Mastering the Midrange (Demon/Zoo) Warlock: Matchups and Mulligans

This is Part 3 of the Mastering the Midrange (DemonZoo) Warlock extensive deck guide series. It is split into 3 main guides: Part 1: Beginner Guide Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards and Tech Choices Part 3: Matchups and Mulligans In this section, we’re gonna show you how to play against other popular decks – whether you’re a favorite, what […]

This is Part 3 of the Mastering the Midrange (DemonZoo) Warlock extensive deck guide series. It is split into 3 main guides:

Matchups and Mulligans

In this section, we’re gonna show you how to play against other popular decks – whether you’re a favorite, what to mulligan for and the general strategy of playing against it.

Mid-Range Druid

Favored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (if you have Void Terror)

One of the easiest matchups. It’s easy to remove his threats and he needs to get a perfect start to counter your early game.

  • You want a fast start. flame-imp is the best thing you can drop on turn 1. voidwalker is much worse in this matchup, because 1 attack is not enough and you don’t need a Taunt on the first turns. Don’t drop abusive-sergeant just for the 2/1 body, it’s not worth.
  • knife-juggler is risky on turn 2, because enemy might have an answer in form of wrath, it’s still most aggressive option. If they play shade-of-naxxramas on turn 3, and you follow up with 2 creatures, your Juggler may snipe it.
  • haunted-creeper is most reliable 2-drop, but it’s much slower. It’s best if you have some way to buff him, like Abusive Sergeant or power-overwhelming.
  • You want to drop nerubian-egg only if you have an activator. The best one here is void-terror, because it comes a turn before enemy keeper-of-the-grove. In the worst case scenario, he might innervate it out.
  • imp-gang-boss is good on turn 3, because it’s pretty hard to deal with. It might get countered by enemy’s piloted-shredder, so you want to have something on the board to kill the first body of the Shredder, or a defender-of-argus to buff your Imp Gang Boss.
  • By the time of mid game, unless enemy had perfect answers, you should have the board control. Don’t overextend into swipe because that’s one of the most common ways for the Druid to come back. Try to not use imp-losion before enemy shows his Swipe. Taking the most efficient trades and leaving your minions at 1 health might be a good tactic against some decks, but not always against Druids.
  • voidcaller tends to be either really weak or really strong in this matchup. If enemy has Silence as an answer, it’s really weak for a 4-drop. On the other hand, if you manage to get doomguard on turn 5, Druids have no hard removals, so it’s likely to stick on the board.
  • Turn 5 is most likely a Taunt turn – Mid-Range Druids run two, druid-of-the-claw and sludge-belcher. Those are usually the only ones in their whole deck. They’re are relatively easy to get through because of all the buffs.
  • By the mid game, you should get enemy low enough to start pushing for damage. Still, keep the board control all the time, or you might be surprised by a big savage-roar. Try to finish the game off before Druid can combo. Even if not for lethal, he might get a good board clear thanks to it. If for some reason you’re at low health and you’re afraid of the combo, your Taunts and malganis might give you couple of turns.

Ramp Druid

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (if you have Void Terror), Ironbeak Owl

This matchup is much harder than the Mid-Range Druid. Even though the first few turns are pretty similar, Ramp Druids have completely different late game aim, with a lot of slow creatures and Taunts.

  • The first few turns will be similar to the last matchup. You aim for a fast start. You want to play even more aggressively than against Mid-Range Druid. Sometimes you need to take a risk and play into Swipe, because otherwise you won’t win the game.
  • They’re gonna play a lot of Taunts. In many games you’ll have to use over 50 damage in order to get through all of them, so plan carefully and don’t waste your damage.
  • You have no spell reach, you can’t finish enemy through the Taunts. So you need to put as much damage as you can in the early game.
  • Your big drops (sea-giant, dr-boom, malganis) are great ways to get through the Taunts. They are however vulnerable to big-game-hunter, and Ramp Druid often runs 2 copies.
  • ironbeak-owl might save the day. If you get a nice push in the early game, you might use it to finish enemy off. If enemy is still high, don’t use it on small taunts. Keep it against either sylvanas-windrunner or ancient-of-war. Both can mess up with your board.
  • If Ramp Druid gets a slow start, punish him. The more minions you have on the board, the easier it is to get through the taunts in the best way. If he’s playing from behind, he’ll often be forced to do sub-optimal plays and won’t have a time to use his Hero Power to finish off your 1 health guys.
  • This matchup is really slow, so if it gets into the late game, tap every turn. You don’t worry about your health total, because Ramp Druid has limited ways to burst you. Maximum amount of damage he can reliably do from his hand is 8-9.
  • If you face a lot of Ramp Druids, you might consider teching in the-black-knight, but the card is otherwise not that good in the current meta.

