In Depth Oil Rogue Guide

I am TheDacianWolf and I am very pleased to be bringing you another Rogue related guide. My previous guide was about tech/replacement options for Bloodmage Thalnos and Edwin VanCleef. If you don’t own either of those cards and would like to play Oil Rogue I suggest you check that out, here.

I climbed with this list from Rank 200 – 17 Decklist and Proof: Rank was achieved on November 11, 2015) I climbed from rank 25 – 5 with my friend Highlights Oil rogue list: taken from my NA account) I believe Highlights peaked at Rank 8 Legend on NA last season I used aggro druid to climb from rank 5 to legend (On November 7) Unfortunately I am currently not recording stats, so you matchup guide will be based purely on opinion. Hopefully you guys are alright with that. This will be an In-depth guide which will hopefully help you master and fully understand Oil Rogue. This guide will try and explain everything, including ‘obvious stuff’ so that new players will be able to understand.

Card Choices

I built this list to counter the meta, it is an ‘original list’ per say however I believe Mr Yagut ruins a very similar list if not identical.

Core Cards:

Backstab x2: This is our best earlier game removal, should never be used on turn 1 against a one drop, especially if our dagger kills it. It is recommended (most of the time) to be greedy and save it for SI:7 Agent if it is also in your hand.

Preparation x2: Recently I read a guide saying this card wasn’t core, that is strictly incorrect. Preparation can be paired with Sprint, and Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, However in most matchups it should be used for tempo swings, such as developing a minion(usually not a 3 drop) and prepping Sap, Blade Flurry, Eviscerate, and Fan of Knives.

Deadly Poison x2: Great early game removal, can be paired with Blade Flurry for massive board clears. Sometimes it is correct to equip to a 1 durability dagger, or use preparation with it, but this will always feel bad.

Blade Flurry x2: Since Oil Rogue is a tempo deck this card is great for us, it is cheap AOE which will usually allow us to develop our board while removing our opponents board. Most of the time it is correct to Blade Flurry small boards if it provides us a tempo advantage.

Eviscerate x2: Great early to late game removal. High value targets include but are not limited to: Animal Companion, Flamewaker, Piloted Shredder, Druid of the Claw, Sludge Belcher, Violet Teacher, Shieldmaiden. If you don’t have a Backstab, do not be afraid to eviscerate a Knife Juggler.

Sap x2: This is my favourite card. It’s a “Get out my face” card. Sapping a minion while developing our board is easily one of the most overpowered thing our deck can do. Do not be afraid to sap minions which don’t have taunt, that being said, make sure to evaluate if you will need to save your sap for something like an Ancient of War. Also sapping Dr. Boom will always feel bad but is a lot of the time our way of dealing with it.

Bloodmage Thalnos: I did write an entire article dedicated to replacements for this card. That article was meant for people who don’t have dust to craft Bloodmage Thalnos. If you have him it is a core card and you should always put him in your deck. Thalnos provides us with Cycle and AOE options with Fan of Knives and Blade Flurry.

[Fan of Knives] x2: Any Meta where Paladin is a dominant force requires us to always have 2 copies of Fan of Knives. Fan of Knives provides us with cycle and AOE in aggro matchups.

SI:7 Agent x2: SI:7 Agent’s best friend is Backstab, in the early game you usually always want to pair these cards together. If you do not have Backstab, it is acceptable to play a ‘naked’ SI:7 Agent on turn 3. Coining SI:7 Agent into a 2 drop is a very strong play, unless it’s a sticky death rattle minion.

Tinker's Sharpsword Oil x1: Most variants of Oil Rogue run 2 oil’s, my current version only runs 1 as I have opted to run Dr. Boom instead. Tinker's Sharpsword Oil is our main form of burst and AOE (when combine with Blade Flurry). While playing you should always be counting your burst potential. Tinker's Sharpsword Oil should be used to setup 2 turn lethal and force our opponent to have an answer. I have quite an aggressive playstyle so a fair bit of the time I will develop a minion and buff it with Tinker's Sharpsword Oil(be wary of [Big Game Hunter).

Azure Drake x2: Azure Drake is our decks choice of 5 Drop. It cycles and provides us with much needed spell damage for Backstab, Eviscerate, Fan of Knives and Blade Flurry.

Loatheb: I suppose there is an argument the this card is not ‘core’ however I’d be extremely reluctant to cut it. Loatheb allows us to lock our opponent out of the game and pretty much guarantees that a minion sticks to the board, which makes our burst potential even bigger.

Sprint x2: Quite honestly sprint is one of the worst forms of card draw in the game, unfortunately it is the only draw engine rogue as available, and is very crucial to the decks success. Oil Rogue runs out of cards very quickly and Sprint allows us to refill. In most matchups Preparation Sprint on turn 3 or 4 is not a good play, however sometimes it is the only play.

Note: Three 4 drops is core, but which 4 drop you choose to play is not.

