I just went Legend with this beautiful Mage-deck by PsyGuenter (credits to you man!), with only one actual card-change. Starting Rank 5, I went 41 - 17, which makes over 70% winrate.
- 25.04. Here´s a gameplay video from KiwiiNbacon, showcasting the Deck. His opponents were quite unlucky, but it gives an idea how to play and pilot this Deck:
- 25.04. added the Matchup-Guide section.
- 26.04 added a few specific Metadeck-matchups (Rank 1-3 predominant)
- 03.05 added the rubric "Card Choices" including possibly tech cards + replacements
This deck got way more attention that I thought and I do appreciate all the positve feedback and comments - I´m glad quite many of you could find the same enjoyment and success in playing this, as I did. If my guide helped you in any way (even if it was just finding it, lol) to play this deck, it saturates my heart with joy! ;) - anyway thanks for the amazing feedback!
Note that this deck in particular was designed for Rank 1 - 3, also known as the legend climb. Therefore the Techcards here aim especially at Pirate Warriors and Murloc Paladins:
Gluttonous Ooze, Blizzard are both tech choices vs. those decks. However if you face more decks that can put up one single big minion (Purify Priest, Control Pala etc.) you should tech in Sheep (you know what I mean haha) or Meteor. If you´re still struggling with Murlocadin or let´s say Aggro Druid you can also add a Volcanic Potion. However, I can only recommand you NOT to replace Ooze, the ladder is full of warriors, paladins and hunters - it´s like this tech card was made for the current meta.
"Can I replace ..."
1. Alexstrasza? - no, you can´t.
2. Pyroblast - no, damnit!
3. Medivh - uhm, probably you could switch it to another high-value card like Elise the Trailblazer, but it really doesn´t make much sense, because this deck is build around Medivh (many high-mana spells / win-condition vs. control / fun!!)
4. Bloodmage Thalnos - this card, unlike the first 3, is no core-card to this deck. It´s just incredible good - carddraw + spelldamage for 2 mana? C´mon, dust your golden King Krush and craft it!
5. Recently I´ve seen many people replacing the two Babbling Book with tech or value cards of their choice. This is totally legit, since I´m an intellectual I just don´t like throwing books away.
This Deck is a hybrid version of classic Freeze and popular Tempo / Burn Mage. It is NOT a linear "only hit face"-deck, nor a super-control deck, where you only wait for your Alexstrasza + burst combos. It is indeed a reactive deck, which playstyle heavily depends on your match up and the current game dynamic. You have to ask yourself every turn: can I win with board-value or do I stop fighting for board control, go for face and will eventually win with my enormous burn.
Generally you wanna mulligan for your low-cost early game cards of couse. But there are two cards that are more important than others: Mana Wyrm and Arcanologist. These are your priority cards to start with, which doesn´t mean you always have to hurd-mulligan for them, when you´ve got something like Babbling Book, Frostbolt and Arcane Intellect. Still, the double-Wyrm-start, especially with coin and 1-2 spells to follow up, is the best you can get and can win you an aggro-matchup in like 2-3 turns. Primordial Glyph is also a decent card to keep, especially with turn-1-Wyrm, because it helps you to find answers in early.
Besides you don´t wanna keep secrets in your starthand, instead you go for Arcanologist to get your secrets + early board pressense. If you´ve got one of them, you can also keep Medivh´s Valet. If you´re facing Warrior or even Rogue and already got a decent curve, including a 1-drop, you can also keep Gluttonous Ooze.
So generally you can classify your matchups into 3 sections, being vs. Aggro, Midrange and Control. Each of those matchups requires a different playstyle and adaptation to given situations. So first of all I will briefly sum up those overall matchups. Furthermore I will list some of the current popular Metadecks and go more deeply into those matchups.
These Matchups are pretty straight forward, you just have to control the board and survive as long as you can. And believe me - you have all the tools to do so. Your plan is to get out your low-cost minions early for board presence followed by your surviving tools (secrets, arcanalogists, blizzard´s). With Primordial Glyph you are searching exactly for those defensive extra-cards. You try to get out Ice Block on Turn 3-4 and use Medivh´s Valet to clear their minions afterwards. Medivh is a dead card and Alexstrasza brings LIFE here.
The only scenario where you desist from that strategy is, when your opponent had an extremely bad start and you managed to deal decent damage to him + control board (e.g. you started with double-Wyrms and some spells to follow up while he doesn´t get any board pressure). In this case you can actually decide to rush him down before he will be able to kill you. Given your survive-mechanics you nearly always have 2-3 extra turns to kill him, after you´ve decided that face is the place.
These are definitely the most fun matchups, because of the immense versatility they offer and that funny turning point, where you suddenly stop fighting for board and do the “Marine Le Pen-Style” (just go face with everything you have). This turning point heavily depends on your exact matchup of course (vs. Quest Rogue it is the turn before they finish their Quest e.g.). But in most of the games it´s around turn 6-7. By then you should have your survivability-mechanic ready, which means you can freeze, put up your secrets and can at best follow a T9 Alexstrasza to set up lethal-pressure.
