Hey guys, so I am a player who returned to hearthstone this expansion and have been enjoying the standard meta a LOT. Earlier I was mostly focused on Arena but since that game mode seems to be dead I decided to really learn how to play standard (watched few vods, researched different stats etc). I know its not a big deal hitting legend but the first time always feels nice. I went from D5 to dumpster legend on Asia Server with a 73% win rate over 15 games (11-4) with the following list:
# Class: Mage
# Format: Standard
# Year of the Gryphon
# 2x (1) Brain Freeze
# 2x (1) Devolving Missiles
# 2x (1) Font of Power
# 2x (1) Primordial Studies
# 2x (2) Cram Session
# 2x (2) Incanter's Flow
# 2x (2) Runed Orb
# 2x (3) Arcane Intellect
# 2x (3) Combustion
# 1x (3) Ice Barrier
# 2x (3) Netherwind Portal
# 2x (4) Fireball
# 2x (4) Refreshing Spring Water
# 2x (4) Ring Toss
# 2x (5) Apexis Blast
# 1x (10) C'Thun, the Shattered
# To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone
Legend Proof: https://imgur.com/mUxbtNI
The meta in Asia is full of Aggro Hunter, Aggro Paladin, Secret Paladin, Control Priest and Handbuff Warrior. So my version of the deck is catered to counter that. I found a lot of times that Mask of C'thun was just not good enough as a card since it costs 7 or 6 or 5 depending on how many times you have used incantors flow. Moreover, since we already have C'thun in the deck there is really no need for any extra face damage. The idea was to make the deck as consistent as possible against aggro decks since the deck if piloted properly will almost always beat Control Decks because you can dictate the pace of the game. So we use a bunch of cheap spells that either generate tempo (Apexis, Devolving, Brain Freeze, Combustion, Netherwind) , value (Font of Power, Cram Session, Arcane Intellect, Refreshing Spring water) or help us survive (Ice Barrier). So we play cheap spells and a bunch of card draw since we have 35 cards in our turn so 2 cram sessions become neccessary.
Hence, this deck runs 2 copies of Netherwind Portal – Ogremancer is nuts in this meta, since we cant play Ogremance we play the secret version of the card which does a similar thing. It almost always pops on the following turn because of the prevelance of cheap spells in the meta (libram, hand of adal, secrets, scavangers, wound prey, renew, flash heal etc). This card is almost always your best turn 3 play in terms of tempo. Against aggro decks it slows them down since they have to deal with the minion and against control decks you use this before a tempo turn. So for example, if you have coin you can go neteherwind portal into Apexis Blast. Apexis blast is usually enough to get the tempo back even if your behind and if its backed with a netherwind portal it means that even if your 5 drop is removed you get a random 4 drop. Just a little sidenote, there were few times when i got the 5/10 taunt from netherwind portal and most of the times the game just ends there. Overall as well on average, the 4 drop pool is very good.
Then, we have 1 copy of Ice Barrier. The logic behind this is also similar to that of running netherwind portal. There are several weapons being used right now (Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, even Warlock Jaraxxus 3/8). Since we can't run Acidic Swamp Ooze, Ice barrier is the next best thing. Actually, in a lot of situations Ice Barrier is way better than ooze and there have been several times when it has won me games against Hunter, Paladin and Warrior. I know that 3 mana gain 8 is not great, but for a class that does not have any heals whatsoever, the card is pretty good. Its generally better to get it off Ring Toss since you can pick a tempo secret in combination with it. Hence, we run 1 copy of it.
Combustion is a must if you want to play no-minion mage. Cone of cold doesnt do enough damage and flamestrike comes down way too late for it to matter. Also remember, the main objective is to be flexible with turns (use mana efficiently for tempo) while generating value and drawing through your deck. So you need cheap removal and cheap cycle.
