There's no getting away from the fact that Oil Rogue is one of the fiddliest, trickiest decks to truly master in Hearthstone. It is also, however, just about the most viable method Rogues have for climbing up to the highest ranks of the ladder this month.
Even if this isn't the kind of deck you normally like to play, it's well worth spending a bit of time familiarising yourself with the fundamentals of how the Oil Rogue actually works. That way if you encounter it on the ladder, you'll stand a much better chance of actually surviving the encounter!
For our next deck guide, we've taken the most popular form of the archetype that's currently in play, and then outlined the deck list and general strategy involved. After that, you'll find a complete guide to Mulliganing the Oil Rogue against every opponent, before we wrap things up with a few tips to help you get your head around the many complex combos at your disposal.
Editor's note - April: Perhaps it's a sign of general fatigue with the current metagame, but we've not seen any revolutionary improvements to Oil Rogue over the last month or so, and so we're simply pressing ahead with the tried and tested version that we used in March. Expect things to get a bit more of a shake-up once Whispers of the Old Gods has lands.
(PSA: We will be working very hard to revise all of our deck lists following the launch of Whispers of The Old Gods, but there will be inevitable disruption as we all get to grips with the new cards and formats. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to the biggest structural changes the game has ever seen!)
Oil Rogue deck list and strategy - April 2016
During the earliest stages of the game, it's absolutely vital that you clear down the opponent's board, and prevent them from snowballing a threat that you won't be able to recover from. Look to cards like Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate and SI:7 Agent to do a lot of hard work for you here. That last card in particular is a powerful play, as it'll often help you clear something off the board and leave you with a fighting presence afterwards.
If you find yourself daggering up on Turn 2, it's not actually the end of the world but you should avoid spending a single point of Durability if it doesn't remove something from the board. Much better to hold it back until you can slap a Deadly Poison on and gain some extra, more meaningful damage. The only time you should hit the opponent's face with a vanilla blade is if you plan to reapply your Hero Power again on the next turn.
Come the mid-game you have some reasonably strong cards in the form of Violet Teacher and Loatheb. The former in particular can be empowered with the recent addition of Tomb Pillager. The extra Coins will produce more arcane minions, allow you to make more plays on a single turn, and in that sense enable a more powerful Edwin VanCleef. No-one said playing this deck was going to be easy, and it's going to take all of your powers of concentration to stay on top of the maths involved.
You'll close the game with burst damage created from cards like Assassin's Blade, Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Blade Flurry and any spell damage you have left in the tank. Always pay very close attention to how much damage you have in your hand - it can be extremely easy to lose track of lethal damage when you have this many combos to manage.
Oil Rogue Mulligan guide - April 2016
For the more aggressive opponents out there, look for all of your most obvious removal tools like Backstab, Fan of Knives and so on. A Hero Power dagger boosted with Deadly Poison can be detonated with Blade Flurry to devastating effect as well. SI: 7 Agent is a very strong play as it allows you to - often - dish out some removal while also placing a body on the board.
If you're in a very control-orientated metagame, look for those same cards but value SI:7 Agent even more, and hang on to your stronger mid-game minions. This should give you plenty of power to bite back with, once your opponent starts laying some bothersome minions onto the board.
Here's a closer look at Mulliganing the Oil Rogue against specific opponents in the current metagame:
Druid: Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, Preparation, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Hunter: Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, Edwin VanCleef, SI:7 Agent
Mage: Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, Preparation, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Paladin: Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, Fan of Knives, SI:7 Agent
Priest: Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Rogue: Deadly Poison, Loatheb, Preperation, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Shaman: Antique Healbot, Backstab, Blade Flurry, Deadly Poison, Edwin VanCleef, SI:7 Agent
Warlock: Backstab, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Warrior: Azure Drake, Deadly Poison, Eviscerate, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher
Oil Rogue combos and synergies - April 2016
Thanks to her reliance on combos, the Rogue is one of the trickiest classes to master in Hearthstone, and the Oil Rogue is a perfect example of how tough things can get. Only practise will help you calculate your way out of scenarios quickly, but you should find mastering the following combos a good starting point.
- Preparation reduces the cost of all spell cards in this deck by three Mana. Use this to combo to deal a deadly amount of damage, or to drastically reduce the cost of Sprint in the late-game.
- Try to conserve Tinker's Sharpsword Oil for when you can apply it to at least a couple of charges of Assassin's Blade. The potential damage output is huge, particularly if you also need to clear the board in combination with Blade Flurry. You might even be able to chuck a Deadly Poison on top.
- Violet Teacher will spawn one minor minion for each spell you play. The addition of Tomb Pillager's coin collection can really help you get a healthy board presence here.
- Don't detonate your weapon with Blade Flurry until it's down to its final charge. It's easy to forget to hit something before destroying your blade!
- Azure Drake and Bloodmage Thalnos both boost the damage of any spells you play while they're out on the board. Note that this includes the weapon damage effect of Blade Flurry.
- The more cards you play on the same turn, the mightier Edwin VanCleef becomes when he's the last to hit the board. Look for cheap cards like Backstab, or the Coins gifted by Tomb Pillager to create something truly monstrous.
Oil Rogue tips and tricks - April 2016
- Turn 2 Hero Power is a very common play, but resist the urge to spend a point of Durability unless you can clear a minion. You may well draw into a weapon-boosting spell that could have done much more work with the extra charge.
- In an ideal world you'll get the bonus Battlecry damage of SI: 7 Agent when playing the card, but it's also OK to play this character as a vanilla three-Mana minion if that's all you've got. You need to maintain some control of the board while you pull together your win-conditions. A minion's a minion at the end of the day.
- Remember to only detonate Blade Flurry when you're down to a single charge of Durability on your weapon. It's easy to mess this up and forget to factor it into your maths when looking for lethal damage against your opponent.
More great Rogue guides:
- 1. Best Budget Decks - Hearthstone: Best Budget Decks for Ashes of Outland
- 2. Tier List - Hearthstone deck tier list (Ashes of Outland)
- 3. Stealth Rogue - Stealth Rogue deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 4. Tempo Rogue - Tempo Rogue deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 5. Secret Rogue - Secret Rogue deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 6. Galakrond Rogue - Galakrond Rogue deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 7. Malygos Rogue - Malygos Rogue deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)