Written by Alliestrasza
Hello! My name’s Alliestrasza. If you’ve watched my stream, you’ll know that this is one of my all time favorite decks to play. I hope you enjoy reading my take on the deck. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask.
I stream Monday – Friday at twitch.tv/Alliestrasza
My C’Thun Renolock is the same play style as most Handlock/Renolock lists. I enjoy C’Thun decks and I like to play this version on ladder when I’m looking to play a control type deck or I’m running into a lot of Control Warriors because of the favorable match up. The general strategy is to use Life Tap to gain card advantage and eventually use Reno to gain back the life you lost to your hero power. This strategy, coupled with the power cards in the deck, allows you to overwhelm traditional strategies once you’ve stabilized.
Beckoner of Evil, Disciple of C’Thun, Twilight Elder, C’Thun Chosen, Crazed Worshipper, Usher of Souls, Twin Emperor Vek’lor, C’Thun
This suite is the core of what the deck is built around. Most choices are staples and necessary for activating C’Thun and growing its power enough to be useful as a clear. However, I will go over a couple of ones I don’t always see included individually:
Crazed Worshipper: This is actually the card I am close to cutting from this suite, as having it killed by Book Wyrm can lose you a lot of tempo and completely negate the C’Thun value. The same is true for Shadow Word: Pain, which I have seen in priest more frequently since the recent standard nerfs. On the other hand, in any aggro matchup, he almost always gains you 2 charges for C’Thun and is a well statted taunt, while still being good enough to bait a removal spell in the control matchup. Sometimes you also get the opportunity to heal him with Earthen Ring Farseer which can additionally strengthen C’Thun.
Usher of Souls: This is, in my opinion, the single most underrepresented C’Thun card that should see more play. Many people judge this card because of how hard it can be to get C’Thun value out of it. I think it should be viewed as an amazingly statted minion, with a potential upside. Many players will go out of their way to kill this card because it is conceived as threatening as Emperor Thaurissan. If that’s the case, it is a way to eat a big removal spell, and it is both harder to kill and cheaper to play than Thaurissan. One mistake I see a lot of players make with this card is to try and squeeze the value out of it. Do not pass on playing it on the 5th or 6th turn just to wait for tradeable minions on your side of the field.
Earthen Ring Farseer, Refreshment Vendor, Reno Jackson
You will be tapping a lot with this deck and thus healing yourself will be crucial to being able to stay alive. Typically Reno Jackson provides the bulk of your healing and enough to win you the game. Nevertheless, there are a few other heal tricks that can win you games besides Reno.
Using Earthen Ring on Minions: Many times it is correct to use Earthen Ring Farseer on a minion rather than your face. Cards like Imp Gang Boss and Crazed Worshipper especially provide great value due to having effects when being damaged. In most cases, healing a minion will give you as much health or more in the long run due to the opposing player spending resources dealing with the healed creature.
Comboing heals with Brann: Brann Bronzebeard provides an amazingly flexible roll in this deck, which I will get to later. One trick is to use him as a mini Reno effect with Earthen Ring Farseer or Refreshment Vendor proving 6-8 health back to your hero. I have won many games with this combo against aggro decks.
A small trick with Reno: Before you Reno, always check to see what else you will be doing that turn. If you will be taking more damage make sure you do it first: Hellfire, tapping, or for the rare fact you have a weapon equipped (e.g. through Lord Jaraxxus), you will want that free life. I say it on stream a lot but I love to “Tapino” (Tap then Reno) on turn 8. Just be careful you don’t accidentally kill yourself, I once died to Dart Trap before I could Reno…
Demonwrath, Hellfire, Shadowflame, Twisting Nether
These are your four tools to clear boards when they get out of control, and since you will likely be behind on board in the early game, they are integral to this decks ability to stabilize. Hellfire is especially useful against aggro decks like Shaman and Zoolock. Keep in mind, these all damage your own board too in some way. Timing on these spells is critical to beating any aggro or midrange deck. Demonwrath and Hellfire can sometimes be used to remove a single minion in certain matchups as they may not have use otherwise.
Single Target Removal
Mortal Coil, Shadow Bolt, Big Game Hunter, Siphon Soul
Since we only have one of each, it is important not to waste them just because you can. I see a lot of beginner players opting to remove a 3/3 with Shadow Bolt instead of playing their own 3-drop. This leaves you without a bolt for the rest of the game – and because you are a Reno player, your opponent will know this. This is giving them a huge information advantage about your hand. A similar case can be made with Mortal Coil. Unless you desperately need to dig for a card, Mortal Coil should not be played on harmless minions like vanilla 1/1’s or 2/1’s. It is extremely hard for Warlock to deal one damage and this deck runs no 1-attack creatures. This means, that if you use the Coil on a 1/1, chances are some other minion with be left with 1 health and much higher attack on the board later. This leftover toon will then be able to trade with a more expensive minion or has to be dealt with an expensive removal spell.
