- Gasoline Mage (Fire + Spell Damage)
- Spell Damage Mage
Hello there fellow pyromaniacs and arson enthusiasts. Do you enjoy the smell of napalm in the morning? Do you enjoy a nice barbecue, but except steaks it's the charred corpses of your enemies? Do you want to burn down this entire rotten world and dance in the ashes? Well I can't help you with that and you should probably see a professional about it, but what I CAN do is give you a hot and spicy decklist that might quench your thirst for infernos and war crimes (Or increase it. I cannot be held responsible for your actions.).
Introducing: Gasoline Mage, which is just a fancy way of mixing some of the new Fire synergy with the, until now, woefully undersupported Spell Damage archetype to give you a burn and AoE centric rapidfire Miracle fiesta. Now before we get too excited let's just look at how the fuck this jumbled mess actually works.
So just by looking at the decklist the gameplan should be pretty obvious. We draw a bunch of cards, we clear the board a couple times, we eventually set them on fire until they run out of health. Now, upon closer inspection you might realize that there are only two actual burn spells in the deck: Runed Orb and Ignite. This is because Fireball is a clunky brick and if you're forced to use it for removal your ability to actually close out the game decreases significantly. Ignite doesn't have this problem, because it recycles itself and actually increases in power which gives you a much better chance against control decks that could normally run you out of gas (hence the name Gasoline Mage, because we never run out of fire and keep pouring gas on it).
Now aside from the obvious win condition being flamethrowering our opponent into submission, how do we actually get there? Obviously, one major factor is draw. We need draw to keep getting Ignites to keep burning face (or board). However, ironically, the class that is supposed to be really good at draw is somehow...not that. Both Cram Session and Sanctum Chandler are fantastic choices when they work as intended...but setting that up requires work and time...and we might not have enough of the latter. This is where the removal package comes in. Both Shooting Star and Combustion are pretty great removal once add a little Spell Damage. Same goes for First Flame which is probably one of the best cards for this archetpye because it allows you to efficiently handle smaller threats without gassing out immediately.
Essentially the main gameplan should work similar to the Spell Damage Mage builds from the end of Darkmoon Faire. Play a bunch of smaller minions to get you through the early game while using your removal as efficiently as possible. Set up big draw turns with either Chandler or Imprisoned Phoenix + Cram Session. Discovery options from Primordial Studies, Wand Thief and Runed Orb should help you adapt to difficult situations. You can find more burn, more removal or whatever else you need to scam your opponent out of a win. Wandmaker is also a fantastic addition because there's basically no bad outcomes outside of Snap Freeze, which can still save the game in some cases.
To sum it up: Play carefully, set up your turns in advance and make sure to take as little damage as possible. Get in as much chip damage as you can so your Ignites become legitimate win conditions. Don't be too greedy with your draws. If you see an opportunity to cycle two or more cards you should probably go for it.
Now a few card choices require further elaboration.
Hot Streak: Probably the card I'm most skeptical about. The main reason to run it is obviously for the Sanctum Chandler chain, but even outside of that it can be very useful just to cheat a bit of mana which can be crucial while trying to combo. A 1-mana Combustion can be pretty gamechanging if you run into big stuff early on and need spell damage to get the clear. Similarly, getting free mana to use Ignite can allow you to squeeze in extra spell damage.
Primordial Studies: Only one new Spell Damage minion, Guild Trader, has been added with the new set, meaning your discovery pool is small and relatively consistent. The aforementioned trader is also a pretty good pick because despite it's relatively high cost it can help you squeeze out extra damage in a pinch while having Tradeable, allowing you to recycle it while fishing for answers. Against Control decks you can try to find Aegwynn, the Guardian for even more damage.
Ras Frostwhisper: This card can single handedly carry the game against some decks and gives you even more boardclears. Basically an alternate win condition if igniting isn't an option.
Wandmaker: i've already outlined above why this is good, but just to put it into full perspective: The only 1-mana Mage spells in Standard right now are: Brain Freeze, Devolving Missiles, First Flame, Font of Power, Primordial Studies, Shooting Star, Snap Freeze. Three of those we already run while two others we would run if we had the space. Only Font and Snap are "weak" by comparison and even they can be situationally powerful.
Sanctum Chandler: To be completely honest, I feel like this is a really slow and awkward card, but it is the best draw option we have (Arcane Intellect is basically conceding any sort of momentum you might have and Refreshing Spring Water is even worse). It also has the upside of being a somewhat well statted minion that needs a response from your opponent. Don't use this as the main draw engine, it's only the second wave to make sure you can get through your deck and rapidly cycle Ignite, especially against slower decks.
Firebrand: I just want to point out that this is one of the most powerful tempo plays in this deck and you should probably always mulligan for it to combo it with one of your 1-mana spells because it can swing the board in your favour early on, which is what you need to ride the Ignite wave to victory. Never ever cut this or else you have no game in the tempo matchup.
