One of the new decks that everyone thinks One Night in Karazhan will bring forth is Discard Warlock. I have been looking at what other people have been trying since Wing One released and noticed that players are trying to fit in cards like Succubus and Fist of Jaraxxus. It’s not something I’d recommend if you are looking for consistency in your deck because guaranteed value beats a random 4 damage card on any given day and Succubus doesn’t do much in a meta where 3/2s are rampant. When I went on to build my own Discard Warlock deck, I chose to stick to a smaller core of discard based cards and it has been working quite well for me, with the deck taking me to Rank 2 from Rank 5 today in one of my accounts and I had a blast pulling off some insane swing turns that normal Zoo decks are not quite capable of since the departure of some core Deathrattle cards in the Standard format. The deck doesn’t run out of steam too easily and you can always gain back the tempo using the Discard effects quite easily.
Building the Discard Core
The Discard mechanism isn’t new and Blizzard has designed cards that are specific to the Warlock cards surrounding the keyword right since Beta. The goal is to use the mechanism to your advantage and create massive swing turns by nullifying the negative effects of discard cards. Doomguard is easily one of the strongest charge minions in the game and the stats on the minion are quite solid as well. Since it is used in very aggressive builds you can easily offset the drawback if you have a lower curve and it’s often the case that Doomguard doesn’t need to discard anything at all if you have a solid curve. The same goes for Soulfire if you empty your hand before playing it. Another card that I want to focus one is one of the more recent cards that came out – Darkshire Librarian. It is a solid card now that you have the right tools to take advantage of it using Silverware Golem, but it failed to become a staple card in the meta because of a lack of synergy.
When I got started working on the deck I picked up a list that I often use for climbing the Standard ladder – Cursed’s Aggro Zoolock. It is a tried and tested deck that pros have used to finish top 100 multiple times in both NA and EU. The deck is a lot more aggressive than the average Zoolock build and it is a lot more consistent versus Warrior as well. The only downside of the deck is that it doesn’t doo well versus normal Zoolock builds that run Forbidden Ritual and Darkshire Councilman because you are not able to generate large enough boards to deal with too many tokens. But on the flip side, it is quite good versus Warrior which is known to be a bad matchup for board flood based Zoo lists. I chose to work on the Aggro Warlock build as a set up for the Discard Lock because of how fast you can drain out your hand and maintain constant board pressure to make sure you get value out of your discard cards.
Darkshire Librarian: It is one of the cards that can push Discard Warlock quite well. The card was not usable in older Zoo decks but right now with so many cards that support this new archetype, you can get the card to work quite well with Tiny Knight of Evil and Silverware Golem. It is also a good card to get when you have run out of cards because the Battlecry does not go off, but you do get the card draw when it dies.
Tiny Knight of Evil: Tiny Knight of Evil is another card that people could not use effectively due to a lack of proper synergy with the Discard mechanisms. You have 6 cards in the deck that discard cards and potentially more if you get Soulfire from Dark Peddler. The minion is fine as a vanilla 3/2 as well and doesn’t lose you any tempo as well when played on curve.
Soulfire: One of your burn/removal cards that works well with Tiny Knight of Evil and Silverware Golem. Being able to play it after you use up all your cards in your hand also negates its drawback, making it a great card in any Discard deck as well as aggressive decks that seek to end games quickly.
Doomguard: One of the most powerful charge minions in the game. This card needs no introduction and you have seen this demon countless times for sure charging at your face on turn 5! Silverware Golem has great synergy with the card and if you are lucky you might be able to drop one or two Golems along with Doomguard early in the game as well.
Silverware Golem: One of the cards that finally managed to make Discard decks a reality. Being able to generate tempo and offset the drawback of your discard minions and spells by summoning a 3/3 instead of losing a card is incredible. The card surely did not disappoint when play testing and it works admirably.
