- David is on the show this week
- Topic: The Secret Mage deck
- Reasons to be happy this week
What is a Deck Challenge?
This is a new episode type we started cycling in last month. Basically, guest hosts bring on their favorite deck onto the show, and break it down for you, telling you what cards they put in it, how it works, and why they like playing it.
Then, they put their decks to the test and do battle against me in a best-of-3-series, live on the show. Each time, I’m going to be using the current Reigning Champion Deck of the show — the last deck a guest host brought onto this show and won with.
Right now, Dan’s Hunter Beastmaster deck is the reigning deck. So I’ll be using it!
And, of course, David has put together a full deck list for his deck, along with some great commentary for the deck that he’s going to be playing today — so you can recreate that one too.
- The Secret Mage: Load your deck up with Secrets and creatures that play off of Secrets well to disrupt your opponents plans.
- How it wins: A lot of the Secrets excel at keeping your big threats safe from removal, letting you invest into big creatures late-game that are almost guaranteed to live long enough to punch face. Disrupt the opponent’s plans and keep them constantly second-guessing with Secrets to delay until then.
Five Key Cards
- Counterspell: Always useful, great at protecting your minions.
- Spellbender: Solid as a defense, like Counterspell, and will occasionally steal a huge buff for you.
- Ethereal Arcanist: Perfect in this deck, where it can potentially scale out of control very quickly.
- Kirin Tor Mage: Perfect turn 3 drop. Get a big creature and a secret for free!
- Any legendary minion: The secrets excel at keeping your big threats safe. Any big threat will do.
Full Deck List
You can get more insight into the deck by reading David’s guide, which goes through every single card with full explanation and advice, but here’s the simple deck list with no commentary (ordered by mana cost), if you’d rather just try it out yourself.
- 2x Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2 mana)
- 2x Acolyte of Pain (3)
- 2x Kirin Tor Mage (3)
- 2x Ethereal Arcanist (4)
- 2x Water Elemental (4)
- 2x Azure Drake (5)
- 1x Ragnaros (8)
- 2x Frostbolt (2 mana)
- 2x Counterspell (3)
- 2x Mirror Entity (3)
- 2x Spellbender (3)
- 2x Fireball (4)
- 2x Polymorph (4)
- 2x Blizzard (5)
- 2x Flamestrike (7)
- 1x Pyroblast (8)
The deck list is pretty tight for The Secret Mage deck, but there are some alterations you can make if you are missing some cards.
- 1x Archmage Antonidas (7 mana)
- 2x Vaporize (3)
- 2x Ice Barrier (3)
- 2x Arcane Intellect (3)
- 2x Secretkeeper (1)
- 1x Bloodmage Thalnos (2)
- 2x Novice Engineer (2)
- 2x Gnomish Inventor (4)
The Defending Champion Deck
Dan’s Hunter Beastmaster Deck, which relies on lots of Beast minions and solid removal spells to rush the opponent down.
The Beastmaster Deck has reigned supreme for 1 month, beating 1 other deck before this episode.
- Who won
- Obligatory bragging session
- Challenger Deck: How well did it perform?
- Defending Deck: How well did it perform?
- Best moments in the matches
- The Happy Hearthstone Champion Ceremony(tm)
- Question: Must-pick Arena neutral minions Nathan Montgomery
- iTunes Review: Mjb222, Dan Streelman
Card of the Week
Song by Chris Briggs
- Follow David on Twitter
- Watch his videos!
- What you want to see in future episodes
- What hosts you want to visit the show
- Extended version of my interview with the Hearthstone devs at BlizzCon
The Secret Mage
To put it simply: this deck is a very fun to play. If you miss that “sneakiness” from Magic the Gathering, this might be the deck for you. There are secrets galore, and they protect you and your minions until you can unleash the Mage’s fury! This deck was inspired from one of the top decks from a tournament I watched a few weeks ago. It is almost the same as that deck, with a few modifications of my own. I always wanted to get The Secret Mage deck to work, and now that I’ve finally collected the proper cards, I was able to make this a reality.
Let’s get straight into the cards I used in my deck for the mighty showdown with Josh. You can find a completely plain deck list on the podcast episode. Here, I’ll provide additional commentary where I feel it’s helpful or necessary.
This is a simple card that accomplishes two things: reducing the cost of your secrets, and being a solid early drop. It’s a nice 3/2 body so don’t be afraid to drop this early.
This guy is pretty standard in most Mage decks – he gives you nice card draw. Especially if you can play him on turn 5 and he draws you two cards (ping him with your Mage Power and the opponent attacks him on the following turn).
