Hello everyone, I’m Jrsddg from Team JRS. I am also an editor of the weekly meta report group Frontline. A few days ago, I successfully made it to Rank 1 Legend of China’s ladder with this version of Galakrond Rogue. Afterwards, jrsConley, a teammate who is also an editor of our weekly report, also reached Rank 1 on China’s ladder with it. That should be enough to prove that this deck is extremely powerful – Below are my personal views on the deck.
General meta overview at top Legend: Now that all of the cards in the new adventure have been released, the meta has gradually begun to stabilize, and Rogue, Hunter, and Druid are dominating the highest-ranking part of the ladder (with a small amount of Warrior, Mage, and Priest sneaking their way in). Compared to Hunter and Druid, Galakrond Rogue received almost no additional support in the way of new cards from the adventure, but it continues to stand out among other decks, as the Galakrond package is highly beneficial to Rogue’s pre-existing tempo-swinging abilities. Its innate strength, wide range, and high adaptability to the general field are all reasons why we find this version of Rogue so powerful.
After over a month of ladder grinding, it has generally been proven that Galakrond Rogue is much more stable without Spirit of the Shark for two reasons: First, its low tempo is not suitable for a Hunter-rich meta; second, it is weak in the mirror. The Rogue deck we are presenting today is an improved version of Gyong’s Rogue, which reached Rank 1 Legend on three different servers. Our version substitutes one Sap and one Devoted Maniac for two SI:7 Agents. Let’s discuss why we made these substitutions:
First, in a meta where overall tempo is faster, two Saps will often just sit in your hand with nothing ideal to use them on. As for the 4-cost Invoke card Devoted Maniac, although in the Rogue mirror it can be used to value trade with Lackeys and not lose too much tempo, but against most other classes, playing a Devoted Maniac for 4 mana doesn’t do much to help the board state. Galakrond Rogue is a tempo-driven deck at its core, and SI:7 Agent fits that style perfectly. Additionally, SI:7 deals with Faerie Dragons, and a 3/3 stat-line is also quite strong. It’s no exaggeration to say that if you can coin out an SI:7 on curve to take out their Faerie Dragon, Hunters will often have almost no power to fight back. SI:7 can also provide some additional lethal outs when your opponent is otherwise unkillable.
Other tech cards have also made an appearance on ladder – Two cards that often replace SI:7 Agent are Skyvateer and Boompistol Bully. First, in the current iteration of Rogue, Daggering Up on turn 2 is not really a tempo loss, which is the main reason we do not use Skyvateers. Another reason for not taking Skyvateers is that the impact of this card is not as large as SI:7 Agent’s. As for Boompistol Bully, in most scenarios it’s just wishful thinking that you will be able to fully suppress your opponent with it. Our rogue deck can deal with Bully in several ways – Backstab-SI:7-hit with Dagger, Backstab-Zilliax, etc.
I show SN1P-SN4P and Zilliax separately because a lot of players are skeptical about them, thinking they aren’t actually that useful. In terms of each individual card, playing a single SN1P-SN4P on turn 3 in the mirror usually gets hit by Seal Fate, with one 1/1 token likely daggered down; the remaining 1/1 can be a target for Praise Galakrond. Against most of the other classes, a single SN1P-SN4P for 3 mana causes a tempo loss for your opponent to the point that they might not be able to deal with it at all. Furthermore, given that you have enough health, two SN1P-SN4Ps on 6 mana is never wrong. The stickiness of SN1P-SN4P makes it very difficult for your opponent to deal with. As for Zilliax, it’s not always as simple as hitting one target and healing for 3 before it dies – Sometimes your opponent doesn’t have a way to easily deal with it and it can be lifesaving. This is not even to mention their strength when magnetized – They can put the nail in the coffin of face decks, and you can also use them to play around Oasis Surger and Starfall. Keep in mind that cards like Pharaoh Cat and Witchy Lackey can also produce Mech cards, further synergizing with SN1P-SN4P and Zilliax’s ability to magnetize.
Because the current deck has many effects that randomly generate resources, at later stages of the game it becomes difficult for people at any skill level to figure out the best play within 90 seconds, so the best we can do is to develop good habits. After the initial turns, the first thing we want to calculate every turn is lethal. This should be done on your opponent’s turn, otherwise the other steps might not have enough time. Once you’re sure that you don’t have lethal, consider your opponent’s ability to lethal, followed by calculating overall mana costs. When you’re sure that you have enough mana to do so, play cards with random generation effects first, such as Ethereal and Draconic Lackeys or Pharaoh Cat. With the exceptions of Warrior and Priest matchups in which you need to conserve resources against their removal, try to get the most stats you can on the board. If these points are followed, you will have a vast improvement.
Galakrond Rogue’s mulligans are difficult to fully explain in one sitting, so we only have space for the general idea. Many decisions in the mulligan phase depend on personal understanding of the deck, the class you’re against, and the deck you expect them to play based on their class (which often depends on the meta you’re facing at your own ladder rank). Before we begin, let me touch on one card in specific, Shadowstep: Shadowstep is a very complicated card, and can feasibly be kept when there is obvious synergy.
