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Hey guys Sigma here, a multiple-legend player, deck Architect & guide writer from Serbia! This time I am presenting you with a Demon & Handlock hybrid! The idea that has been going around my head for some time now, after having my streak to legend last season with my Midrange zoo which has plenty of demons as well. The deck revolves around the effective usage of the Voidcaller for some really big quality demons, while working with heavy minions that synergize with your Life Tap splendidly as a regular Handlock.
I have heard that this variation used to be present in the meta more than 6 seasons ago but the idea behind this deck came solely out of my head and the decklist is something that I and some peeps in my stream tried out and proved that it works splendidly. The combination of the cards might seem off on the first sight but I would advise you to try it out before anything. Also, make sure you get comfortable with the deck first in Casual before trying it out in Ranked.
If this deck reaches 40 upvotes I will try my best to write a detailed guide for it! From 14.08. this deck has a detailed guide and is updated for season 17! I am really sorry you guys waited so long for the guide but I promise it's a good read!
From 31.05. this deck is officially number one most popular on the Hot page for this week! Thank you so much for all your support and trust, I will try my best to return it with a good deck and more decks incoming soon!
As for every deck, before I start explaining anything, the introduction is always the same. Please change the deck to the meta accordingly. In order to reach legend with a deck that isn’t just mindless face, you will have to tweak the deck a little bit or at least change the slot for the TECH CARD accordingly (See Card Replacement section).
The guide will be put in spoilers just so you guys don’t have to scroll for ages to get to a specific part of the guide.
This part will be something new that I will be implementing in my guides from now on as it shows the players who read it what they should expect. Please note that the evaluation that I give is solely based on my experience and some others close to me. I will be noting what kind of a match-up it is with the percentage being the rate of your expected victory them being: Very bad – 20%-30%, Bad 30%-40%, Average – 40%-60%, Good 60%-80%, Very Good 80%-100%.
I will also be noting the key cards versus every match-up that one should be PATIENT with and drop them at just the right moment as they can turn the game in your favour with no problems. The matchups will also be sorted by class, not the victory rate percentage:
Patron – Good Matchup - 65% – With the Patron Warrior, as long as you manage to establish the game until turn 7 or 8 when he has space to throw out the combo, you should be good to go. Big taunts are a big problem for patron warriors, so if you get some big taunts out with the help of the Voidcallers and the demons that might come after they die, you should be good to go. Make sure you are careful with your HP because one tap might decide the game as it goes into mid or late.
Key cards: Hellfire, Shadowflame, Molten Giant.
Control (Normal or Dragon) – Good Matchup – 60% - The control warrior can be beaten easily as long as you are aware of his Executes. Make sure you pay attention to him executing things and try it out with the Twilight Drake. If you see a Warrior not executing the Twilight Drake, then you are in most cases good to go because that means that he is waiting for your Mountain Giant, which he will not receive with this deck. Muahahahha. Just tempo him down as this deck is more or less tempo based as much as control and try to keep his armor low to try and evade those annoying Shield Slams.
Midrange Zoo – Good Matchup – 70% - Tempo-ing a midrange zoo while having the threat with Shadowflame and Hellfire at all times is a big problem for a midrange zoo. See if you can save the Ironbeak Owl for the Voidcaller or the Nerubian Egg, drop the taunts when you can and you should have a very easy game. Get Jaraxxus out at some point and he will insta-concede, I guarantee you this.
Handlock – Average Matchup – 50% - Here it all depends on how good your or his midgame is. You will have quite a bit of problems removing the Mountain Giants if he drops them on turn 4. If he drops a Twilight Drake which is facing your Voidcaller, then you are in the green, especially if you have a strong demon in your hand like a Doomguard. Later it all comes down to how much will you be able to remove from his board with a Molten Giant + Shadowflame combo, if you get a good combo then you should have an easy game with them. Tap away when facing a handlock, get as many cards and options as you can.
Key cards: Twilight Drake, Molten Giant, Shadowflame, Lord Jaraxxus.
