'Hearthstone' deck guide: How to knock them out fast with the OTK Warrior


Welcome to the Hearthstone Meta Update, where you’ll find a review of one of the most powerful or exciting decks currently in competitive play. This week, we’re looking at OTK Warrior. Learn how to build and play this deck, and be a little more prepared to climb the ladder. 

There’s a fun shock value in playing a one-turn-kill deck in Hearthstone. Nothing matches the thrill of attacking your opponent’s face with 30, 40, or even 50 damage in a single turn. Perhaps that’s why OTK Warrior has been in and out of the meta in different forms since Hearthstone’s earliest days.

Thanks to the advent of the Standard game mode, the latest incarnation is pretty similar to those first vanilla versions. But the recent expansions have given players a few tools that bring more power and more options to this Warrior deck, making it a force to be reckoned with.  

Why it’s good

Warrior is especially popular in the meta right now, and there are several flavors that are performing well on ladder currently. One reason Warrior is powerful is the addition of Justicar Trueheart from The Grand Tournament expansion. This card turns the hero power into Gain 4 Armor rather than the usual two. With that extra protection, Warrior decks can amass as much as 60 health. For most decks, that makes Warrior an intimidating opponent. With a one-turn kill (or OTK) deck, and a little luck, you can decimate even a 60 health rival in one go.

Also, the results speak for themselves. Streamer Neviilz recently played it to Rank 1 Legend. The deck had a good showing at the recent SeatStory Cup event in Germany, with Thijs most notably taking it deep into the tournament. OTK decks aren’t the easiest, but they can clearly perform in capable hands.

Build the deck

The central element to OTK Warrior is the humble Raging Worgen. The card has been around since the beginning, but was often thought of as just Arena-caliber. This deck makes it the star, setting the card up with a series of buffs that take advantage of its multiple attacks. 

For the ultimate final blow, you’ll need to buff Raging Worgen which Charge (which adds 2 attack in addition to letting the card attack immediately). Throw on Inner Rage to enable windfury and another 2 attack. Once the Raging Worgen has taken damage, you can add Rampage (+3/+3 to an injured minion), then further buff with Cruel Taskmasters or another Inner Rage. Then double your fun once more by copying the worgen with the Faceless Manipulator. That’s a lot of hurt going to the face. 

The need for all those different card ingredients is why the second element in composing this deck is card draw. For the full combo, you’ll need to have as many as five specific cards assembled in your hand. The faster you can dig through your deck to find them, the sooner you’ll win. Run common cards like Loot Hoarder, Battle Rage and Acolyte of Pain. Particularly with the warrior’s enrage mechanic (doing damage to your own minions to get more resources), cards like Acolyte and Battle Rage are critical. 

The final element is getting a discount on your combo cards from Emperor Thaurissan. For the maximum damage, you’ll want to get a mana discount on as many of the potential pieces as possible. 

Tips for playing it

The first and simplest tip is to get quick at arithmetic. When you’re combining buffs and multiple attacks, the numbers can get complicated quickly. Nothing is as crushing as the realization that you’ve miscounted halfway through the card sequence and are one off lethal. 

Beyond that, the challenge is to strike a balance between hoarding your resources for the massive combo and protecting your hero while you gather them all. Including some standard Warrior tools like Fiery War Axe, Slam and Execute make the control game easier. The trick is to be careful in how you dole out those damage spells in your early turns. A card like Inner Rage can get you a draw off Acolyte or trigger an Execute on an enemy minion, but it can also contribute a lot of damage on the big combo turn. Compare the mana and damage value in the eventual combo with how much protection you’ll gain on the current turn as you use those resources. 

Especially on the ladder, the key thing to remember is that, as with any combo-driven deck, sometimes you just won’t get lucky. The Raging Worgen may be the last card you draw. There’s always going to be some variance in your win rate, so don’t get discouraged in the RNG isn’t on your side. 

How to counter it

The strongest defenses against an OTK deck are at the two extremes of the meta. First, you could pick a heavy deck with lots of big taunts that will soak up all of the Warrior’s limited removal abilities. A Druid running cards such as Ancient of War, Cenarius, or even Ironbark Protector can ruin the OTK’s day. 

The other option is to go very aggressive, rushing down your opponent faster than they can assemble all the combo pieces. The constant hero power pressure of a Hunter is a good solution, or one of the faster builds in Warlock or Shaman. 

Anna Washenko

Anna Washenko is a freelance writer covering digital entertainment, social media, science, and tech. Her work has appeared on USA Today, Mashable, Yahoo and Digital Trends. Follow her @Ann…More