Big Spell Mage Deck List Guide – Witchwood – May 2018

Class: Mage - Format: Raven - Type: Control - Style: Meta Deck - Meta Deck: Big Spell Mage

Our Big Spell Mage deck guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this updated deck from the The Witchwood expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype.

Introduction to Big Spell Mage

One could say that history of the Big Spell Mage has started in Un’Goro with Burn Mage, a slow deck, which wanted to control the board through majority of the game, and then turn around and start killing your opponent with big tempo swings. This deck is similar, but it leans even more on the control side. The “real” Big Spell Mage was created in Kobolds & Catacombs, when Dragon's Fury, Dragoncaller Alanna as well as a few more “Big Spell” synergies were printed (although cards like Spiteful Summoner or Arcane Tyrant rarely see play in this archetype). The deck was never a top tier meta deck, but it was a quite popular off-meta choice.

Sadly for the Mage fans, Ice Block has rotated to Hall of Fame, and Ice Block was a pretty key card in the slow builds like this one. However, players have already figured out how to play it without the removed Secret, simply because the deck didn’t lose much besides it. Between all of the stall tools, single target and AoE clears, it’s usually enough to survive until the late game, where Frost Lich Jaina takes over – health shouldn’t be a problem at this point. As for the new, Witchwood cards players experiment with – Voodoo Doll and Arcane Keysmith are the most popular options. However, cards like Witchwood Piper (to fetch an Arcane Artificer, which is the main life gain option before Frost Lich Jaina) or Rotten Applebaum also see a fair share of play.

Right now, the archetype is doing quite fine. With lots of board flood decks on the ladder, having so many AoEs really pay off, while Polymorph counters some of the strongest strategies of the slower ladder decks.

Deck List

Deck Import

Big Spell Mage Mulligan Strategy & Guide

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Doomsayer – Keep in every matchup. No matter what deck you play against, you want to stall the early/mid game and Doomsayer is the best tool to do that. Play it on a boar with 1 or 2 small minions and force your opponent to use a Silence or skip a turn.
  • Raven Familiar – 2/2 for 2 that usually draws you a card… it’s the only proactive Turn 2 play you can make, so you want to keep it.
  • Stonehill Defender – Against Aggro, it can stop some attacks and possibly even clear a small minion or two. And against Control, you can discover some bigger Taunt instead of skipping Turn 3.
  • Arcane Keysmith – Works surprisingly well in most of the matchups. After playing with the card for a while in this deck, it’s very rare that you get 3 bad Secrets to choose from.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Gluttonous Ooze – Keep against decks that run weapons – e.g. Odd/Even Paladin, Face Hunter or Cube Warlock.
  • Dragon's Fury – Keep against Aggro, it’s often your best Turn 5 play in those matchups.
  • Skulking Geist – Keep if you’re 100% sure that you face deck against which you want to destroy 1 mana spells – e.g. Combo Priest (Inner Fire) or Taunt Druid (Naturalize).
  • Frost Lich Jaina – If you’re 100% sure that you face a slow, Control deck. It’s a bad keep against Aggro, but it’s the main way to win the game in slow matchups, so you always want to have it as soon as possible.

Big Spell Mage Play Strategy

Versus Fast Decks

When you face a fast deck, there is basically one thing you want to do: survive. This is generally going to be harder without Ice Block, that’s why you want ot use every resource to minimize the damage you take. Your goal is to survive until you run your opponent out of resources, then stabilize with a Taunt or Frost Lich Jaina. Alternatively, survive until Turn 9, then drop Dragoncaller Alanna and set up a very quick clock.

