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Lightshow Mage? In this Meta? (updated)

  • Last updated Feb 20, 2024 (Anniversary Patch)
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Standard

  • 25 Minions
  • 5 Spells
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Lightshow Mage
  • Crafting Cost: 6420
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 2/6/2024 (Druid, Rogue & Paladin Balance Changes)
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  • Total Deck Rating

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WARNING: Good luck required Ahead

I've been cooking up a Lightshow deck ever since they changed the way lightshow interacts with being cast by extra effects. Basically, lightshow getting +1 beam is now inherent to the card's effect, and not equal to how many you have manually cast. Allowing stuff like Stargazing and Grand Magister Rommath to now signifigantly pump up lightshow's effect.

CREATURE FOCUSED DECK CORES I TRIED:

  1. ELEMENTALS - good mix of tempo, draw, and stats that can be used for trading on board. Lots of extra synergy outside of your arcane package. It just feels right.
  2. MECHS - some promise, not as strong of a draw engine as elementals. You get to run cards like Seafloor Gateway and Tram Operator, but they don't go far enough. Not as on board as elementals either.
  3. NAGA - Good tutor; nagas that draw spells, and spells that draw nagas. But, too spell focused to stay on target with only having your core 3 spells getting cast for rewind.
  4. FORGE - too inconsistent. lots of forge cards generate extra spells, which ruins rewind.
  5. EXCAVATE - same as forge. can't run the excavate spells like Cryopreservation, and most rewards are spells which ruins rewind.

 

After weeks of testing, I've settled on the elemental tribe as the core of the deck. Elementals have a lot of innate synergy, and this package draws cards really quickly. An Unchained Gladiator for 2 or 3 draws will flow nicely into your arcane spell combo turns. So many little synergies within the elemental core really help you not fall behind on board. Aqua Archivist into Tainted Remnant is an ungodly powerful curve. Heck, Archivist's effect into a 4 mana Stone Drake can put a hard stop on your aggro opponent's face smashing. Giving you just enough time to get a quick prayer in and fire off a couple of lightshows and hope it clears board.

ARCANE PACKAGE

  • Lightshow - after only 2 casts, this card is scary powerful! With some decent luck you can clear early boards, and pump up the power for later
  • Rewind - extra lightshows! Against a slower deck, you need as many extra copies of lightshow as you can generate. Against faster decks, there is a choice to be made. Whether you need extra coins to make a Magister's Apprentice turn work out better, or grabbing extra stargazings so you can always draw your lightshow afterward. Trickiest part of this deck for sure. FOR EXAMPLE: during one of my recent games, I played Apprentice and Stargazing but I hit rewind with no lightshow in my history. Fear not, your game is not lost. Because rewind casts twice, I played it for 1 mana, grabbed one copy of stargazing and one coin. 2nd stargazing for 1 mana was guaranteed to draw lightshow for 2. Using the extra coin, I had just enough damage to get a double cast lightshow off. Using your brain can pay off.
  • Stargazing - There is a time and place with this card. turn 5, you can play this and hope to hit lightshow for 3 mana, casting it twice. The 2nd cast will not only be powered up by the first cast, but also power up your next lightshows. Be careful of hitting rewind with this card, if you haven't cast lightshow yet, you'll only be able to generate more Stargazings or a coin if you used it already.
  • Magister's Apprentice - save until you have 5-7 mana. Preferably played alongside Stargazing to maximize discounts.
  • Taelan Fordring - Tutor your rommath. I have won games by getting rommath off of this card by turn 9 when I would have just died otherwise.
  • Grand Magister Rommath - Recasts all of your extra lightshows. with the new interaction, each one he casts will power up the next. Very good synergy and can dish out some serious damage. Keep in mind he will also play the coins you have played this game, there are some cheeky opportunities to play a final lightshow post-rommath with his extra coins.

Lightshow math: think about this card's effect like "Shoot 2+N beams that deal 2 damage each." Where N is equal to the number of Lightshows that have happened this game. Your 2nd lightshow will shoot 3 beams, your 5th will shoot 7 beams, etc. Revealing just how powerful Stargazing > Lightshow can be. No previous lightshows would shoot 2 and then 3 beams for 5 mana and deal 10 damage.

