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Hi everyone, my name is Daisyx and this is my guide to Flamewaker Aggro Mage. I have gotten legend 4-5 times and competed in some minor tournament and am the author of the coaching series on the Hearthstone subreddit. I am currently playing this deck ranging between legend 25-300 on EU.I am also the author of the recent Tempo Mage guide here on Liquidhearth. When I hosted a reddit AMA I got a lot of requests for a budget version of this deck since the tempo deck relies highly on legendaries to sustain you in the mid-late game. While I did provide some possible replacements for the legendaries this would overall weaken the early game. So instead I often linked this deck which holds similar principles/cards as the tempo deck. The changes, however, make this deck much more aggressive and a lot cheaper to make. Another upside of this deck is that it is extremely good against Face Hunters and often makes for very short games and an ideal experience early on in the season.
This deck is called Aggro Mage and is all about establishing early board control and then steamrolling the opponent with cheap spells and minions before they can stabilize. Now if you are not familiar with the concept of aggro (or the concept of deck archetypes in general) or are unsure about what it means exactly, I would suggest taking a look here for an excellent description.
While most decks have only a single win condition -- Midrange Druid or Grim Patron Warrior for example -- this Mage deck has three. Unlike the Tempo Mage, however, this deck hedges towards the first win condition at the expense of the second. As a result, the first win-condition is your go-to style and you only go for the second one case the first fails.Kripparian recently made a video on why identifying your win conditions is important.
Understanding your Win ConditionsThe first win condition is about rushing down your opponents as quickly as possible while mostly ignoring their mid-game threats. At some point you will play your Mirror Images and force your opponent to slowly kill those while hitting his face with your minions and spells. Often you will find that you have less value to get with your Hero Power, so you want to start pushing face earlier. As it turns out this synergizes well with the mid game combos which cause face since you can’t control where Knife Juggles/Flamewaker fireballs go.
The second win condition is about running the opponent out of cards by making efficient trades and using your spells which synergize well with the minions you have on the board. Ultimately the goal is preventing your opponent from killing you before he runs out of cards.
The third win condition may sound slightly wonky and unreliable but it is only a single card: Unstable Portal. While Unstable Portal has a chance of producing horrible results, just as often it is capable of giving you game-dominating minions that you can play for cheap when you combo the card with your Sorcerer's Apprentices. I have won games where I played a turn five Gahz’Rilla into turn six Fireball-ping it for a 24-damage finisher. I have also had turn fours with double Sorcerer's Apprentice and double Unstable Portal enabling turn five Spectral Knight-Mech-Bear-Cat. These Unstable Portal enabled tempo swings allow me to ignore my opponents minions and get a kill within two turns.
Just like the Tempo Mage deck, this deck includes a lot of RNG, from the the knifes from the Knife Juggler to the draws from portal through Flamewaker/arcane. If you have a habit of getting frustrated because of poor RNG or feel bad when you win in a disgusting fashion where the opponent couldn’t do anything due to you being extremely lucky, this deck might not be for you.
Due to a notable lack of Deathrattles, this deck is extremely vulnerable to blanket board wipes such as Flamestrike, Blizzard, Explosive Trap, Hellfire, and so on. This combined with the fact that you are an aggro deck means that you often have to make risky plays that might go wrong if your opponent has the right removal card. On the flipside, the cards that I mentioned before are often not cards that the opponent is looking to keep in their early game hands. It is often possible, therefore, to snowball the game in your favor before the opponent can play these cards.
Plan A is always to burn them out.
Notable Cards and Synergies
Early game spells; Frostbolt, Arcane Missiles, Mirror Image and Spare Parts from your Clockwork Gnomes:
Starting with your early game minions -- Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mad Scientist, and Clockwork Gnome -- all of these cheap spells can be used very efficiently to as support. They also work well in combination with Flamewalker. Cheap spells and cheap minions are the key to claiming early board control.
