- magikman's Reno Mage
- Reno Mage
Hello! I go by the username “magikman” and I have repeatedly climbed to legend using mainly or exclusively Reno Mage.
I’m sharing my decklist and an extensive writeup describing the deck’s matchups, card choices and gameplay in the hopes that others will give it a try or inspire someone to build a list of their own.
Legend proof for June 2019
I will say that Reno Mage is by no means a super-competitive deck. If you’re looking for a quick and efficient climb to legend or a deck that is easy to get a feel for quickly, this is not for you.
This list uses a lot of expensive cards, so if you are strapped for dust think very carefully before you go crafting anything.
So buyer beware!
BACKGROUND (skip to next section to start guide)
So first off, why Reno Mage?
Quite simply Mage has been my favorite class throughout Hearthstone. I’ve played since the days of the beta and was lucky enough to open up an Ice Block, Pyroblast] and Alexstrasza in the first few packs I opened. I ended up crafting Antonidas and making a Freeze Mage deck that I was messing around with well into the release of Naxxramas.
After that I moved onto Mech Mage, marveling at the synergy between Antonidas and Spare Parts. Then I played the OG Tempo Mage with Flamewakers pinging everything to death. And then with the release of League of Explorers I found my absolute favorite deck of all time.
“Reno Mage?” you might ask.
Actually no! It was a janky as heck Echo Giants deck. Mad Scientists to find Ice Block and Duplicates. Frost Nova and Doomsayers to stall. Jeweled Scarabs to discover more secrets and Frost Novas, Ethereal Conjurer to find spells, Antique Healbot to heal up, and Brann Bronzebeard to double up on all those juicy battlecry effects.
My opponents might beat down my life total, but that would left my 0 mana Molten Giants come down and get copied by Echo of Medivh until I had a massive board that could one-shot them the next turn.
If they were a slower deck, Echo would just land on my Scarabs and Conjurers to produce more value or I would play Elise Starseeker and turn my overpriced Molten Giants and useless cards into an army of legendaries. And meanwhile Emperor Thaurissan would be in the background, making everything cheaper and smoothing out my mana curve.
It was never truly competitive, but it was hilariously fun to play. It was and is my favorite deck of all time…
But Reno Mage is a close second! ;)
Reno Mage became my primary deck after Mean Streets was released. Partly because the full heal to 30 health was quite tempting in a world of rampaging Tunnel Troggs and charging eye-patched pirates but also because Kazakus, the coolest of all the gang leaders of Gadgetzan was released!
Since then Reno Mage has been my primary deck and I’ve stubbornly kept on refining it over the years and grinding my way to legend with it repeatedly. So while I’m certainly not an expert, I’m confident in saying I have experience. Painful, frustrating experience…
Anyway! Let’s move on to the actual guide!
Here’s a breakdown of all 30 cards and why I chose to include them in the deck.
Hungry Crab: mainly there for Murloc Shaman since a 1 mana 3/4 in the early turns is an absurd amount of tempo and without exaggeration, can tilt the game wildly in your favor immediately.
Arcanologist: I chose this over Mad Scientist for a few reasons:
- the additional 1 point of health is quite relevant since a lot of things either deal 2 damage on turns 1 and 2 or trade favorably (Southsea Deckhand openers, Righteous Protector, Mistress of Mixtures, Cursed Blade, Jade Claws, the upgraded Rogue dagger, Murkspark Eel, et cetera)
- the immediacy of the card draw (Mad Scientist is useless for drawing against something like Big Priest that can just ignore it)
- the added control over which secret is played is often worth paying the 3 mana cost
Baleful Banker: this is a close contender with Manic Soulcaster. In general, I like Soulcaster better because of its great statline, but the current list uses Banker because:
- it is slightly cheaper and thus easier to weave into a turn (e.g. shuffle in an extra Kazakus on turn 6 as opposed to turn 7)
- the fact that it costs 2 mana means you can shuffle in Ragnaros the Firelord or Hex Lord Malacrass on the same turn you play them and those 2 are both really big value bombs
- having this in the opening in the opening hand lets you form a cute 2-card, 10-mana infinite shuffle combo with Hex Lord Malacrass; usually not necessary but sometimes relevant in the occasional hyper-fatigue game
Dirty Rat: combo-disrupter, value-denier, battlecry-blocker, what more needs to be said about our filthy friend?
