Extensive Legend Handlock Guide – Part 2 Match Analysis

Legend Handlock Player, Mats, shares his knowledge and expertise on one of the core deck types in the current meta - Handlock.

Hi, my name is Mats and this is the second part of my guide to Handlock. The first part was focused on the general strategy and deck building of Handlock, while in this article I will talk about mulligan and gameplay strategy against each class (View Part 1).

I’ve devoted more in depth analysis to the most popular classes and archetypes on ladder, so don’t be surprised that Warlock, Druid, Rogue and Shaman have a lot more text then the other classes. This is also due to the Handlock mirror and the match up against Rogue being somewhat technical, and play against Druid and Zoo being so typical of play against midrange and aggro respectively that I felt it was worth explaining them thoroughly.

I’ve added my list to the article, and I’m not trying to advocate it by any means. I just want you to see where my mulligan decisions and perceptions of match ups are coming from. It’s relatively typical for a burst Handlock, but if you’re a running a significantly different list you might want to adapt your mulligans and play style accordingly.

I want briefly point out that if you go second, you can’t lifetap pass from turns one to three because you will burn a card. So if you’re going second it is generally better to keep a solid three drop like an earthen-ring-farseer or an ancient-watcher than if you were going first.

There is no real consensus if coining out lifetap on turn one is good or not. I like to do it if I want to draw into a key card, but honestly it’s up to you if you value the coin more than a random draw. Now that we’re done with these details, let’s get on with the match ups.

Warlock

There are two common warlock decks, namely the aggressive warlock Zoo and our mirror, the Handlock. Unfortunately, they both require different mulligans, and not having the right cards can be quite punishing. You’d probably want to hedge your bets on the deck you’re seeing more often on ladder. That being said, if you end up with one of the key cards for one match up, you should consider keeping it. The Handlock mirror is quite unique, but the Zoo match up is typical for Handlock play against minion based aggro decks.

Zoo

Mulligan Explanation

The absolute best card against Zoo is molten-giant. I personally keep this card very often (sometimes I remember a Handlock player’s name!), since it is critical to closing out the game combined with a taunter. Many Zoo players will recklessly go to the face, especially if you have the time to pressure them with a Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake four drop, so you can normally play them for free. hellfire is also an excellent card, and playing it on turn 4 can wreck a Zoo deck’s board position. Like Molten Giant, you should never mulligan it if you think Zoo is likely.

A single sunfury-protector or even a defender-of-argus is a nice keep, especially if you already have a giant or drake to taunt in hand. mountain-giant and twilight-drake are keeps against Zoo in my opinion. You need the Zoo player to have a slightly slower start to make use of the Mountain Giant, but if he can’t kill you on turn 5 it is very powerful. Mountain Giant is bad if you end up having to make a Soulfire play and it ends up stuck in your hand for the rest of game. Twilight Drake is a nice body that can trade and be taunted, even if it ends up being a 4/5. soulfire and mortal-coil (shadowbolt if you run it) are nice removal spells. Ancient Watchers and Farseers are nice, but won’t win the game on their own.

Key cards: Molten Giant, Hellfire, Twilight Drake

Good keeps: A single taunt giver (Key card if you already have a Molten Giant), Mountain Giant (since he is a beast against Handlock, always keep him on ladder), Mortal Coil, Soulfire

Situational: Ancient Watcher, Earthen Ring Farseer (better if you’re going second), Ironbeak Owl (only ever keep for Ancient Watcher Owl openings)

Gameplay

While playing against Zoo you want to keep counting the amount of damage their board represents. This will let you know if you need to remove their minions or can afford to develop a Mountain Giant or a Twilight Drake. The standard Zoo decks only run doomguard and Soulfire as burst cards, so you want to keep that in mind as potential damage. That being said, you often should not play around unlikely combinations like back to back Soulfires unless you are ahead. Your main priority is to stabilise by either keeping their board clear with your minions and area of effects, or by laying down (giant) taunts which the Zoo cannot break through.

Once you stabilize, your next priority is to kill the Zoo player, which means that you want to hit his face with the 8/8s if possible. You should be checking for lethal constantly at this stage, using ironbeak-owl, Soulfires, Hellfires, power-overwhelming and leeroy-jenkins. The reason you would like to close out the game faster is that it gives the Zoo player less time to draw into outs like Soulfire, and that Zoo keeps putting stuff on the boards consistently, so you might end up running out of answers. My last piece of advice is to use your Soulfires wisely, as discarding a Molten Giant or a taunt giver can be terrible. All in all, the Zoo is quite a good match up for the Handlock, even if it feels really close during the game. If you expect to face a lot of it, running two Hellfires and some extra taunt minions can help.

