Warlock Guide: The MiraLock burst (featuring Kolento's version)
This week, we feature another article submitted by a guest writer. John "Eversiction" Lorenzo does a Warlock guide on a completely new way to play Gul'Dan - the bursting, explosive MiraLock.
Below, you will read about deck's evolution, from its first iteration to its final form, proposed by none other than Managrind's Kolento. You will learn how to mulligan for it properly to get the best possible starting hand, understand the lethal mathematics behind the combos and how does the deck survive until it can go off.
- Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev, Editor-in-Chief and Hearthstone section leader
Written by: Eversiction
You may be raising questions such as "Who the heck runs [card]Corruption[/card]? Why is there an [card]Arcane Golem[/card], [card]Loot Hoarder[/card] and [card]Azure Drake[/card] in the same deck? What's the point of this deck?" and make statements like, "It looks like an arena deck!" which is perfectly understandable at first glance.
So before I begin explaining the two versions of this deck card for card, you must understand the concept behind MiraLock. MiraLock runs several cards that allow you to stall until the late game (i.e. [card]Sen'jin Shieldmasta[/card] and [card]Hellfire[/card]) while also running several cycle cards to draw into the deck's win condition.
Said win conditions consist of three to four card combos that can do 16-24 damage, not counting [card]Soulfire[/card]. These are as follows:
|+ 2x||+||10 MANA
Both of these combos can deal additional damage if you throw in a [card]Soulfire[/card] on top of them, meaning if you have all the right cards in hand, you can deal upwards of 30 damage in one blow. This is the very essence of the deck that makes it very similar to the miracle Rogue decks - survive, abuse Life Tap for card draw, collect all the pieces and trigger the OTK with 20+ damage combos.
|[card]Earthen Ring Farseer[/card]||Yes|
|[card]Hellfire[/card]||Yes, but never two|
|[card]Drain Life[/card]||Too slow|
|[card]Shadowflame[/card]||Too dependent on minions|
|[card]Faceless Manipulator[/card]||End-game combo piece|
|[card]Gadgetzan Auctioneer[/card]||End-game combo piece|
|[card]Siphon Soul[/card]||Late-game card|
|[card]Mortal Coil[/card]||Only against aggro, never 2|
|[card]Power Overwhelming[/card]||Only against Handlock|
|[card]Bloodmage Thalnos[/card]||Only against Zoo and if you have Mortal Coil|
|[card]Loot Hoarder[/card]||Only if you have Voidwalker or can't be pinged|
|[card]Shadow Bolt[/card]||Only against Hunter and control Warrior. Never 2|
|[card]Arcane Golem[/card]||Only against Handlock|
|[card]Leeroy Jenkins[/card]||Only against Handlock|
|[card]Azure Drake[/card]||Only against Ramp or Control Warrior|
I sent this list to another high ranking legend player (Kolento) who suggested some changes that I now agree with. This version pinpoints the main weakness of the original version namely its inability to deal enough damage before using your combo against heavy control decks such as control Warrior and ramp Druid.
This version is stronger against Shaman, Handlock, and especially control Warrior. The changes mean that there is less cycle potential late game with Gadgetzan Auctioneer but has more consistency in terms of damage. The Wolfrider and Bluegill Warrior allow you to pressure your opponent while simultaneously getting out the last bits of damage you burst your opponent. Let's go over some of the card changes.
-1 [card]Corruption[/card], +1 [card]Siphon Soul[/card]: Since there is no more Gadgetzan Auctioneer and more low drop minions, Corruption is unecessary. Corruption drew its strength through the cycle potential and the low cost removal since the other version was a bit more tight on mana considering the extra 5 drop and Demonfire.
-1 [card]Demonfire[/card], +1 [card]Bluegill Warrior[/card]: This change was a very interesting idea as it took out a two damage removal and replaced it with another possible two damage removal. The idea behind Demonfire originally was to combo with Voidwalker and deal with an opponent's 2 drop such as River Crocolisk (I initially had two demonfires and when the hunter's Unleash the Hounds was nerfed, I took one out since there was less mid-range hunter).
Bluegill is weak to taunts but it can bring a possible 20 damage win condition on turn 8, or even turn 7 if it lives for a turn. Otherwise it is used to pressure control decks that have to burn inefficient removal to kill it such as shaman.
-1 [card]Gadgetzan Auctioneer[/card], +1 [card]Wolfrider[/card]: Again, the goal of this version is to pressure and deal damage while your hero power and cycle cards draw you into your burst combo. This means there is no need for the Gadgetzan Auctioneer (especially considering there are less spells in this version). Wolfrider is used in the same way as Bluegill since you can drop him to apply pressure instead of just save him for a win condition such as Arcane Golem.
I will be covering the more popular matchups because many of the unpopular matches play similarly to other matchups. For example against control Paladin you would play almost exactly the same as you would against a control warrior, and the same situation occurs with aggro Mage and Zoo.
