Asmodai is one of the most consistent ladder players who broke into the spotlight with Complexity Gaming signing him up a while back. With the meta being in a state of flux for a long period of time with people experimenting with Mean Streets of Gadgetzan cards up until the end of the year and refined lists for the meta are finally coming up. Today we will be taking a look at one of the most powerful decks in the meta right now built by Asmodai. He managed to hit Rank 1 Legend with the deck last month and maintained high legend ranks with the deck for a long time before tinkering with other decks in due course. The list was picked up by a lot of pros and they have all commended the decklist due to how refined it is and has a lot of cards to counter the current meta.
The current state of the meta is mostly surrounded around aggressive decks with the Pirate package led by Patches the Pirate, Reno decks, Dragon Priest and Jade Druid for the most part and it is a brave new world for Hearthstone. This particular Renolock list is quite good against most of the meta decks and it is definitely one of the most viable options if you want to climb the ladder at a steady pace early in the season. Renolock is by no means an easy deck to play and you need to have a substantial knowledge about the meta decks to play it correctly. One of the biggest facets of playing the deck is managing removals. Since you have only one of each removal in the deck you need to know which removals you want to use for your opponent’s threats and also know how you plan on dealing with subsequent threats of your opponents in future turns. Let’s break down the deck and identify the role of each card in the list.
Mortal Coil: With a bunch of 1 HP minions being popular in the meta, Mortal Coil is more valuable than ever. You can also use the card as a follow-up to other removals in case they do not get the job done and you need to squeeze in that one extra damage. You should not try to force a card draw each time you use the card and if you need to deal with things like Divine Shields then you should sacrifice the card draw for better trades.
Power Overwhelming: One of your combo cards in the deck for potential 8 burst damage when you put together Leeroy Jenkins and Faceless Manipulator with this card. You should however not completely rely on the combo to win every game since games against aggressive decks rely on you being able to remove all of their threats and simply heal up and stabilize. Depending on your matchups you should choose between your win conditions and use this card accordingly.
Soulfire: With a lack of cheap removals in the Standard Warlock set good old Soulfire makes it into the deck and its cheap cost allows you to take out minions that cost up to 6 mana with this 1 mana removal. The discard effect of the deck is something you need to keep in mind when ordering your cards to make sure you manage your card pool correctly.
Dark Peddler: One of the best cards from League of Explorers, Warlocks have some great 1 man minions and spells and the nature of the Discover mechanic and its biased pickrates for class cards makes Dark Peddler a great 2 mana minion for dealing with enemy early game and also get some great cards out of it through its effect. Soulfire, Mortal Coil and Power Overwhelming are great options that you can pick up along with other great picks. If you manage to get a Power Overwhelming you can increase your combo damage by another 8 damage, allowing you to have a better win condition.
Demonwrath: One of the best AoE removals for beating the early game and with Pirate decks floating around so much, it is as valuable as ever. The added text of not being able to kill Demons is not even a drawback in the current meta due to the absence of Zoo and it’s almost always a simple 3 mana 2 damage AoE spell.
Imp Gang Boss: Arguably the best Warlock early game minion in the game and its ability to take out multiple minions and still manage to leave something on board in early turns makes Imp Gang Boss extremely valuable in the deck.
Shadow Bolt: It’s similar to Soulfire but without the drawback that Soulfire has and it’s a great removal in the current meta since there are a ton of minions that 4 HP or less.
Blastcrystal Potion: One of the best cards in the new expansion and the ability to remove any minion for 4 mana and losing a mana crystal is very appealing. Siphon Soul was one of the only good minion removals Warlock had access to, but it is quite slow at 6 mana. Even though the mana crystal loss is a big drawback at first sight, in the lategame it does not even matter much since you have a lot of floating mana anyway.
Hellfire: A staple AoE card in any control style Warlock deck. It can clear our most board states of popular decks in the meta right now and offers a ton of value for just 4 mana.
Shadowflame: One of the better situational spells in the entire game and it works great with Power Overwhelming for clearing out massive boards by sacrificing a minion. Even though it requires you to have a minion on board, the cheap cost of the spell balances itself for the sacrifice you make.
Siphon Soul: One of the many spot removals in the deck, Siphon Soul is a good way to restore some health to yourself and take out a minion of your choice.
Abyssal Enforcer: Abyssal Enforcer has become a staple in most Renolock decks due to the amazing value it offers. Warlock had limited amounts of AoE spells in the past but with so many great additions in the board control tools department you are spoilt for choice and there is not much your opponents can do about if you spam one AoE after another.
Twisting Nether: It’s a very powerful board clear tool and despite its high mana cost, it consistently provides value to players. While Abyssal Enforcer was the card of choice for late game AoE removal and Twisting Nether was being taken out of decks due to its slow nature, Jade Golem based decks made people put back Twisting Nether back to their decks since it is an efficient way to deal with massive boards without putting in too many cards to remove minion on your opponent’s side of the board.
Lord Jaraxxus: One of the best comeback cards in the entire game, you can flip a control game on its head with him or simply make a comeback from very little HP and have an insane hero power and weapon at your disposal.
Mistress of Mixtures: One of the best cheap drops to come out in the latest expansion, you will be able to get some early trades and heals at the same time with the card and it is a card any control Warlock deck would like to include right now.
Acidic Swamp Ooze: Weapon removal is a must in the meta right now with so many weapon heavy decks floating around and when it comes to control style Warlock decks, Acidic Swamp Ooze is your best bet.
