If you're not afraid to throw away the very essence of your health pool in order to gain an advantage elsewhere, the Warlock class is a fantastic choice of Hearthstone Hero. It also boasts one of the most popular decks in the game too, the so-called Zoolock collection of cards which allows players to field a devastating array of cheap minions, before refilling their hand using the class's Hero Power.
The price of that Hero Power is steep, but incredibly useful. For the price of two health and two Mana, the Warlock player can draw an additional card from their deck each turn, and that means more minions, more answers to problems on the board, and more finishing moves to push the opponent over the edge and into oblivion.
While it takes a little nerve and experience to play so perilously with your essential health pool, there's no denying that the Warlock offers a great way for even the most budget-minded player to make a big splash on the ladder.
Here's a look at some of the class's most important cards. As always, we recommend spending as much time as you can reviewing every class-specific card from the in-game collection screen, so you know best how to both play and beat each Hero.
Try to hold onto this card for when you either need to finish your opponent off completely, or deal with an enemy minion that threatens to end your game. The reason for this lies in the card's secondary effect, which is to cause one other card in your hand to evaporate. Always think one step ahead when you have this card available to play, and if you have an empty hand and need to spend it, make sure you do so before using Life Tap.
As an opponent of the Warlock, simply be aware of this potential free damage at all times, and keep an eye on the card the opponent loses - that can give you a big clue as to the type of deck you're facing.
The Warlock's most popular area-of-effect removal card is Hellfire, and it pays to read that card text very carefully indeed before casting. The three points of damage affects everyone and everything - all the minions in play, as well as your opponent's health and your own! It can make a handy match finisher too, particularly if you can trigger powerful Deathrattle effects by putting it into play. If firing this card off would cause your own minions to die, have them do some work elsewhere before casting it.
The Flame Imp is an incredibly powerful early-game minion, capable of dealing with some of the most annoying class cards available in the game. Don't be put off by that self-damage unless you're in the very late stages of the match, as the opportunity to put such a strong early threat on the board far outweighs the meagre loss of life. As a Warlock, you should be used to playing fast and loose with your health pool anyway!
Like Soulfire, Doomguard comes with a card-loss penalty, but this time around you stand to lose a pair of potentially essential cards from your hand. It's for this reason that you should ideally play the Doomguard when you have an otherwise empty hand, and again make sure you Life Tap after you've put this chunky minion into play. The penalty involved makes the Doomguard ideal for finishing the last few points of an opponent's health pool, but it makes for an equally powerful response if you're under threat from a game-ending enemy creature.
The Warlock only has access to a single direct removal spell: Shadow Bolt. As with all spells of this nature, don't throw it away cheaply just because you have the Mana to spare, and always look for the most efficient solution to a problem on the baord. Note as well that this handy spell can only be used against a minion - you can't use it to finish off your opponent's health pool ("Sorry about that...")