Aggro/Face Hunter

Equal

Cards you look for: Voidwalker, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Ironbeak Owl, Defender of Argus

This matchup is often decided by how the first turns go – whether you get answers for their early aggression. But overall it’s pretty equal.

  • Voidwalker is absolutely the best card you can drop on turn 1. You stop enemy 1-drops, and it protects your 2-drop. Flame Imp is much worse, because it dies to their 1-drops and glaivezooka. On top of that, losing 3 health is a big price against Hunter.
  • If you have an Owl, keep it for their mad-scientist. Most of the Face Hunter builds run 2x explosive-trap, but some of them also include a single freezing-trap, snake-trap or even misdirection. You should play around Explosive in the first place. You might want to drop nerubian-egg on the board before proccing it – Explosive activates your Egg.
  • haunted-creeper is the safest 2-drop, and it has a lot of potential. It gets good trades with most of their minions. With help of some buffs, it can even kill misha – which is often the biggest creature in the Face Hunter deck.
  • Imp Gang Boss is perfect against Aggro Hunter. It has 4 health so it usually takes 2 hits before dying. That means he also spawns 2 additional 1/1’s. Tokens are really good against Face Hunter, because all his minions have low health. Be careful to not keep too many of them on your board at the same time because of unleash-the-hounds. That’s the reason why imp-losion is pretty bad in this matchup, so try to not use it unless you really have to.
  • Your best 4-drop is probably defender-of-argus. It gives you 2 Taunts, which stop their aggression. 2/3 body is also enough to trade with pretty much anything.
  • Voidcaller is also great if it won’t get Silenced. Getting Mal’Ganis is your best bet – even if Hunter has a way to deal with it (e.g. kill-command + quick-shot) he’s losing so much damage that it’s definitely worth.
  • In most of the games you won’t be able to use your big drops. The game usually ends by turn 6-7. But if you manage to slow him down and get to turn 9, using Mal’Ganis from your hand might often save you from certain Death. It’s uncommon that Hunter is keeping Silence that long against Zoo deck, so usually his only way to get through him is dealing 7 damage to him.
  • Don’t tap, unless your hand’s quality is really bad. Each tap gets you closer to death. Against Hunter, every 2 health is really precious. Even if he gets pretty slow start and you might feel safe, don’t fall for it. With the right cards, in mid game Face Hunter can deal ~20 damage in the course of 2-3 turns.
  • Teching in kezan-mystic, mortal-coil, argent-squire or some sort of AoE (preferably not hellfire, because it also deals damage to your Hero) improves this matchup.

Mid-Range Hunter

Equal

Cards you look for: Voidwalker, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Ironbeak Owl, Nerubian Egg (with an activator), Defender of Argus

Even though the first turns are pretty similar to Face Hunter matchup, you’re gonna soon notice the difference. The deck is much slower and puts bigger emphasis on board control.

