Turns out that in the relatively sedate meta that currently dominates, a vanilla version of the deck works well. It makes great use of the new Echo keyword to defend itself and build Taunt minions for the quest.
- 1 x Fire Plume's Heart
- 1 x Shield Slam
- 2 x Whirlwind
- 2 x Cornered Sentry
- 2 x Drywhisker Armorer
- 2 x Execute
- 2 x Slam
- 2 x Warpath
- 2 x Shield Block
- 2 x Blood Razor
- 2 x Brawl
- 1 x Scourgelord Garrosh
- 2 x Acolyte of Pain
- 1 x Gluttonous Ooze
- 2 x Phantom Militia
- 2 x Stonehill Defender
- 2 x Saronite Chain Gang
You need at least three of the four copies to ensure you keep the board as clear as possible. Primordial Drake is a good replacement, but it's no cheaper.
The other legendary, Scourgelord, and the other epic, the Ooze, are both replaceable. Use Direhorn Hatchling and Acidic Swamp Ooze respectively.
The Lich King is a fairly common inclusion in place of one Cornered Sentry, a Whirlwind, or the Scourgelord, but it's hardly a budget option.
Acolyte of Pain and Stonehill Defender are both good cards to keep in most situations. The former helps cycle your deck, while the latter is cheap defence that can offer more cheap defence. If you're facing a class that makes common use of weapons, also keep the Ooze if you draw it.
Beyond that, the mulligan choices are unusually sensitive to what the deck is facing. It's a minor problem - if you guess wrong you can really start off on the wrong foot.
If you think you're facing a fast deck, consider dropping your quest in favour of a fresh draw. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it works.
An aggro deck can kill you before you finish it. But in theory you have enough defence and area of effect damage to beat an aggro deck without it. Better to ditch the quest in favour of one of those cards instead.
Instead, the key cards to look out for are Drywhisker Armourer, Warpath, and Blood Razor. With a bloated enemy board, the Armourer can easily get a huge armour boost. The other cards are very good at clearing large numbers of low health minions.
Against mid-range or control decks, the Quest is your key win condition so hold on to it. The other important card to look out for is Execute which is your best way of removing big enemy threats.
The core concept of this deck is straightforward. Use a combination of board clears, armour, and Taunt minions to stay alive until you can fulfil your quest. Then hero-power your opponent to death with eight damage every turn.
In practice, though, it requires rather more skill to use effectively than that may sound. Often, it's all about timing.
Consider Warpath, for instance. It's tempting to use it to swat away a couple of low-cost minions early on. But if you save it, it can potentially wipe out anything with five or less health, which can be a game-winning play.
There are several surprising interactions in the deck that you need to watch out for. Most obvious is to play your area damage before you summon any of your own minions.
Make an exception for Cornered Sentry, of course, which isn't worth playing unless you've got a card to remove the raptors it summons for your enemy. It also combos well with Drywhisker Armorer for a bonus six armour.
Another clever trick is to play a Blood Razor, attack with it, then play another. This might look like a waste of one durability, but it also nets you a sweet three points of board damage.
Stonehill Defender is a cornerstone card in this deck. It's a cheap speed bump, pumps your Quest and gives you the flexibility to choose another Taunt appropriate to the situation.
Cheap taunts you'd never normally play are often a surprisingly good pick. They make another brick in your Taunt wall and help you fulfil your Quest faster.
Against fast opponents, you can ignore the quest and play the deck as a standard control. It has such ridiculous amounts of area damage that you should be quite safe. Keep on wiping the enemy board and building armour, then slowly whittle them down with weapons and minions.
Against slower enemies, your main win condition is the Quest. Once you summon the weapon you'll lose your standard hero power, so try and get as much armour first as possible - it's useful for cards like Shield Slam.
Be aware that a common defence against your Quest is to fill the board with minions so that the random eight damage hits a soft target.
This is where all that area of effect damage can really help nail a game down, even against a control deck. Brawl is particularly good in this situation. But don't save it if playing it earlier would keep you alive!