Doomsayer: it stalls, it clears, it heals you for 7 damage
Explosive Sheep: taken over Volcanic Potion because it can be played proactively to act like a pseudo-Doomsayer, making your opponent reluctant or unable to develop on board. Also has value as a ping target with Frost Lich Jaina
Golakka Crawler: generates fantastic tempo against any aggressive deck that runs pirates (and there are quite a few) and is otherwise an acceptable 2-drop with vanilla 2/3 stats
Arcane Intellect: I actually don’t like this card very much but its about the only card draw that works. Book of Specters and Research Project are possible substitutes but they would seriously gimp the power of [Hearthstone Card (Dragon’s Fury) Not Found] and also have significant low-roll potential. Book hitting any of the spells is pretty bad and Research Project is dangerous since it gives cards to your opponent and unlike Quest/Exodia Mage, we do not have a proactive win condition we are digging deep for. I’d much rather have something like Shadow Visions but alas, that is a Priest card and again would hamper [Hearthstone Card (Dragon’s Fury) Not Found].
Brann Bronzebeard: he’s made 1 mana 5/6 and 2 mana 4/5 crabs, drawn or discovered extra secrets, brewed massive potions, milled cards and fatigued enemies to death, healed me for 10 while destroying enemy weapons, yanked out combo pieces, infinitely staved off fatigue with his partners Banker and Zola. Fantastic card for our deck and pairs well with the bevy of battlecries we have.
Coldlight Oracle: can force a mill, ramp up fatigue damage, dig deep into your deck. A great card all around, but must be played with care.
Gluttonous Ooze: there’s still a few weapons out there and the armor gain is usually worth the 1 extra mana. The extra point of health over Acidic Swamp Ooze is also nice for enabling trades against enemy minions with 2 attack, of which there are a lot.
Ice Block: the enabler of mega comebacks, messes with OTK combos, too good not to include.
Polymorph: Boar: in contention with Tinkmaster Overspark as an extra proactive polymorph effect. Ultimately chosen because it can be targeted. Also has added versatility as a source of 4 Charge damage to make sneaky lethals happen.
Potion of Polymorph: interferes with combos, helps block resurrection effects, silences deathrattles, almost certainly the best secret to run for our deck besides Ice Block
Twilight Flamecaller: taken over Volcanic Potion because 2 damage on T3 is often either not good enough or too much. Minions tend to have 1 health (in which case they die to Flamecaller anyway) or 3 health (in which case Volcanic Potion fails to clear nothing). Also has fringe synergy with Brann, since the 2 separate “bursts” of damage helps pop deathrattles and divine shields. MVP against Odd Paladin in particular, especially with the new Paladin secret Never Surrender! making Volcanic Potion even worse.
Voodoo Doll: contested somewhat by Big Game Hunter but chosen because it is more versatile (can kill anything) and for synergy with Frost Lich Jaina to make Water Elementals
Zola the Gorgon: sort of like Brann in that it helps squeeze extra value out of the numerous powerful Battlecries we have
Arcane Keysmith: Secrets are one of the only ways to interact with your opponent’s turns and having more of them is fantastic.
Kazakus: You can play a 1-mana spell that deals 2 damage to everything and gives you 4 armor. You can deal 5 damage to an enemy minion and summon a 5/5 minion. You can reduce the most fearsome late-game boards to adorable sheep. Hugely versatile and hugely powerful provided you can get a little bit of luck on your side, Kazakus is a superstar.
