Handbuff Paladin Archetype Guide

Last updated on Aug 26, 2017 at 16:50 by L0rinda 5 comments

Handbuff Paladin is regarded as a theme deck, but is still capable of reaching Legend. The idea is to use cards such as Smuggler's Run and Grimestreet Enforcer to increase the stats of the cards in your hand, and then beat your opponent through the value gained. If your minions are always 1/1 bigger than your opponent's, your minion combat will be very favourable.

The key to building this style of deck is to make sure that there are not too many buffs in the deck. This is because each time you play a buff card, you are giving up some tempo, and the value gained is less impactful each time due to the effects of enemy Silences and removal.

This archetype did not see much play before Knights of the Frozen Throne was released. However, the introduction of the Lifesteal mechanic enabled some powerful interactions which helped the archetype to have a way to come back from bad situations caused by the early tempo loss.

Below, you will find link to our deck lists for Handbuff Paladin, starting with our featured deck, which we consider the most common variant.

Kibler's Top 100 Legend Handbuff Paladin Deck was created by Brian Kibler soon after the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. It relies on early survival using Taunt and Lifesteal, and ultimately wins through the incremental value of all the buffs in the mid and late-game.


Aim of the Deck

The aim of Handbuff Paladin is to win through incremental advantage. This means that as the game progresses, your minions and cards will be getting better trades than your opponent's, and eventually their position will collapse.

As it takes time for the advantage to show, the longer the deck can make the games last, the more advantage it gets. The cards that buff your hand, such as Smuggler's Run and Grimestreet Enforcer, require time for the effects to be impactful. Therefore, the deck plays out more like a Control deck than an Aggro deck, and should be regarded as a slow midrange deck.


Strengths and Weaknesses

The deck gets tremendous value out of its cards, which means that it performs strongly against other midrange decks. In fact, the deck performs well against all styles of opposing deck, as it has enough early game to fend off Aggro decks, and enough value to pressure Control decks.

The weakness of this deck is not so much a specific archetype, but specific cards. Cards that deal with your minions without having to trade, such as Polymorph, Sap, or Vilespine Slayer can negate the impact of your Taunts and LifeSteal, and therefore be very problematic.


Key Cards and Crafting

This deck contains many Legendary cards, which have various degrees of importance. They are discussed below.


Prince Keleseth

Prince Keleseth is crucial to the deck. If you do not have the card, and are unsure of the archetype, you could temporarily play a Grimestreet Outfitter. It should be apparent that this is a major downgrade though, and will have an enormous effect on your win rate. If you make this change, you should try to visualise how much better the Prince would be, and use that to consider whether to craft the card, or simply try a different archetype such as Murloc Paladin.


Wickerflame Burnbristle

Wickerflame Burnbristle is a good card in this deck, but not owning it will not destroy your win rate like Prince Keleseth would. There is no really good substitution for the card though, so whatever you put in the slot is going to be a bit awkward. Meanstreet Marshal is a reasonable addition if you want an interesting option, or a straightforward Truesilver Champion if you want a little more control.


Sunkeeper Tarim, The Lich King, Tirion Fordring

Sunkeeper Tarim, The Lich King, and Tirion Fordring are all incredibly powerful cards. Each one of them that you remove from the deck will lower the power level of the deck significantly, but they will not stop you from getting a feel for how the deck works. As they are at the top of the curve, replacing them with any traditionally strong Paladin card (as long as it does not cost 2 Mana, because of Prince Keleseth) will be fine in the short term. You can also try adding Blackguard into this slot, and use the synergy with all the LifeSteal in the deck.


The Black Knight

The Black Knight is a tech card, and can be replaced by any strong Paladin card.



  • 26 Aug. 2017: Handbuff Paladin Archetype added. Does what it says, buffs minions in your hand!
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