Finishing the game is not a problem – surviving until you can do that is. There are two kinds of Aggro matchups and it’s important to identify which one you’re facing. First one is board-oriented – like Odd Paladin or Zoo Warlock. Those decks are generally easier for you to deal with, simply because they don’t run much in terms of burn damage. As long as you keep the board clear, you know that you will be relatively safe. When you play against this type of deck, remember that they can usually flood the board a few times before running out of resources, so you need to be a little bit more greedy with your AoEs. At the same time, with less burn damage, you can take a bit more hits before getting to a dangerously low levels of health. For example, do not play Blizzard against three or four 1 Attack minions, unless you think that your opponent can have some way to buff them. Try to bait them into playing more before you AoE, especially if you don’t have many AoEs in your hand. Such a board is also a good time to drop a Doomsayer – if they decide to Silence it or play some Charge minion/buff to deal with it, not the board is a more juicy AoE target. If they don’t – well, you’ve got yourself a free turn.

Then, there is another type of Aggro decks – “face” or “burn” decks, that can deal a lot of damage even without the board. Those are some of the hardest matchups on the ladder. On the one hand, you can remove everything they play pretty much immediately, but on the other hand, removing the minions is often pointless, as they already did their job. For example, them dropping a Wolfrider and going your face means that it already did its job – of course you have to remove it, but damage has been dealt. That’s why Odd Face Hunter is such a bad matchup – they can pump out so much damage even without any kind of board. In this kind of matchup, you absolutely need to preserve every point of life. The best way to win this matchup is sticking an Arcane Artificer – first you play Artificer + a spell like Polymorph or something, possibly Artificer + Meteor or Blizzard if it’s already so late into the game, gain some Armor and hope that it survives. Generally, once you get to Frost Lich Jaina you should be fine, with the 5 immediate Armor and then extra healing every turn, but getting there is really hard without an Ice Block. Since those decks are usually much less minion-heavy, it’s okay to drop an AoE vs 1-2 small minions, especially if you have more AoE in your hand – try to keep your life total as high as possible.

Keep in mind that Baron Geddon heals you, usually for A LOT, after you’ve already turned into Frost Lich Jaina. Jaina into Geddon on the upcoming turn is often an immediate win. However, using Geddon BEFORE Jaina is not a bad idea in the board-focused matchups – it’s a repeated AoE, which really helps with clearing the board, and the 7/5 body can put a lot of pressure on your opponent. You can actually win the game on the back of Geddon if you stick it – hitting with it twice + its effect triggering 3 times is a whooping 20 damage.

Witchwood Piper draws the lowest cost minion in your deck – in this case it’s Arcane Artificer (unless you’ve drawn both already). You can use Piper to fetch an Artificer to set up for a big AoE next turn – it’s always better to gain some extra Armor if you plan on dropping e.g. Blizzard anyway.

When it comes to Arcane Keysmith Secret choices, it’s very situational, but I’d say that in general, Ice Barrier is always good against Aggro. Then, Explosive Runes or Counterspell are good to control the board / stop a burn damage or a buff. Talking about buffs, if you play against a deck such as Even Paladin, Spellbender is great too – you can sometimes steal a Blessing of Kings or Spikeridged Steed, or at least prevent your opponent from playing them. Vaporize can be situationally good if you face a single big minion, but keep in mind that some decks can proc it with a small Charge minion first.

Versus Slow Decks

Slow matchups are much more interesting than Aggro, simply because the game doesn’t finish when you play your Frost Lich Jaina and such. There is also a lot more strategy, like how much removal you need to keep for their X plays, what cards you want to Polymorph etc.

First of all, your early turns are very slow anyway. There is no real pressure you can put, so that is basically never your win condition. I’ve played dozens of games with this deck, even more against it, and I’ve never seen Big Spell Mage winning with early/mid game minion pressure. So going for the tempo plays instead of planning around the future turns is a bad idea. For example, dropping that Gluttonous Ooze on T3 vs Warlock just to put pressure is a terrible idea. You very much prefer to keep it against Skull of the Man'ari, which can completely destroy you.

During the early and mid game, you mostly want to collect the resources. Draw your single target and AoE clears. Slow decks rarely put enough pressure in the early game, but some of the builds already start dropping big guns on Turn 4 – e.g. Mountain Giant vs Cube Warlock or Twilight Drake vs Control Priest. Against Warlock, you prefer to keep Polymorph for the Demons, so it’s better to use Voodoo Doll on the Giant, but if go for the Polymorph if you have no other choice – you can’t take 8 damage just like that, especially since you risk him copying it with Faceless Manipulator or Carnivorous Cube.

