Hearthstone: Boosting Your Warlock

By Ozzie Mejia, Jul 03, 2014 1:00pm PDT

Hearthstone is out now on both PC and iPad. With new players joining the battle each day, Shacknews is closely examining each of the game's nine classes and learning how to play with all of them from the perspective of Chatty. Next up is Gul'dan, the Warlock.


The Warlock is a master of many strategies. There is no single strategy that Gul'dan restricts himself to and the denizens of Chatty were vocal in revealing the myriad ways that the master of the dark arts could destroy an opponent. And many of those strategies involve utilizing his 'Life Tap' Hero Power to ensure that the Warlock is never short on cards.

Why the Warlock?

Power in Hearthstone is proportional to the number of cards in your hand. The Warlock can load up on cards and can do so quickly enough to overwhelm his opponent in short order.

"Coming from [Magic: The Gathering], the three strongest words are 'draw a card,'" Chatty's dextius points out. "Given that the Warlock's ability is that with a penalty, it is tough to beat. Just being able to draw into the card you needed to win is such a huge advantage over your opponent."

Poster wtf242 concurs with the usefulness of Life Tap and its ability to keep a Warlock's hand constantly flowing, which is important when it comes to moving early and moving fast. In fact, Gul'dan can specialize in rush decks.

"I play Warlock for speed," poster Thornfist adds. "A Warlock rush deck can finish a game in 4-5 turns which leads to quick games for [daily] quests."

"Warlock is cool because you could have five Warlock decks and each one will have a different playstyle," adds Junktown. "That's also what makes them frustrating to play against. You have the control styles of zoo (that controls through minions) and miralock (that controls through spells). You have the aggro styles, which are standard (everything charges) and murlocs (everything buffs). Finally, you have the tempo-oriented handlock that involves throwing down out-of-depth minions and then going to the face while your opponent tries to come up with a solution. How do you formulate an opening game plan against that? It gets even worse that the two most popular archetypes -- zoo and handlock -- play threats from opponent ends of the spectrum."

While the Warlock has many options at his disposal, many of our Chatty posters opt for his many 'Zoo' decks. He's one of the few classes that can effectively make the most of murloc cards, a personal favorite strategy of hirez. And zoos have also proven to be a winning strategy for many of our other Chatty posters, as we'll go into shortly.

Notable cards/combos

Gul'dan has one of the most useful 1 mana minions in the game with the pesky Blood Imp, which adds one health to a random friendly minion. You'd think that Blood Imp would be easy to take down, like Young Priestess (which has the same effect), but that's not the case at all. Blood Imp's 'Stealth' effect makes it a pain to take down and it's one that can quickly derail opponents that weren't expecting it to pop up. Poster Reavers! points out that Blood Imp will often force players to include area-of-effect spells and use them early, in order to prevent it from spreading its effect early.

The Warlock's spells are also pretty dangerous. In particular, Bane of Doom has the potential to wreck opponents and swing momentum in the blink of an eye by not only destroying an opposing minion, but potentially summoning a powerful demon.

"Killing an opponent's 2 health creature (possibly by whittling a big beefy dude down) and then popping it with Bane and getting a 6/6 Dread Infernal in return has won me several games," said Thornfist. "Even if I get a Voidwalker 1/3, it's still a big swing in my favor."

Thornfist also dabbles in spells like Mortal Coil, Siphon Soul, and Hellfire to keep control of the board. He even goes as far to point to Hellfire as an effective way to neutralize Priest and Hunter decks that rely on filling the board with their own minions.

If all else fails, Gul'dan has a fail-safe that will give him a fresh start with Twisting Nether. This card will destroy all minions on the board on both sides, which is an effective last resort, should things get out of control and the Warlock find himself completely outnumbered.

Deck strategies

The Warlock is one of the classes to make the best out of 'Zoo' decks, with many Chatty posters overwhelming opponents through sheer force and numbers.

"Warlock zoo is awesome," said dextius. I love how such a budget deck can really stick it to higher budget strategies. A friend of mine has not spent a dime and has managed to get to rank 12 playing his zoo deck. The fact there are two top tier strategies, zoo and hand-lock, goes to show it is the best class. There are better decks for other classes sure, but Warlock is the most versatile."

The "Mur-Lock" Warlock was briefly mentioned, but combining it with Life Tap can create an unbeatable wall of minions quickly. Murlock Tidecaller and Murloc Tidehunter can set the table, while they're protected by Gul'dan's Voidwalker card. The murlocs are quickly powered up by Coldlight Seer, Grimscale Oracle, and Murloc Warleader, all of which offer specific buffs to murlocs.

The Mur-lock strategy is one that works quickly and one that posters like handofthrawn and bad_fish can't stand to bump into, while skankcore embraces the effectiveness of such a deck, simply saying, "I play a Zoolock deck because it works."

Those that rely more on their demons will also fall back on Legendary demon Lord Jaraxxus, who replaces the Warlock with himself and dishes out a world of pain by summoning 6/6 Dread Infernals for a low 2 mana every single turn.

Poster wtf242 will end games quickly with this card, however, users are urged to exercise caution when using him against other Warlocks. Since Lord Jaraxxus is classified as a demon, opposing Warlocks can take the 0-mana Sacrificial Pact and use it for an insta-kill to immediately end the game. Use Lord Jaraxxus carefully.


For more class strategies, check out the other installments of the Hearthstone: Why I Play series.

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