Today we gonna take a look at a Mage deck that is being regularly played across all ranks and it is a pretty solid tier 2 deck. An interesting thing about this deck is that it has a really small core and because of that the deckbuilding part of it is a bit different than with most decks and it can be so versitile that it might be a good candidate for the Specialist format in tournaments to come.
It is really hard to say what decklist is the most popular because it changes so frequently since there are so many ways to build it and it all depends on what kind of opponents you are going to target. Let's take a look at the decklist that I chose to play on the ladder:
My goal was to counter Aggro and Token decks because it is the biggest weakness of this archetype, while still being favored versus Control Warrior that is the most popular Control deck right now.
Khadgar - Well the whole archetype is called after this card, it synergizes greatly with Conjurer's Calling and Astromance, also with other cards that sometimes get in the decklist like Power of Creation.
Conjurer's Calling - Deck is built with mostly with high-cost minions that have an immediate impact on the board and after you use them for their Battlecry or cheat them out like Mountain Giant this card creates massive tempo swings for just 3 mana and it is also a Twinspell.
Astromancer - Goes well with Khadgar and Conjurer's Calling and also benefits in the same way a Mountain Giant does when you are increasing your hand size.
Mountain Giant - While playing mostly big minions your hand size is mostly more than 6-7 which means that the Giant will be around 5 mana every time you play him. Very good for tempo and of course greatly benefits from Conjurer's Calling.
The deck is also usually built with Book of Specters because generally, this archetype is minion heavy decks with only 4 spells (2 Books and 2 Conjurer's) and for 2 mana draw three cards is an amazing effect. The drawback is rare and increasing your hand size is worth that little risk.
Another most common thing when building Khadgar Mage is a Dragon package:
This is the case because Dragons mostly have synergies with your hand, holding a Dragon to proc another one, like Crowd Roasters Battlecry that helps bring back the tempo you are losing earlier in the game or like Twilight Drake that gets more powerful the bigger your hand size is.
Firetree Witchdoctor also fits this theme very well because it is a 2-drop for a better early game that generates another card when played and by doing that you are able to play something without reducing your hand size and also it gives you spells and many Mage spells are very good.
Scaleworm helps in the midgame with the Rush ability to try and catch up with faster opponents, which is quite necessary because of the inconsistent early game this deck has.
Also Popular Dragon Choices:
Alexstrasza - Used to close out games faster if you are in the lead because if you have a board that sticks it will most like be a big board with more than 15 attack, there is also a niche case where you use Alex to survive another turn or just barely survive enough to win
Kalecgos - A 10-drop that has the potential to discover a just right spell that can give you a tempo swing, like Flamestrike or some freezing AOE or maybe a finisher with Pyroblast. It is also an immediate target for Conjurer's Calling.
Ysera - Just a huge Dragon that generates value and also increases your hand size. I don't like this one in particular because it doesn't go well with the needs of this deck. There is already enough value going on and it is greedy built as it is. Maybe if you really want to bully Control match-up then this is a good choice.
Control Warrior and Big Shaman are one of the easiest match-ups because they are mostly playing reactively to their opponent so they can't produce too much pressure. That leads to easy board dominance with Khadgar Mage. From that position dropping a big minion, each turn becomes too much to deal with and once they run out of removal they just get crushed. Warriors can sometimes be a bit tricky because you have to play around Brawls but once they use both of them just dump as many minions as you can and you should be able to push for the win. This is why we build this deck with many anti-aggro tools and sacrifice a bit of power in these match-ups to gain more in the others.
Token Druid and Zoo Warlock are the ones that we are targeting with this build of the deck because they would be almost impossible to win otherwise. With Rabble Bouncers, Dragonmaw Scorchers, a Barron Geddon, a Mossy Horror and couple of Mind Control Techs these match-ups become easier. So much tech against those styles of decks is present that just keeping them in the Mulligan and finding them during the game makes your life much easier. Basically, you would like to just play with this part of the deck but once you get some decent minion to stick, just use the Conjurer's to take over the board and that should be the victory from there. This is also what goes versus Midrange Hunter.
Mech Hunter is also a fast match-up that above mentioned techs might help but most of the time they will be Magnetizing their Mechs to make a huge one, which is really hard to deal with earlier in the match. To make this match-up better consider replacing Mind Control Tech with some Voodoo Dolls.
I haven't encountered a single Paladin or Priest for the past few days while I was testing this deck but from global metastats, it shows that you are favored with around 53% win ration in both of these. Makes sense because all Priest decks that are played are slow and because Priests lack efficient removals like Psychic Scream they get easily overwhelmed by this deck. Paladins, on the other hand, are playing anti-aggro decks such as Mech Paladin and that is why they struggle with this one.
Versus Aggro: Keep Firetree Witchwood, MCT, Scaleworm, Rabble Bouncer, and Sunfury Basically keep any early drops and those that counter aggression. Keeping Rabble Bouncer even though it is a 7 drop is a good choice because aggro opponents will always have 3 or more minions versus you by turn 4 which is enough to make the Bouncer cost 4 mana itself and thus you can play a 2/7 Taunt which is also a good target for Conjurers. In really bad mulligan hand it is quite often okay to keep Zilliax to buy an extra turn or two.
Versus Control: Keep Book of Scepters, Giant, Twilight Drake, Astromancer, Firetree
In Control Match-ups your first couple of turns aren't that relevant so keeping only the power play cards is really good. The best opening combo is Book of Scepters and Mountain Giant because it enables you to play a fast Giant that will be hard to deal with and if it sticks it usually wins you the game. Also, a reasonable keep is Khadgar, even though you might not play him until turns 8 or later it is good to have him ready for the big tempo swing with Astromancer or Conjurers
This is it for this time around. Here are the results of the final version of this deck that I presented here. It had decent success in Legend ranks. I really recommend this deck to those that like to tinker in the deckbuilding as this archetype is so flexible that you can make a completely different deck with the same core and make it work in different match-ups. Currently, a tier 2 deck that is rising in popularity and it has a lot of potentials to get refined and maybe in getting closer to the tier 1 power level.
Thank you for reading!