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Expect a constant board wipe against a Control Warlock.

Control Warlock, not to be confused with Handlock, is a Warlock control deck aiming to outlast opponents using their powerful removal tools while gradually overvaluing their opponent to win the game. Compared to other slow Warlock decks, it doesn't utilize combo burst damage like Cubelock or make heavy use of hand-based synergy cards like LegacyMountain Giant to create an overwhelming mid-game, although they do share many core cards.

Control Warlock first saw mainstream play in Kobolds and Catacombs, using Knights of the Frozen ThroneBloodreaver Gul'dan from the previous expansion with powerful Demon card additions like Kobolds & CatacombsVoidlord and Kobolds & CatacombsSkull of the Man'ari, as well as Kobolds & CatacombsRin, the First Disciple to beat the opponent in the fatigue game against other control decks. Once the set rotated out of Standard, Control Warlock did not see play until Descent of Dragons, which brought the Warlock better late-game cards and Descent of DragonsGalakrond, the Wretched to stabilize the early game.

Deck type[]

Year of the Mammoth

Control Warlock's most powerful tools were Knights of the Frozen ThroneBloodreaver Gul'dan and Kobolds & CatacombsAzari, the Devourer. With them, it was very hard outlast a Control Warlock as many cards the deck utilizes scales in value as the game goes on.

Control Warlock does not have many tools to contest the board in the early game, but Kobolds & CatacombsKobold Librarian, Knights of the Frozen ThroneGnomeferatu, and Journey to Un'GoroStonehill Defender are fair minions which also serve useful purposes in a control matchup, with Gnomeferatu serving as a possible combo-denying win condition, and the other two serving as card draw, which is essential in all matchups. Knights of the Frozen ThroneDefile, LegacyDoomsayer, and LegacyHellfire are also very reliable and efficient ways to hold off Aggro decks.

Kobolds & CatacombsSkull of the Man'ari is powerful when played on curve, being able to potentially put a Kobolds & CatacombsVoidlord onto the battle field by turn 6, usually bringing a victory against most aggro decks on its own. Kobolds & CatacombsLesser Amethyst Spellstone and LegacySiphon Soul are often used in the mid-game to stop larger threats such as LegacySavannah Highmane and Knights of the Frozen ThroneThe Lich King

Bloodreaver Gul'dan's battlecry is very powerful due to the inclusion of only more powerful demons, when playing against decks with many Silence, Transform, or Return to hand effects, destroying a friendly Kobolds & CatacombsVoidlord can be advantageous, as certain death to the voidlord would mean that Gul'dan would certainly resummon the voidlord.

In the late game, Knights of the Frozen ThroneBloodreaver Gul'dan's hero power outdamages almost every other hero power, often winning games on its own. More commonly, Kobolds & CatacombsRin, the First Disciple will destroy the enemy deck before fatigue. Rin is a very large threat to control decks, but due to its vulnerability to Silence and Transform effects, she is a common target for Kobolds & CatacombsDark Pact, in cases where dark pact is not included in the deck, killing her as soon as possible is still beneficial, this could mean taking less advantageous trades.

If Combo Decks are prominent in the meta, then Control Warlock can tech against it in the way of including cards that allow Gnomeferatu to be played multiple times, such as Kobolds & CatacombsZola the Gorgon, The WitchwoodBaleful Banker, and The WitchwoodGlinda Crowskin, this drastically increases the chances of Gnomeratu removing a combo piece from the deck and accelerates the opponent to fatigue.

This version of Control Warlock continues to see play in Wild. Reno Warlock is sometimes synonymous with Control Warlock due to the strength of Mean Streets of GadgetzanKazakus, The League of ExplorersReno Jackson, Saviors of UldumZephrys the Great, and Descent of DragonsDragonqueen Alexstrasza, Reno Warlock tries to accomplish the same goal of a standard Control Warlock, but focuses more on burst damage through LegacyPower Overwhelming and LegacyLeeroy Jenkins, where as Control Warlock focuses more on board control, tempo, and outlasting the opponent.

Year of the Dragon

Control Warlock was nonexistent in the Standard meta following the removal of many control cards that enabled the deck, with the lack of good additions to make up for it. With the release of Descent of Dragons, Control Warlock began to see play again. Unlike Handlock, Control Warlock uses Descent of DragonsGalakrond, the Wretched and Invoke cards to give themselves a significant early and mid-game presence, Descent of DragonsVeiled Worshipper to reload their hand, Descent of DragonsKronx Dragonhoof to stabilize, and Galakrond himself to switch their Hero Power when their deck is running low. Galakrond's Invoke makes it easy to fill the board for Saviors of UldumPlague of Flames to wipe out the entire board. Galakrond Warlock (sometimes called Control Galakrond Warlock to distinguish it from the zoo variant) became the main control Warlock deck of the meta.