Polymorph gets an extra value of your opponent not being able to revive certain minions. This is huge in certain matchups. I’ve already mentioned the Cube Warlock – ideally you want to keep Polymorph for Demons – Doomguards or Voidlords. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, you prefer to Polymorph a Doomguard – Cube Warlock can beat you through the pressure, and reviving Doomguards is much more pressure than reviving Voidlords. Plus, Voidlords dillute his pool of Demons with Voidwalkers. But of course, if your opponent gets Voidlord from the Lackey on Turn 5-6, you still want to Poly it, you don’t have much choice. While Cubelocks don’t really run it, if you face a Control version, try to keep a Polymorph for Rin, the First Disciple.

Another matchup in which Polymorph is super important is Taunt Druid. Not only the 1/1 Sheep is a Beast, which means that they can low-roll their Witching Hour, if you Polymorph their Hadronox, you basically win the game on the spot. However, since they usually pop it immediately with Naturalize, there is another card that comes into action first.

Skulking Geist is the MVP of those kinds of matchups. If your opponent has a key 1 mana spell, then Geist can really win it for you. Just like in the example above – normally, Druid will play Hadronox only when he can Naturalize it, reviving a big board and then he can get it back from Witching Hour. If you Geist, he can’t naturalize it, which means that he can’t pop it immediately and you can Polymorph it, meaning that his win condition is basically gone – now you have to deal with whatever Taunts he has left in his deck and that’s it. Similarly, the card is amazing against Combo Priest. While the deck is not that common right now, getting rid of Inner Fire means that your chance to win is way higher. The card is also great against Warlocks – Dark Pact gone means that they can’t immediately pop their Carnivorous Cubes so easily, which in turn means that you might get a chance to Polymorph one. Same goes for Control Warlock and Rin.

When it comes to Secrets you pick from Arcane Keysmith, you have even more options in the slow matchups. First of all – Mirror Entity and Mana Bind (after your opponent has used a Coin already) get much more value in those matchups. While your opponent might obviously play around them, if he plays INTO them, they can lead to some serious swings from your side. Counterspell and Explosive Runes are always good. Ice Barrier is often useless in slow matchups, but if your opponent is pushing you hard, e.g. had an early Giant, then you can still pick it. Frozen Clone gives you more value – just remember to have enough space in your hand before you pick it! Spellbender is often a good mind games card, since it can’t be triggered by the Coin. Your opponent might think that he’s safe to play a spell, e.g. Dark Pact on the Rin, then then it suddenly redirects itself. One of the Arcane Keysmith’s main advantages are the mind games – for example, when playing against a Cube Warlock, if you drop it against their T4 Giant, they will really hesitate and often skip an attack when they’re afraid of Vaporize… even if you didn’t pick it! Of course, in this situation it’s still nice to pick it just in case they decide to go for it and attack, but sometimes you won’t get it offered and still gain 8 life just because they aren’t sure.

Frost Lich Jaina is the main win condition you have against slower decks. After you play her, your opponent will do whatever he can to not give you ping targets, but not only you can generate some on your own, but also set up his minions with AoEs. Try to plan ahead to get as many Water Elementals as you can. E.g. if your opponent drops a 2/2 minion and you have no board, you can simply ping it and pass your turn (2/2 is not a big pressure anyway). Next turn you can ping it again and get a Water Elemental. When it comes to AoE’s, Blizzard can set up 3 health minions in the ping range, Flamestrike – 5 health minions and Meteor – 4 health minions (if it’s the adjacent one). On top of that, if you roll the 3 damage AoE or 5 single target damage from The Lich King, you can use those to set up minions in ping range too. Basically, it’s incredibly hard for your opponent to not give you any targets – he might decide to not play any smaller minions, but that’s also fine. If he drops something bigger, Polymorph or Voodoo Doll + ping summon an extra Elemental.

