[WILD] Murloc Paladin Guide by Eltinho [Peak #40 Legend]
Hi, my name is Elton Fior, or Eltinho as I’m known. I have played competitive Magic: the Gathering from 2001 until I took a break in 2012 (been twice Brazilian Nationals 2nd place, 19th at 2004 Worlds). After that time, I found out Hearthstone in May 2014 and have been playing since. Although my job time schedule makes it harder for me to play tournaments, I’ve always sought to get to Legendary Rank every month, both in Standard and in Wild. I have also published a Hearthstone strategy eBook for Portuguese-reader players, available at Amazon.com.
And so it comes to this guide. I was splitting my time between Battlegrounds and mostly Ladder play since the Scholomance Meta became figured out, but no deck has got me really into that urge to play. Until I found out a list published by Hearthstone-deck.net on Twitter. It was a take on the old Standard Tip the Scales Murloc, adapted for Wild, with an extra twist: High Abbess Alura working as the third Prismatic Lens in order to cheat Tip earlier with more consistence. I was insta-hooked! Tip Murloc was my favorite deck before the rotation and I’ve tried to port it to Wild then, failing miserably, mainly because Secret Mage was an awful matchup. But then, there it was, in all its glory, a working and playable deck ready to abuse Tip the Scales with results to back it up.
I tweaked a bit here and there and in October I had my best Legendary finish ever, #65, peaking at #40. And, the better part, I was having the most fun I had playing Hearthstone in quite a while. So just like that, I’ve become the Murloc champion and it’s my goal to spread de Mrglglgl words around!
Deck List & Overview
I’ve got the name from a real good translation job from Blizzard. There’s no way to keep the original pun for Tip the Scales in Portuguese, so they adapted a song name from famous Brazilian singer Fagner “Quem dera ser um peixe” (I wish I was a fish) into the card name: “Quem dera ter um Peixe” (I wish I had a fish). Good times!
It is good to notice that there are actually two Paladin Murloc decks right now in Wild: an OTK full combo, where your only Murlocs are Chargers and Pumpers and you also run Anyfin Can Happen to ensure you kill the opponent in case you miss with Tip the Scales. And there’s the list I’m using, which is an Aggro-Combo deck, where Tip is not always a sure kill, but often lead to overwhelming board if not dealt with. It also doesn’t run the risk of hitting Anyfin on Lens/Alura, which is a total bummer when you need an early Tip. And many times you can just snowball Murlocs and win without comboing.
As I was used to do when writing deck analysis for Magic decks back then, I like to sort the cards in a list in 3 types: key, main and secondary cards. Key is what the deck is built around, there’s no negotiation here, no “what can I replace this Legendary with” – if you want play this archetype, those are the cards you gotta have. Think Raza+Anduin in Highlander Priest, for example. Then there are the main cards, which you’ll see in most lists because they are very important to the strategy and you’re not likely to cut any of them, but there’s room for argument for trimming some here or replacing a Legendary there. And finally the secondary cards are tech cards, meta calls, personal preference or even lucky charms. Those are your flex spots.
This is the reason to play this deck: the shot of cheating Tip the Scales as early as the 4th turn. Old Murk-Eye + 2 Warriors and some attack buffs lead to a lot of charging damage. The full combo version takes advantage of that in running just enough Murlocs to maximize the burst potential. Here, while we still have the opportunity of one-shoting the opponent, Tip works more as a board filler, often clearing enemy minions and leaving a lot of power behind. It can also improve an already built board, adding chargers and buffing your critters.
Alura has made the combo more consistent, since now you have 50% more cards that help Tip the Scales to hit ahead of time, but she also comes with some deck building challenges. In order to trigger her, you need cheap spells but you don’t want to play cheap spells cause you her to hit Tip or at least a Lens that will find it at a discounted cost. Luckily, there are minions that add 1-cost spells to your hand and one of them is even a Murloc, Hydrologist. Just for that, I’d initially add it to the key cards tier, but I have since seen a list not running the full 2 and doing well, so I relegated it to next level. I do think that the ideal number of Alura activators is 3 (Wandmaker is the other one), but there’s just enough lists running around running just 2, so it’s not set in stone.
When I used to play this deck in the old Standard, I used to go all-in with Mulligans looking for Lens and when I started playing this one, I went for that line as well. But after sometime playing it, I noticed it was better to keep a 1-2 drop curve than to throw it all away on a shot of finding an early tip. Yes, you do always keep Lens/Alura on your opening hand, but a curve of Tidehunter into Rockpool Hunter is a pretty good start.
The 1/3s are just good bodies for the cost and their abilities, specially Finley’s, are pretty relevant.
Murgur Murgurgle is a strong early game minion that can into a monster of a topdeck later. Unlike his uses in Standard Paladin, him being a Murloc does impact the game, since an unpopped shield can be scary when he can be easily buffed. Just be aware that many times you end up missing on his Battlecry because you can get Murgurgle Prime through Tip the Scales. Sometimes, when the game goes longer, it’s better just not to cast a small Tip and try to draw Prime for extra value.
Finally, Battlegrounds players might remember the nightmare that Megasaur was there. Well, turns out it’s also pretty scary here too, where’s it’s the main source of wins outside the combo. It’s very easy to OTK with a hit on Windfury or +3 Attack and the defensive options do come into play very often. But don’t underestimate the power of a tempo play with just one or two targets if no better play is available.