Midrange – Good Matchup – 70% - The midrange paladin can have really big problems facing this deck, it all comes down to how good your hand is, if you can make a tempo swing with the Voidcaller, then a midrange paladin doesn’t really stand a chance. Be on the lookout for his Aldor Peacekeepers and if he uses one on your Doomguard, don’t forget that you can silence your own Doomguard with the owl and give it the damage back. If facing a lot of them consider running an Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones for that Ashbringer.
Key cards: Twilight Drake, Voidcaller, Hellfire.
Face (Ebola) – Average Matchup – 40% - The face paladin might present a problem for this deck as the only cure against them is getting a Zombie Chow out or a Sunfury Protector and then try to trade them in while using your Darkbombs on the Shielded Minibots. Mulligan aggressively for a Mortal Coil as they run a lot of 1 HP minions.
Midrange – Bad Matchup – 30% - Hunters usually have an easy time against warlocks, especially if you don’t get anything to play on turn 4, having problems removing minions he throws out like a Knife Juggler and you have no Darkbomb, or if you don’t have a Coin to coin out a Voidcaller/Twilight Drake on turn 3. Taunts are a big part of staying alive against these and if you manage to pull some off, he won’t really stand a chance. Be careful of the Freezing Trap, as if you get a Twilight Drake or a Voidcaller put back into your hand, you are going to have a very hard time. If facing many of them get a Kezan Mystic in instead of the BGH and it should remove the Freezing Trap problem.
Face/Hybrid – Average Matchup – 50% - Mulligan for Darkbomb/Mortal Coil/Zombie Chow AGGRESIVELY. If you get a solid number of them they won’t really stand a chance as as the midrange comes by this deck really starts to shine. Kezan in if facing too many of them. Also, Shields Up!
Burst/Oil – Bad Matchup 30% - If you don’t manage to get out some decent taunts and to recover after they hit you for like 8 damage or something like that you will lose for sure. A very hard matchup for this deck, but not unwinnable for sure. Remove their minions, remove the Azure Drake especially. They might seem benevolent, and that’s because a lot of people forget about that Spell Damage +1. Also, minions are supposed to be removed or else you will get wrecked by Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil.
Mech – Very Good Matchup – 80% - The shamans are relying solely on board overwhelming and then ravaging you with a Flametongue Totem. The removals as for every aggro deck are key here and will get you to an easy victory. Dropping a Molten followed by an Antique Healbot is usually gg for them. Here you can save the owl for their Piloted Shredder which will usually get boosted by the Powermace.
Control/Chinese – Very Good Matchup – 85% - Priests have a limited amount of big target removals, two Shadow Word: Deaths, one or maybe even two Lightbombs and maybe a BGH. Fill out their board with taking the Lightbomb into consideration and from the moment you drop Lord Jaraxxus on the board, they will usually concede as they will have run out of cards that can deal with your infernals that you are spawning every turn.
Midrange/Ramp – Average Matchup – 55% - The problem here is them getting out strong minions before you manage to get good board presence, but if you manage to get out strong turn 4s then you should be good to go. Don’t forget to count how much damage they have with the combo and remove minions if they do have enough damage.
Flamewaker – Bad-Average Matchup – 40% - Flamewaker mages are presenting a bit problem to us just because we have a hard time removing 4 damage from a minion and we need two cards in order to do that. If you notice that you are facing one then getting out a Sunfury Protector out can be a life saver. They don’t have a chance late game so just survive the burn at the beginning and you should be fine. Zombie Chow is really good here.
Freeze/Echo – Very Good Matchup – 85% - Very simple matchup. He uses Alexstrasza, you use Antique Healbot. You run him down. There isn’t a way he can get your HP down. Dr. Boom is also a very good card against freeze mages, because the bombs can make them die on their turn, as the Ice Block doesn’t trigger then. Of course don’t forget to save the Owl for the Doomsayer.
If you have any experience with playing a Handlock, mulligan will be more or less similar and as you know. Even though there are quite a bit of exceptions for this deck, I will divide mulligan into two categories as always, them being fast decks and those which are usually expected to be slow. Therefore, there is no General Mulligan here, as the difference in how you should approach a fast deck and a slow deck are VERY different.
