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Reno Mage Personal Primer Barren's Update

  • Last updated May 3, 2021 (Forged in the Barrens)
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  • 22 Minions
  • 6 Spells
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Reno Mage
  • Crafting Cost: 27080
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 8/27/2019 (Saviors of Uldum)
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Hey there, Hearthstone Enthusiasts,

Sadly I'm not that active anymore due to my personal career, but I got my old account back!

Update: Had two days off and climbed up to legend <3 <3 <3

Completely updated deck list with Mordresh Fire Eye package down below.



Nonetheless I still am one of those dumb enthusiasts who literally plays the same deck everytime they queue into the wild ladder and has a ton of fun while doing so. So I welcome you to my favorite pet deck of all times: Reno Mage.

This primer is mainly up here for myself as a token to memory but also to show a beginner who wants to dive into this absolute beast of a deck what possible packages have been run and are still run in Reno Mage lists to tech appropriately for the current meta.

I think the deck is better off than it always has been even for the current ladder, which is toxic to it.

Also if you're like me and like shiny things 20k dust is rather cheap for this archetype^^

I love this deck since I never get the feeling I cannot win a certain matchup, the deck can beat any opposing strategy in the hands of the right pilot and - that one I have to add - if you have done your homework. Not any Reno Mage can exist in any meta game and you as the pilot have to be aware of what you will be up against and tech accordingly!

 I’ve tweaked this list to the current meta game and that’s why I’ve ended up with this list:

I wanted to have a possible OTK in the list and with Alexstrasza the Life-Binder and Mordresh Fire Eye I’m featuring two possible combos. Wildfire came in for Volcanic Potion since its range of applications is broader and it helps you turn Mordresh Fire Eye on.

Against aggressive Pirate Warriors, Murloc Shamans and odd Paladins you’re probably favored and you lose almost no important interaction while being greedy. Odd Rogue and Kingsbane you’re fine against, Quest Rogue is a tiresome but still favorable. Flamestrike does a great job here. Tempo Mage is absolutely winnable but sometimes your draw is not as good as theirs but still favorable matchup. Mozaki Mage depends on wether you can find your Dirty Rat, Ice Block and maybe even a Potion of Polymorph with Arcane Keysmith; pretty even floor. Darkglare Warlock is tricky since you need to be able to stall and have Ice Block as double insurance against their sneaky combo kills, unfavored but winnable. I did only lose a single game against Big Priest up to Rank 1 and I’d speculate Mordresh Fire Eye pushes this matchup even more into our direction, slighlty favored to even, when executed carfully. Squishy combo centric Reno Priest versions are favorable for us and you can quite easily catch them off guard with an Alexstrasza the Life-Binder combo win. More board centric greedier versions tend to be unfavored since often you misinterpret them for Big Priests and get behind rather quick and simply stalling their board like you’d do it with Big Priests is simply not enough against a Shadowreaper Anduin. Renolocks and Control Warlocks are slightly favored I’d say since you can quite easily stall them as you’d do with Big Priests and kill them off with your combo. Especially from Warlocks I’ve seen a whole lot of secret tech cards and it quickly becomes messy when they copy or steal your Ice Block. Bad Luck Albatross is a bummer since Zephrys the Great can’t find Silence anymore and most of the times doesn’t get that you’d like to sheep them.  The mirror is with our build also quite tricky since we’re quite greedy but not totally greedy and these are the trends I’ve seen around Rank 1. Now to our biggest bane: Aggro Paladin. This matchup is simply rough since they tax our Battlecry minions and other cards at such a quick rate so that more often than not you simply cannot keep up. My best lines against them include Devolving Missiles their first tax minion on turn 2, play Doomsayer into their turn 3 play to delay them, Loatheb to delay, freeze with Varden Dawngrasp survive until you can either Flamestrike via Tortollan Pilgrim so Oh My Yogg! doesn’t get it or The Amazing Reno. At that point a Reno Jackson seals the deal, but that was already rough from the get go. Zephrys the Great helps out a bit, But it’s one of our toughest matchup and they’re absolutely favored. You get’em sometimes.

