MalyLock (short for Malygos Warlock) was a deck that briefly gained some popularity before The Grand Tournament, and very quickly dropped out of favor after the expansion. Fortunately, League of Explorers has given the deck some new tools, and in turn, new life.
GamersOrigin player Ryan "Purple" Murphy-Root won the DreamHack Winter 2015 tournament last week, and his MalyLock was a big part of the reason why. The surprise factor certainly helped, but the fact is that the deck was legitimately strong.
MalyLock aims to control the board in the early game, before taking over in the mid game. With excellent removal options and threatening minions, it can truly dominate the board with a decent draw. The Dragon shell helps make cards such as Twilight Guardian and Blackwing Corruptor perfectly viable, giving you a variety of tools to work with. If the game goes late, the combination of Malygos and some damaging spells can quickly seal the win.
It’s right in the name of the deck, so it comes as no surprise that Malygos is a key card. On turn 10, it can combine with Mortal Coil to remove any minion with 6 or less health, or with Soulfire for a whopping 9 damage to any target. While this is certainly not your only win condition, Malygos can help close out games that might have otherwise been lost.
With the high cost of Malygos, it’s clear that Emperor Thaurissan belongs in the deck. Just one turn of the Emperor’s effect with the right cards in hand can lead to a turn 9 play of Malygos -> Darkbomb -> Soulfire for a huge 17 damage burst. That’s more than Druid’s turn 9 Force of Nature/Savage Roar combo on an empty board, and it’s something your opponents will be playing around much less. While it’s ideal to at least get the cost of Malygos’ reduced, playing Emperor on turn 6 with any hand still demands an immediate answer from your opponent.
Brann is the first of two LoE cards we’ll be highlighting. His effect works well with a lot of minions in this deck, including Twilight Drake/Guardian, Blackwing Corruptor, Abusive Sergeant, and Antique Healbot, among others. This brings a lot more power to the deck, as what may have been a 4/6 Twilight Drake now becomes a massive 4/11 Dragon. Corruptor can kill a minion with up to 6 health with Brann’s health, and Healbot can bring you back from the brink of death to a respectable life total. One more card that works well with this friendly dwarf is our next key card…
This card is so good, it fits into just about any Warlock archetype. Where MalyLock previously lacked a strong two drop, it now has the Swiss Army Knife that is Dark Peddler. You might get Abusive Sergeant, or Mortal Coil, or Power Overwhelming, or any other number of useful cards. It even works with Twilight Drake, as you won’t actually be reducing your hand size by playing a card on turn 2. Of course, combined with Brann, Dark Peddler will actually be an overall +2 by getting you two cards, making it even more versatile.
Don’t be afraid to use your damage spells as removal. As tempting as it can be to hold on to them to use with Malygos, that combo won’t do you much good if you lose in the mid game due to leaving threatening minions on the board
Speaking of that combo, don’t count on it as your win condition in every game. While it will sometimes be the key to victory, MalyLock is actually more of a mid-range deck, and should be played that way. With all of the removal options available to you, opponents will often have a difficult time keeping up with your board presence. Apply as much pressure as you can in the mid game.
Really study the deck before taking it into ranked play. Look at all possible combos (for example, Abusive Sergeant -> Big Game Hunter), and be aware of your sequencing (e.g. if you have lethal, make sure to play Darkbomb before Soulfire so you don’t accidentally discard the wrong card.)
Be aware of your own local meta. If you’re playing against a lot of Warriors and Druids, it might be worth removing Kezan Mystic. Likewise, if you’re playing many opponents who favor Face Hunter, dropping a Big Game Hunter might be a good idea.
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