoing your opponent out, you are more concerned in getting value out of your cards. This composition is a bit more versatile than the previous Midrange Hunter Deck Tech that I reviewed, as it has the ability to counter most other decks in the meta through teching. This is one of the current strongest control decks, and can obtain a significant win rate if modified properly.
Similar to the previous Midrange Hunter deck, there are 22 cards in the C’Thun Warrior deck that I believe should be considered “core” to the deck based on an assortment of professional player’s decks, as well as my own personal experimentation. These card are typically not changed from version to version of this deck, but there are always exceptions to the rules in cases like this. This deck is a bit more flexible than other decks, and players may deviate a bit from this core list when creating a deck but if this if your first time building this deck I highly recommend sticking with these core cards as they are the most powerful, and have the best synergies.
Execute is one of the best forms of removal in the game. Being able to kill any minion on the condition that it is damaged, is very useful in a deck like this, where there are many ways to damage your opponent’s creatures.
2x Shield Slam
Shield Slam synergizes very well with this deck. Like in all other Control Warrior decks, you will be gaining a lot of armor, the ability to get rid of a big minion for just 1 mana allows for huge swing turns. Having Justicar Trueheart, as well as the two Ancient Shieldbearers will almost guarantee that you will have enough armor to deal with large threats if you need to get rid of them.
Slam is a really good form of damage in this deck. It can be used to clear 2 health minions in the early game, as well as an activator for Execute. The draw effect can be used if you are running low on cards, but you can also play it as pure damage in a control matchup in order to prevent drawing into fatigue.
2x Fiery War Axe
Fiery War Axe is the best early game card that you have in your arsenal of removal options. Vicious Syndicate wrote an article on how good of a card this is, (CHECK IT OUT HERE), and it would be a waste to not include this in our deck.
2x Ravaging Ghoul
With Death’s Bite rotated out of standard, this card is a similar type of card, as it also has the whirlwind effect attached to the card. This can allow for more efficient trades as well as adding an Execute activator into the deck.
2x Shield Block
An easy way to get 5 armor for Shield Slam, and a really good way to cycle for other cards in the aggressive and midgame matchups. Against control matchups, it is sometimes better to not play this card, in order to win a fatigue battle. This is especially the case if you are running Elise Starseeker, with her, it can turn into a random legendary.
Brawl is a must have in the Control Warrior deck. It is one of the most valuable cards, as it can almost completely clear your opponent’s board. Most decks run two Brawls, especially with the meta that is currently present on the ladder dominated by board heavy strategies. However, due to some greedy lists not running the second brawl, I felt that this card should only be considered as a one-of in the core set. The second copy of the card is probably one of the two cards that I feel is on the fringe of being considered core to this deck.
2x Disciple of C’Thun
In order to get C’Thun up to 10 attack in order to activate the battlecries of Twin Emperor or Ancient Shieldbearer, you typically need to play 2 C’Thun activators. The Disciple of C’Thun is a great card to do this task, as the 2 damage that the card is similar to the 2 damage performed by Slam. It can be used in the early game to get rid of a small minion, or as an Execute activator to kill a larger minion.
2x C’thun’s Chosen
C’Thun’s Chosen is one of the stickier C’Thun minions, and this deck seems to have a lack of 4-drops. It is a really good fit in the deck, and helps towards getting the 7-mana C’Thun cards’ battlecries active.
1x Justicar Trueheart
Justicar Trueheart is a staple in all of the control warrior builds, and this deck is no exception. Gaining 4 armor as opposed to 2 is gamebreaking. Often in the mirror match, the first person to get Justicar out will be the person who wins the game in the fatigue war. This is low-key one of the most underatted cards in this deck.
2x Ancient Shieldbearer
When Shieldmaiden left standard, this card replaced it as the late game armor adding card. It is absurd to gain 10 armor, and often getting one of these cards off will extend the game by 2 or 3 turns minimum, if not giving you the ability to win the game outright. One of the major issues is getting your C’thun’s attach up to 10 before playing this card, however, with 4+ C’Thun activators it will most likely be active by the time you need it. Comboing this card with Brann Bronzebeard will absolutely put the game away.