Paladin update: The above described lines lead actually often to victory. Only lost a single game to Paladins today^^

 After hitting Legend I decided to settle with cutting Devolving Missiles for Malygos, Aspect of Magic because Devolving Missiles was actually only really good against Aggro Paladin and in my opinion Doomsayer is really the card swinging this matchup in your favor. Doomsayer should probably be Far Watch Post since that card is so obscenely good in your Control mirrors and Doomsayer really plays poorly into Dirty Rat. Although he also saved my ass a couple of times after freezing an opponent's board with Varden Dawngrasp. I still settle with this list and decide to dismiss either Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, Kalecgos or Arcane Amplifier since we really want Malygos, Aspect of Magic active in our Control mirrors, but are still happy, if he's available for our Aggro matchups. A similar thing is going on with Mordresh Fire Eye, since we definitely like him being turned on by turn 10 normally our kill sequence involving him is totally fine by turn 15 upwards. I dismiss Jandice Barov, Animated Broomstick like Dragonqueen Alexstrasza since we want a totally consistent OTK rather than tempo swings that may win a game. Our list is focused on stalling until we combo and win.

Reno Mage is definitely not the top dawg of the barrens meta, but I feel fine with queueing with the daughter of the sea.

I don't have time to feature any specific matchup or mulligans, that's Tempostorm's content creators' job, but I'll sit down during each release and add some more pieces of the puzzle.

A short introduction on general playstyle patterns:

„Coming soon“

The absolute core:

Doomsayer: Still one of the best tools fending off aggressive strategies and very rare for a two drop to be that powerful at doing so. Not many two drops come up for discussion and this one outshines the most.

Dirty Rat: Hands down the best tool fighting combo decks aside from Ice Block, which has been a liability against Mecha'thun and many decks packing secret hate in most metas because of secret mage always being a big thing in wild.

Mad Scientist: Your second Ice Block, third secret and deck thinning. Normally better than Arcanologist or Ancient Mysteries. Also normally you don't want to run more of these effects because the only secret you're really after is Ice Block and the second is a tech slot.

Zephrys the Great: Look at this bad boy, the best two drop maybe in the entire game, for sure in this deck, Kazakus #2 and maybe even Kazakus by now more or less has become Zephrys the Great #2. This card does all you want to do. It wins your control mirros, finds needed tools to buy time against aggro, finds needed interaction you're not running for Kingsbane Rogues - he does it all.

Brann Bronzebeard: A value bomb, pair it with Zola the Gorgon, Barista Lynchen essentially any Battlecry minion in this deck to generate stupid amounts of copied cards and tons of value. He's been around for so long and helps you seal the deal to always be grindier while not being greedier.

Zola the Gorgon: The first playable alternative to Echo of Medivh. Does everything you want in copying much needed tools in combination with Brann Bronzebeard twice or thinking even more stupid of Barista Lynchen. The real theme of these type of effects needs a separate explanation after the absolute core, which I'll provide.

Ice Block: Do not solely trust on your Ice Block! Ideally it never get's cracked and you play safe the whole game. It is a nice backup insurance against combo decks and gives you a second chance at topdecking your Reno Jackson against Aggro decks. But please note it can be outplayed even stolen, still a pillar in not dying to anything.

Arcane Keysmith: So here you've got your real second Ice Block, Kazakus #2 so that makes this guy Zephrys the Great #3. He's just a nice tech card again, clears the board or buys time against aggro matchups, provides you with interaction against combo decks and also can trip your control opponents when executed carefully.

Kazakus: Oh boy, this is by far my abolutely most beloved pet card of all times. He's the single reason I actually started grinding Hearthstone. I'm so in love with him <3. Thing is he's Zephrys the Great #2 by now but still one of the most flexible tools you can get and that is a theme you'll be seeing going on with the absolute core of Reno Mage: cards are either flexible as can be (and normally generate a ton of value while being copied over and over again) or are hyper linear and exceed so much at doing what they do to cannot be ignored.

Potion of Illusion: We as a community of Reno Mage enthusiasts have been waiting for a card like this since it fixes any issues of previous iterations of it like Echo of Medivh simply to be abusive as can be. Copy your best stuff and make it cost 1 mana? Great, just apply your best tools a second time to swing your control mirror into your favor or copy Dirty Rat so often that you're not reliant on RNG anymore to fuck up whatever combo you're up against.

