Reno Mage Deck List Guide (March 2017, Standard) – Season 36

Reno Mage is one of the new and exciting decks to come out of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. This Reno Mage Standard deck guide will help you learn Mulligans, Play Strategy, Combos and Synergy, and more!

Introduction

New Gadgetzan additions to Kabal classes (Mage, Priest, Warlock) made the so-called Reno decks (highlander decks, decks with no duplicates) stronger and much more popular. One of main strengths of the decks is their flexibility. Since you play a lot of tech cards, you can adjust the deck really well to the meta.

UPDATE – RENO KAZAKUS MAGE IN MARCH 2017, SEASON 36

The recent balance patch wasn’t good for Reno Mage. Even though the deck’s power didn’t go down, it thrived in the Aggro meta. While the meta is still pretty fast, it has slowed down a bit, making Reno Mage a bit worse. I feel like StrifeCro’s version is the best one for the current meta – it’s still strong against Aggro (doesn’t necessarily counter the Aggro, but it’s good enough), while adding some late game tools improved the slower matchups – especially the Jade Druid matchup, which got much more popular recently (it’s around twice as popular as it was pre-patch).

The changes to the deck are:

Mistress of Mixtures
– Babbling Book
– Refreshment Vendor
– Alexstrasza

+ Acolyte of Pain
Sylvanas Windrunner
Inkmaster Solia
+ Medivh, the Guardian

Check out our List of the Best Standard Decks for Hearthstone Ladder

Reno Mage Mulligan Strategy

I’ll divide the mulligan section into two – against fast decks and against slow decks. Fast decks are generally the Aggro decks (e.g. Aggro Shaman) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Dragon Warrior). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.

Vs Fast Decks

Higher Priority (keep every time):

  • Arcane Blast – Basic early game removal, it can clear 1/2 health minions on turn 1/2. On turn 3 you can combo it with Hero Power for 3 damage. It’s also great if you draw Bloodmage Thalnos.
  • Doomsayer – This is exactly the one card you want to get in Aggro matchups. Usually it clears 1 or 2 minions and stalls the game for 1 turn. But even if it fails, it still tanks 7 damage, which you don’t mind.
  • Frostbolt – Another early game removal. Since early game is all about keeping the board clear, it’s great pick.
  • Ice Block – It might not seem like a great keep, but giving you one more turn to live in the mid game can be crucial. It might be enough to get you to a Reno turn (yes, sometimes you die before turn 6), it gives you one more draw, it can potentially let you kill your opponent if you have some minions on the board. Also, if your opponent has used the burn to proc it, he might not have enough damage to kill you next turn again.
  • Manic Soulcaster – You care about the 3/4 body, not the effect. It’s probably your best proactive turn 3 play.
  • Mind Control Tech – Aggro decks are known for flooding the board early, you might have an opportunity to hit a turn 3-4 MCT. Sometimes the card wins you the game right away if you hit a good target, but even stealing something small is an okay tempo play.
  • Volcanic Potion – Most of the Aggro decks rely on the early game board presence to deal necessary damage. While it’s not a great keep against Midrange Shaman, it should win you a lot of games against Pirate Warrior, Zoo Warlock or Tempo Mage.
  • Kazakus – Turn 4 Kazakus into turn 5 potion (AoE + something) is game-winning in most of the Aggro matchups. Even if you don’t get the board clear, you should at least get the single target removal, Armor gain, card draw to get you closer to Reno etc. If you really need tempo, you can also play Kazakus and pick a 1 mana potion to play it with another minion.
  • Reno Jackson – Often auto-win when dropped on turn 6 against Aggro. There is no reason to not keep it, especially in fast matchups.

Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):

  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – Great keep against weapon-based Aggro decks – so you keep it against Pirate Warrior for example. But it’s not really good against non-weapon decks like Zoo, 3/2 for 2 is just not enough (it dies too easily).
  • Water Elemental – With the good early game curve or possibly with Coin if you don’t have any t3 play.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos – With Arcane Blast, especially against decks running early game 4 health minions like Totem Golem, Frothing Berserker or Flamewaker.

Vs Slow Decks

Higher Priority (keep every time):

  • Doomsayer – Even though it’s best against Aggro, it’s also solid against Control. Since you don’t really have a lot of proactive early game plays, t2 or t3 Doomsayer might get some value – e.g. it’s good against Acolyte of Pain, because it prevents draws OR forces a removal so early in the game.
  • Kabal Courier – Weak stats, but Discover is really solid against Control decks. You can pick a card that you will base your gameplay around – e.g. discovering Flamewaker might make you save your cheap spells and discovering some burn might make you play more aggressively.
  • Forgotten Torch – You want to shuffle that 6 damage Fireball as soon as possible, because it might be used as your finisher. Even if not, it’s still a good draw.
  • Water Elemental – To have something to play on curve.
  • Kazakus – Depending on the exact matchup (you need to know if you will need the double Kazakus value) you can either play him right away to tempo out in the mid game or wait until Brann. Either way, it’s good to have him as soon as possible.
  • Reno Jackson – Since it’s pretty much the only “solid” heal in your deck, you keep it even against Control. You don’t know how the game will go and maybe you will need it. And if not, you can always drop it as a 4/6 minion.

Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):

  • Early removals – Arcane Blast and Frostbolt – Against the decks that run some early game drops. For example, it might be worth it to keep against Priest, but not worth it to keep against Freeze Mage.
  • Azure Drake – If the rest of your hand is really good, then you can afford to keep a 5-drop.

Reno Mage Matchup Win Percentages

Here’s a look at how Reno Mage stacks up against other decks in the meta. Thanks to Metastats for allowing us to provide these statistics!

Winrates provided by Metastats

Reno Mage Play Strategy

I’ll start with the strategy against fast decks. The deck has very limited healing, it has no Taunts and such. So while usually the strategy in Control vs Aggro is to survive the early game, then wall up and not let them get through, while gaining life, in this case it’s slightly different. This deck’s early game is mostly about preventing damage with removals, stalling and cycling through the deck. Most of the early game cards are either small removal, ways to slow down the game or card draw. So the goal of the deck in fast matchups is to try to remove everything they play while getting closer to your own Reno.

One common mistake vs Aggro is Hero Powering too much. Sure, they might have something worth hero Powering every turn, like a 1/1. But then you play with 2 mana less each turn, and they just outtempo you. It’s often better to develop something and take slightly more immediate damage, but have something you can make trades with. In the long run, it should be worth it. Also, don’t worry about spending resources. Arcane Blasting a 1 health minion instead of Hero Powering so you can develop something yourself is often a good play. Tempo is very important, if you have things on the board, you can dictate the trades and prevent their aggression a bit. If you’re in a desperate situation, you should try to go for the card draw. You can get your Ice Block and if you already have it, you might dig into your Reno.

The Aggro matchup is rather straightforward, you just try to survive and hopefully draw Reno or other heals. Nothing complicated about that. The Control one, however, is harder to play correctly. This version of Reno Mage is a grindy deck that can outvalue most of the decks in the long run if you play the match correctly. The decks plays multiple cards that add extra value from outside of your deck, making them perfect in Control matchups. Kabal Courier or Kazakus give you extra cards while not drawing anything, so not bringing you closer to the fatigue. Manic Soulcaster even puts you further away from fatigue, making it a perfect card in slow matchups.

One of the highest value combos in the deck is Brann Bronzebeard + Kazakus + Manic Soulcaster. The combo lets you create two 10 mana potions (if you go for the full value) and then you shuffle 2 extra copies of Kazakus into your deck. Remember that for a brief period of time, until you draw one of the two, your Reno won’t work! But after you do, that’s four 10 mana potions in total AND two cards more in the deck for the fatigue game. With this combo, you can outvalue pretty much every other deck – I never lost a full value game with this deck, only times I’ve lost Control matchups was when the opponent has outtempo’d me. So be aware of that when picking potions – picking some AoE clears (especially Mystic Wool, AoE Polymorph) is a great way to prevent the rush strategies from working. Obviously, 4x Kazakus is a perfect case scenario – in reality, 2 or 3 potions should more than enough and you shouldn’t go for it unless you’re absolutely sure that the game will go to fatigue and every piece of value will matter.

Secondary win condition is Medivh, the Guardian. Assuming that the weapon won’t be removed, the card can bring you insane value and tempo. First your opponent has to kill the 7/7 body. Then he has to deal with 3 more big minions, because you should be saving your big spells for after Medivh. And at the same time, you’re still getting value from that spells. Saving a 10 mana Kazakus potion (or even multiple) is perfect, because on top of the potion’s effect, you’re guaranteed to get a big body on the board (7/5 and 5/7 are the worst you can get, but on average you should see something better – 12/12 is a pretty common outcome, because of two Deathwings). Combo that with “resurrect 3 minions and give +6 health” and you have won the game unless your opponent has hard AoE removal (like Twisting Nether).

Another win condition, although less likely without Alexstrasza is burning your opponent down after bringing him down to lower health amount. You can also get extra burn from Archmage Antonidas, which really helps. If you manage to get 2-3 extra Fireballs from Antonidas, it means that you might have enough burn to kill your opponent just after some light minion hits.

Another way to win in some slow matchups, especially against decks that run combo, is Dirty Rat. A well-timed Dirty Rat (even with Brann Bronzebeard) can pull out a crucial card from the opponent, possibly making his win condition useless.

P.S. Be careful when you get an extra Forgotten Torch outside of the game (e.g. Kabal Courier). If you shuffle 2x Roaring Torch into your deck, your Reno and Kazakus won’t be active! Same goes for shuffling 2 copies of a minion with Brann + Manic Soulcaster.

Reno Mage Matchup Advice

In this section, I’ll give a few quick tips on how to play in the most popular matchups.

