Handlocks seem to be in favor currently, at least I'm encountering them far more often than I used to. But I still don't have a good idea on how to actually play against them effectively.

In the game I just played I was rather close to being able to burst the Handlock down in one turn. A turn later he had three molten giants out, two of them taunted. I obviously lost that game.

I have tried to play around molten giants in the past, that didn't work out all that well either. The opponent simply tapped again, and was then able to play the molten giant. At best I could delay it one turn.

I'm currently playing Shaman, but I'm interested in general rules for all classes against Handlock. What are the general strategies against Handlock? When should I play around the molten giants and avoid hitting the enemy hero, and when should I go for direct damage?

  • Unless you are playing a very aggressive deck (Hunter or Zoo), the best thing to do is stall and focus on taking out their minions with your own. If you can match your removal against their biggest threats (giants), you can usually burst for a win.
    – ken.ganong
    Nov 5, 2014 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


There are a few tips you need to know in order to beat Handlock, first if you play shaman, there are some key cards for this match-up and hopefully they are excellent for other match-ups too:

  • Play with Hex x2 to remove those nasty giants/drakes/ancient watcher, that will help you to keep tempo against those strong minions.
  • Play with Earth Schock x2 to go through the taunts when you want to go for face and finish your opponent, AND to explode the Twilight Drakes, whatever hp amount he has, this spell will kill him (the drake is a 4/X, after silence it is a 4/1 and then there is the 1 damage).

For the neutral cards : - The Black Knight, free removal of any taunted creature - Ironbeak Owl, for the silence on boosted giants, annoying taunts - Big Game Hunter, can kill any giant and Alexstrasza - Deathrattle or divine shield minions to keep something on board after the Hellfire/Shadowflame (with cards like Harvest Golem, Nerubian Egg, Cairne Bloodhoof, Sylvanas,..)

Now for the tips with every class :

If you dealt with ancient watchers/drakes/mountain giants from early game you will still have to deal with the molten giants when his HPs get low, and dealing with those on board will often result in you losing the game. So, the best way to deal with them is to prevent him from playing them. Molten giant costs 20mana at start, and the cost is reduced by one for each HP the hero is missing. You need to keep track of that, as if he is at 14hp or less he can play Molten x 2 (4mana x 2) and sunfury protector (2mana) for example.

Therefore you need to keep him at 15+ hp, and then burst him to 0 in one turn, that is the best scenario. Let's take the example of the shaman again :

And of course there are a lot of other combos.

To end, let's talk about the easiest match-up against Handlock: Hunter, both hero powers go in the same direction, which is making the Warlock lose health. Strong removal with Freezing Trap making them harder to play and losing tempo, Hunter's Mark to remove someone, and Kill Command for high damage. And the best, Hunter has a lot of burst options to remove those 15 last hit points. Thanks to all this options, when you look at Handlock players' statistics and trackers, they usually have around 35% winrate only against Hunter.

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