Hearthstone at its core is a game that people should have fun with, but that can get bogged down in the pursuit of competitive meta strategies. Thus, I humbly present Memes and Dreams, a series on Out of Cards looking to bring some good ol' memey fun into people's Hearthstone experiences. Each week we will do a deep dive on a different 'for fun' deck, discussing the basic ideas of the deck, what makes it tick, and roughly how to pilot it. This week we showcase Casino Mage in its purest form.
A True Test of Skill
The prevalence of 'Created by' effects in the game is somewhat of a controversy, with some people worrying about how it damages the competitive integrity of the game, and others who enjoy the crazy shenanigans you can pull off; This deck is very much the latter. For quite some time now Mage has been the go-to 'random' class with cards like Mana Cyclone, Evocation, or Deck of Lunacy. Those cards are good and all, providing plenty of random value generation and having dedicated archetypes, but it's still not enough. Cyclone and Evocation rely on cards like Sorcerer's Apprentice to be good and Lunacy is slotted into Spell Mage decks. Their reliance on non-random effects makes them weak. This deck sheds all aspects of reliability and embraces one of Hearthstone's core identities, RNG. Literally, every single card either has 'random' or 'Discover' in its text (shoutout to Astromancer SolarionBADCARDNAME who has to die first).
The Meme - Generate answers to anything your opponent plays while creating as much value as possible.
The Dream - Cast a total of four Puzzle Boxes and/or Yogg-Saron, Master of Fates to achieve as much randomness as possible. Even if you forsake lethal, you must play the cards. For who are we to deny the will of RNG?
Yogg is basically the mascot of RNG and serves as one of the main driving points of the deck. You shouldn't have a problem playing enough spells to proc him since all the spells and some of the minions create more spells, allowing you to chain create spells until you can deal with the opponent's board.
Malygos is one of the main reasons why this deck has a heavy Dragon theme, the other reason being that Dragons are rad and offer a catchy deck name. The spells he creates are all very powerful and typically offer answers to difficult board states. He can somewhat reliably offer a way to remove or otherwise stall threats during the midgame and help reach sweet 10-mana for the big plays.
Reno is one of the only 'reliable' cards in the deck in that he offers an immediate and clean board clear. He is allowed in the deck thanks to his unique capacity for infinite RNG with What Does This Do?. For as much as this deck utilizes RNG to generate answers and pull bullshit off, it is admittedly nice to have one card with a reliable effect.
Arcane Breath is another massive bonus for heavy Dragon investment. It provides nice damage in the early game while offering mid-late-game utility in Discovering board clears or threat generators. Thankfully, including Dragon synergy is also very easy considering a decent number of Dragons utilize random or Discover effects.
He doesn't look like much, but I absolutely adore this little guy. I keep it in the opening mulligan and coin it out every chance I get. It is one of the only early game threats in the deck and can even win games by itself (Totemic Reflection on itself counts as a secondary Dream). Some serious clown-fiestas can come out of this fella.
Budget / Alternate Options
This deck, unfortunately, exemplifies that memeing can be really expensive due to the occasional overuse of Legendaries. Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate is a tough call to replace and is a relatively safe craft, but is still a legendary and hard to acquire. Archmage Vargoth was given out for free and has the potential to get some random value generation in the mid-late-game. Exotic Mountseller offers some synergy with many of the cheap spells in the deck and could be used as a late-game threat generator. Similarly The Amazing Reno is used in many Mage decks, but still might be too pricy for some. Twin Tyrant works well enough as a stabilizing card in his stead.
Jandice Barov is certainly not integral to the deck and is mainly included for being a generally good card with some RNG elements. Both her and Maylgos, Aspect of MagicBADCARDNAME could be replaced with Cobalt Spellkin. Cobalt fits their mana niche and maintains Dragon synergy by being a Dragon and potentially generating more Arcane Breath. Astromancer SolarionBADCARDNAME is similarly included for being a decent card in her own right, providing some degree of threat in the early game. Something like Vulpera Scoundrel or Magic Dart Frog stays in-theme for the deck while being much cheaper.
