Introducing, Mogu Rogue: The New OP OTK

Mogu Cultist is one of the most controversial cards in the Meta at the moment, with some people calling it an overly OP card that needs to be nerfed ASAP, while other people see it as a fun, meme card that is too difficult to pull off to be a viable card for the ladder but is nonetheless fun.

For reference, Mogu Cultist is a 1/1 neutral minion with an interesting battlecry: If your board is full of Mogu Cultists, summon Highkeeper Ra. In turn, Highkeeper Ra is a 20/20 noncollectable minion that deals 20 damage to all enemy minions. Normally, I’d agree that this is OP, but at the same time, having 7 of those on board at any given time requires some really creative bouncing, shuffling, and copying; I’m in the camp that thinks this is more for the lulz than actual laddering.

Besides, with Armor Warrior and Druid re-invigorating the meta, it might not be as OTK as a lot of people think. This is similar to C’thun decks and Mecha’thun decks: it’s a high risk/high pay-off strategy that will require some creative thinking and strategic card dropping; you know, the things that make Hearthstone fun to play.

A Bit of Lore

For non-World of Warcraft fans, you might ask yourself why Highkeeper Ra is so powerful. Well, here’s an excerpt from the World of Warcraft Encyclopedia:

Image via DeviantArt

“Highkeeper Ra is a titanic watcher who was originally charged to watch over the southern regions of Azeroth that would later be known as Pandaria, Uldum and Ahn’Qiraj. Ra bestowed life on the mogu, who know him as Ra-den or Ra-Den, which means “Master Ra” in their tongue. The Highkeeper has also simply been referred to by the mogu as The Storm and later “the sleeping keeper”, while Xuen has referred to him as “the storm lord” or even “the storm god”

After the Old Gods were defeated and imprisoned beneath the surface of Azeroth, the titan-forged set out to install two powerful machines to help nurture the maturing world-soul of Azeroth: the Forge of Wills and the Forge of Origination. Ra set out to install the latter forge in the southern reaches of Azeroth, but on the way there he discovered the remnants of the slain Old God Y’Shaarj, including its monstrous heart. Ra resolved to seal these remnants in a subterranean vault that would become known as the Vault of Y’Shaarj, and assigned his mogu servants to watch over it and the surrounding lands.

Eventually, Ra and his followers reached their destination and, once they had installed the Forge of Origination, created the great fortress of Uldum to serve as the southernmost base of operations for the titan-forged. The Highkeeper assigned some of his tol’vir and anubisath servants to safeguard the area, while he himself continued further west to create the fortress of Ahn’Qiraj to serve as a prison for the Old God C’Thun. Once this task was done as well, Ra spent the following ages roaming and watching over the southern regions of Azeroth.

The titans closely watched the actions of the titan-forged unfold and eventually departed the world, confident that Azeroth was safe in the hands of their servants. On a stormy day, Ra and his mogu followers ascended a colossal mountain to see the titans off. The legends say that the Highkeeper slammed his weapon against his shield, causing the rain to cease and the clouds to part while the mountain beneath their feet rose higher and lightning and fire illuminated the skies so that Ra and his followers could better glimpse the titans. Lastly, the winds howled a sorrowful farewell.

Som time later, Ra was present during the empowering of the primitive proto-dragons and the creation of the five dragonflights. The Highkeeper channeled some of the powers of his creator,  Aman’Thul, into the bronze dragon Nozdormu, granting him powers over time.”

Mogu Cultist Rogue Deck List

Of course, out of all the Hearthstone classes, Rogue probably has the most advantage with this one, particularly with powerful combos like Tak Nozwhisker and Togwaggle’s Scheme. It’s basically, it’s the same strategy as Pogo Rogue: shuffle as many copies of Mogu Cultists into your deck, draw them out as quickly as you can and have them in hand, ideally with Tak Nozwhisker.