Then we got 2 copies of Ring Toss which can only be activated by apexis blast and c'thun pieces. The only times this becomes an issue is when you use incantors flow with ring toss already in hand since it will make all 5 cost spells in your deck cost 4 and ring toss cant be corrupted. This has pretty much never happened to me but it is a possbility. With the secrets that you already run you, you can be more sure of what you will get with ring toss. This is great for a few reasons. You can get more copies of Ice Barrier against aggro/face/weapon decks. You can get extra copies of netherwind portals for tempo. The way to choose the secrets always depends on the situation of the game but generally there is an optimal secret for facing every type:
- Rigged Fair Game vs Control if your hand is not already too full and you know it will trigger next turn
- Counterspell in the mid-late game when opponent does not have coin and you know removal is coming (Twisting Nether, Soul Mirror, Hysteria) the thing is that usually netherwind is just a better counterspell since there are too many cheap spells in the meta.
- Mirror Entity in the mid-late game when your opponent doesn't have many cards left in hand and hence, is forced to play whatever minion they have. For example, going into the late game if priest uses draconic studies, or can be used against a handbuff warrior before their turn 8 (Troublemaker) or against Control Warrior before their turn 9 (Rattlegore). Mostly, it is just like counterspell as it is very situational.
- Oasis Ally is the one secret that should be prioritised if you have minions in play or if your opponent relies on using his minions/weapon to clear your minions. In my experience, almost everyone hates Water Elemental and tries to take it off the board right away granted most of them were Paladin, Hunters and Warriors.
- If you are unsure of what to pick you can never go wrong with Netherwind Portal in this meta.
- Wildfire – No reason for you to spend mana using hero power in a deck that wants to utilise man as efficiently as possible.
- Flamestrike – Too Expensive (mana)
- Mask of C'thun – Too Expensive (mana)
- Deck of Lunancy – Always hated this card 😛
- Coining out Incantors Flow – This never made sense to me. Coin is not just 1 extra mana but you have to find that extra mana to swing the board back in your favour in order to win the game. So coining out Incantors flow makes no sense since it is a card that only helps you out in the future.
- Keeping Incantors Flow/Font of Power vs aggro matchups. You should never do this. Yes Font of Power is one the synergy cards in this deck but playing a random mage minion every turn does not help you in the slightest unless you get lucky and get all cheap minions. Same with incantors flow. Lets say the game lasts for 7-8 turns. You have only reduced the cost of 7 spells and that too you can never be sure that you get to play all of them. So the only keeps against aggro should be Portal, Brain Freeze, Devolving, Combustion, Neterhwind, Ice Barrier, Apexis. One exception to keeping font of power on turn 1 is when you are going first and have the initiative becuase then IF you get cheap minions and play them the opponent aggro deck has to waste time removing them.
- Playing for Value – The Deck already has an insane amount of value and resource generation. So play out all your tempo cards first. For example, if you have the choice between playing Netherwind Portal on 3 and Arcane Intellect, almost 90% of the cases it is right to play the Netherwind Portal for free.
- Keeping Cram Session/Arcane Intellect in Mulligan – Never do this. Like i said the deck already has a lot of resource generation. The only value card you can keep is Refreshign Spring Water because it draws 2 cards for 0 mana and makes your turn better as you have more options.
- A lot of times people dont pick Astromancer Solarian from cram session because it puts a prime in your deck which negates your apexis and font of power. However, Prime is one of the best cards in the GAME. You should still pick it from primordial studies but not play it until you have used both Apexis blast. Font of power is only a consideration against Control decks so there is no issue there. Similar story with C'thun – after you use all pieces it will go in your deck as a minion but usually this is late enought that you have used both Apexis blasts and Font of Power.
- Against Priest, the only way they win is using Illucia to steal one of your C'thun pieces. So just use all C'thun pieces as soon as you draw them even if they are not your best play. Since you should be dicatating the pace of the game against PRiest this should be pretty easy to handle.
Anyway guys, this is my first long write-up so please let me know what I could improve on. I am trying to figure out how to upload the matchup spread from HS Deck tracker. If anyone knows, please let me know.
- Why I think Tickatus is too restrictive for deck designing (and needs a rework eventually)
- No-minion mage is pretty good: a small guide for standard.
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