Let me lay out an average scenario if this deck hasn't yet intrigued you. You have cast both of your main deck lightshows. You managed to generate and play 2 extra lightshows. If you play rommath, he will cast the first copy of lightshow, shooting 7 beams for 14 damage, then immediatly cast a 2nd lightshow shooting 8 beams for 16 damage. 30 damage spread across board and face. Add ONE extra generated lightshow and you start to see the potential of the deck. A 3rd generated copy cast throughout the game bumps the rommath 1st cast to 8 beams, the 2nd to 9 beams and the 3rd TO 10 BEAMS for a combined 54 damage spread across board and face.

General Advice:

  • You want to try and save Rewind until you have cast at least one Lightshow.
  • Save Magister's Apprentice until turn 5 or 6 depending on the amount of coins in hand. After apprentice, you can play 1 mana Stargazing into a 1 mana rewind or 2 mana lightshow.
  • For Grand Magister Rommath to work out as a finisher, you need Rewind to hit as many Lightshows as possible. Many times I have gone for coins or extra copies of Stargazing with rewind, but we warned: Stargazing's effect to cast the spell a 2nd time does NOT count towards your Rommath pool, only extra copies that are added to your hand and cast by you count.
  • Keep track of which lightshows are generated and which are from your deck. You should always cast generated lightshows first, as they have signifigantly higher value when recast by Rommath.
  • Don't be afraid to put your fate in the grubby hands of RNG. Plenty of times I have dropped a druid/paladin/rogue to 1-6 health, then they develop a sizable board. I have an 8 beam lightshow in hand, only a few beams need to hit them in the face to take the match! Sometimes you get lethal, other times you whiff and die horribly. But hey, you were going to lose anyway, might as well go for it!
  • When my hand is looking slim, I'll play out an elemental, in the off chance that I topdeck an activated Shale Spider or Unchained Gladiator. This deck is all about hedging bets and getting a wee bit lucky.
  • Don't be scared to play an inactive Shale Spider if it means boosting the card draw of Unchained Gladiator on the next turn. You are basically transferring the spider's card draw to the gladiator if you think about it.
  • Vexallus's casts twice effect DOES NOT stack with a spell that is being cast twice by Stargazing's effect

MISC. CARDS

Greedy Partner - the deck is almost entirely 2 drops, you want to accelerate your gameplan, and rommath recasts these coins. Great card!
Audio Splitter - Not just for use with copying lightshow, extra copies of any of your arcane package go a long way to snowballing the game.
Gold Panner - amazing card draw. requires an answer from opponent. Can easily save you 2-4 face damage when your paladin opponent is forced to trade the panner down to deny your card draw.

POTENTIAL CARDS (UNTESTED)

  • Sir Finley, Sea Guide / Gaslight Gatekeeper - This deck has the possibility of bricking in hand a bit. A few times I have thought if only I could reroll this hand I could come back. There is potential here.
  • Dryscale Deputy - Good in the deck, but I find running one copy to be enough.
  • Photographer Fizzle - if you find yourself going against more value oriented opponents who stack tons of armor, Fizzle could potentially slot into this deck, to take snapshots of extra lightshows, and if you're lucky a second copy of Rommath too! if you cast snapshot before rommath, he will recast your snapshot for tons of value. Hand space permitting, entering you into an infinite loop where rommath plays snapshot that has himself inside.
  • Nightcloak Sanctum - it's not a spell, gives you some board, and freezes the paladin's turn 3 7/5 taunt divine shield minion. Not sure what to cut for this card.
  • Commander Sivara - in a slower meta I think this card would fit very well. you could tempo your lightshows and get them right back! Buuut, it's a dead card in hand for most of the game. Only paying off if you already cast 3 spells, which could take a while with this deck. I was dead wrong, this card slaps! The only thing better than playing your arcane package is getting those cards back for 4 mana!
  • Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher - I wish this card was useable. the (but not less than 1) part makes it so your lightshow copies are only discounted by 2 mana, but he costs 4 himself. you need a ton of copied spells for his discount to be relevant. Potential buff target for the mage class?
  • Mes'Adune the Fractured - too slow! what if you hit bubbler and start crying?