1x Twin Emperor Vek’lor
Similar to Ancient Shieldbearer, this card is another very over powered 7 mana C’Thun card. Getting this card active is the hard part, once that is done, the two bodies with taunt make a wall that is almost always impenetrable, and will often result in subpar trades due to the 6 health of the minions. Getting a third Emperor by playing this card with Brann will often straight up win the game.
C’Thun is the card that the deck is centered around. At the start of the expansion there were some people who tried experimenting with playing this deck without C’Thun, but still playing the C’Thun activators in order to utilize the 7-mana minions as the 7-mana cards are the most powerful in the deck. People realized early on that this was a grave error, as you are already buffing up C’Thun to use these cards, and by the time you get to play him, he is already a 10+ attack minion, which in itself can finish the game. If you get Brann to stick on board while you have this card in hand you will win 99% of the time.
Unlike hunter, there are a few ways to categorize the cards that are not in this core group of cards. There are “Finishers”, which are cards that are put in your deck to add additional win conditions to your deck. Changing these will adjust the way you execute your gameplan, and change your winrate against certain matchups. Additionally there are a few cards that I consider pure tech cards, which, due to the amount of flexibility in this deck, can be fit into this deck in order to specifically do better against specific matchups as well. The last section I will cover is common cards, which are some of the common cards that fill in the last spots in the deck. It is extremely hard to cover all of the possible inclusions in control c’thun warrior due to the flexibility of the deck, so this list will naturally be incomplete, but I have striven to cover all of the important cards that are included in most c’thun warrior decks.
The control themed cards in C’thun Warrior are strong against aggressive decks, but when playing against other control decks it is important to have an alternative win condition, and adding one of these two cards improves the control matchups win percentages significantly.
The ability to bring your C’Thun back if it dies is a significant advantage against a control deck. The decks that run Doomcaller are typically very greedy, and the win condition when playing a deck with this card is typically to play for the late game and win by stretching out the game. This version has the advantage of winning in fatigue battles if it is playing against another version of this particular deck.
Elise is a good middle ground for the win condition in this deck. Playing this in the early game allows for you to get a 3/5 on the board early, which can allow you to contest against early aggression. Additionally, getting the Golden Monkey and transforming your dead cards can allow for a win against other control decks. However, an Elise C’Thun deck is not favored in the mirror matchup against a Doomcaller C’Thun deck.
Just like old school Control Warrior, there is a significant amount of space in the C’Thun Warrior deck that allows for pure tech cards to be included in this deck. This happens as the deck can typically float a few cards due to the deck aiming to play cards for value rather than tempo. These tech selections can be used to generate tremendous amounts of value, and to improve matchups that are being seen commonly in the meta.
Harrison Jones is the weapon removal of choice for the C’Thun warrior, as it allows for insane value when your opponent plays a weapon. If you have to play Harrison on an empty board it is not the end of the world, as a 5-mana 5/4 body is not horrible, and typically trades up with your opponent’s 5- or 6-drop, and takes at least a 4-drop to kill him. This is optimal for a tech card, amazing value when the tech is successful, and acceptable stats if it whiffs. Harrison is run over Acidic Swamp Ooze as weapon removal in this deck, as we are looking for value as the Control Warrior. Acidic Swamp Ooze is a good early game minion that acts as ok weapon removal, and Harrison is an ok midgame minion that offers great weapon removal value. Normally Ooze is used in deck that are looking to remove weapons for tempo such as Fiery War Axe and is also used as a really good statted early drop. On the other hand Harrison is used as the value removal later in the game, when removing more powerful weapons such as Doomhammer or Truesilver Champion. Be aware of the fatigue matchup when using Harrison though.
The Black Knight
The Black Knight can be utilized as a really good card in C’Thun Warrior in certain metas, as it can deal as an additional removal against Ramp Druid if they are a prominent deck. This minion is a bit high costed, and only really sees play when decks are actively playing taunts.
