Discover Mage, Gunther Mage, Burn Mage – no matter how you choose to call it, this archetype has really had an impact on the recent Hearthstone meta. Rdu brought an anti-aggro version of the list to StarLadder finals, and did extremely well with it – despite facing multiple control decks!
In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.
Let’s take a look at why Discover Mage is so successful.
Deck code: AAECAf0ECk1xxQSQB+wHvwiBsgKhtwKwvAKWxwIKwAG7ApUDqwSWBaO2Ate2Aum6AsHBApjEAgA=
This is one of the more defensive Discover Mage builds around: with two copies of Volcanic Potion, it is well-equipped to deal with the board-flooding aggression of Aggro Druid and Token Shaman. Running Counterspell over Ice Barrier, it has a tool to weaken the many buffs those aggressive decks play, as well as prevent a decisive spell from other archetypes.
There is not a whole lot of value in the deck. Medivh is a core card in all Discover Mage builds, but other than that the list does not include any of the big value cards that sometimes make an appearance in decks like this, such as Pyros, Elise the Trailblazer, or Archmage Antonidas.
While the deck has a respectable amount of area-of-effect damage, it is generally better to take the board than to lose it as chip damage from minions is an important aspect of the deck.
Mana Wyrm and Arcanologist are definite keeps in every matchup. Other than that, it gets a bit situational.
- Babbling Book can be a decent keep, especially when going first, as that 1/1 body together with the Mage Hero Power can contest most early-game minions
- Volcanic Potion is a keep against any aggressive decks – it can just be difficult to determine whether the opponent is aggressive or not as most classes have multiple viable archetypes. It is typically better to err on the side of caution and keep the Volcanic Potion against Warriors, for example, even though it is almost useless against Taunt Warrior.
- Frostbolt can be situationally useful to protect your early board or contest, say, an Innervated Vicious Fledgling from an Aggro Druid.
- If you already have some early game in your hand, you can consider keeping cards that are good in the matchup a bit later, such as Harrison Jones against a Warrior (assuming Pirate Warrior).
How to win
Discover Mage has multiple ways to win, and you need to evaluate the situation and the picks available to you from Discover effects to determine the right path to proceed.
The most typical path is to use your spells early on to preserve your minions and deal chip damage with the minions until you are ready to move on to just dealing damage to face later In the game.
With the right cards from random effects, you can also go for a direct burn plan: play it like an aggro deck and count whether you can put a faster clock on your opponent than they can put on you. This one time, for example, I faced a slow Shaman deck with plenty of healing, but I happened to pick up two extra Pyroblasts, so I just burned through all of that before he was able to deal enough damage to me.
Then there is Medivh. Gaining some seven-drops from Atiesh with Flamestrike and Firelands Portal can provide a huge swing and enable you to go for a decisive swing followed by a win with minion damage.
You can also play it more like a Freeze Mage: Alexstrasza your opponent down to 15 and follow that up with some burn from hand while you remain protected by Ice Block.
Here are some sample gameplay videos that showcase the deck in action!