Sandstone Gargoyle x4
Marble Gargoyle x4
Welsh-Green Dragon x3
Adventures + Spells
Caught by Snape x4
Hagrid Needs Help x4
Dobby's Disappearance x4
Platform 9 3/4 x2
Ginny Weasley x4
Care of Magical Creatures x22
At first glance, this may look like a bit of a strange Creatures list to you. This is extremely streamlined and has a lot of tech in it to help it compete against the other Tier 1 decks in Classic, which is exactly what it does. This is an aggressive deck that can take games off of both combo and control strategies by putting an unbearable amount of pressure on them before they have a chance to set up. This deck is prepared to hold your opponent off just long enough to blast them with a Steelclaw KO while also having answers to a few of the most popular strategies. Without further ado, let's dive into the card choices below:
Starting Witch: Prof. Minerva McGonagall
Minerva is one of the most powerful starting Witches because she is a two-for-one where both of her abilities are extremely useful. Starting with Minerva denies your opponents this incredible two-for-one, gives you constant access to one escape-from-Adventure-free card, and allows you access to one of the best lesson types in the game at no additional deckbuilding cost. Transfiguration is a powerful Lesson type, and has some of the best universal control and action advantage cards in the game. McGonagall is your emergency button to get through popular Adventures like Caught by Snape, Pep Talk or Riding the Centaur when you have no other option. This deck is built to solve Caught by Snapes naturally and take advantage of the additional time spent investing in unnecessary lessons. Only use McGonagall to escape if you are going to win that turn or if you have already solved two CBS naturally and don't have the time or cards to solve another. If your opponent can get you to use McGonagall's ability early, they know you will be stuck for sure under their next Adventure.
Ginny is here for one big reason: whosoever controls Ginny controls the fate of the Harry Potter TCG. Ginny is an incredibly powerful draw engine that absolutely cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of your opponent if you have a choice, and that means running four Ginny Weasley in your deck to deny them that access. Ginny Weasley is a 100% slam on the table every time that you draw her in your opening hand when everyone is throwing T1 decks around, and she is critical in the fight against Ron. If you aren't the first person to get to Ginny, no worries. That's what Dobby's Disappearance is for! Ginny's draw will make sure that you find your relatively low count of Creatures consistently enough, will help you draw enough resources to get out of things like Caught by Snape naturally, and will provide more than enough advantage over time to pay back the 2-action investment in her in a non-Ron deck. Even without a Peeves of your own down, one extra card a turn is basically a free extra action a turn and is plenty.
Peeves is possibly one of the best non-starting Character cards in the HPTCG. His uses are almost too many to name, but mainly Peeves serves as a way to both disrupt your opponent and refill your hand. Peeves is an excellent response to popular hand control strategies (especially Escaping the Dursleys) and provides a great backup plan for filling your hand with new cards if you lose or fail to start Ginny. Peeves also shines as a pseudo-burn spell, dealing your opponent an additional 7 "damage" without using an action. Peeves is so strong in so many decks that your opponent may play one down before you. Against an opposing Peeves, keep in mind that they may use it through Caught by Snape lock to search for more lessons without using actions, and also remember that they can use it to reduce the size of their hand. Peeves works well with the one copy of Escaping the Dursleys in this deck, as he is the single best card that your opponent can search to get themselves out of the bad position the Adventure leaves them in. If you have your own Peeves down, they lose the option to play a Peeves of their own to refill their hand.
Caught by Snape
Like I said in the Ron deck write-up, I could probably write an entire article about this card. I don't want to rehash too much of what I said there, but this card is a Classic staple. It slows your opponent down giving your creatures plenty of time to hammer away at them. Unlike Ron, here you are usually actively dealing your opponent damage as they try to solve Caught by Snape. You can't replace it before it is solved in this deck, so be careful not to play Caught by Snape early against opponents who want to build lessons. Caught by Snape is significantly less powerful in this deck than it is in Ron because you have less ways to control how and when they solve it. Caught by Snape is best played in this deck immediately following your opponent's first two turns of "building" before they play the early pieces of their strategy. Following a double-gargoyle turn with CBS or vise versa is extremely powerful.
Hagrid Needs Help
Hagrid Needs Help replaces Caught by Snape as our star early game Adventure. Hagrid Needs Help is the perfect Adventure for this deck and is a great Turn 1 play against any deck. Your opponent will always have 1 fewer Action even when they solve Hagrid Needs Help immediately, which they will be forced to do or fall way behind. When they solve Hagrid Needs Help, he does a minimum of 8 damage but will often do 11 if your opponent decides to draw the 3 cards from the reward. Giving your opponent extra cards at the same time as reducing the amount of things they can do is a nice way to mitigate the benefit of them solving this card, making it feel a lot like a win-win for you and a lose-lose for them. Followed by a second Hagrid Needs Help, you'll often find your opponent down a third of their deck before the game even really gets started. The burn done by this Adventure is great value for two actions, and the fact that they are reduced to one action means that they aren't going to be responding with an Adventure of their own which means you are relatively safe on the following turn.