MULLIGAN

Always keep:

Lightshow, Aqua Archivist, Bubbler/Arcane Artificer, Gold Panner, Dryscale Deputy, Commander Sivara??

Situational keep:

Audio Splitter (if you have arcane spells in mulligan), Tainted Remnant (if you have Aquavist in mulligan), Shale Spider (with a 1-drop elemental in mulligan), Greedy Partner (with a 2 drop in your mulligan)

I have been able to maintain a ~60% winrate at mid diamond. 52-45 at the moment. The list is looking really good right now. Vexallus is an excellent addition, really brings the whole deck together.

I am very open to opinions and suggestions, so please comment down below how your games go with my list!

LIVE UPDATE 2/8/24: Been running 1x Gold Panner and 1x Dryscale Deputy to good effect. I've been running Aegwynn, the Guardian and I honestly haven't gotten much out of her. the times the +2 spell damage was relevant, I had lethal through normal means anyway. I'll craft and replace her with Vexallus next. Cut 1x Glacial Shard for 1x Sir Finley, Sea Guide. Not sure about this yet, I won't add it to the official decklist until I have had more testing. Finley messes with a charged up Sivara, I may revisit him but for now I'm moving on.

BREAKING NEWS Like I suspected, Vexallus is amazing in this deck! Game after game I have lethal with Vex > 2x lightshow for 20+ damage. Aqua Archivist banking the discount on Vexallus is the perfect greed strategy into anything slower than paladin or warlock. A few times I played him out with no arcane spell just to force my opponent to spend their turn dealing with him while I had Rommath in hand ready to cast 3-5 lightshows.

 Captain's Log, 2/10/24: Shout out to Sableflame! Go check out his list! It's a bit more combo focused than mine, but you can read our back and forth in the comments; very enlightening! Which brings me to the changes I'm making to the deck. Y'all actually played enough games to get us listen on HSReplay!! How cool is that! With an HSReplay listing comes...DATA! Now take a look at the worst cards in the game, not that it's much of a surprise...

I couldn't figure out how to embed an image so just click this

-1x Stone Drake, my beloved. You're just....so...so bad. Sorry, my dear; maybe another deck, another time.

-1x Taelan Fordring One of the things I learned from Sableflame's list is that Taelan and tutoring Rommath isn't really required. That and he has a 32% played winrate. Just awful, not needed!

-2x Glacial Shard / +2x Arcane Artificer Another one of my lessons learned from my time at Sableflame's Summer Camp for Lightshow Inclined Lads is that the artificer is an excellent card to have at your disposal. It's a 1 drop. It's an elemental. What's better than a lightshow? A lightshow that gains you 3 armor! It's a no brainer! I wrote this card off in my initial construction because 'we only run 6 spells' but my eyes have been opened. If you play this guy your opponent will stop at nothing to get rid of it. You know you're not planning on using it to gain armor anytime soon, but your opponent doesn't!

+1x Gold Panner I'm not ready to embrace 2x Dryscale Deputy in the deck quite yet, but two copies of GP felt very nice.

+1x Commander Sivara I've been famously cautious of this legendary, but I think it's ultimately a good fit in this deck. If you don't have her, I would hesitate to craft, as she is rotating out of standard in the upcoming expansion. Run Aegwynn, the Guardian instead if you have to, she's free in core set and still pretty good!

I wanted to spotlight what Sableflame said over in his post: "Remember... this deck isn't trying to win with the bodies you put on the floor - they're literally just your left hand, waving foolishly in the mark's face, while you're slipping the giant horseshoe named "Lightshow" into your right hand glove to wallop them with. The more they're distracted by the pawns, the easier it is to checkmate them with the Queen."

