Our Cube Warlock deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will teach you how to play this popular archetype. This Cube Warlock guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Cube Warlock
Cube Warlock or Cubelock is a Combo deck from Kobolds and Catacombs based around interactions with Carnivorous Cube. This deck is brand new, fairly complicated, and still being optimized, so you can expect to see fluctuations in lists over the next few weeks. This current version is based off of Zalae’s deck list.
Cube Warlock Card Choices
This list features two cards that set it apart from earlier versions: Mountain Giant and Faceless Manipulator. While it’s not completely foreign to see either of these cards in a slow Warlock deck, they aren’t always played in this archetype.
Mountain Giant adds another threat to your deck, and one that can be played from your hand early without consequence. Doomguard discards two cards from your hand, which is often full of essential combo pieces, so if you don’t have Possessed Lackey in your hand or Skull of the Man'ari on the field you frequently find yourself without a proactive mid-game play. Due to the nature of the Combo archetype, and Warlocks in general, this deck is looking to draw a lot of cards. Mountain Giant rewards you further for consistently Life Tapping.
Prince Taldaram has proven very effective at enhancing your Cube combos, and including Faceless Manipulator is almost like adding more copies of him to your deck. While the mana cost of Faceless Manipulator is a bit more restrictive, it makes up for it by replicating the minions it targets at full stat value. A 5/7 Doomguard is a lot more threatening than a 3/3 Doomguard.
Update: Cubelock – January 2018
Cube Warlock Mulligan Strategy & Guide
Against Aggro you want to have early board-clears and life-gain cards, and against Control you want essential combo pieces.
- Kobold Librarian – Cheap minions that draw cards have always been good, but this is one of the better ones. It activates Lesser Amethyst Spellstone, cycles through your deck, and provides you with a much needed 1-health minion for Defile that you don’t hate to put into your deck.
- Possessed Lackey – Possessed Lackey makes this deck happen. Accelerating out a Voidlord puts a serious wrench in aggressive game-plans, and hitting Doomguard allows you to escape the steep cost of discarding two cards.
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Mortal Coil – Mortal Coil is an early answer to small minions that often doesn’t cost a card, and a good way to set up big Defile plays.
- Mistress of Mixtures – Warlock decks are always starved for healing cards, and Mistress of Mixtures is one of the better ones in Standard. Playing this when you go first almost ensures that your turn-2 Life Tap won’t cost you life, which makes cycling through your deck with your Hero Power less scary. Otherwise it trades decently with early minions and helps you set up your Defile numbers.
- Defile – One of the strongest board-clearing tools in all of Hearthstone, Defile is amazing at getting you through the early game. Defile handily clears small minions, and is one of the only ways to do so while also removing deathrattle-produced tokens.
- Lesser Amethyst Spellstone – The earlier this card is in your hand, the more likely it is to be upgraded by the time you need to use it. At one upgrade, Amethyst Spellstone becomes a pseudo Holy Fire with significantly reduced cost, and removes Corridor Creeper and Cobalt Scalebane.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Hellfire – While Hellfire is an efficient early board clear, this deck is full of high-cost cards and you don’t want to play your first card on turn 4. Keep if you have earlier plays, or with The Coin.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Mountain Giant – Against slow decks you can afford to spend your first few turns Life Tapping, which sets you up to play Mountain Giant on turn 4. Mountain Giants that early can often win you games, but it also soaks up opponents removal, making your later threats harder to respond to.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Skull of the Man'ari – This card is almost an always keep, repeatedly dispensing threats from your hand while ignoring their mana costs and adverse side effects. Skull of the Man’ari is the safest and most efficient way to set up a powerful Carnivorous Cube combo. Don’t keep against Midrange, but always keep against the Mirror and slow Control decks.
- Carnivorous Cube – This deck is built to take full advantage of the Cube, and if you keep it in your opening hand you don’t have to find it. You probably want to have at least a Mountain Giant or Possessed Lackey before you keep a Cube though.