Mid game synergies:
Knife Juggler/Flamewaker-Mirror Image gives you both the defenses you need to protect the Knife Juggler and Flamewaker as well as efficiently clearing the enemy board. This combo in along with other minions/spells/Spare Parts often can give you enormous value and is a huge boon for your board position. You often only want to play the Knife Jugglers/Flamewakers when you already have achieved board control with your early game minions because you want to be getting as much mileage as possible from their passive effects.
Late game spells: Arcane Intellect and Fireball
Late game you want to use Arcane Intellect to refill your hand when you start running out of cards and Fireball is almost exclusively for finishing off either his face or a big Taunt. Don’t be afraid to use Arcane Missiles just for three damage to his face: especially if you have either a Sorcerer's Apprentice or a Flamewaker on the board.
Other minions/spells: Secrets, Loot Hoarder, Unstable Portal, and Piloted Shredder
You almost never want to play secrets unless you have absolutely no other play or you expect an important spell next turn -- Flamestrike for example -- and you can play the Counterspell at a discount. The single Loot Hoarder is there to give the deck some extra draw and allowing you to keep going for longer. Shredders are in the deck to give you a stronger mid game board position. You want to play Unstable Portal in situations where there is no need to compete for the board or you can get extra value from an Apprentice or Flamewaker.
Protecting your Flamewaker is a key part to any winning strategy.
Since Aggro Mage mostly relies on a single win condition, it doesn't require you to counter the meta game as aggressively. Instead, it is better to tailor your deck against specific other classes that are prevalent on the ladder.
Patron Warriors since they can easily kill it with his measly one Health, so if you meet a lot of those it might be worth cutting.
Arcane Missiles count to one since it is often used to go for face damage and you don’t want to have two of them early against a control matchup. It is also of questionable use against zoo since they have a lot of Deathrattles.
Cutting all secrets and Mad ScientistsSome people prefer to run this type of deck more Spare Part-style cards where they replace the secrets and Scientists with more Spare Part generators -- Mechanical Yeti and Toshley -- as well as an Antonidas to help against midrange and control decks. Though I personally am not a fan of this playstyle, since it relies very much on Antonidas, I thought it would be worth mentioning.
Since this deck is an aggro deck, there is often very little room for tech cards as they generally tend to have higher mana costs; because of this, the only tech cards are those that look to make the deck extend further into the mid game and survive longer.
Patron Warrior from triggering the Deathrattle on Death's Bite.
Ice Lance (x2)Only go for Ice Lance if you run two of them. Ice Lance gives you extra finishing power in control matchups and against Freeze Mage.
Echo of Medivh will be three mana draw three cheap cards.
Matchups and Mulligans
- Mana Wyrm - Always keep;
- Mad Scientist - Always keep;
- Sorcerer's Apprentice - Always keep;
- Clockwork Gnome - Always keep unless you already have 2x 2-drops and the coin.
- Arcane Missiles - Keep against Warlock (unless you know its Handlock), Mage (unless you know its Freeze), Hunter, and Shaman.
- Frostbolt: Keep against Warlock (unless confirmed Handlock), Mage (unless confirmed Freeze), Hunter, and Shaman.
- Unstable Portal - Mulligan against everything unless you are certain it is a midrange/control deck.
- Knife Juggler - Keep only if you don’t have another preferable two drop (Scientist or Apprentice).
- Mirror Image - Always Mulligan
- Fireball - Always Mulligan
- Loot Hoarder - Always Mulligan
- Arcane Intellect - Always Mulligan
- Counterspell / Mirror Entity - Always mulligan;
- Flamewaker - Always Mulligan
- Piloted Shredder - Always Mulligan.
Our opener is strong so ditch Juggler so we can combo with him later.
First off a note about these winrates:
They were collected playing at Legend rank for about one week; because of this, not all the matchups are represented as well and some matchups might be off.
Lightbomb Priest 30-50%: Savjz Decklist
I played this matchup only one time and he managed to get a turn four Auchenai-Circle into a turn five Holy Nova which absolutely wrecked me. I can’t really give a decent strategy against this deck due to a lack of experience. In theory, however, it should be quite bad since you're really vulnerable to both Auchenai-Circle and Holy Nova. Your best bet is just to play it like any control matchup and try to rush down his face asap.