  • First 2-3 turns go pretty similar to match against Face Hunter. Mid-Range Hunter also plays couple of aggressive 1-drops and weapons. The main difference is that he’ll often trade into your minions, especially with the weapons.
  • Mid-Range Hunter uses freezing-trap. They often also run 1x Explosive, but Freezing is present in every deck list.  Your best way to proc it is either a 1/1 token or Abusive Sergeant. Re-using him for 3 mana might come handy later in the match.
  • Their mid game is pretty similar to yours when it comes to the pure strength. Hunters have really hard time dealing with your big Demons so early, especially if you hide them behind the taunt, so Voidcaller might get good value. Be careful, however, because many builds run a single hunters-mark, which may mess up with your game plan. Two medium sized creatures are usually better than one big.
  • Be careful about flooding your board, especially with small tokens. Play around Knife Juggler + Unleash the Hounds combo, as it’s often the only thing that may destroy you.
  • Some builds use sludge-belcher, but he shouldn’t be a big threat.
  • Turn 6 is often savannah-highmane turn. Don’t ignore it. You’ll often have to put a big amount of resources into killing it, but it’s worth. If you leave it on the board, it will hit you for 6 every turn or get good trades. power-overwhelming is pretty good when it comes to dealing with Highmane – your small minion might easily destroy the first body. If you’re racing the Hunter, and you have much more power on the board, then you can leave it. Remember that Hunter might buff it with houndmaster, so often you’re gonna be forced to deal with it anyway.
  • Mid-Range Hunters sometimes run a big Legendary card, usually one. Most popular ones are dr-boom and ragnaros-the-firelord. If you have the board control, neither of them is really scary for you. If you have a lot of creatures on the board, boom-bots have small chance to hit the right targets. Killing the main body can be problematic, but buffs should help you again. Ragnaros is often RNG-dependant. If he hits your Doomguard, it’s really bad. But if he hits your 1/1 or Nerubian Egg, you don’t really care about him. Don’t leave him on the board for too long, though. Even if he hits sub-optimal targets, after few turns he’s gonna get a great value. Leave him only if you’re already pushing for lethal and you can’t commit resources into killing him.

Freeze Mage

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss, Ironbeak Owl

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (if you have another 2-drop)

Really hard matchup. Minions are your only damage source, and you can’t attack when they’re frozen. Freeze Mage has a lot of ways to disrupt your board.

  • You want to push as much damage as you can before he starts freezing your board. Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant and Knife Juggler are good drops to start the game.
  • Imp Gang Boss is good, because enemy doesn’t really want to damage him, because he spawns additional 1/1’s.
  • On turn 5 enemy might do the frost-nova + doomsayer combo if your board is too big – keep the Owl in case.
  • Nerubian Egg is great from mid game onwards, because his board clears will activate it for you.
  • Try to not go below 20 health, because then he might kill you without alexstrasza.
  • Doomguard is good, because he has a lot of health and charge – you can deal the 5 damage instantly.
  • Remember that if you need to, you can Silence your own minion to unfreeze it.
  • Save Mal’Ganis for the moment when Mage starts to burn you. It gives you at least one more turn.
  • Teching in loatheb and kezan-mystic make the match much easier.

Tempo Mage

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Haunted Creeper, Abusive Sergeant, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss, Voidcaller

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg, Ironbeak Owl

Another hard matchup. It’s really hard to keep the board control against Tempo Mage because of how many early removals he runs, but if you manage to stabilize, you might turn the game around.

  • Your first drops are most likely gonna be removed easily. Haunted Creeper is good, because it’s gonna stick to the board.
  • Silence Mad Scientist if you can, otherwise mirror-entity is gonna give Mage too much tempo. Abusive Sergeant or Voidwalker are usually the best minions to activate it.
  • flamewaker is absolute terror. 4 health can be hard to deal with, especially if enemy also casts mirror-image. Sometimes you have to rely on 1/3 chance to kill him with imp-losion.
  • Nerubian Egg is great against Tempo Mage, because both flamecannon and pings from Flamewaker hit random targets. Some builds also run arcane-missiles, which works the same as pings.
  • Imp Gang Boss also works because of how many pings Tempo Mage has. It also clears the sorcerers-apprentice, which you absolutely have to kill as soon as you can.
  • Voidcaller is really good, because most of Tempo Mage builds don’t run Silence. Getting a big Demon out might be your best bet to win. Mage has pretty easy way to kill them with fireball, but that’s always one Fireball down.
  • mechanical-yeti is their usual turn 4 play. If you have board control, it’s not scary. But if you don’t, it’s almost impossible for you to deal with it.
  • If you get some board control back, use defender-of-argus to protect your life total. Tempo Mage has a lot of spell burn, so once you fall down below 15 health, you’re in danger.
  • If enemy gets archmage-antonidas + couple of cheap spells, you’re on the clock. You need to finish the game in next turn or two, or the enemy will kill you.
  • Some builds run flamestrike so don’t overextend into it.
  • Loatheb, Kezan Mystic and AoE removals all make this matchup easier.