This is some of the most fun I've had playing hearthstone in quite a few years! Thanks to all the commenters, and people giving my wacky list a shot! It means a lot to me and has been such a fun ride to see this deck, and this community, develop!

Captain's Log, 2/12/24: For deck updates, Sableflame and I have been theorizing about cutting a single Stargazing, as this card often quickly runs out of purpose once you've drawn through your arcane package. I've replaced Stargazing with one copy of Gaslight Gatekeeper as I often get bricked in hand and a total hand reset has saved me a few times now. Be careful, there was a game where I threw a mid hand back and gotten a much worse hand and lost the game from it. If you cut a stargazing like I did, remember to keep it in the mulligan, as there is now only one in the deck.

Didn't really think I would have to say this....but y'all, this is not a tier 1 deck. Hell, probably not even tier 2. Rainbow DK, Sludge Warlock, Holy Horde Paladin, they are going to give you a thrashing if they get even a third of the synergies in their deck going. The closer you get to top Diamond, the more likely you are to fight nothing but the top three decks in the meta.

Remember, this is still the mage class. One of the worst classes with the least synergistic cards for over an entire year of standard. We had a brief window where Sif was a good archetype, but they nerfed the board clear mech and any disruption really kills that strategy.

We're all here because we love having fun and playing mage! I have wanted Lightshow to be a legit strategy since Festival of Legends. When they release Stargazing AND fixed the Lightshow bug I was so excited! I never expected my silly little decklist to get this much traction. Please, go forward with a sense of discovery and excitement! Just because the community wrote off mage being meta, doesn't mean we can't do some theorizing and create a decklist that people are clearly interested in.

Try playing 30+ games before you come back here and type that this deck sucks. It can get unlucky. Your lightshows can get trapped on the bottom of your deck, it happens. All hearthstone decks don't function at peak efficiency all the time. You will have bad draws, your opponents will have nutty highrolls. IT HAPPENS. Move on from your losses. They want you to buy packs. They want you to feel frustrated after a brutal loss streak. They want you to feel the rush of dopamine when your deck finally works as intended.

Captain's Log, 2/20/24: The deck lives! I finally heard back from support and they marked this list as Not Spam! They said they couldn't find anything in my original write up to get me marked as spam, but oh well. Thank you to everyone for turning up and +1'ing the reupload! According to HSreplay, this list is the 3rd most popular mage deck going around! 770 games with a 61.5% winrate?! You guys are killing it!! It warms my slimy little heart knowing you guys are out there slinging lightshows left and right. One day I'll run into one of you on ladder, that would be amazing.

Sableflame and I put our brains together and I really think -1x Stargazing for +1x Gaslight Gatekeeper is the correct direction for this deck. Stargazing is often leftover and completely useless in the late game. Gatekeeper can turn horrible hands into something workable. But beware, if your hand is even kind of good, hold the Gatekeeper. I lost a few games simply because the hand I threw back turned out to be much better than the new hand I drew. Don't think too hard, but do think a little bit before dropping Gatekeeper on 3 just to fill your turn.

I took a massive break from playing this deck, however... What have I been up to in the last 8 days? I've been playing a lot of priest... This list is so much fun, it's like solving a hearthstone puzzle to get the right minions in the correct state to go infinite. Horrible winrate, but tons of fun, highly recommended.

I've been trying a priest shell that draws the entire deck, and then switching up the wincon inside it. One I tried plays Harth Stonebrew as quickly as possible. Another tries to copy as many Photographer Fizzles as possible to never run out of resources. A really bad one I tried was to draw through my deck, play Tony, King of Piracy, then play 2-4x Mysterious Visitor to discount my copied opponent's deck and play their cards for free. They are all awful, but pretty fun!

I've tried quite a few warlock decks, but anything other than running sludge is a waste of time in that class.

Oh! One of the people who originally inspired me to create a deck write up this intense is Mortimerty, who just updated his AMAZING control priest deck. Please go give them some love too.

Anyway, it feels good to be back! Cheers!

Don't think too hard, you'll hurt yourself!