Aggro Shaman

  • Reno Mage is a favorite against Aggro Shaman. While having a lot of burn, the deck heavily relies on the early game damage and board snowball to win the game. As long as you clear the board, you should win the game.
  • Try to go for the maximum tempo, don’t really worry about the value. If possible, try to keep a big removal (Polymorph is the best) for Flamewreathed Faceless.
  • Be cautious with your AoEs – you only have a few and Shaman is known for his ability to refill the board after it’s cleared. Even Aggro Shaman can immediately play 2-3 more minions + Totem.
  • DO NOT play Dirty Rat in the early turns – it is pretty likely that your opponent has something bigger like 7/7 or Aya Blackpaw, neither of which you want to see early on the board.
  • Don’t wait too long with your heals – Shamans can hold to a lot of burn. It’s really easy for them to deal 10+ damage from their hand. If they hold to 2-3 cards, you should play around up to ~15 burn damage if possible.
  • Aggro builds don’t run Hex, so dropping Archmage Antonidas should be safe if you get an opportunity. If it sticks to the board, you have infinite removals or you can even set up 2 turns lethal if you go face.

Pirate Warrior

  • The matchup is even more extreme than Aggro Shaman. Games against Aggro Shaman often last until late game – games against Pirate Warrior are usually decided much earlier.
  • You want to prevent as much damage as possible. Kill every minion, stall the game, AoE everything down even if that clears your own board. Minions pressure from Warrior stops around turn 4-5, after that it’s mostly weapons + burn. Him dropping a single minion on turn 5 or 6 isn’t a threat any more, basically Pirate Warrior doesn’t run any big minions you need to worry about. It’s also why it’s safe to use big removals like Fireball or Polymorph on smaller minions. No minion in the deck has more than 4 health anyway.
  • Weapon destruction is important – in the best case scenario you want to destroy Arcanite Reaper or at least Fiery War Axe. But if your opponent plays turn 1 N'Zoth's First Mate, following with an on-curve Acidic Swamp Ooze is the right move – you prevent some damage, you make their weapon synergies much, much weaker. If they don’t have another weapon, of course…
  • Water Elemental is one of the best minions in the matchup. Try to keep him alive and attack face each turn – this prevents Warrior from dealing any weapon damage, which is his main source of burn. Similarly, Frostbolt can be used to stall the weapon hit for one turn, for example if you’re looking for some healing and you can’t take more damage.
  • Reno Jackson is basically a win in this matchup. You drop turn 6 Reno, you win 95% of the games. Another way to survive extra turn is an Ice Block, even though it won’t keep you alive much longer, one extra turn can make a big difference.
  • Remember to play around Mortal Strike. Don’t get the Warrior below 12 unless you’re healthy enough to easily survive 2x Mortal Strike + something. Get him down to 13 (or more) and then kill him next turn (by that time you should have big enough board to deal 15+ damage in a single turn).

Dragon Priest

  • One of the hardest matchups for the deck. It’s a slower Midrange deck that can both outtempo and outvalue you with the right draws. The deck can play multiple high health minions back to back and your AoEs are nearly useless against them. On the other hand, you run only a few single target removals, which is usually not enough. Thanks to their Hero Power, they can keep their minions healthy while removing your own stuff. Really hard to win against a good Dragon Priest player.
  • Generally, you want to do everything to not fall behind on the board. Try to play for the tempo and have some minion presence all the time. If Dragon Priest takes over the board, it’s very hard to come back. This means that you want to have a solid minion curve and follow it – you can’t win a completely reactive game against Dragon Priest.
  • Kazakus is one of the most important cards in this matchup. Optimally you want to play it with Brann in order to get 2 AoE board clears. Depending on your situation, you want to pick either a 5 mana or 10 mana potion. If you’re in a bad spot and Priest is already flooding the board, go for 5 mana potion. 4 AoE damage is the best option, but single target damage or summoning minions is also okay. You really want to get the board control and keep removing their stuff. It gets even better if you can manage to survive until later game, then 10 mana potion is amazing – 6 AoE damage clears everything in their deck (counting vanilla stats, not buffs) and Mass polymorph is also amazing. Priest needs to play some stuff to put enough pressure and you can punish him with a huge AoE.
  • After your opponent has used Shadow Word: Death or if you’re just in a bad spot, you can go for the Archmage Antonidas play and hope that he has no way to answer him. If it sticks to the board, you can constantly remove whatever he plays. Most of his bigger drops are at or below 6 health, which makes them perfect Fireball targets. I think that going for a “yolo” Antonidas is often the right play (since this is a bad matchup), especially if you’re behind by a lot.