A difference from my other guides is that with the Demonhand, it really doesn’t matter if you have the coin or not as you will probably be using your life tap early game on and the Coin only serves to get a Voidcaller or a Twilight Drake on turn 3 instead of the regular turn 4 when they are played.
There is something very important to be kept in mind and not forgotten while mulliganing with this deck and that is that there are two approaches to this deck, one is the general regular handlock approach and the other one is the hidden demon approach where you want to start off from Rank 4 with the Voicallers if you have a demon in your hand.
Slow decks (Control Warrior, Midrange Paladin, Chinese/Control Priest, Midrange Shaman, Handlock, Malygos Warlock, Combo Druid, Freeze Mage, Midrange Zoo, Midrange Hunter, Oil Rogue, even Grim Patron):
Fast decks (Ebola Paladin, Face Hunter, Hybrid Hunter, Tempo Mage, Mech Shaman, Zoo Warlock, Mech mage, or anything mech):
Darkbomb (vs Control) – Darkbomb can be a very good card to be used early game on, even with Control decks. You want to optimally Tap away until turn 4 where with the Taps you should get one of the 4 cards that we optimally want to use on our turns 4 or even turns 3 if we have the coin and them being of course the Voidcallers and the Twilight Drakes. Removes those pesky Northshire Clerics or SI:7 Agents, Mad Scientists. Never throwing it away against aggro decks of course.
Sunfury Protector (vs. Aggro) - Besides the fact that it can help you taunt up your Zombie Chows, it can also be thrown out on the board if you are by turn 2 facing already two minions like a Leper Gnome and a Mad Scientist for example. Some might see it as waste, I see it as board control.
Ironbeak Owl – The owl is a very useful card and the classes that I love keeping it for are Druids (taunts), Paladins (Tiron Fordring, Coghammered minions, even your minions which have had Aldor Peacekeeper used on them, buffed Divine Shield minions), Warlocks (Nerubian Eggs, Twilight Drakes, taunts), Mages (Flamewaker, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mad Scientists) and even Hunters (Mad Scientists, even Haunted Creepers sometimes). BE PATIENT WITH THE OWL.
The strategy will be divided into two parts, one covering the chronological aspects of the deck being the Early, Mid and Late game, and other one covering the dynamic strategy aspects of the game, in this case being the Sword’s Edge, CALL THY DEMONS, and Suicide Awareness.
As it is for most of the decks, the holder of the game’s tempo is decided in the Early game, and here I can easily say it is shown even more. The general idea is to manage to get as many Life Taps as you can without risking to lose the board completely and let your opponent snowball you. That basically means that if you are facing aggro you should really get those early game minions like the Zombie Chows and using removals Darkbombs or even better Mortal Coil because it gives you rotation with the removal included. If you actually are having problems are facing a lot of aggro early on, Sunfury Protector is also an option! When it comes to facing control, and the board is empty for let’s say three turns, Life Tap is king as its opening more options and more plays to you for the mid and late game.
One of the optimal plays let’s say would be: Turn 1 Skip, Turn 2 Tap, Turn 3 Coin + Twilight Drake/Voidcaller (if another demon in hand), Turn 4 Twilight Drake if Voidcaller used previously or Voidcaller if Twilight Drake used previously.
Optimal play against aggro would be: Turn 1 Mortal Coil/Zombie Chow, Turn 2 Tap/Darkbomb, Turn 3 similar to the play up and so on.
As the Mid game comes by, you want to optimally have a Voidcaller on the board with a Doomguard or even Mal’ganis in the hand. Twilight Drakes are good too because they control the midgame perfectly with their 4 damage and hopefully more than 7 HP. The mid game is also where the taunt makers and taunts start shining and making the midrange decks go through a living hell so be on the lookout for them. If you manage to get a Doomguard from a Voidcaller and make it into a taunt, it will be a big problem for most of the people that you face, besides the fact that most of them will go wtf after they see you play a Zombie Chow and then a Voidcaller two turns afterwards (with the coin). Most of the players including me play on autopilot when we play the ladder and an uncommon deck catches you off guard and makes you make stupid plays. The element of surprise won me so many games with this deck you wouldn’t believe. Sludge Belchers, Loatheb and Emperor Thaurissan are key cards here.