Barista Lynchen: Same thing I said about Potion of Illusion, just the added benefit of Barista Lynchen being able to be hit by Potion of Illusion or Zola the Gorgon herself to grind, grind and grind. This is Reno Mage's real strength copying anything that hit's hard to a point where you're stalling in some cases even locking your opponents out off the game entirely.

Zilliax: One of the best statted five drops in the entire game. His main reason for being here is that he fills the crucial role of being your third piece of life gain aside from Reno Jackson and Frost Lich Jaina. In emergency cases he can also be copied just to stay in the game but normally you won't have the time for that against aggresive strategies. He just get's you to late game more often than not and at this point has proven himself to not be doubted for doing his job perfectly.

Reno Jackson: The original Reno from whom this archetype got its name although by now he's been joined by two more Renoes. He most of the time beats aggro simply by wiping their board and healing yourself full. At that point they're out of gas and you're dominating the board. Mind yourself that copying him at that point forces the concede from your opponents and keep in mind that you have to have gotten a grip on the board or layed waste to the board when you're trying to win using him. Other applications are fighting fatigue battles although I'd not call him crazy good at that, but you'll be fine with two of him until like fatigue seven or eight.

Reno the Relicologist: Second Reno, kills the board in the most stuipid manner by pinging ten times, gets around Divine Shields, busts many small enemies or a big one at a time, can be copied - he is your premium piece of mid game removal.

Luna's Pocket Galaxy: Reno Mage has long struggled with being simply reactive and I still wouldn't call it a proactive strategy at all, but Luna's Pocket Galaxy is pure crack for your copycat strategy since with this card it takes one or two turns to get so far ahead in the value game what took you like four or even five turns setup previously. Fact is this card just let's you be explosive and help's you swinging these control mirrors in your favor by brute force.

Tortollan Pilgrim: He's your second Luna's Pocket Galaxy and provides you with hitting it early enough to be fully relevent. Potion of Illusion is his second (most important) target and he also grabs that when you're in need of it. He increases your deck's consistency and may have other applications as well if you're deciding to run an actual spell suite, which I would discourage you from running right now.

Frost Lich Jaina: Normally to slow to swing your aggro matchups although she sometimes nails the coffin in these. She's here to truly grind your control matchups, she provides life gain, freezes opponents' minions to buy time until you've found your right tools and actually generates value out of nothing. (Ok, out of pinging your opponents' minions to death in a smart manner, but hey, fuck it, that's no effort in the first place.)

The Amazing Reno: Yes, Mage's Twisting Nether, he's here for your Big Priests, Bloodreaver Gul'dans, N'Zoth, the Corruptors and their likes. Only limitation and that's a huge one: You NEVER want to run him after Frost Lich Jaina! Don't forget that and he generates random spells, so he can fuck you up bad, real bad.

Cards I would personally add to the absolute core (Barrens Patch):

Varden Dawngrasp: New and has to prove himself, but he’s a Frost Nova on a stick, played together with Brann Bronzebeard he’s even a  Flamestrike! I speculate he will perfom well with the rest of the copycat core and secure your board state long enough to find suitable board wipes.

Glacial Shard: The tool against Kingsbane Rogues. I honestly didn’t get his inclusion, when he first was introduced to Reno Mage lists, but by now I totally got the idea behind him and he IS the best tool fighting weapon centric opponents especially Kingsbanes. He also is a mini Varden Dawngrasp that delays board states you can’t handle in the early turns until you can handle them. Another small bonus is he’s your second Elemental aside from Zephrys the Great, which brings us to our third card:

Sandbinder: He is by himself pretty underwhelming and you would love him to cost just 2 mana, but nonetheless he does a great job at finding Zephrys the Great and since that card has become sooo overwhelmingly important to the archetype as a whole I’d advise you dearly to include him in your Reno Mage lists. Probably Sandbinder exists in the vacuum, where you decide to run Glacial Shard, but that’s fair enough for him.

This section are more or less some cards, that draw cards and you need 1 or 2 in your Reno Mage lists to be fast enough for the Wild meta game:

Stargazer Luna: Right now your inconsistent but absolutely supreme draw engine. After you’ve resolvd Luna's Pocket Galaxy you just cycle stupidly through your deck with her and stomp your opponents in a brutal manner while doing that.

