Arcane Keysmith and Minion Mage (Hearthstone The Witchwood card preview)

Hearthstone’s The Witchwood expansion reveals continue and we got to see Arcane Keysmith, a new Mage Epic minion.

In this post, I take an in-depth look at the card and what kind of decks it could fit into.

Arcane Keysmith

Arcane Keysmith is a four-mana 2/2 Mage Epic minion with a Battlecry: Discover a Secret and put it into the battlefield.

That is amazing!

Mage Secrets usually cost three mana, so you’re essentially getting the Secret into play alongside a one-mana 2/2.

There are currently 8 Mage Secrets in Standard:

  • Counterspell
  • Explosive Runes
  • Frozen Clone
  • Ice Barrier
  • Mana Bind
  • Mirror Entity
  • Spellbender
  • Vaporize

With eight Secrets, the probability to Discover a specific one is 37.5% and if you’re happy with, say, three of the secrets, you have 82% to get there. If there will be another Mage Secret in Witchwood, these odds go down to 33.3% and 76% respectively.

In effect, this means that you’re almost always able to pick up a good Secret, making the card at least as good as if the Secret was played randomly from your deck in most situations.

Arcane Keysmith fulfills a line of Mage cards I have yet to review, as the synergies have not been there before, but are now starting to shape up.

Archmage Arugal, Book of Specters, and Bonfire Elemental

Archmage Arugal is a two-mana 2/2 Mage Legendary minion with an on-board effect: Whenever you draw a minion, add a copy of it to your hand.

It is a value card, able to provide the Mage with lots of resources – although the 2/2 body means that it will die very soon after being played and requires some draw support.

Draw support is provided by Book of Specters, a two-mana Mage Epic spell to Draw 3 cards. Discard any spells drawn.

Arugal and the Book can be played together for mere four mana, making them a viable choice for many decks, even more midrange ones instead of just slow control decks.

This does not mean that the deck would have no spells whatsoever, but the majority of cards need to be minions to properly benefit from these effects. I expect there to be some experimentation on the exact list especially between:

  • Heavily minion-based Tempo Mage, tempo perhaps from Elementals
  • Tempo Mage that uses Arcane Keysmith and burn and ignores minion focus

Why Elementals? There is a new Mage Elemental in town as well, Bonfire Elemental, which is a five-mana 5/5 Elemental with a Battlecry: If you played an Elemental last turn, draw a card.

That’s almost an Azure Drake level card! Same cost and better stats, but no spell damage and the effect is conditional which limits the use of the card to Elemental-heavy decks.

What is the deck?

Would you ever consider building a slow deck with these tools? Not really. If you want Elemental synergies, you need a lot of Elementals, and then you don’t have room for all the Mage control tools. If you want to use Arugal and/or the Book, you also want a lot of minions, and, again, have little room for control tools. Even the Arcane Keysmith is mostly tempo-oriented with Ice Block gone, although there is some kind of an argument for including it in a slower Mage build.

Tempo Mage

While many Secret synergy cards are rotating out of Standard – Kabal Lackey, Medivh’s Valet, and Kabal Crystal Runner are all going into Wild – some tools still remain:

  • Mana Wyrm
  • Arcanologist
  • Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Kirin Tor Mage
  • Arcane Keysmith
  • Ethereal Arcanist

There’s also some burn still remaining, even though the list grows shorter and shorter as more burn rotates out of Standard format:

  • Primordial Glyph
  • Frostbolt
  • Fireball
  • Pyroblast

Aluneth is also still there, and Aluneth is difficult to use with a minion-based deck, as you need to get rid of your cards quickly once it is in play.

If these cards, Secrets, and Arcane Intellect are not enough to build a deck with, Elementals are ready to help.

Elemental Tempo Mage

Elemental Tempo Mage would likely still use some of the tools from a regular Tempo list and add a bunch of Elementals into the mix.

Mage has a number of class Elementals:

  • Bonfire Elemental
  • Leyline Manipulator
  • Steam Surger
  • Water Elemental
  • Ice Walker
  • Pyros
  • Shimmering Tempest
  • Arcane Artificer

Not all of them fit into a tempo deck, but there are Neutral Elementals to supplement them, such as:

  • Fire Fly
  • Glacial Shard
  • Tar Creeper
  • Fire Plume Phoenix
  • Servant of Kalimos
  • Blazecaller

Perhaps Lesser Ruby Spellstone could also see play in a deck like that for additional resources?

Even with Book of Specters in the deck, decks will still run some spells. For example, adding in Frostbolt, Fireball, Lesser Ruby Spellstone, and Primordial Glyph in two copies would bring the total number of spells to 10 – one third of the deck, still enough to reliably draw a couple of cards with Book of Specters.

Elemental version is unlikely to be able to run Aluneth, as it is too difficult to empty your hand with no discounts – and with Arugal possibly filling it even more.