The Warlock is king when it comes to late game as you never run out of cards! A card is just a tap away! Of course by this time you want to have a stable board and to be able to use your hero power for your own good and not to help your opponent kill you faster, but if you know you will tap in the turn, make sure you do it first because you might get a better card than the ones you have in your hand. You preferably want to have a Dread Infernal on the board and a Dr. Boom or something else strong that your opponent will have a problem removing. The Molten Giants can be played at any point if you have lower HP, the use of Molten Giants I will explain in the Strategy Aspect 1: Sword’s Edge below. When you have let’s say 14 HP and 10 mana you can play two Molten Giants and a Sunfury Protector in between them. Or cheaper Giants followed by an Antique Healbot which seals the deal in most of the games. Alexstrasza is a Joker card in this deck instead of the Lord Jaraxxus because she can be used to OTK your opponent if you have more than 15 damage on the board summed up and she can also heal you from low hp with leaving a strong 8 8 on the board. For that extra reach for lethal there are the Darkbombs, Doomguards and Hellfires.
STRATEGY ASPECT: SWORD’S EDGE
I like to describe playing this deck as dancing on the edge of a sword. One really has to be careful and has to get the feel of when to tap and when to play something. In the beginning of the game if you can see the opponent being really aggressive and putting a lot of minions out you need prioritize. Board presence is key here. When I say a lot of minions let’s say a minion per turn, which is something completely normal for a Face hunter for example. If the opponent is slow, at any point TAP FIRST.
Example: You are on 13 HP and you have 9 mana, your cards are: Darkbomb, Antique Healbot, Molten Giant, Sunfury Protector, Alexstratza, Molten Giant. What do?
You play Darkbomb on your face (7 mana left) and make your Molten Giants cost from 3 mana to 0 mana each, you play both of them (7 mana left), Sunfury Protector in between them (5 mana left) and after that you top it off with a lovely Antique Healbot (0 mana left) end the turn and start petting your beard because you showed who’s the boss.
Be aware of one fact, you can use the Hellfire to remove a lot of your opponents and also reduce your health so fit your Molten Giants into your curve. Using a Darkbomb on your face is also an option, if it’s going to help you reduce the cost of your Molten Giants.
STRATEGY ASPECT 2: CALL THY DEMONS
Demons. Every Warlock has one. It can be a Voidwalker, Doomguard, Succubus, Dread Infernal (for a short time) or a Flame Imp. All warlocks like them. That’s why I am trying to put them into every deck for a warlock possible. That’s how the idea for this deck came about my head. So, demons. There aren’t that many of them in this deck unfortunately, as there aren’t that many things a handlock can throw out and still remain consistent, but here we have two Doomguards, Mal’ganis and two Voidcallers, who are supposed to call out all of these demons. The difference in between a midrange deck and this one is that here you do not have to worry about a shit demon sneaking into your hand on the beginning of the turn and where you have to pray to RNGesus for the Voidcaller to call out the better one. All are awesome and strong as hell! Calling any of them out is amazing and can bring a very big tempo turn that most of us are used to in the midrange zoo deck. If you have a Voidcaller on the board, smashing him into a bigger creature or even killing it while removing something while summoning a Doomguard for example can be devastating for the opponent so keep that in mind at all times.
STRATEGY ASPECT 3: SUICIDE & OVERDRAW AWARENESS
Be careful. Try not to get carried away with your spells and your hero power. Overdrawing with this deck is a bit harder than with the handlock because this deck is more dynamic and it is made in that manner so that you have something to play at all times, but overdrawing is still possible.
Example: You don’t have the coin. The opponent isn’t getting any cards to play in the early game and you have space to tap away all you like. You tapped on turn 2 and turn 3. Do you tap on turn 4 as well because you have the chance to, or you play something, whatever it is?
You do not tap under any circumstances. On turn 1 you will have 4 cards (3 cards from mulligan + 1 card drawn on turn 1), on turn 2 you will have 5, you tap for the 6th card. On turn 3 you have 7 cards and you tap and get an 8th one. On turn 4 you will have 9 cards, and if you tap you will get your 10th one, making your hand full and if you don’t have what to play you will overdraw yourself next turn.
