Deck Tech: Post-TGT Handlock

Sep 23, 2015

TGT Handlock: Playing Life Tap Warlock

Handlock is a control warlock deck centered around using Warlock’s hero power, Life Tap, to draw a large hand that allows you to play powerful cards such as Twilight Drake or Mountain Giant on turn 4/5 to win you the game. The Grand Tournament expansion brought some new and exciting cards to play with that allow Handlock to become even more powerful.


Warlock Cards: 7
Mortal Coil X1
Darkbomb x2
Siphon Soul x1
Shadowflame x2
Lord Jaraxxus x1Neutral Cards: 23
Ancient Watcher x2
Ironbeak Owl x2
Sunbury Protector x1
Big Game Hunter x1
Defender of Argus x2
Tournament Medic x1
Twilight Drake x2
Antique Healbot x2
Sludge Belcher x2
Nexus-Champion Saraad x1
Emperor Thaurissan x1
Dr. Boom x1
Frost Giant X1
Mountain Giant x2
Molten Giant x2

Main Strategy:

Life Tap to search for either Mountain/Frost Giant or Twilight Drake for the first few turns, then on turn 4/5, start playing your giant creatures to win by snowball. Ancient Watcher can combo well with Defender of Argus and Ironbeak Owl to buy you time. If the opponent is playing lots of creatures or a few problematic ones, Shadowflame, Darkbomb, and Ironbeak Owl will shut them down. A turn 6 Emperor Thaurassian can speed up your game dramatically, allowing you to play your giants without fulfilling their conditions.

Frost Giant Mountain Giant

Molten Giant
The most important parts of the main combo.

Best Potential Combos:

Life Tap + Tournament Medic: Pay 2 Mana to draw a card! Life cost refunded! Just make sure you have at least 3 life, or you will die paying the life cost!

Nexus-Champion Saraad + Life Tap: Draw a card + Get a free spell. Essentially a Draw 2.

Frost/Mountain/Molten Giant + Life Tap: When you use Life Tap, you help fulfill the conditions of all three of these cards. Draw for Mountain Giant, Use Hero Power for Frost Giant, and Take Damage for Molten Giant.

Defender of Argus/Ironbeak Owl + Ancient Watcher: Either it can attack or becomes a large wall. Either way, a good way to slow your opponent down.

Tech Switches:

If you are still having health problems, switch out Frost Giant for Alexstrasza. Alextsrasza will allow you to have some more control over your health situation in the late game.

If you run into Secret-heavy decks (Mage and Paladin), switch in Kezan Mystics for Frost Giant and Tournament Medic. You will need to play more responsively to your opponent and Life Tap becomes less necessary to hit in the mid game.

In a Rogue/Warrior/Mage-heavy meta, switch in Acidic Swamp Oozes and a Loatheb for your Frost or Mountain Giants, your Nexus-Champion, or your Tournament Medic. Once again, play conservatively and watch your opponent carefully.

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During an aggressive-heavy meta in which you struggle in the early game, switch in Zombie Chows for an Ironbeak Owl and your Frost Giant. Since your opponents will be trying to beat you down with small creatures, they will not have as many annoying abilities that you’d otherwise need to silence. Shadowflame is helpful here as well, and Hellfires can be subbed in to replace Darkbomb for 2 Hellfires.

During a midrange-heavy meta, switch in Imp Gang Bosses for Molten Giants. Having more bodies in mid-game will allow you to support yourself until you can drop your big creatures.

During a control-heavy meta, switch in your Alextrasza for Nexus-Champion Saraad and Ragnaros the Firelord for Tournament Medic. Late game, Ragnaros will break the stale board state and Alextrasza will give you more survivability. Big Game Hunter can snipe your opponent’s combo pieces.


You will play well against slower decks that have trouble dealing with large amounts of big creatures in the mid game, but decks that try to rush you with either burn or creatures will be hard to deal with. Mirror matches will place a big focus on who can get their Thaurissan out and keep it alive longer, and trading well becomes important as well. Big Game Hunter is a resource that can win games in this matchup.

What to look for in the mulligan: Ironbeak Owl + Ancient Watcher, Ironbeak Owl, Frost/ Mountain Giants, Twilight Drake, Shadowflame/Darkbomb, Molten Giant (vs. Aggro)

Sep 22, 2015
Sep 22, 2015
Having played Magic for 10+ years and been around Hearthstone since beta, I've been around various card games for a while now. I love Blizzard games and spend most of my gaming time playing them, but well polished indie games also bite chunks into my time. Follow me on Twitter: @wordoverload
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