Sometimes all it takes is one card to completely change the balance of power in a game like Hearthstone, and The Grand Tournament has introduced more than a few of those. One card that has completely shaken up the meta is Mysterious Challenger, which has opened up a whole new archetype for Paladins and allowed certain cards that were considered niche or almost useless to see new playtime. Secrets Paladin decks are now among the most popular and viable on the ladder, challenging some older decks for dominance.
Even without all of the high cost cards, this deck has potential to take you all the way to Legend rank. Here’s a breakdown on how to build and play this powerful new deck:
- Avenge x2
- Competitive Spirit
- Noble Sacrifice x2
- Redemption x2
- Haunted Creeper
- Ironbeak Owl
- Knife Juggler x2
- Shielded Minibot x2
- Muster for Battle x2
- Harvest Golem
- Truesilver Champion x2
- Blessing of Kings
- Consecration x2
- Murloc Knight x2
- Piloted Shredder x2
- Mysterious Challenger x2
- Dr. Boom
- Tirion Fordring
At its core, the Secrets Paladin is a mid-range deck that relies on a strong curve and board presence for its win condition, but it has some very powerful tools that give it explosive and unexpected power. The most important of these is the new TGT card, Mysterious Challenger, which completely changes the equation for Paladin secrets. While these cards are often weak, and sometimes difficult to use effectively, being able to put several on the board for free is an immense tempo and power swing. Noble Sacrifice, Redemption, and Avenge are a little tricky to play by themselves, but played together with a 6/6 body is pretty difficult for any deck to deal with.
Even if you draw badly or can’t play your Mysterious Challenger on time, Secrets Paladin still has immense board presence with Knife Juggler + Muster for Battle, Shielded Minibots, Murloc Knight, Piloted Shredder, and other sticky minions with synergy. Very few decks have the removal to deal with everything that the Paladin can drop, and with powerful removal of its own, it’s fairly easy for the Paladin to stay in control of the board.
While secrets are the core of this deck, you ideally don’t want to draw any at all early on. Against aggro, Noble Sacrifice may be useful, but the rest are most powerful when drawn and played by Mysterious Challenger. By themselves these cards are fairly weak, which can make this deck a little tricky, but even if you draw into your secrets early this is still a very strong mid-range deck with lots of tool for maintaining board presence. As long as you play on your curve, very few decks will be able to keep up with the power of your minions and you’ll win by sheer numbers.
Among others, Kolento has been playing this deck with some success — check out some of his videos to see the Secrets Paladin in action!
One of the great things about this deck is that, aside from a couple of set pieces like Muster for Battle and Mysterious Challenger, there is a lot of room for experimentation. The secrets included in the decklist are tried and true, but you’re free to experiment with others, or different numbers. 6-8 seems to be the sweet spot for secrets, but the ones you pick can vary a lot depending on what you’re facing and what your deck needs.
You can also swap out some bigger cards — throwing in a Coghammer instead of a Truesilver Champion can give your minions some stickiness and buy you time. You might also include another Blessing of Kings or swap in a Quartermaster to boost the power of your deck. The Murloc Knight has far and away the most potential for Inspire, but you might also find room for a Silver Hand Regent or a Fencing Coach.
Low Budget Substitutions
The Secrets Paladin includes multiple legendaries, but they aren’t in any way necessary to building a successful deck of this type. As long as you have something powerful to fill that role, you should be able to maintain your curve and tempo, which is the real point. Swapping in a Sunwalker for Tirion Fordring is a good choice if you don’t have the dust, and any big minion, like a giant, will do in place of Dr. Boom. There’s no replacement for Mysterious Challenger, but you might still be able to play this deck with just one, especially if you swap in some card draw.
Mulligans and Matchups
In every matchup, you want to get rid of your secrets and Mysterious Challenger if you’ve drawn them. It’s tempting to hang on to essential cards, but it’s going to hurt your board presence not to have the cards you need on your curve.
The ideal starting hand contains cards for a very strong first few turns — Shielded Minibot, Haunted Creeper, Muster for Battle, and Truesilver Champion are key, with Knife Juggler or Harvest Golem worth hanging on to if you have something to back them up with.
Aggro decks are something of an exception, in that you may want to hang on to certain secrets, like Noble Sacrifice, though you really want to have Shielded Minibot or Haunted Creeper available to play on turn two. Certain early combos, like Muster for Battle + Knife Juggler or a Competive Sprint can be worth hanging on to if you think you can pull them off.
Your mulligan will vary based on the type of deck you’re facing, but ideally you want to have cards in your hand to play on a smooth curve. Definitely discard any secrets you have — it can be killer to have dead cards in your hand in a control matchup.