Book of Specters: At first glance I dismissed this card as being purely worse than Arcane Intellect, but the twist here is that in a list, that only runs cheap spells (except for Luna's Pocket Galaxy) and only wants to see most of these cheap spells in ist aggressive matchups this card is actually better. Be careful, when you haven’t already resolved your Luna's Pocket Galaxy and will need it for your matchup, but if that already has happened it will only burn cards you probably wouldn’t have played any way in your control mirror. Try not using it against aggro, although if you have nothing better to do on turn two your mulligan has already been bad and you could be better off digging deeper for answers.

Arcane Intellect: No drawback, no long explanations a simple two for one and needed tempo in control mirrors.

Mordresh Fire Eye Package:

Mordresh Fire Eye: As explained in the combo section he is next to Alexstrasza the Life-Binder your best OTK combo piece and also serves as big board wipe aside from The Amazing Reno.

Wildfire: Since Mordresh Fire Eye needs first to be turned on Wildfire helps you a great deal at achieving this and between all the spell and battlecry hate running around in Wild right now an upgraded Hero Power sure is a nice tool. Best thing Frostlich Jaina now also pings for two damage.

Reckless Apprentice: He was my first additional inclusion alongside Wildfire and with which he also synergizes well. Big bonus is if you ping a board full of 1/1s you get 8 triggers for Mordresh Fire Eye and if you had also Frost Lich Jaina around you now get up to six Water Elementals. Thing is he's got a good Battlecry attached to 3/5 body and is more than able to plague your aggro opponents (the aformentioned Paladins especially).

Arcane Amplifier: He is definitely the weakest of these three additional cards, but I suppose to have Mordresh Fire Eye consistently by turn 10 you need to include him. He also has a fine 2/5 body and can be combined with Reckless Apprentice for a fine boardwipe for 7 mana. 

 Weapon Tech Cards:

Glacial Shard: To emphasize it again: Against Kingsbane he’s your prime contender, since he locks the weapon on the board and has also other applications against non-weapon-bearing opponents.

Acidic Swamp Ooze: Simply destroys the weapon which is fine except for Kingsbane Rogues since they will just hammer it back into your face. I’d say it is the third card going into your deck if you decide to tech against weapons.

Gluttonous Ooze: Destroys a weapon, which is important, and gives you armor equal to the destroyed weapon’s attack. So this card is a pretty similar tempo option like Glacial Shard against Kingsbane opponents, but has more narrow uses against other opponents and is not easy spammable as Glacial Shard with its three mana cost. If I wanted to spike up my Rogue matchups I’d definitely be packing this guy and I see him also coming in again if weapons become staple again in Warlocks.

Harrison Jones: Outdated, costs 5 mana, draws cards which is cool, dead card against Kingsbane and that most of the times will be the weapon we will be trying to beat. I do not consider him a viable option.

Kobold Stickyfinger: Works against Kingsbane, actually locks them out of the game entirely aside from that a dead card against probably any other matchup right now. I consider him a tech card to keep in mind if Kingsbane becomes even more oppressive or if there is actually huge advantage to be gained from stealing opposing weapons.

 Combo Tech Cards:

Dirty Rat: I must have said it already above: Best tool fighting comboes, spammable argument ended.

Deathlord,Hecklebot: Both draw from the deck, which can be an upside, most of the time will be an actual downside, when fighting combo players, since they normally have the means to find their combo cards rather quickly. At least Hecklebot is spammable. I do not consider these as viable options.

Potion of Polymorph (Explosive Runes): These two secrets can be really cheesy to put down in front of an opponent executing their combo. If they can’t or simply don’t outplay them they’re fucked and if they outplay them it normally costs them a turn to do so, in which you can find your Dirty Rat. Potion of Polymorph also has other applications against Big Priests so it is your go to option for teching here. But that is only possible if the Wild Meta actually will tank and slow down and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Spellbender (Counterspell): They both counter an opponents spell and by doing that can fuck up combo players. Wheras Counterspell will probably always be applicable, it is quite easily outplayed. Spellbender hits more narrow comboes, but is your prime piece of disruption, since some decks really simply can’t outplay it. Don’t forget that.