Polymorph: Denies resurrections, silences buffs or deathrattles, provides ping targets for Frost Lich Jaina. Hugely powerful card.
Dragon's Fury: In this deck it deals a minimum of 3 damage which is okay or a maximum of 6 damage which is fantastic. The RNG element is annoying but it is pretty much the only AoE that Mage has for the midgame so we gotta run it,
Blizzard: Deal some damage, freeze the board. Locks out damage for an entire turn.
Meteor: Kill a big guy and his neighbors. Enough said.
Reno Jackson: the man, the myth, the legend. He and Kazakus are the two big reasons to play Reno Mage in the first place.
Skulking Geist: pretty much the only way to beat Jade Druid by destroying idols, helps against Odd Warrior by eating Shield Slams and Omega Assembly, destroys half of a Quest Mage deck if you can get it out in time, fringe benefit of killing Inner Fire, Power Word: Shield and Potion of Madness in Inner Fire Priest. A tech card for sure, but a worthy one.
Baron Geddon: endlessly clears small minions in the mid/late game, great for preventing an aggro/midrange deck from re-establishing board control. Also provides potentially huge lifesteal with Frost Lich Jaina.
Inkmaster Solia: helps bypass Loatheb, makes 10-mana Kazakus potions playable 3 turns earlier or play a Kazakus potion for 7 mana and still have 3 left over for a Dirty Rat, Banker, Zola, Secret, Doomsayer, Frost Lich Jaina hero power, et cetera. Fringe benefit of being played with a spell simply to help empty your hand before a Brann+Coldlight play or a Malacrass refill.
Hex Lord Malacrass: generates additional Polymorphs, copies of Reno or Kazakus, or even smaller things like another Voodoo Doll or Brann that can help squeeze out wins that shouldn't happen.
Ragnaros the Firelord: applies pressure, can be used as pseudo-removal in a pinch, heals massively while dealing damage once Frost Lich Jaina is played.
Frost Lich Jaina: presents the threat of a ceaseless tide of Water Elementals, can sustain hugely in fatigue with Geddon and Ragnaros, looks AMAZING with the golden animations.
Some cards that were considered or even included in previous versions of the deck but ultimately cut from the current list:
Mistress of Mixtures: used to be my go-to 1-drop but tends to die far too quickly nowadays and aggressive opponents will often kill it before dealing damage to face, so the heal doesn’t even take effect.
Mad Scientist: as explained above, the weaker body and lack of control over the secret convinced me to switch to Arcanologist.
Primordial Glyph: there’s a lot of bad/situational Mage spells and Glyph itself weakens Dragon’s Fury. Cut to make room for more consistent tools.
Acolyte of Pain: a weak body that tends to get killed in one shot so it rarely draws you more than 1 card for 3 mana; otherwise you have to ping it yourself in which case you are paying 5 mana just to draw a single card now and a “free” draw later. Not worth it anymore in such a fast meta.
Tinkmaster Overspark: as explained above, competes with Polymorph: Boar but loses out because of its unpredictability.
Ice Barrier/Counterspell/Duplicate: Barrier feels far too weak healing for only 8, Counterspell is ironically countered by the spell of Coin or any other cheap spell, Duplicate is a little too hard to use
Manic Soulcaster: as explained above, close contender with Baleful Banker but taken out for the cheaper/faster option.
Volcanic Potion: as explained above, boards will often have 1-health minions or 3-health minions so Volcanic is of little use, especially while Never Surrender! is a thing.
Echo of Medivh: before Malacrass was released in the Rumble expansion, Echo of Medivh was my big value generator to give me the extra tools I needed to push myself over the top and secure a win. Echo had the advantage of giving me some more control over what I copied but the need to set up a board of valuable minions was often very difficult. Whereas Malacrass just GIVES you resources without needing to micromanage a board.
Antique Healbot: healing for only 8 feels very weak in many situations and the 3/3 body doesn’t contest anything particularly well.
