The Warlock class in Hearthstone is a class that focuses on a few key elements. Those elements are the use of Demons as their minion of choice, direct and area damage spells, as well as many abilities or minions that are significantly better than their mana cost should justify. These cards that are better than their cost should allow them to be are balanced out by a key concept of the Warlock class: self pain.
The idea of self pain is what really sets Warlocks apart from other classes. Many cards force you to either discard random cards from your hand, sacrifice creatures in play, or take damage to use. No other class is required to cause as much pain (card loss or health loss) to themselves to use their cards or abilities as a Warlock is. To counter the loss of several cards from their hands, Warlocks have been given ways to draw additional cards.
As a Warlock in Hearthstone you will be represented by Gul'dan, the greatest of Horde Warlocks and the person responsible for the original creation of Death Knights.
As a Warlock your power is Life Tap. This ability costs 2 mana and 2 of your own health, but in return gives you the ability to draw a card.
While 2 mana and suffering 2 damage sounds link a really horrible power, the ability to constantly get a card advantage whenever you need is really an amazing ability. The key thing to note about this ability is to use it as often as you can as early as you can, because once you have taken a lot of damage it becomes harder and harder to use it for benefit.
Get used to the self pain or self damage from the Warlock class power, as that self abuse continues throughout several other Warlock cards.
When you first start a Warlock deck you will be granted many of the basic cards. In addition as you level up your Warlock deck you will gain the remainder of the basic Warlock cards by the time you reach level 10.
|Basic Warlock Spells|
|Drain Life||3||Deal 2 damage and restore 2 health to your hero.|
|Hellfire||4||Deal 3 damage to ALL characters.|
|Shadow Bolt||3||Deal 4 damage to a minion.|
|Corruption||1||Choose an enemy minion. At the start of your turn, destroy it. [This card is gained at level 2]|
|Mortal Coil||1||Deal 1 damage to a minion. If that kills it, draw a card. [This card is gained at level 4]|
|Soulfire||0||Deal 4 damage. Discard a random card. [This card is gained at level 6]|
|Sacrificial Pact||0||Destroy a Demon. Restore 5 health to your hero. [This card is gained at level 8]|
|Basic Warlock Minions|
|Succubus||2||4||3||(Demon) Battlecry: Discard a random card.|
|Dread Infernal||6||6||6||(Demon) Battlecry: Deal 1 damage to ALL other characters. [This card is gained at level 10]|
There are many more Warlock spells and minions than those listed above in the Basic Warlock Card section. These are the Expert cards and can be gained through the purchase or winning of expert card packs. Many of these cards are key to how the class plays and will be required to do well as a Warlock.
|Expert Warlock Spells|
|Bane of Doom||Epic||5||Deal 2 damage to a character. If that kills it, summon a random Demon.|
|Demonfire||Common||2||Deal 2 damage to a minion. If it's a friendly Demon, give it +2/+2 instead.|
|Power Overwhelming||Common||1||Give a friendly minion +4/+4 until end of turn. Then, it dies. Horribly.|
|Sense Demons||Common||3||Put 2 random Demons into your hand.|
|Shadowflame||Rare||4||Destroy a friendly minion and deal its attack damage to all enemy minions.|
|Siphon Soul||Rare||6||Destroy a minion. Restore 3 health to your hero.|
|Twisting Nether||Epic||8||Destroy all minions.|
|Expert Warlock Minions|
|Blood Imp||Common||1||0||1||(Demon) Stealth. At the end of your turn give another friendly minion +1 health.|
|Doomguard||Rare||5||5||7||(Demon) Charge. Battlecry:Discard two random cards.|
|Felguard||Rare||3||3||5||(Demon) Taunt. Battlecry: Destroy one of your Mana Crystals.|
|Flame Imp||Common||1||3||2||(Demon) Battlecry: Deal 2 damage to your hero.|
|Pit Lord||Epic||4||5||6||(Demon) Battlecry: Deal 5 damage to your hero.|
|Summoning Portal||Common||4||0||4||Your minions cost (2) less, but not less than (1).|
|Void Terror||Rare||3||3||3||(Demon) Battlecry: Destroy the minions on either side of this minion and gain their attack and health.|
As with almost any card based game, there are combos available that when used provide more benefit than playing the cards by themselves. This is true in Hearthstone as well, and there are several great combinations of cards available to Warlocks that can really help push the fight in your favour.