Tech Cards/Not core: Big Game Hunter x1: It the past when rogues played Big Game Hunter, they cut a sap, which is acceptable, however in this Meta there are so many targets for Sap and Big Game Hunter that I prefer having 2 Saps and 1 Big Game Hunter. Big Game Hunteralso allows you to be more liberal with your Saps.

Piloted Shredder x2: I believe that the best amount of 4 drops to run in Oil Rogue is 3. I personally prefer 2 Piloted Shredder over 2 [Violet teacher] because Piloted Shredder is a more solid body.

Violet Teacher x1: Overall great card, is at its best vs Paladin. Honestly comes down to personal preference.

Sludge Belcher x2: I love Sludge Belcherin this Meta, it is great against druid, secret Paladin and warrior and is just an overall solid body.

Dr. Boom: The reason I opt for Dr. Boom over second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil in this Meta is because it feels that this Meta is all about curving out well, so if we are able to establish our own boom before our opponents it puts us in a favourable position. This choice isn’t necessarily correct as Dr. Boom and Tinker's Sharpsword Oilwill win you games in different situations.

Matchup/Mulligan Guide

In this section I will group different archetypes together if the mulligans are similar. All mulligans will be in order of importance, if it is only kept on coin that will be stated in brackets. The ones near the end if list will only be kept if you have at least 1 of the first 3 or 4.

Secret Paladin/Midrange Paladin

Secret: Even (50/50) or slightly favoured for Oil Rogue (55/45)

Midrange: Favoured for Oil Rogue (65/35)

Mulligan: Fan of Knives, Backstab, SI:7 Agent, Violet Teacher(coin), Piloted Shredder(coin), Preparation

Matchup Tips/How to play

Both of these matchups depend on our ability to deal with the paladins early to midgame. Once we establish board control it is nearly impossible for the paladin to recover. If our opponent opens with a secret keeper we should use our Backstab on it, if they play a secret we shouldn’t attack with our dagger, but I usually do because for whatever reason a lot paladins play noble sacrifice against on turn 1. The only 2 drop we coin our SI:7 Agent against is Knife Juggler. If the paladin plays minibot on turn 2 we always pop the shield, as this sets up well for our future plays. I personally always dagger done their hero power on turn 2 as otherwise it telegraphs Fan of Knives too much. Try and save Fan of Knives for Muster for Battle, and Sap for Mysterious Challenger, if you have an opportunity for tempo swings before these cards appear, take it. Preparation should be used for tempo in early – mid game.

Tech Choices: Edwin VanCleef(only vs secret pally), second Violet Teacher.

Aggro Druid

Since my list runs Big Game Hunter and Sludge Belcher I believe I am slightly favoured (55/45) otherwise the aggro druid would be favoured (60/40).

Mulligan: Our main downfall in this match is not knowing if our opponent is Aggro or midrange.

Backstab, SI:7 Agent, 4 drop(coin), Deadly Poison, Preparation, Sap

Matchup Tips/How to play

We need to be able to deal with aspirant, if you have both backstab and SI:7 Agent do not save the backstab for the SI:7 Agent, just kill Darnassus Aspirant. Dealing with their threats is our first priority, if there is no good way to do this just develop minions on curve. Good Sap targets: Piloted Shredder, Druid of the Claw and Fel Reaver (make sure you have a way to answer Fel Reaver). This may come down to a race, try and find ways to setup 3 -4 turn lethals ASAP.

Tech Choices: Argent Horserider

Midrange Druid

For whatever reason there is a running joke that rogue players think this matchup is favoured apparently it’s really not. Well I guess that makes me a part of the joke because this matchup is definitely favoured for the rogue (60/40).

Mulligan 4 drop, Backstab, SI:7 Agent, [Prep, Sap, 5 drop (coin and at least 2 of the first 3 choices) Matchup tips/how to play

Druid has trouble playing reactively, so naturally we force them to play reactively. We do this by playing our minions on curve while removing there board, Backstab, Preparation, Sap and evis are super important for this strategy. Preparation Sprint on turn 3 or 4 in this matchup is an awful play, but like I said earlier it might be the only play. Prep wants to be used to generate tempo.

Tech Choices: Argent Horserider, second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil

Face Hunter/Hybrid Hunter/Midrange Hunter

Face: Oil Rogue is not favoured (30/70) (our worst matchup)

Hybrid: Oil rogue is not favoured (40/60)

Midrange Oil Rogue is slightly favoured (55/45)

Mulligans: Backstab, SI:7 Agent, PreparationFan of Knives, 4 drop(coin)

Matchup tips/how to play

These matchups will come down to a race, hunter is consistently pushing damage while we are planning on bursting them down over 2 or 3 turns in the mid game. In order for us to win we need to prevent as much damage as possible in the early game and establish board presence in the mid game. Sap is a very key, when facing hybrid/midrange don’t be afraid to sap [Piloted Shredders] for tempo, but always kept high mane in mind. Against Face hunter good sap targets are Mad Scientist, Misha, [Leok], Haunted Creeper and Leper Gnome.