Aggro Paladin

Favored

Cards you look for: Voidwalker, Flame Imp, Haunted Creeper, Abusive Sergeant, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Imp-losion, Defender of Argus

This matchup is slightly in your favor. Enemy runs a lot of 1 health minions, but you have a lot of 1 attack minions to answer them. If you manage to stop early aggression, they’ll run out of steam quickly.

  • First turns are again the most important ones, just like against other Aggro decks. Voidwalker is your best 1-drop, but Flame Imp isn’t that bad either. Another great early drop is Haunted Creeper. If you have a way to protect him (Voidwalker), Knife Juggler also might be a great pick.
  • You want to clear all their early game minions. Don’t worry about losing face damage, kill every 1/1 he plays. He has two problematic early game cards – shielded-minibot and muster-for-battle. Both of them need couple of hits to kill, which is pretty annoying. His 1/4 weapon is also pretty nice against you.
  • Imp Gang Boss is the turn 3 play you want (or even turn 2 with Coin). Even if he takes truesilver-champion hit, he spawns a 1/1. And if enemy has no answer, he’s gonna kill 2-3 smaller minions.
  • Imp-losion is great way to clear the board on turn 4. If he doesn’t have consecration – the small Imps will greatly help with the trades. If he has – you take the board initiative anyway, and that’s what you want. Nerubian Egg is also a great way to protect your board against their AoE.
  • You need Defender of Argus. Without him, it’s hard to stop their rush. But once you get him, the game turns around and you start taking the lead.
  • Knife Juggler + Imp-losion combo on 6 works wonders against Aggro Paladin.
  • You’ll often get out the Sea Giant for almost no cost. The problem is that Aggro Paladins usually run 2 copies of equality, so your Giant isn’t likely to survive.
  • Don’t tap too much. You don’t want to lose the health, and you don’t want to have too many cards in your hand to play around divine-favor.
  • By turn 6-7 they usually run out of cards if they don’t get a great Divine Favor. The only thing you really need to worry about in the late game is tirion-fordring. You might want to keep a Silence for it, because once you stabilize, it’s their best way to get back into the game.
  • Adding mortal-coil, argent-squire or AoE makes this matchup even better.

Mid-Range Paladin

Equal

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Haunted Creeper, Abusive Sergeant, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss, Voidcaller

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Voidwalker (if you get Abusive Sergeant), Imp-losion

A little harder than the Aggro Paladin, but still manageable. The whole game depends on whether Paladin will curve out well and have ways to clear your board.

  • Mid-Range Paladins tend to run zombie-chow, which is one of the best cards against you. You usually want to trade it 1 for 1 with the Flame Imp. Dropping Voidwalker on 1 depends on whether you have Abusive Sergeant or not. If you don’t, Voidwalker loses to both Zombie Chow and enemy’s Knife Juggler.
  • Shielded Minibot is once again your nightmare. You probably want to answer it with Haunted Creeper, because ultimately they trade 1 for 1.
  • If enemy gets a Knife Juggler on turn 2 into Muster for Battle on turn 3, you’re in a really bad spot. However, if he doesn’t curve out well and he’ll skip one of his first turns, you can easily take the board control and keep it.
  • Play around Consecration on turn 4. Don’t overextend into it. Dropping Nerubian Egg once again makes your board stronger against AoE clear.
  • Don’t rely on your big minions to win you the game. For example, it’s pretty easy to get sea-giant out, but aldor-peacekeeper or Equality can easily shut him down.
  • Kill Silver Hand Recruits to play around quartermaster.
  • Remember that Mid-Range Paladin runs a lot of defensive cards. The standard set is 2x sludge-belcher, 1x antique-healbot, 1x lay-on-hands and tirion-fordring. Some decks include coghammer which is another way to stop the aggression.

Oil Rogue

Equal

Cards you look for: All of your early drops, Voidcaller

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator)

Another equal matchup. It’s heavily draw-dependant on the side of the Rogue. It also depends on who gets the Coin – both of you want to go second.

