For anyone who is interested in Darkclaw and wants to play it competitively, you can end your search here.

I have tested with different variations and come to the below decklist. There is no surprise card but it is the most effective version of Darkclaw in my opinion.

The deck requires a high skill cap. Even though it looks tempting to new players, it is definitely difficult to play. The deck only suits quick match but not tournament. I will give my explanation below.

First of all, the decklist:


Hero: Darkclaw (40 cards)

Ally (9):
4x Bloodpack Shaman
1x Wulven Prophet
4x Wulven Tinker

Ability (19):
4x Sacrificial Lamb
4x Blood Moon
4x Captured Prey
4x Speedstrike
2x Rest for the Weary
1x Ley Line Nexus

Item (11):
4x Dreadclaw Totem
4x Jeweler's Dream
1x Spiked Shield
2x Lythian Sledgehammer

Deck Code: 485009B


Card choices:


Like all Darkclaw deck, the deck revolves around the wicked cycle of Shaman, Tinker, Speedstrike and JD.

JD renews 4 resources every turn with Speedstrike and Tinker replenishes the durability and fuels up with draw. Shaman retrieves Tinker and keeps the flow going.

Adding to the mix is Slamb and Totem. Slamb on Tinker will be your main draw engine of the deck. Drawing 4 cards everytime while replenishes 2 durability is extreme value. Tinker will rarely survive a turn so it is good to play the Slamb/Tinker combo on the same turn.

Totem is the card that benefits from the Lamb/Tinker combo. For 2cc you get a 3/3 readied ambush ally that is a very good deal. Remember to play Totem before Lamb/Tinker to activate it.

Shaman, Tinker, Speedstrike, JD, Slamb and Totem are the core cards of your deck. Hence 4 copies.

Hammer is the finisher. 8 damages every turn (or 10 damages with Spiked Shield) is insane. Make sure you keep cycling Tinker and not run out of durability.

Spiked shield is a very versatile card. You can count it as the 7th weapon or a damage boost to your JD/Hammer. It does increases the consistency and damage output of the deck.

Wulven Prophet is the seeker for Speedstike. It definitely improves the early game by increasing the consistency of T3 Speedstrike or seeking the 2nd Speedstike if it gets destroyed. Other than that it is mostly in sac folder.

Capture Prey is pretty useful in a meta of big allies. If offers more value than Now You Are Mine but has some downside. A Legend Rise or a simple Retreat could screw it badly. So you need to plan about whether you want to remove opponent threats with weapon/allies or cripple them with Capture Prey. Most of the time itís still very useful as it buys you a few turns to set up your infinite combo.

0 Now You Are Mine Ė it is a nice card but I found that most 3cc allies can be removed by you weapons. The space freed up can be filled with cards that has more value.

Rest for weary Ė this is the last card that I have been keep testing and come to it. Most of the time Darkclaw doesnít lose to your opponent, but it loses to bad draw. So the last 2 cards has to be an alternative draw. I have tested Bad Santa but not to my liking. The 3 extra cards to your opponent is too much to handle. Rest for weary serves as a backup draw that bridges the gap. It also improves your Turn 3 play as it increases no. of 3cc cards from 8 to 10 copies. If you have your main combo going on, this card mostly falls in the sac folder.


Playstyle: Combo


The deck is combo-oriented.

Most of the time what your opponent plays is irrelevant.

Your goal is to setup the combo of Shaman, Tinker, Speedstrike, JD, Slamb and Totem. The power of this combo is so strong that you should be able to win 80% of the time if you get everything going.

It sounds easy right? No. You will find most of the time you are missing something. A weapon without Speedstrike, or you get Speedstike but no Tinker, or you draw everything but no Slamb. Then people start to blame for bad luck blah blah blah.

In my opinion, the key to victory is consistency. No matter how much consistency to incorporate, it is not enough. Thatís why I have so many draw cards in the deck.

Second thing is you need to sacrifice smart. This is why the skill cap of this deck is high. Unlike other decks you sac according to resource curve or spam allies, for Darkclaw you sac based on the remaining cards in your deck.

Always remember what cards you sacced and count how many copies of each card are left in your deck. You want to have a good probability to draw a copy of different pieces of the combo to keep the flow. If you over-sacrifice one card (say you keep sacrificing Slamb at the early game), you will definitely suffer at the late game.

The third tip is you almost need to sacrifice every turn. The advantage of Drakclaw is burst draw and high resources. You draw more cards and do more actions than your opponent every turn and win. Besides, after you play Hammer you donít have the resource renewal. So you really want to ramp up before dropping that. However, the continuous saccing will put you on pressure to keep the balance copies in your deck. This is also one of the most difficult part to play Darkclaw.

A tip is to sacrifice some Totem, Slamb, Capture Prey or Hammer early. Keep Blood Moon, Speedstrike, JD, Tinker and Shaman if possible. At late game you sac extra copies of Speedstrike, Blood Moon, or even extra pieces of weapons if you have the Tinker cycle on-going.


Match up:

Anything that can remove attachment is a problem. Priest, in particular Jericho, is difficult. Your best chance is to kill him before you got controlled.

Viska, Kion or Moonstalker are all problematic. I have tired to incorporate Stun Turret but it started to decrease consistency of my own draw so thatís a big no.

This is why the deck can only performs in quick match but not tournament. For tournament, you want a good amount of tech cards against bad match up but that will hurt the consistency of Darkclaw.


Conclusion:


The goal of Darkclaw is to play its own combo and makes the most of it.

The deck is very challenging but also satisfying when it works. It is highly skill-dependent and capable to beat all the strongest decks in the meta when played correctly.


Good luck hunting!