Let's start with a look at some of the things that you need to keep in mind as you play a Warlock. These are the real key tips to playing the class to the highest level.
- Ensure you use your cards that hurt yourself as early in the fight as you can. These cards have the downside of hurting you (either by dealing damage to you or by making you sacrifice cards or even a mana crystal) for a reason. That reason is that they are better than their mana cost would normally be. The later in the game you use them, the less benefit they provide, since your opponent will have higher cost cards available to play that are just as good.
- Ensure that you use your class power to draw extra cards whenever you can. If you do not have cards that are key to play, then make sure you draw an extra card whenever possible early in the game. Late in the game when your health has been dropped below 15 it becomes harder and harder to justify using it, so make the most of it early.
- Your Blood Imp is a key minion, it is both cheap and buffs other minions, however many players use him incorrectly. Due to his stealth ability, he is often best used by simply being on the field. In fact due to a nerf in beta to him, he can not attack and lose his stealth unless you buff him. That really means that you need to leave him put.
Next up let's look at a few simple combos with the Warlock basic and expert cards.
- Use minions that buff other minions (such as Blood Imp) to boost the attack or health of minions before using your Void Terror.
- Make sure you attack with minions before using other abilities that could sacrifice them. This includes but is not limited to summoning a Void Terror, using shadowflame, twisting nether, or any other ability that could destroy your minions.
- Many of your abilities can be used against your opponents minions, but you should not hesitate to use them against your own if the secondary effect is needed.
Once you get into more advanced play and combos, you need to look at some general cards rather than just sticking with Warlock only cards. Here are just a few examples:
- Many of your spells can greatly benefit from extra spell damage, so it can be a good idea to grab a few minions that grant spell damage.
- Since you end up dealing a lot of damage to yourself by either using your Warlock power, or from several of your cards, you should look for a few minions or spells that can heal you or your minions, preferably both.
- Since many of your cards cause you to sacrifice your own cards, having a way to draw extra cards can be highly beneficial. By having that ability you may not need to use your class power and damage yourself, or you can use them as well as your class ability and generate an even bigger card advantage.
- Due to being able to play more cards than most other classes, it can be beneficial to take a few of the minions that gain benefits from either playing extra cards or from minions being summoned or dieing.
For Warlocks there are a two main deck types that seem to be doing well in the beta, they are high speed early aggro decks and late game control decks with big late game hitters.
Warlock Deck - Imp Aggro Deck
This is a great deck to start with if you can get the cards required for it with your first few packs when leveling your Warlock to level 10. While there are a few hard to get cards in it, you can substitute them with less powerful cards and replace them with the correct ones later on. Don't forget that you can craft cards you need as well.
- Minions (14)
- 2x Blood Imp
- 2x Doomguard
- 2x Felguard
- 2x Flame Imp
- 2x Succubus
- 2x Voidwalker
- 2x Void Terror
- Spells (16)
- 2x Demonfire
- 2x Drain Life
- 2x Hellfire
- 2x Mortal Coil
- 2x Power Overwhelming
- 2x Shadowflame
- 2x Shadow Bolt
- 2x Soul Fire
The idea with this deck is pretty simple. Start out fast and use your ability to draw cards to keep that aggression going. Summon demons that are better than other minions of the same cost due to the pain they cause you early on to deal some damage, and follow it up with a few big hits later on.
Get your cards like Blood Imp out early as well as your Succubus and Felguard as quickly as possible. Then later on use Power overwhelming on them to attack and then summon a Void Terror to consume them, along with their boosted attack and health, to get an even bigger minion out for the next attack.