Freeze Mage 40%:
This is quite a hard matchup since they are able to control your board very effectively and you are very vulnerable to sweeper removal. Another issue is that Mirror Entity often ends up hurting you since it allows him to easily destroy your board with a Doomsayer. Consequently, you only want to play Mirror Entity on turns two or three when his turns are often Mad Scientist or Acolyte and on turn five when he might have an Emperor. Always make sure that you kill Acolyte of Pain to reduce his card draw and remove any Spell Power or Emperor immediately. This is a pretty hard matchup but the most common way of winning here is by just bursting him down when he doesn’t expect it.
Tempo Mage 40-55% Daisyx Decklist
This matchup is quite hard since they can often just straight up clear your board on turn seven with Flamestrike as well as go toe-to-toe with you on the board early. Your objective here is to get board control and then only make favorable trades while doing as much face damage as possible. If you do that -- and efficiently kill his Sludge Belchers -- you should have done enough damage to him by turn seven that you can burst him from your hand with Fireball’s. If he doesn’t have the Flamestrike this matchup suddenly becomes significantly easier.
Mech Mage 65%:Kolento Decklist
This matchup should generally be in your favor since you can just out control him since your early game is stronger and he relies on getting his mech syngergies established. If you just keep clearing his board every turn you should be able to win this with few problems.
Aggro Mage 50%
The mirror matchup is all about who gets the board control first and gets his combos rolling. If you don’t get board control, you lose so just always go for clearing his board and you will easily run him out of cards.
(Demon) Zoo 40-60%: Savjz Decklist
Since there are currently so many different versions of Zoo, it is hard to give a specific win percentage. The Zoo builds that use a lot of early game minions are the hardest since your deck relies very heavily on getting board presence. On the flip side, the decks that also include Mal’Ganis, Dr. Boom, and Sea Giants can often be too slow and allow you to easily get control of the board and just force them into Mirror Entities. Full Demonlocks that also run Jaraxxus and legendaries but often tend to die before they can establish board control. In all of these matchups, you are looking to play as aggressive as possible in the mid-game since you can’t properly outlast them when you go for the board because of Life Tap's power.
Handlock 60%: Lifecoach Decklist
Handlocks are a lot easier than Zoo since they often have very limited answers to your plays in the early game. The only card that you need to watch out for is Hellfire but that is not something most Handlocks keep in their starting hand. You can’t play around Molten Giants very well so you will just have to deal with them as they come. Try to make good use of Mirror Image and try to save some spells to burst him down.
Oil Rogue 50%: Toefoo Decklist
Relatively rare so my sample size is small but most of the time you should be able to apply enough pressure and prevent them from clearing your board. The tricky part of this matchup is that Deadly Poison-Blade Flurry removes all of your minions so if he gets that combo twice he can easily destroy your board. At some point you will have to take the gamble that he doesn’t have it and just rush his face. Another annoying thing is that the Mirror Images are mostly useless since the Rogue doesn’t really use minions to clear your board.
Midrange/Ramp Druid 80%: Kolento Decklist
Just like for the Tempo Mage, Druids are free points. Mage is incredibly strong against these decks since all his minions are great Mirror Entity value. My only advice to give is to play around his turn four Keeper by not playing Apprentices or Mirror Entity turn three. Outside of having horrible draws you should never lose this matchup. Make sure that you start pushing for damage during the mid game to get ahead for when the Ancient of Wars start coming down. Finish him of with Fireballs since you have limited potential to kill the Ramp Druids late game Taunts.
This secret will single-handedly ruin a Druid's chance of beating you.
Mech Shaman 80%: Kolento Decklist
This matchup relies completely on tempo. Shaman has three main win conditions: Mechwarper, Whirling Zap-o-matic, and Fel Reaver. Do your best to save a Frostbolt for the first two and time a Mirror Entity for turn four to counter Fel Reaver. You should easily be able to get control of the board and just run him out of cards since this deck runs no card draw and no sweepers.
