- Power-hungry practitioners of the fel arts, Warlocks have no qualms unleashing debilitating curses, reckless demons, or violent waves of hellfire. They’ll sacrifice anything to take down those who stand in their way, including their own vitality.
- Alternate portraits
- Main article: Warlock
In the face of demonic power, most heroes see death. Warlocks see only opportunity. Dominance is their aim, and they have found a path to it in the dark arts. These voracious spellcasters summon demonic minions to fight beside them. At first, they command only the service of imps, but as a warlock’s knowledge grows, seductive succubi, loyal voidwalkers, and horrific felhunters join the dark sorcerer’s ranks to wreak havoc on anyone who stands in their master’s way. Warlocks can ignite distant enemies in searing flame, send them fleeing in terror and pain, or afflict them with corrupting diseases and curses that steal the victim’s vitality.
These practitioners of the profane are feared across Azeroth, and many who have felt their wrath now prefer to fight alongside a warlock than against one.
The warlock Hero Power is Life Tap, allowing them to sacrifice 2 Health (and 2 mana) in order to draw a card. While this may seem like an unworthy trade, the ability to gain card advantage is very strong, and Life Tap is widely considered one of the strongest Hero Powers in the game. It can be very effective for both early game and late game decks, allowing Handlocks to quickly build a large hand of cards, or an aggressive Zoolock to consistently flood the board with cheaper minions.
Replacement Hero Powers
- Soul Tap is the upgraded Hero Power.
- Lord Jaraxxus Battlecry will replace the current Hero Power with INFERNO!, as well as replacing the hero.
- Bloodreaver Gul'dan Battlecry will replace the current Hero Power with Siphon Life, as well as replacing the hero.
- Supreme Archaeology will replace the current Hero Power with Tome of Origination once the Quest is completed.
- Galakrond, the Wretched will replace the current Hero Power with Galakrond's Malice, as well as replacing the hero.
- Trade off some health to create powerful effects at reduced mana costs or sap the essence of hapless minions to keep yourself in the game.
- Featured cards
- The Warlock’s attunement to the void grants them the ability to summon fearsome, dark creatures to do their bidding.
- Featured cards
- At the risk of losing powerful spells and allies, Warlocks can embrace the chaotic nature of fel magic, discarding a random card from their hand to activate powerful effects or summon unnaturally powerful minions.
- Featured cards
How to get cards
Raising Warlock up to level 10 awards 16 Core Warlock cards (31 copies), while winning up to 500 games in Ranked, Arena and Duels awards golden copies of existing cards. All Core cards are uncraftable and cannot be crafted or disenchanted.
- Starting cards
Warlock starts with the following cards:
- Levels 2-10
Up to level 10, reaching each level will award the player two copies (one at level 10) of a new Core Warlock card.
- Main article: Card pack
Warlock's expansion cards can be obtained mostly by obtaining corresponding card packs or Warlock class packs. The player can buy them in Shop with gold or real money, or get them through various sources. Some cards may be available through various promotions, like logging in to get them.
Mini-set cards, while can be obtained like expansion cards, can also be obtained by buying its bundle available in Shop for a limited-time. The player can buy the bundle with gold or real money.
Expansions cards are also craftable and can be obtained by crafting them with Arcane Dust.
- Main article: Adventure
Adventure cards can be obtained by completing their Adventure's encounters. They are uncraftable until the player completes the Adventure or their set rotates to Wild format. The player can buy the Adventure with gold for each individual part, or real money for the whole of it.
Breakdown of Warlock cards in both Standard and Wild formats can be seen in the following table.
Strategy and gameplay
Many newer players may find themselves initially turned off from the warlock as the class makes heavy use of "self-abuse" mechanics in order to gain card advantage and summon more minions. Warlock cards generally offer a lower mana cost and higher power than their neutral and other class counterparts, but will come at an alternative price.
This style of play is most evident in their Hero Power Life Tap, which deals 2 damage to the player's own hero in addition to the standard 2 mana cost. However, the ability to draw cards on demand is well worth the higher cost, ensuring the warlock always has something to play. Health is sometimes just as valuable a resource for Warlocks, with powerful cards like Wrathguard and Bloodbloom demanding life as extra payment. Some cards even feed on the warlock's self-inflicted pain, such as Floating Watcher and Zzeraku the Warped.
The warlock features a variety of Demon-class minions, many of whom offer greater power but will drain the warlock's resources in exchange. The Flame Imp and Pit Lord require a portion of the warlock's health on play, but are vastly stronger than other minions of their mana cost. The Felguard is a cheaper defensive minion but lowers mana, while the Void Terror can be a huge threat but requires the sacrifice of up to 2 of the warlock's other minions. Some cards allow warlocks to use these demons without incurring their drawbacks, such as Possessed Lackey and Skull of the Man'ari.
