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Handlock deck list guide - Rise of Shadows - Hearthstone (April 2019)

Handlock is back and our essential guide will help you play it to perfection.

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About John Bedford

John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.

Our Handlock deck list guide features the best Rise of Shadows deck list for Season 61 of Hearthstone (April 2019). Our Handlock guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

Handlock is a Hearthstone deck that's been through many iterations since the game's launch, and was most recently powered by the prematurely-retired Genn Greymane. Things are still looking strong for the archetype in Rise of Shadows, however, albeit with a different approach.

Some things never change, of course. Your purpose with this deck is to use your hero power to fatten up your hand - notably with your hero power - and so allow you to field massive minions dramatically faster than you'd normally be able to.

We're in the process of updating all of our guides on Metabomb, and so in the first instance we're highlighting the latest competitive deck list. Once things have settled down a little we'll be overhauling all of our deck guides - including this one - with the usual Mulligan and strategy advice.

UPDATE - RISE OF SHADOWS LAUNCH

Here’s a deck list for Handlock that's enjoying a positive win-rate right now, although keep in mind that there'll be lots of adjustments over the coming weeks.

WarlockNeutral
2 x Mortal Coil2 x Doomsayer
1 x Shadow Bolt2 x Sunfury Protector
2 x Hellfire1 x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2 x Omega Agent2 x Earthen Ring Farseer
2 x Siphon Soul2 x Twilight Drake
1 x Lord Godfrey2 x Proud Defender
1 x Arch-Villain Rafaam1 x Spellbreaker
1 x Twisting Nether1 x Faceless Manipulator
2 x Rotten Applebaum
1 x Zilliax
2 x Mountain Giant

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0GCJME8gXbBooHkgec+AKggAOXlwMLigH7BrYH4QeNCMQIzAjzDMXzAo+AA8KZAwA=

More great Warlock guides:

Everything below this point refers to an earlier version of Handlock and will be updated once the launch window is behind us.

Handlock deck list and strategy

Although players have tried including a number of new cards from the Rastakhan set, this older version of Even Warlock is still the most played on the ranked ladder:

WarlockNeutral
2 x Defile1 x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2 x Vulgar Homunculus2 x Plated Beetle
2 x Hellfire2 x Sunfury Protector
2 x Hooked Reaver2 x Shroom Brewer
2 x Lesser Amethyst Spellstone2 x Spellbreaker
1 x Dread Infernal2 x Twilight Drake
1 x Bloodreaver Gul'dan1 x Genn Greymane
1 x Mossy Horror
1 x Skulking Geist
1 x Bonemare
1 x The Lich King
2 x Mountain Giant

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0GCIoH+wegzgKmzgLCzgKX0wLL7ALN9AIL8gX7BrYH4QeNCOfLAvHQAv3QAojSAtjlAurmAgA=

More great Warlock guides:

General strategy

If there’s a sense of familiarity to the way Even Warlock is constructed then you might’ve been a fan of Handlock back in the day. This new version is played similarly in principle as you Life-Tap to fill your hand with cards, drop big minions on the board and then overwhelm your opponent with them.

It still finds play in the Rastakhan’s Rumble meta, even with Blizzard pushing players towards other types of Warlock deck with a bevy of new Discard cards. The selection of healing cards, powerful combos and the addition of Genn Greymane, which discounts Life-Tap to one mana, has brought classic Handlock back together once again.

Early game: Life-Tap. Life-Tap. And Life-Tap. That’s most likely going to be your play on turns one, two and three. Genn Greymane reducing your hero power to one mana does mean you should be able to throw in a two drop on turn three as well. A Plated Beetle is worth playing into an in the early game, and you might want to consider Defile or Vulgar Homunculus if your opponent has a fast opener.

Mid game: Always slam down a Mountain Giant or a Twilight Drake on turn four if you have one as they’ll be the most impactful plays at this stage of the game. There’s not too much aggro on ladder at the minute so many of the taunt enabler cards have been removed from this new list, though pairing either of those big drops with a Sunfury Protector will give you some excellent early game protection. Hellfire's your big AOE play if you need to shut the opponent down.

If you’ve taken a bit of a beating in the early game you can look to heal up with Lesser Amethyst Spellstone and Shroom Brewer. The former is best played when upgraded at least once, so hold off unless there’s a minion you desperately need to remove.

Late game: Continue planting big minions on the board and taunting them up where possible to overload your opponent with giant threats. The Lich King can pile on the pressure even more and if your own health is 15 or below, Hooked Reaver is now worth playing. Bloodreaver Gul’dan will give you a full board most of the time, and a lot of stamina in the late game too thanks to the improved hero power. Eventually, they’ll run out of ways to remove all these ginormous cards efficiently and you can start sending all that damage directly to their life total.

VIDEO GUIDE: Although it highlights an older version of the deck list, the following video guide will give you a huge headstart when it comes to piloting Even Warlock. Watch it all for some key tips:

Aggro opponents

Here are some thoughts on dealing with aggro decks:

  • 1. Control the early game with your cheap removal cards such as Defile.
  • 2. If you’re not holding any removal try to save your Sunfury Protector to set up the strongest wall of taunt minions you can.
  • 3. Using Life-Tap frequently in the early game may seem dangerous against aggro but you have taunts and healing to keep you safe going into the mid-to-late game.
  • 4. As soon as your opponent extends too far on the board you can go for a Hellfire to - hopefully - wipe out all of their minions.
  • 5. As soon as you’ve dropped you giant minions on the board you can start ignoring their weak little minions and go straight for their life total.

