Even Warlock has been the premier Midrange deck in Hearthstone since the release of Genn and Baku. The ability to tap for one mana allows for constant resource renewal and ensures that you will never run out of resources. The problem is, Midrange decks don’t really have a place in the current meta. Typically, Midrange decks have issues when facing Aggro decks, as they can win before Even Lock can wrestle the board back. Additionally, the sheer amount of value and consistency of the combo decks makes Even Lock susceptible to all sorts of OTK shenanigans, as well.
Fortunately, with the proper tech cards, and a good cup of coffee, any matchup is winnable. Against Aggro matchups Sunfury Protector, Defile, Hellfire, and Amethyst Spellstone really shine. Versus Control decks, applying constant pressure by keeping one or two large minions on the board every turn gives Even Lock the opportunity to finish a game quickly. Many people have drawn parallels between Even Lock and the Hand Lock decks of old, because even in their bad matchups most Even Lock game still feel winnable.
Even Lock Card Choices
Even Lock wins the game through establishing mid-game board control and then using the hero power to out-resource your opponent. Even Lock is NOT a control deck. It does NOT want to extend the game to turn 15. Even Lock wants the game to end between turns 8 and 12. Life must be viewed as a resource, similar to how cards in hand, or minions on board are viewed as a resource. The first 3 turns of the deck are pivotal for designing your line of play throughout the game.
This deck is built for the purpose of slamming a big minion onto the board early, then using a Defile or a Hellfire while your minion is on the board to clear the opponent’s board, then healing your minion using Shroom Brewer. Make sure you have a minion that will stick to the board by surviving after you play a board clear, or else you are just giving your opponent initiative in the game.
- (x2) Defile
- (x2) Sunfury Protector
- (x2) Vulgar Homunculus
- (x2) Hellfire
- (x2) Hooked Reaver
- (x2) Amethyst Spellstone
- (x2) Twilight Drake
- (x1) Dread Infernal
- (x1) Genn Greymane
- (x2) Mountain Giant
These are the core cards for the deck. They can not be removed from the deck without changing the identity of the deck. Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant are your early game large minions, flowing nicely into activated Hooked Reavers and Dread Infernal. Sunfury Protector, Vulgar Homunculus, Hellfire, and Defile are your tools to cement board control.
- (x2) Cheaty Anklebiter
- (x2) Shroom Brewer
- (x2) Spellbreaker
- (x1) Lich King
- (x1) Bloodreaver Gul’dan
These cards I wouldn’t consider Core Cards, and may be considered to be replaced as the meta develops. These cards are very important to the deck, and should not be changed under normal conditions. Cheaty Anklebiter is the most unusual inclusion in the deck, but is an absolute all star. It upgrades Spellstone, it acts as a ping, it heals for 1 immediately, it sets up defile, and is just a 2 attack minion with lifesteal. When protected behind a taunt just beats Aggro decks.
Not to mention, sending your Cheaty Anklebiter to hit your opponents face is one of the most satisfying lethals you will ever get in Hearthstone
- (x1) Acidic Swamp Ooze
- (x1) Doomsayer
- (x1) Mojomaster Zihi
- (x1) The Black Knight
These cards are the cards that may be replaced depending on the meta. Acidic Swamp Ooze doesn’t have a lot of targets, but the targets it does have are VERY high impact, which merits its inclusion in the deck. Doomsayer came back into the deck as a direct result of how much Midrange Hunter is on the ladder. Mojomaster Zihi sets up lethal against any deck, and blocks super high impact plays from value decks.
- Nerubian Unraveler
- Skulking Geist
- Plated Beetle
Nerubian Unraveler can be an absolute all star against Priest or Druid, but in this Hunter meta has been proven to be relatively unimpactful. The same can be said about Skulking Geist, but Geist is more useful because the 4/6 body is much better than the 5/5 body in matchups where the effect doesn’t matter. Also Geist has the advantage of being good against Odd Warrior and Deathrattle Hunter.
Bonemare doesn’t do enough. It is an 8 mana 9/9 across 2 bodies. By the time this card gets played, it is too late. When you win, it is a win-more card, and when you lose, it is never the card you wished you had. It just isn’t good. Keep this card in arena for now.