These are the most important decisions that went into making the deck. I did not want to run cards that make Warlock decks vulnerable to cards like Ravaging Ghoul or Wild Pyromancer. Zoo is awfully susceptible to board clears due and the lack of cards like Haunted Creeper in the Standard format means you do not have as many sticky minions. I still managed to retain a build that focuses on a dominating board presence with plenty of swing turns being made possible and it has a mix of board spam and aggro synergies.
Argent Squire versus Possessed Villager: I picked Argent Squire over Possessed Villager because I have Lance Carrier in the deck and a lack of Power Overwhelming. With so many classes that cannot ping being popular in the meta (Shaman, Warrior and Warlock) it makes perfect sense to run it. It can often go two for one in terms of trading and we also do not have Power Overwhelming in the deck which is one of the reasons why Villager is favored, but it’s not true for this build.
Lance Carrier: One of the reasons why I like Lance Carrier in a more aggressive build is the permanent buff you can drop on an Argent Squire, Argent Horserider or Imp Gang Boss and get multiple trades out of them. It is a perfect tool in aggressive builds and can really affect your matchups against specific classes because of its synergy with Divine Shields.
Argent Commander versus Leeroy Jenkins: The card is the fifth charge minion in your deck and it has great synergy with Defender of Argus and Lance Carrier. If you do not want to run the card and want to go for a different minion you look at options like Flame Juggler, Wrathguard or even Young Priestess which is a top pick in Aggrolock lists. I do not run Leeroy Jenkins because the deck does not have Power Overwhelming. While it is a great burst finisher, you do not want to be stockpiling cards in your hand with the deck. Instead, you want to take advantage of your Discard cards and try to empty your hand as much as possible to gain value out of cards like Darkshire Librarian, Doomguard, Soulfire etc. making Power Overwhelming less useful in the deck.
Exclusion of Knife Juggler, Darkshire Councilman and Forbidden Ritual: I did not want to include Knife Juggler and Forbidden Ritual due to the wide range of decks that are teched to deal with 1 health minions in the game at the moment. An early AoE clear against Zoolock puts them far too behind and comebacks become difficult. The deck focuses on direct damage and extremely high levels of aggression instead of trying to generate large boards. Darkshire Councilman has also been excluded from the list because you do not run Forbidden Ritual which is one of the most powerful cards to make Councilman work and it’s not the kind of play style the deck seeks to work with.
Alternate Cards: Some of the other cards you can try out in the deck to fine tune it to your play style include Wrathguard, Flame Juggler and C’thun’s Chosen. C’thun’s Chosen is one of the cards I’ve included in Aggrolock decks and it’s worked quite well against the horde of Warriors on ladder since I have a ton of Divine Shield minions that get super annoying for any non ping class to deal with. The card also works exceptionally well with Lance Carrier, Young Priestess and Defender of Argus as well, you might want to try out the card and I’m sure you will not be disappointed. It’s a great standalone 4 drop if you are having difficulties versus the Warrior class.
Mulligans and Game Plan
You generally want to pick the standard 1 and 2 drops that you pick for Zoolock in the early game unless you have very powerful discard synergy in hand. For example, if you have 2 Silverware Golems and also have a Darkshire Librarian in hand, it goes without saying you should try to go for the combo without a doubt, even if you discard a card Librarian will draw one for you when she dies. Along with cards like Flame Imp or Argent Squire you should also keep Tiny Knight of Evil in hand whether you have discard synergy cards in your hand on not. You need to be as aggressive as possible and try not to fall behind against other aggressive decks. The deck can put out a lot of face damage and overwhelm opponents before they even realize what deck they are facing. Malchezaar’s Imp is one of the cards that can push the effectiveness of the deck even higher and I am looking forward to trying it out when the card comes out later in the expansion but even without the card I’ve had no trouble making the deck work.
Have a great weekend and try out the deck to see what works best for you. It’s the most consistent discard deck I’ve used and it definitely can do some crazy things for you!