Roffle’s #2 Legend Wild Secret Mage

Mulligans

General Mulligans

In general, the deck wants a fast start to pressure the board early. As such, low cost minions--especially those that tutor for or accelerate secrets--are prioritized in the mulligans. Usually, secrets should not be kept in the opening but there are some exceptions with secrets crucial to specific matchups when Kirin Tor Mage is already in hand.

Aggro Mulligans

Aside from Aggro Shaman, which the deck can often outpace, Aggro matchups are typically unfavored. Pirate Warrior and Egg Druid both do a lot to disrupt the primary goal of early board presence, so finding a good start in the mulligan is critical.

Having a Turn 1 Mana Wyrm is even more important than usual. Frostbolt should be kept, but not necessarily played on Turn 2 in every situation. Coin + Mad Scientist into Medivh's Valet can neutralize early minion pressure while gaining board initiative. However, Valet is strictly worse than Arcanologist and Mad Scientist (or even Frostbolt in some cases) on turn 2 in other cases and should not be kept without some degree of certainty that a secret can be accelerated into play.

Combo Mulligans

Generally, combo decks are a favorable matchup because they tend to do very little in the early game. The exception, however, is Combo Priest which does a lot to disrupt early turns with overstated minions. Here, Primordial Glyph is a good keep because of it's ability to find Polymorph or other efficient removal. Other combo decks play a lot like Control matchups in that you want a quick opener and an Ethereal Arcanist that goes unchecked can win the game.

Control Mulligans

As usual, the goal is to pressure with minions early, accelerate secrets into play, and finish with burn spells. Against Control decks, however, Ethereal Arcanist really shines and may be worth a keep--should the rest of your hand be strong enough, of course). If you do play Arcanist on Turn 4, you really want to have a Counterspell behind it to avoid early removal spells from your opponent and another secret in hand (or play) to keep it growing.

Midrange Mulligans

Midrange decks that don't go very wide on the board tend to be good matchups. Here, pushing the tempo early is the path to victory, but Frostbolt and Medivh's Valet can do a lot to negate opponents' attempts at gaining control of the board. As with Aggro matchups, Medivh's Valet becomes a less valuable keep without the ability to cheat a secret into play early.

Introduction

Secret Mage has been an archetype that’s been on the fringe of the meta for some time. In the past, it was seen as a gimmicky deck that was strictly worse than the Flamewaker Tempo builds.

 

With Flamewaker rotating of out of Standard and Journey to Un’goro bringing Arcanologist, however, many players began revisiting Secret Mage and found that several of the tools introduced in One Night in Karazhan and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan performed better than expected. Playtesting in Standard had carryover into Wild where the deck becomes even stronger, just on the border of Tier 1, thanks to the availability of cards like Mad Scientist and Duplicate.


In general, the deck relies on pushing the tempo by developing early minion pressure, accelerating secrets into play with Mad Scientist and Kirin Tor Mage, capitalizing on secret synergies, and closing the game with burn spells.

Key Cards

  • Mana Wyrm: The best 1-drop available to Mage and a card that can get out of hand very quickly making it crucial for getting ahead early in the game. Cheating secrets into play with Kirin Tor Mage offer an opportunity to further ramp the Wrym.

  • Arcanologist: This card replaces itself with a secret, thins your decks improving future draw, and ensures a secret can be in play on turn 3 all on a well-statted body. Arcanologist should always be played on Turn 2 play when Kirin Tor Mage is in hand.

  • Mad Scientist: Provides a similar effect to Arcanologist but puts the secret into play instead of replacing itself. On paper, this makes it a strictly but it does have some drawbacks, including the understatted body. Usually a better Turn 2 play than Arcanologist when Medivh’s Valet and Kirin Tor Mage is not.

  • Medivh's Valet: With a secret in play, this card provides a massive tempo swing or the last few points of burn needed to find the kill.

  • Counterspell: Whereas most other cards generate tempo directly, Counterspell does so indirectly by negating as much as an entire turn for your opponent. Timing is crucial with Counterspell, so consider what high value spells your opponent’s deck has and when they will be play.

  • Duplicate: A critical hand refill mechanic, Duplicate has very few bad targets in the deck. While Duplicating a 0 cost Kabal Crystal Runner is great, the real purpose of Duplicate is to recover from a board clear, which the deck is susceptible to in the early game.

  • Ice Block: Ice Block provides very little in terms of tempo generation but is the one secret that can be counted on the stay up throughout the game, ensuring value from Medivh’s Valet and Ethereal Arcanist. The extra turn is occasionally relevant, offering the option to set up a two turn lethal.

