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Rating  23

Contributed by

Joseph

Guide Type

Dust Cost

Last Updated

June 9, 2015

Table of Contents

Just Slayin'
Class Cards (14)
2
Mortal Coil 1
Power Overwhelming 1
Darkbomb 2
2
Hellfire 4
2
Imp-losion 4
Shadowflame 4
2
Voidcaller 4
Siphon Soul 6
Lord Jaraxxus 9
Mal’Ganis 9
Neutral Cards (16)
Abusive Sergeant 1
2
Zombie Chow 1
2
Nerubian Egg 2
Sunfury Protector 2
2
Haunted Creeper 2
Ironbeak Owl 3
2
Defender of Argus 4
Big Game Hunter 5
2
Antique Healbot 5
Sylvanas Windrunner 6
Dr. Boom 7

Mana Curve

0 0
6 1
6 2
1 3
9 4
3 5
2 6
3 7

Attack Curve

12 0
3 1
4 2
7 3
1 4
1 5
0 6
2 7

Health Curve

10 0
2 1
5 2
7 3
2 4
1 5
0 6
3 7

Weekly Legends: Justsaiyan’s Midrange Demonlock Deck

Introduction


This write up, in connection with the video, is going to kick off my “Weekly Legends” deck techs, where I look at interesting Hearthstone legend decks.

I will explain how to play the deck, some card choices (I often deviate from the original list), replacements and, of course, mulligan strategy. Many people have long requested write-ups to go along with my videos, and as such that will be the new format. I am hoping that the following discussion on the deck, in combination with the video play-by-play, will give you a good idea of how the deck plays. So, thanks for reading, thanks for watching, and welcome to the first installment of “Weekly Legends”.

Demons? In a real deck? That works??? That’s right. Today, we are taking a break from Goblins (and Gnomes) to look at one of the more interesting (and fun) tribes that Hearthstone has to offer. The deck in question is a list by Justsaiyan, who used it to become the first player in February to hit Number 1 NA Legend.

The deck has a lot of early game to slow the pace, which allow more powerful mid and late-game cards to take over. It is extremely good against Mech-Mage, but can really beat any deck. The Warlock hero power is good enough to keep the cards flowing, and the overall high quality of the cards makes this a very strong choice for climbing the ladder.

When looking for a deck to cover, I want something that I could use to move up ranks. The metagame right now, despite some very strong decks, is in constant flux. I was experiencing many problems trying to nail down most of the meta, and couldn’t keep a flow going. Between the rise of Hunters (yes, they’re back), Mages, Paladins, Druids and the occasional Warrior, I was having a lot of trouble progressing. This deck changed that, and put me back on pace to hit legend this season.

Key Cards


Abusive Sergeant

I’ll admit, when I first started playing this deck I was very skeptical of this card. Abusive Sergeant is typically an aggro card, and I didn’t really see how it could fit into a late-game control list like this. However, it actually serves as a very strong niche card. Not only does Abusive Sergeant help with controlling the game by allowing your to trade away your Voidcallers, Haunted Creepers and Nerubian Eggs, but it also allows you to trigger larger Shadowflames, and can even put opposing five/six-power minions into Big Game Hunter range. That type of versatility is important for a deck such as this. It makes this card a great tech card, and its combo potential really gives the list an extra element.

Haunted Creeper

For a deck like this to be good, every card must serve a certain purpose. Haunted Creeper serves multiple, and mimics the versatility that Abusive Sergeant brings. Any mid-range deck needs board control to keep the game going in their favor, and Creeper always makes sure you have something on the board against control. However, it is also very good against aggro. It creates multiple problems for decks like Mech-Mage, Hunter and Zoo, especially when paired with a buff. This deck only runs one Darkbomb in lieu of two Creepers, which shows you how good they are. It is even good to think of these as Darkbomb number two and three. They serve the same purpose, a way to slow down the early board, allowing you to move onto the latter stages of the game.