Kazakus, Golem Shaper: Since we don't run Fireball, this is actually a perfect fit (and one of the few decks left that can still run him since we keep getting more and more good 4-drops). Notably one of the only (and best) ways to get healing in Mage. If you're facing a tempo deck you should always prioritize Lifesteal because it can bail you out big time. Probably always keep it in your mulligan.
Starscryer: I originally included it, because I'm still convinced that it's an insanely good card in any Mage deck....unfortunately Wandmaker is even better so I ended up cutting it. Maybe I'll add it back in if I find out drawing cards is too important, but I doubt it can replace anything else.
Devolving Missiles: I really wish I could run this, because it's just such a disgustingly overpowered card, but it just doesn't have enough synergy so far. Might be a valuable tech choice against buff-heavy metas though.
Astromancer Solarian: Sounds like it would fit like a glove, but shuffling the Prime will dilute your pool and might give you a bad topdeck so we're better off without it. Still a valid pick off of Primordial Studies.
Jandice Barov: We're not Rogue so she's too slow unfortunately.
Prestor's Pyromancer: Considered it initially, but the problem is that effectively he's just a worse Talented Arcanist in a lot of cases. The ability to set up for a future turn is cool, but at the end of the day we don't run that many good payoff cards, and if you are forced to Hot Streak at any point it wastes the effect. Maybe he'll perform better in actual playtesting but for now I wouldn't recommend him.
Fireball: As I've outlined above, Fireball is really good for getting lethal and really bad in every other situation. First Flame covers the removal part quite well while Ignite is the better burn option in the long run (and we can't go for aggro burn because our early game is quite weak). Also gives us an excuse to run Kazakus, Golem Shaper instead (whose flexibility is so much more valuable).
Mask of C'Thun: Seems like a very slow card and an awkward topdeck. Playtesting might reveal that it's necessary to beat slower decks, but I feel like Ignite should be enough for that.
Aegwynn, the Guardian: I really wish I could justify her, but she's not worth a card slot and Primordial Studies will probably find her anyways.
Grand Magus Antonidas: I don't believe this is a good card at all. Apparently he doesn't even benefit from Spell Damage (which might be a bug, we'll see about that I guess). I doubt you can reliably set up lethal for him, but I would need to see him in practice to determine that.
Mozaki, Master Duelist: Are you serious?
Tech choices & replacements
Talented Arcanist: Ran it as a 1-of initially but then I realized I don't have 4-drops so Kazakus, Golem Shaper swiftly replaced him. You can still run a single copy by replacing any of the discover cards or a Lab Partner. He might be a bit too situational though.
Keywarden Ivory: There's no real point to running her because all other discovery options are better, but if you're missing Ras or Kazakus you can sub her in because she's a cutie. Also RNG is fun (except when your opponent does it, then they're a cheap piece of shit)
Rustrot Viper: Because Doomhammer Shamans are filthy degenerates and the label "human being" is passed out way too generally these days. On a serious note, if weapon aggro in any form is a thing you will need at least one of these because you have no way to defend yourself against sm0rc.
Devolving Missiles: I've already discussed it in the above section, but it should be noted that if the meta requires it you can absolutely put two of these in your deck. Replacing either Wandmaker or Wand Thief is acceptable in this case.
Flamestrike: Might sound really slow, but you can Innervate it out with Hot Streak. Probably still too slow but could be a game changer in a specific meta.
Fire Sale: Because we do run a decent amount of minions I don't believe this will ever be good, but there might just be a meta where you need Hellfire because there's gonna be more than 3 minions to deal with. Probably replaces Combustion in specific metas. Maybe the Tradeable makes it viable.
I firmly believe that this might be the only chance we have to make Spell Damage Mage work. Ignite really is one of the better additions, even if it is slow and somewhat unreliable, it at least gives you a fighting chance against Control while still being useful removal against aggro. Multiple Discover options and Kazakus, Golem Shaper gives great flexibility. The hardest part will probably be a proper mulligan which heavily depends on which class you're facing (for instance you'd want to hit Lab Partner + First Flame if you're up against Shaman, but against Demon Hunter you might want to find Wandmaker and other discovery options to get Devolving Missiles or other stalling tools). Ultimately I think the success of a deck like this heavily depends on how fast the meta is. If there's multiple full aggro deck with tons of burn are meta then you'll have trouble, but if there are more midrangey decks with specific swing turns that you can predict and defend against you should do fine.
It should also be noted that this deck is relatively cheap with the most expensive card from the new set being Ignite and only two legendaries from previous expansions (both of which are semi-optional so you can playtest the deck without them). I'm gonna try my hardest to make this work and update this guide as the expansion goes on because I reall want Spell Damage Mage to work out in some capacity. If it still doesn't end up working out then at least I didn't have to waste any dust.
Anyways, give it a try if you feel like it and burn it all to the ground so nothing ever grows again.
I haven't been able to actually play this deck so far because I figured it was pointless to play what is essentially just a neutered version of Quest Mage. I'm gonna wait until the eventual nerfs before I actually start playtesting this thing. Unless they ultra-nerf Ignite (for which I see no resaon) the list shouldn't change though.
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