One more important thing is to be aware of what your opponent might throw at you the next turn. One of the biggest rookie moves is tapping versus a hunter while having 4 HP because you don’t pay attention and are used to tapping. Life Tap is an amazing hero power, maybe even one of the best ones in the whole game, but it can kill you. Literally. Be careful to stay away from the range of the known and commonly used combos or spells that your opponents might have. For example, be aware of how much damage a druid can throw at you at all times in late game with the Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo, which is 14 damage. Consider stopping the tapping at around 15ish HP versus a combo druid. A warrior can wreck you with a Grommash Hellscream + Cruel Taskmaster combo for 12 HP, be aware of that. And so on.
As I said, tapping is awesome, but I advise extreme caution with it.
I do believe that the Darkbombs, Mortal Coils, Sunfury Protectors, Twilight Drakes, Voidcallers, Antique Healbots, Sludge Belchers, Molten Giants, Dr. Boom, Emperor Thaurissan, Mal’ganis are more or less self-explanatory so I will not explain them, I will rather pay attention to the “unorthodox” cards in this deck which might confuse some.
Doomguard – Some people might see them as bad because of the Battlecry, I still see them as one of the best cards for warlock, the charge is so good that sometimes I use them even if I discard two cards. The finisher potential that a handlock needs is exactly the reason why the Doomguard is here, and especially because if the can drawn out with the Voidcaller.
Zombie Chow – Helps you control the early game well, so well that nobody even cares about the Deathrattle anymore.
Lord Jaraxxus over Alexstrasza – I tried out Jaraxxus when I crafted him in this deck and it did wonders. Even if it gets pulled out by the Voidcaller, which is a shame of course, still gives you a very sturdy target, BGH free, priest free, I like it.
Bane of Doom – The wild card of the deck. I loved this card from the first day that I implemented it in my zoo deck and I still do. Works wonders here and can even cause your game to turn heavily into your favour.
Big Game Hunter – The Tech card of the deck. If you feel like you aren’t getting enough usage out of it, swap it for something else, like an Acidic Swamp Ooze or a Kezan Mystic.
1x Hellfire and 2x Shadowflame – This all depends on the matchups that you are facing. If you see that you face a lot of Grim Patrons and you cant manage to put out a lot of minions on the board or they just get removed by the army of black dwarves, then remove one of the Shadowflames and put in another Hellfire. If not, this is perfect, because it provides you with instant board control.
Why no Mountain Giants? They make the deck way too slow and are usually stuck in your hand if you get them later on because they have 0 impact on the board when played. Tried it out without them and it did wonders.
Why no 2x Power Overwhelming? I believe 2x is a bit too much, 1x is just perfect to save if you need that SOS removal or of course, to match up with a Doomguard for an astonishing 9 charge at the end of the game.
Why no 2x Zombie Chow? Too much, 1 is just simply fine. If you face a LOT of aggro then you can consider getting the second one in and subbing out something heavier.
Why no Ancient Watchers? No space for them unfortunately, and they also require a second out because they can have some sick plays when silenced. I can’t afford 3 spots in the deck so they are out for now.
I will not name any non-adventure rare cards and lower, the rest I will try to cover, even though you have to be aware that you really shouldn’t expect the same results as I had if you change a lot of the cards from the original setup.
Also, make sure that you change the deck to the meta accordingly. If you are facing a lot of burst you might want to make the Deathlord change or if you are facing a lot of aggro you might even want to get one more Deathlord in instead of the Croc for example.
And there we go! One more guide to join the rest! Thank you so much for reading it and for waiting for so long for me to write it. I kind of had other decks to focus on so this one stayed in the wardrobe collecting dust but here it is again, in all its glory, ready for season 17! I hope you guys like the guide, the next one is the Shadow Art Crusher!
Any kind of constructive critism is more than appreciated! If you are testing the deck make sure you leave a comment saying how you are doing! Let's make warlock an even more powerful and feared class than it already is!