The Demons

While this deck is very much a Demonlock deck, it only uses four demons. There are no for face damage, and you won’t find any shenanigans here. The only infernal denizens we call to our aid are Lord Jaraxxus, Mal'Ganis and two Voidcallers. This number is low for two reasons. One, by limiting the amount of demons in the deck, it allows more card slots to be dedicated to a stronger mid and late game. In addition, it also makes it so your Voidcallers will only drop in either another Voidcaller or the giant Demons. This eliminates the risk of putting something you don’t want into play. RNG is a part of Hearthstone, but by making moves like this you can turn that RNG in your favor.

Voidcaller

This card will get silenced, that’s a reality you have to live with. Never holdback this card for fear of it being silenced, as having something on the board is better most of the time over nothing. However, if you are playing against a class or you are in a situation where it can be killed and you have no demons in hand, it is better just to hold onto it. Very rarely do I play Voidcaller without having backup for it (even if it is just another Voidcaller). Furthermore, it is always best to have a plan or a way to kill your Voidcaller shortly after playing it. This is a great way to mitigate the risk of it being silenced. Many games can be won by simply having a huge demon in play on an empty board, and planning ahead will give you the best opportunity to do that.

Lord Jaraxxus

The Control-Killer of the Burning Legion’s power is pretty well known. He is amazing against control, and can serve as important life gain against more aggressive decks. I want to highlight what match-ups you want to play him out, and which ones you want to keep him in hand. You never want to risk dropping Jaraxxus into play off of a Voidcaller when playing against a class that can easily get rid of a large minion such as Paladin and Warrior.  Classes like Priest or Druid are also opponents where the Battlecry of Jaraxxus is super powerful. As such, I will not play Voidcallers against those classes if Jaraxxus is in my hand. Rather, I will wait until I have the opportunity to use him to take over my hero. However, against aggressive classes (Mage, Shaman, Hunter and Zoo) there is no reason not to run out your Voidcallers when you have him in hand since you’ll be unlikely to either last until turn 9 or play him out safely.

Mal’ganis

Mal'Ganis is a card you want to be very careful with, even when dropping him into play off of a Voidcaller. While Lord Jaraxxus is the way you win most games, Mal’ganis is an absolute force that will crush your opponents into the ground. I have yet to lose a game where he went unanswered (hint: he makes you invincible!) In the current meta, there are very few ways to kill the Demon King, but you should always keep track of them. Count your opponent’s removal spells (Equality, Execute), and also try to get him onto empty boards as much as possible. Sometimes, he will be taken out by a Big Game Hunter, but you can also use Dr. Boom as bait to make sure that doesn’t happen. Silence, while annoying, is by no means an answer to Mal’ganis, and even something like Aldor Peacekeeper still allows you to life-tap for free.

Antique Healbot

The original version of this deck had Ragnaros the Firelord as yet another big finisher. I cut the Firelord for an extra Antique Healbot and never looked back. The reason for this is Ragnaros, while strong, is not necessary in this deck. He is very bad against all of the hyper-aggression on the ladder, and, due to the high quality of your threats, is not needed to deal with control. However, Antique Healbot is almost a necessity. The second bot has won me countless games, and can be a life saver in a plethora of situations. Between life-tap and things like Hellfire, you are going to take some damage. Having a second bot will give you a way to combat this self-harm. It also can push you over the top against aggro decks, and gives Lord Jaraxxus even more power. Jaraxxus can be scary to use in the meta (fifteen life just isn’t what it used to be), but if you can back him up with a Healbot or two, that risk greatly decreases.

Sylvanas Windrunner

Unlike decks such as Druid or Shaman, Sylvanas Windrunner serves almost exclusively as a combo card. Yes, you can play her in response to a big legend, or you can put her on a cluttered board, but those are last resort uses. This deck operates with two cards that allow you to use Sylvanas’ Deathrattle right away; Power Overwhelming and Shadowflame. Both of these cards kill her instantly, and, when set up correctly, will allow you to steal the minion you most want. Power Overwhelming, as it does not damage the target, is much better to play in response to Ragnaros the Firelord, Tirion Fordring or the like, but Shadowflame has the added bonus of giving you a board clear plus a large minion (Dr. Boom comes to mind). Think of her as a Mind Control more than a minion, and you will be able to use Sylvanas to her full potential.

