Hi everybody. I'm Sipiwi94.
Let's jump right into it.
What is the deck about?
Quest Mage is about completing your quest and assembling pieces in your hand that allow you to win over 2 turns. That makes it a combo deck, and combo decks function in a specific way.
- want to cycle through the deck as fast as possible
- need to manage their resources so they have the cards needed to win in the end, but also survive until the end
- Play early for tempo (or to not lose it), but not with the intention of pressuring the opponent to death
How Quest Mage fits the description of a combo deck
Quest Mage also needs to cycle a lot. However, your main combo piece is a quest that you don't need to cycle to get to. The quest doesn't win on its own, but cycling is less important with Quest Mage. The main point of cycling is to do mini combos (see further down) and to get to your giants that will be charging for the kill.
Quest Mage is all about managing your resources. The curve of the deck is low, which means you can burn your hand so quickly if you want to. Your spells are your fuel that can be spent for pure tempo or with a combination of Flamewaker/Cyclone/Apprentice/Luna. Spending your spells too quickly will dramatic hurt your chances because you will need to draw new spells to do a game winning turn. Your Flamewakers and Luna can also be played out to force removal or gain tempo. This is similar to playing your spells. Be careful because you will need a turn where you play a combination of spells and combo minions to win.
Quest Mage is different when it comes to tempo. First of all you are playing a lot of cheap minions that you jam on curve. So vs slow decks you will face a situation where you have pressure on board until the midgame. You win condition is a certain amount of damage that can be negated by taunts or armor. So unlike many combo decks the damage dealt early can be relevant vs decks like Druid, Voidlord Warlocks, and Odd Warrior. However against most decks the damage is not as important, but it shouldn't be underestimated as the lower their hp is the fewer combo pieces you need to win. It is easy to be tempted to play to play your cards too quickly because you are playing minions on curve in the beginning of the game. But the goal of the deck is mainly to not die before you get to your combo turns. And that is harder if you throw your resources too quickly.
Completing the quest and surviving
Completing the quest is split into two parts. Generating spells and playing them. We have Spellwing, Licensed Adventurer, Ray of Frost, and Magic Trick that all give us cheap spells that we don't need to worry about getting out of our hand. And then we have Primordial Glyph and Mana Cyclone that will often give us quite expensive spells. Usually we need Cyclone to complete the quest, but not always as Primordial Glyph and Magic Trick will give us addition spell generation here and there. When Cyclone is needed we also have to keep in mind that will have a turn or two where we play decent random spells (like secrets), but we usually lose tempo doing so.
There are a few ways to get around losing tempo from playing your random spells. 1) generate more spells than you need from Mana Cyclone. That way we will have some spells that we never play without being a problem. 2) Use Apprentice to cheat a lot of spells out in the same turn.
Surviving is mainly a concern against aggro decks like Secret mage, Pirate decks, and Even Shaman. Against slow decks the issue is to get to a state where Time Warp wins as we mentioned earlier. Quest Mage has decent minions early to slow the game down, but against any aggro deck we will lose the board around turn 3. So how do we survive against these decks? Well the good news are that we have more value than the aggro decks so we don't need to be as greedy with our resources and sometimes we dont even need to complete that quest as cheap/free giants can win. But we are still losing the board way earlier than we have what we need, and we don't have access to board clears. The answer is mini combos.
Mini Combos is the soul of the deck. So many of our cards synergize. Luna/Flamewaker/Giants/Mana Cyclone all synergize with cheap spells, which that deck has a ton of. Apprentice makes the spells cheaper. The rest of our deck is full of cards that either draw to make sure we ave synergies or create additional cards that synergize with what we do. Examples:
- Elemental Evocation + Mana Cyclone
- Flamewaker + Apprentice + Mana Cyclone + 1-mana spells
- Luna + Apprentice (use Licensed Adventurer/Glyph/Magic Trick/Trade Spellwing if you draw a big guy)
- Mana Cyclone + Apprentice + 1-mana spells
The key to mini combos is to understand that you need a combination of spells and minions. Remember that as it will be really important for our mulligan. Another reason to remember it is that we are setting these combos up during the game. If we use all of our spells early we will sit with useless minions in hand. If we play our minions on curve we will have useless spells in hand. Examples are: we play a flamewaker on turn 3 and it dies to a removal spell, we play Flamewaker + Apprentice and a few spells and later topdeck Cyclone. We play Magic Trick/Glyph because we have mana left. These plays will not always be wrong, but they could be and we will float mana quite often with this deck to play it optimally.
Some mini combos get us closer to ending the game and some let us survive longer. I will not go into much detail about it because it is quite easy to understand. Mana Cyclone/Luna gets us closer to ending the game. Flamewaker/Apprentice gets us tempo so we can survive for longer. Apprentice can also be an accelerator for any type of combo.
Random spells are a huge part of this deck. In particular the spells that cost 0 to 3 mana because of Magic tricks. Lets take a look at some important spells we can get offered.