Tinkmaster Overspark is a very interesting tech choice. It really hasn’t seen much play since it’s nerf in beta, when you could target which minion was effected by its battlecry. However, with the removal of some of the board flooding cards and the weakening of silence due to the standard rotation, Tinkmaster has started to make an appearance again as a tech card. Typically Tinkmaster is used as a polymorph on a card that is already more powerful than a 5/5 with either very large stats, or a powerful deathrattle/effect, such as Sylvanus, Ragnoros, Tirion, Savanah Highmane and many others. It is actually really useful to use Tinkmaster against C’Thun as doing so will prevent Doomcaller from putting additional C’Thun cards into their deck, essentially removing their late game win condition.
Barron Geddon is a great tech when running up against aggressive decks, as you can use him as a board clear, and once he has been played he keeps smaller minions off the board. If your opponent is too aggressive or your deck is too greedy however, he can be a detriment, due to the damage that he causes you, or not being able to clear a sticky board.
Big Game Hunter
With the nerf to Big Game Hunter, he is run considerably less as he is much less powerful compared to the power that he had pre-standard. However, in a control heavy meta, Big Game Hunter is a good form of removal, and can have some powerful swing turns.
Eater of Secrets
This card is your typical tech card against a secret heavy meta. It is really powerful against Secret Paladin, and weaker against mage and hunter than Kezan Mystic was. There is not much to say about this card because at the moment, there are very few secret playing decks in the meta, and this card is not worth running to counter the few that are played.
After adding a win condition, and the pure tech cards to your deck there will still be some room in your deck for other cards. Some of the cards in this section only barely missed being a core card, while others are a bit rarer. I have listed them approximately in order of consideration, with the cards that are more common towards the top, and some of the rarer ones towards the bottom. Like I said previously, C’Thun Warrior is very similar to Control Warrior and there is a lot of room to float cards in the deck. This means that players have experimented with running many different cards in these last few spots, and it would be impossible to list them all here, but most if not all of the normally used cards are listed here.
When laddering with this deck, the second copy of Brawl is very important. Due to the number of Aggro shaman and zoo players, it is really important to be able to Brawl as soon as possible to clear the board against the smaller minions that they will be flooding the board with. Against these matchups, it is sometimes correct to even keep a brawl in your opening mulligan.
Brann is almost an auto include in this deck. Getting any battlecry off with Brann in this deck is crazy, as all the battlecries are really powerful. On a C’Thun buff card, it allows for you to only play one before getting the 7-mana cards active. Getting Brann’s battlecry off with one of the 7-mana cards is a huge swing, as 20 armor or 3 times 4/6 taunts (through Vek’lor) are not something to sneeze at. Having Brann stick on board allows for double C’Thun missiles, which is crazy value. When you play Brann on board, your opponent will most likely use premium removal on him, due to his heavy effect, which will allow for you to play larger minions with less of a threat of being removed.
Sylvanas is an integral part of your C’Thun Warrior list, and only a few decks have cut her from their lists. Like Brann, she is almost an auto include in this list. The ability to threaten to steal your opponents minions makes your opponent make sub-optimal plays at the worst, and in the best case scenario, you can steal some of their best threats away from them.
Emperor Thaurrissian is a very important card in C’Thun Warrior, and is run in some of the greedier lists. The ability to lower the cost of all of the cards in your hand is really beneficial, especially considering that in a control matchup, you will have a large hand size. Getting a discount on Brann allows for battlecry combos earlier than turn 10, which can win the game instantly. If you can keep the coin, and get a tick off on Brann and C’Thun, you can play both on the same turn and get 2x the C’Thun missles, which will almost certainly win you the game. The ability also allows for you to have 0 mana removal cards, which allow you to out value your opponent immensely. If Emperor sticks around on board for more than one turn, you will be hard to stop. One of the only downsides of this card is that it shares part of its name with Twin Emperor Vek’lor, and when talking about your deck with other people there can be confusion about which Emperor you are talking about. 😉
With the large amount of armor that you will be able to gain from the Ancient Shieldbearers and tank-up, you can use your health a bit more liberally as a resource. This make Gorehowl a good inclusion when playing this deck as it can trade 1 for 2,3,4 or more minions. It is better fit for control matchups rather than Aggro, as it can only deal with one minion at a time.
