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Hi everyone, my name is Daisyx and this is a guide to my Dragon Warlock deck. A little background on myself: I reached Legend five times, competed in some minor tournaments, and am the author of the Coaching series on the Hearthstone subreddit. I am also the author of a set of Mage guides that were posted here on LiquidHearth recently. Now, to show you guys that I also play other decks besides Mage-based decks, I have decided to write a guide about Dragon Warlock. I originally got this deck from Airbrushed and MrYagut, who reached rank two Legend EU with this build earlier in the season. I made some significant changes in both decks which, in my opinion, improved them.
This deck is a midrange/control-oriented deck, which means that, against most opponents, your strategy is to obtain the board through superior value in your cards. Then, you slowly take control of the board and subsequently win since you can bleed your opponent out of cards. If you are not familiar with the concept of midrange/control decks or the concept of deck-archetypes in general, I would look up this article for an excellent description.
While some control decks are one-hundred percent control-based, such as Dragon Paladin or comboless Ramp Druid, this deck has a combo which can finish off opponents: Malygos+Soulfire/Darkbomb/Hellfire etc. While your main win condition is just to slowly bleed the opponent’s deck dry, you always need to keep an eye out if you can get lethal or set up lethal for the next turn, assuming the opponent has no way of removing Malygos.
Malygos sure knows how to end games in style.
Notable Cards and Synergies
Azure Drake + Mortal Coil/Imp-losion:Always be on the lookout for possible combos with your Azure Drake since people often don’t expect it; also since Imp-losion double-dips from the Spell Power, it is a really strong combination.
Malygos+Soulfire:This is a very nice finisher for nine (often-unexpected) damage to your opponent’s face. Similarly, if you manage to keep Malygos on the board for more than one turn you can often get lethal just with Dark Bomb(s), Soulfire, and Hellfire.
Dragon+Blackwing Corruptor:This is a slightly weaker version of fire elemental for one less Mana. if you have a Corruptor in your hand, always try to postpone playing your other dragons for as long as possible because a three damage Battlecry is absurdly strong.
Emporer Thaurissan:This card allows you to combo your spells a lot easier with Malygos and can often help you set up crazy Spell Damage-combo lethals.
BGH range and easily take them out for free.
Blackwing Corrupter is one of the main reasons to play this deck.
Since Dragonlock has a lot of one-ofs and cards that are meta-dependent, it can be easily tuned by adding or removing some cards.
BGHs are a meta call: if you meet a lot of seven plus attack minions, you definitely want two. If you don’t, only one will suffice.
BGH, you will want to cut the Sergeant as well.
Blackwing Technicians instead of two Imp Gang Bosses. I personally think that since the Technicians are not impactful enough against aggro-matchups and cause you to be super reliant on drawing your dragons, Imp Gang Boss may be the better choice.
Hellfire or Hellfire and Shadow Flame but I personally like the combo potential Hellfire gives you with Malygos to set up lethal. It also greatly strengthens your matchups against Zoo, Midrange Hunter, and Paladin when you run two of them.
Sludge Belcher (if that) but I think that they are just too good against Hunter and other early game matchups.
Sylvanas provides value in control matchups. If you find that you're mostly playing against aggro then you could cut it.
There is already a lot of different tech in this deck but there are still some meta calls to make.
Soulfire x2:Some people prefer to run two copies of Soulfire in order to facilitate the Malygos combo and set up lethal more readily. That said, I often notice that I end up spending my Soulfires on getting board control and destroying some value in my hand.
Zombie Chow x2:If you meet a lot of face/aggro matchups this might be a good addition to vastly improve your early game. However, it often ends up dead in your hand in the late game where you can’t afford to give away the five Health since it might buff your opponent out of combo range.
Imp Gang Boss but I personally don’t.
Abusive Sergeant additional uses but I often find that I can already reliably use it to assist in a trade or buff a target into BGH range.
Mal’Ganis, Jaraxxus, or any other good demon.
Matchups and Mulligans
- Zombie Chow: Keep against everything.
- Imp Gang Boss: Keep against everything.
- Twilight Drake: Keep against everything except Hunter and Shaman.
- Darkbomb: Keep against Hunter, Warlock, Mage, Priest, Paladin, and Shaman; mulligan against Warrior, Druid, and Rogue.