Sandstone Gargoyle is the bread and butter of your creature damage in this deck. Thanks to McGonagall's extra lesson, there's only two Lessons standing between you and playing these Gargoyles. They are by far the best bang for your buck against non-creature decks, and even against other creature decks you will often be able to get these down before they have creatures forcing them to either start playing them early or to take early damage. Damage from these adds up fast, dropping two at a time on turn two is an incredibly strong opening for this deck. Follow a Hagrid Needs Help opening with two Lessons on turn two and drop two Gargoyles on turn three and your opponent will already have your boot on their throat. An easy way for your opponent to make these gargoyles much less effective is to just drop a creature, but remember a well-timed Dobby's Disappearance can move your opponent's creatures out of the way long enough for Steelclaw to do serious work.
Marble Gargoyle is Sandstone Gargoyle's bigger brother, being a bit larger, costing a bit more, and dealing much more damage. This card is high enough up the curve that you will often only be dropping these once you're already applying pressure with the smaller gargoyles or after naturally solving a Caught by Snape. Use the same strategies to deal maximum damage with Steelclaw as the little Gargoyles - bouncing enemy creatures, preventing your opponent from playing cards, or playing Steelclaw the same turn you drop them.
Welsh Green Dragon
Welsh Green Dragon is the finisher and the payoff card at the end of the long and arduous Caught by Snape path. When your opponents are trying to slow you down with Caught by Snape, you'll be chipping away at them with Gargoyles as you build up your lessons to cash them in on a big Welsh Green Dragon turn. Welsh Green does you the massive favor of dealing his damage to your opponent's face as soon as he hits the table, and Welsh Green Dragon followed by Steelclaw is the explosive game-ending play you're looking for while you're navigating your Opponent's adventures. Sculpting a hand around Welsh Green Dragon, Platform 9 3/4, and multiple Steelclaw is what you're looking for before using Professor McGonagall to break out of an Adventure to win the game.
Hedwig is here to help you get important pieces out of the discard pile, which ends up being almost exclusively Steelclaw or an Adventure, with the occasional Welsh Green Dragon. Hedwig is a nice piece of consistency in a deck that doesn't have a lot of ways to search for or reuse pieces.
Steelclaw is your primary damage dealing card and is used in conjunction with your creatures to do lethal damage extremely quickly. In any game that doesn't end through attrition, Steelclaw is going to be what gets you there. Holding two Steelclaw in your hand feels like pocket aces, and following a Welsh Green Dragon with Steelclaw is a staggering amount of damage. Steelclaw helps you convert otherwise slow cards into immediate threats and lets you hit your opponent with Creatures by circumventing their largest weakness, the delay between them coming into play and having an effect. Don't waste Steelclaw early unless you're about to Peeves, as it is by far the most damaging card in your deck. It's your #1 target for Hedwig as well as the card you want to plan your Platform 9 3/4 turns around. Being an aggro deck, McGonagall Creatures is always racing to keep tempo up. A midgame Steelclaw off a few Gargoyles isn't a bad idea if you feel the tempo slipping in your opponent's favor.
Ah, good ol’ Dobby’s Disappearance. This is another card that could have an entire article dedicated to how ridiculous it is, and I’m really not sure what the thought process was as they were designing it. In my opinion, Dobby’s Disappearance is the best card in the HPTCG by a landslide. Dobby’s Disappearance basically allows you to undo one (or two!) of your opponent’s actions for free, as it replaces the action that you use to cast the card. Dobby’s Disappearance works on any permanent, most importantly able to return Adventures and Characters to the opponents hand for even more action advantage over them. Dobby’s is one of the only ways that you can remove a card from play and follow it up with a Caught by Snape to lock the card out of play. Another fundamental play is using Dobby's Disappearance to bounce troublesome cards and using Peeves to send them straight to the discard pile. Dobby's Disappearance is also the best way to remove their Ginny Weasley or Peeves to replace it with your own! It's always a powerful card and is another good selection off Hedwig.
Platform 9 3/4
Actions are the most important resource that you have in the Harry Potter Trading Card Game. Platform allows you to turn early lesson investments into an extra action later in the game, and is one of the best answers to cards like Hagrid Needs Help, Pep Talk or Locked In that are trying to control the number and type of cards you can play next turn. Most importantly, Platform allows you to play multiple Steelclaw on the same turn as a big threat like Marble Gargoyle or Welsh Green Dragon. Platform is another card that benefits from you naturally solving your opponents Caught by Snape cards. After ramping up to a Welsh Green Dragon and playing it, it will leave you with 5 power which is just enough to activate Platform 9 3/4 once and have both the power and actions remaining for a double-Steelclaw. Platform also gives you the ability to play a Character or Adventure alongside a creature (Hedwig into an Adventure or Character is a good example).