Mastering the Handlock: Beginner Guide

This is part 1 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 Handlock is one of the oldest deck archetypes in Hearthstone. Even in the Beta, players have already seen a great […]

Introduction

This is part 1 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

Handlock is one of the oldest deck archetypes in Hearthstone. Even in the Beta, players have already seen a great synergy between Warlock’s Hero Power and some of the cards. Deck in the current version hit the spotlight at the end of 2013. It was a little more combo-oriented, but the general game plan was the same. Your aim is to have as big hand size as you can, hence the name – Handlock. Since you keep your hand almost full, the number of decisions you have to make is tremendous. It makes the deck one of the hardest to master in the game, because balancing at low health combined with difficult decision making may result in one small mistake ending the game.

It’s impossible to indicate which Handlock list is the best. Decks vary depending on player’s preference and meta. Each pro player has his own approach to Handlock, so you’re gonna see a lot of different alternate & tech cards varying from list to list. We’re gonna show one of the most standard, all-around lists. There are a lot of cards you can switch, depending on the meta, so go ahead and experiment a little!

Summary

Handlock is a classic Control deck. Your game plan is to stall and draw the cards early in the game, to drop your big bombs from turn 4 onward. You need to take a strategic approach and think of your every possible move couple of turns ahead. If you like to play decks that require a lot of decision making and balancing on a thin line between life and death, Handlock is gonna be a perfect deck for you.

Strengths:

  • One of the strongest turn 4 in the game – dropping a 8/8 or ~4/9 minion.
  • A lot of big Taunts and Heals to seal the games against Aggro decks.
  • Easy to clear enemy board with two different AoEs, two Silences and couple of single target removals.
  • Can punish enemy for trying to rush you down.
  • Has one of the strongest late games in the whole game.
  • You don’t have to worry about card draw, because your Hero Power does that.
  • Counters many popular meta decks.

Weaknesses:

  • The deck is really slow so without getting molten-giants it might be rushed down.
  • It’s really weak against almost all types of Hunter.
  • Using your health as a resource might backfire.
  • big-game-hunter gets a lot of value against Handlock.
  • The deck is really punishing. Even a small mistake while playing Handlock might lead to losing a game.

Favored against:

  • Control Warrior
  • Patron Warrior
  • Control Priest
  • Zoo Warlock
  • Tempo Mage
  • Ramp Druid

Equal against:

  • Oil Rogue
  • Freeze Mage

Unfavored against:

  • Face Hunter
  • Midrange Hunter
  • Aggro Paladin
  • Midrange Paladin
  • Midrange Druid
  • Malygos Warlock

Card Choices

The deck list we present is one of the most common ones you’re gonna see on the ladder. All the card choices are solid and there are few tech cards. We’re gonna go through the list and explain why each card is good and how it does work. If you want to read about the alternate / tech card you might include, check out the Advanced guide!

Mortal Coil

Your most basic anti-Aggro tool, but that’s not the only purpose of Mortal Coil. Warlock has no way to ping enemy minions, so when enemy leaves his minion at 1 health, he has hard time dealing with it. Mortal Coil helps, not only killing off that minion, but also drawing a card. Great against enemy one health minions and finishing off more sturdy ones after trades or AoE. You might also use it on your 1 health minions if you need to cycle or they’re unwanted (e.g. reducing number of minions against unleash-the-hounds or grim-patron).

Darkbomb

The most basic early removal there is. Really straightforward card – 3 damage for 2 mana without any additional effect. Warlock got the short end of the stick, because both frostbolt and quick-shot are better, but let’s be honest, it’s still fine the way it is. It serves as a way to deal with enemy early drops, to finish off their big drops (with help of other spells or minions) or just deal the last points of damage to kill your enemy.

Ancient Watcher

Ancient Watcher is a really interesting one. Handlock has many different ways to interact with this minion. At base, it’s a 4/5 that can’t attack. To make it useful, you need to activate it in some way. You may Silence it with ironbeak-owl, which makes a 2 mana chillwind-yeti. Really strong play, especially against Aggro decks, where you need something to deal with their small drops. You can Taunt it with either sunfury-protector or defender-of-argus. Even though it can’t attack, a 4/5 or 5/6 Taunt is a good barrier. The last interaction is Ancient Watcher + shadowflame. That 2-card combo deals 4 damage to whole enemy board and serves as one of your main board clears. You might finish higher health minions with Mortal Coil or Darkbomb after. And the most important thing about Watcher is that it’s cheap. 2 mana is not much, so often instead of ending your turn with unused mana you’re gonna drop Watcher to fill the curve. Enemy usually ignores it, and if he decides to trade or use a removal – that’s also fine.