This reckless nature extends to warlock spells as well. Shadowflame is an effective board clear at the cost of one of your own minions, while Power Overwhelming can turn a minion into a kamikaze powerhouse. On an even more destructive level, Hellfire, Defile, Felfire Potion, and Twisting Nether can wipe out both sides of the board.
Other warlock-specific cards require the hero to discard their other cards to be put into play. Soulfire, Felstalker and Doomguard all feature a very low mana cost for their power. A notable strategy to get around this downside is to continually play cards until only these remain, effectively negating the discard effect. Playing around discard effects is a key mechanic of the warlock class.
Due to the warlock's "self-abuse" mechanics, healing is premium for Warlocks. They have access to some healing cards like Dark Pact, Drain Soul, Siphon Soul, and Lesser Amethyst Spellstone. A strategy involving Lord Jaraxxus can be also used to heal your hero back to 15 hp when your health has dropped too low. Although it is a powerful card that may turn the tide of a game, it is best not to play Lord Jaraxxus too early in case your opponent has been hiding large amounts of burst damage in his hand.
The warlock's Life Tap is useful for gaining card count advantages without wasting spots in your deck with draw cards. This ability is what makes warlock successful as an aggro class, and quite possibly the only class with a competitive zoo deck. These early game rush decks often utilize low cost cards with penalties like Flame Imp as well as efficient, high-quality neutral sticky minions to counter their best counter, AoEs. Especially in conjunction with heavy Life Tap usage, aggressive warlocks are relatively easy for opponent's to finish after they've run out of resources.
Warlocks are also considered a suitable class for late game, as their Life Tap allows them to consistently draw the cards they need to survive, until expensive and powerful cards can be put into play. Additionally, the large amount of cards they can gather up early game lets them play a Mountain Giant or a high-health Twilight Drake as early as turn 4. While control warlock decks tend to lack offensive burst damage, they employ extremely sturdy minions like Voidlords and their array of board clears to gradually stem the opponent's tide and gradually outvalue them, whether it's summoning a huge Infernal every turn with Lord Jaraxxus or unsealing Azari, the Devourer to destroy their deck and put them into fatigue.
Common deck types
The warlock can use a wide variety of deck archetypes to great effect.
A highly popular deck is the Zoolock, named because of its focus on low mana-cost, high 'value' minions. Zoolocks aim to seize board control in the early and mid-game with effective minion trading, creating an insurmountable advantage before the opponent's larger minions can even be played. Life Tap is critical in ensuring the warlock has a continual supply of minions and can refill the board in case of removal. Infamous for its power and efficiency, the Zoolock is a common choice at all skill levels. Its low crafting cost also makes the deck perhaps the easiest competitive choice for many new players.
The introduction of Malchezaar's Imp with One Night in Karazhan has given rise to the Discardlock, a discard effect synergy-oriented version of the traditional Zoolock, negating the drawbacks of cards like Soulfire and Doomguard and even turning them to positives through cards like Silverware Golem and Hand of Gul'dan.
Another strategy is the Handlock, intentionally loading up their hand early for devastating returns. Once again Life Tap plays a key role in this deck, where the extra cards enable cards that scale with hand size like Twilight Drake, Dark Skies, Abyssal Summoner, and Mountain Giant. From there, their slew of board-clearing spells can wrench control back to the Handlock's grasp, before finally finishing them off with a Leeroy Jenkins or Nether Breath after the opponent runs out of threats and their health whittled down.
Demonlock employs powerful but expensive Demon synergy cards and capitalize on them. Bloodreaver Gul'dan is the key to their power, and to maximize the impact of its Battlecry, they only a select few high-cost demons into their decks, namely Doomguards and Voidlords. On top of this, they can bring them out with lower cost and zero drawbacks with Possessed Lackey and Skull of the Man'ari and their power can be doubled up with a Carnivorous Cube followed by Dark Pact.
When United in Stormwind was released, Warlock decks based around The Demon Seed started to rise, due to the absurd speed you can complete the Questline in, as well as the reward, Blightborn Tamsin, turning your self harm AND Fatigue damage into burst. These decks usually employ cards like Flame Imp and Backfire to progress the questline and deal tons of damage. Healing like Touch of the Nathrezim and Drain Soul are super important in keeping them alive to finish the quest.
- A highly offensive deck can be very effective to the generally suicidal mechanics of the warlock; generally to counteract the self-harm caused by the warlock spells and hero ability the warlock will have Siphon Soul, Drain Life, different neutral cards and Taunt minions. An offensive deck can hit the warlock after every Life Tap for devastating results.
- Silence or other crowd control is going to be very useful against the powerful warlock minions.
- If you have the ability to drop the warlock below 15 HP, be careful because they may be holding Lord Jaraxxus in their hand and can easily reset any damage that sends them below 15 HP that doesn't kill them.
- In August 2016 Ben Brode stated that of all the classes he felt the team had the hardest time designing warlock spells, stating "We need to carve out more design space for them."
- Card frames