  • Try to be as aggressive as you can. You need to push for damage fast, because later it will be really hard to keep the board presence. Voidwalker doesn’t do much damage itself, but it’s good target to take a weapon hit or removal.
  • Rogue’s weakness is that she has to take damage when removing things with weapon. This, combined with aggression, might lead to some turn 5-6 wins.
  • Rogue has a lot of early removals in form of backstab, deadly-poison, eviscerate. You can’t really play around them, but try to drop the less valuable or more sticky minions first.
  • If enemy start second, expect turn 2 Coin + si7-agent. It can kill your Flame Imp or Knife Juggler.
  • Don’t overextend your board into blade-flurry. Keeping 2-3 minions at a time is best.
  • A lot of 1/1’s are bad against fan-of-knives. It makes Imp-losion much worse. Imp Gang Boss is still great, though.
  • Defender of Argus is good to get your minions out of range of some removals.
  • Doomguard is great because it’s 5 damage enemy can’t stop. He also has a hard time dealing with it, besides the sap. If your hand is really slow and clunky, you might play it on turn 5 just to get something on the board. You don’t aim for a long game.
  • If the game goes longer, dr-boom is great against Rogue. Many builds don’t even run big-game-hunter.
  • Be careful, Oil Rogue can put a lot of burst in later turns. 15 damage with nothing on the board is pretty common.
  • Teching in Loatheb is gonna increase your win chance against this deck.

Mech Shaman

Favored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Voidcaller (if the rest of your hand is fast enough), Defender of Argus

This matchup is really easy. Mech Shaman tries to rush you down, but also needs to deal initial damage with creatures. If you keep the board control, you won’t die.

  • You definitely want a fast start. You can’t skip your first turns. The most common way for Mech Shaman to win is when you get a slow start and they cheese you with whirling-zap-o-matic + flametongue-totem or rockbiter-weapon. Flame Imp is the best turn 1 play.
  • Haunted Creeper is great if you have Abusive Sergeant. Nerubian Egg is also good with an activator. Mech Shaman has no way to deal with 4/4  so early besides crackle or lava-burst, and both of them put an Overload on his next turn. If he doesn’t kill it, it can easily deal with their 2-drops and 3-drops.
  • Knife Juggler is good because he’s a 3/2. His effect doesn’t have a great impact in this match. In the first turns it can be useful to ping annoy-o-tron‘s Divine Shield, because otherwise he might be kinda hard to get through. You want to kill mechwarper no matter what, don’t hesitate trading your Juggler with it.
  • Imp Gang Boss is always great. He trades 1 for 1 with spider-tank and leaves two 1/1’s on the board. He loses to piloted-shredder and mechanical-yeti if not buffed, though.
  • Defender of Argus might make your trades better and protect your life total. It is important, because as long enemy doesn’t take you below ~15, you shouldn’t worry about them bursting you with spells.
  • Voidcaller is great, because getting one of your big Demons usually means that you win the game. Mech Shamans rarely run hex, and if they do, its only 1 copy. They might Silence your Voidcaller with earth-shock, but at least it means that they won’t have one to get through the Taunts.
  • Imp-losion is good, because enemy has no easy way to deal with all the 1/1’s. Mech Shamans don’t run any AoE, so you can use 1/1’s to make your trades better.
  • fel-reaver can be a big problem. The easiest way to deal with him is something like Imp-losion + Power Overwhelming. Don’t let him hit you, 8 damage is too much to take. Another approach is taunt up + burn enemy cards. But you should avoid doing that if you have a clear way to deal with Fel Reaver.
  • fire-elemental is guaranteed to kill one of your smaller minions. If you have the board control, it’s not that bad. 5 health is not much on turn 6, it dies to something like Power Overwhelming on 1/1.
  • Their biggest threat is usually dr-boom. Can be hard to deal with if dropped on turn 7, but again, if you have some minions on the board, it should be enough to get rid of him.
  • Putting some sort of AoE into your deck makes the matchup even better.

Handlock

Unfavored

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss, Ironbeak Owl

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Voidcaller (if you also have Doomguard in your hand)

Handlock is favorite for two reasons – a lot of board clears and big Taunts. However, if they won’t get good answers for your threats, you might win easily.