Ironbeak Owl

Silence is really strong in the current meta. Ironbeak Owl is probably the best source, because it’s cheap. It means that it can come as early as turn 2 if you really need it, and doesn’t ruin your later turns. You can use almost any of your other cards alongside it in late game. Almost any popular deck runs some Silence targets. For example, piloted-shredder, sludge-belcher or mad-scientist are all really popular minions that are good Silence targets. It’s great in Control matchups against big, slow cards with strong effects like emperor-thaurissan or sylvanas-windrunner. Against Aggro, in worst case scenario, you might Silence something like leper-gnome to save 2 health. And if enemy deck truly runs no Silence targets, you might use Owls on your own Ancient Watchers.

Sunfury Protector

One of the biggest mistake new Handlock players make is treating Sunfury Protector as a 2-drop. You might drop him on turn 2 only in several matchups, but most of the time you want to keep him. Giving Taunt to 2 minions is a big deal. It’s a way to activate your Ancient Watcher. Taunting your big minions saves you against Combos (like warsong-commander + frothing-berserker or force-of-nature + savage-roar). Against Aggro, once they take you low enough, you might play two molten-giants and Taunt them with Sunfury Protector. While it doesn’t buff your minions like defender-of-argus, the Taunt part is more important in Handlock. Don’t worry about making big Taunts right now, because almost no one uses the-black-knight in current meta.

Big Game Hunter

Anti-Control tech. After introduction of dr-boom, it’s pretty easy to find a target for Big Game Hunter. Even decks that previously ran no 7+ attack targets (Midrange Paladin, Midrange Druid) now usually use Dr. Boom. Even in a pretty fast meta, Handlock may afford to run this minion, because he cycles many cards with Life Taps. It means that one “dead” card isn’t that bad. Against Aggro decks, he often serves as way to activate shadowflame when you have no Ancient Watchers. It also deals 4 damage, but for 1 more mana. Killing a big target gives you a lot of tempo, and if you have no target to kill, in the worst case scenario, you just drop him as a 4/2 minion when you have free mana.

Hellfire

First of your two AoEs. Hellfire is best way to counter Aggro decks. While it deals damage to your minions too, on turn 4 you usually have empty board. It deals with all the 1-drops, 2-drops and many of the 3-drops. If enemy tries to rush you down, Hellfire might stop them. It deals damage to both your and enemy Hero. Dealing damage to you may be bad, may put enemy closer to killing you, but actually often it’s beneficial to you. You want to get yourself low to drop your molten-giants and either heal up with antique-healbot or use lord-jaraxxus. You might also use it to finish off your sylvanas-windrunner in order to steal something. From time to time, you’re gonna use it as a final points of damage to kill your enemy.

Shadowflame

Your second AoE. Shadowflame is more interesting one, because you’re the one who controls how much it’s gonna deal. While the most common target for your Shadowflame is ancient-watcher, it’s not always the case. You’re often gonna Shadowflame your 2 attack minions if you don’t need more damage. Sometimes, if you need really big AoE, you’re gonna Shadowflame your Giant for massive 8 damage AoE. Lord Jaraxxus gives you infinite source of Shadowflame targets with the 6/6 Infernals. Shadowflaming sylvanas-windrunner is a great combo turn 10, because if anything’s left after the 5 damage AoE, you steal it. If you need a little stronger AoE, you might buff a minion with Defender of Argus first. You kinda waste the buff, but sometimes you have to.

Defender of Argus

Your second source of Taunt. Just like Sunfury Protector, it’s a 2/3, but this time for 4 mana. You run only one copy because, opposed to two of Sunfury Protector, because it’s much less flexible. The +1/+1 buff in Handlock is always welcome, but not particularly needed most of time. It’s really good when dropped on twilight-drake, because the difference between 4 and 5 attack is huge. 5 attack minion might easily trade with sludge-belcher, loatheb, emperor-thaurissan etc. The additional 2 health on Taunts might also sometimes save your skin. The 4 mana slot is however much less flexible – it’s harder to fit Defender of Argus into your turn. Still, since you can’t run three Sunfury Protectors, Argus is a good choice for a third Taunt giver.

