The Rogue is the combo class par excellence in Hearthstone, and you'll have to deftly weave synergy between cards to get the best out of this enigmatic Hero. Because of the relative caution and complexity required to make this class shine, the Rogue's a tough one to recommend to newcomers, particularly if you've never played a competitive card game in the past.
With that said, it's because of the Rogue's unique playstyle that it is in every player's interests to spend at least a little time in the class's shadowy shoes. Take a look through our guide to some of the Rogue's key cards, then take our free deck for a quick spin to find out how the class works in competitive play.
Popular Rogue cards
Deadly Poison is a great way of boosting the Rogue's rather weak but useful Hero Power which places a 1/2 dagger in her hand. Just be aware of the constant threat of the Acidic Swamp Ooze, which is capable of ripping any weapon from any Hero's hand when it's played. While it's possible you opponent has another Ooze in their hand, seeing the first one appear is a good enough trigger to put this card into play
Those playing against the Rogue would be wise to hang onto any Oozes drawn at the start of the game, and resist the urge to use them on their opponent's vanilla dagger. If possible, try to bait the Rogue into using this weapon boost on one of your weaker minions.
Backstab - Deal 2 damage to an undamaged minion.
Eviscerate - Deal 2 damage. Combo: Deal 4 damage instead.
Shiv - Deal 1 damage. Draw a card.
All three of these cards are capable of dealing direct damage to minions and/or the Hero opposite you, while two of them provide a bonus effect which can really turn the tide of battle in your favour. The relatively cheap cost of these cards make them great options for feeding the combo mechanics of other cards in your deck.
The very best thing to do if you're unfamiliar with the Rogue's mechanics is to acquaint yourself thoroughly with all of these combo and card-draw cards via the My Collection tab of the game's interface. This, combined with raw experience of playing against the Rogue, will give you an understanding of the mana cost and implications of spending these cards.
The Defias Ringleader is a very common opening card for Rogues who are granted The Coin at the start of a match. Being able to drop a pair of two-damage minions on the board during the first move is a great way to put early pressure on an opponent, after all.
So common is this manoeuvre that you should aggressively Mulligan your opening cards so that you have a solution to this pesky problem. Spells, Hero Powers - whatever it takes to be able to finish off at least one of these minions on your next turn is essential. Left unchecked, the Ringleader and his friend can ruin a game before it's barely got started.
The SI:7 Agent is an incredibly useful card for clearing up your opponent's side of the board as the game progresses from the early to the mid-game. If you have a low-mana card to play alongside it, you can really cause your opponent a headache while dropping a pretty good minion on the board at the same time.
This card is so ubiquitous in Rogue decks that it's best to assume the Rogue sitting opposite you has it in their hands, and is capable of making use of that two damage very early on in the game. Try not to give any minions away cheaply, and look for a different solution to this troublesome infiltrator.
Assassinate does exactly what the name suggests, and is capable of removing even the toughest, meanest minion from the board. Don't be too hasty to spend this powerful card, as you might end up wishing you'd held onto it for a bigger threat later on in the match, but it's there to be used if the game starts slipping away from you uncontrollably.
If you're playing against the Rogue, it's best to assume that your opponent has at least one of these cards in their deck, and try not to put all of your eggs in one big-minion basket. If at all possible, try to bait Assassinate out with a target that's tempting, but certainly not your best target!
The best basic Rogue deck
This free deck from Hearthstone streamer Trump packs in plenty of the usual neutral suspects, while leaving plenty of room for some powerful class cards.
Backstab and Deadly Poison, combined with your dagger-arming Hero Power should help you deal with early minion threat, while Assassinate will help you clear the board of any sudden, unexpected threats - just try not to throw it away on a minion that can be handled more cheaply.
As for your own threat, try to maintain as many minions on the board as you can, keep drawing cards whenever possible, and go for a steady stream of damage to your opponent's face. You don't have a huge number of big mana minions to play with in the long-run, so do your best to keep your weaker minions alive.
Looking for more of the best free Hearthstone decks? Head back to the first page of this article.