  • You want a pretty fast start. Enemy has a lot of answers for your first drops (zombie-chow, darkbomb, mortal-coil), but some of them might live. You don’t need to push that hard in the early, unless you get a really aggressive start.
  • Don’t use Abusive Sergeant to push for damage. You want to keep it to get through the Taunts or make good trades. For example, if enemy drops ancient-watcher + sunfury-protector, you might kill the Watcher with just your Flame Imp, thanks to Abusive Sergeant.
  • You want to push for damage, but you don’t want to get enemy too low. Also, you want to dig to your burst, so Life Tap on every occasion.
  • If they had really slow start, their first minion is most likely gonna be either mountain-giant or twilight-drake. They can also use their turn 4 to hellfire your board if it’s big enough. It’s really hard to deal with their big drops on turn 4. Your advantage is having a much bigger board by that time, though.
  • Depending on your hand, you can take two approaches. First – play the slow game and try to trade. This approach may work sometimes, but don’t expect to out value the Handlock. You’re gonna run out of steam much faster than the other Warlock. So it works in a short run, but you have to switch the gears eventually.
  • The second approach is reckless aggression. If you have some burst in your hand (in form of Doomguard and/or Power Overwhelming) you might try to rush enemy down. The only problem is that Handlock runs 2x molten-giant. You need to get him to health amount at which he can play a Molten Giant, but he can’t play Molten Giant + Sunfury Protector. It means that if it’s turn 6, you can get him down to 15 health. Molten Giant + Taunt is absolutely the worst thing that can happen to you. In the best case scenario, you want to have enough burst to kill him when he’s at ~15 health. It’s pretty easy if you have 2x Power Overwhelming and Ironbeak Owl to Silence the Taunt he puts (because he’s gonna put some sort of Taunt, most possibly sludge-belcher). Sometimes, if you don’t have enough burst, you still just have to go for it and hope that he doesn’t have Molten Giants in his hand.
  • Your late game is pretty negligible, because Handlock’s late game is just stronger. Once he stabilizes with Taunts, he heals and puts his big threats. If they have Molten Giant(s) and you have no burst to get through that phase of his health in one push, you won’t win against Handlock.
  • sylvanas-windrunner might increase your chances to win in this matchup. It’s pretty vulnerable to Silence, though.

Zoo Warlock (mirror)

Equal

Cards you look for: Flame Imp, Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, Imp Gang Boss, Ironbeak Owl

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Voidcaller (with Coin)

Mirror match. There are many different builds of Zoo Warlock, but your win conditions and play style are similar, so it’s mostly about the draws, RNG and predicting opponent’s moves.

  • You absolutely want to keep the board control. Both you and your enemy benefit greatly from having board presence, so denying him that, while having it yourself is a great deal.
  • Voidwalker start is usually too slow, especially if you’re going second and enemy drops a Flame Imp on turn 1. You want to drop the biggest threat you can every turn.
  • Nerubian Egg is great if you have an activator, because it serves as both removal and a thing on the board. If they drop an Egg and you have Owl, you may Silence it. It’s the second most important Silence target after Voidcaller. Silencing it gives you a lot of early game tempo, which might really snowball.
  • Haunted Creeper is great as always when combined with Abusive Sergeant. If you feel lucky, you can throw Knife Juggler on the board and use the 2 knives you get from Creeper’s Deathrattle to try to kill something.
  • If Juggler by any chance survives until turn 4 and you have Imp-losion in your hand, the combo is great in mirror. Zoo mirror matches are often decided by who rolls better on Imp-losion.
  • Voidcaller is another important aspect. Whoever gets it and has a good Demon in his hand is a big favorite. Since you wrestle the board control back and forth, you aren’t gonna have too many minions on the board. With almost no minions, dealing with Doomguard or Mal’Ganis is pretty much impossible. Getting one often means winning the game.
  • Tap whenever you have some free mana. You’re both gonna run out of cards pretty soon because of all the trading. Getting a nice card advantage can be a good way to win the game. Don’t make suboptimal plays just to draw a card, though!
  • Sea Giant is great in mirror matchup. There are a lot of things going on the board, so getting a cheap Sea Giant is pretty easy.
  • Dr. Boom is another big drop. If you have the board initiative and drop him, he’s gonna get great value.
  • Be careful, because some builds run sylvanas-windrunner. It’s great against you big drops. But other than that, Zoo Warlock don’t use big-game-hunter, so your big minions should be pretty safe.
  • Teching in Shadowflame is great in mirror. It can easily remove their whole board with a little to no sacrifice.

Control Warrior

Favored

Cards you look for: All of your early drops, Voidcaller

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg (with activator), Defender of Argus (with a good curve)

Relatively easy matchup. You have to end it pretty fast, though, because once the Warrior stabilizes, it’s hard for you to get back into the game.