- Mortal Coil: Keep against Hunter; mulligan against everything else.
- Imp-Losion: Keep against Warlock, Hunter, and Shaman.
- Abusive Sergeant: Keep against Warlock and Hunter.
- Ironbeak Owl: Always Mulligan.
- Soulfire: Always Mulligan.
- Always mulligan everything else.
Lightbomb/Classic Priest 50-70%: Kolento Decklist
This is a relatively rare matchup so it is hard to give it an exact win percentage. Try to play it out as any normal control game but be careful with playing your Imp Gang Bosses after turn six since it sucks to have them stolen. Also try to limit your twilight drakes to 4-6/7 in order to prevent a Vol’Jin power play. Obviously play around the several board clears and try to use life tap to get and stay ahead. Priest often doesn’t have an answer for Malygos so make sure to play him early.
Handlock 60%: Lifecoach Decklist
This deck runs two Owls and two BGHs, making it ideal for dealing with Handlocks since you can remove four of their biggest threats from the board. Now there are two ways of playing this: the first is to go straight for your opponent’s face early on, get him or her to 10-15 life, then finish with a Malygos combo or by silencing any Taunts. The other method is to keep the Handlock somewhere in the 20+ health range until you have enough board presence to deal with the Molten Giants. Conserve your BGHs since you only have two for four giants. Also, make sure not to overextend into a Hellfire or a Watcher-Shadowflame.
A hand like this means the game is drawing to a close.
Freeze Mage 60%: Firebat Decklist
This is quite an easy matchup because of all the healing that you have. Make sure to clear your opponent’s early board and never tap below 22 Health. If you have two BGHs, it’s safe to play one for tempo. Make sure to save your Owls to silence the opponent’s Doomsayers, rather than the Acolytes and Mad Scientists. Similarly, always make sure to leave space on the board open in case of freeze so you can play BGH/Healbot/Owl when needed. Save your Healbots till after the Mage starts pushing damage or after Alexstrasza lands. Just play it slow and you should win this matchup without too many difficulties.
Tempo/Aggro/Spare Part/Mech Mage 50% Daisyx Decklist
This matchup can go either way, depending on what the Mage draws in the early game and how easily it can remove your minions. Make sure to go for board control as soon as possible and make good use of your hellfires since your opponent’s board is often extremely vulnerable to AoE removal. This deck generally only runs one BGH target (as well as one BGH+Abusive target) so if you have two in your hand it is often safe to play one of them. Make sure to play around Flamestrike if it is a Tempo Mage. Save your silences for Mad Scientists and, in general, just try to keep the board clear.
Demon Zoo 50-60%: Savjz Decklist
Since there are currently so many different versions of Zoo, it is hard to give a specific win percentage. The Zoos that have very strong early games are often the hardest since they can sometimes kill you before you can establish proper board control. That said, the ones that run Giants or Mal’ganis provide good targets for your BGH and often can’t finish you off in the early game.
Oil Rogue 20%: Firebat Decklist
Relatively rare so my sample size is quite small but for some reason I kept losing against these decks, mostly because they have very efficient ways of getting board control early when you can’t really contest it. From there, they just wombo-combo you down from 20 health at some point. Your best bet here is to try to always keep control of the board and attempt to not play into your opponent’s AoE combos.
Midrange/Ramp Druid 60%: Kolento Decklist
This matchup is almost entirely dependent on what the Druid draws. If your opponent has a few Innervates and a Wild Growth into a turn four play, there is very little you can do to salvage the board. On the flipside, if the Druid plays nothing in the first few turns, you should be able to win this easily. Try not to put all your eggs into the Twilight Drake basket since all Druids run Keeper of the Grove and it’s a shame to see a 4/9 Drake get silenced. Try to always play around combo after turn nine (or earlier if you played Thaurissan) by using your Healbots and your taunts.
Mech Shaman 50%: Archon Decklist
Relatively rare matchup so I have limited data but this matchup is all about the early game: if your opponent’s early game goes unchecked and pumps damage in your face, you lose. If you Dark Bomb early threats into a turn five BGH on Fel Reaver, you win. Don’t be greedy with Twilight Drakes since this build often runs Earth Shock, which will ruin your day if it hits your drake early on.