Cube Warlock Win Rates
Cube Warlock Play Strategy
With this deck you’re trying to set up powerful plays with Carnivorous Cube, either to make an unbreachable wall or an OTK combo.
As always when playing Control or Combo decks, your first priority against Aggro is to keep your life total from getting to zero. Even though Warlock has always had effective removal tools, it often suffers from lack of healing. With Kobolds and Catacombs however, we gain Lesser Amethyst Spellstone and Dark Pact. Dark Pact is in the deck specifically to activate Carnivorous Cube, but against Aggro it is often a good plan when you’re low on life to target something else just for the 8 health.
Doomguard gives this deck a slight disadvantage against Aggro compared to the Control lists focused more on Voidlord, as Possessed Lackey isn’t guaranteed to summon an enormous Taunt minion. However, when you do pull out a Voidlord either with Lackey or Skull of the Man'ari, you do have the opportunity in this deck to make multiples of it with Carnivorous Cube, and much sooner than N'Zoth, The Corruptor would. One Voidlord is often enough to end a game against fast decks, but multiple of them makes losing those games close to impossible, provided you’ve been able to keep your life total out of range of cards like Fireball and Kill Command. While the meta is moving away from Hunter, Secret/Burn Mage is very present on the ladder, and you have to be careful how often you Life Tap against them.
Against Control it’s all about Carnivorous Cube. Instead of worrying about losing the game before you can pull off a Cube combo, your greatest concern becomes having your minions silenced. Due to the popularity of this deck and the Voidlord-based Control Warlock, players have been including Spellbreaker in their decks more often, so as much as possible you want to activate your Cube the turn you play it. Thanks to the inclusion of Mountain Giant, Carnivorous Cube has twice as many ideal targets. Mountain Giant also gives you a threat that can be played straight from your hand.
The most ideal situation is to target Doomguard with Carnivorous cube, and either copy it with Faceless Manipulator/Prince Taldaram, or blow it up with Dark Pact. Each time you do this it makes your Bloodreaver Gul'dan turn more powerful. You don’t have much control over it, but against slower decks you really don’t want your Voidlords to ever enter the battlefield. Bloodreaver Gul’dan often ends the game when he summons 5 Doomguards, but it’s a lot less impressive when he summons one Doomguard and 6 Voidwalkers.
- Faceless Manipulator and Prince Taldaram summon the targets of Carnivorous Cube when they die if they copied it. If they copy a Doomguard, Bloodreaver Gul'dan is that much more likely to summon additional Doomguards when played. Also keep in mind that while targeting Carnivorous Cube is their intended purpose, they can also target opposing minions such as The Lich King.
- If you think your opponent has Explosive Runes, you can use it against them by playing Possessed Lackey or Carnivorous Cube into it. You’ll still take four damage when you play Lackey, but the Cube absorbs all of it. Be careful with your Cube though, as time goes on Secret/Burn Mage is likely to start including Mirror Entity to punish these plays. Mistress of Mixtures and Plated Beetle (if you’re running a list that includes it) both negate the damage of Explosive Runes without being as harshly punished by Mirror Entity.
- If your life total isn’t in much danger, you can Spellbreaker your own Voidlord to protect your Gul’dan from Voidwalker pollution.
- Carnivorous Cube is a great way to punish your opponent for playing Doomsayer.
Cube Warlock Card Substitutions
Although Despicable Dreadlord and Vulgar Homunculus are excellent cards that otherwise have good synergy with the deck, you can’t include them because they derail your consistency with Possessed Lackey, Skull of the Man'ari and most importantly Bloodreaver Gul'dan. You really want Gul’dan to summon as many Doomguards as possible to end the game, so much so that I’ve experimented with lists that only run one Voidlord (the jury is still out on whether or not that’s a good idea).
Gul’dan, the Demons, and Carnivorous Cube are essential to the deck and can’t be replaced. The removal package of this deck is probably optimal and shouldn’t be replaced if you have the cards, but you can sub in similar things in those spots if you’re missing some. Prince Taldaram is not essential but I’m very confident he’s optimal, especially in the mirror.