Dr. Boom

Yes, the doctor is very good, and everyone knows it. However, I bring him up for another reason entirely. Dr. Boom is as powerful as ever on an empty board, and will straight up win some games by himself. Yet, unlike so many popular decks these days, he is actually not the strongest legend in the list – Mal'Ganis is. As a result, while Dr. Boom serves as a very good way to apply pressure and get board control, he is just as strong when acting as a distraction. Most decks run one Big Game Hunter, and if they use it to kill the doctor, it makes Mal’ganis just that much more game-ending. This was also the reason behind running Ragnaros the Firelord in this deck. In a meta filled with Big Game Hunters, the only real way to deal with them is by giving them more targets than they can handle. While I do not think Ragnaros is necessary for the current meta, giving Mal’ganis a little protection most definitely is.

Match-ups


Below, I will cover five of the most prevalent matchups that I currently experience on ladder. This section will break down cards to look for against each class, the best way to play the matches, and how to think during each game.

Mech Mage

Public enemy number one in the current meta, Mech Mage is a deck that lives on the precipice of board control. As such, you want to try to do what you can to make sure they don’t have minions. Look for your removal here, and always be aware of their Mech combos. Goblin Blastmage and Tinkertown Technician get much worse when they don’t get value off their Battlecry, and your early game can really slow down their plays. Abusive Sergeant is a great keep here when you have any early minion. You want to always mulligan for early plays such as Haunted Creeper, Zombie Chow and Darkbomb. If you have the coin, it is also good to keep Imp-losion if you have a play that comes before it. This match is usually won in the first few turns, never forget that.

Face Hunter

Oh yes my friends, it doesn’t matter how many nerfs happen or how many times they get knocked down, Hunter is going to get back up. Maybe it isn’t as scary as it once was (I am of course talking about the Buzzard/Hounds combo), but it still packs a punch. These days, the deck goes all face, using Knife Juggler, Unleash the Hounds, Wolfrider and Arcane Golem to get your life to zero as fast as possible. The rule here, as it has always been, is to stay alive at all costs. Just like with Mech Mage, you want early plays, and, because of both Haunted Creeper and Mad Scientist, Ironbeak Owl is a must keep. Imp-losion is a great card against Mech Mage, clogging up the board and killing more than one minion, but it can be dangerous against Hunter due to the hounds. You want to mulligan away everything that costs more than three, but look for ways to stay alive. Try to find both Antique Healbots as well as your removal, and always know when to stop tapping.

Paladin (Control and Mid-Range)

This is one of the matches where you become control. Paladin is a waiting game, and you want to stretch your opponent as thin as possible. Sylvanas Windrunner/Power Overwhelming is one of the best tools you have here, and you should always use the combo to steal something like Tirion Fordring. This match almost always comes down to you trying to find a window where you can play Lord Jaraxxus. Once you play Jaraxxus and have the board, the game is almost always over. Paladin, for all of its power, has very little burst, which makes it hard for them to deal with the Lord of the Burning Legion. Paladin’s power mostly come through their board clears, so play around them. Bait out Aldor Peacekeeper and Equality until you land something that sticks. Paladin can build some synergy and burst potential with Quartermaster, so you should always clear out their 1/1’s when you can. Here, it’s all about Jaraxxus. Paladin is good, but it is not equipped to deal with a constant string of Infernals.

Miracle-ish Rogue

Along with Hunter and Mage, the new iteration of Rogue is a scary deck that cares very little about opponent interaction. As such, you have to make them care. This deck is powerful, just as any version of miracle has been, due to their endless well of removal and access to card draw. However, Rogue does have a hard time when their focus is on the board, or when they don’t have minions to tempo with. Here, you simply want to try and look for threats. If the games goes late enough, due to big minions and strong healing, you will almost always win. Getting there is hard, but things like Nerubian Egg and Haunted Creeper do a very nice job of stopping AOE. Here, Lord Jaraxxus should always be a minion, as fifteen life is really too low to try and stay alive with things like Blade Flurry and Eviscerate running around. While healing is important, keeping their minions off the board while using your own minions to eat removal, is the most crucial element here.