- Quest completion: Magic Trick, Primordial Glyph, Ray of Frost, Tome of Intellect, Lesser Ruby Spellstone
- Draw: Arcane Intellect, Book of Specters, Research Project
- Removal: Volcanic Potion, Flame Ward, Polymorph: Boar, Polymorph, Flamestrike, Blizzard, Shatter, Snap Freeze
- Survival: Iceblock, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, Mirror Image, (Counterspell), other obvious single target removal
- Giant generation: Simulacrum, Molten Reflection, Echo of Medivh, Conjurer's Calling
- Combo fuel: 0- and 1-mana spells
This deck needs to do well in the first few turns and it is based on synergies. These are the reasons why the mulligan is exceptionally complex AND exceptionally important. People mulligan very differently and different cards are kept depending on the situation as we can see from the stats below:
So how do we mulligan? I will start in general and then get into more details. Keep in mind that general guidelines are always inaccurate so don't just follow them blindly.
The cards we are looking for:
- Licensed Adventurer
- Questing Explorer
- Book of Specters
- Mana Cyclone
- Arcane Intellect
It is interesting to see that our only 1-drop is not on the list. Why is Spellwing in the deck if it isn't for turn 1? As mentioned earlier we often float mana with the deck, so it is quite easy to play a Spellwing later in the game. Spellwing also creates fuel for our mini combos, and gets us closer to quest completion. And it is not discarded by Book of Specters, which is a big deal. There are cases where I like playing Spellwing on turn 1 (we get into them later), but another reason we don't keep spellwing is that we always have a 1-drop in hand that we need to get down to play our 2-drops.
An exception: Against Pirates and Even Shaman we usually keep Spellwing to deal with 1-hp guys and totems. It is also decent if we have Mana Cyclone and it is clear from our hand that we can set up a big Cyclone combo (this should only happen on the coin and if we have a double spell as well or Book of Specters).
Another great card that doesn't make the cut in our mulligan is Sorcerer's Apprentice. This card is really good, but we need fuel and combo pieces for it to function. Therefore the card is usually not good until later in the game. However, the card can be game winning against aggro. I am not completely decided yet, but I would only consider keeping it vs aggro on the coin. It will also be a keep often if you are offered Mana Cyclone and maybe even a spell.
We are looking for a mini combo: Imagine we are in a situation where we are offered Mana Cyclone or Book of Specters. We know that we need spells and combo minions to go off. Both of these cards means spells get more value. Either directly or because the Book will usually draw us combo minions. So if we are offered any of these 2 cards I like to keep a spell with them (Magic Trick, Ray of Frost, Primordial Glyph). With Mana Cyclone we also keep accelerators of the combo: Elemental Evocation and Apprentice (you could argue that you only keep Apprentice on the coin or with a 1-mana spell in hand as well).
Access to a Quest 2-drop: When we have Licensed Adventurer or Questing Explorer we have plays on the first 2 turns so we can mulligan differently. It is hard to say how it changes the mulligan in general, but it lets us keep matchup specific cards like Apprentice, Ray of Frost, Spellwing, or Flamewaker against aggro, or Luna against slower decks. These are new options, but it will not always be correct. It depends on the other cards we are offered, as well as being on the coin or not.
The Coin: Being on the coin is great for this deck. As it is a spell (it shouldn't be, but that is a different story) it helps complete the quest. And even more important it gives us a more flexible mulligan and access to more cards. All we ever wanted. On the coin we have more flexibility as we get to see 1 extra card and because we already have access to 1 fuel-spell. As we have a spell already Cyclone and Book of Specters is stronger. Luna, Flamewaker, and Apprentice are as well because we have more spells. So these cards will be stronger (Luna vs control, Flamewaker vs aggro, Apprentice depending on the amount of spells in hand). But they are not auto keeps on the coin. But if you are looking at a decent hand already then they could be great to make sure we have things to do at turn 4-5. However, being half a turn behind Arcane Intellect gets a bit slow. We still keep it vs slower decks, but without a playable 2-drop it is probably too slow vs aggro.
On the play we have to be more conservative we don't have flexibility so we need a 1-2-3 or a 1-2-2 curve. Arcane Intellect is a great 3-drop on the play because we are rarely facing a ton of pressure on our turn 3. Quest 2-drops are extra great, which means we throw more cards away to get them. And because we are facing less pressure on turn 3 we should also consider keeping Luna/Flamewaker, but only with a 2-drop, and don't do it vs classes that have a lot of removal for 2/4s.
I am not a fan of giving lists of cards to keep in every matchup. And it would be even more inaccurate with this deck. But I will go through the matchups in more general way.
