This is a control mage, kind of, more oriented on tempo plays through dragon's sinergies and mana cheating (Luna's Pocket Galaxy, Dragoncaster, Tortollan Pilgrim and Kalecgos).
"Pure control" mage could be viable too in this meta, but without an endless value engine for the late game (like Frost Lich Jaina was) it can struggle against endless pressure decks.
With this build, instead, we have the control tools, the dragon army and our mana cheating package, we can just overwhelm every opponent if we play it out correctly.
The mulligan strategy depends a lot on who you are facing more than who has the coin.
AGAINST SLOW DECKS
Dragoncaster, Mountain Giant, Twilight Drake and, if you already have Dragoncaster, you can also consider keeping Luna's Pocket Galaxy or Power of Creation (expecially with the coin).
If your opponent is an aggro/tempo deck you should focus on controlling the board in the early and mid game. Otherwise, if you're against a slow deck, start building your board with minions like Twilight Drake and Mountain Giant.
If they are aggro, after turn 5 you should freeze and whipe their board each turn without being too greedy. If you're against a more midrangy deck (like Galakrond Shaman or Warrior) try to freeze their board while developing your threats, like Dragoncaster + Power of Creation. Against slow decks, instead, you should try to play Luna's Pocket Galaxy ASAP, even if it's a tempo loss, or maybe through Dragoncaster or Tortollan Pilgrim.. if you do so, the Galaxy will very likely win you the game.
Vs aggro you should have already won or lost. If not, just try to lock the game with cards like Khartut Defender, Zilliax or Power of Creation.
Vs midrange try to set a swing turn with Kalecgos + Blizzard (for example), to maybe play Siamat, or even better Dragonqueen Alexstrasza + Frost Nova (if Kalec survived) on the following turn and just win by going face (maybe with the help of Alexstrasza from hand).
Vs slow decks, late game strategy is pretty much the same of the midrange one, exept for the easier accomplishment of the plan. Usually you win a lot of those games by just setting lethal with Alexstrasza or overwhelming the opponent thanks to Luna's Pocket Galaxy disgusting value.
- Against quest druid we can develop a threatening board with our mana cheating tools (Frizz Kindleroost, Luna's Pocket Galaxy, Dragoncaster, Tortollan Pilgrim and Kalecgos) and we can win by pressuring them while freezing or whiping their board. Galaxy is probably the most important card in this m.u.
- Other druids like the dragon/embiggen one can be very aggressive in the midgame, so be sure to use carefully your removals. They don't run single target removals so if you manage to set a good "Doomsayer + Freeze" turn, you should be able to win the board in the late game and punching them to death. Token druid could be tricky but similar to the zoo matchup (exept for the savage roar part).
- The treant/token druid matchup is all about using your removals wisely; keep always count of their potential burst with Savage Roar and try to develop some minion on the field while freezing/whiping to get some trade beside your removals; cards like Doomsayer, Malygos, Aspect of Magic and Rolling Fireball are key to win this m.u.
- Face Hunter is by far our worst matchup, so if you face a lot of them don't play mage cause it's almost impossible to win (despite the recent inclusion of more survival tools). To win this you have to hard mulligan for Zilliax and Rotten Applebaum, if you have one of these 2 you should keep also Khartut Defender (too slow by its own without one of the previous 2, but if you mange to get healing out of it, you should be in a really good spot). Also Dragoncaster + Power of Creation into Khartut Defender could close the game. This is the only viable plan, unfortunately we are not able to pressure them before they kill us.
- If it's highlander, is an even m.u. if played correctly. Don't let them connect to face too much with their minions cause you can just lose to their hero power in the late game. Their secrets don't scare us too much cause we don't want to win the board in the early game anyway (but still play around things like Rat Trap). In the late game of these matchups you will often need Alexstrasza (to heal yourself most of the time, unless it gives you a one turn lethal setup). Always try to play for tempo, don't be greedy (so cards like Galaxy are almost unplayable against hunter, unless you cast it via Tortollan Pilgrim or via Dragoncaster, but usually you will have to cast a removal with those two).
- Vs highlander mage let them "win" the early board if it's the case, just to hard mulligan for our mana cheating engines. Try to keep track of their freeze spells and make a good use out of your own (this game is usually win by who manage to setup a huge board while freezing, maybe with an Alex in hand). Cards like Polymorph should be sit in hand until a huge threat comes down (a Siamat or a Kalecgos for ex.)
- Cyclone mage should be fine too, they usally go off with their Mana Cyclone and Mana Giant around turn 5/6, so setting up a good clear like a "Doomsayer + freeze effect" should give use the sprint to take the board for good. They don't do early pressure so we just have to use our removals efficiently and let them run out of gas.
- Paladin could be OTK, in that case it's quite unfavourable m.u. cause we usually cannot build enough pressure in the early and mid game. Due to its combo nature we are meant to lose to it, as a control deck, and there's very little we can do. Maybe our only outs are discovering from Kalecgos or Arcane Breath some good spell like Counterspell or Research Project (to burn their win condition).