Mogu Rogue is still a fairly new deck, but so far, this is what we’ve come up with:

ManaCardAmount
0Backstab2
0Preparation2
0Shadowstep1
1Togwaggle’s Scheme2
2Eviscerate2
2Sap2
3Fan of Knives2
4Walk the Plank2
4Waggle Pick2
4WANTED!1
5Myra’s Unstable Element1
1Mogu Cultist2
2Lab Recruiter2
5Zilliax1
5Faceless Manipulator2
6Gadgetzan Auctioneer2
7Tak Nozwhisker1
8Jepetto Joybuzz1

 

Mogu Cultist Rogue Strategy

This deck’s win condition is Highkeeper Ra: a monstrous 20/20 that deals 20 damage to both enemy minions and face. It’s a ridiculously powerful minion that, even if he doesn’t somehow defeat your opponent after your turn, will remain a lethal threat as long as he’s on the board.

Your early game strategy should be simple: draw the ever living hell out of your deck. While you’re doing that, use Sap, Backstab, and Eviscerate to control your opponent’s board. Waggle Pick can deal a good amount of damage, but try to save it for bouncing minions off your board. If you have the mana, try to shuffle Mogu Cultists into your deck early with Lab Recruiter. Trade the Lab Recruiter and then use Waggle Pick to bounce your Cultist back into your hand.

Note: it is imperative that you get Togwaggle’s Scheme either in the first 2 turns or as part of your opening hand. This will ensure that, by mid-late game, you’ll be able to generate as many Mogu Cultists as possible.

When you enter mid game, you should have a decently upgraded Togwaggle’s Scheme as well as more than the needed 7 Cultists in your deck (ideally, you’ll have a few of those in hand already). WANTED will be your best friend here, as this gives you a hard removal spell and adds a Coin to your hand, which will help you stay up to tempo later on. The name of the game at this point is staying alive, so don’t be afraid to drop Zilliax on board for a hard taunt. If he survives to next turn, use Faceless Manipulator to create a copy, providing you a 6/4 cover while you build up your Mogu army. Speaking of which, try to get as many Mogu Cultists into your hand already; Gadgetzan Auctioneer should help you draw out as much as you can at this point, just make sure to throw away cheap spells (if you have any left) just for the card draw.

As you get into the late game, ensure that you have Tak Nozwhisker, Togwaggle’s Scheme (which should give you at least 6-7 copies), and at least 1 Mogu Cultist. The idea behind this is to drop Tak, drop Mogu, and then cast Togwaggle’s Scheme on Mogu, and get a full hand of them to summon Ra next turn. Of course, that’s what would happen in an ideal world (and since when was Hearthstone a forgiving place); in reality, you’ll probably have to drop Jepetto Joybuzz to eke out a couple more Cultists into your hand, not to mention provide you with a decent 6/6 minion on board to hopefully provide a soft taunt. If all else fails, and if you feel like you’ve drawn out all your other cards already, use Myra’s Unstable Element as a last-ditch effort to get your Mogu Cultists.

That being said, the thing about meme decks, or decks that require you to bounce cards, is that there’s no one way to play it: be prepared to adapt your battle plan depending on how the opponent responds to it. While summoning Highkeeper Ra is a win condition, it’s not the only way to win: Highkeeper Ra does 20 damage, but if they have enough armor, they can probably survive the initial blast and come up with a rebuttal. A good tip to remember is to keep at least one Togwaggle’s Scheme in hand so you can shuffle a few copies of Highkeeper Ra into your deck. Does that sound gross? That’s because it is. But hey, it’s a meme deck: have fun with it and ruin someone’s day!

Mogu Cultist Rogue Mulligan Tips

Mogu Cultist Rogue is still in its infancy, so there’s definitely going to be changes to the deck in the next few weeks. One of its greatest weaknesses is how slow it is to build up to becoming a threat, which means that your early game will suffer immensely. With that in mind, here are some cards to consider keeping in your opening hand:

Backstab and Eviscerate –absolutely essential to keeping your opponents minions in check. This will be your primary means of controlling your opponents until you’re able to shuffle and draw your Mogu Cultists.

