The full set of cards dropping into the game with United in Stormwind has been revealed! As we always do here, it is time to review these new cards, this article focusing on how Warlock is likely to perform in the new meta.
- You can see all the new cards in our United in Stormwind expansion guide.
- Our deckbuilder will let you theorycraft your own decks using new cards before the expansion arrives.
- You can simulate pack openings in our United in Stormwind Pack Opening simulator.
Keep in mind that this is an early look at the class before we've been able to play with the new cards, so while we try to be as accurate as possible in our predictions of what is to come, no one can perfectly predict the Hearthstone meta.
Warlock Deck Themes in United in Stormwind
Warlock is a class known for drawing lots of cards and summoning lots of Demons, and we'll be gosh-darned if that isn't exactly what United in Stormwind wants the class to be doing. Handlock is back in a big way, with plenty of payoffs for drawing a lot and having lots of cards in hand.
There are also a few cards that help out Zoo decks, particularly ones that have a lot of Demons, with cheap ways to get more bodies on board and a finisher for swarm-style Demon decks.
The Demon Seed
You can plant it, but you won't be pleased with the results.
The Demon Seed is Warlock's Questline, and the crown jewel of the class's reveal season. The Quest incentivizes players to heavily use their Hero Power (as well as spells like Unstable Shadow Blast and Backfire) to damage themselves by rewarding them with incidental heals and a win condition that would make Fatigue Warrior green with envy. Once she's on board, Blightborn Tamsin promises to finish games much faster than Lord Jaraxxus AND HIS UNENDING HORDE OF 6/6 DEMONS (sorry caps lock got stuck).
The Demon Seed requires you to take 21 damage on your turn alone, and only "reimburses" you for 6, so for the Quest to truly shine it will need a lot of healing. Armor Vendor and Blood Shard Bristleback are established veterans that will do that work without much fuss, while new kids Touch of the Nathrezim and Spice Bread Baker seem ready-made to help Warlock survive the onslaught of faster decks.
The Demon Seed looks to be a lot of fun, but could struggle against decks that put on the pressure early and don't let up. It makes up for that by being in a very comfortable position against slower decks that give it time to draw through the deck and get Blightborn Tamsin on board. However, the more aggressive the meta is, the less likely completing The Demon Seed will even be necessary, let alone possible.
"And Anetheron gone, and Anetheron gone/Anetheron bites the dust"
Anetheron is pretty straight-forward: a vanilla 8/6 that costs 6 unless your hand is full. In most cases, this makes him worse than Mountain Giant. Now, before you light your pitchforks, let us finish by saying that there's a lot of room for "worse Mountain Giant," and Anetheron does have significantly higher upside than the former Handlock staple, mainly because it won't take an entire turn to play him once you've reduced his Cost to 1. Combined with that is a juicy synergy with Felosophy that the Giant largely (pun intended) lacks. If you drop Anetheron early, he can contest the board against faster decks, potentially keeping you alive long enough to find more healing or complete The Demon Seed.
The main problem with Anetheron is that he's just an 8/6; even if you manage to reduce his Cost by turn 4 or 5, it still won't be that helpful against aggro unless you pair him with Animated Broomstick or Stockades Guard. We think he could be an additional threat for Handlock, but it's unlikely that he makes the deck go all by himself.
Also known as Reddit.
Entitled Customer is so very clearly a Handlock payoff, one that helps out against aggressive decks that swarm on to the board. It should be pretty powerful in that matchup; even if your hand size isn't up to the usual Handlock standards an AoE of four or five damage should deal with most minions on turn 6. Unlike Anetheron, Entitled Customer gives Handlock something different that it desperately needs and will be key in keeping the archetype alive against aggression.
If things go poorly, instead you can have a delicious Breaded Mount.
Dreadsteed got a new look! Tamsin's Dreadsteed is effectively the same card as the Demon Horse that came to be thanks to Defile, but it looks a little...fancier. We're sure that there will be plenty of players who gripe that the O.G. Endless 1/1 should have made its triumphant reappearance in Stormwind, but we actually find the extra flavor from this new version to be much more appealing.
As for the card itself, it is technically infinite stats and costs 1 less than the original Dreadsteed. Unlike almost every other card that Warlock got in this expansion, Dreaded Mount looks more like something that Zoo will want to play with. Final Gasp and Ritual of Doom will love to play with a 1/1 that keeps coming back, which means the deck will always have somebody to buff. Dreaded Mount has a lot of potential in Zoo (hold that thought).
Dark Alley Pact
Aaaand we're right back into another card that plays well in Handlock by trying to do its best Mountain Giant impression. Like Anetheron, it is just a lot of stats (potentially); which can be nice if you're looking to put some pressure on your opponent or need a big body to give Taunt. This spell has slightly more going for it than Anetheron: It's cheaper (most of the time), has a higher upside on the number of stats in puts on the board, and you can run two copies of it.
Again, this is a card that Handlock can run because it synergizes with what the deck already wants to be doing but won't necessarily make the deck better on its own. In that way it reminds me of Abyssal Summoner, a card that was perfectly all right and saw play in Handlock-type decks, but didn't necessarily move the needle very far for those decks.
Runed Mithril Rod
Be sure to speak clearly when ordering one.
Now this is something interesting for Handlock: Cost reduction. It will probably be a lot harder to judge this card since its main comparison is Emperor Thaurissan, but that still won't stop us from having Opinions about it. Now Emperor Thaurissan was a good minion, and did see play in slower Warlock decks, but usually he was there to reduce the Cost of combo pieces Leeroy Jenkins, Power Overwhelming, and Faceless Manipulator.