  • Kirin Tor Mage: An aggressively statted minion that provides one of the methods of cheating secrets into play to ramp Mana Wrym or reduce the cost of Kabal Crytal runner. Kirin Tor Mage is the deck’s best Turn 3 play and a great Duplicate target with additional secrets in hand.

  • Ethereal Arcanist: With no secret in play, this card is terrible. The upside, however, against slower decks makes it worth the inclusion. Protect this minion with a secret in play for a few turns and win the game.

  • Kabal Crystal Runner: A card that benefits greatly from all of the secret acceleration. At worst, it’s usually a 5/5 body on Turn 4. At best, you get a handful of 0-cost 5/5’s.

 

Notable Exclusions

  • Kabal Lackey: While Lackey does cheat secrets into play like Kirin Tor Mage, it does so a little too early to get good value and on a body that you hate to Duplicate. Finds a spot in some Standard lists, but does performs poorly in Wild.

  • Arcane Intellect: Typically, tempo oriented mage decks such as this need the extra card draw from Arcane Intellect. Here, however, Duplicate and Arcanologist provide more controlled hand refill and the secret tutoring thin the deck and improve top decks in the late game.

  • Effigy: A card that performed surprisingly well in play testing and can be rotated in depending on matchups. As mentioned, the deck suffers against board clearing and Effigy can protect against that.

  • Piloted Shredder: Piloted Shredder is a card that barely missed the cut and does well in many situations, but not quite as well as Ethereal Arcanists. Should be played in place of Arcanists, however, in lists that are not running Ice Block.

  • Firelands Portal: Like Medivh’s Valet, Portal provides a good tempo swing, but does so a little too late in the game. By turn seven, you really want to be finding ways to close the game rather than fighting for the board.

     

General Playstyle

Played optimally, Secret Mage has three distinct phases: Early Board Pressure, Secret Synergies, and Closing Burn.

Early Board Pressure (Turns 1-3)

In the beginning of the game, you want to snowball the board into early chip damage to your opponent. A 1-2-3 curve of Mana Wrym, Arcanologist, Kirin Tor Mage is usually hard to beat if uninterrupted. With a secret already in hand, Frostbolting a minion to protect Mana Wyrm is usually a better play than Arcanologist.

Secret Synergies (Turns 4-6)

With the board secured, you can begin taking advantage of the numerous secret synergies in the deck. With a secret in play, Ethereal Arcanist on turn 4 creates a remove or lose scenario in most cases. If Duplicate is up, paying 4 mana for Kabal Crystal Runner on turn 4 is good, otherwise it may be better to wait until turn 5 if you can pair it with another secret from hand. Medivh’s Valet does a lot of work in these turns, often helping lock in your control of the board.

Closing Burn (Turns 7-8)

Burn isn’t always essential to winning games, but against slower decks you may need to concede the board in order to set up burn to close out the game. Knowing how much damage you have available from hand and where to direct that damage is critical to piloting the deck successfully.

Thanks for reading! Win rates and statistics for the deck can be found on my personal site.

 

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26 Comments

Discuss This Deck
  1. TheTommunist
    August 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    Damn this deck is good. Took out Loatheb for Rag as an alternate finisher in case I didn’t draw Dr. Boom. Plus, against most decks (which were control) Counterspell pretty much always prevented from clearing my board, so I didn’t really need Loatheb. Pushed from Rank 13 to Rank 5 with this deck. Great work!

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      August 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Glad to hear it’s still effective! Loatheb and Counterspell is a bit redundant. That said, CS is so good I’d run 3 if it were allowed. Loatheb is the closest I can get to doing so.

      Reply
  2. Fakir
    August 22, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Amaizng deck. My first legend. Tnx for the decks, Roffle !!)) still 14 to legend

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      August 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Hey! Congrats! Glad to hear the deck is still effective. I haven’t played it myself since before the expansion. Seems like it would have some good matchups against Jade Druid and Renolock even with the new cards.

      Reply
  3. Darkseeker Hearthstone
    August 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Great deck! I had lots of fun with some early concedes from Hunters/Warlocks. I made a short video 🙂
    https://youtu.be/8cgHyMsE5Ko

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      August 4, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks! Great summary of gameplay/strategy at the beginning. The deck can have some pretty silly games if you get ahead early.

      Reply
  4. Disketa
    August 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Can Dr. Boom be replaced with Ragnaros the firelord? What should i replace Boom with?

