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30 - 5 to Rank 3 Secret Mage (85% winrate, smal...

  • Last updated Dec 16, 2017 (Kobolds Patch)
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  • 14 Minions
  • 15 Spells
  • 1 Weapon
  • Deck Type: Ranked Deck
  • Deck Archetype: Secret Mage
  • Crafting Cost: 4080
  • Dust Needed: Loading Collection
  • Created: 12/11/2017 (Kobolds Patch)
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I'm currently 24 - 4 and at rank 4 with this deck. The deck will be tweaked as we try out new cards and climb the ladder. Send me those upvotes so I know you like this kind of deck writeup! Video part 3 with more tweaked list gameplay coming soon! 

Deck Overview

As we all know, Explosive Runes is a super powerful secret in the current meta, and it enables Secret Mage as a viable archetype.  It's the first minion-based Mage secret that makes it difficult for opponents to play around. For example, compare Mirror Entity and Frozen Clone.  You play against these two cards the same -- play your smallest minion first.  There's nothing interesting there, gameplay wise -- both cards are countered in the same way.  However, if you aren't sure if your opponent has Mirror Entity or Explosive Runes, you are at a bit of a quandry. Do you play your Fire Fly and risk taking 4 to the face, or do you play your Despicable Dreadlord and risk it dying? Early game, sure, you take the 4, but late game?  If your health is already low, you might not be able to afford the extra damage to the face.  And if it does turn out to be Mirror Entity, well, then they just got a beefy body for free. 

Because this card is so interesting, I decided to go to hsreplay.net and find the most popular deck running it, which is presented to you here, unaltered. It has a 58% global winrate as of the writing of this article, and I'm currently 9-1 with it on ladder between rank 5 and rank 10.  It contains only 1 legendary and 2 epics, making it a great budget-minded deck.  This deck is also an oddity in that it contains zero neutral cards -- All Mage all the time, baby! 

The basic gameplan is to use Kabal Lackey [/card]and [card]Kirin Tor Mage to power out free secrets. You use Arcanologist to fish secrets from your deck, and Medivh's Valet and Kabal Crystal Runner.  You then have all around good cards like Mana Wyrm, Primordial Glyph, Arcane Intellect and Sorceror's Apprentice, along with removal / face damage in Frostbolt, Fireball and Firelands Portal. To top it off, Aluneth refills your hand over and over. 

Deck Tweaks

Original section kept for posterity: After playing with the deck quite a bit, I think the deck as presented is very strong for climbing the ladder, but I consider these cards to be a bit weak in the deck and they could be replaced to meet your specific needs: Kabal LackeyMirror Entity, Ethereal Arcanist.  All of the cards are situationally powerful, but also situationally weak.  The Lackey is great in the first few turns, especially when combined with Medivh's Valet, but he feels bad to topdeck turn 10.  Same with the Arcanist - if you have a secret that sticks around for a turn or two, he can become a 5/5 or 7/7 easily. Otherwise, he is a 4 mana 3/3 which feels bad man. Finally, the Mirror Entity is amazing against certain decks (Dragon Priest, Demonlock, Big (insert class here)) and garbage against others (Spell Hunter, anything that runs Fire Fly).

This gives us 4-5 slots to play with.  I think you can take one of the following approaches:

1: Go more aggro.  Take out the Arcanist and 1x Mirror. Slot in 2x Bittertide Hydra.

2: Go more midrange: Take out the Lackeys, 1-2 Mirror, Arcanist. Slot in some combination of Firelands Portal, The Lich King, Archmage Antonidas, Cobalt Scalebane, Bonemare, Corridor Creeper. Based on initial testing, I think Antonidas is not a good choice for the current meta, but it could bear more experimenting before writing him off entirely, especially since the meta is still being defined. I have had good luck with Cobalt Scalebane (though his importance lessens if there aren't many Dragonfire Potions around), and I have seen mages on ladder rocking the Hydras to good success. 

3: Get tricky with your secrets. Mirror Entity and Explosive Runes are both 100% dead against Spell Hunter. Depending on how much of that deck shows up, you can try slotting in Spellbender and Mana Bind instead. One benefit of those cards being dead against Spell Hunter, however, is that your Medivh's Valets and Ethereal Arcanist are 'always on' once you play one of them.

4: This is what we actually did: Take out 2x Mirror Entity and 1x Ethereal Arcanist and put in 2x Firelands Portal and 1x Ice Block. I was unsure about the Ice Block, but people on Hearthpwn convinced me to try it out, and so far I like it well enough.  The deck was an easy win streak from rank 8 to rank 5 after these changes.  I could be convinced that the Ice Block should be swapped out for something else, though.

Mulligan Guide

Quick and dirty mulligan guide - you are always looking for Mana Wyrm [/card]and [card]Arcanologist. If you have a secret that is good against your opponent, keep it, and keep an enabler if you have it as well (Lackey, Kirin Tor). Always ship back Mirror Entity and Explosive Runes vs Hunter unless you are sure they have minions.  Always send back Aluneth (unless you are 100% sure you are facing control, so maybe vs Warrior?), Fireball, Firelands Portal, Ice Block, Kabal Crystal Runner