Combo Warlock: League of Explorers Style

I’ve always been a fan of combo decks, namely the OTK (one-turn-kill) variety. For one, there is nothing your opponent can do but drool all over their keyboard as they wrap their mind around losing out of no where. I also love the ritual of putting the pieces together for the kill and then smashing […]

I’ve always been a fan of combo decks, namely the OTK (one-turn-kill) variety. For one, there is nothing your opponent can do but drool all over their keyboard as they wrap their mind around losing out of no where. I also love the ritual of putting the pieces together for the kill and then smashing their face off! Big ups to Blizzard for making the minion attack effect exponentially more violent. If your opponent is down to 1 health and you have a zombie chow and deathwing on board to finish them off, which one do you swing with? Of course the 12/12 monster because we don’t like to barely win, we want to destroy! Incidentally, if you preferred chow than you are banned from reading further!

The combo Lock is one of the highest bursts in the game not requiring a board of any kind and with the new adventure it just got more bursty!

I want to present this deck because #1 I am totally shocked at the lack of play this archetype gets and #2 I see so much potential in the new possibilities!

What is the Combo Lock?

It consists of an arcane golem + 2x power overwhelming + faceless manipulator. That’s a total of two charging 12/12’s for a devastating 24 damage! Even with only 1 power overwhelming that beats wombo combo (force of nature + savage roar) by 2.  A potent finisher to say the least!

The potency of the combo has never been in doubt, but drawing the cards and pulling off the combo before dying has left this archetype in the inconsistent category with barely a presence on the ladder.  Card draw is not a problem for the warlock due to the very strong hero power life tap.  The life total constantly dwindling on the other hand has been a challenge especially without the benefit of cheaply taunted molten giant‘s that the handlock enjoys.  However, with the new adventure League of Explorers adding to the arsenal dark peddler, djinni of zephyrs, and brann bronzebeard this archetype is a lot more viable.

What’s really strong about this combo deck is the early board presence. This allows us to not rely on having too much removal at the cost of stronger cards. Mulligan hard for the early game minions to keep pressure on your opponent and to keep them from snowballing to an early victory.  After that it’s keeping the board clear with efficient trades and mass removal along with monster heals with brann bronzebearded healbot drops until you can smash face with a super combo or the control king himself jaraxxus.

Card Explanations

x 1 hellfire, x 1 shadowflame, and x 1 twisting nether – Your board clears that help stall the game. Depending on the meta you are facing you could substitute the shadowflame for a 2nd hellfire against swarm decks like secret Paladin or flood Warlock for instance. Try to get good value out of your board clears and only use if you have completely lost board control or you don’t foresee a better time to use later in the game.

x 2 darkbomb – great early game removal. Keep one in your starting hand against all but slow decks. Only keep one against hunter if you have a chow or peddler as well.

x 1 big game hunter – an auto-include in any control/combo deck since you will almost always have to deal with at least dr. boom.

x1 ironbeak owl – not technically removal, the silencing owl serves to settle down a large buffed up minion or silence a taunt enabling an important trade. The owl can serve as a great finisher if a pesky taunt prevents our charging combo a lethal attack.

x 2 zombie chow – the best 1 drop in the game at controlling the board early. With the 2/3 body it can often give you a 2 for 1 trade and will protect your strong 2 drop by being on the board already to clean up the opponents respective threat. Always keep chows in your starting hand.

x 2 dark peddler – one of my favorite cards from the new adventure. Unlike other cards with the discover mechanic, the 2/2 body doesn’t miserably fail the vanilla test. The 2/2 trades with most 2 mana threats and doesn’t die to a hero power. Where this card really shines is what this card discovers.

