Mech Mage was getting stale, so as soon as I saw Kazakusan was getting
buffed nerfed, I decided to create a Big Spell Mage with dragons in it.
I always found that Big Spell Mage struggled to end games, so with Kazakusan in it, I definitely feel like it is a threat in ranked. Currently climbing my way through Diamond at them moment, and it seems to be performing better the Mech Mage with the current state of the meta. I'm consistently taking games off of both Aggro decks (Naga DH and Pirate Warrior) and late game decks (Ramp Druid and Control Paladin).
I'll see how it performs as I get more games on it, and tweak the deck as necessary.
10+ Upvotes and I'll write up a guide on the deck.
Edit #1: Holy crap you guys. I figured I'd have some time after posting this to finish up college before I'd have to type up this guide, but I guess we're here now. Without further ado, here is my guide on Draconic Big Mage!
The Dragon Package
Amalgam of the Deep : First up, we have the most played card in the expansion across all decks, and it's no surprise to find it in this one. Not only does it count as a dragon to help activate Kazakusan , it also can help you find more dragons to activate it and stabilize the board. Here's the catch though. It's even more versatile than that.
Not only can you use it to find dragons, but you can also use it on Death's Head Cultist to guarantee you another Death's Head Cultist . There's only two quillboars in standard right now, and it's one of them. This is a great option on turn 5 when you're behind against an aggro deck, being able to effectively put down two 2/4's with taunt across two turns and heal 8 health.
AND that's not all. If the value this card provides wasn't enough already, with Barbaric Sorceress , you can keep the value train rolling by discovering a naga. Throw this combo down on turn 8 against more control oriented decks and feel them roll their eyes as you continue to find more stuff to do.
Overall, this is a must have card in this list.
Faerie Dragon : Although not as versatile and value oriented as Amalgam of the Deep , this card finds its way into this deck for one reason; cheap board presence. With it not being able to be targeted by spells and hero powers, it's a great option early to progress Kazakusan and stay on the board.
Not only this, but you can target it with Amalgam of the Deep to find more dragons with , making it a great turn 4 combo piece.
Azure Drake : Find me a better dragon that has card draw. Malygos the Spellweaver , may generate higher value, but this deck doesn't run enough spells to warrant it. With a cheaper price tag of 5 mana, this is a great midrange card to include. Plus, if it survives for a turn, the +1 spell damage is icing on the cake to help you clear boards with Blizzard and Flamestrike .
Kazakusan : Here he is. The card that inspired the making of this deck. The value this card provides is insane, and it's what pushes this deck over the edge into being able to win in the late-game slug fests. Here's the issue. You have to have great game sense in order to make him work.
Against aggro decks, you will want to play him as soon as he's active. Too bad that's usually what will lose you the game. Unfortunately, an 8 mana 8/8 on turn 8 is way too slow in today's meta. He will die, and so will you. So when do you play him? That's the kicker. It's when you're already ahead. If you're in a stable board state, and you've managed to stay at a decent health total, play this card to close out the game. The treasures you pick won't matter as much because at this point, their value is plenty enough to win the game since most aggro decks will have run out of steam by turn 10. However, some good choices would be Gnomish Army Knife or Annoy-o Horn . However, if you're behind, don't play him. You will have 1 draw, maybe 2 before you lose the game. And although the one or two cards you get can be good, they won't be good enough because aggro decks will ignore whatever you do to the board and just go straight through to your face.
Against control decks, you have to be very considerate for when you drop him. Too early, and you'll fatigue out. Too late, and your opponent will drop theirs before you and out pace you. Focus on drawing your high value cards like Mordresh Fire Eye , Magister Dawngrasp , and/or Kalecgos , and then drop the Jamaican dragon once you've got most of your power plays in hand. Usually, when you play yours, your opponent will want to play theirs to keep up. With that being the case, the treasures you'll want to pick are Spyglass, Crusty the Crustacean, Vampiric Fangs, Staff of Scales, or Wand of Disintegration in order to keep hold of the board. Spyglass especially because you will get a treasure they have in hand FOR CHEAPER! However, do not pick all of these. You still want to win the game, so treasures like Embers of Ragnoros , Book of the Dead , and Pure Cold are great pickups as well.