Twilight Drake

One of the most impactful minions in your deck. The more cards you have in your hand – the bigger Twilight Drake gets, up to 10 health (it might actually get 11 health in some weird cases, but you will probably never see that). When dropped on turn 4, it’s usually somewhere between 4/7 and 4/9. You might Coin it out on turn 3 to get big power play. Twilight Drake contests pretty much every early game drop. It’s a minion that’s strong through the whole game. Might serve as a big Taunt later in the game. Great when buffed with Defender of Argus, you might get a makeshift ancient-of-war on turn 5. It also doesn’t die to Big Game Hunter, unlike the mountain-giant. The only problem with Twilight Drake is that it’s really susceptible to Silence. Silence makes it a 4/1 minion no matter how big it was before. Luckily, you run a lot of Silence targets, so getting Drake Silenced at least means that the others are gonna be safer.

Antique Healbot

As a Handlock, you’re using your health as a resource a lot. You sacrifice much of the tempo and health during the first turns to get a big card advantage and make it possible to drop your bombs on turn 4. Even using hellfire damages you. To counteract that, you need some source of healing. Antique Healbot is great, because 8 health is a lot. You don’t really care about the small, 3/3 body, because your other minions are making it up. Remember to not use him when you’re at e.g. 20 health (besides some specific cases, like enemy that can burst you down from 20). You want to take enough damage to let enemy think that he can finish you off. He’s often gonna make suboptimal plays just to squeeze the last points of damage. And then boom – Molten Giant and Healbot. You want to heal up once you play your Molten Giants or you’re at critically low health and enemy can burst you. Two Healbots can restore 16 health, which is usually more than enough. Once you stabilize behind the Taunts and heal, almost no enemy can get so much reach.

Sludge Belcher

One of the most common turn 5 plays for Handlock. Sludge Belcher’s main role is stopping aggression. If Aggro decks has no Silence, Sludge Belcher is gonna soak at least 7 damage and probably also kill some of their minions. Against Midrange and Control decks, it’s also fine on turn 5, because with help of Mortal Coil or Darkbomb you might clear pretty much everything they might play on turn 5 or 6. Really solid minion, he’s good through the whole game. Great when you’re at low health to stop enemy progress or combos. Nice thing about him is that he enemy needs two hits to kill him. It often means that he’s gonna take way over 10 damage before dying. Overall a great all-around defensive option.

Siphon Soul

Siphon Soul is your removal for big or tricky to deal minions. Great way to deal with big legendaries that can’t be targeted by Big Game Hunter, like kelthuzad or ysera. The 3 points of health aren’t much, but sometimes are gonna mater. It means that when you’re desperate you might use it on your own minion to heal. Try to keep it for really big threats. If you have a clear way to deal with something without using Siphon Soul, you generally want to keep it. Remember that Siphon Soul kills something without damaging it. It means that, for example, if you Siphon Soul the acolyte-of-pain, your opponent draws no cards from it.

Emperor Thaurissan

Emperor Thaurissan is absolute MVP in your Handlock deck. It would seem that he fits combo decks more, but couple things are going his way in this deck. It’s a 6-drop with 4.5 mana worth of stats, it means that his effect is priced at about 1.5 mana. As a Handlock, you’re often holding 8+ cards. Even a single discount usually means 5+ mana of value. If he manages to stay on the board for longer, it’s even better for you. The thing you want most when playing Handlock is flexibility. You want to have many different options for every occasion. Emperor helps with that. Cheaper cards means more options every turn. Some combos that wouldn’t be possible otherwise are made realistic. Having, for example, 1 mana or even 0 mana sunfury-protector means that you can easily fit him into your turns. Using antique-healbot often means that you can’t throw any big creature on the same turn. But thanks to Emperor, you can make a power play like Healbot + Dr. Boom. Making lord-jaraxxus cost 8 mana is also incredibly important. It means that you can use your Hero Power on the same turn, resulting in a free 6/6 minion. You usually want to use Emperor Thaurissan when you have board control, but sometimes you might throw him just to get the discounts. He’s one of the highest priority targets for enemy to take down, so most of times he could as well have a Taunt.