Your more flashy win condition is definitely Dragoncaller Alanna. Generally, you play her a) against decks that might not have huge AoE clears to deal with her and b) when your opponent has used the AoE clears on your Water Elementals already. She’s a finisher, so you don’t have to hurry up with her most of the time.

One more extra note is that once you identify your opponent as a slow, grindy deck, you might actually not want to draw any cards. Sometimes it’s better to keep Raven Familiar and/or Witchwood Piper in your hand instead of drawing cards. It only applies to the matchups decided by the fatigue – if your opponent draws a lot of cards (e.g. Cube Warlock) or the games usually finish before the fatigue (e.g. Quest Warrior). But it’s a viable approach against, for example, a Control Warrior deck.

Big Spell Mage Card Substitutions

Big Spell Mage is a very expensive deck and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. Most of the cards in the deck are absolutely necessary and can’t be replaced. However, I will still go through all of the expensive cards, explain their role in the deck and try to offer some substitutes below.

  • Baron Geddon – Not really necessary, but a very strong card to have. Before you turn into Frost Lich Jaina, it’s another AoE clear you have, but after you become the Death Knight, versus a wide board he can easily heal up you to full while clearing it. Insane synergy.
  • The Lich King – It’s just a late game Taunt vs fast decks and a value generator vs slow decks. Not necessary in the deck.
  • Dragoncaller Alanna – She’s a powerful win condition in slow matchups, but not really necessary in this deck.
  • Frost Lich Jaina – You can’t replace Frost Lich Jaina. That’s it. She’s the deck’s main win condition.
  • Doomsayer – Great early game stall tool. While you COULD play a deck without it, I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Gluttonous Ooze – Weapon removal is strong in the current meta. However, you can replace it with a budget option.
  • Voodoo Doll – It’s an amazing mid/late game card to have in this deck – you CAN play without it, but again, I wouldn’t recommend.
  • Arcane Keysmith – The card is really cool and pretty strong, it leads to some mind games. I like it, but it’s not necessary.
  • Dragon's Fury – 100% necessary card – one of the reasons why you only play expensive spells in the first place. It starts as a 4 damage AoE for 5 mana and goes up to 7 depending on what you roll, it’s a very powerful card.
  • Meteor – Well… When Firelands Portal was still in Standard, it was possible to replace Meteor and still have enough big spells. Right now, I’d say that Meteor is necessary.

Potential Substitutes / Tech Choices

As you can see, that’s A LOT of expensive cards. If you don’t have majority of them, or even one key card like Frost Lich Jaina or Dragon’s Fury, I’d say that you should give up on this deck for now and come back when you open them or will be able to craft them. I know it’s harsh, but without them, your deck will just be weak. However, if you’re missing only a few of the non-key cards, there is still a way to replace them while keeping the deck somehow viable (weaker, but viable). Here are some of the options you can use instead of the cards listed above:

  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – You can use it instead of Gluttonous Ooze, but also as an extra, second weapon removal. Like I’ve said, weapon removal is strong in this meta, so running two is not as bas as it might seem.
  • Acolyte of Pain – Turn 3 play. Since you can’t run Arcane Intellect, and you often want to cycle through your deck when you’re looking for Frost Lich Jaina, Acolyte is an okay option.
  • Tar Creeper – Good early game defensive tool, useful mostly against Aggro decks.
  • Arcane Tyrant – Can be a nice mid game tempo play after you drop a big spell. I’m not a big fan of Tyrant in this deck (because the extra tempo is not that useful in this build, and it’s really bad if you can’t combo it with a big spell), but it’s a viable option.
  • Rotten Applebaum – It’s like a new version of Sludge Belcher. A solid card, good mid game Taunt that can heal you on top of that.
  • Alexstrasza or Sindragosa – While not really a “budget” option, if you own Alexstrasza or Sindragosa, but you don’t have one of the high cost Legendaries such as The Lich King or Dragoncaller Alanna, those are viable replacements.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!


