Our updated guide to one of Hearthstone's most enduring decks.
Our Handlock deck list guide features the best Ashes of Outland deck list for Season 73 of Hearthstone (April 2020). Our Handlock guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.
Handlock is a Hearthstone deck that has had a place in the game’s meta for a long time now. It may no longer be the powerhouse it once was, but it certainly caused problems when Genn Greymane refreshed the archetype for The Witchwood expansion. Since that card was doomed to the Hall of Fame, things looked pretty bad for the archetype.
However, we’re seeing a decent bit of experimentation with new cards from Ashes of Outland. The Dark Portal and Enhanced Dreadlord are here to cheat out big minions, and Kanrethad Ebonlocke (plus Kanrethad Prime) work fantastically with Handlock. Our revealed card, Keli’dan the Breaker is a great replacement for the rotating-out Lord Godfrey too, giving Handlock a surprising number of tools. We’ll see if any of them actually work.
In our latest Handlock guide, you can find the top deck list currently seeing play in competitive Hearthstone. You’ll also find some in-depth strategy advice on how to pilot the deck, Mulligan tips, and a closer look at the key cards and combos in the deck.
UPDATE – APRIL 2020
We’ve updated the deck list for Ashes of Outland thanks to the brand new cards added. We’ll keep you updated when we know more about the deck’s place in the meta!
Handlock deck list and strategy
This is the iteration of Handlock we’re trying out for the start of Ashes of Outland, created by Twitch user InspectorZenit. We’re sure the meta will be switching all the time though, so we’ll be sure to keep you nice and updated on it.
|2 x Sacrificial Pact||1 x Maiev Shadowsong|
|1 x Mortal Coil||2 x Twilight Drake|
|2 x Nether Breath||1 x Khartut Defender|
|2 x Plot Twist||1 x Scrapyard Colossus|
|1 x Expired Merchant|
|1 x Kanrethad Ebonlocke|
|1 x Sense Demons|
|2 x Dark Skies|
|2 x The Dark Portal|
|2 x Crazed Netherwing|
|1 x Keli’dan the Breaker|
|2 x Abyssal Summoner|
|1 x Valdris Felgorge|
|1 x Zzeraku the Warped|
|1 x Fel Lord Betrug|
|1 x Twisting Nether|
|2 x Enhanced Dreadlord|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAf0GDNsG3AbECImdA6GhA/2kA/CsA/GsA9a5A/O7A+2+A+6/AwmjAY0I2psD5awD66wD7KwD7qwDv7kDxLkDAA==
- 1. Descent of Dragons – Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons guide
- 2. Tier List – Hearthstone deck tier list (Descent of Dragons)
- 3. Best Dragons – 5 Best Dragons in Descent of Dragons
- 4. Zoo Warlock – Zoo Warlock deck list guide (Descent of Dragons)
- 5. Quest (Plot Twist) Warlock – Quest Warlock deck list guide (Descent of Dragons)
- 6. Highlander Warlock – Highlander Warlock deck list guide (Descent of Dragons)
- 7. Mecha’thun Warlock – Mecha’thun Warlock deck list guide (Descent of Dragons)
- 8. Galakrond Warlock – Galakrond Warlock deck list guide (Descent of Dragons)
If you’ve been a fan of Handlock from back in the day then much of what you’ll see here will be immediately familiar to you. The loss of Genn Greymane makes the list slightly different from Even Warlock from the Year of the Raven, but this version is played similarly in principle and more akin to the original Handlock. You’ll need to Life Tap to fill your hand with cards, drop big minions on the board, and then overwhelm your opponent with them.
Descent of Dragons has added a few more pieces to the Handlock puzzle, so it’s a fun deck to try out again if you’ve missed it.
Early game: Life Tap. Life Tap. And Life Tap. That’s most likely going to be your play during the early turns. Mortal Coil and Dark Skies can help get enemy minions out of the way, and Frizz Kindleroost works well as a future value generator, but you want your hand to be getting as large as possible.