  • You need to get as aggressive as you can against Control Warrior. All his early cards are either small minions that can’t really hurt you or the removals. You want to start with a flame-imp to see if enemy has his fiery-war-axe. It’s one of the best cards against Zoo. If he has it, play your slower 2-drop – Haunted Creeper or Nerubian Egg. If he doesn’t, you can go ahead and play Knife Juggler. Juggler gets a great value, because every point of damage you deal is precious.
  • If he drops armorsmith or acolyte-of-pain, try to kill them in 1 hit. You don’t want the Warrior to get value.
  • Try to remove all his armor every turn, so he can’t get a good shield-slam.
  • Imp Gang Boss is fine, but not great. It often just eats a deaths-bite hit, and the 1/1’s aren’t that useful in this matchup.
  • Voidcaller is great 4-drop. Warrior might have a way to deal with your bigger Demons (usually execute), but his removals are limited.
  • Defender of Argus is also good. You get +2 attack, which is really important. You also might protect your important minions behind something like taunted 1/1’s. You can also make his second Death’s Bite hit more awkward.
  • Imp-losion is fine once he has used his Death’s Bite. Some Control builds run additional whirlwind, but only one copy.
  • brawl is your biggest enemy. You want to make your board as resilient to Brawl as you can before turn 5 hits. Having a Nerubain Egg, Haunted Creeper or Voidcaller all make the Brawl less scary. The good thing is that you’re gonna have the board initiative after Brawl. Most decks run only one copy, so you usually can just flood the board as much as you can after you see the first one.
  • Your big drops might help you finish the game off, because enemy is often using his removals on your small stuff. Keep in mind that Control Warrior uses Big Game Hunter, so don’t completely rely on your big drops or he might swing the game back in his favor.
  • Try to win the game before turn 10. Once the Warrior starts to stabilize and you lose the board control, your chances to win the game get much lower. Warrior can get +2 Armor each turn, and has a lot of other ways to gain it (Armorsmith, shield-block, shieldmaiden).
  • sylvanas-windrunner is great against Control Warrior.

Patron Warrior

Unfavored

Cards you look for: All of your early drops, Voidcaller

Cards you might keep: Nerubian Egg, Defender of Argus (with a good curve)

One of your worst matchups. You have no answers for their combos, so if they keep your early aggression in check, you aren’t likely to win the game.

  • Against Patron Warrior, you absolutely need an aggressive start. You want to finish the game before Patron Warrior can start throwing his combos.
  • Play risky and don’t worry about removals. If he has answers for your threats, he won the game anyway. Still, try to protect your higher attack minions against weapons with voidwalker.
  • dread-corsair is really bad for you if he gets it along the weapon. Getting him out for 1 (Fiery War Axe) or 0 (Death’s Bite) mana is a a really high tempo swing.
  • Nerubian Egg is pretty good against Patron Warrior, because with all the whirlwind effects going around, he might activate it for you.
  • Your Abusive Sergeant, Haunted Creeper and all the 1/1 Imps are really bad in this matchup. They die easily to whirlwind effects, and if it’s later in the game, enemy can just spawn a lot of Patrons thanks to them. They are also weak against both Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain.
  • Voidcaller is your best bet to win the game. Patron Warrior’s only answer to Doomguard or Mal’Ganis on turn 5 is execute. If he doesn’t get it, you might snowball the game.
  • Most of the lists don’t run Brawl, so don’t worry about overextending into the board. You want to deal as much damage as you can.
  • Defender of Argus is great to put your small / damaged minions out of the AoE range. You can also protect certain minions against weapon hits.
  • Dr. Boom is pretty good, but might also backfire. If you use him on 7, and enemy has warsong-commander + grim-patron on 8, he might get a lot of Patrons if the bombs go his way.
  • If enemy has 1-2 Patrons on the board, remove them at all cost. If he starts cloning them, you have absolutely no way to stop it. Once he gets 3-4 Patrons and is still at good health total, you lose the game.
  • Also be careful, because they can put a lot of burst with frothing-berserker. The more minions you have on the board, the bigger he can get. 20+ damage in one turn is possible.
  • Teching in AoE greatly increases your chances. A single hellfire or shadowflame against board full of Patrons might win you the game.

Closing

Be sure to check out the other 2 sections of the Midrange Warlock guide: