Mage is the most popular class in Hearthstone right now, and for good reason. The combination of burn and defensive prowess the class offers is highly attractive and often game-winning. There are many variants of Mage decks around, and this time I want to take a look at an aggressive list with some gigantic threats: Apxvoid’s Giants Tempo Mage.
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 this way to be a Mage!
Deck code: AAECAf0EBMABkqwC6awClscCDXG7ApUDqwTmBJYFgbICgrQCo7YC17YC6boCwcECmMQCAA==
The deck is reminiscent of both the Tempo Mage decks of old and the newer Gunther Mage decks. Without Flamewaker, all-in aggression is much more difficult to pull off as a Mage: Secret Mage is the archetype that tries to do that the most. Yet, Mage can be more aggressive than waiting for Medivh and Alexstrasza, two Gunther Mage staples that are missing from this list.
The deck has all the basic Mage tools and burn: Mana Wyrm, Arcanologist, Medivh’s Valet, Primordial Glyph, Frostbolt, Fireball, and Firelands Portal. Most Mage decks run these cards right now.
The differences start to show in the secrets package: two Counterspells and only one Ice Block. This deck is not trying to survive a long time on Ice Blocks, but is taking a more proactive stance. Double Counterspell can often catch people off-guard, as they generally assume only one to be found in a deck other than Secret Mage.
Nonetheless, there are faster decks out there. As a concession to this fact, there are two copies of Volcanic Potion in the deck to wipe out those wide boards and get control.
The deck trusts in the power of random numbers. Two copies of Babbling Book, a Cabalist’s Tome, and Yogg-Saron complete the randomness package. Cabalist’s Tome gives you additional resources to keep the engine running, and once you have played a dozen spells or more, Yogg can really get the party started.
Finally, what would Giants Mage be without the card that gave it its name? Two Arcane Giants are quite fast to get discounted as a Mage, and provide some big threats to help finish the job.
You have a bunch of good early-game minions to mulligan for: Mana Wyrm and Arcanologist are keeps in any matchup, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice can help in matchups where you want to be the aggressor. I also like to keep Babbling Book when going first, as it can contest quite a few minions when it hits the board first. It is not that impressive in the early game when going second though. Medivh’s Valet is another conditional keep, for example with an Arcanologist.
If you expect to start out on the defense, Frostbolt and Volcanic Potion can be good cards to keep. Frostbolt can also be kept with a Mana Wyrm, for example, to help protect it early on.
How to win
There are two main ways to win: rapid aggression from the start or a mid-game tempo swing. Your opening hand and the opponent affect which one of these is a viable strategy. Against slow opponents you are the beatdown and try to hit hard before they stabilize, whereas against aggressive decks you need to take a more defensive approach, clear their board, and swing the game in your favor with the power of Firelands Portals and Arcane Giants. If the opponent has no healing, you can also afford to lose the board and burn them down, but with only one Ice Block in the list, you cannot do it to the same extent as Gunther Mage or Freeze Mage can.
Finally, if the game is otherwise lost, there is always Yogg-Saron. By the time you can use Yogg, you have usually cast enough spells (around 12+) to make it a significant threat. Sometimes it wins games, sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t have to wait until everything is lost to play Yogg: if you sense the tide turning against you, playing Yogg can be the highest percentage play when it does not need to pull off a miracle to win.
Here are some sample gameplay videos that showcase the deck in action!