Big Game Hunter has not been as good since the nerf but it is still a great inclusion for Reno decks and has won me plenty of games. He also allows me to be a bit more loose with my Siphon Soul, since I will still have another answer for Ragnaros, the Firelord. That being said, he is definitely a card you can replace if you want to.
Random tech cards
Acidic Swamp Ooze: Great for dealing with all the strong weapon classes right now with Shaman and Warrior being popular. Against Control Warrior, I like to try and save it for the Gorehowl which can single handedly win you the match.
Doomsayer: Great for slowing the game down vs aggro, and good for power move turns against control. Sometimes the best way to use doomsayer is to play it alongside other minions, giving your opponent the awkward choice between wasting removal on the doomsayer or leaving you the board to gain control over. The latter will give you an empty board to play a powerful on-curve minion on.
Brann Bronzebeard: Brann is so flexible in this deck. Knowing how to use him in which matchups is extremely important. Here are the most common ways I use Brann:
- with Defender of Argus: as a way to build a taunt wall that shuts the game down (usually against aggro)
- with Refreshment Vendor: as a way to heal out of burst range either after Reno has been played or before he has been drawn
- with Twin Emperor Vek’lor: another way to build a wall that is impossible for many decks to get through (don’t do this against control warriors or decks with strong AOE)
- with Dark Peddler: this is probably my least used way, but a last resort on turn 5 when I have nothing else to do against an aggro deck.
- With combo of Emperor Thaurissan + Coin + C’Thun: This is most common in long drawn out control matchups. It can sometimes be better to pass and do nothing but tap for a turn instead of playing Brann or C’Thun against control and eventually building towards this combo. It doesn’t happen every time, but when the opportunity arises, it can be a game-winning strategy.
Spellbreaker: Not many people run silence anymore which actually makes this guy way more powerful than he used to be. Sometimes, people walk right into silence, and even when they don’t, there is at least one valuable target to hit in almost any deck. I end up playing this against Sylvanas Windrunner a lot or to get through a taunt for lethal.
Emperor Thaurissan: One of the most powerful 6-drops in the game. He makes all of your turns more powerful for the rest of the game. This deck usually has a lot of cards in hand and that makes Thaurissan all the more powerful as an inclusion.
Lord Jaraxxus: There are two main ways to play Jaraxxus, and I would never remove him from the deck. You may go 10 games without having to play him and ask yourself why is he in the deck, but some matchups like Control Warrior are unwinnable without him. The first way is to play him after you have C’Thun’ed against control, as a way to pump out threats until they are out of removal. It’s important that you have baited a good number of cards out of their hand because if they get control over the game for even 1 turn, you can be dead on the spot. The other way is as another method of gaining life against aggro. I wouldn’t play him until you have Reno’d or you will most likely end up dying. Don’t be fooled by the fact that he costs 9, this is not a card you want to play on the 9th turn, even if the board is empty. You want to play him once your opponent is low on cards, and can’t turn the game around to kill you.
Against all classes KEEP RENO. Always keep RENO. He is the reason why we are playing all 1-ofs instead of a consistent list with duplicates. You will always want him, and tapping turn 2 is totally fine.
Aggro matchup: Hellfire, Demonwrath, Doomsayer, Disciple of C’Thun, Shadow Bolt. If you have one of the first three, I would also keep a 3-drop like Imp Gang Boss or Twilight Elder.
Control matchup: C’Thun cards, Imp Gang Boss, Twilight Drake
Weapon Classes: Acidic Swamp Ooze
It is actually possible to get away with wins versus the most powerful archetype in the meta. However, when Shamans get an amazing start, it is very hard to take them down. The games I do win, I have Reno and AOE. Hellfire is amazing and I always keep it in the mulligans. You do, however, need to be conservative with your AOE. Try and squeeze as much value out of your AOE without taking too much damage (if possible) because it is so easy for them to build up another board. One of the biggest issues for this deck is cleanly dealing with the Thunder Bluff Valiant. You only have one Siphon Soul… other options to deal with it: Twisting Nether, Sylvanas + Shadowflame, or even silencing it with Spellbreaker if you have no other option. Getting a Brann + Twin Emps is always a great idea vs Shaman and with any luck, you can drop C’Thun with the Brann and almost always clear the full board.