- Other paladins like the Highlander one should be fine matchups, probably just even. Highlander Pally is a midrange so it could pressure us in the early game or playing single threats on curve in the mid game. We have to outlast their resources and hope they don't draw perfectly when they are on topdeck. Like in the highlander hunter m.u. we cannot afford losing tempo by playing card like Galaxy, instead single target removals like Polymorph could be really good to hit something like Tirion.
- Priest could be Combo, wich is a favourable m.u. (unless they run out of control in the early game and we draw poorly). They run silence so don't rely too much on a Doomsayer to proc (play it early even without freezing) but our board clears should do just fine.
- If it's a slow priest, like a Galakrond or a Quest/Resurrect one, we should try to pressure them but at the same time without committing too much into the tempo plan. If this plan fails, just try to develop few big threats at a time, do not go all in or they will just Plague of Death you. You should try to set a sneaky lethal with Alex. Otherwise let them run out of single target removal by playing 1 threat per turn (even going all in with Dragonqueen Alexstasza playing her 0 mana dragons on the spot could be just a waste).
- Tempo rogue could be annoying if it starts pressuring via VanCleef in the early game. Ray of frost and Polymorph could win you the game if played right. If they go wide instead, our board clears should do just fine. Always keep track of their burst potential with Leeroy, Shadowstep and Eviscerate (also with Zephrys if they are highlander).
- If it's deathrattle we may need a Polymorph at some point, but if you manage to freeze their big boys and pressure with you threats, you can become the aggressor. The worst scenario is an early Necrium Apothecary pulling out Anubisath Warbringer, in that case the op could build a huge board and set up lethal in a couple turn if we don't have removals.
- So, shaman is basically just Galakrond and from what I experienced this Reno Mage does pretty good against them. I'm not saying that's an easy m.u., just that's very winnable. Their gameplan will not focus on pressuring us in the arly game, so even hero powering for us is just fine. The mid game is a different story, cause they will build a wide board of tokens and 5/6 taunts. If you have a Doomsayer in hand don't try to just freeze and throw it anytime but wait until they fill their board (so they cannot use rush minion to trade into it). Otherwise you should use carefully your board clears and keep track of their Galakrond invoking and play around its rush elementals. The key to win this m.u. is trying to cheat out at some point of the game your Luna's Pocket Galaxy, cause it will definitely win you the game (the perfect spot would be on t6 with Dragoncaster or t5 with the coin). Otherwise you have a backup plan, the freeze+SMOrc one: use minions like Dragoncaster, Tortollan Pilgrim and Kalecgos to set huge freeze turn with Frost Nova or Blizzard and build huge threats with Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, Siamat or whatever big boy you can play (also going wide with Conjurer's Calling). If you play it correctly it won't matter how many 8/8s they have on the field (expecially with Alexstrasza in hand).
- Warlock is more likely to be an Handlock wich can be hard if they get Mountain Giant on the board early. Good thing is that we will win the long run eventually, so we have to survive and try to tempo them out in the mid game. Galaxy is the way I guess.
- Zoolock instead should be fine, unless they start crazy good.
- If it's a Tempo Galakrond with an aggressive start, it could be an issue. Otherwise we can get back the board control usually around turn 6 (with Reno for example). Our life total is very important to protect in this m.u., cause with their invoking mechanic they will SMORC a lot (they also have the Leeroy+Bloodswarm Mercenary 16dmg combo.
- Against pirate warrior we may struggle a lot in the early game. It's not the old days pirate deck, but still a very aggressive archetype. Keep in mind the mulligan strategy and try to save every hp. It's hard to survive the first couple turns if they draw too well, but if we manage to play a Khartut Defender or Zilliax the game should be over.
- If Control Warrior will be a thing again I think it won't be causing any problem to this list. The only late game decks we have to fear are the OTK ones.
If you miss some card (considering the high cost of the deck) or if you want to improve some matchup, you could try to replace them with one of these (sorted by individual strength):
Good against aggro:
Frostbolt, Shooting Star, Depth Charge, Scalerider, Acidic Swamp Ooze.
Just good cards for this deck:
Frizz Kindleroost, Arcane Keysmith, Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron, Crowd Roaster.
- - 1 Evasive Wyrm + 1 Bone Wraith (A taunt with reborn is always useful vs aggro and wyrm is too slow despite its dragon synergy)
- - 1 Frizz Kindleroost + 1 Stargazer Luna (With Frizz we can make huge tempo swings but Luna is just insane if it sticks or after casting Galaxy.. also better on curve agains aggro decks)
- - 1 Messenger Raven + 1 Firetree Witchdoctor (Better on curve and for the dragon synergies.. also random mage spells win you games, despite raven being an amazing value engine)
KDK made a showcase of this deck, check it out:
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