Secrets of the Kirin Tor - A Custom Hearthstone (Mage) Expansion
Over the past two years, I've made custom class expansions for five other classes: Warlock, Shaman, Warrior, Paladin, and Rogue. My first expansion was Warlock, and by some measure was my most successful one. In each expansion I've tried to come up with new mechanics and keywords to make the custom cards seem 'fresh' and exciting. This is my sixth class expansion, and the most ambitious, containing almost 100 cards— 32 commons, 32 rares, 16 epics, and 16 legendaries. The themes explored in this expansion are I believe the direction that Mage should go.
Turns & Time
Cards like Time Warp, recently released in the Un'Goro set, show how the Mage class could have time-related abilities in Hearthstone. In SotKT (henceforth SKT), that's taken one step further with turn manipulation and the introduction of a new keyword: Chronoshift. The first time you play a card with Chronoshift, it will do what it says but Chronoshift won't activate— but the second time, and every time after that, it will!
Mirrors and Armor
Spells like Mirror Image and minions like Ghastly Conjurer, as well as the expansion of the taunt theme from Warrior to Druid, gave me the idea that mage could also get a taunt theme, with lower-attack higher health taunt cards. This theme also gives the chance for more armor-granting cards, like Ice Barrier.
Magical Orbs might be weak on their own, as 0 mana 0/2 minions, but when generated can be handy as an extra ping, damage increase, or delay! In a pinch... even a win condition!
Freeze! Stopping your enemies in their tracks
Traditional Freeze mages use their spells and freeze effects to stall out the game and outlast their opponent. With cards like Ice Giant, a new kind of Freeze mage can exist, combining tempo and burn with halting attacks like Frost Missiles, and closing out with big finishers.
BURN! Bursting down your opponent
With the direct damage spells we see in Hearthstone currently, like Fireball and Firelands Portal, we see there isn't an emphasis on synergies with things like spell damage. Instead, those spells focus on direct damage and utility. With spells like Ignite and Flame On, Spell Damage and direct damage become more closely related and encourage value plays. Also takes care of those pesky Sunwalkers in Arena!
Mastering the Arcane, Spell Damage and all
With expensive spells that take advantage of Spell Damage, it might be necessary to fill your deck with as much spell damage as you can reasonably argue for. Cards like Nether Tempest are weak without Spell Damage, but in the right hands can out-value your opponent very quickly. Cards like Arcanomancer can make set-ups for huge burst damage easier, especially when paired up with Brann Bronzebeard in wild. Finally, a more flexible Malygos in Kalecgos can set up soft-taunt, especially when you can reliably pair these two up for consistency!
The Secretive Kirin Tor
Mages have many secrets— and in this expansion, they have a few more. Some of them are unique, but some of them act a bit like Potion of Polymorph— 4 mana spells translated into 3 mana secrets. Cooling Presence is a translation of Cone of Cold, and Whispers of Medivh is a translation of Echo of Medivh! Meanwhile, Mysterious Spelleater has interesting interactions in a secret-based deck that will allow you to play around the disadvantage you're giving yourself.
Three choices are always available. You get two discovers with the 1 and 3 cost spells, and 3 effects with the 5-cost spell. The first choice in the three available after picking the cost from the first card is the 1-Cost choice. For example, crafting a 3-cost spell could end up with "Deal 2 damage. Add a random Mage spell to your hand." And a 5-Cost spell could be "Deal 3 damage. Gain 7 Armor. Freeze three random enemies." After you've made the spell it's combined with a random spell that costs 5 or less in your hand. If you don't have a spell in your hand the battlecry won't activate.
Three choices that are always available. Choosing one will change the battlefield to one of these scenes with a slight visual effect while it is active. Once the effect wears off, the battlefield reverts to what it originally was.
This deck is meant to bring together synergies from different parts of the expansion, particularly Freeze and direct damage. Mana Wyrm in the early game, Kindling against early game flood, classic Frost Nova + Doomsayer, and eventually bringing together your pressure with card generation.
The goal of this deck is to run the game in a control-style, using cards like Cabalist's Tome and Babbling Book to refill on damage-dealing spells. Mulligan for Arcanologist, Babbling Book and Tar Creeper, and try to stay stable in the early game. Primordial Glyph for a quick Flamestrike or Volcanic Potion board clear. You want to try and hold on to cards like Pyroblast and Water Jet. You might want to go for a 10-cost damage-dealing Kazakus potion. Ideally you want to hold on to all of these spells and then play out Korialstrasz to set up two-turn 30 damage as a combo. Inkmaster Solia can help you out if you need total hard removal on something and don't have the mana to do it.
