Hey guys, I didn't come up with the deck, but I wanted to make a guide. Several players including Muzzy (the deck originator) have reached legend with it. If you have input or feedback I am more than happy if you msg me or post in the comments!! Cheers!
Deck Customization Depending upon current Meta
As the meta currently tends to shift by the hour you can think about the following tech substitutions. Be smart about what you substitute. If you face 20 Midrange Paladins in a row you might even consider going for a Polymorph tech.
Meeting a lot of AggroDruids & Token Shamans
- Babbling Book
- Kabal Courier
+ Volcanic Potion
The reasoning behind the different substitutions is that we need to take off one weapon from Murladin and Mages, for Shaman the second Flamestrike yields the higher Value.
You'll be able to survive long enough (Doppelgangster + Evolve = Turn 6) and in the lategame that is usually the one clear missing. Relying on the Glyph hasn't helped me enough.
Other possible tech-ins should be considered when you know that one spell might currently give you an out against most decks in your current bracket of the ladder.
Hints (from Littlemanto):
- Do not tech out Bloodmage Thalnos when running AoE (double Volcanic Potion or Flamestrike)
- Consider teching in Spellbender instead of Counterspell depending on the adaption or your secrets and decks you run into
These other tech-cards include
Meteor - Especially against matchups with high single target HP
Polymorph - Especially against strong deathrattles (Tirion Fordring, Aya Blackpaw)
second Counterspell- Edge in mage matchups
I'll just plainly say it: Don't play the deck without Alexstrasza, Primordial Glyph and Ice Block, Medivh, the Guardian, Medivh's Valet. It makes no sense. (Although some guides and players suggest playing Babbling Book or Cabalist's Tome, I think you just lose too much controlled flexibility). Firelands Portal comes free with the Prologue of Karazhan so just grab it.
In an earlier version of the guide I suggested Elise the Trailblazer as a replacement for Medivh, the Guardian, but after playing this version a couple of times I feel I lose too much boardclear without the extra minions.
Bloodmage Thalnos - Loot Hoarder, Novice Engineer (although you should just craft it if possible)
Gluttonous Ooze (if played) - Acidic Swamp Ooze
Pyroblast - Archmage Antonidas (all other replacements do not provide enough burn to finish your matchup and meet your win condition)
Depending on the matchup Look for the following cards:
Paladin, Priest, Warrior
Adjust the mulligans as you see fit in your matchups. If you see an increase in Pirate Warriors you might want to use the Druid/Shaman mulligan rather than sticking to the plan.
- In the early game use Ice Block rather than Counterspell to set up Medivh's Valet and only keep the valet if you have an Arcanologist to curve out with a secret
- If you plan on discovering cards from Primordial Glyph or draw cards from Arcane Intellect always do that before doing anything else. This might change your order or way of playing. In tricky situations you should even consider leaving out the attack on the Mana Wyrm
- Consider the plays of the current meta decks when playing your Counterspell. The details are explained in the separate class guides below
The Plays against...
These days you will be mostly facing two types of Mages: Burn Mages (or variations such as Discover, Günther and so forth) or Secret Mages (such as the one by Dan here).
This deck aims at getting damage on the board quickly (Mana Wyrm + cheap spells from a Babbling Book).
- Keep the board clear until their deck runs out of steam (both Kabal Crystal Runner down)
- Save Alexstrasza for yourself, often you'll be close to death by turn 6 or 7 and Alex will keep us alive even after both Ice Block are gone
- If you are on The Coin, keep it to play around Counterspell and even Mana Bind. (Yes it will help them to get another damage on their Mana Wyrm, but losing a Primordial Glyph or even a Frostbolt is worse.)
As for most other aggressive opponents the chances are more depending on your draws rather than on your general abilities. If you just draw trash out of your discovers and don't draw enough removal from your deck you'll probably lose.
This is our mirror match-up. For me it's the most enjoyable one, because it matters more than in any other matchup to keep track of your opponents cards. It will often come down to who plays the Firelands Portal first, because the other one will most likely be able to remove it with his version of the spell.
- Try to get damage on the board as early as possible while keeping your opponent's side clear (small pings will add up to the decision on whom he/you will have to use their Alex)
- Try to play around Counterspell, especially to save your Ice Block, because most of the time these will be the two turns that matter
- Save your Eater of Secrets, this is your key to finish in like 75% of the time (this percentage is completely made up, but it's important to note!!!)
Also for the warriors we will run into two archetypes: Pirates and Quest/Taunt Warriors.
We always mulligan for the aggro matchup, because it's more likely to win against a taunter with an anti-aggro hand than vice-versa.
This deck aims at throwing everything in your face as fast as possible. If you make it until round 6 and have over 10 health left you can consider yourself safe.
- Remove minions early with your ping, but don't use your Volcanic Potion too early. Eventually you can freeze a Frothing Berserker and stall the potion until round 4-5 or Ping-Potion a Bloodsail Raider.
- Do not hesitate to throw Medivh's Valet on the board just for stats.
- If you have time to use a Primordial Glyph try to find Blizzard, Flamestrike or just a Frost Nova
- If his board is clear post round 5, you are low-health and you have a chance to freeze his face, do so. Be aware of his outs with a weapon + Heroic Strike, Mortal Strike, and Leeroy Jenkins. Sometimes an Ice Barrier might be a better pick than a Pyroblast
Most players will have figured it out by now, but the main goal of TW in this matchup is to armor up as much as possible throughout the game, since Alexstrasza reduces health to 15, but does not remove the armor.