Because Runed Mithril Rod is so much cheaper than Emperor Thaurissan, it can be used a bit more universally by giving Cost reduction when Tempo is still powerful: you can play key removal like Entitled Customer a turn earlier or get significantly more value from a mid-game Tamsin Roame. If you can consistently trigger it early enough (and dodge weapon removal), Runed Mithril Rod can be very powerful for Handlock.
Touch of the Nathrezim
"Reaching out, touching me, touching you/Sweet Nathrezim/Cheap heals never felt so good"
A decent, cheap removal spell for slower Warlock decks that comes with the added bonus of a not-insignificant amount of healing if the target dies. Most Warlock players are salivating over the prospect of adding this spell to their Control Warlock lists. Touch of the Nathrezim is flexible enough to fit into just about any Warlock deck, no matter the win condition, as a way to stay alive against aggro. It also synergizes very nicely with Tamsin Roame for even more killin' and healin'.
Keeps promising to clean the windows.
Arbor Up (kind of) for Demon decks, with the added flexibility of being Tradeable if you're not looking for his particular set of skills at the moment. Reminiscent of Crystalweaver (you know, from Battlegrounds?), a minion that never really saw any play in Standard. Shady Bartender could carve out a niche for himself as the top-end of swarming Demon Zoo decks that can get pretty scary if you manage to keep a bunch of Demons on the board. Otherwise, you might find yourself continuing to trade him back into your deck and, eventually, out of your deck.
Typical that only two showed up for the raid.
Demonic Assault is the best spell that Zoolock got this expansion, a combination of flexible damage and decent minions that could just be good enough to make Zoolock a force to be reckoned with. The damage is nice, and the bodies can be buffed by the likes of Wriggling Horror and Shady Bartender. Swarm Zoo may remain a fringe deck, but Demonic Assault could be one of its best cards.
"What are you, O Positive? Yeah, I can work with that."
This little demon has potential in a couple of decks, and we'll start with the weirdest first. Bloodbound Imp is technically a minion that could be played early in a deck built around The Demon Seed, since attacking with him progresses the Questline. We don't think that will be a standard practice among those types of decks, but it is an option if, for some reason, The Demon Seed decks need more self-damage in the form of cheap minions.
With that out of the way, let's talk about Darkglare, the card that is much more likely to be paired with Bloodbound Imp. Since you take damage every time he attacks, the Imp is a cheap way of getting Mana refreshes from Darkglare and potentially putting a lot of power on the board early. Bloodbound Imp has the stats to combat most early game minions and still be around to receive the buffs that Zoolock could be packing. A decent card, with a multitude of applications.
Five Neutral Cards for Warlock
We're also going to take a quick look at some options the Warlock class has among the Neutral cards being introduced in Stormwind, mainly a couple of minions who seem destined to be considered for Handlock.
Enthusiastic Banker can be useful in a lot of slower decks: Handlock, Decklock, or Seedlock. It's a decent body and serves as pseudo-draw that can fill your hand in a hurry while also crucially thinning your deck to activate Barrens Scavenger and Blood Shard Bristleback.
Both minions do the same thing of being big bodies that are at their best when you have a lot of cards in hand. Since that's something that Handlock wants to be doing anyway, both could be worth consideration to go along with Anetheron and Dark Alley Pact. Handlock certainly won't be hurting for bodies to put in play.
And while we're talking about big bodies, Stockades Guard looks like a good include for Handlock, doing the work previously done by Sunfury Protector to give big minions Taunt and stanch the flow of aggression.
Spice Bread Baker is a very good Heal, specifically for slower Warlock decks that like to have a lot of cards in their hand (if only I could remember what that sort of deck is called).
Theorycrafting Warlock in United in Stormwind
Everyone and their grandmother has been theorycrafting Demon Seed decks, so we decided to take a different tack and see what Zoolock may look like in the new expansion.
Our deck starts with old favorites Flame Imp and Darkglare, along with new toys Bloodbound Imp and Demonic Assault to control the board in the early game while building to finish off the opponent with a well-timed Shady Bartender to give our Demons that extra juice. We've also got Flesh Giant, who plays well with all that self-damage stuff.
If you want to see something really crazy, then let's throw the spotlight onto Dreaded Mount and Teron Gorefiend. A Dreadsteed that gets killed by Teron comes back at the end of the turn, but it also comes back when Teron dies. According to my math, that nets us two sticky Demons that we can eventually buff with Shady Bartender.
While we doubt any serious Zoolock deck will look like this, we think this deck has a lot of promise in the fun department.
Closing Thoughts on Warlock and Stormwind
Warlocks got a unique way of closing out games thanks to The Demon Seed and Blightborn Tamsin, but also a lot of support for Handlock and slower decks. They also got some fun Demon Zoo cards, as seen in our theorycrafted deck.
Gul'dan is coming out of a pretty rough meta for him, but we expect Warlock to have more of a presence in Stormwind, likely with decks built around The Demon Seed that damage themselves efficiently while packing just enough healing to have a chance against aggressive decks. We think Warlock has received enough control tools that such lists will be fairly flexible depending on the meta: some may focus on going all-in on self-damage while others could take a slower, draw-heavy approach that reaps the benefits of Runed Mithril Rod and minions like Goldshire Gnoll.
Did we get it right? Did we get it wrong? Share your thoughts on Warlock in the comments!
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