Default Mulligan for Galakrond Rogue (Mirror).
Mulligans without coin: Pharaoh Cat, SN1P-SN4P, Seal Fate, Praise Galakrond, EVIL Miscreant with Seal Fate or Backstab, otherwise don’t keep Backstab. Keeping Galakrond or King Togwaggle depends on the rest of your hand – If you have definite synergy with either then you can keep it.
Mulligans with coin: Pharaoh Cat, SN1P-SN4P, Seal Fate, Praise Galakrond, EVIL Miscreant, Edwin VanCleef. Keep either Galakrond or King Togwaggle: If you have Shadowstep then keep Shadowstep with Togwaggle; likewise, if you have lots of Invokes then keep Galakrond.
- Under no circumstances should you coin EVIL Miscreant on turn 2. Instead you should wait until turn 3 and coin the EVIL Miscreant with a Lackey afterwards. That way you can avoid giving your opponent a good Seal Fate target on curve.
- Try your hardest to clear the board before your opponent’s 5 mana play to prevent against Faceless Corruptor; kill all Lackeys before your opponent’s 6 mana play. If your opponent isn’t using any of their removal, then don’t overcommit on developing a big Edwin. Don’t immediately use damage cards you draw for zero cost from Galakrond or Togwaggle.
- The general idea is to keep pressure on your opponent at all times. Making the best tempo play is typically the priority, but if you start running out of fuel then you need to start considering pressuring face instead.
Against Highlander Rogue, a favorable matchup, don’t give your opponent a free opportunity to play Dragonqueen Alextrasza on an empty or weak board, while also doing your best to prevent big Zephrys swings or clears.
Default Mulligan for Quest Druid – Unfavorable
Mulligan without coin: Same as against Rogue except that you want to keep Flikk as well, if you get a good hand then you don’t need to keep Seal Fate.
Mulligan on coin: Same as against Rogue except that you keep Flikk.
- Play around Oasis Surger and Starfall in any way you can going into your opponent’s 5 mana turn.
- Flikk is used against Oasis Surger in most situations, but it can also be used against Anubisath Defender albeit less frequently.
- It’s okay to sap Ysera, Unleashed in scenarios where they likely won’t be able to replay it due to its high mana cost.
- Pressure your opponent so that they aren’t able to safely play Nourish or Ysera, Unleashed.
- Generally, the key is making a board state with pressure that your opponent can’t cleanly deal with.
- Against Token Druid, play as you normally would in the early game. In mid- and late-game, you want to start looking for opportunities to hit face (this often happens for a turn or 2 after your Faceless Corruptor turn). If you constantly trade then you’ll never win.
- Against Embiggen Druid you want to try your best to save Flikk for Winged Guardian. SI:7 Agent’s active can help deal with their untargetable units. In this matchup, as long as your pressure isn’t broken and your opponent isn’t able to saturate their board with powerful units, Rogue is at a certain advantage.
Default Mulligan for Highlander Hunter – Slightly Favorable
Mulligan without coin: Backstab, Pharaoh Cat, Seal Fate, Praise Galakrond, SN1P-SN4P, keep EVIL Miscreant or SI:7 Agent when you have Backstab, keep EVIL Miscreant when you have Seal Fate.
Mulligan with coin: Backstab, Pharaoh Cat, Seal Fate, Praise Galakrond, SN1P-SN4P, EVIL Miscreant, SI:7 Agent, Edwin VanCleef, and you can also keep either King Togwaggle or Galakrond if your hand is already good enough.
- Try to set up a board that’s effective against Rotnest Drake going into their 5 mana turn, do your best to not let Dinotamer Brann hit your face going into your opponent’s 7 mana turn, and make a large board before your opponent has 9 mana.
- The typical trap priority is Snake Trap, followed by Freezing or Rat Trap, and finally Explosive Trap, so if your hand isn’t able to deal with Snakes then don’t mindlessly test for Snake Trap.
- Dragon Hunter isn’t that much different from Highlander Hunter, except that you don’t have to play around the Highlander cards.
- Against Face Hunter be sure to be calculating your opponent’s lethal possibilities and play around them to the best of your ability.
- Quest Hunter is an unfavorable matchup. The competition for board control against Quest Hunter in early- and mid-game is fierce, and the two decks are pretty evenly matched in their ability to hold the board. If you can’t find lethal before your opponent finishes their Quest then it’s a difficult match to win. It’s more important to set up your own lethal on board rather than playing around Unleash The Hounds, put simply because you can’t afford to play around all of their cards in an already unfavorable matchup.
Default Mulligans are for Galakrond Warrior – Slightly Favorable
Mulligans without coin are essentially the same as Hunter
Mulligans with coin: The same as Hunter, except you definitely want to keep either King Togwaggle or Galakrond (This is because Warrior’s tempo is not as fast as Hunter’s)
- Prioritize dealing with Enrage units and units that synergize well with damaging effects, for example Temple Berserker and Bomb Wrangler.