Mid game: Always slam down a Mountain Giant or a Twilight Drake on turn four if you have one as they’ll be the most impactful plays at this stage of the game. It’s especially good if you can pair either of those big drops with a Sunfury Protector to give you some excellent early game protection, or a Big Ol’ Whelp to keep your deck ticking over. Abyssal Summoner and Khartut Defender are also solid drops at this stage of the game.
Elsewhere, Lord Godfrey and Twisting Nether are your main AOE board clears. If you’ve taken a bit of a beating in the early game you can look to heal up with Khartut Defender and Zilliax.
Late game: Continue planting big minions on the board and taunting them up where possible to overload your opponent with giant threats. Alexstrasza helps activate your Dragon synergies whilst in hand and if you’ve discounted her with Frizz Kindleroost will only cost 7 mana. She can heal you up to 15 if you’ve taken a beating or knock the enemy down to 15 if needed. Malygos is here too, as a decent finisher if you need that extra reach. Soulfire and Nether Breath are cheap damage spells and can go face, so as long as you’ve got the discount or if Malygos can survive for a turn you can end the game with burst damage if needed.
Here are some thoughts on dealing with aggro decks:
- 1. Control the early game with your cheap removal cards such as Mortal Coil, Nether Breath, and Dark Skies.
- 2. In a desperate situation, Plot Twist can refresh your hand completely.
- 3. Using Life Tap frequently in the early game may seem dangerous against aggro but you have taunts and healing to keep you safe going into the mid-to-late game.
- 4. As soon as your opponent extends too far on the board you can hope for Keli’dan the Breaker as a topdeck – even if not, he’s a strong single target removal.
- 5. As soon as you’ve dropped you giant minions on the board you can start ignoring their weak little minions and go straight for the enemy’s face.
Here are some tips on handling more control-orientated players on the ladder:
- 1. You have even more freedom to Life Tap in the early game against control as they’ll have a slow start too.
- 2. Control decks are more likely to be able to remove your big threats, meaning you’ll have to keep putting pressure on non-stop.
- 3. Valdris Felgorge increases your hand size to 12, meaning you can activate your hand size effects even more strongly.
- 4. Be prepared to lose your first couple of big minions to their removal effects, but make sure you have another larger play to follow up with on later turns.
Handlock Mulligan guide
Different matchups will require different priorities in the Mulligan but there are a few you should definitely look out for:
- 1. Kanrethad Ebonlocke discounts your Demons, is a decent bit of board presence, and shuffles the super-powerful Kanrethad Prime into your deck when he dies.
- 2. Nether Breath: When you’re holding a Dragon like Twilight Drake or Zzeraku the Warped, this spell deals 4 to an enemy minion, whilst healing you for 4 – game-changing against faster opponents.
- 3. Dark Skies: Against aggro, Dark Skies can clear off their entire early board if you play it at the right time.
- 4. Mortal Coil: Use this to finish off your opponent’s early weaker drops while also ensuring that your hand remains full.
Handlock tips and card combos
Keep all of these potential card combos in mind when playing Handlock.
– Mortal Coil will draw you a card if the damage is used to kill a minion, which is a huge bonus as it maintains your hand size to get the full use out of Mountain Giant and Twilight Drake still.
– Twilight Drake gains an extra point of Health for each card you have in your hand when you play the Dragon onto the board.
– Kanrethad Prime summons 3 random Demons that died this game, meaning you’ll want to get some big ones on the board. Even the ones created by Abyssal Summoner can be great resurrections thanks to their chunky stats.
– Zzeraku the Warped summons a 6/6 every time you take damage, making hitting that Life Tap button even more valuable than usual. It’s amazingly powerful against Demon Hunter effects, like the awakening damage of Imprisoned Antaen.
– Sense Demons is a 3 mana draw 2, just like Arcane Intellect. However, it’ll tutor for Demon minions, making it valuable for getting your larger minions into your hand, including Kanrethad Prime.
– Abyssal Summoner can get you a huge minion while you have a large hand. It has Taunt too, protecting your face from damage.
– Keli’dan the Breaker is a full board clear with a 3/3 attached if you draw him the same turn you play him, but even if you don’t, it’s strong single-target removal in the same way Vilespine Slayer was.