Discuss This Deck
  1. TWAG
    May 13, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I play a version with Toki and Sindragosa. I’m very aware that they aren’t optimal but it’s still a pretty good deck and random legendaries help add some fun to a rather boring ladder metagame.

  2. ViconiaDeVir
    May 12, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I really like mage and this Archtype, but its sad, that this deck depends so much on the drawing-luck. Its often too slow to survive vs aggro-decks, especially, if you dont draw any really good answers and i had often the bad luck, that frost lich jaina is around the bottom of the deck and without her you cant win at all. i had really nice wins with this deck, but also really poor matchups. cant come further than rank 8/7. its a miracle for me how others managed to come to legend… really… its impossible and dont take me for a newcomer or something like that. i know “how” to play this deck properly vs different kind of decks and play the different strategies. i managed other decks in wild to higher ranks…

    And can someone tell me how to win with this deck vs deathstalker rexxar? for me its more worse it to give up instantly vs hunter, because the cardadvantage with zombeast is just broken against this deck… always taking rush minions with poison and divine shield is way too strong vs this deck. i never won vs hunter if deathstalker is out.

    • ViconiaDeVir
      May 13, 2018 at 3:32 am

      And Priest with Amara+Zola+Archbishop is also an impossible to win matchup with this deck. 100% winrate for this priestdeck for sure. Amara+Zola is a whooping 80 life gain. Good luck to bring it down with only waterelementals… And with Archbishop Benedictus you cant win through fatigue and besides, he has now your own boardwipes to finish your only big threat with alanna easily….

      • jumpy plupetr
        May 17, 2018 at 12:25 am

        well luckily there is zero chance of running into this problem since nobody plays the deck you are describing

        • SEBO23
          May 17, 2018 at 3:52 am

          Really? 🙂 Yesterday such a deck just wrecked me totally even though I knew what I’m against thanks to ViconiaDeVir. 🙂

        • ViconiaDeVir
          May 17, 2018 at 6:37 am

          Sure, its not a “common” decktype you are facing often, but sometimes i had to deal with such a deck and lost always…

          Thx SEBO23 to give you some forewarnings. xD

          A deck similar impossible to win against is warrior with “dead mans hand” action…
          Its like Benedictus impossible to win against with fatigue, because he shuffles infinite hands in his deck and also infinite brawls…

          • SEBO23
            May 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            Sad thing is it could get more popular after nerfs. Compared to this, Quest Rogue is a walk in the park. He just kills you in a few turns if he has right cards. Against new Quest Priest you could play as long as you wish and still in the end you know that you couldn’t do anything to win. Good thing thought that Control Warlock with Rin is able to stop it.

        • ViconiaDeVir
          May 17, 2018 at 6:47 am

          And thats the thing i dont like with this deck. Sure, its normal, that a deck cant be good vs every decktypes and vs some decks you have always a hard time to win against, sure, but its rarely so poor for you, that you “really” cant win at all from the beginning. A deck “feels” weak, if there are some decktypes, that can wreck you totally to 100% every time.

    • aaaaaaaa
      May 14, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Generally hunter always beats mage decks unless you are playing something weird like several healing cards and good board clears you draw early with some lategame win condition. As a rule i kinda accept that hunter > mage > rogue. Just something about these match ups that feels set in stone, now ofc you can tailor make a deck to deal with these hard counters but then you lose to other stuff you normally beat in exchange.

      To drum it home again hunter always beats mage 99.9% of the time, you just cant survive the early overpowered pressure they generate and the hero power finishes you off or puts you on a clock, i mean unless we get a new legendary card that disables hero powers from the start theres no way.

      As for the legend thing its simply a matter of perseverance, all you need to do is play such a volume of games that you eventually get the right match ups to create a positive climb. For example in the above its simply a case of getting more quest rogues than hunters on a small scale etc. Auto losses and free wins will cancel each other out assuming no misplays that could of won you the game leaving a small number of games thats the “climb” Should you not be climbing you are either getting too many hard counters hence you need to change deck for the meta or you are doing something wrong.