- Siphon Soul and Twisting Nether – These cards are often run in Cube-based Warlock decks, and there’s nothing wrong with them. They are absent from this list to make room for Faceless Manipulator and Mountain Giant, so if you don’t have or don’t want to run that package these are good choices to replace them with.
- Bloodmage Thalnos or Tainted Zealot or Kobold Geomancer – Spell Damage combos well with Defile, so slower Warlock often include it. Defile is a strong enough card on its own, so it’s not necessary to run any Spell Damage, but if you’re looking for spots to fill this is a good place to look. Each of the cards above have their individual strengths. Thalnos draws a card when he dies, Zealot adds Spell Damage to an additional Defile tick, and Geomancer is guaranteed to be in your collection!
- Plated Beetle – The Beetle is great for more defensive decks, especially those including N'Zoth, The Corruptor, but I think it’s slightly out of place in this one. That being said, it’s good card and a decent candidate to replace non-essential cards you’re missing.
- A second Spellbreaker or Ironbeak Owl – A couple days ago when Cube-lock had just been discovered and was flooding the ladder non-stop, I experimented with a Control Warlock list that ran two copies of both. When you’re running into this deck at least every other game this actually turned out to be very successful, but it really clutters your hand against just about anything else. One or two copies of Spellbreaker is the most viable silence package, but if you don’t have and don’t want to craft Prince Taldaram then Ironbeak Owl is something worth considering to improve the mirror.
- Shadowflame – If your Cubes and Lackeys are getting silenced more often than you’d like, Shadowflame is a productive way to activate them before your opponent gets the opportunity. This list is running Mountain Giant, so you actually have a large attack minion to get the most out of Shadowflame if need be, which is especially helpful since the list doesn’t run any Twisting Nether. You could also consider Unwilling Sacrifice, but at only one less mana it’s really hard to justify running a worse Deadly Shot.
- Spiritsinger Umbra – This card gets played a lot in Cube Warlock, and drastically increases your OTK potential. I talk more about it in the Card Omissions section.
This list is a little different than ones you may have been seeing a lot of on the ladder, the most notable exclusions are probably N'Zoth, The Corruptor, Rin, the First Disciple and Spiritsinger Umbra. The Cube-less lists based around Voidlord are very passive, waiting for their opponents to run out of threats. For these decks, N’Zoth and Rin are very helpful. Rin dramatically accelerates the plan of running your opponent out of threats by removing their deck entirely, and N’Zoth revives your Taunt wall, forcing your opponent to work through it all over again. These are very effective strategies for a patient Voidlord deck, but this is a Doomguard deck with Voidlords in it to survive aggro. The turns Voidlord decks would be spending to cast Rin seals or play N’Zoth are the turns this deck spends comboing Carnivorous Cube to end the game. With this in mind, the spots N’Zoth and Rin would take are better spent on cards that make your combos more consistent or powerful.
Spiritsinger Umbra makes the OTK potential of this deck a lot higher, but lowers the consistency of the deck somewhat. I’m not sure whether or not it’s right to exclude it. With 10 mana, you can attack with a Doomguard that has been accelerated out by Skull of the Man'ari or last turn’s Possessed Lackey, play Umbra, cast Carnivorous Cube on Doomguard, then play Dark Pact on the Cube for a total of 25 Doomguard damage, which is very impressive. However, outside of this exact scenario Umbra spends the game cluttering your hand. Currently I feel like Umbra is worse against most decks, but better against the Mirror and Raza Priest.
I was skeptical about the playing the deck without any copies of Siphon Soul or Twisting Nether, but after trying it out I don’t miss them. These cards are very defensive, and great for outlasting your opponents threats, but this is a deck that wants to be proactive during the turns those cards would be necessary.
About the Author
Martian has been playing Hearthstone regularly since early 2014, and consistently makes it to Legend in both Standard and Wild.