The Paladin's Hero Power, which summons a humble 1/1 minion, may not seem like the most powerful in the game, but it's surprisingly effective at frustrating players who like to play aggressive decks in the earlier game, and you can even buff them up considerably with some of your more powerful cards - assuming you have no other better targets to apply it to.
The Paladin's great at manipulating the health of minions, and you should never assume that your most powerful creatures are safe from being reduced to one-turn wonders at a moment's notice. It pays to work hard to eliminate even the most minor minions on the other side of the board, and keep applying pressure on the Paladin at all times.
Popular Paladin cards
A staple card in the arsenal of many a Paladin, the Truesilver Champion is considered by many to be the best weapon in all of Hearthstone. It's great for picking off meatier minions while minimising the damage taken for doing so. You only get two uses from the weapon before it breaks, so make sure you get the most value you can from it. Watch out for those pesky Acidic Swamp Oozes which your opponent may well be packing - they have a Battlecry which destroys an enemy's weapon as soon as it's placed onto the board.
If you're playing against the Paladin and don't have an Ooze in your hand, it's important to make sure you don't gift any minions to the Paladin while they're wielding this particular weapon. If you can get a minion with Taunt onto the board, you'll be able to force the Paladin to attack it, but don't just throw minions away needlessly - unless of course you're deliberately using them for bait.
Blessing of Kings
Blessing of Kings can make even the humblest minion a force to be reckoned with. If all you've got at the end of a match is a 1/1 Hero Power minion, you can use this card to turn it into a much bigger problem for your opponent. It can also be used to buff up beefy minions, but be careful against classes with hard removal spells that can eliminate even the most powerful minion.
From the other side of the board, Blessing of Kings really can make a mess of your plans, and if you're lucky enough to have spells that can eliminate a minion threat entirely, try hanging onto them until you're sure the Paladin has used the buffing spells available to it, or you have no choice but to stall the pace of a match.
The Paladin's area-of-effect damage spell can effectively reset the opening gambits of a game, but its real value is when it is used in combination with another Paladin card called Equality. Equality costs two mana crystals and changes the health of every minion on the board to one. So from turn six onwards, playing Equality followed by Consecration removes all your opponent's minions and does two damage to his Hero. It's a devastating board reset that can turn the tide of a match, but make sure you se it wisely. Consecration's effect can also be improved by the spell damage buffs, making it one of the Paladin's most potent weapons. (Another top tip: once you get used to the Paladin play style, it's also worth investigating the effect of playing a Wild Pyromancer card followed by Equality...)
As the person playing against the Paladin, there's not an awful lot you can do about Consecration except to be aware that it can make an appearance from turn four onwards and that from turn six onwards you are liable to lose your whole side of the board if the other player has Equality as well, no matter how strong your defences. If you can buff your minions up so they're out of range of Consecration's damage then great, but that may not be enough.
Guardian of Kings
This late-game minion is great for stretching any match out just a little bit longer, and it can often buy you enough breathing space to even out player health and knock the wind out of your opponent's sails. Oh, and you've just put a 5/6 minion out on the board too, which doesn't exactly hurt your chances of success either.
No other class will remind you that a match ain't over 'til it's over quite like the Paladin, and it pays to spend a little time going through the class's roster of cards via the My Collection section of the game interface. The Paladin has plenty of other healing cards up its sleeve, so make no assumptions about how close you are to finishing off a match.
Like the Hunter and Mage Heroes, the Paladin has access to a collection of special cards known as Secrets. Just like most other cards in the game, these Secrets cost mana to cast, but the effect remains invisible to the other player - until the effect is triggered, that is.
Here's a quick look at how each of the Paladin's tricky Secrets work, and what you can do to minimise the threat they represent.
|Secret||Effect when triggered|
|Eye for an Eye||When your hero takes damage, deal that much damage to the enemy hero.|
|Noble Sacrifice||When an enemy attacks, summon a 2/1 Defender as the new target.|
|Redemption||When one of your minions dies, return it to life with 1 Health.|
|Repentance||When your opponent plays a minion, reduce its Health to 1.|
- If you have a low-value minion on the board, use it to attack the Paladin. This will trigger Eye for an Eye or Noble Sacrifice.
- Play the lowest value minion in your hand onto the board. This will minimise the disruption caused by Repentance.
- Attack the weakest minion the Paladin owns. If the Secret in play is Redemption, this will minimise the risk of having a high-attack minion re-appear on the board.
The best basic Paladin deck
Trump's completely free Paladin deck makes great use of common neutral minion cards in combination with some of the class's most fun buffing spells. It's best to establish a decent board presence overall before increasing the might of your minions, and try not to buff a minion on the same turn that you play it. Doing so just paints a massive "kill me" sign over that creature - you should always show as little of your strategy as possible to your opponent.
If you're facing a Hunter, Rogue, Warrior, Shaman, or even another Paladin, try to hold off on using the Acidic Swamp Ooze until your opponent has a weapon in hand, otherwise just treat it like yet another minion waiting to be buffed up to glory. Also try to avoid playing your Frostwolf Warlord until you can buff it up with at least three other minions.
As with all of our free-to-play decks, the more of the early-game board you can control, the stronger you'll push into the mid-game, and the more tools you'll ultimately have to make your strongest, late-game minions really shine.
Head back to the first page of this article to see more of Hearthstone's best basic decks.