Sylvanas Windrunner

Sylvanas Windrunner is present in most of slow, control decks. Her main role isn’t even to steal something big. When it happens, it’s awesome, but it will rarely be the case. Her main job is to disrupt enemy turns. With Sylvanas on the board, his turns become more awkward. He can’t throw big minions into the board, because they might be stolen. He can’t kill Sylvanas efficiently without giving anything to Handlock. He can’t ignore her, because Handlock might Taunt / Shadowflame her next turn anyway. Enemy is gonna make a lot of suboptimal plays just because you have Sylvanas on the board. Though, Silence is a good counter. Without her Deathrattle effect, 5/5 minion for 6 mana is suddenly pretty bad. The great turn 10 combo is Sylvanas + Shadowflame. Best against slow decks, you might clear their early and mid game creatures plus steal something bigger. It’s also fine against Deathrattles. If enemy has a lot of creatures, and among them there is let’s say piloted-shredder, you might do that combo to kill everything and steal what Shredder spawns.

Dr. Boom

Dr. Boom was added to the majority of Midrange and Control decks after GvG just because of its sheer value and power. For a couple of reason, he’s really strong. The 7/7 stats are nice, but the boom-bots are icing on the cake. They give you additional 2/2 in stats and 2-8 Deathrattle damage split between two targets. Really strong. Another great point about Dr. Boom is the mana cost. The 7 mana slot was barely used before. The only other 7 mana Legendary that was used is baron-geddon. No other 7-drop was present in any competitive decks. Dr. Boom filled that gap and now you can see him almost everywhere. Great turn 7 play, if enemy has no answer (usually in form of big-game-hunter), he’s in a really bad spot.

Lord Jaraxxus

Lord Jaraxxus is one of the reasons why Handlock is a late game powerhouse. It comes really late and sometimes with a downside (setting health at 15), but when you manage to play him and not die – you put enemy on a really fast clock. It’s more of a value clock than a damage clock, however. His Hero Power summons a 6/6 minions for 2 mana. It means that every turn enemy has to deal not only with what you play from your hand, but also a 6/6 Infernal. Great material for Taunts and good Shadowflame target, the Infernals make Jaraxxus almost impossible to beat in the long run. The 3/8 weapon is also a great addition. Don’t try to keep it, just swing with it every turn – if you don’t have any good target on the board, just hit enemy face. The game won’t last more than 8 turns after you’ve used Jaraxxus anyway. Be careful when you’re using him. Try to get the board control first. If enemy has let’s say 10 damage on the board when you use your Jaraxxus, he might easily burst you down from 15 as well. You don’t always have a choice, but try to keep him and not throw right away on turn 9 in most of matchups. Also, remember that it sets your max health to 15. It means that you can use your Molten Giants only when you’re down to 5 health (and for 10 mana, just like you were at 20 health in normal form). It makes them dead cards, so try to use Jaraxxus only after you’ve got both of your Moltens out. It’s not a rule, but after you use Jaraxxus, you draw only one card per turn (since you can’t Life Tap), so drawing into dead cards is much, much worse.

Mountain Giant

One of the most interesting minions in your deck. Mountain Giant was the base of the classic Handlock deck. It benefits from amount of cards in your hand. One of the best cards in the slower matchups, the thing you want to mulligan for. If enemy doesn’t put too much pressure on you, you might easily get him out on turn 4. A 8/8 minion on turn 4 is really hard to handle without big-game-hunter. With 10 cards in your hand, you can get him down to 3 mana. Against Aggro decks, he’s too slow, because you can’t keep early removals in your hand and not play them just to get your Giant out on 4. But sometimes, later in the game, you can still use him for 6 or 7 mana. The good thing about Mountain Giant is that he’s usually, along the Twilight Drake, the first big threat you put out. He baits removals, so when you use your other threats (and you have quite a few of them) they’re much safer. Sometimes, when enemy has no answer, you might just push for a lot of damage and kill your opponent in the mid game. You can try to race any slower deck that had no answers for your mid game threats, especially if you drop two of those back to back.

Molten Giant

One of the strongest, if not the strongest card in this deck. It has great synergy with Handlock. Starting with Hero Power – with every Life Tap you bring yourself closer to Molten Giants range. Hellfire also damages you. You start slowly, so you give enemy some time to hit your face. You run a lot of healing to get up again after you’ve already dropped your Moltens. You use Taunt givers to make them not only big threats, but big threats with Taunt that enemy has to go through in order to damage you. Molten Giants aren’t great only because they’re 8/8. They’re great because of the tempo they give you. You can look at them as a come-back mechanic. You’re sacrificing a lot of tempo and life for card advantage. And then, while still having the card advantage, you drop two 8/8 Taunts on the same turn. That’s a huge tempo swing and almost no deck can deal with that. They let you stabilize the game against Aggro decks. When they’re trying to rush you down, dropping a Molten + Taunt usually stops their advance completely. And probably the most important thing is that enemy has to acknowledge them. They have to think about Molten Giants every game, even if you didn’t draw them. If you’d be playing another Control deck at 15 health and enemy had 2-3 minions on the board, they’d just hit you in the face and probably kill you in two turns. Against Handlock, they can’t do that. Unless they’re really desperate, they’re forced to play around your Moltens.

