And so we are in the final part of this article series, I would like to say it has been a pleasure writing all of this, and if you feel like there is something missing, feel free to ask me in the comments and I shall try my best to respond.
There is something I forgot to mention during the first part of the Matchup article, which is that the way you should play against general facerush decks is the same way you play against Hunter. Most of these decks are going to be undertaker decks anyway, except for Priest, of course, Deathrattle Priest is generally slower than Face Rush Decks**, which means there is a total different playstyle for that particular Undertaker deck, but all other face rush Undertaker decks should be played as easier Hunter matchups.
** = Duuhhh Nuba!!
Now, enough with the jokes, let’s get back into the Matchups!
Regardless of playstyle, Priest has always been a good matchup for Handlocks, they tend to have issues dealing with the big threats we throw at them early in the game. Regardless of that, Priest matchup became harder after Naxxramas, both Zombie Chow and Dark Cultist made it so priests can now play very aggressive on you, so pay attention to that and play safe. Here you will want to mulligan for twilight-drakes and mountain-giants. In case you already have one of them, keeping a soulfire is good.
Regarding the matchup itself:
- Always prioritize casting twilight-drakes over Giants.
- Coining a Drake is good.
- Soulfire one of their minions only after you dropped your big minions, do not delay or weaken them.
- Sylvanas should be dealt with an Owl.
- In case you are fighting versus a Deathrattle priest, soulfire that undertaker if it starts snowballing, never let it snowball out of control.
- Spam the board with your big minions, outside from a very rare auchenai-soulpriest+DOUBLE circle-of-healing they are most likely to never be able to wipe your board completely.
- This is a control matchup, so once again: Make them face Jaraxxus!
- Hellfire their board with zombie-chows whenever you can, because chances are they’re going to drop a Soulpriest and you’ll end up taking 5 damage instead of gaining.
- Whenever you are in Molten Giant range, but your opponent have Zombie Chows on the board, be careful so you don’t wipe the board before dropping the Giant, remember killing a Zombie Chow without an Auchenai in play means your Molten Giants will cost 5 more!
- You rather have a Damaged Molten Giant in play and their Chows dead than having their chows dead and no Molten Giant in play at all.
Handlock was always Miracle Rogue’s nemesis, and now more than ever: Miracle have big trouble dealing with your big minions, they usually tend to spend 2 to 3 spells and sometimes even more just to deal with the stuff we throw at them. Now, miracle is weakened, their playstyle has more and more started to be around controlling the board rather than preparing for a big turn, and they simply can not deal with your cards. Here you will want to mulligan for mountain-giant, twilight-drake and shadowflame.
- Drop your big minions, regardless of order, the fastest you drop, the hardest it is for them to deal with.
- Coining a Drake is a fine play.
- Shadowflame is a spell you will want to use on their gadgetzan-auctioneer whenever there is no other way to deal with it, most of the times it will have something to do with them casting conceal.
- Dont be in a hurry, you can exhaust them out of resources and they still wont have killed you by then.
- Loatheb after they casted that Auctioneer if there is no other way to deal with it or whenever you got a strong board position.
- Faceless-ing a Giant here is better than casting another Giant, there will be no other target for it.
- Regardless of how easy the match is, remember to always keep taunts in play!
Note that there isnt much to say about this matchup, its easy and usually its just a walk in the park, but don’t let your guard down because mistakes are still mistakes and can make it so you lose the game.
I have mixed feelings about this matchup. In one side, your minions are always better, they usually only have one way of killing them in their 30 cards, which is big-game-hunter, but in the other hand, they can have such explosive starts that you are not able to recover in time. Also, there is this problem regarding their savage-roar+force-of-nature combo, that is game breaking and will most likely win them the game.
Druid is an avarage matchup and can go both ways, but I tend to think you, as a Handlock, are favored here.
In this matchup, you will want to mulligan for mountain-giant and twilight-drake, and as for the gameplay tips:
- Owl has very little use here, silencing a Deathrattle minion so it doesn’t spawn their smaller bros is good.
- Never ever be afraid of over commiting to the board, druids have no mass removal at all, and that is your advantage in this game.
- Whenever you get control of the board, try to keep it until the game is over.
- From turns 8 and on, play around their force-of-nature+savage-roar combo!
- Giants have priority over Drakes in this matchup.
- Since they mulligan for keeper-of-the-grove in both Handlock and Zoo matchups, coining a Drake is not such a good idea here.
- Remember Loatheb stops FoN+Roar combo!
Not much has changed since pre-nerf Naxxramas about this matchup, it’s still average and the only thing that changed is that now they run smaller minions as well as more persistent minions. Owls are not so great here but they still have good use in silencing these persistent minions.
General Matchup Tips
Alright, now we get to the final section of this article, here I am going to share with you a few of the general matchup tips for Handlock, things that you must always pay attention to whenever you are playing the deck.
- Reading molten-giants text, you notice it says “damage your hero has taken” rather than something else, so yes, casting lord-jaraxxus means your Molten Giants will go back to costing 20, because Jaraxxus maximum health is 15, not 30!
- Always count the number of cards in your hand, burning cards is bad bad bad!
- If you have the Coin and you casted your hero power turn 2, during turn 3 you’ll have a free turn because you now have 9 cards in hand (counting the Coin). That means you can cast a Farseer, a Watcher or any one card you’d like, because the following turn you’ll still have 9 cards in hand and will be able to cast your mountain-giant for 4.
- Having a free turn on turn 3 with the Coin doesn’t mean you should cast something, having a Mountain Giant costing 3 on turn 4 means you can coin out a sunfury-protector, helping you to stay alive.
- Casting your faceless-manipulator on your giants is, most of the times, better than casting a Giant. When in doubt, copy!
- Good on Health? Use your Farseers to heal your minions!
- If you have a play in mind that involves casting a Mountain Giant, always cast it first! Remember by every card you play, the giant will cost 1 more, so you have to keep in mind his final cost in case you can’t cast him first.
- Dont mindlessly play Jaraxxus against Aggro, its good? Yes. But probably not the best play in your hand. Jaraxxus is a good healing mechanism versus aggro and a good weapon, that is, most of the times, all about it.
We made it!!! We made it!!
This was a very hard article to make, writing all of this took me days and a lot of thought, I hope you enjoyed what you read here. I tried making this the most complete Handlock guide in the entire internet, and I would like to say thank you for joining our Hearthstoneplayers community, none of this would have been possible without you.
I wish you the best of lucks playing with Handlock in the Ladder, I wish for you to always have 2x Molten Giants + Sunfury and Farseers on the Hunter Matchup, I wish for you to start all your games with 2x Twilight Drakes versus Priests, I wish you to face a lot of Miracle Rogues and most importantly, I wish you have fun playing this wonderful game that is Hearthstone, but don’t forget to take a break once in a while, what is gaming if we cant have fun with it?
I see you guys on my next article!