Mastering the Control Warlock: Advanced Guide

This is part 2 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections: Part 1: Beginner Guide Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards, and Tech Choices Part 3: Match-ups and Mulligans Life Tap before playing the card. It’s really important when playing any Warlock deck, but even so when your deck runs […]

This is part 2 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

Tips & Tricks

  • Life Tap before playing the card. It’s really important when playing any Warlock deck, but even so when your deck runs so many answers. It often turns out that the next card in your deck is much better in certain situation than whatever you have in your hand already. By not tapping first, you waste the opportunity to check that.
  • Count the cards in your hand. It’s a mistake many novice players make – you don’t want to tap when you have 10 cards in your hand already because you burn one. You also don’t want to end the turn with 10 cards in your hand. If you end up having 10 cards and no good plays, even using darkbomb on enemy Hero is fine so you won’t waste your next card.
  • Baiting Silence is really important tactic. For example – you have voidcaller and twilight-drake in your hand, playing against deck with double Silence. You suspect that the first card you play might get Silenced. Which one do you play first? Let’s say you have no Demons in your hand – you definitely start with the Voidcaller, even though it seems counter-intuitive. If it gets Silenced, you play the Drake which gets a lot of value. On the other hand, if you have Lord Jaraxxus in your hand and want to get him out into the board, start with Twilight Drake, let enemy Silence it and then follow with Voidcaller to get your Jaraxxus out smoothly. Also, try to bait the Silence before you play your Sylvanas Windrunner.
  • Be sure to have a backup plan when throwing Imp-losion on an important target. The RNG may not be on your side, so having a minion, darkbomb or even Mortal Coil in case the high roll fails is a good idea.
  • Choose carefully between Taunting up and healing. Sludge Belcher or Defender of Argus might be a better way to stop enemy aggression while also clearing their board. Antique Healbot gains you 8 health, which is a lot, but it’s nearly useless if you have no board control. So generally Taunting up before healing is a good tactic. But there are some situations where you should use the Healbot first. For example, if enemy Aggro deck kills you on the board and haven’t used any Silence yet. Using the Belcher might just mean that enemy is gonna Silence it and push through. Or when you’re playing against deck with a lot of spell burn – Heal might save you while the Taunt might be pointless. Think carefully about your options before going for any of those.
  • You might use your damage spells to kill your own Voidcaller or Sylvanas. For example, if you desperately need Mal’Ganis on the board but you can’t sacrifice your Voidcaller – you might use the combination of hellfire, imp-losion, darkbomb, mortal-coil on him to force the Deathrattle. Same goes for Sylvanas – if you need to steal some enemy minion but you can’t sacrifice her into it. shadowflame also works – sometimes even using it against enemy empty board just to force the Voidcaller’s Deathrattle is a right move.
  • Try to keep Abusive Sergeant for the combo with Big Game Hunter. If you get a great opportunity to use him earlier – go for it, but generally the best way to utilize him in this deck is getting loatheb and similar cards into the BGH range. That said, if you face a deck that actually runs BGH targets, like Handlock or Control Warrior, there is no point in keeping him for the combos, your BGH will get the value anyway.
  • Mind the positioning. Remember that Imps from Imp Gang Boss always spawn on the right side of your Imp Gang Boss. If you don’t want to Taunt the 1/1, put your other minions on the left side of your Imp Gang Boss. Imps from the Imp-losion always spawn on the right side of all your minions, so they will rarely mess your positioning, unless you want to Taunt one Imp and one other minion.
  • Mal’Ganis can be used to heal your Demons. For example, if you had the 3/2 Voidcaller and you buff him to 5/4, in case Mal’Ganis dies, Voidcaller doesn’t lose the 2 health and stays at 3/4. You might consider that when you trade with your Demons after you put Mal’Ganis on the board – if you do it properly, you can leave most of them pretty healthy once Mal’Ganis dies.

Alternate & Tech Cards

Control Warlock might feature a lot of alternate and tech cards, depending on the needs and the meta game. While the deck is low on the tech card spots, there are a few cards that might be taken out and swapped in order to boost some of your matchups. Here is the list with the explanations: what cards are good for this deck, against who and what can you take out to include them.

Additional note is that second copy of Big Game Hunter and Abusive Sergeant come as a sort of bundle. When you want to remove one of them, it’s actually often good to remove both of them. While the Abusive Sergeant can be useful without the second copy of BGH, the second copy of BGH is rather bad without Abusive.