Midrange Shaman

  • The matchup is harder than the Aggro Shaman, but still alright. The game is slower, and you can take it a bit slower. Remember, however, that Midrange Shaman (no matter if it’s the regular or Jade version) has A LOT of value in the deck. I had some Control Warrior games last season when Midrange Shaman nearly outvalued me when piloted right. This means that you don’t want to go for a really, really long game. What you want to do is control the board, then swing the tempo with AoE at one point and then get ahead on the board.
  • Matchup is slower, so you don’t have to go all-in for the tempo. Midrange Shaman can still get some busted starts with Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem, but since they don’t run the Pirate package, you don’t have to worry about your health total so much. Instead, you want to play some minions to have ways to trade on the board.
  • Instead of going for some cards for the tempo, in this matchup you can hold them for the value. For example – Mind Control Tech. Against Aggro, if that was your only turn 3 play, you would still go for it even if you didn’t steal anything. However, against Midrange it can be right to hold it if you’re not under pressure to get value out of it later.
  • AoEs are crucial in this matchup. Midrange Shaman can’t do anything without the board – the deck just struggles to do anything if it has no minions. But you don’t want to waste AoE on let’s say 1 minion + 2 totems, because you have really limited resources when it comes to that. Try to keep your AoE until you really need it – let’s say he has the board you can’t deal with or he plays Flametongue Totem that you can’t clear with multiple other minions present.
  • Unlike Aggro Shaman, Midrange versions run 2x Hex, so remember that your first bigger minion played will most likely get Hexed, leading to a big tempo loss. Try to first bait a Hex on one of your Midrange minions (like Water Ele or Reno) or play a bigger minion once you’re even/ahead on the board, so the tempo loss won’t hurt that much.
  • Midrange Shamans are generally very low on healing – some builds run Jinyu Waterspeaker, but a lot of them don’t run any healing at all. This means that offensive Alexstrasza can be a really good way to win. If you have something on the board, you can Alex Shaman down to 15, hit him in the face, and then finish the game with a mix of burn, Hero Power pings and minion damage.

RenoLock

  • Matchup against RenoLock is one of the hardest ones – and not hardest because Warlock is a big favorite, but because it’s hard to play it correctly. Generally, if you don’t count the Lord Jaraxxus, your deck has more total value than RenoLock. But Jaraxxus is the problem – you can’t outvalue it, you have to burst your opponent down.
  • Early/mid game is mostly a value game. You try to play some minions, while not falling behind too much. Due to the Hero Power difference, Warlock will be way higher on resources early and you can’t help that. You have to try to keep up with him. Having some early minions is good, because it will make it easier to deal with RenoLock’s turn 4 plays – Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake. Polymorphing the Giant is great, because not only you deal with a big threat, but you also prevent Warlock for getting him back through Kazakus’ potion.
  • Mid/late game should be back and forth – one player playing a threat, other answering. As long as you don’t fall behind on the board, you should be fine. Not every Warlock build runs the Combo now, but Ice Block is a hard counter to the combo – if you don’t have it, try to stay above 20 health (possibly above 24 if you add Soulfire). If you see that Warlock is holding onto a few cards all the time, even after Emperor Thaurissan, those might be combo pieces – you can play a Dirty Rat to try to pull one of them out. Pulling out another card that Warlock might be holding onto – Jaraxxus – is also solid.
  • The late game matchups is all about Lord Jaraxxus. At one point, Warlock will know that he can’t outvalue you and play Jaraxxus. After that, you want to burn him down. You still have some time – thanks to the freezes, Ice Block, Reno etc. you should have at least few turns. The perfect combo against Jaraxxus is FireballRoaring TorchFrostbolt. But it requires you to draw and hold onto all of those cards, so it might not work flawlessly. It’s best if you could bait Reno before Jaraxxus, it reduces the potential amount of healing and lets you go for the “little by little” burst method. This way you can do this over multiple turns, adding Firelands Portal and pings to the mix. You also want to pick the “deal damage” potions from Kazakus if possible – they will come handy once it’s time to burst the Jaraxxus down.
  • If you can’t deal with the Jaraxxus, you can also try having the constant board pressure until the late game. If you have board advantage, Warlock can’t play Jaraxxus. And if you force him to wait until the late, late game, when he’s close to fatigue, extra damage should do the job. When he starts taking fatigue damage, all you need to do is stall the game long enough.
  • Archmage Antonidas is also a solid win condition. If you manage to bait all the big removals with other minions, RenoLock might have no way to kill Antonidas and at this point it’s simply game over. If you think that he might have another removal (like Kazakus potion), you still want to get as much value as you can immediately. Getting extra 3-4 Fireballs should really improve this matchup – now he will be really afraid to use Jaraxxus, because when he does you should be able to burst him quite easily.