However, while some games (e.g. vs. Rogue or Hunter) are decided rather quickly, other games (e.g. vs. Paladin or Shaman) can shift into late game value-wars, which will be looked on in the following Control-section.
These are for sure the hardest matchups for this deck. A Midrange Paladin with triple heal (Lay on Hands, Forbidden Healing, Ragnaros, Lightlord) or a Jade Druid are actual counters to us. The problem is that, due to their armor- or healing-mechanics, we can´t burst them down. However, as hard as we fight for board, we will eventually lose it to their immense Lategame Value. So one way we can go here, is to create Tempo and force them into suboptimal plays while we get maximum value out of our cards. This is the point where Medivh can shine.
Nevertheless there are also Control-matchups which heavily favor us. The Classic Freeze Mage for example stands barely any chance vs. this. We just do everything better (= faster!) than he does and your almost every time faster in popping his first ice block, which is key in this matchup.
vs. Specific Meta decks
One could say this deck is made for (against) it! Sure, sometimes you don´t find the right answers fast enough and they rush you down in 4 turns with insane weapon-combos. But most of the times, they don´t. You have tons of answers for their threats while you´ll eventually starve them out. On the first 7 turns all you do is fighting for board control and clear everything they bring up (as long as they don´t have lethal next turn of course). Gluttonous Ooze is win here, it´s your most priority card to mulligan for. Use Medivh´s Valet to clear the Pirate Boss, search for Ice barriers, blizzards, frostbolts, pretty much everything which slows them and buys you time. Around turn 8 you should bring down your remaining secrets, ideally followed up by an Alexstrasza life gain (she brings life and death, you know). Once this happens it´s won, because they will run out of steam at this time.
Taunt Warrior is not that bad either. You can keep up in tempo quite well, which is important so they can´t stack up their armor all too easily. I haven´t faced many Taunt Warriors, but all of them lacked the patience (or the intellect - not sure) to wait with playing their Quest. With Justicar Trueheart gone you can easily burn through their armor in the end, especially since they somehow cannot keep that Sulfuras in their hand for more than 2-3 turns. We appreciate!
The gameplan is easy: you play for tempo and control board as long as their Quest is unfinished (you can trade their cheap minions rather easily). The turn when they play their Quest (around turn 4-5) is your turning point: from now on you´ll completely ignore board and just go face. At best you´ve already dealt 10-15 damage to them while you didn´t allow them to establish any board. So it will take them at least 3-4 turns to kill you. Enough time to deal another 15-20 damage. Sometimes though, they finish their quest on turn 3 and you just want to smash your head against your keyboard – well, can´t blame you. However, I´ve won 8 out of 10 games vs. them which felt pretty good.
Miracle Rogue is quite similar. You play for tempo and try to deal as much face-damage as possible early. This means you trade even less than vs. Quest Rogue, because they can´t buff their minios to 5/5´s. Besides bonus burst, Polymorph is quite useful vs. their big threats.
This is a tough Matchup, in a sense that they never seem to run out of threats. It is still easier than midrange-control Paladin, because they mostly don´t run any heals. So if you survive long enough, you can come to that turning point, where you´re able to burst them down. To survive long enough however (at least turn 7-8), you´ll need to find extra board clears from your Books, Glyphs and Couriers. Especially Blizzard is recommended, in combo with Flamestrike you will be very likely to full board-clear. Keep Medivh´s Valent for Papa-murloc and beware of Finja! Finally remember one thing: Paladin relies on board to do anything. So fight for it!
However, the more control-based version is much harder to win. Like I wrote before, too much heal, too much board controls, too much value. You play for value you and actually got pretty good counters to their threats. It´s just, he has more threats than you can counter and will eventually out-value you. On my last stages before Legend I actually just hoped I won´t meet too many of them, and yeah: the Matchmaking-Jesus had mercy on me.
2 x Earthen Scales + 2 x Feral Rage + few times Heropower = around 30 armor. So you can´t really burst him down, you can try to fight for board control as long as you can. But you will eventually lose board to his Jades and their lategame value, so you can type "gg" and go for next one. Luckly Jade Druids are barely seen on Ladder :)
Aggro Token Druid is more in your favor. You wanna start with Mana Wyrm and Arcanologist which let you trade their token minions quite well. However, they will spam their board and gain eventually control over it. You just try to delay this as good as you can. If they play Living Mana rather late (in this matchup past turn 5), you can probably ignore it and go for face / burn already. I´d say it´s rather 50:50 after all.
*Note that the Match Up states also contain results from my Games with Classic Freeze Mage and Secret Mage, but it still reflects what I´ve experienced with the Control Mage.