Alexstrasza the Life-Binder : This card offers excellent versatility in any matchup. She not only can help you close games by going 8 to face, but also help you recover in an aggro matchup that's gone late by healing you 8. On top of this, if you're a psychopath, you can also use her to clear a big minion. The only thing stopping her is that 9 mana price tag. She's a big commit, so she's almost never going to win you the game. Instead, she's a great choice to help you stabilize.
Kalecgos : Finally, it's the giant magical goose. Stick him on the board when you have a tough clear in front of you or if you just want to dig for big value. And speaking of sticking, this bad boy has 12 health. He's hard to clear, which means you'll likely see him around again next turn to give you a huge swing play with that first spell costing 0 mana.
The Big Spell Package
Deepwater Evoker : One of the most consistently good cards at any game state, you'll never be unhappy to see this card in your hand. The worst thing that could happen is you pull a Wildfire with this, which helps you find better breakpoints later on. It's usually your 1st priority to play this card unless you're very far ahead, and if not, it's your 2nd priority.
Barbaric Sorceress : No, it's not a meme. This card really is just that good. Although 6 mana is a lot to commit, it is almost always well worth it. A lot of decks are running cheap spells, and you're one of the only decks out there running the really expensive stuff. Slapping this down usually nets you really high value plays for cheap, AND you don't have to worry about it being a slow play because she's a big boned body with being a 3/7 with taunt. Just remember to play the coin before dropping her!
Blizzard : This is your go-to stall card. 2 damage to the board is nice, but the goal with this card is to freeze the board for another turn so that you can slowly build up your mana and value plays. At least, that's the goal on its own. Having Doomsayer in hand changes this goal completely. With these 2 cards together, this 8 mana combo usually guarantees a board clear, no matter how big those minions are.
Flamestrike : Unlike Blizzard , this card is IS designed to clear boards. Be aware that, although 5 damage used to be enough to clear big, wide boards, that's not always the case anymore. Don't play this spell reactionarily. Build up to it. Drop some minions on the board the turn before and then rip the spell so you can take the remaining trades in your favor. Your opponent may want to take some trades with those minions before you can do that, but that still makes it easier for you to clear anyway, and it saves you some health.
Rune of the Archmage : Sometimes random can be consistent, and that's true for this card too. Although you never really know what you're going to get with 20 mana worth of spells at random targets, it almost always is a good card to play if you know when to play it. There are 4 things that are consistent when playing this card.
1. Freeze - Something's going to get frozen. The amount of freeze spells that come with this card is crazy high, and that's mainly because of Flurry (Rank 1) . When casting 20 mana worth of spells, theoretically you could pull an infinite number of freezes out, so you can expect at least some of your opponent's board to get stalled out.
2. Card draw - Mage has 4 spells that can draw cards: Arcane Intellect , Refreshing Spring Water , and now Gifts of Azshara , and Seafloor Gateway (which can pull Amalgam of the Deep ). Although that doesn't seem like much in the way of opportunity to have them be pulled, somehow you'll consistently get one of them, especially when your hand is already full.
3. Value Generation - Mage has so many spells that put cards in your hand, I won't even bother listing them all. You will get stuff to do the turn after you play this, even if your hand was empty beforehand.
4. Board Clear - You may not get all of them, but something's going to die when you play this card. Hopefully it's the thing you really want to die.
When to play this card? When your opponent has stuff on the board. Do not play this on an empty board, because most mage spells need a minion to target. You'll just end up wasting it. Wait until you need to clear the board and don't have an answer besides this, and then rip it and hope. Usually things end up alright. The most value you see from this card is when you discount it using Barbaric Sorceress . Suddenly 20 mana worth of spells for 0 mana doesn't sound so bad.
The Hero Power Package
Wildfire : You can't have a hero power mage without this card. It's 1 mana, and almost always worth playing the turn you find it. Play it early so you can find those breakpoints more easily. Just remember to not play it on turn 2 unless you have a strong turn 3 set up already. No sense in wasting damage by scaling your ping up instead of using it.
