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Handlock Warlock Deck

Last updated on Jun 19, 2017 at 19:27 by Pesty 26 comments

Table of Contents

Handlock is a powerful variant of Control Warlock that uses the Warlock Hero Power to maintain a large hand of cards to take advantage of powerful cards such as Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant. The archetype fell out of competitive play after the nerf of Molten Giant however the addition of Humongous Razorleaf from The Journey to Un'Goro expansion made increased its viability, shifting the focus of the deck more heavily on building a huge impenetrable wall of Taunt minions.

1. Card List

This deck costs 6,100 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Warlock Cards Neutral Cards

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2. Mana Curve

0
2
6
6
10
3
0
3

3. Strategy

3.1. General Playstyle

The general strategy of Handlock is to quickly develop a large hand to provide a huge boost to minions like Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant to overpower opponents before the are able to deal with them. Handlock is primarily a board control deck, but also have opportunities to play aggressively and can often be the key to victory.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

The basic mulligan strategy for the deck involves aggressively looking for Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake, often discarding your entire hand to look for them.

Against Aggro, you can opt not to keep Mountain Giant and instead look for more defensive tools such as Doomsayer, Mortal Coil, Shadow Bolt, and Ancient Watcher.

Against Control, you can look for Faceless Shambler and Faceless Manipulator if you already have Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake in your opening hand.

3.3. Key Skills

3.3.1. Understanding the Pace of the Game

Handlock is a fairly reactive archetype and how you choose to play out your turns will depend greatly on your opponent. When left to your own devices, you should aim to fill your hand during the early turns using Life Tap. This will allow you to play a high Health Twilight Drake or cheap Mountain Giant on turn 4, putting a significant amount of pressure immediately onto your opponent. However, if your opponent chooses to be aggressive, you can forgo this strategy in favour of something a bit more defensive. Mortal Coil, Doomsayer, and Shadow Bolt can be used to slow down your opponent, but ultimately you need to develop a presence on the board to truly stop them in their tracks. Ancient Watcher and Humongous Razorleaf are ideal for this as their stats are well above average for their Mana Cost. Once you have one of them on the board, they can be combined with Sunfury Protector, Defender of Argus, or Faceless Shambler to create a huge Taunt minion to stop your opponent, or they can be Silenced with Spellbreaker so they can be used to trade into your opponent's minions.

3.3.2. When to Life Tap

Knowing when to use your Hero Power is the most important skill to learn when it comes to playing Handlock. If you do not use it enough then you will run out of resources and if you use it too much your opponent may just kill you.

Against Control deck you should almost always Life Tap on turn 2, and also on turn 3 if you do not have The Coin. This will allow you to play a Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake on turn 4. While you have a presence on the board, you should aim to Life Tap every turn you can. This will slowly force resources out of your opponent allowing you to slowly gain card advantage.

Against Aggro decks, you will rarely find opportunities to use Life Tap. You may sometimes be able to find an opportunity on turn 2 but your primary focus should nearly always be fighting for board as efficiently as possible in order to preserve your life total.

3.3.3. Ending The Game

Due to the flexibility of Handlock, your win condition can vary greatly but you should at least try and have a plan in mind. Against Aggro decks, the win condition is usually to simply not die. This involves putting up a large wall of Taunt minions such as Humongous Razorleaf an Faceless Shambler that they cannot get past, allowing you to safely grind them down without having to worry about their minions. Against Control decks, the win condition is to usually to grind down opponents. This strategy involves slowly playing large threats from your hand to force removal out of your opponent. With the help of the Warlock Hero Power, you can maintain a full hand of cards while your opponent slowly runs out of cards, eventually allowing you to dominate the board uncontested. If the game goes really long, Lord Jaraxxus can also be used to further this strategy, allowing further threats to be summoned thanks to the INFERNO! Hero Power.

Due to the number of large threats in the deck, it is sometimes possible to quickly win the game before your opponent is able to react. If you your opponent is unable to answer an early Mountain Giant or other threats, you can optionally start attacking your opponent directly straight away. The sheer damage output you have available will allow you to win the game in just a few turns, even against Aggro.

3.4. Card Swaps

Cult Apothecary or Spellbreaker can be cut for Mistress of Mixtures for additional healing and early-game presence.

Dirty Rat can be included as an additional defensive tool, consider removing one of the above cards or Faceless Manipulator for it.

Abyssal Enforcer can be included over Hellfire for additional late-game pressure.

4. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Pesty, a professional Hearthstone player playing since closed beta. She is a consistent legend player in both Wild and Standard with multiple high-rank finishes.

5. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 19 Jun. 2017: Deck moved to new guide format.
  • 09 May 2017: Deck added.
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