Winning in this deck involves using your own secrets as a win condition, using Mysterious Spelleater and Eater of Secrets as a 9-mana 8/8 and 3/5, with added value if the secrets you're sacrificing were generated by Mysterotron 3000. You could also tech in Kezan Mystic to take back your secrets once you've played Mysterious Spelleater. Eventually you can play out Aethas Sunreaver, activate his deathrattle and then play Korialstrasz for a neat 3TK.
Winning with this deck involves stalling with Taunts and Armor, holding out in the early game against harsh aggro. Tech in a Gluttonous Ooze or two against weapon-heavy decks (replacing a Prismatist or a Primordial Glob), and finish it off by stacking up your board with Hall of Mirrors and Nielas Aran. Aegwynn exists as a sort of 'last resort' card in this deck, as you can activate all three charges on Aluneth with one Crystallomancer.
Your goal with this deck is to mulligan for your Mana Wyrms or even an Arcanic Pet, gaining early-game tempo and board control. Refuel with Arcane Intellect and reorient the game if needs be, using Arcanomancer and Enlightened Arcanist to increase your on-board and in-hand value. Eventually, if you run out of steam, you can use Midnight Guardian as a swing card and Aegwynn as an alternate win condition.
The goal of this deck is to freeze your opponent out of the game, stalling constantly and getting growing value out of your cards as the game progresses, card generation through Frost Baron and Whispers of Medivh can help prolong your deck's value while Nielas Aran and your two Ice Giants provide a nice 2-turn win condition.
The goal of this deck is to draw cards on your opponent's turn, using freeze mechanics and deathrattles. Your win condition is XT-002 Deconstructor, which when drawn on your opponent's turn wins the game. Cards like Ancient Tome and Temporal Shield can be used to redraw if you've already drawn your win condition, and Archmage Celindra and Mishi will help stall out the early game, while Aegwynn provides an alternate win condition.
Given how Mage's hero power could be abused if it had Raza the Chained (Coldarra Drake...) this card acts like Raza, but doesn't have the same power potential, and doesn't have the highlander requirement.
Here's a new card! That's 56 cards remaining now, so the next release will be 12 cards, coming tomorrow!
The idea of this card is similar to Silence, in that it removes all enchantments and card text by transforming the minion. However, it keeps its stats, so that's the drawback. Due to this drawback it gives you some card cycle as well.
I guess it should be 3 damage, but I feel like Ice Lance was HoF'd too soon and this is more conditional than it.
I dunno about Ambitious Burner, because mage spells are quite powerful and Ethereal Conjurer gives a somewhat similar statline.
For Aethas Sunreaver, it's flavour for sure, but I think it's good to have steady pressure and removal each turn, because you can engineer an empty-ish hand to take full advantage of a constant turn-after-turn source of 10 damage.
While it's overcosted for its stats, it brings an unpredictable benefit to you... at an unpredictable time. Flavour Text:"Who created the Mysterotron? We may never know."
Two turn set-up for a 20 damage Pyroblast, or a three turn setup for a 40 damage Pyroblast... Flavour Text:"The dastardly denizens of Dalaran definitely delight in alliteration."
Flavour Text:"You get a missile! And you get a missile! Everybody gets a missile!"
Flavour Text:"This isn't even my final form!"
You need a fair few activators to get this going. Runic Egg, Loot Hoarder, and a hidden Cult Master might enable this combo. Ancient Tome also helps to re-enable the combo if you draw this too early, as you can shuffle it back into your deck. Flavour Text:"Always picked over his younger brother, the CY-991 Reconstructor, which revives the enemy hero."
Pirate tech that makes playing Pirate warrior against a mage a very, very bad idea; and a 10 mana double Flamestrike when combo'd with Frost Nova.
Shambling Ghoul single-handedly hopes to enable the XT-002 Deconstructor's OTK by forcing your opponent to draw you cards unless they can silence it or put enough pressure on you that you have to sacrifice it. Zandalari Icecarver makes spells like Freezing Potion and Breath of Sindragosa, or even Frost Missiles, very good— doubles their value in fact.
Three choices are always available. You get two discovers with the 1 and 3 cost spells, and 3 effects with the 5-cost spell. The first choice in the three available after picking the cost from the first card is the 1-Cost choice. For example, crafting a 3-cost spell could end up with "Deal 2 damage. Add a random Mage spell to your hand." And a 5-Cost spell could be "Deal 3 damage. Gain 7 Armor. Freeze three random enemies." The spell you get is then combined with a random one in your hand, for added confusion.