Our Handlock deck guide features the best deck list for Season 38, along with Mulligan advice, strategy tips, card combos and synergies.
Handlock is a Hearthstone deck that's all about exploiting the Warlock's Life Tap ability in order to gain a massive card advantage in exchange for your own health. Not only that, but some of the core cards in this deck are empowered or made cheaper by your hero having low health, or a very large number of cards in your hand. It's a big win all-round really, but you do need to have steady nerves to pilot this deck successfully.
Truth be told, Handlock hasn't really featured in the metagame for more than a year now, but the release of the Un'Goro expansion has added a few cards to the archetype that many believe will boost its potential dramatically. In our guide to piloting the deck, we've got a deck list for you to build yourself, some strategy advice, and a few tips on Mulliganing correctly too. After that, you'll find a breakdown of all the card synergies contained within the deck.
Editor's note - April 2017 Update: Handlock is predicted to make quite the comeback in Journey to Un'Goro, and we're highlighting Trump's revised take on the archetype for the first edition of this refreshed guide. Chances are you've not played this one for a while, so make sure you brush up on all the combos involved!!
BREAKING NEWS! - Our must-read guide on how to counter Quest Rogue is live on the site now!
Handlock deck list and strategy - May 2017
Here's Trump's updated deck list for the start of the Un'Goro metagame. We'll update this over time to ensure it remains relevant.
|2 x Mortal Coil||2 x Mistress of Mixtures|
|1 x Hellfire||2 x Ancient Watcher|
|1 x Shadowflame||2 x Doomsayer|
|1 x Felfire Potion||2 x Sunfury Protector|
|1 x Siphon Soul||2 x Earthen Ring Farseer|
|2 x Abyssal Enforcer||2 x Humongous Razorleaf|
|1 x Lord Jaraxxus||2 x Defender of Argus|
|2 x Faceless Shambler|
|2 x Twilight Drake|
|1 x Elise the Trailblazer|
|2 x Mountain Giant|
You have to play with your health pool pretty aggressively to make this deck work, and in the early turns it's all about hitting Life Tap in order to draw into cards like Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake - against control opponents at least. Against more aggressive heroes, you might place greater emphasis on Mistress of Mixtures, Mortal Coil, or even a Doomsayer. Even at this uncertain stage of the Un'Goro metagame, it seems unlikely the opponent will find an easy way to remove this card.
In the mid-game, you should find yourself able to field chunky minions onto the board, and handle an overwhelming threat with Shadowflame. While you're getting your minions out, try to continue using Life Tap wherever possible, so that you carry on fattening up your hand and your options. Humongous Razorleaf is of course a fantastic creature to taunt up, and another fine target for Faceless Shambler too.
In the late-game you should be able to field plenty of meaty minions on the board, and then there's Lord Jaraxxus to keep the 6/6 Demons popping out into play. This deck is great for forcing your opponent to do incredibly inefficient things on their turn, and it should prove to be a real belter in the Un'Goro metagame.
More Warlock guides:
Handlock Mulligan guide - May 2017
As mentioned, you always want to hold onto cards like Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant, particularly in slower match-ups. Against more aggressive opponents, you'll get a lot of good use out of Mistress of Mixtures, Mortal Coil, and even Doomsayer.
When the Un'Goro metagame has become established, we'll add hero-by-hero tips for choosing your starting hand here.
Handlock tips, combos and synergies - May 2017
Here are the biggest combos you need to be aware of when playing this version of Handlock:
- Putting up solid defensive walls is vital when playing this deck, and so you really need to get the most out of cards like Sunfury Protector and Defender of Argus. Try to get them on cards like Ancient Watcher or Humongous Razorleaf, as neither can attack. Other good taunt targets are your Jaraxxus Demons or even Mountain Giants.
- Faceless Shambler should be used on a very beefy target to ensure that its taunt represents a real problem for the opponent to deal with. Don't throw these cards away lightly.
- Here's one combo to be very careful of: Abyssal Enforcer's damage interacts with your own minions, as well your opponent's. Don't make that mistake...
- You can increase the AOE potential of Shadowflame by applying Defender of Argus to the minion that's about to be detonated. Check and double-check your sums before committing to a play, particularly when you're in the mid-game onwards and typically have more options to play around with.