You technically have all these secrets in your deck with Arcane Keysmith and that’s to a huge portion also where this card’s power comes from.

 Secret Tech Cards:

Eater of Secrets (Chief Inspector): They hit all opposing secrets and destroy them so these two are your options, although still against a meta game dominated by Secret Mage I’d still say you’re overstacking your deck with both of them.

 Big Priest Tech Cards:

Before I dive in to the cards themselves a short explanation of the Big Priest Matchup and the deck’s function in the meta. Big Priest is by definition the slowest most value oriented strategy in Wild, so Big Priest’s function is to exclude even slower strategies to which we as Reno Mage players to a certain degree belong. Historically speaking the matchup at certain times did feel close to unwinnable and still it is one of our toughest matchups. Since Big Priest doesn’t make up a huge deal of the current meta we can and definitely will speculate not encountering any. The big problem here is if the meta would be polarized around Big Priest right now we could dismiss many of our tools fighting aggressive strategies and swap them for cards fighting Big Priests. If we included all of our tech cards for this matchup it would feel like a walk in the park, it actually is that easy to contest them. Sadly we can’t do that, but keep that in mind, when you’re playing tournaments or competing with friends.

So how do we fight them, with the tools we actually can afford to run?

Since almost any of the Polymorphstyle effects are not included in our deck list our approach is to slow them down as good as we possibly can. Loatheb and  Arcane Keysmith do a great deal at that with finding Counterspell or Potion of Polymorph although the latter is more of a disruptive element, when we have reached late or mid game. They simply buy us turns in the early game. Our objective is messing up their ressurection pool and we achieve that best by stalling up to turn 10 and either sheep their board with a Kazakus potion on 10 mana or with The Amazing Reno. If you’ve lived long enough to achieve that you can start to sit back and try messing up their board even further with Polymorphs or Hexs from Zephrys the Great or if you run them Malygos, Aspect of Magic. If you value all the important micro interactions like a sheep token (obviously also a frog token generated by Hex and so on) generated by Polymorph and Potion of Polymorph is a different sheep token than the ones created from Kazakus or from Malygos, Aspect of Magic you seriously put them to big troubles even with their discover and mass ressurection spells.

To put an icing on the cake Alexstraza the Life-Binder and Mordresh Fire Eyeprovide us with a rather easy achievable OTK combo to turn this matchup into our favor. More on that part in the OTK section.

Devolving Missiles, Potion of Polymorph, Polymorph: Boar, Tinkmaster Overspark, Polymorph: They all turn their big scary monster into something cute and mess up their ressurection pool while doing so. All of these cards have become out of fashion right now, but to a degree you can actually discover them and I would not feel bad including 1 or 2 of them for tournament play.

Kazakus: As mentioned in the description above you need to find your 10 mana sheep potion with him even better find it 2 or 3 times. He is best executed with Zola the Gorgon or Brann Bronzebeard on turn 7 or 8 and really seals the deal if executed timely and correctly.

Malygos, Aspect of Magic: He holds a special position in here, since he is sometimes included in Reno Mage lists and if the other dragons were as good as him, you would see him in here far more often. His purpose is either sheeping an important threat from your opponent or freezing their board to delay them further.

Counterspell via Arcane Keysmith: In the early game Counterspell can buy you a turn sometimes even more if they don’t outplay it correctly. Best case scenarios are he finds Duplicate, Counterspell or  Potion of Polymorph and helps you get into late game by doing that or even trips them really bad if they don’t outplay him correctly.

Loatheb: He could stall their whole plan by being spammed in late game but better players won’t give you the chance to slam him on an empty board so that you can actually achieve this frequently. His main purpose again is buying needed time to find your fitting interaction for their board states.

The Amazing Reno: Occupies a similar position to Kazakus sheep potion but his twist is that he is not creating a resurrection pool at all. So he is in best cases your first removal launched against a Big Priest leaving them with actually no resurrection targets at all.

Dragoncaster and Inkmaster Solia: Help you cast your Kazakus sheep potion as early as turn 5, which is huge but not enough to include them both into the absolute core.