 

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Sap –another essential survival tool, Sap is great against Mech decks, where opponents will try to build up the stats of a single Mech with Magnetic minions. Checking minions like this with Sap won’t just help you survive, it also gives you that smug satisfaction of feeling your opponent’s frustration from your screen.

 

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Togwaggle’s Scheme –This card is absolutely necessary to shuffle as many Cultists into your deck. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your opening hand, it needs to be there as early as possible, so might as well mulligan for it early on. Togwaggle’s Scheme upgrades every turn, so you don’t have to wait too long to shuffle enough Mogu Cultists into your deck, but have it in your opening hand just in case.

 

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

 

Mogu Cultist Rogue General Strategies and Tips

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

I’m not going to lie: Mogu Cultist Rogue is a very difficult deck to play. That being said, there are ways to play around its weaknesses, build your hand, and create your win condition. Here are some general tips to remember when playing Mogu Cultist Rogue:

  1. Faceless Manipulator does NOT copy Mogu Cultist’s battle cry: don’t make the mistake of laying out 6 Cultists and then dropping Faceless to copy it: you’ll just end up with a board full of 1/1’s. Instead, play Faceless Manipulator second to the last; copy a Mogu Cultist, and then the last card you drop should be a ‘real’ Mogu Cultist.
  2. Speaking of Faceless Manipulator, that minion provides your deck with a lot of value, whether it’s standing in for a Cultist if you’re short one, as a second Zilliax for lifesteal/taunt, or even as a second Highkeeper Ra just for the hell of it. It’s one of the most useful cards you can have on this deck, so don’t leave the Tavern without it!
  3. WANTED! is another utility card that you’ll need for when you’re short one mana. It’s also a great card to help you draw out other cards with the help of Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Of course, its main purpose is to remove big enemy minions, but keep in mind that it can also be used on your non-Mogu Cultist minions if you need the board space.
  4. Myra’s Unstable Element is just that: unstable. Yes, it’s a great way to fill your hand up, but it can also leave you high and dry if your Mogu Cultists aren’t in the top part of your deck. Be careful when using Myra’s as a hail-mary pass: it can, and often will, bite you in the ass.
  5. Often seen in Pogo decks, Shadowstep is a great way to reduce the cost of minions by 2, providing them with more value, especially if their battlecry helps you draw out minions, e.g. Jepetto Joybuzz. But don’t just limit it to drawing out your Mogu Cultists; Jepetto + Shadowstep can be used to summon 2 Zilliaxes or, ideally, 2 Faceless Manipulators. It’s rare, but it can happen!
  6. Walk the Plank is a great removal spell, but only against minions with full health. Keep this in mind before casting Fan of Knives (which is another great spell for card draw + AoE damage).
  7. Highkeeper Ra will only be summoned if the board is full of Mogu Cultist. Don’t attempt to put down 6 Cultists and hope they all survive the next turn; make sure you have an empty board, and don’t be afraid to cast Walk the Plank on your own minions just to get it out of the way.
  8. If you shuffle Highkeeper Ra into your deck and draw them out with Jepetto Joybuzz, it will generate a 1/1 copy of highkeeper Ra, but don’t worry; it won’t change his end-of-turn effect, which means you get to do 20 AoE and direct damage for the great price of 1 mana. Value for days!

Final Thoughts

Mogu Cultist Rogue is a fairly difficult deck to play; it relies too much on RNG, is way too slow, and lacks so much early game protection that you’ll probably end up dying long before you can even get 7+ copies of Mogu Cultist in your deck, let alone your hand.

Given that, why would anyone want to play this deck? Well, honestly, because it’s fun. Personally, I haven’t felt this excited, this challenged, in a really long time, and Hearthstone makes it even better by providing a really cool animation when you summon Highkeeper Ra, making your (almost) victory that much sweeter.

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