Ramp Druid: Similar to Miracle Rogue (see below) except a bit more reliant on Voidwalker to protect Loot Hoarder and your chargers. If you are sure you are facing an actual ramp Druid with the large taunts similar to the list Gaara used at Dreamhack then you must save Siphon Soul for Ancient of Wars and Sunwalkers. This matchup is reliant on a big Power Overwhelming/Shadowflame play if your opponent gets a strong board developed so be careful and plan ahead. There is a lot of planning that you have to do to beat Ramp Druid (i.e. coin out Azure drake if you have Bloodmage Thalnos and Shadow Bolt in hand to kill the turn 5 Druid of the Claw in taunt form. This matchup is 55/45 in favor of MiraLock.
Mid-range/Watcher Druid: I would say it is the deck's worst matchup. They have many ways to apply large amounts of pressure and your spells are all inefficient in killing their minions. This matchup is very dependent on a big Power Overwhelming/Shadowflame play because they will have very healthy minions that deal large amounts of damage (i.e. Chillwind Yeti). Voidwalker, Earthen Ring Farseer, and Sen'jin Shieldmasta are all great cards for delaying your opponent, so keep them all in your mulligan phase. This matchup is 30/70 in favor of the Druid.
Miracle Rogue: As annoying this matchup may be for every single deck in the game, this deck may have one of the best matchups against it. The concept is simple: Pressure your opponent by mulliganing extremely aggressively for early game minions. Keep any minion 4 mana or less. Voidwalker into Loot Hoarder will usually guarantee 3 damage, especially if going second to prevent the Rogue's Coin into SI:7 Agent play.
If you draw Hellfire, save it for for the potential Bloodmage Thalnos -> Hellfire to kill a concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneer. It is okay to use Hellfire if you feel pressures enough by the miracle rogue but it is important to never use Bloodmage without hellfire. If you draw taunts past turn 6, try to save them for your opponent's kill turn which usually happens around turn 8. This matchup is 65/35 in favor of MiraLock.
Shaman: This matchup is all about good Hellfires and Sen'jin Shieldmastas. If you find these two cards, the match should naturally flow into your favor. Hellfire is strong against Shaman due to it's ability to clear all totems and Spirit Wolves. Sen'jin Shieldmasta is also very strong due to it's ability to PREVENT Spirit Wolves assuming your opponent has them or to force an answer. Earthen Ring Farseer is also another strong card because it can kill any totem and Feral Spirits the Shaman summons. Keep in mind that you do eventually need to draw your burst so don't forget to keep tapping if you can afford to, meaning you should try and use your mana efficiently with your removal/creatures to ensure you draw lethal. Mulligan away any card that isn't Hellfire, Voidwalker, Earthen Ring Farseer, Sen'jin Shieldmasta, and Hellfire. Only keep Loot Hoarder if you already have a Voidwalker. This is 60/40 in favor of MiraLock.
Zoo: Mulligan aggressively for Hellfire, Sen'jin Shieldmasta and Voidwalker. Soulfire is okay to keep and sometimes Mortal Coil is fine as long as the rest of your hand is can deal with early minions has a Hellfire in it. This matchup is all about survival so Earthen Ring Farseer, Drain Life, and other removal spells should make this matchups easy assuming you draw them. It's okay to faceless Sen'jin Shielmastas, Doomguards, and large taunts your opponent may have since your minions will eventually be able to constantly clear the board. This matchup is 55/45 in favor of MiraLock.
Handlock: The mulligan phase should be done assuming the opponent is playing Zoo. If you come across the rare occurence where you know your opponent is handlock, then mulligan aggressively for combo pieces. Power Overwhelming, Bluegill Warrior, Wolfrider, Leeroy Jenkins, Arcane Golem, and Soulfire are all fine to keep. Power Overwhelming should only be thrown away if you have no chargers in hand. I find this is the best way to beat your opponent since you will lethal them before they can drop their taunts. If this does not happen then and you mulliganed for zoo, then Shadowflame with Power Overwhelming is the key to winning this matchup to clear giants. You are also allowed to use Faceless Manipulator on an opponent's powerful taunter to survive a few turns since they will be low enough to lethal without Faceless Manipulator. This matchup is 50/50, very draw dependent on both sides.
Control Warrior: This matchup is all about pressuring your opponent with your minions. A simple way to look at the mulligan phase in this matchup: Is this card a minion? Yes -> Keep; No -> mulligan it away and hope you get one. As long as you don't get pressured yourself, you will be able to draw your entire deck by tapping as frequently as possible (without sacrificing dropping a large minion such as Azure Drake and Sen'jin Shieldmasta). Your win condition in this matchup is usually the double Power Overwhelming -> Arcane Golem -> Faceless Manipulator combo. This is 80/20 in favor of MiraLock.
Thank you for reading my Warlock guide! I'm sure you'll enjoy this deck as much as I have. If you have any questions please feel free to ask them on twitter (@Eversiction) or even if you come and stop by my stream!
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