 Possible OTKs:

We had an oldschool two turn kill with playing Alexstrasza setting them to 15. Then next turn playing Inkmaster Solia after an Emperor Thaurissan trigger to be able to cast Pyroblast and Fireball dealing them 16 damage for the win. You could exclude Emperor Thaurissan from the combo, when switching Fireball for Roaring Torch. Nonetheless the combo ate up many slots and was clunky. Dragoncaster actually tweaked the numbers a little in our favor and with Luna's Pocket Galaxy you could actually play the whole combo in one turn. Stilly quite clunky and you couldn’t afford to lose that many slots in your deck list.

Alexstrasza the Life-Binder by herself gives us the opportunity to revisit this clunky combo and be able to execute it in a similary fashion while only using up one slot for herself. The only previously met condition is that she has to be hit and reduced to one mana by Luna's Pocket Galaxy. This is not consistent enough to become a true combo deck, but sufficient enough to be executed in your slower matchups.

To deal 32 damage to an opponent play Brann Bronzebeard, then Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, afterwards Potion of Illusion and your second copy of Alexstrasza the Life-Binder. Alternatively you can find Potion of Illusion with a Tortollan Pilgrim. Now you have a sufficiently consistent enough OTK, that only takes up one slot in your Reno Mage deck list.

While you rank up on the ladder the meta will start slowing down and you’ll see more control matchups. I’d advise you to include alongside Alexstrasza the Life-Binder Mordresh Fire Eye, WildfireReckless Apprentice and Alexstrasza to be able to assemble alternative ways of comboing your opponents in the same sequence with Brann Bronzebeard and Potion of Illusion. Old Alexstrasza serves here as a replacement for either Brann Bronzebeard and Potion of Illusion.

With Brann Bronzebeard, Potion of Illusion, Alexstrasza, Alexstrasza the Life-Binder and Mordresh Fire Eye you now have five cards that function in a fashion as when you hold either Alexstrasza the Life-Binder or Mordresh Fire Eye plus two of the other four in hand (after Luna's Pocket Galaxy resolved) you kill an opponent from full health (sometimes with only 2 or 3 additional armor sometimes with even 10 additional armor). While climbing I konocked a Jade Druid down from around 60 Armor while I literally had all of them cost reduced in hand to execute my combo turn.

 Dragons Package:

Malygos, Aspect of Magic: He is my main reason for considering this package since he fills a similar role like Zephrys the Great and Kazakus. His big downside is that you need to hold a Dragon in your hand, which limits his applications to being inconsistent against aggressive strategies. He is very flexible and I would love to have more reasons than the ones listed below to include him.

Alexstrasza: She is a Freeze Mage allstar, her healing is sufficient, but sadly we live in a world where even Reno Jackson‘s healing sometimes isn’t enough to seal the deal. Her other great application is putting an opponent to 15 health, which in the past held no big upside aside from weird clunky two turn kill sequences, but the tides have changed and I’m curious to brew around OTKs with her again.

Alexstrasza the Life-Binder: This particular alternate core version peaked my interest on leak. She contrary to Alexstrasza can actually kill an opponent with her battlecry and 8 damage sure is a lot. She actually baffled me so that I would include the dragons into the deck again and not be sad for not being able to play Malygos, Aspect of Magic.

Dragonqueen Alexstrasza: She was designed for Reno decks, she brings a ton of value especially now that she’s been restored to her former glory. To me she felt clunky most of the times, but paired with Loatheb and Zephrys the Great you can quite easily sequence into a two turn kill with her. She like Kalecgos continues to underwhelm me, but she’s not bad at all and I’m probably whining on an extremely high level here.

Kalecgos: He is the important additional fourth dragon Reno Mage decks have been missing for Malygos, Aspect of Magic to be viable, when both were released. Kalecgos provides great swing turns after a resolved Luna's Pocket Galaxy although you most of the times don’t feel a difference between him and Inkmaster Solia or Dragoncaster in these moments. If he sticks around he’s quite brutal, but he seldomly does. So he also continues to underwhelm me.

Dragoncaster: Another Inkmaster Solia with a different twist and importantly one mana cheaper. I get the idea of him casting Luna's Pocket Galaxy as early as turn 5, but I’m not the least bought into him. Aside from that his applications like Kalecgos mainly exist in a vacuum of after having resolved Luna's Pocket Galaxy. Against Big Priests and similar shenannigans I’d still call him a fine meta game call though.