Miracle Rogue

  • Matchup against Miracle Rogue is pretty even, I’d say that it depends on the exact list of both players, but both have pretty equal chances to get ahead. This matchup is a classic grinder battle from the Mage’s perspective – you want to remove every threat Rogue has in his deck and completely starve him out of resources, until he can’t kill you anymore. You try to not fall behind on the tempo and not take too much damage, while clearing everything Rogue plays.
  • Start of the matchup was really slow, but it got faster with the early Pirate package Rogue is running. Swashburglar and Patches the Pirate aren’t problematic, because they have only 1 damage and die to your Hero Power. ,
  • There are a few key things you need to watch out for. First of all – Questing Adventurer list is harder to win against, because they have 2 extra big threats you have to deal with immediately. But it’s still possible. If your opponent drops Questing, KILL IT RIGHT AWAY. It can grow out of control really fast and after a turn it might be out of range of your removals. Gadgetzan Auctioneer is the Rogue’s main draw mechanic. Try to always have something that you can kill him with – Frostbolt, Fireball, whatever. You can’t let it stick to the board, or Rogue will cycle through the whole deck in no time. Second thing you need to worry about is Conceal turn – if you don’t have AoE, try to set up the best possible board against next Rogue’s turn. For example, if he didn’t play any Saps yet, try to play 2 midrange minions instead of one big. If he did play Sap, you can let’s say set up a Archmage Antonidas to put him in a weird spot – he either needs a second Sap or needs to clear it, which might be hard to do without Spell Damage. Another thing you need to worry about is the burst damage – current Miracle Rogue lists run a lot of burst – Leeroy Jenkins, 2x Cold Blood and 2x Eviscerate are present in nearly every list. Try to not get too low without Ice Block up, if you see that Rogue tries to rush you down, you can play a pretty early Reno if you feel that you’re too low already.
  • When it comes to Kazakus potion choices, two best effects are AoE damage and Polymorph. Both kinda counter the stealthed minions and Poly is also great against a big VanCleef.
  • Dirty Rat is very strong in this matchup – if you play it around turn 6-7, it’s very possible to pull out Gadgetzan Auctioneer to immediately kill it. Pretty much the only minion you don’t want to pull is Tomb Pillager and those are often played first – every other minion has some kind of Battlecry, Combo etc. that make it a good target.
  • Rogue will usually be 5-10 cards ahead of you, but don’t worry – his card have way less individual value and they’re best for cycling. When it comes to the total number of threats in Rogue’s list, it’s not THAT much – if you manage your removals well, you might be able to literally clear every minion in their deck. A lot of the games end up like that. You can’t really go for the tempo game, because Rogue will simply win it – with Saps, efficient removals, better tempo Hero Power etc.

Reno Mage Combos and Synergies

One of the most interesting “combo” cards in the deck is Manic Soulcaster. While the effect is mostly useless in the faster matchups, it can let you play certain cards more than once in slow matchups. Since it costs 3 mana, you can combo it with most of the things right away. You can even play the cheaper ones with Brann to shuffle 2 copies! It can give you an edge vs Control decks. The best one to shuffle is most likely Kazakus. Even one copy of this card is a lot of value, and you can potentially get up to 4 potions in one game. Another good shuffle target is Alexstrasza. It’s a big body with an impactful Battlecry. But you can only do that combo immediately with Emperor discounts. Yet another option is to get another Reno Jackson in your deck – that’s most likely the card you want to copy in faster matchups, but even in the slower ones you might do it if you think that you will be under pressure and you might need Reno again. It should also be best against combo decks like Freeze Mage. If you heal once, you can shuffle him back and try to draw him before Mage can burn you again.

Talking about our favorite explorer, Reno Jackson has great synergy with Ice Block. Biggest flaw of Reno decks is that they’re prone to getting bursted down. Reno doesn’t prevent combo turns, but Ice Block does. When playing RenoLock, you’re often forced to use Reno at 15-20 health in some matchups, because you might be killed from there. This is not the case in Reno Mage, as you’re safe even at 1 health, because no one runs Secret destruction in Standard.

Dirty Rat is a great card that allows you to interact with your opponent’s hand. The best combo here is Brann Bronzebeard + Dirty Rat + Mind Control Tech. Pulling out extra minions might allow you to get a great MCT value. Remember to not do it too early or when you have no way to clear a potential big threat. For example, if you give your opponent an 8/8 you can’t kill, he can get a lot of value if you don’t steal it right away! You can also play Brann + Dirty Rat into a Doomsayer, especially if you feel that your opponent is holding valuable cards in his hand.

Even though the deck doesn’t run Frost Nova, it can still combo Blizzard with Doomsayer on turn 8. It’s more useful in slow matchups, because of the mana cost, but can sometimes be a good way to destroy the board you wouldn’t be able to deal with otherwise. To a lesser degree, Doomsayer also combos with a Frostbolt. Especially after a single, big minion. For example – if Druid Innervates out an early Ancient of War and you have no way to deal with it, playing Frostbolt + Doomsayer is a pretty strong move.

Reno Mage Card Substitutions

I’ll start this section by addressing one of the most common questions. People have asked pro players over and over again why they don’t play Inkmaster Solia. The new Reno Legendary was really hyped before the expansion and it seems weird why she’s not in here. The reason is actually quite simple – this deck is built as an anti-Aggro one. Inkmaster Solia is not a good Anti-Aggro card, because she comes out too late to really matter in a lot of games. In slower matchups, you should easily have enough time to play all those slow spells by themselves anyway. The card isn’t that bad, but it’s just not necessary and every card slot in the deck is very precious. It might be played in some future lists, but right now most of the players have decided to drop it.

Sylvanas Windrunner

The choice is basically Emperor Thaurissan vs Sylvanas. Both have their good and bad sides and which one is better mostly depends on the matchup. Thaurissan is a higher tempo card – while it doesn’t give you much tempo by itself, it makes your future turns better – you might be able to play an extra spell or minion on top of what you’ve already wanted to do. On the other hand, Sylvanas is a more value card. Sure, it can give you some tempo if not answered correctly, but you often have to prepare to LOSE the tempo.