Reckless Apprentice : This card has a lot more versatility than at face value. Sure, you can throw it out to clear a small, wide board. But why would you do that instead of dealing 12 to face? That's the power of this card in conjunction with Magister Dawngrasp . By powering up your hero power to 4, 6, or more damage, you can deal crazy amounts of burst damage from out of nowhere. Not only this, but you can also scale your ping up if you can line up the damage appropriately on your opponent's board. This is all assuming you make it this far if you're playing against an aggro deck. Usually how it goes though, is you are using it to clear those pesky small, wide boards.
Magister Dawngrasp : Although this card allows you to replay big spells from multiple spell schools, that's not why this card is in this deck. The reason why it belongs in this section of the guide is because of the hero power. This, along with Mordresh Fire Eye and Kazakusan , is how you win games against control decks. One turn of stall from an extra Blizzard or Flamestrike is just cake. And the cherry on top is that 5 armor. You never know when you'll need it to help you turn the corner in an aggro matchup.
Mordresh Fire Eye : This is why the hero power package is in this deck. This card is actually one of the more simple cards in this deck. All you have to do is check one of these boxes to play it.
1. Does your opponent have a wide board with a lot of health to clear? [ ]
2. Do you have lethal with it? [ ]
About as straight forward as it gets.
Doomsayer : An old favorite of mine, this card is a fantastic tool to clear the board with. It's best paired with Varden Dawngrasp or Blizzard to help protect it, ensuring that it actually goes off. If you're facing a deck that does great damage from in hand though, say for example Naga DH or Mech Mage, Death's Head Cultist or Barbaric Sorceress also works well with it. One thing to not do with this card is to go light on it. You're playing this card because you can't deal with the board, so you have to make sure it goes off, or at least make them commit 7 damage to it. What you don't want to happen is it gets cleared and you take a million damage to face anyway. With that being the case, don't be shy and double down on them. If you really need a mid game board cleared, play both of them if you have them. You can turn the corner afterwards. Later in the game, you should have enough mana for bigger plays to deal with the board, so you won't have to worry about comboing in a doomsayer, nor do you want to use it to clear a board when you've already dumped your own big bodies on it as well.
Death's Head Cultist : Is this a tech card? Yes and no. Aggro will always be present in the meta, and no matter the matchup, you will always want at least a little bit of taunt and healing. That's where this card comes in. Swap it out if you like, but those aggro decks will eat you alive without them. Not to mention, you can use it in niche circumstances with the aforementioned Amalgam of the Deep combo.
Flightmaster Dungar : If you haven't figured it out already, I love when a deck has versatility in a matchup, and this card provides just that. Something to always play on curve, this card will give you the swing you need to bring the game back in your favor. When played on turn 3, Ironforge will (nearly) bring you back to full health on turn 6 against aggro decks, and on turn 8 kill medium sized boards and chip good damage to face against control decks with Eastern Plaguelands. We won't talk about Westfall .
Varden Dawngrasp : Have you ever thought, "Man, if only I had one more turn..." Well this card gives you just that. Freeze out a board that's been giving you problems, or even clear one with Doomsayer. This card is an excellent addition to any tempo/control based mage decks.
Barbaric Sorceress : No, this is not a meme, it's just that good. Play this card and feel your opponent's frustration as their 0 mana spell is now suddenly 9 mana. Not only this, but you have a cheap spell in your hand that produces amazing results when ripped way earlier than it should be. And to top it off, she's a big boned body with 3/7 in stats and taunt. Even if you don't get a cost swap, she's still a great deterrent on board. Just remember to play the coin before you drop her!
Naga Demon Hunter: This matchup can go either way. You will want to play minions to stay healthy against this deck, but they also want you to play those minions too. Take trades that leave your minions at low health so that they will get less value out of their Dreadprison Glaive , and just keep clearing the board as much as possible. Eventually you'll turn the corner and out value them. Also note that Barbaric Sorceress is great in this matchup because their deck loves running cheap spells and 7 health in a taunt is nothing to sneeze at. Kazakusan rarely makes an appearance in this matchup because either they will kill you before he's active, or you will kill them without needing his value. With that being the case, don't prioritize playing dragons to activate him. Just stay healthy and clear the board.
Pirate Warrior: This is generally a matchup in your favor. Sure they can get the nuts and burst you down, but with smart play, you should be able to stay alive against this deck. Just remember they can always pull some shenanigans with their Mr. Smite or one randomly generated from either Nellie, the Great Thresher or The Juggernaut . Remember to keep your taunts in hand for the late game if you can manage it to avoid getting burst down.
