Our Handlock deck guide features the best deck list for Season 42, with Mulligan advice, strategy tips, combos and synergies.
Handlock is a Hearthstone deck that's centred on using the Warlock's Life Tap hero power to sacrifice Health for extra cards, which in turn increases the stats of certain cards affected by hand size. Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant are the key cards in this sense.
The Frozen Throne set introduces a few new cards that have led to renewed interest in the archetype, and so we wanted to put together a quick guide that'll help you get going. We've got a deck list cooked up by one of the pros, Mulligan advice, and finally a teardown of all the combos you have to mess around with here - these tips should give you enough of a strategic overview to start piloting the deck yourself.
Handlock's had a couple of false starts since it faded out of fashion, and so for that reason we're keeping the first edition of our guide a little brief compared to some of our other articles. If it becomes a truly competitive part of the new meta though, we'll significantly expand on every area of it. In the meantime, it'd be great to hear thoughts on the deck's return in the comments.
Our Frozen Throne: Best Decks and Guides hub contains everything you need to get stuck into the new meta!
Handlock deck list and strategy
This is Abar's deck list which was played at the start of the Frozen Throne expansion. Expect it to go through quite a few changes in the weeks ahead.
|2 x Mortal Coil||2 x Mistress of Mixtures|
|2 x Voidwalker||2 x Earthen Ring Farseer|
|1 x Corrupting Mist||1 x Gluttonous Ooze|
|2 x Defile||1 x Faceless Shambler|
|1 x Blastcrystal Potion||2 x Twilight Drake|
|2 x Hellfire||1 x The Lich King|
|2 x Despicable Dreadlord||1 x Alexstrasza|
|2 x Siphon Soul||2 x Mountain Giant|
|2 x Abyssal Enforcer|
|1 x Twisting Nether|
|1 x Bloodreaver Gul'dan|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAf0GCMUE2waprQL9vwLTxQKPxwLCzgKX0wILMLYH4QeNCMQIzAjzDN28At7EAufLAvfNAgA=
Check the combo tips section towards the bottom of this page for an overview of the strategy behind this deck. If it takes off in the meta, we'll expand on this section a huge amount with advice for dealing with aggro, midrange and control opponents in the Frozen Throne era.
More great Warrior guides:
- 1. Quest Warlock - Quest Warlock deck list guide
- 2. Control Warlock - Control Warlock deck list guide
- 3. Zoo Warlock - Zoo Warlock deck list guide
- 4. Demon Warlock - Demon Warlock deck list guide
- 5. Kobolds and Catacombs decks - Best Kobolds and Catacombs decks
- 6. Dungeon Run - Dungeon Run guide
- 7. Kobolds and Catacombs guide - Kobolds and Catacombs guide
Handlock Mulligan guide
You're usually going to spend a fair bit of the early game using Life Tap to fatten up your hand, but cards like Mortal Coil, Voidwalker, Defile (especially against aggro) and Mistress of Mixtures are good early-game keeps. If you get Twilight Drake then keeping that's a no-brainer and - if memory serves us correctly - it's worth keeping Mountain Giant too.
That's about as much Mulligan advice as can be given this early on. Once the meta has settled down into some kind of stable shape we'll revisit this section of our Handlock guide with more detailed guidance, as well as a hero by hero snapshot of what to keep against which opponents.
Handlock tips, combos and synergies
How do all these cards come together to make Handlock work? Here's a teardown of every combo you need to be thinking about when playing this kind of deck:
- If Gluttonous Ooze takes out an opponent's weapon, you'll gain Armor equivalent to the Attack value of the weapon that was removed.
- Defile is particularly useful against aggro decks. If it kills a minion when cast, it will be triggered again, and the process keeps repeating until no minions are killed. Note that your own minions are affected by this spell too.
- Bloodreaver Gul'dan is your all-new Death Knight Legendary card. When played, he'll build you a board full of Demon minions that died earlier on in the game. In this deck, the following minions are all candidates for this process: Voidwalker, Despicable Dreadlord and Abyssal Enforcer. You also get a new hero power called Siphon Life, which does three points of damage and restores that damage back to your hero as Health.
- Faceless Manipulator can be used to not only create a carbon copy of your favourite meaty minion it also gains Taunt, thus protecting the vanilla version of the creature.
- Each card you have in your hand will fatten up the Health value of Twilight Drake by a single point.
- In a related fashion, Mountain Giant becomes one Mana cheaper for each card you currently have in your hand. You need to think about Life Tap in this context, as it can often bring this character into play a turn earlier than you might otherwise anticipate.
Alexstrasza can be used to bring your opponent down to size, or just recover your own hero from the brink of disaster. You should be aggressively hitting Life Tap throughout the match, and so you'll very often use this card to keep yourself in the match when the late-game rolls around.
- It's not a combo as such but it's worth outlining here that Hellfire will damage the enemy minions, your own minions, and both heroes as well when it's cast. Be careful you don't combo it with Life Tap to lose the match...
- The Lich King is a hugely popular card even at this stage of the Frozen Throne meta. At the end of each turn, he'll add a randomly selected Death Knight card from the following pool:
|2||Death Coil||Deal 5 damage to an enemy, or restore 5 Health to a friendly character.|
|2||Death Grip||Steal a minion from your opponent's deck and add it to your hand.|
|2||Obliterate||Destroy a minion. Your hero takes damage equal to its Health.|
|3||Death and Decay||Deal 3 damage to all enemies.|
|4||Anti-Magic Shell||Give your minions +2 / +2 and “Can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers.”|
|5||Doom Pact||Destroy all minions. Remove the top card from your deck for each minion destroyed.|
|6||Army of the Dead||Remove the top 5 cards of your deck. Summony any minions removed.|
|7||Frostmourne||Deathrattle: Summon every minion killed by this [5 / 3] weapon.|