General Strategy

Handlock is a really hard deck with a lot of decision making. It’s almost impossible to make a writeup of what you can do every turn, because every game is unique. We’re gonna go through the most popular possible plays and things you might do from early to late game against different types of the deck. If you want to read about more in-depth strategy against each deck, check out the Matchups and Mulligan part!

Early Game

Handlock is a really slow deck, but depending on the enemy you face, you might want to speed up. The standard play is to pass turn 1, tap on turn 2 + 3 and then start developing your threats at turn 4. However, against Aggro decks that often means death if you have no Molten Giants in your hand.

mortal-coil is your way to deal with enemy 1-drops. It’s good at killing things like leper-gnome that would deal a lot of damage over course of few turns. darkbomb lets you kill enemy 2-drops and some of the 3-drops. However, the best way to stop Aggro decks in their tracks is activated ancient-watcher. Here, you have two options. You might either activate him with ironbeak-owl. It makes your Watcher a 4/5 minion that can attack, so you can clear their early drops with him. Other way is to Taunt him up with your sunfury-protector. It puts a 4/5 Taunt on turn 2 or 3, which may be hard to deal with for an Aggro deck.

If you’re starting with Coin, you might Coin out twilight-drake on turn 3. If you have no Mountain Giant in your hand, the play is usually good.

And that’s pretty much everything you can do in the early game. You don’t care about losing some health, but remember that you need to stabilize around turn 4 or 5. Tapping for the first few turns against Aggro might backfire, so try to do something else and stop their early game aggression.

Mid Game

Mid Game is when the Handlock starts shining. Turn 4 is one of the most important turns. If you drop your mountain-giant or twilight-drake and enemy has no answer, you’re suddenly in a great shape. Turn 4 is also when your AoEs come into the action. For shadowflame you need to have a minion on the board, so it often can’t come until turn 6 (unless you’ve dropped Watcher earlier and it was ignored). But hellfire is great at stopping Aggro decks, it often kills 3-4 minions.

Turn 5 you have couple of options. The most popular one is sludge-belcher. It’s incredible against Aggro and fine against Control. It definitely stops a lot of damage if not Silenced. You might Taunt up something you’ve dropped earlier with either Sunfury Protector or defender-of-argus if you need to. Defender of Argus on Twilight Drake is especially good, it makes it able to trade with all the 5 health minions like Sludge Belcher, loatheb or emperor-thaurissan. If you’re in desperate need of healing, you may use your antique-healbot on turn 5. If you have other ways of stabilizing, don’t do it, though. As a Handlock, you benefit from being at low health.

If playing against Aggro decks, your molten-giants are probably gonna come during the mid game. On the one hand, don’t be too greedy with them. Don’t get down to 10 if you know enemy might have some sort of burst. But on the other hand, using them for 5-6 mana is usually wrong. You don’t gain almost any tempo by doing that and you can’t Taunt it up on the same turn. You need to play a little risky and wait until they’re 2-3 mana (or even less against some opponents) before playing them. This guarantees a big tempo swing in your favor, and that’s exactly what you want against Aggro.

Depending on the matchup, you might want to Life Tap a lot. If it’s a fast, Aggro matchup – just play your hand and Tap only when you have free mana. Against slow decks you can Tap almost every turn, because you aren’t under much pressure most of time. Just remember that if you intend to Tap this turn, do it at the start. The card you’re gonna draw might change your play and you want to have the opportunity to think everything through.

Something like Tap + Twilight Drake is a good turn 6 play. Depending on the board state, you might also drop Emperor Thaurissan. Emperor is great in Handlock, but he’s also pretty slow and actually you lose a lot of tempo on the turn you play him. Sometimes you can’t afford to lose more tempo and then you want to keep him for later. Your other option is Sylvanas. If enemy has pretty good board, but he’s not threatening lethal, you might drop her. If enemy doesn’t have Silence, you’re probably gonna get some value from the Deathrattle. Yet another turn 6 option is siphon-soul. You want to save it for when enemy drops a big threat you can’t deal with otherwise. Against decks that run big threats that you’re gonna have hard time killing, if you can get a decent trade with your minions and other spells like Darkbomb and Mortal Coil – don’t waste your Siphon Soul. You need to know the value of your minion’s health against value of the big removal. If you have little board presence and no good minions in your hand, using Siphon Soul on something like Yeti is fine to keep your only minions alive. But when you know that enemy deck runs ysera and you wan’t have a way to kill her, don’t use your Siphon Soul on let’s say shieldmaiden.