Pirate Rogue: Very similar to Pirate Warrior, just harder. The problem against this deck is that they find a lot of in hand damage and still have enough clear to get through your board. Just play conservative, clear the board, and dumpster on them once you turn the corner. Also remember to hold onto a Barbaric Sorceress for that Mr. Smite that's coming for your face.
Mech Mage: This is another match that goes in your favor. The only way you lose this is if they roll the nuts and have multiple Mech-a Shark for cheap in hand. Weather the initial burst and huge board by keeping minions on the board around turn 5, clear, and win the game with your superior value. Feel free to stall out their miracle turn too by dropping a Doomsayer two turns in a row.
Quest Hunter: If you've been playing mage for a while, you already know the class that kills us the most. This matchup is no different. This is a difficult matchup because you have to hope they have dead hands and that you have a perfect curve. You won't outpace them for damage early, but you can't not do damage early because they will still out value you around turns 8 and 9. So how do you beat them? It's simple really. Play Faerie Dragon on an early, empty board and hope it sticks. From there just keep dumping minions on board until they run out of gas. The goal is to get them to waste their spells on your minions and not your face, and then playing the rest of your deck afterwards. Sure, they'll be progressing their quest, but they'll do that anyway, whether you play minions or not.
Mech Paladin: This is one of your best matchups. I wouldn't go as far to say that you're built to beat this deck, but it will be difficult for them to get through your insane clears and huge late game value. Play high value cards on curve, clear their boards, and ramp your hero power whenever you find the opportunity.
Control Paladin: This matchup goes either way. The best part though is that it always ends up to be a tight game the whole way through. Don't blow all your damage in one go, because they will always have a way to heal it back. Instead chip into their board, make them waste their healing on their minions, and then burst them down over a couple turns with Mordresh Fire Eye and an upgraded ping, and then Reckless Apprentice into upgraded ping. Remember, this deck also runs Mr. Smite along with The Garden's Grace, so save your taunts for turn 6 and after and keep your health above 16 to avoid getting burst down. If you get to the hyper late game, and you're relying on treasures from Kazakusan , take cards like Spyglass , Crusty Crustacean , and Vampiric Fangs to name a few. If it's treasures vs. treasures, the game will be decided on the board, so choose your treasures appropriately.
Control Warrior: Another matchup that should go in your favor. This matchup will feel very similar to a control paladin game. Play smart, stay on curve, and keep taunts up after a Nellie, the Great Thresher to avoid a random Mr. Smite OTK. Once it gets to treasures, the same thing applies. Take cards like Spyglass , Crusty Crustacean , and Vampiric Fangs to name a few. If it's treasures vs. treasures, the game will be decided on the board, so choose your treasures appropriately.
Shellfish Priest: Try to stall out the board and hope to rip a Mass Polymorph off of a Rune of the Archmage. This is an easy matchup to win so long as you're able to keep those Selfish Shellfish in check. If you have a decent lead in the mid-late game, drop a Kazakusan and kill them with aggressive treasures like Pure Cold , Embers of Ragnoros , and Book of the Dead.
Celestial Ink Set : I know what you're thinking. "Ink set? Really?? Cut from Big Mage???" Yes really. The reason why is that this deck doesn't actually run that many spells. You can discount one spell, maybe two, but you have to prep for that a turn prior to do it. This card is actually only good in control matchups, and I'm seeing a lot more aggro these days in Diamond. So instead I replaced it with something similar, but a lot more useful against those decks (and a lot more fun!).
Pyroblast : Okay, okay, I was sad when I cut this too. But my reason was because you're already able to end games plenty easily with Magister Dawngrasp , Mordresh Fire Eye , and Kazakusan . And they're much better at that than a 10 mana deal 10. It may have been meme worthy good in its heyday, but it's just not as good anymore when compared to modern Hearthstone.
Barbaric Sorceress : It's Celestial Ink Set , but better! A lot of decks right now run cheap spells, and it's also a big bodied taunt. Although it's more expensive, it seems to be doing the same job, but better.
Flightmaster Dungar : I like the versatility this card provides, because not only is it good in aggro matchups, but against tempo decks too. It never wins games, but it sure does help you from losing them.