I’d say that right now Emperor is better in the matchups where you might need the extra discounts (for example, against Aggro, so you can play Alex one turn earlier) and those that have ways to answer Sylvanas (e.g. Midrange Shaman with Hex – Thaurissan, even if Hexed, already got some value right away). Sylvanas is better in the matchups where pure value matters more (e.g. other Reno decks) and those that have no good answer for it (e.g. Dragon Priest).

However, Thaurissan gets an extra value since you run Archmage Antonidas. Discounting Antonidas or other spells means that you can consistently generate more Fireballs. So in this particular list, Thaurissan is most likely better. However, if you don’t run Antonidas, Sylvanas might be a better choice. Ultimately it’s up to you.

Frost Nova

Frost Nova is a strong card in any deck that runs Doomsayer. Even though those are one-ofs, it’s still semi common to perform it. It’s an amazing mid game board clear that works a lot of times, especially against faster decks.

But that’s not all. Frost Nova is a great stall card. Vs decks that rely on the minion damage to win the game, Frost Nova is usually stalling the game for one more turn. Turn 6 Frost Nova is a good way to set up the turn 7 Flamestrike. It might also be quite alright in the slow matchups – if you’re making a tempo push for lethal and your opponent desperately develops multiple minions, Frost Nova can win you the game by making his board useless for one turn. He doesn’t make trades – you just swing with your minions again and win.

Closing

Reno Mage looks very promising in the current meta. For the last 2-3 weeks, it has been rising in both popularity and on the tier lists as people were discovering the most optimal versions. Right now it’s ranked 7th overall and 4th in Legend by the vS Data Reaper Report. If the trend keeps, it might soon be “promoted” to Tier I. Right now it seems like the strongest Reno deck out of 3 Kabal classes, so if you’re looking for one to play – this should be a great choice!

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. If you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.

Good luck on the ladder and until next time!

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53 Comments

Discuss This Deck
  1. RICHARD
    March 29, 2017 at 12:36 am

    to replace medivh?

    Reply
  2. Tyrande1997
    March 28, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Manic Soulcaster and Inkmaster Solia replacement?

    Reply
  3. Madtoaster
    March 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    So what do i replace inkmaster solia with? Alextraza? i dont have her and i dont think she is worth the dust, but i have a ton of other cards so what would be the best replacement for her?

    Reply
  4. Dark
    March 7, 2017 at 1:18 am

    Why is burglar bully not played anymore?

    Reply
  5. Enlythen
    March 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Medivh, missing from the list

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      March 6, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Fixed, thanks.

      Reply
  6. MrMeme
    February 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Replacement for Alexstrassa?

    Reply
  7. GEORGE IOAKEIMIDIS
    February 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

    great deck list but i can see some replacements for the current meta +1 Frost Nova +1 ice barrier +1 ice lance -1 kabal Courrier -1 Manic Soulcaster -1 Emperor Thaurissan, what’s your opinion about these changes

    Reply
  8. DisagioMan
    February 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I replaced Misstress of mixture with Burgly bully and it works fine for me ;D

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      February 8, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Well, Mistress of Mixtures is one of the flex spots and Bully fits nicely into this deck. I love the Coin combo with Antonidas. However, it mostly depends on how many Pirate Warriors and Aggro Shamans you face – Mistress is just so much better against those, because if you drop her on t1 there is a nice chance that she will answer the Small-Time Buccaneer.

      Reply
  9. MrMeme
    February 4, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Replacement for Archmage Antonidas?

    Reply
    • scintillate
      February 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Archmage seems like a key card in this deck. It’s just a solid win condition. And unfortunately, I don’t have the card either.

      Reply
      • MrMeme
        February 7, 2017 at 11:38 am

        I replaced him with Mediv and it sort of works, not as good tho

        Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      February 8, 2017 at 12:30 am

      It’s hard to say, you most likely want to play another big threat like Ragnaros or the Medivh you mentioned. While we’re at it, if you don’t have Antonidas, I’d also replace Emperor Thaurissan with Sylvanas (if you have it) – Thaurissan is used mostly to make Antonidas/spells cheaper so you can combo those better. Without Anton, I’d say that Sylvanas should be better.

      Reply
      • MrMeme
        February 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Ok, thx

        Reply
  10. justin
    February 3, 2017 at 7:02 am

    fantastic guide! I liked the game play strategy section. But I completely disagree with the match up advice vs dragon priest. the suggestion of trying to tempo out and fight hard for board early is wrong. the priest has better minion’s better ways to value trade ,as well as ways to heal and draw cards at the same time. The straight up early game fight that you can win in one out of seven games will only happen at the expense of precious resources, the priest will just get the board back in a turn or two anyway with a book wyrm. what you do have is a reno kazakus and aoe and mind control tech, setting up semi value aoe’s and stalling for kazakus and reno has more chance of success in this difficult matchup.

