Our Budget Elemental Mage deck list guide for The Witchwood expansion will teach you how to play this tempo Mage list. This Budget Elemental Mage guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Elemental Mage
Since the release of Journey to Un’Goro, players have tinkered with the Elemental tribe in hopes that it would find a home in Mage. Unfortunately, the archetype has always played second fiddle to both Standard tempo-oriented builds and those containing Secret synergies.
Now, with many of the aforementioned Secret synergies relegated into the Wild format, Elementals may be Mage’s best hope. Fans of tribal decks can rejoice and dust off their Blazecallers and Fire Plume Phoenix in preparation for the Year of the Raven.
This guide will give you the basics of navigating the mulligan phase and basic strategies, as well as an overview of substitutions to make as your collection grows!
The Witchwood introduced a few new cards to propel Elemental Mage into the go-to archetype for budget-minded Mage players. In particular, Bonfire Elemental provides a solid body with a reliable card cycle. Additionally, Cinderstorm increases the deck’s burst potential and helps soften up minions for Mage’s Hero Power.
Budget Elemental Mage Mulligan Guide
High Priority Keeps
- Mana Wyrm – Far and away the best turn one play in the deck, Mana Wyrm may just be the best opener in Standard Hearthstone right now.
- Fire Fly – While it doesn’t have the same snowball potential as Mana Wyrm, Fire Fly can still help fend off early game minions against aggressive opponents.
- Arcanologist – Despite the loss of many other Secret synergies, Arcanologist is still a powerful card, especially when curving into Kirin Tor Mage.
Low Priority Keeps
- Sorcerer's Apprentice – Even with a low cost, Sorcerer’s Apprentice isn’t a great turn two play. In most games, you’d rather have a Mana Wyrm or Arcanologist.
- Frostbolt – Similarly, Frostbolt can remove opposing minions but, as a reactive card, it doesn’t develop help develop on the board. Paired with Mana Wyrm and/or Apprentice, it may have a place in your starting hand. Otherwise, send it back for later.
- Kirin Tor Mage – Curving Arcanologist into Kirin Tor Mage is still a strong tempo play. Only keep this card if you also have the former.
Budget Elemental Mage Play Strategy
Generally, Elemental Mage plays as a minion-based tempo deck. This means you want to stick minions in the early game to pressure your opponents. Paramount to this strategy is landing an early Mana Wyrm or Arcanologist into Kirin Tor Mage.
While the deck does have a substantial mount of burn spells, success is really predicated on the chip damage from early game minions. By the mid-game turns, Elementals begin to accumulate value if you’re able to maintain the tribal chain. Steam Surger and Bonfire Elemental ensure your hand is well-stocked going into the late-game.
As you begin to hit the top-end of your curve, it’s time to start counting damage and look to set up a kill. Always be aware of how much burst you have in hand and be on the lookout for lethal. Don’t commit too hard on the burn plan against aggressive opponents, however, as the lack of Ice Block means you may leave yourself open to a counter kill.
Budget Elemental Mage Future Card Replacements
- 2x Arcane Intellect > 2x Book of Specters – With so many minions in this deck, there is little downside to running Book of Specters at a reduced mana cost.
- 2x Water Elemental > 2x Primordial Glyph – Setting up board initiative is great, but Discovering Mage spells is even better.
- 2x Cinderstorm > 2x Blazecaller – The loss of Firelands Portal stings a bit for tempo Mages, but Blazecaller provides a similar turn seven swing.
Budget Elemental Mage General Replacements
Here’s a list of cards you can add to this deck if you happen to have them or are missing anything in the decklist.
- Aluneth – The reasonably low curve of this deck may warrant the inclusion of this Legendary weapon. However, the deck has a lot of hand refill already and equipping the weapon may lead to some clunky turns if you can’t dump your hand fast enough.
- Pyroblast – Healing isn’t as common as it once was in the Standard metagame, but Pyro can still bring your opponent back into lethal range.
- Nightmare Amalgam – This flexible mult-tribe minion can help your chain together Elemental turns, but isn’t necessarily required for this archetype.
- Servant of Kalimos – Servant is still a reasonable inclusion in this deck, but pales in comparison Jaina’s new Elemental acquisition: Bonfire Elemental.