Very tough matchup. I always find myself wanting to Reno at 20 HP because I’m so scared of the double Moonfire + double Living Roots Malygos combo. However, if you do that, you will almost always lose. If they have all their puzzle pieces in the top 15 cards of their deck, you unfortunately just have to bite the bullet and move on. The way to win is by putting enough pressure on them with cards like Usher of Souls, Emperor Thaurissan, Twilight Drake, Twin Emperor Vek’lor, etc. Bait them to use their combo pieces on your threats while pushing some damage into their face and hope you draw C’Thun to finish them off. A big C’Thun helps in this match up.
A lot of the reason Renolock sees play in this meta is because of the favorable matchup against Control Warrior.So much of that favorability is because of one card: Lord Jaraxxus. Praise Jaraxxus!!! The hero power is simply too hard for warriors to deal with most of the time. However, I see a lot of players making the mistake of Jaraxxus’ing before the CW has Gromm’d. Grommash Hellscream + Gorehowl is enough to OTK Jaraxxus down. Therefore, I typically like to wait until the Gromm comes out. There are exceptions to every rule, but that is generally my rule of thumb. If you can pop out a 6/6 the turn you Jaraxxus, from The Coin or a reduction from Thaurissan, it’s amazing. Saving a taunt mechanic behind Jaraxxus is also very helpful if you can make it happen.
I’ve definitely won my fair share of games versus Dragon Warrior. Having Ooze is great for the Fiery War Axes and you don’t really need to save it for Malkorok anymore. A lot of the match comes down to be able to deal with their bigger threats. You want to play around them having 4 damage, but not 8 or 10 damage to kill you. If you Reno when there’s still a lot of power on board, they essentially just put you right back down. Try and get a good Reno where you can put yourself in a power position.
One word: Reno. Draw Mr. Jackson and you’re almost always golden. Literally, the amount of insta-concedes after I Reno against this deck is insane. You definitely want heal cards and Ooze. Get rid of that Arcanite Reaper ASAP. Defend yourself with Crazed Worshipper and Defender of Argus. If you can make it ‘til your Twin Emps turn, you’ve probably won. However, beware of the Mortal Strike direct damage.
This match up can be tricky. Most of the time, I absolutely need Reno or some kind of Brann + heal combo. Do whatever you possibly can to take care of their board with a Flamewaker out. Maybe don’t Shadow Bolt a Cult Sorcerer on turn 3 right before they can drop Flamewaker on turn 4. If you have an empty board and all the Flamewaker hits go face it’s extremely hard to win. It really helps to build a board that can absorb a lot of their AoE damage. Try and bait them into using their Fireballs on your Usher of Souls or Thaurissan. If you can Demonwrath a Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Cult Sorcerer, absolutely take that opportunity.
What’s made this matchup worse is that Freeze Mages can kill you now without having to Alexstrasza you because of the inclusion of Evolved Kobold. The way I win this matchup is putting so much pressure on them and popping their first Ice Block as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to have a Spellbreaker and Siphon Soul to deal with their Doomsayer + Freeze combo. You have to draw proactive cards in this matchup and be as aggressive as possible. The longer the game goes on, the more time they have to draw their combo pieces.
You need to also be very VERY proactive versus Rogue. Make them answer your minions. If you play too reactively they will eventually just run you down. Fortunately, Rogue has virtually no way to heal (I’ve seen a lot of Rogues cut Earthen), so if you can drop a big C’Thun on them it is fantastic. Sapping a C’Thun is absolutely terrible for them. Bottom line: be proactive and you can win. Do not leave their Gadgetzan Auctioneer up though, definitely Shadow Bolt the heck out of that thing if you can.
This is winnable, especially after the Call of the Wild nerf, but it still causes me issues. Getting rid of their bow is super helpful. So many decks run Harrison Jones though, that they almost never sit on the full charges. Take the first opportunity to Ooze their bow so they can’t get future value from the extra secret charges. If you know one of their secrets is Cat Trick, it’s not a bad idea to give up The Coin or even a Mortal Coil before you AoE just to get rid of the cat. Like always, kill beasts first.
Unfortunately, Zoo has almost always been favored over Reno/Handlock. AoE, AoE, AoE. That is the key. Clear their board and do whatever you can to stick a minion on the board after or have a minion that survives your own AoE. This matchup is certainly winnable; you just need to draw well. If you don’t have AoE or Reno, you need to tap for it. It’s scary yes, but unless you have that swing turn where you Hellfire their board and run them out of resources, it will be very hard to win.