Hearthstone: Why I Play Paladin

Hearthstone is out now on both PC and iPad. With new players joining the battle each day, Shacknews is closely examining each of the game's nine classes and learning how to play with all of them from the perspective of Chatty. Next up is Uther Lightbringer, the Paladin.
Paladins are agents of justice and protectors of the weak, valiantly fighting evil wherever it may emerge. Uther brings his courage to Hearthstone through his deck, which is centered around the theme of nobility. And thanks to his 'Reinforce' Hero Power, the gallant Uther rarely fights alone.

Why the Paladin?

This turns out to be a very good question, since Chatty users aren't very keen on the Paladin. In fact, mechanicalgrape even wonders why people bother with this class at all. But azenmaster recognizes the Paladin's proficiency. "I play Paladin because you can always have a guy on the board with his skill, which makes him a great control deck," azenmaster says. "Also I like classes with heals and being able to have the hero attack, in this case with weapons." Poster digital_d adds to that sentiment, stating, "Paladins have a ton of utility. Always being able to play a minion with your Hero Power helps keep you from never having a play." "A lot of people think his Hero Power sucks but it's actually one of the best in the game," skankcore adds. "My deck was mostly low-cost minions, some good spells for buffing, and more minions that buff the lower ones. The 2/2 guy that gives a minion divine shield, the abusive sergeant, and the various blessings can all add up to a scary board if you get the right draws. There's also a great sense of challenge in playing with Uther, since he doesn't seem to be a common pick among Hearthstone players. In fact the Paladin consistently ranks among the bottom of Liquid Hearth's most recent class power rankings. To posters like Pandilex, that signals a challenge. "I chose Paladin simply because it seemed to be the weakest class," Pandilex explained via private message. "It's the one I was always matched up against the fewest times, and I enjoy a challenge and being a little different. Once I was invested and had crafted some spectacular cards (namely Avenging Wrath) I was fairly committed to sticking with it. The deck I have is by no means perfect, and I'm missing a lot of cards including some key silences, but it was enough to hover around rank 16-17 with casual play which was plenty fun enough."

Notable cards/combos

The Paladin doesn't have a lot of high-powered minions, but he makes up for this shortcoming with some powerful spells. The Blessing series of cards can turn the tide of the game in the blink of an eye, as we'll discover in the next section. As Pandilex alluded to earlier, Avenging Wrath can help clear the playing field quickly by dispensing 8 damage randomly split among enemy characters. Other crowd control methods include using Equality to change the health of all minions to 1 before wiping out the opposition with Consecration, which deals 2 damage to all enemies. Patient players that stick with Uther will likely see their perseverance pay off when they eventually pull the legendary Tirion Fordring card. This minion has just about everything for an 8 mana price tag, offering 6/6 stats, Divine Shield, Taunt, and granting Uther a 5/3 Ashbringer weapon upon death. This will not only annoy opponents to no end, but also give the Paladin a chance to set up further defenses. Or in the case of Pandilex, set up a truly devastating combo involving Redemption, a Secret card that restores downed minions with 1 health. Or in this case, 1 health, Taunt, and Divine Shield. "Probably the coolest part of playing the Paladin deck, though, is the combo of Tirion Fordring, one of my only legendaries, and Redemption," Pandilex continues. "As a paladin, you are a holy crusader, and nothing is more holy than the musical crescendo and resolute unyielding command for your opponent to 'Put your Faith in the Light!', followed by the slam of a tough creature, and the simultaneous taunt and shield buffs going up. The card can be a game changer, but often your opponent is ready for something big. They'll prod it with a creature to remove the shield, then blast it from the game. But Tirion doesn't stay down that easily, and watching an opponent immediately quit the game upon being instructed once again to put their faith in the light is a joyful experience you simply relish." Finally, on the subject of Secret cards, the Paladin has some notable ones, such as Noble Sacrifice, which is good for a much-needed rescue. But one to keep an eye out for (no pun intended) is Eye for an Eye. Careless opponents can often get rocked if they rush in with a high-powered monster, as that same damage can be sent right back at them.

These are some of the Paladin's cards, using mainly buffing spells

Deck strategies

As previously noted, Uther's greatest strength lies with his spells, especially when combined with various neutral summons. skankcore notes that he once wielded a powerful Paladin aggro deck, comprised of several lower-powered monsters. But these seemingly harmless threats get amplified significantly, thanks to spells like Blessing of Kings (give a minion +4/+4), Blessing of Might (give a minion +3 attack), or Blessed Champion (double a minion's attack). "I think the Paladin's healthy mix of minion buffs (Blessing of Kings), weapons (Truesilver Champion), and spells (Equality, Hammer of Wrath, Consecration, Lay on Hands) puts them in a great spot," digital_d adds via private message. Meanwhile, skankcore prefers to use the opposition's own momentum against them by afflicting them with Blessing of Wisdom. "One of my favorite plays is buffing an enemy minion with Blessing of Wisdom, so that if they want to attack with that minion, it'll draw me a card every time unless he kills it off himself or silences it," he explained. "Basically, it's a dick move and it forces the enemy to work around his own minion." Do not hesitate to use the Blessing spells to Uther's advantage, especially when combined with some powerful neutral minions. In fact, the Blessing spells can turn a card like Leeroy Jenkins from an annoyance to a total nightmare by potentially doubling his base 6 attack to an earth-shattering 18 in a single-turn by using Blessing of Might and Blessed Champion in one go. Look no further than azenmaster for someone that's used this similar strategy. "My current combo with Paladin is using the Blessing spells to get a unit to do anywhere from 15 to 24 damage in one turn. I recently started a turn with a single 2-2 Argent Protector against two copies of Ragnaros (one a Faceless [Manipulator]), used Blessing of Kings and Blessed Champion for a 12-damage finishing hit."
For more class strategies, check out the other installments of the Hearthstone: Why I Play series.