Control Warrior 55%: Hulu Decklist
This deck is a balancing act on a knife’s edge. On one side, you want to be greedy and flood the board. On the other side you need to be really careful to not overextend into a horrible Brawl. You get an advantage in this matchup by getting board control and then tapping every turn, if possible. Since this will often mill yourself quite quickly, you are on a bit of a timer to win the game. If you can’t stabilize in the late game your opponent will often have board control or simply run you out of cards, so you need to know when you can be aggressive. Be careful with playing Malygos since Warrior has many instances of single-target removal (such as execute/shield slam). Only play Malygos when you can either combo him with a spell on the same turn or if your opponent’s armor is sufficiently low and/or is out of Executes.
Grim Patron Warrior 55%: Kolento Decklist
Just like Control Warrior, this is a good matchup since you can often out-value your opponent. The issue is, however, something else entirely: the Warsong/Patron/Frothing OTK potential. You will sometimes just lose the game by default because the Warrior gets an amazing turn with Whirlwinds and Death’s Bites into two massive Berserkers which can drop you from 20 health to none in a single turn. Try to bait out the second Death’s Bite attack by playing stuff like Blackwing Corruptor, Azure Drake, and Sludge Belcher to reduce the chance of activating the combo. Try to avoid playing Imp Gang Boss and Zombie Chow after turn eight to avoid Patron combos. Only play your Hellfires if you can kill a Patron with it since it is the only feasible way you have of removing them.
Midrange Paladin 40-50%: Xrizez Decklist
This can actually be quite a hard matchup since Paladin has many ways of denying your early game (and often runs silence), so try to establish early board control. Make sure that you save an Owl for the late game Tirion since his weapon can really hurt you. This deck often runs only Dr. Boom as a BGH target, so you can quite easily play a BGH for tempo if you have two in your hand and no way to combo them with Abusive Sergeant.
Face Hunter 35%: Orange Decklist
Hunters in general and this deck specifically are quite hard for this Dragonlock deck, since you hurt yourself with your AoE removal (Hellfire) and your hero power. Keep Imp-plosion in the mulligan phase since it is really strong against both freezing trap and all the various 1-health minions that Hunters have. Don’t be afraid to play a naked Abusive Sergeant on turn one or coin-Imp Gang Boss without a turn two play because you need to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. Similarly, if you have the option between Belcher and Healbot while on nine Health, you want to be a bit greedy with your health and play Belcher first since Hunters seemingly have far-reaching face tempo. This deck lacks the means to quickly finish out a game once you have achieved an advantage.
If you can't win against Face Hunter, at least you can keep them from winning.
Midrange/Hybrid Hunter 40%: Era Decklist
This is a slightly better matchup than Face Hunter but it’s still pretty poor because of the enormous amounts of damage Hunter can do to you early game. Employ similar strategies as in the Face Hunter matchup but know that almost every trap is going to be Freezing, so if you have a Imp Gang Boss on the board, try to avoid attacking with it until you can run something less valuable into the trap. Try to save Owls for the Highmanes and only silence other minions if you have two in your hand.
- Always think about what possible removal your opponent could have and how to play around it since this deck is very vulnerable to AoE board clear. However, if you play too carefully with this deck, you might get beaten in the late game. If you are not sure what classes have which removal, you can always check the latest Power Ranks for the common decklists of each class.
- If you figured out a play that involves life tap (or any other card draw), make sure that you first draw, then evaluate if the new card changes your play. Go on from there.
- An exception to the above tip is Blackwing Corruptor and Azure drake: make sure to only play Azure Drake first if you have another dragon in your hand. Otherwise, your Blackwing Corruptor’s battlecry will not trigger (yes I have done this myself).
- MrYagut played a list very similar to to reach rank two Legend this season. Check out his vods:
In the vods, he doesn’t play this deck exclusively, so scroll through them a bit to find the relevant matches.
- Always calculate the chances of discarding something important when playing Soulfire. Even if the chances of discarding something valuable are low: if there is no need to play Soulfire keep it in your hand.
- There is a similar deck to this list but it plays more like Handlock with Double Moltens and extra taunts. For the guide to this version of the deck check out the following link.
- Be mindful of overdrawing: since you play Life Tap quite often, you will find yourself with eight to ten cards on a regular basis against control decks.
Some men just want to watch the world burn.