- Opposing pirate warrior the taunter is not going to blast your face away within one turn. Play smart so you have enough firepower left to reduce him from Alex to 0.
- Having their side of the board full turn 10 with double Ice Block and Alex available, but them not having armor is just fine for us.
- Remove all taunters with spells and/or smart trades and,
- use your small minions to chip away on his armor early on.
- Removing his armor without having played Alexstrasza will keep him from playing Sulfuras
- Don't concede if he Dirty Rats your Alex or Medivh out early. Most of the times that move is suicidal for the warrior.
And again two archetypes: aggro/token druids and jade druids.
Same as for warriors: we always mulligan for the aggro matchup, because it's more likely to win against a jade druid with an anti-aggro hand than vice-versa.
Copypasta from the PW: This deck aims at throwing everything in your face as fast as possible. If you make it until round 6 and have over 10 health left you can consider yourself safe. However compared to pirates there are some main mechanics you need to consider:
- Minions will be buffed, establishing board control early on is more important
- At some point mana will come to life (usually turn 5, 6 or 7)
This leads to the following gameplan:
- Get your minions on the board early on so you can trade since most of their minions will have1-3 health
- Save your Frostbolt for a Vicious Fledgling
- Save your Counterspell until turn 4, after that it's likely that he will play Living Mana or at least has to sacrifice a buff
- Use your Primordial Glyphs to discover AoE removals rather than damage spells. Once your opponent runs out of steam you'll have enough firepower left.
- If you run against too many Token Druids check the section Deck Customization Depending upon current Meta. If you are not experienced in HS this is something you want to learn, because besides practicing one single deck-archetype to perfection it's the second most important thing allowing you to overcome struggles in certain ranks of the ladder.
This is probably one of our worst matchups, because the druid is likely to have enough dmg on the board to trigger our Ice Blocks early on before we can set up for our Alexstrasza combo. Most of the druids also run Earthen Scales which gives them an extra armorbuff somewhere in the lategame (which is why I lose most of the times in this matchup). Our strategy is:
- Clear his early golems with pings and Frostbolt
- Use your minions to chip at his face
- Consider your position and calculate upcoming damage - Is the Jade Behemoth really worth the Fireball?
- Always clear the combo cards Gadgetzan Auctioneer and Fandral Staghelm
- Keep Bloodmage Thalnos for later clears using Flamestrike and don't use him too early to clear 1/1, 2/2 and Jade Spirit
Don't be mad when you lose this one, it's kinda 40/60 for me, mostly due to the scales.
Because I am not facing any (like 1 in 50) elemental shamans I will just keep it with the evolve shaman for now.
The evolve shammy has two win conditions you should be aware of:
- Fill the board with tons of minions and then OTK Bloodlust
- Play Doppelgangster + Evolve to create a solid board and just throw damage in your face
Our gameplan is to keep the board clean under all circumstances until we can get enough damage in his face:
- Important: Shaman will always be able to dodge your Counterspell or Manabind with Jade Lightning or Devolve in order to execute his combo or throw down a Bloodlust
- Keep the board clean (!!!) every single minion will evolve (pun intended) into a heavy chip with Flametongue Totem from turn 2
- Stall the game until you can get enough damage into his face. This shaman usually does not run Jinyu Waterspeaker and relies on a Hot Spring Guardian discovered from one of his Stonehill Defender
- If you run across too many of these shamans please read and execute the tech-substitutions (i.e. extra Volcanic Potion) and Glyph for AoE removals
Currently there are three major archetypes that you face in ladder: Control Paladin, Murladin and Midrange Paladin. Murladin and Midrange Paladin both run a murloc package. In case the number of murlocs increases just have a look at the tech section and tech against aggro.
I feel that Paladin is the class that has the highest variability within the decks, but there are some general tips that count across all of them:
- Keep the board clear early on (buffed murlocs are dangerous)
- Keep a Polymorph (discovered or teched in) until turn 8 to deal with Tirion Fordring or Ragnaros, Lightlord, be aware that your opponent has a high chance of discovering a second Tirion
- Same goes for Potion of Polymorph if discovered - like wine it get's better over time ;)
- Don't waste the Ooze (if teched in) against Tirion the combo Ping, Fireball, Gluttonous Ooze might be an out
- Try not to run out of burn for the lategame. Most decks run Lay on Hands, Forbidden Healing or Ivory Knight so they can usually bump their health up again after Alextrasza
- Do not waste a Counterspell on a secret (!!!), the spells that you want to counter will usually be played on or after turn 6 (Spikeridged Steed, Getaway Kodo with Tirion or Sunkeeper, Lay on Hands, Forbidden Healing
- In this matchup it's important to calculate your outs and read up the current netdecks when using discoveries (Primordial Glyph, Kabal Courier). My biggest win was discovering a Kazakus and sheeping everything that the control pally brought back with N'Zoth, the Corruptor
I will continue with writeups depending on what the next season surfaces as strong metas.
Introduction of a similar style mage from Tempostorm with many valuable tips:
Showcase for this exact deck by Kadak (thx!!)
My other decks
If you are tired of playing control mage or face too many quest warriors: give the other priest deck I posted a try!