Pirate Warr/KB Rogue: We need to stabilize the game and get giants out to win. Our 2-drops are not great because cannons shoot them down, but we still keep them in the mulligan. We usually need Apprentice to give us a strong turn and make giants cheaper. Flamewaker is also helpful. But we don't give those cards on the play. Ray of Frost is really good as well because it is the best spell way have and we need to play spells to win. It can block a lot of damage. A card we do keep in the mulligan every time is Spellwing. Patches means that there will be a lot of 1-hp targets, so our 1/1 trades well and it gives us Arcane Missiles that also works well. Arcane Intellect and Book of Specters are too slow here, but Book of Specters might be fine to keep on the play as a turn-2 play. Mana Cyclone is also sketchy on the play, and I usually dont keep him without a synergy card like Licensed Adventurer.
Even Shaman: Even Shaman has two power spikes: early totems getting buffed, and a combination of Giants, cheap 5/5s, and a 4-drop. So to win we have to not get overrun by totems early, and not have a dead game in the midgame. Usually we win by getting a quest turn 0-1 turn after they build a huge board. On that turn we play giants and freeze their big guys. So how does this affect our mulligan? Well we can actually play fairly slow vs Shaman if we manage to hold down their totems. When Shaman is on the play they cannot play 2 totems on turn 2, which makes their game slower. When Shaman is on the coin our 2-drops (particularly Questing Explorer that doesn't die to 2dmg) usually come down in time to contest a totem. A last point in this matchup is that when we are lucky and they get a 1/1 totem early we usually ping it down or at least play a Spellwing into it.
So when we are on the coin we really like Spellwing and play it on turn 1, so we can kill totems with a ping on turn 2. If we have quest + a 2-drop we might still go for that. It depends on which totem they get and which 2-drop we have (2/3 is best as mentioned earlier). When we are on the play we really want a 2-drop, but spellwing on turn 1 is still good, so we keep that. Ray of Frost is also great in this matchup, but not something I keep unless I have a really strong hand that synergizes with it.
Quest Mage: The mirror is a really intense matchup. Sometimes one part just gets destroyed, but a lot of games are interesting, and they can swing quickly because of mini combos, random iceblocks, and Time Warp. An interesting point in the matchup is the lack of removal in the game. Flamewaker/Luna is hard to remove on an empty board. Even more hard with additional minions to block Flamewaker/Missiles. The same goes for Giants. But keep in mind random spells are everywhere. Sometimes it is wise to risk it and play your stuff out early. The matchup isn't that fast and it is not a disaster if they have a 2-drop you can't kill. Themost important turns are the mini combo turns. It is very good to be the first guy to get going. On the other hand will sometimes make you vulnerable to a Flamewaker combo that you cannot answer.
I personally mulligan fairly standard in the mirror. I keep card draw as well as 2-drops and Mana Cyclone. And mulligan for the synergies mentioned earlier. On the play I would consider keeping Luna with a 2-drop, but I still think I am leaning towards throwing it away for something more impactful. On the coin I would keep Apprentice a bit more than in other matchups, but only if it was clear that it wouldn't give me a dead hand.
Druid: A matchup where you have to go fast. They can get out of reach with too much armor. And if you play too much into Spreading Plague it will slow you down dramatically. We just mulligan for card draw and 2-drops so we can chip armor away early. There is a balance between going fast and getting many spells as there a very strong spells that can help with burst/giants/board presence.
Warlock: Hard to mulligan as Darkest Hour Warlock and normal Sense Demon Warlock are very different decks. Sometimes we are offered the opportunity to go in and burst them super low before the Darkest Hour combo. This involves Flamewaker, but I usually don't mulligan for this to happen. It is unreliable and not great vs Sense Demons deck. I mulligan similar to vs druid. Just going for as early combo as possible. Random Polymorphs are obviously great and vs Darkest Hour Warlock random burst spells will sometimes win a lost game. When you realize that you are against a Sense Demons deck you should always go for killing the 1st Voidlord. it gives you a ton of time and you often win the game if the can't cheat out another one. If they start copying it you are in big trouble though.
Reno Priest: Another matchup where you just don't want to draw dead. So card draw is great. Mana Cyclone is also great. Reno Priest has a surprising amount of pressure though if it is the dragon version. So keep in mind along the way that you could die before you kill them if you are not able to contest their board in early turns.
So a lot of people are interested in the specific list. I don't think it is that important as new expansion is around the corner where we at least add 1 new card (new legendary spell). But here we go.
Alternative cards are Chenvaala, Banana Bufoon, Vargoth, and Research Project. The last 2 are NEVER in the list. Vargoth is not playable until turn 9. Way too late for this deck. Research Project is just such a huge downside and we already have the draw we need.
Banana Bufoon is so poor stats you can't really afford to play it. And it also has to replace 1 or 2 cards in the current list. I don't see any cards I wanna remove.
Chenvaala is great though. I played it a lot and I don't know if it is better than 2nd Arcane Intellect. I had a few games where the 5/5 didn't really win the game and it cost a lot of resources. Also sometimes I had a dead hand and I missed Arcane Intellect.
Tell me if there is something you would like me to add. I just wrote this off the top of my head.
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