      • ViconiaDeVir
        May 14, 2018 at 8:55 am

        I wouldnt say, that mage is superior to rogue. Even rogue beat me hard with Kings Bane-Action. Last Matchup rogue was sitting with a whooping 13 Attack Kings Bane and controlled me the hard way with sap and vanish. No chance to generate life with waterelementals or to protect with taunt. Sure, rogue isnt that hard most of the time like hunter, but this deck feels not really much over the top to rogue.

        What i really dislike is, that Big Spell Mage is the expensivest deck to create, but isnt that damn good to outpass climbing the ladder faster. There are so much cheaper and better decks to climb… Sure, the deck makes fun, but yeah you know…12.000 dust…

  3. gdfgdg
    May 10, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Good deck for casual won pretty much every game but took it to ranked once a druid played spiteful got tyrantus (the one with spell immunity) on turn 6 and that was pretty much it deck is too slow for ranked.

    • Karlu
      May 10, 2018 at 11:17 pm

      That’s what vodo doll is for.

      • gdfgdg
        May 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

        Well you need to draw one of two voodoo dolls b4 turn 6 where as the opponent always has the question on a typical turn for whatever the cheese card is yet 30% of the time you get the answer.

        • Karlu
          May 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

          30% for him to get spiteful and another low % to get tyrantus. With this luck you can loose against Anybody

  4. Flappy
    May 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    how tf do you win against shudderwock shaman?

    • Matthew
      May 5, 2018 at 12:09 am

      You need to change your tactic. Put minions on the board and go face damage as fast as you can. If you have arcane keysmith go counterspell so he wont be able to clear the board. You won’t have many opportunities to use your AOE although if you have Alana in your deck do it even if the board is clear. Buff Alana as fast as possible and throw her. Shudderwock is a combo deck so if he doesnt have luck drowing cards, you can win.

  5. Flappy
    May 3, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Instead of arcane keysmith i’ve been using fireball which were pretty useful against turn 4 mountain giants (which ones better tho?). Also why witchwood piper?

    • Matthew
      May 3, 2018 at 11:54 am

      I would recommend Arcane keysmith. The possibilities of secrets are stronger than fire Ball in this deck. Fire Ball is 4 cost mana spell so as you have it in your deck the dragons fury May more often be weaker. Witchwood piper and raven familiar are cards that pull out of your deck stuff that you need but you dont have in your hand. They also make fatigue faster so you can get useful stuff like jaina a Little bit earlier.

  6. -Subjective
    April 30, 2018 at 10:42 am

    -1 Syndragosa
    +1 Dragoncaller Alanna

    Simply due the fact I have Alanna and not Syndragosa 😉 she is nuts in control matchups

    -2 Voodoo Doll
    +2 Acolyte of pain

    Also not having voodoo dolls, but the acolyte works wonders in slower matchups to get to the jaina

    -2 Keysmith
    +2 Tar creeper

    I feel like tar creeper does so much better against aggro, the secrets kinda don’t do it vs hunter / paladin.

    • Flappy
      May 2, 2018 at 7:51 am

      vodoo doll works great against cant be targeted big minions and they saved me from spiteful decks. dragons fury + vodoo doll + frostlich ping = gg

  7. Prynts
    April 26, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I hit legend with this deck last night, and I’d never been higher than rank 3 before. A couple updates I’d make:

    (-) Skulking Geist. The two most common decks I faced were Even Pally and Cubelock. This is a dead card vs. Even and not spectacular vs. Cube. So I cut it.

    (-) Lich King. It’s not enough to be a win condition on its own, and its too slow to be reliable against aggro. If you haven’t stabilized by turn 8 you’re a goner anyway.

    (-1) Stonehill Defender.

    Instead of those 3, I play 2x Tar Lurker and one Rotten Appelbaum. I find the Tar Lurker to be too strong against aggro to not have 2 of. And I play 1x Stonehill and 1x Rotten because they both have their advantages.

