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Reno Jackson Highlander Warlock Handlock Wild Deck

Last updated on Nov 16, 2015 at 20:53 by Sottle 6 comments

Table of Contents

This guide contains instruction on how to play Reno Jackson Handlock. Reno Jackson is a unique card from League of Explorers that has the potential to heal you to full health if you have no duplicate cards left in your deck. This effect is hugely beneficial to a Handlock deck, but is very inconsistent unless you build a deck specifically to take advantage of it.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Reno Jackson Highlander Warlock Handlock Wild Deck

Our deck costs 8,640 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

The general strategy of a Handlock deck is to quickly develop a large hand to enable you to play your huge minions like Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake and overpower your opponent before they gain the Mana to answer them. Handlock should primarily be played as a board control deck, but understanding when to switch to aggression can often be the key to victory.

The early turns, defined in this case as turns 1-4, are key to success with this deck. You must quickly identify the correct plays for these turns and plan ahead based on your current cards and your opponent. The most common Handlock opening is simply to spend the early turns using Life Tap, which enables you on turn 4 to play a Mountain Giant, or a Twilight Drake with 9 health. However, this is not always the correct play. For example, against an aggressive deck like Hunter you will want to spend your early turns fighting for the board using cards like Ancient Watcher, Sunfury Protector, Ironbeak Owl, and Mortal Coil.

The consideration to spend your cards early to fight for the board is particularly strong in this version of the deck since because of the nature of the deck, you will not have the powerful turn 4 plays very consistently. Having only one copy of Mountain Giant, Voidcaller, and Twilight Drake in your deck means that you cannot always rely on the Life Tap strategy to get you a strong play in time. Due to this, the decision to use cards like Darkbomb, Imp Gang Boss, or Acidic Swamp Ooze in the early turns to fight for the board is correct more often than it is in a standard Handlock deck.

When going second, The Coin is a crucial card. You must decide whether to Coin out a Life Tap on turn 1 to essentially replace The Coin with a random card from your deck. This is often a good idea in control matchups or if your opening hand is bad, but pay attention to whether the Coin is important to your Mana curve. For example, you may want to Coin out a Twilight Drake on turn 3 and follow it up with another 4-drop on turn 4.

Upon entering the mid-game, you will look to consolidate your board position with further big minions while removing your opponent's threats with cards such as Shadowflame, Darkbomb, and Siphon Soul. It is important during this time to continue to Life Tap as much as possible. Always plan out your entire turn in advance and if your play leaves 2 or more Mana to spare make sure to life tap first as you may draw into a better play.

Finally, if your early huge minions have not been enough to take the game away from your opponent, you have fantastic late game cards such as Molten Giant and Lord Jaraxxus to consolidate your victory. Molten Giant is incredibly powerful in this deck, as through lowering your own life total with Life Tap you can often play them for very little, if not 0 Mana. With this in mind it is important to be extremely brave with your life total as a Handlock by using Life Tap aggressively. Unless your opponent has direct damage, such as Fireball, your life total should not concern you once you have large taunts on the board.

Reno Jackson is the key to the deck and the reason it is built in such a unique style. By guaranteeing that you never have multiple copies of cards in your deck, you can always ensure that you gain value from Reno Jackson. This is particularly important for a Warlock deck, since their strategy is usually to use their life total aggressively to draw cards and stay ahead on resources. Against some decks, you can often find yourself in the position where you have a ton of options in hand, but they simply kill you before you have a chance to get value out of your card advantage. Drawing and playing Reno naturally extends the game by several turns and allows you to gain long term value out of your Life Tap.

3.1. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

The basic mulligan strategy involves aggressively looking for Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake, often discarding your entire hand to look for them. When going second, one card such as Ancient Watcher or Darkbomb can be kept, as a card will have to be played on one of the first three turns to prevent overdraw.

3.1.1. Vs Hunter

Look aggressively for cards such as Ancient Watcher, Darkbomb Ironbeak Owl, and Mortal Coil to help you control the Hunter's fast start. Molten Giant is also a fantastic keep as you will quickly find your life total dwindling to dangerously low levels. Never keep Mountain Giant since against aggro this is often the worst card in your deck as you will not find time to play it. In this matchup it is best to avoid Life Tapping where possible and instead try to play out the cards in your hand. Do not be afraid to play a Sunfury Protector without taunting anything as the 2/3 body can fight Hunter's early minions very effectively. The goal in this matchup is simply to survive long enough to get behind a big board of Taunts and then quickly finish your opponent within 2 or 3 turns. Once you have an imposing board of taunts in place it is usually best to ignore your opponent's minions and attack the opponent with your 8/8 giants. If you wait too long the Hunter can kill you with their Hero Power alone. Antique Healbot is the star in this matchup, as at some point, you will almost always gain board advantage against Hunter. In these situations, Hunter can often just ignore your board and simply finish you with burst damage, but Antique Healbot shuts this option down for your opponent.

3.1.2. Vs Zoo Warlock

Hellfire is a huge card here, as is Molten Giant, and both should be mulliganed for appropriately. Although Zoo will have aggressive starts they do not have the explosive damage of a Hunter and therefore you are often safe to tap until turn 4 and then clear the board with a Hellfire. However, do not let this stop you from fighting back with Ironbeak Owl, Darkbomb, or Ancient Watcher if you have them. The goal of this matchup is simple, create a board of taunts that the opponent cannot answer. Since the only direct damage in the Zoo deck is Soulfire, as long as your life is above 4 when you taunt up your Molten Giants, you should be safe and able to end the game with a few quick 8 damage attacks to the opponent.

3.1.3. Vs Shaman

Shaman is a tricky matchup. You should Mulligan for your usual 4 Mana plays but also prioritise Hellfire and Shadowflame. The main difficulty with Shaman is that they have Earth Shock and Hex which deal perfectly with your Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant respectively. To win this battle you will want to prolong it as long as possible, exhausting your opponent's removal cards before finally dropping your Molten Giants to seal the game. Try to be greedy with your AoE clears, avoid the temptation to use them to clear a board of Totems and instead wait for relevant minions to appear on the board.

3.1.4. Vs Priest

Look aggressively for Twilight Drakes. Since Priest in particular has trouble dealing with 4 attack minions, a Drake played on Turn 4 can often create enough momentum to simply win the game. Lord Jaraxxus is also a huge card, and this is certainly a matchup where you should consider playing him on turn 9 if available. Since Priests struggle to output damage, lowering your health to 15 in exchange for all the power Jaraxxus grants you is a fine trade. Make sure to have an answer ready for Mind Control after turn 10 and look out for the Auchenai Soulpriest plus Circle of Healing 4-damage AoE combo, as well as Lightbomb and this should be one of your easiest matchups.

3.1.5. Vs Midrange Paladin

Mulligan as normal. The key to this matchup is the Equality combinations that Paladin can unleash to clear your entire board. It is important to play around this by only having 1 huge minion on the board at a time. It is important to remember that Paladin has very few ways to create damage so you can be as liberal with your life total as you see fit. Keeping a big hand full of options is the key to winning this matchup. Try to exhaust your opponent's removal options and then take the game away from them with Lord Jaraxxus once they are low on resources.

3.2. Card Swaps

Due to the nature of the deck, the card choices are extremely flexible and you can choose to include any high quality options that you see fit. You should aim to keep the Mana curve consistent with what you see here though.

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