The perfect choice is usually another power overwhelming which in this deck is just ridiculous (more about this later), but you can also get a flame imp (a 2 mana body for 1 mana), mortal coil (removal with cantrip), corruption (extra removal), soulfire (best to use for lethal because the discard can cost the game with a combo deck like this), voidwalker (Warlock’s 1 mana annoy-o-tron). Not to mention the amazing 1 mana neutrals leper gnome, zombie chow, abusive sergeant, or argent squire. I hope you can see the potential of this card and the synergy it has in this deck!

x 2 imp gang boss – a really strong card especially early on. You really want this guy on turn 3 as he will contest the board with a 1/1 whenever he gets his feelings hurt and with 4 health he is rarely removed in one swing giving you at least 2 little spawns to frustrate your foe. Always keep 1 in your opening hand if you can.

x 2 piloted shredder – is the most powerful 4-mana neutral minion in the game. Although fairly easy to kill he often leaves behind a strong minion at his funeral. Can even clear the board with a doomsayer so make sure you trade with him first before you commit anymore minions to your board.

x 2 sludge belcher – a no brainer in a deck that seeks to stall toward victory such as this. Often a target for silence, this minion is a beast to deal with forcing the opposition to kill off the 3/5 then the remaining 1/2 before even thinking about doing anything else. Super solid card.

sylvanas windrunner – extremely hard to deal with on her own because of her dominating deathrattle. She also combo’s really well with shadowflame stealing any leftover minions and power overwhelming by killing her off to steal strong minions such as Ysera or Tirion Fordring.

loatheb – an incredibly powerful card that can delay an opposing lethal combo or ensure your solid board does not get cleared for a turn often leading to victory. In this deck, a turn 5 drop is typically a solid play as it plops a 5/5 on the board to contest other minions and regularly stalls your opponents game plan giving you time to draw into your combos.

dr. boom – universally agreed upon as the most overpowered card in the game with the 7/7 body and two 1/1 boom bot‘s that reek havoc on the opposing board upon death.

lord jaraxxus – both a win condition and a life saver, the lord of Warlocks is the best closer in the game. With the amount of healing in this deck, you’ll want to wait as long as possible to transform into this hero plus you’ll need your life tap hero power to draw into your combo. However, if you’re opponent has run out of steam and is top-decking then Jaraxxus can keep them in defense mode while you quickly overwhelm with 2 mana 6/6 demons and a continual barrage of 3 damage weapon smacks.


The real fun of this deck lies in the power of the following synergies.

x 2 power overwhelming + arcane golem + faceless manipulator – if the opponent has 24 health or less this is lethal! Drop your arcane golem, buff it up with x 2 power overwhelming then copy the charging juggernaut with faceless manipulator and smack face with both 12/12’s!

 x 2 djinni of zephyrs – the power of having one of these bad boys on the board is staggering. This guy gives you the ability to end the game from no where or serve as an early finish if you have your golem and a few po’s turn 6! It’s really fun (albeit gratuitous) to launch the combo with this guy on the board already (that’s two 12/12’s and a 12/14 tee hee hee)!

x 2 antique healbot – originally I tried to make this a reno jackson deck but it just wasn’t consistent enough. Then I realized if I used brann bronzebeard and a healbot I’d get close to the same effect without the penalty of using weaker cards. It totally bums your opponent out when you double dip with this battlecry!

emperor thaurissan – big daddy combo should be this homeboy’s nickname because he enables sooooo many combos with his mana discounting powers that would otherwise be impossible. Can allow you to combo earlier with a few combo pieces discounted even 1 mana. Also makes a 3+ po combo possible = 32 burst damage!

brann bronzebeard – an extremely powerful card in this deck. As we’ve seen, dropping a healbot with Mr. Bronzebeard gives you + 16 health which can be backbreaking to your opponent. How bout snagging two rounds of discover picks from dark peddler? We can either bolster our burst potential or grab some much needed removal or board presence. There’s also nothing wrong with dropping dr. boom along-side the crimson follicle face to score 4 boom bots :).


Play this deck like you would any control deck by not taking early risks.  Don’t be afraid to get low on life by baiting your opponent into over-extending their board for a huge shadowflame or twisting nether.  Also, though this is a combo deck, don’t hold on to a piece of the combo in lieu of a solid move.  There are many win conditions so don’t dig yourself into a hole holding onto cards too long.  Most importantly, have fun with it and try new things!  One of the biggest assets of this deck is the element of surprise, so go forth my fellow Hearthstonians and show our enemies what smashing face is all about!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this and please feel free to comment or ask questions.  Better yet, give us a tale of how big a combo you pulled off!

Much love!