Late Game

Late Game in Handlock is really hard, because the more mana you have, the more different lines of play you can take. The good thing about Handlock is that pretty much all of his mid game threats translate really well into later turns. Twilight Drake and Giants are great for the whole game, things like Emperor or Sylvanas also can get great value later. Even Ancient Watcher has its uses – 4 damage AoE with Shadowflame or being a decent Taunt on the opponent’s way.

When it comes to late game only threats – the first one is Dr. Boom. It’s great turn 7 play, but in Handlock you have so many options that Boom won’t always be the best one. Handlock runs a lot of Big Game Hunter targets, so if you’ve dropped Giants before Dr. Boom, you don’t really have to worry about BGH – most of the times you’re gonna get full value.

The ultimate late game card is Jaraxxus. One of the most important decisions when playing Handlock is when to use him. This one is really hard, because you have to base your decision on the cards you’ve drawn, on the enemy you play against, on amount of health you have, on the state of the board etc. For example, in Handlock mirror it might be worth to play Jaraxxus on turn 9 even if it means the card actually deals damage to you. If you have the board Control, enemy can’t burst you down from 15 anyway, and it’s gonna be much easier to keep the board control with additional 6/6 every turn. It’s similar against any deck that can’t burst you down, like Priest. On the other hand, in some matchups (like Hunter) you’re valuing the “heal” (e.g. taking you from 5 to 15 health) more than the new Hero Power.

If you’re facing a slow matchup, try to Tap every turn. The card advantage is what you’re gonna win most of Control games with. Different options when playing Handlock are so important that you might even sometimes Tap when you have let’s say 5 cards left in your deck.

Most of your late game turns will be the mix of the mid game plays. You might go for the board clear with Shadowflame / Hellfire. You might go for Tap + Giant + Drake + Taunt. You might Tap + Siphon Soul something big. We can’t really go through all the possibilities, because there are just too many of those. You have to make those decisions yourself. The more experience you have with the deck, the easier is to take the right path. So all we can do is advice you to play the deck yourself and learn by practice!

Win Conditions

Handlock is a standard Control deck when it comes to win conditions.You’re aiming for a longer game, and rarely you win it before late game. The only tempo win condition are Molten Giants, especially against fast, aggressive decks.

  • Overwhelming enemy in the mid game. It won’t happen often, but sometimes with a good start against slow deck you might win the game with your first big threats, especially mountain-giant. Two of those and enemy not having an answer might mean winning the game around turn 6 or 7.
  • Card advantage. This is your main win condition in Control matchups. By doing efficient plays, getting 2 for 1 with your big minions and constantly drawing cards, you might win when enemy runs out of cards and you still have some. Even best topdecks rarely can beat a Handlock that gets two cards per turn.
  • Molten Giants. This win condition usually happens against more aggressive decks. A big swing turn with Molten Giant (or two) + Taunt + Heal. If enemy has no way to get through them, you usually win the game, because aggressive decks don’t have enough defensive mechanics to stand so much damage.
  • Lord Jaraxxus. Against certain classes, like Priest, Jaraxxus is your main win condition. If a deck can’t rush you down or burst you and you’re gonna play Jaraxxus, the influx of free 6/6’s is gonna win you a game easily.

Conclusion

Handlock definitely withstood the test of time. One of the oldest archetypes in Hearthstone, it’s still present and likely it won’t go away anytime soon. A great deck to play, both on ladder and in tournaments. It’s the one that takes a lot of time to master, but once you do, you’re gonna be rewarded for that.

If you’re a new Handlock player, don’t worry about losing some of the games you should have won. With so many decisions to make every turn, it’s hard to make the best ones when you’re not experienced. But if you enjoy the play style, it’s really worth learning.

If you want to read more about advanced strategies, alternate and tech cards, matchups and mulligans – check out the rest of the guide. If you have any suggestions, questions or just want to talk about the guide – please write in the comments sections below!

This is part 1 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!