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      August 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Ragnaros is a viable replacement, but coming out a turn later is relevant. In the past, I’ve had success with Firelands Portal instead of Dr. Boom.

      Reply
      • Disketa
        August 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        Thanks a lot for this deck, i have been able to get to rank 11 with this deck even with the rank resets, i have met a lot of golden heroes with legend cardbacks and won.

        Reply
        • Disketa
          August 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

          Also a good replacement for ice block? Dont have it right now, but i was successful with effigy and potion of polymorph

          Reply
          • Roffle - Author
            August 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

            Congrats on the success!

            Effigy is a fine replacement. I’d keep rolling with that if its working for you. I’ve found the card is surprisingly effective in this deck.

            I certainly understand not wanting to craft an Epic this close to an expansion release, even though Ice Block is a pretty safe craft. In this deck, the purpose is more about ensuring a Secret is in play than the trigger itself.

  5. Tom
    July 27, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Hey Roffle, great decklist! I will sure try it out.
    I unfortunately do not have any Primordial Glyphs. You said you substituted 1 for the Effigy, do you have a suggestion for the replacement of the other Primordial Glyph?
    Thanks!

    Tom

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 27, 2017 at 6:09 am

      Thanks, Tom! Any of the cards in the Notable Exceptions would probably work as a replacement. Babbling Book might as be a consideration. I would lean towards Babbling Book, Arcane Intellect, Piloted Shredder, or Firelands Portal.

      Reply
  6. BH11
    July 21, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Hey man, great deck!
    I’ve been playing Hearthstone on and off for about a year now – only reached rank 11 highest previously but with this deck i’ve reached rank 4 atm ( Only been back to Hearth this season).

    Still trying to grind it out to legend.

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Thanks! Glad you’ve like it!

      Congrats on the success so far and good luck on the Legend grind.

      Reply
  7. Vidar
    July 18, 2017 at 10:05 am

    This deck is insane, really enjoying it!

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Glad to hear you’re finding success and having fun with it!

      Reply
  8. CloverGroom
    July 18, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Am I just that bad or is this deck not as strong unless it’s in “pro” hands?
    Doesn’t seem to matter what I’m facing, I’ve slid backwards from rank 7 to 10 and can’t climb out.

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 18, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I tend to doubt that either you or the deck is bad.

      I haven’t played the deck much this season, so I can’t speak to its strength in the current meta, but it does have a handful of frustrating matchups. Unfortunately, based on the latest vS report, the two most popular decks in the format (Pirate Warrior and Egg Druid) are the most difficult. If you’re consistently running into these decks, it may be better queue a different deck.

      However, Secret Mage does feed off of decks that aim to counter some aggro/flood decks (Control Shaman and Reno Warlock), so I think it still has potential to perform well.

      The deck, in general, is somewhat streaky. I, too, have had similar runs where my rank tanked and I started getting frustrated and questioning the deck/myself. These streaks tend to even out over time though. Secret Mage found its way into the Top 3 of the vS report, so I think it’s still well-positioned in the current meta.

      Reply
      • CloverGroom
        July 18, 2017 at 11:56 am

        Fair enough. I think I was just getting triggered from the bad streak.

        Reply
        • Roffle - Author
          July 18, 2017 at 1:46 pm

          Understandable. If your streak continues (or even if it doesn’t), feel free to shoot me a friend request (Roffle ##### on NA & EU) and I’d be happy to spectate some of your games and offer advice and/or talk through plays.

          Reply
          • CloverGroom
            July 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

            That’s very cool of you, thanks

  9. Maxeleron
    July 17, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Replaced Dr. Boom –> Yogg, and Loatheb –> Bully (Loatheb is better, but I don`t have it). Very good deck to laddar, thanks.

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 17, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I think those are both pretty reasonable substitutions. Yogg is a little slow, but can pull you out of otherwise unwinnable situations.

      In the past, I’ve replaced both with Firelands Portal and had pretty good success as well.

      Reply
  10. CloverGroom
    July 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I don’t know who did the write up for this, but it’s fantastic! Roffle is 1 of the best wild players out there and I’m devouring this because I love some secret Mage

    Reply
    • Roffle - Author
      July 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Thank you very much! I actually did the writeup myself. Towards the end of last season, I did swap out one Primordial Glyph for Effigy. I’d recommend giving it a try, Effigy ended up performing better than expected.

      I’ve written a few official guides for other Wild decks on the site as well (with more in the works), so be sure to check them out.

      Reply

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