For a long time, you could consider Grimscale Oracle a main card – it sure is key level for the OTK deck – but from my experience, it’s the worst Murloc of the bunch. It does leads to some swingy turns, but the body is very fragile. It’s the next best 1-drop Murloc after the ones listed above and having a low curve is something that you need to have in mind because of Lens – it’s not unusual for a 4th turn one to hit another Lens, and for you to be able to cast Tip on the 5th turn, the total mana of the drawn cards have to be equal or less than 5. All in all, it’s a good card for the deck, but it’s not an untouchable sacred cow – if you need to fit something, it’s a card that can be trimmed.
Underlight Angling Rod fits many roles in the deck – board control, face damage, extra gas and a faulty 3-drop curve. Just like Murgurgle, it holds more value than in Standard because very often you get some cool Murloc interactions (Underbelly Angler and Scargil comes too mind). It’s a card I’ve grown very found of and I don’t see myself running less than two anytime soon. Just a reminder, you can’t draw it with Lens.
Does it make sense to run Zephrys on a non-Highlander deck? Well, it’s very easy to dry your deck of duplicates after some Lens/Tip and Zephyr does provide a very strong late game. Having Zephyr provides some outs no other card can, but it can be a dead card if drawn early and sometimes it’s turned off when you need him and god knows how many times I have lost games that would be over if he just handled me a Flare for that damned Ice Block. On the other hand, I think I have cast more Bloodlusts as Paladin than as Shaman. One tip (no pun intended) I have when playing Zephyr in this deck, is to use a Deck Tracker, so you know what cards you still have in your deck in order to have him active. As a bonus, it’s usual to lose track of what Murlocs you still have left, so the tracker can help with that too.
Murmy and Fishy Flyer are Murlocs (oh, really?) and one thing you’ll notice while playing this deck is that it’s not uncommon having to cast a 2nd Tip in order to win and the later you cast it, the likelier it is that you won’t get full value as your deck runs out of Murlocs, so having more of them increase your odds of having full boards. Murmy works to lower your average curve and Flier offers more board control for your Tips. Actually, Flier was my Murloc of choice for fighting Aggro since there was no taunt Murloc available and it was a recurring occurrence against very fast deck for you to hit an early Tip and still die on the next turn since they would just run face and you didn’t have enough tools to manage their minions. But…
Now we do have a Taunt Murloc (and Demon and Totem and Elemental and…) with the addition of Circus Amalgam. It does raise your overall curve, which can mess with your Lenses, but your Tips now have the opportunity of landing a huge taunt body, that no only protect your buffers, they can be the straight difference between winning or losing against Aggro.
The Griz Wiz, Shadowreaper’s worst enemy. I was facing a lot and I mean A LOT of Highlander Priest on Legendary rank and while it’s a fair matchup, I was thinking if it was worth adding something to gain some winrate percentages there. Well, you already run 3 Griz activators (Finley and Inquisitors) so why not try some Wiz magic? It actually worked pretty well, since most games comes to a final war of atrition where you exhaust Priest’s board wipes but then Anduin’s HP just takes them from there. One thing to notice when playing against this matchup is that you don’t want to cast the first 1/3 you draw but save it for Grizzing their HP. But why, didn’t you say you already run 3? Well, but it’s very likely you’ll get some of them through Tip, so it’s better to guarantee you’ll have one ready to counter the Death Knight’s Voidform. As a bonus effect, sometimes you get to snipe some Odd players HP and even against Warlocks, cutting them out of Life Tap can run them out of gas.
I’ve seen Rallying Blade pop up from times to times, always in lists running Righteous Protector and usually in place of the 2nd Angling Rod. It’s something that you might notice that most of the times when you have a turned off Zephyr, usually the cards that are keeping him from activate are Megasaur and Angling Rod, since those won’t be fetched by Tip, so it’s something to consider.
I have toyed a bit with Sphere of Sapience to make it easier to piece the combo together, but it felt underwhelming and at times I had to kill it to play another weapon. The option is there and it at least doesn’t interfere with neither Lens nor Alura.
Finally, the last option I have considered was the new Redscale Dragontamer. You don’t have much Deathrattle effects available for Murlocs and those add an extra punch to Tip the Scales. Since Circus Amalgam is also a Dragon (and a Pirate and a Mech and a Beast…), a 2/3 that draws a card on death is just good value.
About matchups, this is one of the most balanced archetypes I have found, no opponent seems like an unwinnable proposition but on the other hand there’s also no walk in park either. I was having more problems facing Aggro decks before Circus Amalgam become a thing, but then I was facing even more Priest and Control Warlocks, so I haven’t adjusted my list to counter Aggro. There’s room for focusing on what you are aiming to find on Ladder, but the main thing is how soon you can find a Tip and how can you opponent deal with it. Warlocks are worse because Defile is such a house, but even then they need to have it pronto and I have countered some Wipes with Never Surrender and now Oh My Yogg coming from Hydrologists or Wandmaker.
That’s it, if you are like me, a Murloc enthusiast that wants to fill the board and go Face with little green fish men as soon as possible, here’s a tried and tested list that can get you some very fun games while being competitive. Thanks for the read!