Another obvious pick if you’re running with lots of secrets. This minion will allow you to play a Counterspell or Spellbender immediately after to protect it (assuming the opponent’s board is clear).
Another essential minion for the deck. His role is to get some nice mid-game damage on your opponent. The ideal situation: you play a Kirin Tor Mage on Turn 3, followed by a free Spellbender or Counterspell. If your opponent does not trigger the Spellbender on their turn, you now have a nice 5/5 for 4 to cast on your turn that is now protected by the Spellbender/Counterspell.
This minion is nice because he gives you some control with his freeze ability, as well as being a 4 drop with great stats to back it up. He will get you to the late game if he isn’t immediately removed. He is also really nice against weapon decks (mainly Warrior decks).
2x Azure Drake
The Azure Drake is a neutral minion that finds it’s way into almost any deck that wants +Spell Damage. Usually a 2 for 1 in your favor, he makes your spells stronger and is a nice 4/4 body to boot. Not much else to say here!
Ragnaros is your token “I end the game with this card” legendary. A Ragnaros on the board with a Spellbender lurking in the background to protect him is how you win games. It should be noted that Antonidas is a better replacement if you have it, but really, any strong end-game legendary will do.
Basic removal at a nice cost. Also has the added benefit of control, as well as the ability to chuck it at your opponents face.
One of the essential secrets for the deck. You need this card to protect your minions as well as take advantage of its secrecy (triggering Ethereal Arcanist).
Another secret to fit the deck strategy. Hopefully you get a nice minion out of it as well if your opponent thinks its a Counterspell or something.
Same idea as Counterspell. More of the same thing here, and a really nice card to protect your minions.
An auto-include in any Mage deck. Removal or to the face, whichever the situation calls for.
Removal is essential to have in almost any deck. Polymorph will help you answer any threat with ease.
Every deck needs AoE (Area of Effect) spells to help clear the board. Luckily the Mage has access to quite a few choices. Blizzard doesn’t do as much damage as, say, Flamestrike, but it will slow the opponent’s minions down for an entire turn. The fact that it is 5 mana makes it pretty strong for what you are getting out of it.
Like I mentioned above with Blizzard, AoE is important. It can help you catch up if you fall behind, or can allow you to keep board control if your opponents drops a lot of minions on his turn. Flamestrike is one of the strongest AoEs in the game, and it will take care of many many minions.
Last, but absolutely not least, PYROBLAST! The most infamous of Mage finishers, Pyroblast comes out of left field and is absolutely devastating to your opponent. A third of your opponent’s life total for 8 mana in one card is nothing to slouch at. If you have dust and you intend on playing the Mage as a class, this should be one of your first goals to craft. Only 1 is needed here because you don’t want to draw it too early, and you certainly don’t want both in your early starting cards. Honestly 1 Pyroblast is usually enough.
Like I mentioned earlier, the deck list is pretty specific because the deck revolves around playing secrets and the cards that are affected by them. That being said, there are a few cards you can swap in until you get the stuff you need.
If you have him, he should take the place of Ragnaros. He is the main Legendary you want for this deck. One of the biggest weakness of Antonidas is the fact that he immediately gets removed. This becomes less of an issue when you back him up with a secret which you cannot do with Ragnaros (on the same turn).
Vaporize isn’t as strong as the other secrets, but if you have Vaporize it can take the place of the secrets you are missing.
2x Ice Barrier
Same as the above-mentioned Vaporize. This is considered the weakest of the Mage secrets, mostly because it does not give you board control or tempo.
Arcane Intellect is a nice filler if you’re missing cards. If you don’t have everything you need, this will let you draw what you DO have faster. Also combos nicely with Sorcerer’s Apprenctice.
I’m not a fan of this card in this particular deck for one reason: you don’t want to be playing her early because she gets targeted down immediately, and she isn’t terribly amazing late-game either. You need to drop her and at least 2 secrets on the same turn to get her out of the dangerous “3 health” range. Still, there is obvious synergy with this card, so if you are in need of fillers and you have her in your collection, toss her into your deck.
Thalnos is one of my favorite Legendaries. He is like Azure Drake, being useful in any Spell Damage deck. He isn’t quite as needed here, but can make a great addition if you happen to own him.
The “play this and draw a card” minions are great fillers. The Novice Engineers and Gnomish Inventors are great when you are only missing a few cards to make your deck complete.
See ‘Novice Engineer’ above.
The Secret Mage deck is not the most guaranteed-competitive deck out there, but it really is enjoyable to play. And it can totally hold its own if you have the right cards!