Power of Creation is great for clutching out some tough taunts or getting the surprise Reckless Rocketeer lethal, but something like Plagued Protodrake works well enough as a threat. Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron is a tad harder to replace since it fills the 'board clear' niche. Twin Tyrant still works, but something like Steward of Scrolls is fine as something that can generate you a useful card.
While this deck does include many Legendaries, it doesn't rely on any of them to function or pull off a pure-RNG plan! All cards with 'random' or 'Discover' are welcome to be used. Do a throwback with Mad Bomber, keep it F2P with Arcane Missiles or Tome of Intellect, get spicy with Enchanted Cauldron or Brightwing, there are many ways to have fun with Full Casino Mage!
Thankfully this deck has plenty of small minions and early game damage to keep itself afloat against aggro. Arcane Breath and Firebrand are some of the most important cards to keep in an opening mulligan if you know you're against aggro since they greatly help keep the board in check. Wand Thief is also a good keep since she can make some small value trades and find answers to early board pressure. In my experience, Trick Totem has also been a great (if a tad volatile) answer to aggressive strategies. There are a fair number of cheap damaging spells that can pick off a minion or two and the totem itself provides enough of a threat that the opponent will likely sink some damage into it. Since the deck doesn't run any cheap board clears, you may have to rely on Ring Toss to save the day since it is decently likely to get you Flame Ward and/or Ice Barrier. The deck also has no ways to heal back up, so you might have to do a lot of praying to Yogg in this matchup.
If you like value games, then you'll love this matchup. Thanks to their lack of early game aggression, you can spend all your Discover effects on pure value and greed. This is where you take the extra two Puzzle Boxes and splurge on pure RNG. However, stay vigilant of how many threats the opponent churns out and your answers to them. You'll need to have an answer for Rattlegore against Warrior and the many Dragons Highlander decks can pull with Dragonqueen Alexstrasza. Try to make sure you always have at least one board clear and one single-target removal in hand so you can answer any shenaniganry your opponent might pull off. Remember, while you may enjoy taking it slow, they were also designed to take it slow. They probably have an answer to most board states, so don't go too hard. This deck has more value generation and less card draw than the average Control deck so you can afford to stall them out.
This is a really tough matchup, possibly tougher than the Aggro matchup. Where this deck has ways to deal with Aggro, it doesn't cope too well against a combo plan. This deck has very little in the way of creating threats and many of Mage's spells are also poor at creating threats for the opponent to deal with. You just have to flood the board as much as possible and try to beat the opponent down. This is where Azure Explorer and Messenger Raven really shine since they help fuel a minion play each turn. Instead of value cards, spend each Discover looking for burn cards. What Mage lacks in board threats, they make up for in high-quality burn damage. If you can't find burn, any spell that summons or creates minions is the next best thing, such as Font of Power or Deep Freeze. Ring Toss also gets a special mention here since a well placed Counterspell could dismantle their combo and win you the game.
The Year of the Dragon is rotating soon so what better way to send it off than with a deck embodying everything it was about, RNG and Dragons. One of my favorite aspects of this deck is that it requires adaptation to every situation. Since the deck functions almost exclusively through card generation, you are constantly faced with choices on what to do next. Many decks follow through with the same plan and play every single game very similarly (looking at you, Aggro), but this one breaks that mold. Truly no two games ever feel the same with all the RNG in this deck. One game you might pull off the Dream and play a handful of Puzzle Box of Yogg-Sarons, or you might get two Trick Totem out by turn two and watch as the game quite literally plays itself, or you might play Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate (praise be) and get Pyroblasted in the face a few times. Either way, this deck is a blast and I encourage you to play whatever form of Full Casino Mage you enjoy most.
What is your meme deck of choice? Do you try different ones for each expansion or do you try to evolve old ones with new cards? Do you have any meme dream stories? Tell us in the comments below!