- Most of the current iterations of Galakrond Warrior don’t have high lethal potential, so in the early game you can afford to take face damage in order to win board. Galakrond Warrior also doesn’t have many ways to deal with Edwin, so you should invest resources into making a big Edwin when feasible.
- Going into your opponent’s 6 mana play, be sure to not play into a Scion of Ruin + Battle Rage turn.
Highlander Warrior is a highly favorable matchup, if your hand is good then pressure your opponent as usual, if it’s not very good then you can use Galakrond early to search for your value cards (you don’t necessarily have to save it until it’s been maxed out). Focus on finding Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, Waxadred, etc. from Draconic Lackeys and Academic Espionage from Ethereal Lackeys. What you take from Togwaggle’s Treasure is flexible, don’t just take the Wand without considering the other options.
Default Mulligans are for Highlander Mage – Slightly Favorable
Mulligans without coin: Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, Seal Fate, SN1P-SN4P, keep EVIL Miscreant with Seal Fate, keep either King Togwaggle or Galakrond.
Mulligans with coin: Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, Seal Fate, SN1P-SN4P, EVIL Miscreant, Edwin VanCleef, and either King Togwaggle or Galakrond.
- If your opponent pings their own face on turn 2, then use Seal Fate on your own face if there’s no other target (for tempo)
- Play around Reno on 6 as much as you can, later in the game make sure you put enough pressure on the board every turn, while also considering possible lethal setups or lethal counters from their Alexstrasza. You also want to make it so your opponent can’t play Luna’s Pocket Galaxy without repercussions.
- It’s often difficult to kill your opponent through snowballing your board alone, so you usually need Galakrond or Togwaggle’s Wand to finish off your opponent.
Default Mulligans for Galakrond Warlock – Slightly Favorable
Mulligans without coin: Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, SN1P-SN4P, Backstab, Seal Fate, keep EVIL Miscreant with either Backstab or Seal Fate, and keep either Galakrond or King Togwaggle.
Mulligans with coin: Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, SN1P-SN4P, Backstab, Seal Fate, EVIL Miscreant, Edwin VanCleef, and keep either Galakrond or King Togwaggle.
- Be wary of flooding your board early into their potential Dark Skies on turn 3, play around Crazed Netherwing going into turn 5, and it’s best to have 4 or more units on board to protect against Plague of Flames.
- In this matchup, as long as the Rogue’s tempo is good, it’s difficult for the Warlock to keep up. The Warlock can often deal with most of your board each turn, but you will always be able to keep a few units up to find some face hits up until Galakrond or Togwaggle’s Wand can finish the job.
- Against Zoo as long as you’re clearing board as usual then you’re normally fine, save Sap for Sea Giant, not much else to say.
Default Mulligans for Resurrect Priest – Highly Favorable
Kept cards are essentially the same as against Mage
- Play at your normal pace, Togwaggle’s Treasure can be used flexibly, if your opponent’s shuffles too many Albatrosses into your deck then you can Flikk one of them to clear them out of your deck. On average, compared to Highlander, Resurrect Priest is extremely lacking in offensive tools, so you can afford to be greedy and take high value cards. This might be the only matchup where you don’t have to be constantly going for tempo.
- Combo Priest is basically nonexistent, but even if you run into it the matchup is played normally, prioritize dealing with Northshire Cleric, perhaps play around Psychopomp when you can, use your single copy of Sap sparingly, but there really isn’t much of it on ladder so I won’t go further into detail.
Default Mulligans for Mech Pally – Highly Favorable
Mulligans without coin: Backstab, Sap, SN1P-SN4P, Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, Seal Fate, EVIL Miscreant/SI:7 Agent with Backstab, EVIL Miscreant with Seal Fate
Mulligans with coin: Backstab, Sap, SN1P-SN4P, Pharaoh Cat, Praise Galakrond, Seal Fate, Edwin VanCleef, EVIL Miscreant, SI:7 Agent\
- Prioritize dealing with the Mechs, once you’ve done that you’ve won the game. Backstab punishes Mech Pally very hard, so this is a highly favorable matchup.
- Against Holy Wrath Pally play at your normal tempo, damage cards should be held in hand as much as possible and used for lethal damage, Flikk their Shirvallah, this should be a difficult matchup to lose.
Shaman doesn’t exist on ladder anymore.
Galakrond Rogue is a powerful and complex tempo deck that can be enjoyable for anyone to play. It is impossible to fully expound on all of this deck’s specific details, so this guide can only help elaborate on some of the larger points. Even if it’s a top ranked player operating the deck it’s still difficult for them to avoid making small mistakes. I hope that this guide can at least point you all in the right direction. Of course, if you are interested, you can come to our livestreams at 7105300 (on Douyu) or 20753205 (on Huya) and come further discuss strategy with us. You’re all welcome at any time!