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      February 8, 2017 at 12:39 am

      I don’t think that completely giving up board control and trying to stall is good. Given how many high health minions Priest has (including PW:S and Talonpriest buffs), you won’t AoE them down too easily. Flamestrike often does nothing against Priest’s board.

      Of course, I didn’t mean that you want to waste resources. For example, throwing Ooze into Wyrmrest Agent would be a bad idea, because it gets killed for free. My point was to try to answer the minions right away, Frostbolt this, Torch that, FIreball/Polymorph something else. If you let Priest develop the board, you won’t win it unless you get really lucky with something like Blizzard + Doomsayer that goes off.

      Stall tactic is good after you clear some minions, if you don’t, there will be too much pressure on the board. Even a simple 1 -> 4 curve (Whelp, Wyrmrest Agent, Talonpriest, Twilight Guardian) is 10 damage already. For example, Reno is a great stall tool, but if you’re facing 15 damage on turn 6, it won’t really do that much.

      Anyway, I think that we can agree that this matchup is horrible and pretty much no tactic works well.

      Reply
  11. Das Disk
    February 3, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Just a piece of advice since I’ve seen this a couple of times now. Be careful what you wish for when playing Kazakus and choosing Ichor of Undeath. If you’ve already played Doomsayer you’re likely to get a nasty surprise… just saying.

    Reply
  12. TheTommunist
    February 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    This deck is really good, although I can’t beat control warrior…

    Reply
    • Godie
      February 2, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Same here. Haven´t figured out the best strategy aggainst control warrior.

      Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      February 3, 2017 at 4:15 am

      Wait, how? You should be easily favorite against Control Warrior. The matchup is like 65/35 in Mage’s favor. You play the value game and you should win most of the time. Keep big removal for their Ysera/Ragnaros/whatever they play, keep Ooze for Gorehowl, outvalue them with Brann + Kazakus combo. You don’t play the burn game, you should outvalue him. The only way for Warrior to win is Elise Starseeker (Golden Monkey), but you should set up Thaurissan on the Antonidas before and when he drops Monkey, you drop Antonidas and get a few Fireballs. It’s not likely that he gets a Legendary that can deal with him (there are only few like Icehowl or 50/50 Rag roll) – with Anton on the board you just kill whatever Legendary he plays. Another way to win vs Golden Monkey is a good 10 mana Kazakus potion. E.g. resurrect 3 minions + summon 8/8 or give them +6 health. Warrior has no Brawl after Monkey so you can easily flood the board. Save some minions for after the Monkey and outtempo the Warrior.

      That’s the basic game plan, but you need to tell me what you’re struggling with for me to help.

      Reply
      • Dodie
        February 5, 2017 at 5:27 am

        Thanks! Thats perfect, i think i was just unlucky.

        Reply
      • TheTommunist
        February 9, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Alright, thanks! The only problem was the early Justicar, which allowed my opponent to build up an enormous amount of armor. That strategy seems to work really well – I’ve been having much, much higher win rates against the occasional control warrior.

        Reply
    • LUL
      February 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      at 10 mana brann > kazakus > manic soulcaster the kazakus; insta win. always 10 mana ressurect potion and try to not play doomsayer.

      Reply
  13. TheTommunist
    January 31, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Theoretically, would Burgle Bully w/ Antonidas work? Burgle bully isn’t that slow, and combos extremely well with Antonidas. Yet if I were to do this, would should I cut?

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      February 2, 2017 at 12:26 am

      Yes, it would work. Some people have tested it with pretty solid results in slow matchups. I didn’t include it in my updated list, because it was hard to find a slot for it. However, if you want to run it, you most likely want to cut something like a Forbidden Flame, Mistress of Mixtures or Mind Control Tech. I’d personally go for MCT, but that’s because I don’t really like heavy RNG cards.

      Reply
      • TheTommunist
        February 9, 2017 at 9:42 pm

        Thanks! I’ve figured that the turn 10 Antonidas into coin, coin, coin, Thaurissan is extremely powerful.

        Reply
  14. GrumpyKitten
    December 20, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Any replacements for Manic Soulcaster?

    Reply
  15. Chamiou
    December 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Switched my slower Reno deck to this one, first game was versus a Pirate Warrior. I curved out perfectly with Loot > Manic > Refreshment > Brann/Bloodmage > Reno and got him to concede two turns later. Cheers!

    Reply
  16. CLaus
    December 8, 2016 at 6:06 am

    Should i craft kazakus or wait and see if he still is good after reno rotates

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      December 8, 2016 at 8:58 am

      I think it’s a good craft, but it really depends on if you think you’ll be playing Reno decks long term. Will you get enough enjoyment out of 3 – 5 months (when the next adventure/expansion releases) of Kazakus?

      Reply
    • Skroffox
      December 17, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Since Reno is in the League of Explorer, he won’t rotate out of standard before at least one year and a few months. I think it is more than worth it to craft it. The next content to be rotated is Blackrock Mountain and The Grand Tournament. So have fun and craft it! Especially if you like playing mage, warlock and priest.

      Reply
  17. Rammsta
    December 7, 2016 at 5:22 am

    what could i use instead of bloodmage thalnos?