Handlock

Mulligan Explanation

In the Handlock mirror, you want to obtain the initiative on the board to keep your opponent in a reactive stance and set up lethal with your burst options. This strategy dictates that the Mountain Giant is the most valuable card to have by turn four, given that it can often tear down the Twilight Drake and represents a greater threat to the opponent’s life total. Given that Mountain Giant is so strong for both sides, we also want cards that can deal with it, such as the big-game-hunter (if you choose to run it), siphon-soul and faceless-manipulator. The Faceless Manipulator also combos nicely with our own Mountain Giants as well. Twilight Drake is also a keeper, since it can be used to combat the Mountain Giant with some help from cards like Soulfire, and represents the strongest board presence after a giant. You might want to keep an Owl with a Mortal coil to take out a drake, but generally you want to ship every situational card back to get the core cards mentioned above.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant

Good keeps: Twilight Drake, Faceless Manipulator, Big Game Hunter, Siphon Soul (if you plan to keep the coin for a turn 5, otherwise it’s a bit situational)

Situational: Ironbeak Owl and Mortal Coil combo

Gameplay

The Handlock mirror is one of the the stranger match ups in the current meta, since it is governed by a unique set of dynamics. In my mind, there are three main kinds of advantage you can have in the match up: The first advantage is access to the Leeroy burst combo, which is typically relevant to the later stages of the game. The first player to kill the opponent with the combo or some other burst options is obviously the one who wins, and the threat of lethal in the later turns of the game puts your opponent under pressure, and limits his available plays. This threat is present even you if you don’t actually hold the combo, and you should try to play around the possibility of your opponent holding it, especially if they have drawn through most of their deck.

If you see your opponent discard Leeeroy from Soulfire, or he uses it to shadowflame your board, then you are at a huge advantage (provided you can keep the board), so take note of this. Not having to play around Leeroy gives you the liberty to life tap more often, which in turn gives you card advantage and cheaper Molten Giants to fight for the board. Burst is very important to this match up, so you always want to keep track of the burst cards (including Soulfire, Leeroy and Power Overwhelming) your opponent has played already. If your opponent could’ve killed you with Leeroy on a turn and didn’t, then this probably means he doesn’t have the it. Get into the habit of checking for lethal for you and your opponent with your available board and mana; you can do these calculations during your opponents turn to save time.

Since the burst combo is so prevalent, the second big advantage in the match up is board control. Whoever has board control can protect himself from the burst combo with taunts and taunt givers, and has additional damage in play to make a kill turn easier. At the start of the game, you want to obtain board advantage by taping until you can get a Mountain Giant or less ideally a Twilight Drake down on turn 4, as described in the mulligan guide. Ancient Watcher Owl is unimpressive at the start, since you really want the extra cards. If you don’t have a Mountain Giant, you might want to play an ancient with an owl in hand on turn three, or another minion like the Earthen Ring Farseer that can kill a Giant together with Soulfire/Power Overwhelming and a Mortal Coil.

More convenient ways to react to a strong turn 4 play are a coined Siphon Soul, a Faceless Manipulator and the best tech for this match up, the Big Game Hunter. Silencing a Twilight drake with an Ironbeak Owl and then Mortal coiling it is the dream, but the silence without the kill is surprisingly unneffective. Once you’ve established board control, you want to keep it by pulling off the best trades. Some tricks include healing up your giant after a trade with your Earthen Ring Farseer, and buffing your own Giant with an argus to force your opponent to have the mortal coil When trading giants. You always want to keep Shadowflame into account, as the card can gain lots of value and is the best comeback mechanic. Don’t overextend into Shadowflame if you have comfortable board control, and count your opponent’s mana and health to check if he has the option of dropping Mountain or Molten Giant for an immediate Shadowflame wipe. If you are really behind on board, you can obviously use those type of moves to swing the game back in your favor. If you come out of the opening having two giants against your opponents single giant, always trade one of them to play around Shadowflame!