Cheaty Anklebiter is just a much more versatile Plated Beetle. Direct 1 for 1 replacement in any version of Even Lock is recommended.
Mulligans & Strategy
Any Midrange deck wins through board control. Even Lock, by the nature of it’s archetype, can not play anything to the board on turn 1, giving it an inherent disadvantage. Even Lock makes up for this by playing undercosted minions on consecutive turns, winning the game through superiority on board. Your goal is to get your life total to 15 by turn 6 in order to drop a Hooked Reaver, then staying in the “safe zone” for the rest of the game.
The “safe zone” means out of range of the burst potential of the enemies deck and mana. If you don’t know what the opponent is playing, generally mulligan for Drakes and Giants, but beware, Giants are normally not played until late game against Aggro. Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant are the most powerful cards in the deck, and the deck is built to abuse them. You can be very aggressive with the mulligans in Even Lock, as you draw two cards per turn. Ideally your game will play out as tap, tap, Giant, Drake, Giant + Sunfury, Dread Infernal. The first few questions you should answer each turn before you consider your play is:
- Do I have lethal?
- Can I tap for lethal?
- Can I tap?
- Can I win the game with what’s in my hand?
The answer to these questions will help you shape your play. It is fine to tap to below ten health, and sometimes beyond that depending on if you have the cards in your hand to win the game. If you do not have the victory in your hand DO NOT STOP using your hero power.
Vs. Quick Decks
Against aggressive classes, or at least against classes with primarily aggressive meta decks (Rogue, Paladin, Hunter), it is imperative to mulligan away your Giant if you don’t have the coin. Do not be afraid against Aggro. When you start playing on “your back foot” you lose. Do NOT clear the board before you land a threat, giving the Aggro deck initiative makes the game an absolute nightmare. It is nearly always best to play a 2 drop on turn 2 against aggressive decks, if possible.
As far as “winning the board” is concerned, you can either beat them on the board, or beat them to the board. It is not easy to beat them to the board, so you must rely on the former.
High Priority Keep:
- Twilight Drake – Often this card is coined on 3 after playing a 2 drop and this becomes a 4/7, which on turn 3 contests anything that an aggressive deck can play.
- Hooked Reaver – Against Aggro this is a 4 mana 7/7 taunt!
Medium Priority Keep:
- Doomsayer – Playing an early Doomsayer Gives you initiative on turn 3 or 4 which is the greatest gift anyone can give an Even Lock.
- Cheaty Anklebiter – Against Hunter this card is insanely valuable. Paired with a Defile this card can clear any board state Hunter creates. Additionally having a lifesteal minion on the board feels really good against their hero power.
Low Priority Keep:
- Sunfury Protector – Keeping Sunfury with a Drake can usually allow you enough time to set up a board and begin to make the value trades that win you the board.
- Vulgar Homunculus – An early game taunt with 4 health is not easy to deal with.
Vs. Slow Decks
Against slower classes you have the option to either beat them in the head with Giants before they can remove them, or to play one threat at a time and force them to 1 for 1. This effectively nullifies any advantage they could have otherwise gained from their mass removal cards. Playing against slower decks, you must identify your path to victory early on and play to it. This path must be re-evaluated each turn, as fatigue becomes a real possibility versus some decks.
High Priority Keep:
- Mountain Giant – Early Mountain Giants win games by applying constant pressure each turn.
- Twilight Drake – Probably the most consistently good card in the deck. There is nearly never a downside to playing a Drake.
Medium Priority Keep:
- Spellbreaker – Spellbreaker allows you to silence away the status effects on your Giants, get through a taunt, deal with an Egg… There are so many reasons to have a turn 3, 4, or 5 silence.
Low Priority Keep:
- Vulgar Homunculus – Great for the mirror, good on turn 3 against other Midrange decks
Even Warlock may not be getting the attention it has in the past, but is still a very powerful archetype. By piloting this deck properly you can surprise your opponents on ladder, landing decisive victories.
ExilesRhythm is a Hearthstone streamer with a reputation for deck building and deck optimization. He is continuously testing the best strategies for ladder and tournament play while playing at a high level. With multiple top 1000 finishes and a passion for coaching, ExilesRhythm is the perfect streamer to watch for those desiring to improve their gameplay. ExilesRhythm also offers individualized coaching. Contact him directly for further information.