The Secret Mage Deck - Episode 22

November 19, 2013


  • 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 Deck

  • 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.

Hearthstone Secrets Spellbender

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.




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.

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.

The Duel!

David’s perspective

Post-Duel Commentary

  • 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
Hearthstone Frothing Berserker




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.

2x Sorcerer’s Apprectice

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.

2x Acolyte of Pain

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).

2x Kirin Tor Mage

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).

2x Ethereal Arcanist

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.

2x Water Elemental

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!

1x Ragnaros

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.

2x Frostbolt

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.

2x Counterspell

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).

2x Mirror Entity

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.

2x Spellbender

Same idea as Counterspell. More of the same thing here, and a really nice card to protect your minions.

2x Fireball

An auto-include in any Mage deck. Removal or to the face, whichever the situation calls for.

2x Polymorph

Removal is essential to have in almost any deck. Polymorph will help you answer any threat with ease.

2x Blizzard

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.

2x Flamestrike

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.

1x Pyroblast

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.

Hearthstone Secrets Trader

Possible Additions

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.

1x Archmage Antonidas

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).

2x Vaporize

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.

2x Arcane Intellect

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.

2x Secretkeeper

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.

1x Bloodmage Thalnos

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.

2x Novice Engineer

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.

2x Gnomish Inventor

See ‘Novice Engineer’ above.

Final Thoughts

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!

How to Win Arena with Warlock, Mage, Priest, and Druid - Episode 21

November 6, 2013


  • Adam is on the show this week
  • Topic: The best cards for each class in Arena
  • Reasons to be happy this week

How Arena Works

  • Quick recap: picking a hero and cards
  • Goal for this week: help you make the best card choices while playing Arena
  • Includes neutral minions as well

The Best Druid Cards for Arena

Basic strategy: Take out early threats and survive to the late game, where you rule the board with massive creatures and big spells.

Will almost always kill one big threat and take a few small threats with it as a bonus. You can target the hero too, for some finishing damage. Get some +Spell Damage and it’s the best damage spell in the game.

Ironbark Protector
Nice and simple. This big guy is always a great play, and a strong stalemate-breaker.

It’s expensive, but it replaces itself while usually removing their biggest threat on the board. Even better in late-game when both sides are top-decking.

Raging Worgen / Emperor Cobra
This is a tie. I know that’s not fair, but these two neutral minions epitomize the two types of minions you want to get. Because of the Druid’s strong buffs that add damage, health, charge, and/or taunt — pets that are potent but fragile are key. Minions with strong windfury effects like Raging Worgen get insane offense potential after you buff their health. And minions with powerful combat procs like Emperor Cobra get insane defensive potential once you buff them with health and Taunt. In short: Druid has plenty of plain minions. Look for minions with high upside in the neutral pool.

The Best Mage Cards for Arena

Basic strategy: Use your hero power to gain board control and card advantage. Last until the late game, and use your spells to take you home.

I’ve never won a game when my opponent has played this card. Period. I have yet to feel the glory of using it. As a side note, this is a card worth crafting and needs to be in every Mage deck. It just wins games.

With all of the +1 to spell damage mage has, this card rarely does only 2 damage. Even on it’s own, doing 2 damage and freezing all minions then you get to use your hero power to finish a creature off and use your attack to clear anything else up.

I call this card lolymorph because that’s what you’re doing when your opponent goes all in on their 20/20 or 8/8+. You’ll snap play lolymorph so fast the only thing you have to worry about is missclicking.

Play this card at the right time (especially if you have some +1 to spell damage going) and you take complete control of the game. Play this card at the wrong time and you still will probably take control of the board at the very least.

The Best Warlock Cards for Arena

Basic strategy: I like Warlocks because they have some of the most efficient removal spells and beater minions in the entire game. I also love that they don’t need fancy tricks or combos. Just get removal, get big dudes, and rely on your hero power to ensure that you always have both in your hand.

This is not for the weak of heart, but for those brave enough to toss their own minions into the flames, this is top-tier premium removal. It’s a great trick to crawl out of a losing board state. You have a big advantage because you know it’s coming. Smash your minions into their biggest ones to weaken them, and then nuke everything with Hellfire.

Shadow Bolt
This may be the best single-target removal spell in the game. It’s so cheap for 4 damage to a minion. It stops any dangerous mid-game aggression instantly. Even against their biggest threats late-game, you can usually combo it with a small minion to take it out.

Blood Imp
This one’s a new addition for me, but it’s opened up an entirely new strategy. If you get a few of these, you can spam high-attack, low health minions like the Murloc Tidehunter or the Reckless Rocketeer. Those cards are risky because they’re fragile, but with Blood Imps, suddenly you have the best of both worlds. It doesn’t play well with Hellfire, though — you need to choose one strator the other, not both.

Mortal Coil
This card is my early-game insurance. There are several classes that just need to get a 1/1 on the board that they can buff to dish out some real hurt. This ensures that you can slow down their aggression, without losing card advantage. Card advantage is basically the ability to keep more cards in your hand than your opponent has — certain types of spells or minions really help this, such as the Acolyte of Pain that draws card every time he’s damaged. Mortal Coil is so good because it can remove a card from your enemy’s and replace itself in your hand — which means you just earned 1 card-advantage.

The Best Priest Cards for Arena

Basic strategy: Keep your creatures alive with your hero power while maintaining board control with your spells. Basically lean on them slowly, eventually they will tumble.

Not only do you get one of their creatures, you gain information. Arena is all about information and since you only get to play that opponent 1 time, learning about what they have in their deck is always a good thing. Plus if you hit a fatty this card could just help you win the game.

Holy Fire
Priest games are usually longer drawn out games and you’ll find yourself coming down to the wire in a lot of cases. This card has a lot of utility because you can use it to take out a big threat while giving yourself that extra hp, or you can use it on the hero and create a 10hp swing.

Northshire Cleric
This card (when properly protected) just wins games. One of the biggest things in any card game is card advantage. Even if you only draw 2 cards from this and they had to use 2 cards to get rid of it you’ve created a 3 card swing into your favor which is huge. Keep it alive for longer and get 4+ cards off of it, you pretty much sealed yourself a victory.

Mind Control
If your opponent plays mind control on you and you still win the game, give yourself a round of victory beers because you played exceptionally well to do that. If YOU play this card and still somehow lose, you should feel bad and stop playing for the rest of the day.

Honorable Mention: Holy Nova
It ain’t no flamestrike but its aoe board clear and it can swing the tides of battle.


  • Question from Derrick: Best way to spend gold?
  • iTunes Review: no review this week!

Card of the Week

Song by AndyMC
Hearthstone Soul of the Forest