Big Game Hunter: useful alongside Voodoo Doll as a way to efficiently kill big minions. Had to be cut to make room for anti-aggro.
Loatheb: experimented with several times as a tech card hugely useful for jamming up combo decks or Big Priest, but pretty dead against aggro. Had to be cut to make room for anti-aggro.
Zilliax: used to be in the deck instead of Healbot as a more proactive form of healing. It served as a way to pick off a minion as well as get a little extra life and was a useful defensive tool as a taunt minion. Also had cute interactions with Explosive Sheep through the Magnetic keyword to make a lifestealing AoE. Had to be cut to make room for anti-aggro.
Emperor Thaurissan: replaced with Skulking Geist once Jade Druid reared its ugly head again and Quest Mage started to make waves. If I could have 31 cards, Emperor would almost certainly be the 31st.
Flamestrike: too expensive to be relevant in the early game (literally unplayable until turn 7) and dealing 4 damage is too weak to be relevant in the late game against boards of 5/5s and 8/8s.
N'Zoth, the Corruptor/Deathrattle package: tried these cards out a long time ago but with no way to activate deathrattles efficiently (Dark Pact, Play Dead, et cetera) or deathrattle synergy cards (e.g. Nine Lives) it is hard to get value out of them. Plus unlike Warlock or Priest, Mage doesn’t really have good class-specific deathrattle/taunt minions to begin with so the defensive utility is far lower.
The following are cards that I feel can be easily taken out without compromising the deck’s overall performance as well as some possible substitutions:
Hungry Crab: a 1-drop with good stats (Mistress of Mixtures, Zombie Chow, Saronite Taskmaster) or an anti-aggro tool (such as Mind Control Tech)
Arcanologist: Mad Scientist is a bit slower since it has to die to pull out a secret but makes up for it by making the secret free
Baleful Banker: Manic Soulcaster for the same effect and a better statline for its mana cos
Golakka Crawler: replaced with other anti-aggro tool or defensive minion (such as Deathlord or other taunt)
Hex Lord Malacrass: Echo of Medivh or [Hearthstone Card (Medivh the Guardian) Not Found] serve similar function of producing value to help put me over the top. In a meta where even aggro decks have massive resources, Reno Mage needs similarly extensive resources to match
Or you can replace these cards with tech cards for your specific local meta, add extra value, add extra healing, et cetera. Tinkering is encouraged!
MULLIGAN GUIDE & GENERAL STRATEGY
Because we have relatively limited card draw and because Malacrass will duplicate our opening hand, the mulligan is very important to consider.
Listed below are cards I would keep if they showed up in the opening mulligan versus a particular class. I will usually toss back anything that is not included on the list unless I have some extra knowledge, e.g. I know for certain what deck my opponent is playing (because Wild is crazy small).
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Golakka Crawler, Arcane Intellect, Voodoo Doll, Kazakus, Polymorph, Dragon’s Fury (only if you have the coin and/or the rest of your hand is excellent)
We are assuming Aggro Druid since that matchup is faster and more difficult to deal with.
Doomsayer and Explosive Sheep help stall or clear. Don’t be afraid to drop them on curve if you have a good follow-up for T3.
Voodoo Doll can be played on curve since there are no silences and helps to pick off priority targets (big taunts blocking trades, Jeeves drawing cards, et cetera).
Kazakus is a big help for finding AoE. If you have the mana to play Kazakus and a 1-mana potion for AoE, go for it. Otherwise find a 5-mana AoE since the Aggro Druid will almost always have a buff of some kind.
Dragon’s Fury is a pretty reliable AoE and the highroll potential of 6 damage is fantastic but I would only keep it if you have the coin so it can be played a turn earlier or if the other cards in you hand are exceptionally good.
If it is Jade Druid, Arcanologist still nicely contests the first two Jade Golems from T1 Idol and T3 Jade Blossom while helping find Potion of Polymorph. You can usually hold onto Potion until just before your opponent hits 6 mana to try and target Aya in particular.