Control Warrior

The final match-up I will cover, Control Warrior, plays very similarly to Paladin. They have access to two of the best removal spells in the game (Shield Slam and Execute) and those give them great ways to get rid of both Mal'Ganis and Dr. Boom. However, they are very poorly equipped, just like Paladin, at getting rid of a constant slew of 6/6 demons. Lord Jaraxxus is the only way you are going to realistically win this game (sometimes an unanswered boom) and you never want to risk dropping him into play. Just use your removal on their big minions, and force things like Brawl on bad boards. Stretching their resources thin is a great way to enable Jaraxxus to take over the game. Of course, you always want to be aware of the Grommash Hellscream combo. To do so, always try to stay above 12 life, and when you become Jaraxxus, make sure you won’t take damage below 12 the following turn. Ironbeak Owl is a very good keep here due to its ability to shut down Acolyte of Pain. Nerubian Egg is also a great way to fight against things like Brawl or weapons.

Mulligan Guide


While I also go over a mulligan guide in the video, I get asked for these so often, I thought I would put them in two places. The general rule of this deck is, stick to your curve. Zombie Chow, while traditionally an anti-aggro card, is good against almost every deck. It puts some early pressure on Druid, kills Silver Hand Recruits, and just shuts down early plays from Mage and Hunter. You want to find a good way to constantly stay ahead on board, and this is usually done through incremental value gleaned from cards like Haunted Creeper and Nerubian Egg. Early removal (Darkbomb, Imp-losion) also help you do this.

One big point of mulliganing is, you never want to try to keep “the combo”. This is a late mid-range/control deck, not a combo deck. Voidcaller is a fine keep against slower mid-range decks such as Druid or Warrior, but it’s often much too slow against aggro. In the same vein, Lord Jaraxxus and Mal'Ganis should also never be kept, Voidcaller or not. Rather, you want to draw them naturally throughout the game.

Shadowflame should never be kept, and Power Overwhelming/Abusive Sergeant should only be in your hand if you have an early egg. Hellfire is a must keep against Mage and Hunter, especially if you have the coin. Overall, the general rule is to look for early minions, and then try to use the power of life-tap to get to the bigger cards in this deck. Removal is very good against aggro, but I usually mulligan it away (except Mortal Coil against Paladin) when playing slower control decks. One last piece of advice – always keep Ironbeak Owl against Hunter and Warrior to deal with Acolyte of Pain and Mad Scientist. It should not be kept against any other deck.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the new series/format. That was the first week of “Weekly Legends” and more decks will follow. If you have any feedback on the deck, cards or the new format, let me know. Thanks again and, until next time, may your Voidcaller always drop Mal’ganis.

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24 Comments

Leave a Reply

  1. Anonymous says:

    I currently have all the cards except Sylvanas, what would be a good replacement for her (until I can craft her)?

    • gnakgnak says:

      Piloted Sky Golem may be? or a Doomguard 😀

      • Joseph Scalise says:

        I would say that Piloted Sky Golem is probably your best bet. I know people hate hearing this, but it is really hard to replace Sylvanas. She’s extremely good with Power Overwhelming, and using her with Shadowflame can swing games like no other combo. Nothing really impacts games like she can, but sky golem does fit the curve in the same way, and gives you something big to play. Cairn could also be an option.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This version is abit stronger against aggro it seems. But the other versions I’ve seen are better against control. I also really like +1 DoomGuard. Its always such a huge tempo swing if voidwalker can call him out. Void Terror also works suprisingly well with these kinda decks.

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      There is definitely some merit to Doomguard. It is a huge minion, and can be very strong when played for free. Could be worth a slot here. Void Terror is a little too gimmicky for my taste. It’s a card that can be amazing in certain situations, but really falls flat when you can’t use it to its potential. It is also horrible when played off of Voidcaller. One of the bases of this deck is to make it so your Voidcaller only brings huge things onto the board, and terror reduces this chance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed, its abit situatonal. Since its a combo card. And obviously you want to avoid getting it from voidwalker. But since this deck already has so little demons. I dont think thats a huge problem. t1 coin+egg, t2 egg, t3 void terror is pretty sick though. Also can be used with voidwalkers and sylvannas, even some Power Overwhelm. So I wouldnt say it super situational. I played at legend rank last season with such a demonlock, and 1 copy of void terror did preform pretty well.