Zombie Chow

The good ol’ Chow. The 2/3 for 1 mana is really strong – it can easily contest any popular 1-drop and most of the 2-drops. It often gets 2 for 1 when dropped on turn 1, especially against fast, aggressive decks. Obviously such a strong minion doesn’t come without a flaw – when it dies, you heal your enemy for 5. Which actually isn’t that big of a flaw in the early and mid game. Great drop if you face a lot of Aggro decks and can’t really stop them in their tracks. Much worse against Control decks, though. The value of 2/3 minion isn’t that big, they have a lot of ways to get rid of it and dropping it in the late game may put you our of the lethal range. Include him only if you face a lot of decks like Face Hunter or Aggro Paladin.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Abusive Sergeant, Darkbomb, Big Game Hunter

Earthen Ring Farseer

Another option for healing. While the two antique-healbots are doing just fine, Earthen Ring Farseer has couple of strong points. It costs 3 mana, which makes it easier to fit him into your turns. The heal is targeted – you might as well heal your minions to make them survive the trades or let’s say make the Warrior unable to Execute them. The 3/3 body is also much better in a 3-mana slot than in 5-mana slot. On the other hand, 3 points of healing is rather weak compared to the 8 from the Healbot. Switching out Healbot for Farseer is better against Midrange and Control decks. Adding one Farseer besides Healbots might be good against some Aggro and Midrange.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Ironbeak Owl, Big Game Hunter, Antique Healbot

Mind Control Tech

Another tech card. The less people expect Mind Control Tech, the stronger it gets. And I can tell you that right now almost no one plays around it. Depending on what cards they see, they can take you either for a Zoo or Handlock – and they don’t expect MCT from neither of them. Great against decks that flood the board – for example Zoo Warlock. It’s also nice against Patron Warrior – with Grim Patron combos they flood the board and one lucky steal might turn the game around or at least help you with clearing the board if you have no AoE in hand. It’s also nice against decks that put minions on the board for the future use. Handlock can put two Ancient Watchers without activating them, giving you an easier MCT. Midrange Druid might do the same thing with Shade of Naxxramas. And if you don’t get any target or want to put pressure on enemy – a 3/3 for 3 mana is decent. If you however face a lot of decks that play one minion at a time, without having too many things on the board, MCT will rarely steal anything.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Big Game Hunter, Sylvanas Windrunner

Loatheb

While this deck doesn’t particularly benefit from the Loatheb, the card’s effect is never bad. The 5/5 stats for 5 mana is a good baseline with limiting enemy options for the next turn a great additional benefit. Great way to protect your board against removals – if you have a good board presence and throw in the Loatheb, there is almost no chance enemy gets rid of everything. If you’re being pushed by deck with a lot of spell burn, it might stall the game and let’s say give you one more turn to draw into Healbot. Excellent against spell heavy decks like Freeze Mage or Oil Rogue – sometimes their whole hand is spells, so playing Loatheb completely blocks their next turn. A very solid 5-drop that can fit just about any deck, including Control Warlock.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Big Game Hunter, Sludge Belcher, Sylvanas Windrunner

Dread Infernal

Dread Infernal is an interesting card. Very good in Arena, but has seen almost no Constructed play. The 6/6 stats for 6 mana are pretty good, while the Battlecry is situationally useful. While the card is not flashy, it can help with the trades or gain a lot of value against decks running many 1 health minions (notably Paladin with all the Silver Hand Recruits). A great thing to get from the Voidcaller – a 6/6 minion might situationally be better than Mal’Ganis because enemy can’t BGH it. You can use Dread Infernal as a sort of “budget” version of your bigger Demons or just put him into the deck alongside the others.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Abusive Sergeant, Big Game Hunter, Sludge Belcher, Sylvanas Windrunner

Siphon Soul

A hard removal the Warlock often lacks. While the mana cost is pretty high, it’s a great card in slower matchups. It gives you a way to deal with minions like Ysera or Kel’Thuzad, which are really hard to get rid of otherwise. Generally it works well against all the minions that are big and threatening but aren’t in Big Game Hunter range. The 3 points of healing might also save you from some difficult situations. You might also use your Siphon Soul to pop the Deathrattles of Voidcaller and Sylvanas if you really need to. A slow card that you should keep on special occasions – use it on the minions that are really hard to remove in any other way.

Possible switches: Big Game Hunter

Molten Giant

Molten Giants are most recognizable from the Handlock deck. A really swingy cards that might be either really bad/useless or completely broken. The lower health you have, the cheaper they are – starting with 10 mana at 20 health, they go down to as low as 0 mana on 10 and less health. They fit slow Warlock deck – not only the class trades health for card advantage, but the slow start often means it takes a lot of damage in the early game. The problem is not as evident when playing this deck because of more early answers and Imp Gang Boss, but against Aggro you’re still gonna take a lot of damage. Molten Giants might make the tempo swing heavily in your favor – dropping a 8/8 minion for 0 mana is not something most of the decks can deal with. If you drop two of them and Taunt them up with defender-of-argus, you can seal a lot of games this way. The problem with Moltens is that most of opponents play around them – some playing Control decks don’t get you below 20 health so you can never use them. They are also kinda weak against some combo decks that can burst you down from 15+ health, making them nearly useless. Still, a solid choice, especially in lower ranks where people don’t play around them as much. Also, if enemy sees only cards that Zoo Warlock uses (Imp Gang Boss, Voidcaller, Imp-losion), he might assume you’re Zoo and it gives you a surprise factor.

Possible switches: Mortal Coil, Big Game Hunter, Ironbeak Owl, Sludge Belcher, Sylvanas Windrunner

This is part 2 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

Team HSP

Team HSP is a group of professional Hearthstone players. Consist some of the top players of the game and we love sharing our knowledge through articles and guides such as this. These guides are the result of hundreds hours of playing, research and analyzing games by the team. We hope you find these guides useful!