Doomsayer/Voodoo Doll/Polymorph help with T4 Oaken Summons (Vargoth being the obvious priority target).
Kazakus for 5-mana potions is usually best, looking for the polymorph/AoE/5 damage and card draw mainly. If you have card draw already, or Geist, or Solia you can consider a 10-mana potion too, with Polymorph everything being the ideal.
Dragon’s Fury again helps clear out the medium-sized Jades but again, don’t keep unless you have the coin or your hand is otherwise fantastic.
Strategy is to prevent the enemy from developing a board using your AoEs, secrets, Polymorphs and so on while you look for Skulking Geist. Keeping the board clear is paramount; Geist won’t help you if you are dead on board. Play the Geist at an opportune moment, stabilize with Reno/Kazakus potion/Frost Lich Jaina in the late game and carefully grind your opponent out.
Always be wary of hand size since 1 or 2 copies of Naturalize are common in Jade Druid lists. You do not want to mill Geist, Frost Lich Jaina, removal tools, et cetera.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Voodoo Doll, Kazakus, Polymorph, Dragon’s Fury (only if you have the coin and/or the rest of your hand is excellent)
We are assuming Mech Hunter and much like Aggro Druid above, you are looking to contest the early game and stall with Doomsayer and Explosive Sheep. Then play big AoE from Kazakus potions or Dragon’s Fury and clear.
Voodoo Doll and Polymorph eliminate big Magnetic minions or priority targets like Jeeves and Mechwarper. Again the deck runs no silence so Voodoo Doll on curve is okay.
Keep the board clear, heal up with Reno or Jaina if you reach the lategame and you should have the win.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Dirty Rat, Doomsayer, Potion of Polymorph, Polymorph: Boar, Voodoo Doll, Arcane Keysmith, Kazakus, Polymorph, Skulking Geist (only if you have the coin and/or the rest of your hand is excellent).
We are assuming Quest Mage. For this matchup, I find it helpful to treat it as an old-school Tempo Mage back when the deck was centered around Flamewaker. The Flamewaker+Sorceror’s combo can deal a lot of damage even before the quest is complete and the Arcane Giants come out so that is the major hurdle to overcome first.
Look for Arcanologist/Potion of Polymorph/Arcane Keysmith to help trip up your opponent. Potion of Polymorph or a discovered Explosive Runes can block an early Stargazer Luna or Flamewaker or Sorceror’s Apprentice which is hugely important in the first phase of the game. If you have AoE to clear out the small minions, consider using Keysmith for Vaporize/Ice Barrier/Ice Block to help survive a Giant.
Doomsayer dropped on T3 to T5 can buy you a turn against the big power spike of Flamewaker+Sorceror’s Apprentice.
Stall out your opponent in the early game and prevent them from sticking an Apprentice/Flamewaker/Luna.
If you can find the chance to play Skulking Geist, do so since it wipes out a significant portion of their deck and the 4/6 body can contest just about any minion.
Polymorph: Boar, Voodoo Doll, Polymorph can help clear Luna and Flamewaker played on curve. If you also have Dirty Rat and the mana to kill whatever gets pulled out, don’t be afraid to go for it. The deck runs relatively few minions and dragging out and killing an Arcane Giant/Vargoth is very powerful since you have Ice Block and Reno Jackson to resist the effects of Time Warp. Again, only do this if you are SURE you can deal with what gets pulled.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Golakka Crawler, Gluttonous Ooze, Polymorph: Boar, Twilight Flamecaller, Kazakus, Dragon’s Fury.
We are assuming Odd Paladin. Use Doomsayer/Explosive Sheep to clear and stall, but be mindful of Ironbeak Owl. Make sure to clear before their Quartermaster turn, whether with Kazakus potions, Twilight Flamecaller, or even Dragon’s Fury.
They often run Southsea Deckhands and Patches so Golakka is a valuable tool.
