Creating a working Demonlock has been the dream of most deckbuilders since GvG came out, and although it seemed easy to do so, it was actually hell making Mal’Ganis work, some even just came out and said it plain sucked after trying a lot of different Demonlock Builds.
Fact is, you indeed could make a Demonlock, there were tons and tons of lists popping out in the internet, but none of these decks were viable enough that you could hit Legend with it. Well, look no further! I managed to make a Demonlock list that actually has upsides over the current all-mighty Handlock list, and is viable enough that you can even hit legend with it!
Yes yes, I know you were expecting a Demon-filled deck, with a lot of bad/situational cards instead of something that looks so much like Handlock itself. Well, truth is: Handlock is just too good, but with GvG we got new options to make it so the deck gets less vulnerable to Midranges and Aggros in General, and that is the main reason why all of these additions were made.
In fact, my first idea was not to make a Handlock-Demonlock hybrid, but the more I turned the deck consistent and efficient, the more the deck started to look like Handlock. But make no mistake, you lose minions like Ancient Watcher and Twillight Drake, but gain more room for consistency with strong and reliable early game Demons that have more potential, I will try to explain all the changes made to the Handlock itself and try to explain why this deck is so strong.
The main idea was the swap cards that were bad, but with the potential to be excellent, for cards that are decent, with the potential of being good.
These changes also allowed me to make some other minor changes, these are all the changes from the standard Handlock to the current deck you guys are seeing:
mortal-coil -> voidwalker: Mortal coil is used to ping minions, they’re usually terrible cards but have the potential to be decent. Voidwalker is a reliable enough taunt early in the game, has the potential of being buffed by Demonfire becoming an early game Threat against aggro as well as is a mana-escape card that can be casted whenever you want later in the game, making it an ok” substitute on the deck.
darkbomb -> demonfire: You take away 1 damage, in exchange you get the utility of sometimes buffing a minion +2/+2, which is strong enough to be considered. Remember you run small minions so the buff can be game changing at times.
ancient-watcher -> mistress-of-pain: I always loved this card, its healing ability is game changing versus any kind of strategy, remember we are playing Warlock so we’ll always be taking damage, be it from our Opponent’s Aggro minions, or from our own hero power, which makes it so this card is much better than its brother, ancient-watcher that even needs an activator in order to work.
twilight-drake -> voidcaller: Running Demons? Its only obvious we add this card in. Even if we get a Voidwalker out with this guy, we’re still getting value from it, the fact we don’t have many demons AND are playing Handlock, means we’re most likely to always cast either malganis or lord-jaraxxus, which are very strong plays (and yes, a 3/15 on the board is very strong early in the game). Remember we are running 10 demons on our deck, which is 1/3 of the deck.
1x shadowflame -> 1x imp-losion: Was the latest addition to the deck, I am still not sure which one to use, but as we are playing a Deck that fights for the board easier as well as doesn’t run 2 copies of ancient-watcher, I felt like adding this spell that not only does damage, but also generates board presence was a good idea.
ironbeak-owl -> malganis: Oh, we’re not running Watchers anymore? Yay! We can now replace one of our utility slots for a late-game fattie, and a Demon one too, the biggest ever!
With these changes the deck became better against most matches, and still holds its big value against others. You also lose some situational stuff and add better overall cards that will make your Aggro matchup decent!
I tested this deck against a lot of strong decks in the meta played by some top-legend players in my friend list, including the lists that recently won this week’s tournaments, and thus far this deck is safe enough to be played on the ladder!
Dont we need more Demons?
This is the first thing people who see the list asks me, and the answer is: No. Other Demon are usually terrible, and by playing the “Handlock” game you make sure you always have so many cards in the deck, that you will for sure have one of your 8 demons in your hand.
In case you don’t feel confortable enough with only 8 demons, try running floating-watcher instead of sludge-belcher, but I’ll just go ahead and say the Watchers were outperformed by the Belchers on the gameplay tests I did. At least against Aggro, you always would prefer the Belcher over a Watcher, even if you have a Voidcaller in play.
Some Gameplay Tips
This deck should be played like a Handlock deck, but can be played with a very strong early game in case you are facing an Aggro deck.
If you are facing an Aggro deck, try to mulligan for your Mistress of Pain, Voidwalker, Imp-Losion, Hellfire and Molten giants and to a lesser extent (in case you are facing Hunter) Earthen Ring Farseer, always mulligan your Mountain Giant out against Aggro!
Against Control, play this deck exactly like you would be playing Handlock: Mulligan all your cards out looking for Mountain Giants! In case you are playing with The Coin, remember you can drop a Mistress of Pain turn 2, or a Voidwalker turn 1 and it wont hurt your Giants turn 4. But I recommend you not casting Voidwalker against Warriors since they can just weapon it down earlier in the game, and it can be relevant to protect a minion later in the game.
There is more on the Horizon
This is still a newbie deck, which means there are still a lot more we can add to the deck in order to make it perfect, but I know this is a different approach that we can make. Please test this deck more for me, and let me know of your results, what you think is lacking in every matchup and what you think is underperforming, as well as letting me know the good results you had 😀
This is a really fun tournament option as well as a decent enough ladder option for those who are familiar with the Handlock strategy, I myself loved this deck and would bring it to a tournament this weekend in a Heartbeat. Unfortunately, I wont be able to since I am on the airport, waiting for my plane to Argentina arrive (ariba ariba!), VACATION BABY!!!
Hope you guys have very nice holidays, see you guys after the parties once im back home!
Love you all!