The last kind of advantage to keep in mind comes from the players relative life totals. Having lower life is a disadvantage when it puts at severe risk of dying to the combo. However, being at lower life gives you access to to your Molten Giants, and is an advantage if you have a good read that your opponent does not have the resources in play, the cards in hand or the mana available to kill you, or if you’ve set up a wall of taunts (beware the Owl!). As the attacker, we want to pull our opponent just within range for a finish, but no further. As the defender, you might need to play risky and tap your way down to a Molten Giant.

Overall, the Handlock mirror is one of the most technical match ups in the game, but learning to play it properly can get you a lot of wins on ladder. The skill required to play it also makes for some interesting games, and the potential to win or lose very quickly makes matches exciting. If you want to improve your chances in this match up, teching a Big Game Hunter and running two Faceless Manipulators is advisable.

Druid

There are a lot of different Druid decks out there, but luckily they all follow a similar mulligan and game play strategy. Barring the inconsistent and unpopular mill druid, most druid decks struggle to handle our giant threats, so this match up is in our favour, especially if the aren’t running extra copies of force-of-nature or savage-roar. Play against druid is typical for control and midrange decks in general, though there are obviously match up specific differences. Currently, double Force combo druid styles are the most popular.

Mulligan Explanation

Against Druid, you really want to ship basically everything back for as many copies of Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake as you can, as these cards can put you in a winning board position if the druid doesn’t have the right answers. A strong alternative is the Ancient Watcher plus Ironbeak Owl opening, which can put a Druid without Innervate under pressure and deny him the board presence he needs to set up a win.

If you do decide to keep the Owl and Watcher, you kinda need to play them out on turns two and three or one and two with the coin, since otherwise you’ll have wasted to possible chances to draw your four drops. If you’re really uncomfortable with the opening, just mulligan them to get Mountain Giants and Twilight Drakes; being indecisive isn’t worth it. If you already have a four drop the Faceless Manipulator is a good keep, and he can even be used on the druid’s bears or Cairne. If you have the great four drops already, you might want to hold on to good removal cards like Soulfire and Siphon Soul, but you’ll generally draw into these. If you are running minions like Sen’jin Shieldmasta or Chillwind Yeti, you could keep them as substitute four drops to slow down a fast druid start.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Twilight Drakes

Good keeps: Faceless Manipulator, Ancient Watcher and Ironbeak Owl (situational if you don’t have both), a Chillwind Yeti or Sen’jin Shieldmasta (if you run them)

Situational: Siphon Soul, Soulfire, Shadowbolt (if you run it), taunt givers (luxury picks in my opinion)

Gameplay

As mentioned in the Mulligan explanation, you really want to make a big play within the first four turns. If he can’t deal with a Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake or an aggressive ancient watcher, then you can accumulate board advantage and value through your stronger minions. Even if you don’t draw your big threats right away, if you can use your clears and removal to keep his board relatively clear you’re in good shape. Even if you are behind on board, you can still come back with a big Shadowflame play or taunted Molten Giants.

If you have stable board control and are not in burst range, try not to taunt your giants right away, as the-black-knight is always a possibility. The druid’s strongest weapon is the force of nature savage roar combo, and to use it effectively they typically need a reasonable board presence or a fast start. Just control the board, keep into account the possible burst damage they can deal, and you should do pretty well against druid, even if they do tech Big Game Hunter. As far as their burn options go, watch out for cat-druid, argent-commander, swipe, Savage and Force of Nature alone or in combination, and innervate (honestly, 14+ damage on turn 7 is not a joke!). The recent flavour of Druid runs the combo twice, so don’t assume they can’t burst you down if they’ve used a force of nature.

Rogue

Miracle Rogue is generally the most popular Rogue style you’ll see, but Backspace aggro Rogues are seen as well and represent one of our worst match ups. Tempo Rogues are pretty rare in the current meta game, and you should play against them in a similar way as you play against druid. Just keep their sap and faster burn in mind; this match up is somewhat unfavorable but fortunately uncommon.

Miracle Rogue

Mulligan Explanation

You’re not spoiled for choice in the mulligan against miracle. This is because the match up depends so heavily on whether you draw two of your large threats or not. Apart from Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake, you might consider keeping a Shadowflame, an Ironbeak Owl or a Sunfury Protector to be safe from a concealed gadgetzan-auctioneer, an edwin-vancleef or a Leeroy Combo. But in general you really do want four drops. Also, please note that the Ancient Watcher Owl opening is not good in this match up, as it cripples our critical turn four and five plays. I used to think Faceless Manipulator was good, but recently my opponents have been consistently trying hard to kill my four drops, often leaving the Manipulator as a dead card in my hand. That being said, he really helps snowball a lead.