Acolyte of Pain
Acolyte of Pain is one of the classic cycle cards in control warrior. You want to be cycling aggressively when playing against aggressive decks and little to none when playing control. You will see Acolyte in more of the Elise variants of Control Warrior compared to the Doomcaller lists, as it helps you reach your win condition quicker as Elise as a finisher and those decks are primarily suited to tackle aggressive decks. When playing against control matches, it is not uncommon for you to not play this card at all, or to sneak it onto the board during a brawl turn in order for you to get it out of your hand.
Crazed Worshiper is typically seen as a one of in the C’Thun warrior deck, as it helps cement your 7-mana cards’ battlecries, and can help hold off aggression. The five mana slot is typically not too highly contested in this deck, which allows for it to sit comfortably in the deck.
Bash is a great control tool for C’Thun Warrior. Being able to deal 3 damage can remove aggressive minions, while gaining a bit of armor which can be combed with shield slam, or used to outlast aggressive pushes.
Beckoner of Evil
Beckoner of Evil is one of the cards that is added into the deck in order to combat aggressive decks better. Against control decks this card is a bit weak, as you do not gain much value from just a 2/3 or a +2/2 buff on C’Thun. However against aggro this allows you to contest an aggressive board, and buff your C’thun to pass the 10 attack threshold rather quickly.
The cards from here on down are not as commonly found in your common C’Thun Warrior lists compared to the above cards, but all offer some functions that make them beneficial to consider for some builds.
Doomsayer is an anti-aggro tech card. It can help keep the board clear from aggressive minions, and in the worst case is a 2 mana heal 7 health card. Doomsayer is mostly a dead card in the lategame, as you want to be building up a powerful board, and not clearing your own minions off the board.
Blood to Ichor
Blood to Ichor is a useful card in C’Thun Warrior. It can be used as an execute activator, as a way to contest an aggressive start from your opponent, or as a Grommash activator if you decide to play him.
Revenge is a useful utility card in C’Thun Warrior, and shares some of the roles that blood to ichor does. It can be used as a board clear against aggressive decks, as an Execute activator, a third whirlwind effect, or even as a Grommash activator.
Grommash is such a powerful card against certain matchups that it will be included in the C’Thun warrior build as a secondary finisher occasionally. Playing Grom against aggressive decks can help clear the board of pesky minons, and put a big threat on board. The ability to burst your opponent down from 10 allows for a bit more reach in your deck, and Grom can be used to absorb some removal that would be used on C’Thun or other large minons in your deck.
Simmilar to Grommash, Ragnoros is a very powerful minion that is occasionally included in C’Thun list. Ragnaros is rather weak against token decks, but against midrange and control decks he is quite powerful due to the ability to kill large minions on the turn that he is played.
You may see Gnomish Inventor in some of the anti-aggro C’Thun lists, as they are typically trying to cycle quickly to find their answers. This card is not very useful in control matchups, as it is a huge liability to draw extra when expecting a fatigue battle.
Bloodhoof Brave is not commonly found in this deck, as crazed worshiper is typically a better taunt for an anti-aggro play. However, Crazed Worshiper is one mana more, and in some lists, the five mana slot can be full with 2 Brawls, Harrison Jones, and other cards. The 4-mana slot is typically rather empty in this deck, with the only core card that is 4 mana being C’Thun’s Chosen.
Teched Deck Examples
This is the deck that Lifecoach used to win the SeatStory V tourney. He used a really greedy version of this deck running Doomcaller, and only one copy of Brawl. He thought that zoo was going to be really underrepresented in the tournament, and this tech decision really paid off, by giving him the wins against Thijs and J4CKIECHAN.
This is an Elise version of C’Thun warrior that Sjow made for the ladder. It is a relatively standard list, but the power level of this deck is extremely high, and against a diverse meta, this version of the deck is well rounded.
C’Thun Warrior is a very strong deck, and being able to adapt it to your personal play style as well as being successful in the meta can be quite difficult, yet rewarding. There are so many ways that the deck can be varied, and each choice allows for a different form of the deck to be played. Ultimately it takes a good amount of experimentation to refine your deck to counter the meta, but once that is done properly, C’Thun Warrior can be one of the strongest choices to play. Using this guide is a good way to get started in perfecting your deck, and making the tech choices that are right for your matchups.