Control opponents

Here are some tips on handling more control-orientated players on the ladder:

  • 1. You have even more freedom to Life-Tap in the early game against control as they’ll have a slow start too.
  • 2. If they're a weapon-wielding hero, try to hold onto your Acidic Swamp Ooze until such time as it can crush their blade.
  • 3. You can use Spellbreaker to quash cards with powerful effects and continue the onslaught of giants.
  • 4. Be prepared to lose your first couple of big minions to their removal effects, but make sure you have another larger play to follow up with on later turns.

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Handlock Mulligan guide

Different matchups will require different priorities in the Mulligan but there are a few you should definitely look out for:

  • 1. Mountain Giant: As you’ll be spending many of your early turns using Life-Tap you should be able to get a Mountain Giant out very early.
  • 2. Vulgar Homunculus: Not the most exciting early game taunt, but one that can nevertheless be helpful when it comes to slowing down aggro players.
  • 3. Twilight Drake: You’ll want to hold this for the same reason you’ll grab Mountain Giant – with such a full hand you’ll be able to give the dragon a big health boost.

Handlock tips and card combos

Keep all of these potential card combos in mind when playing Even Warlock.

- Defile deals one damage to all minions on both sides of the board. If any minions dies, it gets cast again. The process repeats until no minions are removed.

- If you're opponent is holding a weapon at the time the card is played, Acidic Swamp Ooze will smash it to little pieces!

- Once you're down to beneath 15 Health, Hooked Reaver becomes a 7 / 7 minion with Taunt.

- Twilight Drake gains an extra point of Health for each card you have in your hand when you play the Dragon onto the board.

- Mountain Giant costs one Mana less for each other card you have in your hand.

- Always keep in mind that Hellfire will damage both heroes and all minions on the board. Make sure you get the most work you can from your minions if they're likely to die in the fire anyway!

- In its most primitive form Lesser Amethyst Spellstone deals three damage to a minion and gives back the same amount in health. Take self-inflicted damage from a card like Hellfire though and that value increases to five. Damage yourself one more time and that increases to seven. Note that Life Tap does not affect this upgrade process.

- There's potential synergy between Dread Infernal and Defile, allowing you to trigger a chain of the spell that might not otherwise have been available to you.

- When Bloodreaver Gul'dan is played all friendly Demons that had perished earlier on in the match will be re-summoned onto the board. You also gain a new hero power which does three points of damage to a target while also restoring three points of health to your hero.

- The Lich King grants you one randomly chosen card from the Death Knight pool when you hit End Turn. Here's what's on offer:

CostNameDescription
2Death CoilDeal 5 damage to an enemy, or restore 5 Health to a friendly character.
2Death GripSteal a minion from your opponent's deck and add it to your hand.
2ObliterateDestroy a minion. Your hero takes damage equal to its Health.
3Death and DecayDeal 3 damage to all enemies.
4Anti-Magic ShellGive your minions +2 / +2 and “Can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers.”
5Doom PactDestroy all minions. Remove the top card from your deck for each minion destroyed.
6Army of the DeadRemove the top 5 cards of your deck. Summony any minions removed.
7FrostmourneDeathrattle: Summon every minion killed by this [5 / 3] weapon.

Even Warlock card choices and substitutions

A handful of key cards make up the Even Warlock deck list and there isn’t much room for alternatives. This is still a relatively cheap list to craft though.

Sunfury Protector: The only way in this new list to give the deck’s big minions taunt. You’ll want to try to save it so it hits two minions, ideally the big targets such as Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake.

Lesser Amethyst Spellstone: Wait until you’ve upgraded it twice if you can to get more back from the lifesteal, though it can also be used at its base level in a pinch.

Twilight Drake: Will skyrocket in health if you spend the first few turns using Life-Tap and it only gets better when you bulk it up to a taunt minion.

Genn Greymane: A perfectly acceptable six mana play, but all you really need it for is the cost reduction on your hero power.

Mossy Horror: Good to counter aggro and especially effective at dealing with a lot of low attack minions. Some version are now replacing this with Mojomaster Zihi, however.

Skulking Geist: With the prevalence of some combo decks on ladder this Battlecry effect can completely ruin their plans. If you aren’t running into many of those then consider a Doomsayer or an Arena Fanatic.

The Lich King: Just another big late game minion that can also provide some useful cards with unique effects.

Bloodreaver Gul’dan: Considering how stacked the deck is with demons you can make a big swing turn with this hero card, plus the new hero power is extremely powerful to survive into the late game.

Mountain Giant: Synergises so well with your hero power that it’s mandatory to run two. As soon as you give them taunt they become significant obstacles for your opponent.

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Comment on this article

  • Bedders #1 7 days ago
    Morning, looks like Handlock is back minus Genn. I've dropped a temporary deck list in here if you want to play the new version of it, and we'll be converting the guide completely once we have a more refined version.

    Some of the comments in this thread might refer to Even Warlock / Genn, so thought it was worth making a note about the changes directly here!

    John
    Sign in to reply
  • Gr81derer #2 3 years ago
    Nice Guide on a pretty fine deck. Check this Video Guide too:
    Sign in to reply
  • RataMestari #3 3 years ago
    Fun deck removed voidcaller and added kezan mystic to slap the shit out of freeze mages :p
    Sign in to reply
  • felipeherrerabustama #4 3 years ago
    -1 dread inferno, -1 thaurissan, +1 sylvanas, +1 shadowflame
    Sign in to reply
  • cheeeebs #5 3 years ago
    why does no one ever post comments?
    Sign in to reply
  • Bedders #6 3 years ago
    Sorry about that I can't think why it had stopped showing up. I've added it again and will keep an eye on the post too. Have fun!
    Sign in to reply
  • Mmm... you forgot to post the deck itself!
    Sign in to reply
  • Restart #8 3 years ago
    You've mention Siphon Soul in your guide, but Trump's deck doesn't run it.
    Sign in to reply

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