Key cards: Twilight Drake, Mountain Giant

Good keeps: An independent four drop like Chillwind Yeti or Sen’jin Shieldmasta can be nice

Situational: Shadowflame, Sunfury Protector / Defender of Argus, Ironbeak Owl, Faceless Manipulator

Gameplay

If you draw two or more of your big four drops, you are a heavy favorite to win, especially if you can Faceless one of them and draw a taunt giver. Playing a Twilight Drake first can be better, since it has more health. Even a single strong four drop gives you decent chances, as you force the Rogue to burn useful cards like backstab, eviscerate and Sap, which he really wants for his Auctioneer turn. Shadowflame on an Ancient Watcher is a convenient way to deal with a concealed Auctioneer, and the Owl has great utility as a way to silence Edwin VanCleef, remove cold-blood buffs or as an emergency answer to the Gadgetzan. If you can put up a wall which the Rogue cannot remove or circumvent with Sap or direct damage, then you will win. However, if you don’t draw into your threats, then this match up turns into a nightmare. The Rogue will typically take an aggressive stance and put minions on the board, which you will need to remove to stop him from pulling you within lethal range.

Being in a reactive stance is especially bad, since Handlock generally cannot keep its life total out of Leeroy burst range in the long run. Unless he is running out of steam, you might need to risk taping to draw into your threats and taunt givers, as taunts are the only way to protector your life total in the long run. Taping low for a Molten might be the only way to come back. If you have the burst in hand to kill him in a couple of turns, it is often best to aggressively pursue this win condition by trying to keep your life total high and occupying him with your available minions. You often need to get a minion to stick for lethal, and often the Rogue will hit one of them with his face, pulling him lower. Any taunted minion is better than nothing anyway, so don’t be afraid to throw out some guys if you feel you’re in lethal range or you need to fight for board control.

Like against Handlock, always look for possible lethal for yourself and your opponent, and try to see if their plays indicate that they are holding lethal. If you play it smart, you can win even in the unfavorable spots. Overall, Handlock is probably favored against miracle, but it’s a lot closer to equal now that miracle players have figured the match up out.

Backspace Aggro Rogue

Mulligan Explanation

We generally want to mulligan as if we were facing Zoo, but since aggro Rogue runs more one health minions, Mortal Coil goes up in value. Ironbeak Owl is also a bit better, since it can nullify a Cold Blood buff. Since king-mukla is our worst nightmare, the Soulfire might be a better keep. This match up is particularly awkward since you normally end up preparing for Miracle on ladder.

Key cards: Molten Giant, Hellfire, Twilight Drake, Mortal Coil

Good keeps: A single taunt giver (Key card if you already have a Molten Giant), Mountain Giant, Soulfire

Situational: Ancient Watcher, Earthen Ring Farseer, Ironbeak Owl

Gameplay

Our general strategy is the same as against Zoo. However, you’ll have to be more lucky to win, since aggro Rogues run far more burst and have Sap to deal with your taunted giants. You’ll want your most proactive plays, since you need to stop your life from bleeding within kill range. While it is harder to stabilise, if you do manage to beat back his minions, stay out of burst range and have him not draw his saps, you’ll have good chances. While you sometimes don’t have the option to, try to keep your hand size lower to avoid burning too many cards to coldlight-oracle and King Mukla plays. At least these let you play the Mountain Giant for 3 mana!

Shaman

Shaman decks almost universally come in some midrange form or another. This represents an unfavorable match up, since a shaman who gets a strong board advantage on you can set up lethal with his burst options and has a strong removal suite to deal with your threats. Our strategy against shaman will be to deny him the board he needs. Once the game goes long, we can typically field more giants than he has removal due to our superior draw mechanic, or burst him down with a Leeroy combo.

