Hearthstone - The Secret of Playing a Secret MageBy: Gabriel Knight posted at Apr 18, 2017 10:30 am
You start a game and you'll probably face extremely, mindless aggressive Warriors or Shamans, boring Jade Druids, or the yawn fest that are Dragon and Miracle Priests. Even worse, with the new Journey to Un'Goro expansion, Crystal Rogues and Taunt Warriors are the norm, and most of the times the frustration of playing against them really sets in. Yeah, it gets old pretty fast, but a lot of times building a deck can be problematic, and trying it against the same decks over and over again becomes a chore.
Here, I bring you an uncommon deck, the Secret Mage. While it's not totally rare, you won't see it that much, and this is supported by the fact that almost nobody runs Eater of Secrets. Journey to Un'Goro changed this a little with the addition of new and interesting cards to help the deck, and at the same time, forcing the players to run tech cards.
Still, it continues to be an original and rewarding way to play, so let's get started, shall we?
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THIS DECK?
Well, you probably won't make it to Legend. I haven't tried it myself to be honest, but I won multiple times against the most common decks mentioned earlier, so perhaps with A LOT of perseverance, you could make it.
Still, it's an extremely fun deck, and requires a lot of thinking and planning. If you want to make it work, then you'll need to know your opponent's strategies beforehand.
Rushing this deck will result in a serious lack of cards, and eventually a loss of power to finish off your opponent. Playing safe and with patience is the way to go!
This is the list of cards I currently use.
Feel free to change them if you think its necessary!
A DETAILED USE OF EVERY CARD
* Mana Wyrm: the most common first turn play, and mostly a soft removal magnet. Unless you go second you'll rarely make a lot of this little fella, but sometimes it can trade very well if you manage to combo with Cabal Lackey.
* Secret Keeper: in an ideal world, this should be your star card, like Undertaker during his peak times. Sadly, we're in Hearthstone, and Secret Keeper will rarely serve as anything but a meat shield. If you manage to pump her up more than once, then consider it a success. Unless you have some secrets to use, save her for later.
* Cabal Lackey: your main force for tempo swings. Always mulligan for them, but don't be hasty. While a turn 1 Mirror Entity sounds amazing, it's rarely useful. Plan ahead your opponent, and you can easily turn the board to your side with this card.
* Medivh's Valet / Frostbolt: always play Medivh's Valet instead of Frostbolt. You know why? Because when you desperately need his battlecry, you'll find yourself without a secret to trigger it - not to mention, he leaves a body in the board that helps a lot during the earlier turns. Therefore, save your spells for later, when they're most crucial.
* Arcanologist: a great addition from the last expansion. Run two of these and place them as soon as possible, in order to increase your options in hand and try to get board control early in the game.
* Arcane Intellect: this is going to be your only card draw mechanic besides Thalnos and Arcanologist, so use it well. Don't be afraid to cast it with 4 mana if you have nothing else, you may draw a Cabal Lackey and still cast a secret after that. If you happen to run out of steam too often, a second Arcane Intellect in your deck could solve this problem.
* Counterspell: this secret will probably be your main key to victory. A well placed Counterspell can prevent the enemy from clearing your board or removing your minions, but a bad one can result in a total waste of your tools. Make sure your enemy doesn't have cheap cards or a Coin in their hand, or calculate how much mana he needs to remove your minion.
* Spellbender: while this looks like a terrible card, it can swing the tides in your favor more than once. It serves as an alternative Counterspell, but can also absorb the effects of Power Word Shield, or even Blessing of Kings - if the latter happens, get ready for an instant concede from the enemy Paladin. Since Journey to Un'Goro the amount of cheap spells got bigger, so using this as an anti removal is more effective than Counterspell.
* Ice Block: apart from the extra turn you'll get from this, there's another benefit: you'll get an active secret to trigger your cards up to the end of the match. Don't hesitate to cast it early in the game if you have the chance.
* Mirror Entity: year after year of Hearthstone, this card was always effective, and pretty much present in every Mage deck. Sadly, with every new expansion, power creep became the norm, and almost every class has crappy 1/1 minions with insane effects, which they'll spam over and over. Run only one Mirror Entity and save it for later, when the enemy already ran out of cheap minions. Sometimes, it can turn the odds in your favor.
* Potion of Polymorph: if you know what minions your enemy is probably going to play, this card can swing the tides in your favor. Taunt Warrior? Use it in turn 4 so you can polymorph his Alley Armorsmith, or against a Paladin to take down his Grimestreet Enforcer.
* Polymorph: because sometimes you just need to take something specific out of the way.
* Vaporize: another hard to pull strategy, but incredibly effective when done right. Try to use it against a lonely big minion after clearing the board, or else it'll activate against a 1 mana bug.
* Volcanic Potion: a cheap, effective board clear. Combining it with Thalnos will do 3 damage while killing him to draw a card.
* Ethereal Arcanist: probably your main force of destruction, along with Arcane Giant. If the enemy happens to lack proper removal, these fellas are going to get bigger and bigger, providing you with a steady amount of damage. Always drop them with a removal protection, mainly Spellbender, so they last a couple of turns.
* Avian Watcher: an amazing card that is useful even when you can't trigger its battlecry. Use it to clear minions from the board and protect your own face.
* Kabal Crystal Runner: an amazing tempo minion and probably your best way to absorb removals early in the game. If you manage to drop both of your Cabal Lackeys quickly, don't hesitate to flood the board with these beauties as they can overwhelm the enemy pretty fast, or at least give you a proper board control until you get your fat minions out of the bag.
* Arcane Giant: the most common turn in which I manage to drop these guys is 7. As with Ethereal Arcanist, they're your key to victory, therefore protect them well.
Once every ten games or so, this can become a reality.
I believe that the satisfaction of making it happen is
enough to keep playing a Secret Mage.
SOME TIPS TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS
As I stated before, this deck is not easy to play, especially with the insane amount of cheap minions and spells that Journey to Un'Goro brought to the table. You mainly need patience: don't be hasty to vomit all your cards in order to clear the enemy board, sometimes a Medivh's Valet can perform that task in a single move, or their big ass 7/7 Flamewreathed Faceless can just crush their nonexistent face against your Vaporize in their own turn.
Protecting your minions is crucial to win.
Here, you can see how the enemy wasted his firepower to a Spellbender.
Ironically, this was taken in a mirror match against another Secret Mage.
Again, the key to victory is to understand your opponent's moves. Try to keep up with his plays in order to know what else is he going to put in the board, or force him to spend a lot of cards in an early Kabal Crystal Runner or Avian Watcher.
It won't be uncommon to go to fatigue with a Secret Mage, so get ready for some long games. Having said that, a coined Ethereal Arcanist left unchecked can finish the match in a matter of minutes, so take the risk if you think the enemy can't handle it.
If you have more questions about the deck, feel free to ask.
Now the only thing left is for you to try it out!
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