Gluttonous Ooze can be played to kill an early weapon but if you have better plays then try to save it for Vinecleaver later on.
As always with aggro decks, we are looking to clear, stall and survive. Baron Geddon is a big help in this matchup if you can set it up so his 2 damage AoE clears everything. Once everything is cleared, Geddon is really hard for Odd Paladin to remove cleanly and he will constantly wipe out the 1/1 recruits. So long as you are not dead on board, hitting Frost Lich Jaina will usually mean the game ends in your favor.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Arcane Intellect, Polymorph: Boar, Potion of Polymorph, Kazakus, Polymorph, Arcane Keysmith (only if you have a good hand already).
We are assuming Big Priest, so we look for our polymorph cards or card draw (Arcanologist/Arcane Intellect) so we can dig for polymorphs.
Look out for these power spikes and try to get your Polymorph effects to line up with them:
T4: Barnes or Vargoth
T6: Shadow Essence
T8: Lich King, Ragnaros, Catrina Muerte
With Kazakus try to save him until you can find a tool to double with, whether that is Brann or Zola or even Baleful Banker. As a general rule, go for the 10-mana Polymorph-all potion but be mindful of getting the board of sheep Psychic Scream’d into your deck, since the multiple copies of sheep will screw with Kazakus, Reno and Solia.
So try to play the Polymorph-all potion only if you are A) already Frost Lich Jaina, in which case topdecking a sheep just means a new Water Elemental B) have card draw so you can dig out the sheep faster C) are about to polymorph all of your opponent’s remaining big minions D) have exhausted all your opponent’s other resurrection effects or of course E) you have to polymorph everything or else you will die.
As a general rule, don’t bother killing or Polymorphing the Obsidian Statues since they are the least threatening minions for us.
The only other Priest I see with any regularity is Inner Fire Priest. Thankfully there is a lot of overlap in the cards we are looking for in the Big Priest matchup.
Arcanologist finds us either a Potion of Polymorph to block a threatening minion (Deathlord,
Drakonid Operative, et cetera) or an Ice Block to endure a big punch from a buffed minion.
Arcane Intellect helps dig for solutions.
Polymorph effects and Kazakus help deal with the buffed minions while Arcane Keysmith helps find Vaporize, extra Ice Block, Spellbender/Counterspell to block buffs, extra Potion of Polymorph or Explosive Runes to stall enemy board development.
Keep if offered: Hungry Crab (if you are going first), Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Golakka Crawler, Gluttonous Ooze, Polymorph: Boar, Voodoo Doll, Kazakus, Polymorph, Dragon’s Fury.
We are assuming Odd Rogue. Again, the same strategy applies as always for aggro/tempo decks: stall, clear, survive.
Weirdly enough, I find Hungry Crab to be an okay card if going first since a Rogue’s opener is usually a 1-health Pirate of some kind (Swashburglar, Deckhand, Buccaneer) so the Crab can at least trade into something. Plus keeping it hand means that it doesn’t get topdecked later. Going second, the Crab shouldn’t be kept since it will just die to the Rogue’s upgraded hero power.
Golakka Crawler is pretty valuable since this deck runs quite a few pirates.
Gluttonous Ooze destroying the weapon on T3 might stall the develop of a Hench-Clan Thug.
For Kazakus you generally want to look for AoE of course. However, if your opponent already has a 4/4 Hench-Clan Thug on board then consider taking the deal 5 damage option first so you can kill Thug even after it gets buffed into a 5/5.
Keep if offered: Hungry Crab, Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Polymorph: Boar, Voodoo Doll, Zola the Gorgon (only if you have Hungry Crab or Kazakus already), Kazakus, Polymorph, Dragon’s Fury
We are assuming Even Shaman although Murloc Shaman is definitely a close second. Murloc Shaman is fast enough and scary enough that I feel pretty justified keeping a Hungry Crab if I see a Shaman at all.
