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Season 20 Warlock Anti-Aggro Handlock Naxx Wild Deck

Last updated on Oct 30, 2014 at 20:07 by Sottle 5 comments

Table of Contents

Disclaimer: this deck has been archived. It remains on the website for documentation purposes, but we no longer maintain it and no longer guarantee that it works well in the current meta-game.

In this article you will find a guide to Handlock, a powerful deck based around rushing out huge minions for low Mana cost while overwhelming your opponent with card draw and efficient removal. This particular build is focused on combatting aggressive decks. For a guide on a version of this deck designed to beat other control decks see: Handlock Anti-Control.

It should be noted that while this build is tuned to give you a better chance against aggro, it still performs extremely well in most control matchups.

Update: Following the nerf in December's patch to Soulfire, we have evaluated the Warlock decks and decided that Soulfire still merits inclusion. Soulfire is a unique and powerful effect that is not easily replicated by other cards, and should still remain strong at 1 Mana.

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. S20 Warlock Anti-Aggro Handlock Naxx Wild Deck

Our deck costs 4,960 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve

0
4
4
4
7
4
2
5

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, Earthen Ring Farseer, and Mortal Coil.

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 a second one 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, Soulfire, 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 Giants are 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 and using Earthen Ring Farseer to heal your big minions instead of yourself. Unless your opponent has direct damage, such as Fireball, your life total should not concern you once you have 1 or 2 taunted Molten Giants on the board.

3.1. Key Cards

Soulfire is an important card in this deck that is difficult to use correctly. Try not to use a Soulfire if you have a Mountain Giant in your hand, as the card discard will delay the turn on which you can play the Giant. Also always pay attention to the quality of your hand before unleashing a Soulfire. If your hand is full of cards that are important to you in the upcoming turns then consider using Life Tap first to reduce the chances that you discard one.

Ancient Watcher is a fantastic utility card. This deck contains 5 cards to activate your Watcher:

Sunfury Protector and Defender of Argus are vital cards for taunting up your huge minions and keeping you alive. However, it is important not to use these cards too early in the game. Try to avoid taunting a big creature for no reason, as it can leave you vulnerable to The Black Knight or leave you short of a vital taunt to save your life later. If you have a choice between spending 2 Mana on a Life Tap or a Sunfury Protector, Life Tap is often more beneficial. Remember, you want your Health to be low in order to enable your Molten Giants. Bravery is key.

Loatheb is another important inclusion. It serves two main purposes. Firstly, playing Loatheb on a board with two or three established minions can prevent your opponent from countering with AoE spells. Secondly, playing a Loatheb in the late game can prevent your opponent from using spells to kill you, buying you important extra turns to protect yourself. Combining Taunted Molten Giants with Loatheb all but guarantees you survive.

Lord Jaraxxus is your trump card in this deck. While in Jaraxxus form you gain access to an extremely overpowered Hero Power: INFERNO!, summoning a 6/6 for 2 Mana every turn. These summoned Infernals have fantastic synergy with three of the same cards as Ancient Watcher, giving you easy access to taunts, or AoE clears with Shadowflame. It is worth noting that upon playing Jaraxxus your maximum health is set to 15, making it extremely difficult to play Molten Giants. For example, when at 5 health with Jaraxxus, your Molten Giants still cost 10. While it is ideal to play your Molten Giants before Jaraxxus, do not hesitate to play Jaraxxus early on turn 9 or 10 if the board is clear, even if it lowers your Health. The Jaraxxus form is so powerful that often he is enough to single handedly win the game.

3.2. 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, Earthen Ring Farseer can be kept, as a card will have to be played on Turn 3 to prevent overdraw.

3.2.1. Vs Miracle Rogue.

Look for Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake as usual, but also consider keeping Ancient Watcher and Shadowflame. The latter two cards in combination can deal with a Concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneer and stop your opponent's chain draw combos. Overall this is a simple matchup. Overwhelm the Rogue early with your huge minions and save your taunts until after they have been forced to use Sap and you should win comfortably.

3.2.2. Vs Hunter

Look aggressively for cards such as Ancient Watcher, 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. Loatheb is a vital card here as it can prevent your opponent's finishers like Kill Command and potentially buy you another turn to restore your life with Lord Jaraxxus.

3.2.3. Vs Zoo Warlock

Hellfire is a huge card here, as are Molten Giants, 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, Earthen Ring Farseer, 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.

3.2.4. 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 Giants 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. Loatheb can also be crucial in the closing turns to prevent burst cards like Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst from killing you past your taunts.

3.2.5. 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, and this should be one of your easiest matchups.

3.2.6. Vs Control 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. Alternatively, you can follow up a big board with Loatheb to prevent the Equality combos. 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.

3.3. Card Swaps

Mind Control Tech can be included in place of an Earthen Ring Farseer or Defender of Argus to give you an additional answer to opponents with fast starts, as well as providing an answer to strong mid-game boards when you do not have a Shadowflame available.

Alexstrasza can be used in place of Lord Jaraxxus and serves much the same purpose. However, you sacrifice the long term benefit of Jaraxxus for the ability to aggressively lower your opponent's life total to 15.

Additional taunt minions such as Sunwalker or Sen'jin Shieldmasta can be added in place of a Defender of Argus to give you more options in the mid-game. However only ever replace 1 Defender of Argus, never both.

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