A Secret of the Metagame
In the last article, I mentioned Secret Mage being fairly well positioned and I'm here today to talk about the specifics of the deck and why you should consider playing it. Admittedly, the deck is solidly tier two, but it has some great matchups and interesting play to it.
Similar to the Rogue deck currently seeing a massive surge in play, Secret Mage is a tempo deck. The game plan is to take the board early with Mana Wyrms and control it with Medivh's Valet and other efficient minions. Against slower decks, Counterspells help keep our board safe from AoEs if we time them correctly. The appeal of Secret Mage is that it is excellent at pivoting between aggro and mid-game control. It can respond to its opponent very well and present interesting decision trees for outplaying your opponent.
The best addition to the deck by far has been Bonemare (shocker, I know), which has provided the deck with a late-game punch that it previously lacked. Many lists, for example, used to run Yogg for late-game power and hope it worked. Bonemare fits the gameplan of the deck perfectly by upgrading early minions who have held the board while mid-game spells keep it clear.
Bonemare is the card that lets us burst damage on Razakus Priest, Control Warlock, and Big Priest while over-powering Druid decks. These matchups are relatively good for the deck and you want to queue into them. Exodia Mage is basically a free win for the deck as well, since they have an incredibly difficult time interacting with the mix of minions and Counterspells. Paladin decks are close, but the aggressive Murloc builds are certainly the worst. Fighting for board control can be difficult against all of the aggressive decks, in fact, and I'm not sure there is much the deck can play apart from teching some Blizzards or Flamestrikes, but I doubt that is enough.
Starts with Kirin Tor Mage are generally the best. You want to prioritize having the cards that care about secrets early – Valet, Crystal Runner, and Arcanologist. Obviously, keeping hands with Arcanologist is far more preferable than keeping a secret. Generally speaking, mull most secrets away. They are situational and you want to set them up or draw them from Arcanologist.
There are a few ways to build Secret Mage. Babbling Book sees play in some lists, although it has been largely underwhelming in my experience. Sure, on occasion it high rolls for the best possible spell, but enough Shatters have led me to experiment with other cards. To get some more power out of the deck, I've experimented with both Bittertide Hydra and Cobalt Scalebane. Each have merits and problems. Despite the decrease in Pirate Warrior, Zoo has made a come back, and their Fire Flies trading into Hydra for three damage can be a bit rough. If anything, this deck preys on slower decks, and giving aggro extra points of damage isn't great.
If you find the meta slow, Hydra can be a good choice. There is, at least, a recent decline in Hunter, it seems. As for Cobalt Scalebane, it is an excellent mid-game threat in aggressive decks. However, the problem is that Secret Mage doesn't safely flood the board like the other decks that utilize Scalebane. In any case, there are changes you can make to experiment with the Babbling Book slot if you are interested. At one point I even tried Frost Lich Jaina to give the deck some late-game versus control and possible life-gain versus aggro. It's been medium and requires a much more elemental heavy build (which I think is a possible viable future for Mage decks, actually!)
In any case, hopefully these pesky Hunter decks decline in numbers after their recent surge so that Secret Mage can continue preying on these goofy control decks!
To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone