Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hearthstone - Secret Mage

So let me start right off by saying, straight up - I'm not a good Hearthstone player. I've played quite a few games, and I've lost way more than I've won. If I had to rate myself, I'd say that I'm no more than a fair to mediocre player. So I was more than a bit hesitant to put up a deck recommendation. But after trying out a variety of heroes, and a variety of deck styles, this was my first combination that I put together entirely on my own, and it's been getting me quite a few wins of late in ranked play. So I thought I'd share what has become my favorite deck: Secret Mage.  Read on for the details.

Deck List
So the main synergy in this deck relies mostly in playing (and keeping) secrets in your deck, and then using them to buff up Ethereal Arcanist.  There are a number of other goodies in the deck to keep you alive until you can get that synergy working, but that's the grist and griddle of the deck.

Here's the complete list:

Arcane Missiles x 2
Arcane Explosion x 2
Ironbeak Owl x 2
Kobold Geomancer x 2
Novice Engineer x 2
Arcane Intellect x 2
Ice Barrier
Ice Block
Mirror Entity x 2
Dalaran Mage x 2
Fireball x 2
Polymorph x 2
Ethereal Arcanist x 2
Sen'jin Shieldmasta
Azure Drake
Faceless Manipulator
Flamestrike x 2

So Arcane Missiles, and Arcane Explosion are there for early minion removal and board clearing.  These are going to work in conjunction with the spellpower we have in the deck, which comes in the form of Kobold Geomancer, Dalaran Mage, and Azure Drake.  In my first revision of this deck I did okay, but I found I was getting overrun by minion heavy warrior and hunter decks.  So I made room for Flamestrike, which it me is borderline too expensive for what it gives you, but it's helped immensely in keeping my opponent' boards cleared in mid to late game.

Additionally, we have quite a bit of card draw in the form of Novice Engineer and Arcane Intellect.  Arcane Intellect is especially good at 3 cost for 2 cards, and if I get a chance to play it early to get a jump, I will almost certainly take it.

Ironbeak Owl is there because it's ridiculously good and pretty much deserves a spot in any deck. Sen'jin Shieldmaster helps stave off some of these early minions until you can get to your secrets.  And polymorph and fireball are there to take out those really big hitters that are going to come out in the late game.

Deserving special attention is Faceless Manipulator.  He's an incredibly versatile card, better even than the priest mind control. He can be used to pull your butt out of the fire by making a copy of your enemy's giant, overpowered taunt minion, or you can use him to give you even a third super-buffed ethereal arcanist, which is often enough of terror to cause your opponent to quit on the spot.

But the heart of the deck are the five secrets - Ice Block, Ice Barrier, Mirror Entity x 2, and Vaporize.  All of them are going to thwart and surprise your enemy, but the best is of course, the Ice Block.  First, it's going to engender table-flipping rage in your opp
onent by snatching away the victory they are assured they have.  But second, because it can't get revealed until literally your hero is almost dead, if you can get to it early and get it on your hero, you are assured of being able to power up and keep powered up your Ethereal Arcanists.  And these guys - these guys are nasty.  Each turn that you keep them alive, and keep a secret on your hero, they just get nastier.. and nastier.  I think this deck still works though just fine without the epic Ice Block.  If you can get 4 to 5 secrets in your deck, and keep them up for any amount of time, then you are going to be giving your opponent fits.

That's pretty much it.  Try to get card draw going early, so you can get to your assassins and your secrets. Use Arcane Missiles & Explosion to keep minions cleared out.  Buff them with spellpower if you can, but remember this isn't a spellpower deck, per se, so don't sit on those spells.  If you can, wait until you have at least one secret and one arcanist together, and play them both in the same turn.  Here's a video of the deck in action, against a rogue.  If you have comments, suggestions, or feedback of any sort, please don't hesitate to comment.

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