Mulligan Explanation

To keep his board in check, we want to find Hellfire, and Shadowflame is not a bad keep either. Mountain Giant is still the best four drop minion you can hope for, just try not to let him die to a flametongue-totem and a bunch of totems and minions. Twilight Drake is not the worst keep, but sometimes you can’t afford let him die to earthshock for tempo reasons. Twilight Drake is still a fine play on a not so threatening board, and hopefully he can trade or soak up a hex. I am of the opinion that the Ancient Watcher into Ironbeak Owl opening is strong in this match up, since it gives the Shaman no time to develop totems and forces him to use removal he would rather aim at your giants or your face later. A Soulfire or rather a Shadowbolt (if you run it) could be good to keep, in order to deal with an annoying unbound-elemental or a mana-tide-totem before they get out of hand.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Hellfire

Good keeps: Ancient Watcher and Ironbeak Owl (only keep if you have both and plan to start with them), Twilight Drake, Shadowflame, Sen’jin Shieldmasta or Chillwind Yeti (if you run them)

Situational: A single Soulfire or Shadowbolt, Owl for annoying cards

Gameplay

As detailed in the Mulligan explanation, you really want to fight for board control against Shaman. If you can stop him from getting a dominant board position, then your extra draw options should let you scale harder than the Shaman in the late game. Try to kill unbound elementals before they become too strong, and take note that his overload cards will set his next turn back quite a bit. If you do fall behind, molten giants with a taunt giver can swing the game back in your favor. Keep his burst options in account, and especially keep track of how many Rockbiter Weapons he’s used, since they can spell death when combined with a windfury, an alakir-the-windlord or a doomhammer. If you want to improve your chances in this match up, I suggest running the full set of viable board clears.

Mage

There are three types of mage decks, and you generally want to skew your mulligan towards the one you are seeing most often.

Your Strategy against aggro Mage should be similar to your strategy against Zoo, except for the fact that you need to keep your health higher to avoid dying to their strong direct damage spells, such as fireball. They also have some minions that you want to remove sooner rather than later, such as the spell churning machine that is the sorcerers-apprentice. The match up shouldn’t be great, but has been surprisingly winnable in my experience.

Midrange, minion based Mage strategies in the style of Trump’s free mage aren’t that popular, and you should treat them more or less like a druid. Just take their class specific cards like polymorph, various burn spells and flamestrike into account and you’ll be fine.

Freeze Mage 

Lastly, we come to the style of mage that is receiving the most attention recently: The Freeze Mage. This match up is bad because if he manages to play alexstrasza without dying the next turn, then the Handlock is almost certainly dead. Since there isn’t enough heal in the deck to pull us out lethal range from a lot of burn, our strategy should be to put a lot pressure on him with our Mountain Giants and Twilight Drakes, either killing him early or forcing him to use his burn on our minions. You want to save your heals until after the Alexstrasza turn to buy yourself a little more time. Hold Owls for doomsayer or frozen giants is also advisable. Also, you might want to play around vaporize or mirror-entity if you can, use your otherwise useless taunt givers to check for them. Look out for opportunities to pop his ice-block; Soulfire is obviously the ideal finisher to save. Make sure to pull his life as low as possible before landing the “killing” blow against Ice Block.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake

Good keeps: Sen’jin Shieldmasta or Chillwind Yeti (if you run them), Ironbeak Owl, Faceless Manipulator (giants don’t often die in this match up)

Situational: Ancient Watcher (only for the Watcher Owl opening)

Hunter

Hunter aggro is pretty much the nightmare match up. Not only do you need to stabilize against their aggressive charge minions, but their hero power puts you on a clock to finish the game before their direct damage kills you. Looking on the bright side, their game plan plays directly into your Molten Giants, and their traps can only provide so much protection. Your game plan is to get a dangerous minions out, be they silenced Ancient Watchers, Twilight Drakes or Mountain Giants and taunt them up. Often, hunters-mark will nullify your first threat, so you back up plan is to use the Molten Giants as a second line of defense. If you can get in a couple of giant hits in, you can win the race with your burst options, so check for lethal religiously. If you can help it, run your little guys into traps first in case of freezing-trap or misdirection, as these can be huge deal. Preserving your life total is obviously very important, and you shouldn’t tap if you don’t need to.