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 7, 2016 at 9:22 am

      I’d say that Loot Hoarder if you want another early cycle, but it’s already in the deck. So probably Cult Sorcerer, Spell Damage is pretty useful in the deck and instead of the cycle you get a stronger body. Thalnos is still better, but it’s an alright replacement.

      Reply
  18. Akeze
    December 6, 2016 at 5:56 am

    How can i win against Jade Druid? I am 17-20 total with this deck but against Jade druid i am 0-7 i just can’t win against jade druid.

    Reply
    • Jayne
      December 6, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      You lose. Jade Druid beats Control. It’s really hard to stop it. You either have to burn them out with an Alex + combo or Frost Nova + Doomsayer their giant board of minions.

      Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 7, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Well, not only Jade Druid is great against slow decks, this deck is also more equipped to fight against Aggro.

      The bes way against Jade Druid is to add a little more punch to your deck – especially some finisher like Antonidas or Ragnaros. And then the way to play against Jade Druid is putting as much early/mid game pressure as possible. You just need to kill him before he can start summoning the 8/8+ Jade Golems. Druid struggles with board clear – it’s hard for Druid to kill both single big threats and multiple medium-sized threats. But some games you just can’t win, if he gets great ramp into cycle into Jade Golem cards, you can’t help that.

      Reply
    • insane
      January 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Yo focus on dirty rate and brann combo,it’s the only solution to stop them by burning their battlecry OP effects, or try to stall the game by kazakus, but yea it’s the hardest matchup for reno mage

      Reply
  19. Archios
    December 5, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Why isn’t Inkmaster Solia in this deck?

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      December 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      It’s explained above, but it’s too slow and could work against control decks.

      Reply
  20. Claus
    December 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    What will the future of this deck be when reno rotates?

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 5, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      That’s a good question and really no one knows that. It all depends on what they give us next expansion. Reno Priest is the only one to likely still play Highlander deck, because self-healing is less of a problem in the deck.

      But they might release more cards like Kazakus etc. or more Neutral healing that will make the decks viable even with Reno rotating out.

      Reply
      • Claus
        December 6, 2016 at 10:31 am

        Ah okay thx. I’m looking to craft some new legendaries and i was thinking about making kazakus in golden so i just wanted to know if he would be good enough after reno rotates

        Reply
  21. chris
    December 4, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    i cant beat golems or deathrattle decks and that’s pretty much the only things i see when i cue this deck up. probably doing something wrong. not fast enough to go face without getting overrun… clearing board gets me no where cause i get overrun anyway. minions just aren’t big enough to value anyone… ugh

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 5, 2016 at 9:51 am

      If you mostly face slower decks like Jade Golems or N’Zoth, go for the more end-game heavy list instead. For example, StrifeCro’s one (linked in the Closing). Savjz was also playing Reno Mage in Legend recently – he was playing the Brann + Dirty Rat combo instead to improve Control matchups by pulling a win condition out of their hands. For example, pulling out a N’Zoth against Deathrattle deck is a huge hit.

      Dog’s list is meant as an anti-Aggro deck to counter the Pirate Warriors, who are all over the rank 5-Legend ladder.

      Reply
      • Fleokan
        December 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        i’m on 5-0 with StrifeCro’s vs pirates

        Reply
        • Stonekeep - Author
          December 5, 2016 at 9:34 pm

          I’m not saying that StrifeCro’s version is terrible against Pirate Warrior, it’s just not as optimized vs Aggro as this one. 5 games sample size is way too low to compare.

          Reply
    • chris
      December 6, 2016 at 2:39 am

      funny i was watching Savjz stream.. he got to Legend Rank 1 with Reno Mage and then said “This duck sucks.” hahah

      Reply
  22. anonymous
    December 4, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Why would I want to play this over freeze mage?

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Author
      December 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      I don’t think you should compare those two to begin with, because they’re completely different decks. But if you want one solid reason, it’s the Pirate Warrior matchup. Pirate Warrior eats Freeze Mage, the matchup was terrible for Freeze Mage even before Gadgetzan and now that Freeze Mage didn’t get anything this expansion and Pirate Warrior got even stronger, I can’t imagine how bad the matchup must be now.

      This, on the other hand, is anti-Aggro build aimed to deal with those pesky Warriors that are all over the ladder. Freeze Mage was one of the worst decks to ladder with pre-Gadgetzan, because it had so many bad and only a few good matchups. This hasn’t changed in Gadgetzan – right now if you want to play the slower Mage, Reno is the way to go. Freeze Mage is much better in a tournament environment when you pretty much know what you will be facing, so you can pick it as a counter, and you can ban something you don’t want to play against.

      Reply
    • EstusFlakon
      December 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      because it is a different deck with different playstyle?

      Reply
    • blisterguy
      December 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Freeze Mage has some bad matchups these days, and even its good matchup (Midrange Shaman) has gotten a lot worse with everyone running Ragnaros. Reno Mage can be much better in many of the matchups where Freeze isn’t great.

      Also, it’s way more fun than Freeze Mage.

      Reply

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