If your opponent is minion heavy, make sure you time your minion summoning against theirs. Keep some back in your hand until after you deal with the enemy minions with spells like Shadowflame or Hellfire.
Warlock Deck - Late Game Control Deck
This deck is all about controlling the game until you can get your late game winners out. It does however require a whole lot of hard to get cards so it will take a while to get this deck together.
- Minions (16)
- 2x Void Walker
- 2x Voodo Doctor
- 2x Emperor Cobra
- 2x Wild Pyromancer
- 2x Abomination
- 2x Gadgetztan Auctioneer
- 2x Molten Giant
- 1x Alexstraza
- 1x Jaraxxus
- Spells (14)
- 2x Demonfire
- 2x Drain Life
- 2x Hellfire
- 2x Twisting Nether
- 2x Siphon Soul
- 2x Shadowflame
- 2x Shadow Bolt
The idea with this deck is again straight forward. Keep the board clear for as long as you can. Mercilessly kill everything that comes out, while drawing cards as often as possible until the late game when you can get your Molten Giants out for free and then summon Jaraxxus to restore yourself to 15 health and finish off your opponent.
The Warlock class can be a really strong one in the Arena format, but can also be easy to lose with. I know that sounds contradictory, but it is still true. The class can come on really hard and fast since it has some really good rush cards available and can keep up the pressure with its class ability to draw cards. However, while all that is good, it comes at a price, which happens to be your health. If you don't win early with a Warlock you will have likely burned through a lot of your health and be susceptible late game due to your low health.
While the Warlock can make some very strong control decks in the constructed format, they are very card specific. Therefore when drafting cards for an Arena deck it is strongly suggested that you go for an aggro deck or a mid-game heavy hitter style deck. You are far more likely to get enough cards to do either of those deck styles than being able to create a solid control deck.
The Arena is all about board control and card advantage. Your class ability provides the card advantage, so make sure you use those extra cards to keep board advantage as well. Make sure you trade effectively and keep the board clear of opponents as much as you can. However, since you are going to be sacrificing your own health throughout the match, if you have a huge minion in play, make sure you hit your opponent to bring them down to size as well. Using an 8/8 minion to keep board advantage and kill on a 3/3 or 4/4 of your opponents doesn't do as much for you since they will then likely use a second card to kill off your big minion on their turn and you will have done nothing to them directly. Make them trade their 2 cards to your 1 on their turn. However, remember to trade small minions during your turn.
Lastly, don't be scared of self pain cards. Sure they may cause you damage or to lose cards, but they are generally well worth the pain.
While the actual game play remains the same between constructed format play and arena play, the actual value and strength of specific cards can change drastically. This is due to the limited pool of cards that each player will have available to them. It is therefore important to understand which cards are of the most value in the Arena when drafting.
When playing in the Arena and drafting your deck, some of the best cards to draft for the Warlock class are as outlined below along with some reasoning. They are listed in alphabetical order.
- Blood Imp and Flame Imp - These two minions are both cheap, one causes significant damage very quickly, while the other allows your minions to live longer.
- Doomguard - A huge minion with charge on turn 3, can setup an early game win.
- Hellfire - A great clearing spell, but watch out it nukes your creatures as well
- Lord Jaraxxus - A late game winner, you can drop your health throughout the game by drawing cards and then jump back up to 15 health, gain an attack, and the ability to summon 6/6 minions. If it shows up, grab it!
- Mortal Coil - 1 mana for 1 damage and a replacement card, makes this a strong opening hand card.
- Siphon Soul - The ability to destroy any minion and gain 3 health for 6 mana is very strong late game.
- Soulfire - 4 damage done for no mana but only discarding a random card makes this a great clearing card when you still want to do other things on your turn.
You can also find a listing of the general non-class specific cards that are the best to draft in the arena format in these two guides:
Comments on Warlocks in Hearthstone
As with almost any game there are multiple paths to victory. If you have alternate ideas on decks or methods to use the basic or expert cards for the Warlock class in Hearthstone, please feel free to share them in our comment section below.