Hearthstone: Why I Play Rogue

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 Valeera Sanguinar, the Rogue.
Rogues are known for moving swiftly, quickly, and effectively. In Hearthstone, the Rogue will likely be one of the most annoying adversaries a player can come up against. Valeera strikes fast and strikes hard, aided by her Dagger Mastery Hero Power that keeps her constantly armed.

Why the Rogue?

Stealth is an invaluable skill in Hearthstone, as there's very little that can be done to combat it. The Rogue doesn't hesitate to use Stealth-based minions, as well as spells that take advantage of the shadows. But more than that, Valeera can often strike multiple times in a turn, taking advantage of combo cards that will leave opponents hurting early and often. "I love playing Rogue because it feels a lot like playing Rogue in Vanilla [World of Warcraft]," explains Chatty's alias bean. "You either burst down your opponent in 1 or 2 turns with some card draw luck or you lose." Poster Crimson adds that the Rogue doesn't feel all that viable without certain cards. "It's much more focused on aggro/timing and the finishers available. If you're missing that card from your deck, you are substantially less likely to do well." And alias bean does concur with this sentiment, adding, "Rogue is very high risk, high reward. If you don't draw the right cards, however, you're gonna have a bad time."

Notable cards/combos

With all that said, Valeera has some potent cards and combos at her disposal. In fact, some of them specifically rely on combos. Cards like Eviscerate and SI:7 Agent must be utilized in combos in order to be fully effective. As mentioned earlier, the Rogue can give the gift of Stealth, which is incredibly rare in Hearthstone. So look to take advantage of Master of Disguise, a cheap 4 Mana 4/4 option that grants Stealth to a friendly minion. Stealth is a very important skill in this game and it's a skill that nwillard utilizes to the fullest. "I've basically built my deck around [Master of Disguise], stealthing cards like Questing Adventurer or Hogger and watching the opponent squirm is soooo fun," explains nwillard. "There are just so many really fun set-ups I can do, like if I've already used Shadowstep to make my Master of Disguise cost 2 Mana, I can Stealth two Questing Adventurers in the same turn. Game is over within a couple of turns." There's one neutral Legendary that the Rogue utilizes perhaps above all else and that's Leeroy Jenkins. Leeroy already hits for 6 with a Charge effect, but he's that much deadlier when combined with the Shadowstep card. With no Mana cost at all for this spell, the Rogue can potentially play Leeroy twice in a single turn and hit for 12 damage. alias bean likes to toss in the Cold Blood card, for maximum damage.

These are some of the Rogue's cards, many of which rely on combos and Stealth

Deck strategies

Poster singlespace lives by the Shadowstep combo, for the most part, but he also throws his support behind the Miracle Rogue combo. This particular strategy involves utilizing the Gadgetzan Auctioneer, a number of cheap spells, and some of Valeera's most powerful cards: Edwin VanCleef, Preparation, and Conceal. "Gadgetzan Auctioneer forces you to draw a card every time you play a spell, so the idea is once you get Gadgetzan Auctioneer, Edwin VanCleef, and Conceal in your hand, then you put the Auctioneer into play and spam out as many spell as possible while saving enough Mana for Conceal and Edwin VanCleef," said singlespace. "Since your deck consists mostly of cheap spells, you pretty much just keep on drawing and casting until you only have enough to cast Edwin VanCleef and Conceal. VanCleef is legendary minion that gains +2/+2 for each card played the turn he's cast, so he'll be game endingly huge, then Conceal will make him untargetable. Then all you need to do is to land one hit from VanCleef to win." With this strategy, Preparation may seem like a surfluous step. This is not the case. "The reason why Preparation is in the combo is to quickly cycle through cards," singlespace continues. "Preparation is 0 Mana spell that makes the next spell you play cost 3 Mana less. So with Auctioneer on the field, you gain one card from Preparation and another one from whatever free spell you choose to cast (pretty much all the spells except for Assassin's Blade in a Miracle Rogue deck are 3 mana or less). Sometimes Shadowstep is also used in the turn before the combo is deployed to make VanCleef cost 1 mana instead of 3 as well." Of course, this strategy (like many in Hearthstone) is far from foolproof. As c0ucheh points out, it's a huge gamble that only pays off when drawing the Auctioneer early in the game. Miss that draw and Valeera is a sitting duck.
For more class strategies, check out the other installments of the Hearthstone: Why I Play series.