Tech choices: argent horserider, southsea deckhand, second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Antique Healbot, Deathlord

Tempo Mage/Mech Mage I believe these matchups are favoured (60/40) for the rogue if your list contains Antique Healbot, otherwise it is more (55/45) for the mage player. This matchups also relies on who gets the coin.

Mulligans: Backstab, Deadly Poison, SI:7 Agent, Blade Flurry, Preparation, 4 drop(coin)

Against mech mage as soon as you stabilize you win, you will need to get off a massive flurry and healbot will be needed make sure you don’t die to burn. Against Tempo you just have to make to play which nets the most tempo every turn, so gain prep should be should to develop your board and clear your opponents. Always look for ways to set up 2-3 turn lethal

Tech: Antique Healbot, second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Southsea Deckhand, Earthen Ring Farseer, Edwin VanCleef

Freeze Mage

For the longest time I thought Oil rogue was extremely unfavoured vs Freeze mage, this simply isn’t the case. If your list as healbot, and second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, it is favoured (55/45) for Rogue. IF you are not running healbot it is more of an even matchup (50/50). There was an article written recently on compHS say oil rogue is favoured (65/35) and this could very well be the case, but I do not have enough experience in the matchup to make that claim myself.

Mulligans: SI:7 Agent, 4 drop, Sprint

Matchup tips/how to play

I highly suggest you read this article for a more in depth analysis: my understanding you want to curve out with minions and apply as much pressure as possible, play like an aggro deck. Use your saps to deny them doomsayers and card draw. Only use healbot for post alex, and try and save loatheb for setting up popping block or after you popped block (preferably after). Do not over extend into AOE.

Tech choices: [Edwin Vancleef], second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Antique Healbot, Southsea Deckhand

Dragon Priest

Oil rogue is favoured (65/35)

Mulligan: Backstab, SI:7 Agent, Sap, Deadly Poison, 4 drop(coin), Sprint

Matchup tips/how to play

There are 2 ways Rogue losses this matchup, not having sap for a buffed minion and not drawing into sprint on time. Unlike control priest, dragon priest curves out very aggressively which forces us to keep our early game removal. We should be able to take control of the board state by turn 5, which is unfortunate because the priest will usually follow up with Lightbomb. Be sure to play around Lightbomb and time your Loatheb correctly.

Control Warrior

This matchup is traditionally extremely unfavoured for the Oil Rogue (20/80), so what I am about to say is going to be very controversial. The list I run is probably only slightly unfavoured (45/55) this is because I run a lot of sticky minions but I don’t have second Tinker's Sharpsword Oilwhich limits my reach a lot. However the list my friend highlights runs I think is slightly favoured (55/45) it turns out Argent Horserider is extremely good against warrior. I think this matchup as a lot to do with how control warriors build their lists currently, a lot of them have cut [Acolytes of Pain] and Shield Block which limits their ability to draw into there removal.

Mulligan: Piloted Shredder, Sprint, 5drop(coin), Preparation(only if you have sprint)

Matchup Tips/how to play

In this match we are going to most likely be attacking the opponents face with our dagger in the early turns to play around Shield Slam, and force them to have weapon removal, we will never play SI:7 Agent on turn 3 unless we are killing an Armorsmith, this is because we can’t afford to give there weapons to much value. Argent Horserider on turn 3 is an acceptable play is it allows as to preserve our dagger. Ideally we want to curve out from turn 4 onwards, however prep sprint in the early game is also an acceptable play. The game plan is to pressure them then burst them down with oil’s, always play around alex and brawl, I tend not to play around Harrison Jones as its uncommon and if they have it I am probably losing anyway. Sidenote: if they run acolyte try and limit it to one draw.

Tech Choices: [Argent Horesrider], second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, Harrison Jones, [Sen’jin Sheildmasta]

Handlock/Demon Handlock

Demon: This matchup is even (50/50)

Regular: Oil rogue is slightly favoured (55/45) (note: Southsea Deckhand swings the matchup in our favour)

The reason why we do worse against the demon variant is because they play more threats in the mid game and late game.

Mulligan: (Preparation and Sprint), 4 drop, 3 drop, sap, 5 drop

Matchup tips/ how to play

In most circumstances you will play this match up you will be put in a position where you have 2 turn lethal if they don’t have Antique Healbot. You should always take this chance because you don’t you will lose to taunt or heal instead of just heal. Usually this lethal involves setting up a huge dagger smacking them in the face and Blade Flurrying the turn after. Sapping there first huge threat is not ideal, as we would rather develop our board, your opponent will tend to use there Mountain Giant to trade. A great combination of cards to have is Bloodmage Thalnos Backstab Eviscerate, or Azure Drake Backstab Preparation Eviscerate as both of these allow us to deal with their first threat. As mentioned earlier Southsea Deckhand is very important in this match up as it allows us to OTK them more frequently.

Tech choices: Southsea Deckhand, second Tinker's Sharpsword Oil


After writing this guide, I have realized how much I prefer running 2 oils over [Dr.Boom], but I will continue running for now just to test it out. I hope you enjoyed the guide. Please excuse any grammar errors. TLDR: then don’t comment

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