The deck often runs a Dragon synergy package, with Descent of DragonsNether Breath and Descent of DragonsCrazed Netherwing serving as powerful stabilizing tools. The deck often uses Saviors of UldumZephrys the Great and Descent of DragonsDragonqueen Alexstrasza, even in non-Highlander versions of the deck as a way to close out very long games. Sometimes the deck runs LegacyMalygos with Nether Breath and LegacySoulfire to deal direct burst damage, using Descent of DragonsFrizz Kindleroost's mana discount to enable the combo.

Some version of the deck also use a Lackey synergy deck, using Saviors of UldumDark Pharaoh Tekahn with The WitchwoodGlinda Crowskin or Galakrond's AwakeningGrand Lackey Erkh to flood the board with 4/4 minions while gaining board control or value from them.

Year of the Phoenix

Control Warlock received a major boost in popularity in this year, thanks to the synergy between Ashes of OutlandMo'arg Artificer and Descent of DragonsNether Breath, giving them a huge way to recover from early aggression. The deck was also a notable counter to early Aggro Demon Hunter builds, thanks to LegacySacrificial Pact originally destroying targets like Ashes of OutlandPriestess of Fury for free, or simply being used to heal while still clearing minions like Demon Hunter InitiateBattlefiend and Galakrond's AwakeningFrenzied Felwing. This was impactful enough that Sac Pact was nerfed to only target friendly.

Warlock lost some steam in the aggressive Scholomance Academy meta, but recovered in Madness at the Darkmoon Faire thanks to powerful disruption tools. With Madness at the Darkmoon FaireTickatus, Warlock gained a niche as an anti-control deck that could bring the opponent to fatigue while burning away ten or more threats. Although not a powerhouse deck thanks to their poor matchups with Soul Demon Hunter and Evolve Shaman, Warlocks could efficiently handle other control decks. With the strong swing turn of Madness at the Darkmoon FaireY'Shaarj, the Defiler, the deck was perfect for wearing opponents down.

At this time, a Demon variant of the deck arose, which attempted to highroll Madness at the Darkmoon FaireTickatus with Madness at the Darkmoon FaireFree Admission, reducing his cost, as well as abusing the burst healing of Madness at the Darkmoon FaireMan'ari Mosher. Other decks tried to double or triple up on Tickatus with Scholomance AcademyFelosophy, putting heavy pressure on with multiple 8/8s that quickly removed the opponent's deck.

Common Cards[]

The following cards are usually in the deck.

Core Standard cards[]

The following cards are played in most or all Standard versions of the deck:

Raise Dead
Spirit Jailer
Soul Shear
Dark Skies
Cascading Disaster
Void Drinker
Abyssal Summoner
Soulciologist Malicia
Twisting Nether
Y'Shaarj, the Defiler

Galakrond Build[]

The following cards are commonly played in the Galakrond version.

Sacrificial Pact
Plague of Flames
Dragonblight Cultist
Devoted Maniac
Veiled Worshipper
Shield of Galakrond
Kronx Dragonhoof
Galakrond, the Wretched

Demon Build[]

The following cards are commonly played in the Demon variation.

Imprisoned Vilefiend
Free Admission
Man'ari Mosher
Circus Amalgam
Fire Breather
Aranasi Broodmother

Highlander Build[]

Main article: Renolock

The following cards are commonly played in the standard highlander version:

Zephrys the Great
Dragonqueen Alexstrasza

Optional Standard cards[]

The following cards are played more than occasionally, but not always:

Mortal Coil
Sinister Deal
EVIL Genius
Imprisoned Scrap Imp
Mo'arg Artificer
Nether Breath
Plot Twist
Twisted Knowledge
Chaos Gazer
Bad Luck Albatross
The Dark Portal
Grand Lackey Erkh
Twilight Drake
Crazed Netherwing
Dark Pharaoh Tekahn
Evasive Wyrm
Khartut Defender
Ring Matron
Siphon Soul
Valdris Felgorge
Lord Jaraxxus
C'Thun, the Shattered
Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate

Core Wild cards[]

Wild icon.pngThis section concerns content exclusive to Wild format.

The following cards are played in most or all Wild versions of the deck:

Kobold Librarian
Lesser Amethyst Spellstone
Skull of the Man'ari
Bloodreaver Gul'dan

Optional Wild cards[]

Dark Pact
Mistress of Mixtures
Demonic Project
Dirty Rat
Plated Beetle
Gluttonous Ooze
Stonehill Defender
Voodoo Doll
Brann Bronzebeard
Zola the Gorgon
Blastcrystal Potion
Shroom Brewer
Sludge Belcher
Despicable Dreadlord
Fel Reaver
Emperor Thaurissan
Rin, the First Disciple
Skulking Geist
Sylvanas Windrunner
Lord Godfrey
N'Zoth, the Corruptor