Dirty Rat: I do not know what to think of this card to be honest because even though it has insane stats and the ability to beat aggro boards on its own, sometimes pulling out your opponent’s biggest minion from their hand at the wrong time can win them the game instantly for you. However on the other side of things, it is a great tool if your opponent’s deck consists of combo pieces or very cheap minions and you can disrupt their plans quite easily. Nullifying Battlecries is what Dirty Rat does best and you will have an easy time against such decks. You can also pick out some win condition pieces at times as well but the chance for the card to backfire always exists.
Doomsayer: A card that saw very fringe play is now a popular pick in a ton of decks and the ability to completely shut down your opponent and then gaining initiative is what makes Doomsayer so great. You also have the ability to save some HP if nothing else since they will run their minions into Doomsayer if they do not have lethal anyway, allowing you to buy an extra turn once in a while if nothing else.
Brann Bronzebeard: With so many battlecry minions at your disposal, you want to get the maximum value out of them and Brann allows you to do just that. He is a great tool in the deck and you can squeeze out a lot of value from your minions. He is also a cheap threat on curve and most players will focus on him instead of hitting your face due to how hard he can snowball out of control.
Earthen Ring Farseer: One of the cheap heal sources from the Classic set and the 3/3 stat line also helps you go 2 for 1 in a lot of cases against aggro decks.
Faceless Shambler: One of the most underrated cards from Whispers of the Old Gods makes a cut in the decklist. I have been trying out the card in modern handlock lists and he has been working really well in the recent past and Faceless Shambler has some great targets in this Renolock list as well with so many high HP minions you have access to.
Refreshment Vendor: A great neutral source of healing alongside a couple of other heal sources. With the Warlock hero power at your disposal, you are damaging yourself all the time and keeping yourself at a safe health pool and escaping burst damage or minion damage is essential so that you can squeeze in additional hero powers until you find your Reno or win condition pieces to close out the game.
Twilight Drake: Twilight Drake works best in Warlock and it is no surprise that the large hand size that you have most of the time allows it to become quite big easily and he is not only good for trading off a ton of minions in the mid game, but also serves as a good taunt target.
Faceless Manipulator: One of your combo pieces that you need to finish off your opponent, but it can also serve as a tool to dominate on board or copy a key minion that you need. Due to the flexible nature of your win condition you can use the card as you feel like depending on how you see yourself closing out the game.
Leeroy Jenkins: In conjunction to Faceless Manipulator and Power Overwhelming, you can dish out 20 damage in one turn if you bring down the combo cost to at least 10 mana using Emperor Thaurissan. It is the primary win condition of the deck but not the only one. Leeroy is the least flexible of your combo pieces due to the very nature of the card and he is predominantly a finisher.
Second-Rate Bruiser: A great anti-aggro tech card that I had lots of hope for and it’s nice to see it being played at such a large scale in so many Reno Jackson decks. Being able to pull out a cheap taunt and take out multiple threats makes Bruiser an appealing pick in the deck.
Emperor Thaurissan: Due to the large hand sizes you generally have, Emperor makes a cut into the deck due to the high amount of value he can offer. He also is essential to activating your win condition and bringing them to a playable total mana cost.
Reno Jackson: The highlight card of the deck himself, the burst healing that you can get out of him is incredible and he offers you a great comeback mechanism against aggressive decks. Drawing him in time is of utmost importance when you are falling low and he definitely can turn games around if you play him at the right time.
Sylvanas Windrunner: A great card for turning board states upside down and a great control card overall. She is very valuable with Shadowflame in the deck against control decks while on curve, she can force your opponents to run their board into her essentially making her a board clear tool.
Mountain Giant: Another card that utilizes your hand size for getting value, Mountain Giant on turn 4 or 5 can be devastating and can win you games fast enough. He is also a great taunt target in the deck and can help you control the board very efficiently.
- Mortal Coil
- Mistress of Mixtures
- Imp Gang Boss
- Shadow Bolt
- Second-Rate Bruiser
- Reno Jackson
- Acidic Swamp Ooze (vs Weapon classes)
- Earthen Ring Farseer
- Imp Gang Boss
- Twilight Drake
- Mountain Giant
- Reno Jackson
- Shadow Bolt
How to Play / Matchups
Against Jade Druid, you definitely want to plan your removals and Twisting Nether is one of the best ways to deal with their lategame golem boards. You have a lot of high HP minions and Druid as a class is unable to deal with them too easily due to the nature of their removals. Apply enough pressure and they will break quite easily.
The play style against Miracle Pirate Rogue, Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman you want your weapon removal and AoE effects. Keeping Reno against these 3 decks is a must if you want to win. I am talking about all three of these decks at once because they essentially run the same pirate package and their early game is going to be extremely similar. Doomsayer and minion removals are key to stopping their tempo and you want to shut down their board as quickly as possible to ensure they do not get too much chip damage in.
Dragon Priest is not particularly hard to deal with since you have access to Lord Jaraxxus who can solo games against Priest in general. They do have some high HP minions that can be extremely hard to deal with and this game can go either way if you let their board state stick for too long.
Against other Reno/Highlander deck you are extremely favored against the Priest and Mage counterparts due to the nature of your hero power and win condition. However the Warlock mirror is very skill intensive and if they are running a combo win condition as well you will need to be very careful with the matchup and have a smart approach to winning the matchup. Shutting down their early game is essential and you want to have initiative at all times.
Hope you guys have a fun time with the deck and it has been extremely efficient and I have been ranking up quite steadily with the deck this season without too many unfavored games. Renolock is a great deck to play right now and allows you to beat the meta quite well! Let me know how the deck works out for you in the comments below or if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. Until next time!