Face Hunter 75%: Orange Decklist
This is a very good matchup since Arcane Missiles, Flamewaker, Knife Juggler, and Mirror Image are all very good against Hunters. If you run the cards you can also Freeze his face to prevent him from pushing damage. Just keep clearing his board over and over and then you pretty much win by default.
Midrange Hunter 40%: ErA Decklist
This is again a matchup which relies heavily on if you can get board control in the early game. Your deck is a lot faster than his so this should be possible despite Freezing Trap. Since Aggro Mage runs out of cards quickly it is more likely that you can replay play minions that have been frozen. The issue is that Hunter can continue battling for board presence in the mid game and can out grind you going late. Be carefull with overextending with Mirror Entities, only play Mirror Entity when you actually benefit from them in some way: i.e. Knife Juggler or Flamewaker.
Hybrid Hunter 55% Protohype Decklist
This deck is a mixture of Midrange and Face Hunter.The recipe is pretty similar: get board control as soon as possible to stop the onslaught of the Face Hunter part of this deck. Unlike against Midrange Hunter, however, you don’t default lose to his mid game minions since he has a lot fewer of them. Often by the time he plays Highmanes your Health should be high enough that you can just go for face and force him to make trades.
Control Warrior 40-55%: Fibonacci Decklist
This matchup really depends on Fiery War Axe. If the Warrior manages to get it early and kill your first two plays you will be in trouble if they have any type of follow up. Make sure to start pushing for lethal early and this matchup can often be won by turn six or seven since he usually takes up until turn eight or nine to clear your board. In general this is a pretty bad matchup though since he can easily survive your burn with all his armor and/or brawl your board away.
Grim Patron Warrior 30-45%: Kolento Decklist
Just like its older brother this is a close matchup, though you can just randomly lose because he gets a good combo off and runs his Patrons into your Wyrms/Flamewakers/Scientists to create many copies. Again this match mostly revolves around him not having Fiery War Axe as his turn two play. At some point he will get his Patron combo off and then you are pretty screwed since the vast majority of your deck is two Attack.
- Always think about what possible removal they could have and how to play around. This deck is very vulnerable to board clears but if you play too careful with this deck you might get beaten in the late game. If you are not sure what classes have which removal, you can always check the latest Power Ranks for the common decklists of each class.
- Be careful when playing two Mad Scientist at once so that you don’t accidentally have a secret in your hand. Mad Scientists basically give you a free draw and three mana off the spell so this extreme value is often too good to waste with a silly mistake.
- Try to calculate the chances of getting the right Juggles before playing a desperate Flamewaker/Juggler-combo. You should always make sure that this effect hits as many minions as possible.
- Coining just for the spell effect from Flamewaker or Mana Wyrm is often useful even if you can't use the extra mana or can only use it for a hero power. For example, if you are facing a Zoo that plays turn one Flame Imp and you can respond with Mana Wyrm-Coin-nothing it is often worth it to prevent him from getting the favorable trade. This costs you one mana from the coin but saves two mana next turn when you don't have to ping the imp.
- A spell countered by your opponent gives your Mana Wyrm an Attack but doesn’t trigger your Flamewaker.
- Minion positioning isn’t important in this deck but always put the shredder in the middle in case of Dire Wolf Alpha.
- Turn three Sorcerer’s Apprentice-Unstable Portal is incredible value and totally worth it even if you are going even on the board.
- If you have the option between either turn one Coin-Sorcerer's or Coin-Scientist always go for the Scientist unless your opponent played a 1/3 on turn one.
- If you have other options don’t play a Knife Juggler or a Flamewaker without something to follow it up, this deck relies a lot on getting good value from these.
- Even if it means leaving one mana open it is better to play the Unstable Portalled minion -- assuming it isn’t completely awful -- than the card that is perfectly on curve since the minion creates more tempo and often leads to more damage on the board.
While I personally don’t think that this deck is as good as the Tempo Mage deck I made earlier, this guide was made because of many requests for a more budget version. I did pretty well with this deck in the higher legend ranks so reaching legend is definitely a possibility with this deck.
Go out there and get'm dead.