Against Midrange hunter, you’ll have better chances since they don’t pressure your life total as quickly. However, you’re still on a clock, so pursue a similar strategy as against aggro hunter. Just be prepared to make some more value oriented plays, and don’t give his houndmaster an easy target if you can help it.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake, Mortal Coil, Molten Giant

Good keeps: Sen’jin Shieldmasta or Chillwind Yeti (if you run them), a Sunfury Protector or a Defender of Argus, Earthen Ring Farseer

Situational: Ancient Watcher (with or without the Owl, he’s a good body when taunted up), Faceless Manipulator

Paladin

Paladin control and midrange decks aren’t that common, but if you treat like another druid match up you can’t really go wrong. Your Ironbeak Owls let you deal with aldor-peacekeeper’s battlecry and tirion-fordring quite handily, so the big card you want to watch out for is equality. Try to bait it out with a weaker board, and if he has already used one and hasn’t drawn most of his deck you should probably take the risk and commit a bit more to the board. You really do want to kill a more controlling paladin before he can make good use of his late game, since they can generally outlast you. A further note is that threat of equality means that a less passive paladin can break though your defenses, so you definitely want to be the one calling the shots. These are most probably unfavorable match ups, but I haven’t played them enough to be sure.

Treat paladin aggro similar to a match against aggro Rogue. You again want to get cards out of your hand against paladin aggro (or at least not draw to many), since it lowers the chances that divine-favor will draw him the cards he needs. The Mortal Coil and the Ironbeak Owl are useful again, since paladin’s one health minions and minions buffed by blessing-of-might (or even Blessing of Kings) are good targets. This is a bad match up, but if the paladin doesn’t draw his Equalities or Divine Favors when he needs them, you can certainly win it. Just remember that he has some direct damage finishers in avenging-wrath, consecration and hammer-of-wrath.

I often mulligan for the paladin aggro match up just because it is quite dependent on your start, but if you’re seeing a lot of control or midrange paladin then feel free to mulligan for those.

Warrior

You typically beat warrior control by playing out your threats before he can draw into enough removal for them. If you can find a way to shred his armor consistently, then you can shut him out his shield-slam and greatly limit his ability to deal with your giants and drakes. A great way to do this is to lead with your sturdier Twilight Drake or weaker minions like the Earthen Ring Farseer or a silenced Ancient Watcher. You can even Soulfire his armor if you aren’t afraid to discard. If you can help it, don’t overcommit into brawl, and keep his grommash-hellscream finish in mind. Since you’ll always be drawing more cards than the warrior, this match up should be in your favor as Handlock, and can be improved by running more late game cards.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Twilight Drakes

Good keeps: Faceless Manipulator, a Chillwind Yeti or Sen’jin Shield Master (if you run them)

Situational: Ancient Watcher and Ironbeak Owl (throw them back if you don’t have both or don’t plan on using them at the start), Earthen Ring Farseer (for the armor beat down when going second)

Priest

Don’t be fooled by Amaz’s victory over Realz in the Dreamhack semi finals. Priest midrange or control decks have a bad match up against Handlock, even with cards like mind-blast teched into the deck. Our strategy is once again similar to our play against Druid, as Priest won’t be able to handle all of our big threats. If you can, lead with the Twilight Drake, since priest has no effective cards to handle him, barring the uncommon Silence. Even a good start by the Priest can be dealt with by a strong Shadowflame turn. Just keep the auchenai-soulpriest circle-of-healing combo in mind, and try not to drop low enough to get burned out by combination of holy-fire, Mind Blast, smite or even the unconventional prophet-velen. And if they drop an injured-blademaster without healing it, you might want to consider casting Soulfire on it, just because it combos so well with the northshire-cleric and is more difficult to remove once healed. Running additional late game will make this match up even worse for priest.

Key Cards: Mountain Giant, Twilight Drakes

Good keeps: Faceless Manipulator, a Chillwind Yeti or Sen’jin Shield Master (if you run them)

Situational: Soulfire, Shadowbolt (if you run it), Ancient Watcher and Ironbeak Owl (throw them back if you don’t have both or don’t plan on using them at the start)

Conclusion 

I hope this guide has helped strengthen your understanding of the Handlock deck. Obviously these match ups will change with time, but if Handlock stays viable it will definitely operate under the same general concepts. Also I hope you’ve gotten a sense of the classes Handlock can deal with well, as well as the classes and archetypes you want to avoid. In the current meta dominated by druid and miracle Rogue Handlock is a good and stable choice, and will likely remain so until burn decks or classes with good hard removal become dominant. I wish you good luck with drawing your Mountain Giants by turn four!