        • Joseph Scalise says:

          Hey, my number one rule is, if it works, do it. I’ve used Voidcaller in the past and it never panned out quite as I wanted it to. But as a one-of toolbox card, it could have some real potential.

          • Anonymous says:

            Heheh, I got Voidcaller mixed with Voidwalker. And you got Voidcaller mixed with Void Terror. So many Voids. Such wow. :)

  3. Tiandes says:

    You should update the image for the card than, cause on the one showing in your article it clearly reads “Give a FRIENDLY minion +2 attack this turn”

  4. Tiandes says:

    Your last argument for abusive sergeant is incorrect, since abusive sergeant can only buff “friendly minion”

  5. _nomad says:

    Great guide and a fun deck. I replaced Rag with Loatheb which proved to be great in most match ups as well. Will try the second Healbot too.
    Other than that I experienced the Darkwonyx deck to be a little better especially in a Control scenario. Sneeds followed by KT is just amazing. 😉

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      Thanks! Yeah, there’s always room to fiddle with cards here and there. Loatheb is a really good meta call due to the popularity of Rogue, and I would try the second Healbot, especially if you are seeing Hunter and the like. It is always good to be able to offset your own hero power damage.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nice deck, now if only I had enough dust to get three more Legendary cards to play it :)

  7. Junki0n says:

    I’ve been playing this deck for the last few weeks and it’s a blast to play with the Egg and Voidcaller shenanigans to the WTF Mal’ganis plays. I also love the Darkwonyx / Ek0p Darklock deck played in the Pinnacle 3. Any chance of it getting a similar guide? The video is a fantastic addition!

    http://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/202432-ek0ps-warlock-the-pinnacle-3

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      Thanks, always good to hear positive feedback. I will always be doing both a video and write up as I think they really help. Unfortunately, I have already moved forward with some other videos (I record in advance) but I may take another look at Demonlock in the coming weeks.

  8. gnakgnak says:

    Thanks for this description. I will try this decklist as soon as possible :)
    i already run a demolock deck but your version seems quite interesting (mine is closer to a handlock than a demolock which the use of molten giant)

    Could you have a look on it and tell me what you think about? :)
    http://www.hearthpwn.com/deckbuilder/warlock#33:1;36:1;94:2;122:1;340:2;368:1;372:2;452:1;482:1;500:1;507:2;542:1;573:2;673:2;7733:2;12227:1;12237:1;12283:2;12294:1;12299:2;12302:1;

    Thanks !

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      Sure thing! I really like the addition of Mistress of Pain (which has been much more popular in the last few weeks). It’s good against aggro and a nice turn two play (almost works like an Armorsmith). I think there are much stronger cards to play that Dread Infernal. Yes, it’s a demon, but things like the Black Knight or even a second healbot are probably going to do more than a 6/6. I would also recommend cutting down to one Doomguard. One of the most important things about Demonlock is to use your Voidcallers to their fullest potential, and having less demons makes that happen. Moltens are good cards, but I would run one more BGH target if you’re going to run them (Dr. Boom comes to mind). Also, Demonheart seems to gimmicky/situational, although I haven’t played with it enough to really know how good it is. Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. Hope they serve you well!

      • gnakgnak says:

        Thanks for your reply ! i will try theses cuts and modifications :)

  9. meridian says:

    Ran into this deck a couple of times on the ladder this season – no doubt will see it even more now!

    It’s devastating to play against when it goes the right way for the opponent.

    I guess Jaraxxus and Mal Ganis are impossible to replace?

    • Joseph Scalise says:

      Yeah, the two big legendaries really make the deck, Jaraxxus even more so that Mal’Ganis. They just give the deck that extra power that makes it playable.