Even Shaman is still more common though, so aside from the Crab we are tailoring our hand with that matchup in mind. Arcanologist is important for knocking down totems, resisting Jade Claws and Murkspark Eel, trading favorably into Dire Wolf Alphas and so on.
Doomsayer and Explosive Sheep help keep the board under control.
Polymorphs and Voodoo Doll are needed to deal with the arsenal of powerful 4-cost minions in Even Shaman or can be saved for later to neutralize 6 and 8 drops.
Kazakus is once again vital. AoE is great but consider deal 5 damage if offered since that is enough to kill a Thing from Below or help enable a trade with 7/7s or 8/8s.
Dragon’s Fury is a vital midgame clear to wipe out totems and 2 to 4 health minions to prevent the Sea Giants from being dropped for cheap.
Against Murloc Shaman the Hungry Crab is definitely MVP, especially when going second. If you are going second, you can eat their 1-drop Murloc and get a 3/4 minion by T1 that can then contest a T2 Underbelly Angler or a T3 Warleader and even survive! If you have Crab and Zola, consider keeping both of them to duplicate the Crab.
Doomsayer and Explosive Sheep are nice but potentially countered by Toxfin and health buffs respectively so try to have a backup plan.
Otherwise the game plays out like other aggro decks. Stall, clear and survive.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Dirty Rat, Arcane Intellect, Brann Bronzebeard (only if Dirty Rat, Coldlight Oracle, Kazakus, or Arcane Keysmith are already in hand) Coldlight Oracle, Polymorph: Boar, Potion of Polymorph, Voodoo Doll, Arcane Keysmith, Kazakus, Polymorph
We are assuming Mechathun Warlock. Look for Arcanologist/Arcane Intellect/Coldlight Oracle for card draw. Coldlight can be particular valuable since Warlocks love to lifetap and you can potentially mill a card or two.
If you get Potion of Polymorph from Arcanologist, save it until the later turns to try and target Mechathun himself or Emperor Thaurissan.
Keep Potion of Polymorph in your hand if it shows up. Since the game will take a fairly long time, you have decent odds to find Malacrass and get a second copy of the secret.
Be prepared with Polymorphs or Voodoo Doll to deal with either Mal’ganis or Voidlord that get popped out from a Voidcaller.
Likewise, be prepared to kill Emperor Thaurissan when he comes out.
If you find Geist, play it to kill Soularium and sometimes Mortal Coil. Anything that stops card draw is useful.
Once your opponent is positioned to play the Mechathun combo, play Brann and Dirty Rat or Arcane Keysmith or a saved Potion of Polymorph to try and disrupt the combo. Be sure you are able to kill the Mechathun if it gets pulled out. In fringe cases use Brann/Zola with Coldlight Oracle for force fatigue damage.
Against Evenlock many of the same cards are still useful. Arcanologist helps find secrets so a Potion of Polymorph can quite often be played on T3 to lock out a T4 Twilight Drake or cheap Mountain Giant. A Potion of Polymorph in the opening hand is okay too since Malacrass might well produce another copy just in time for a late game Ragnaros or Lich King.
Coldlight Oracle is great since Evenlock is all about drawing cards. Milling one or two cards is not uncommon.
Polymorphs and Voodoo Dolls help remove big minions if your opponent manages to land a Twilight Drake or Giant.
Arcane Keysmith can find a multitude of useful secrets. Potion of Polymorph, Vaporize, Mirror Entity can all be fantastic and force your opponent to slow down dramatically. Even Explosive Runes can help soften up a big minion for a trade.
Kazakus should be played for an extra Polymorph effect in particular but if you have Solia you can consider a 10-mana Polymorph.
Keep if offered: Arcanologist, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep, Golakka Crawler, Gluttonous Ooze, Voodoo Doll, Kazakus, Polymorph, Dragon’s Fury (only if you have the coin and/or the rest of your hand is excellent), Reno Jackson (only if you have the coin and/or the rest of your hand is excellent)
We are assuming Pirate Warrior since that is the faster matchup.
Golakka Crawler is once again MVP, although you may want to play it more conservatively than against Odd Rogue. Pirate Warrior runs more Pirates that have 3 to 4 health so you might just ping the 1 health pirates and save Golakka for a buffed Bloodsail Raider, Southsea Captain or Bloodsail Cultist. That said, you might also choose to eat a 1 health pirate with the Crawler so you can get a 3/4 out by turn 3 to contest the board. It is a judgment call on your part.
Doomsayer and Explosive Sheep once again help stall and clear, especially against Ship’s Cannon. Just be mindful of Frothing Berserker when playing Explosive Sheep.
Gluttonous Ooze is fantastic for destroying big weapons. Be careful not to be too greedy. It is not necessarily correct to hold on to Ooze to wait for a bigger weapon or to wait until your opponent buffs it. Waiting too long can mean taking unnecessary damage.
Kazakus for 5-mana potions into a 4 damage AoE are fantastic.
Southsea Captain buffing everything plus Cultists and Bersekers having 4 health can make Dragon’s Fury somewhat unreliable so be sure to evaluate the other cards in your hand before deciding to keep it.
Voodoo Doll and Polymorph are meant to target Captains, Berserkers or Korkron Elites.
The other notable archetype is Odd Warrior which is a comparatively slower and thus easier matchup.
Try to land your Polymorph effects on Deathlords/Direhorn Hatchlings.
Ooze is great for killing Supercolliders.
Beware of possible Brann/Coldlight plays to avoid milling cards.
Skulking Geist is an MVP if you can find him since he will destroy the vital Shield Slams and the value-bombs of Omega Assembly.
Play Frost Lich Jaina as soon as possible, even if it means coining her out, and slowly grind down your opponent. The game will typically drag into fatigue so their Reckless Flurry cards will be basically useless, leaving you with two Brawls to contend with and whatever mechs are produced by Assembly and Dr. Boom, Mad Genius. Don’t overcommit to board and give Brawl opportunities.
If they run Elysiana, try to set up an infinite combo with Brann, Banker and Zola to match them in fatigue. Since your infinite shuffle chain only requires one Brann and two bankers, the second Brann can be paired with Keysmith or Kazakus to get extra value.
With the recent buffs to Luna's Pocket Galaxy, I am going to test an older list I played prior to Rastakhan's Rumble that used Galaxy, Emperor Thaurissan, and Echo to produce huge explosive turns with multiple 1-mana minions, Branns and Echo'd extra cards.
UPDATE (June 30, 2019) - this new list can be found HERE!
And that's all for now! Hope this guide helps you find a new deck to try out or inspires a list of your own!
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- 2 Arcanologist x 1
- 3 Arcane Intellect x 1
- 3 Ice Block x 1
- 3 Polymorph: Boar x 1
- 3 Potion of Polymorph x 1
- 3 Twilight Flamecaller x 1
- 4 Arcane Keysmith x 1
- 4 Kazakus x 1
- 4 Polymorph x 1
- 5 Dragon's Fury x 1
- 6 Blizzard x 1
- 6 Meteor x 1
- 7 Inkmaster Solia x 1
- 8 Hex Lord Malacrass x 1
- 9 Frost Lich Jaina x 1
- 1 Hungry Crab x 1
- 2 Baleful Banker x 1
- 2 Dirty Rat x 1
- 2 Doomsayer x 1
- 2 Explosive Sheep x 1
- 2 Golakka Crawler x 1
- 3 Brann Bronzebeard x 1
- 3 Coldlight Oracle x 1
- 3 Gluttonous Ooze x 1
- 3 Voodoo Doll x 1
- 3 Zola the Gorgon x 1
- 6 Reno Jackson x 1
- 6 Skulking Geist x 1
- 7 Baron Geddon x 1
- 8 Ragnaros the Firelord x 1