    I went 9-1 with that iteration of this deck to push from Rank 2 to Legend in a snap.

    • Matthew
      April 26, 2018 at 8:21 am

      Is Tar Lurker not a Warlock card ?

      • Kschak
        April 26, 2018 at 8:32 am

        He meant Tar Creeper

    • Matthew
      April 26, 2018 at 8:35 am

      I guess what you meant is Tar creeper. Any other modifications or its just it ? Have you tried playing with sindragosa?

      • Prynts
        April 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        Yes, Tar Creeper, duh me. I haven’t tried Sindragosa. I’m not sure what I’d take out for it. I think Alanna and DK are more reliable win conditions, and I wouldn’t want to take out anything cheaper and slow down the deck against aggro.

  8. GhostlordTV
    April 24, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Hey Everyone,

    Currently sitting at Rank-4 with this deck, and I can say it is a lot of fun! Definitely my favorite so far in this current meta. Below is my review of the deck and some of the changes I made:

    (-) Lich King
    (-) Witchwood Piper (2)
    (-) Doomsayer (1)
    (+) Syndragosa
    (+) Acolyte of Pain (1)
    (+) Pyros
    (+) Spellbreaker (1)

    – I have been doing alright with a positive win/loss record, however, super aggro decks do beat this deck (Any Rogue/Zoolock/Perfect Draw Pallys).
    – On the contrary, I tend to beat any slower deck I play against (Hadronox Druid/Cubelock/Warrior), including most Paladins. Even Odd Pallys with constant board fill can’t stand against all of our constant AOE.
    – Hadronox Druid is DESTROYED by Geist/Poly. ALWAYS keep Geist against Druid and use ASAP to get rid of their Naturalize, and then hold Poly for Hadronox drop. GG.
    – I ALWAYS keep Jaina in opening hand if possible. There are too many games that are too close or I lose because I just can’t draw her…
    – I added a Pyros/Acolyte to help with a little bit of the earlier game, but not sure it’s enough.
    – The Spellbreaker was added because I like having it for certain matchups, however, its not been game-changing for me so far this meta.
    – I felt like (2) Doomsayers was too much so I dropped one.
    – I also really like Keysmith for the free situational secret, I just really wish she was better than 2/2 for 4-mana…
    – Make sure to save Poly for Hadronox/Doom Guard/etc. I keep Poly in opening hand against Warlock and Druid.
    – Alanna is surprisingly not played as much as I wish she would be. Most games I am not able to play her for different reasons…but when I am able to play her, man is it awesome seeing 5/5’s spam the board! I guess that’s what playing Quest Rogue feels like…every…game…
    – Speaking of Quest Rogue, you can pretty much insta-concede on turn 1. 🙂

    – Best AOE/Board-Clear in-game.
    – Very strong late-game.
    – Jaina Hero Power too OP.
    – Jaina Emotes way too OP.
    – Amazing mid-game stall with big board-clear spells.
    – Voo-Doo/Jaina Synergy is awesome.
    – Syndragosa/Jaina synergy is awesome.
    – Basically, board clear early/mid-game and win late-game w/ Jaina 🙂

    – Early-game is really weak, especially if you draw high cards.
    – Very reliant on Jaina. I have had so many people concede if I turn 8/9 Jaina. She is that strong. If she can’t be drawn, you have a much higher chance of losing.
    – No direct damage can lead to stale games if opponent can stabilize even at low HP. Considering adding 1 Pyroblast for this reason. Maybe instead of Spellbreaker/Pyros.
    – Card-Draw is below average. It’s the reason I added an Acolyte of Pain. Aluneth would obviously be way too much.
    – Instant loss to Quest Rogue, and a lot of super aggro decks with strong starting hands, especially if you don’t pull Fury/Blizzard/Flamestrike for turns 4-7 (with coin).

    That’s about it. I am open to any feedback/suggestions. Thanks for reading!

    • Matthew
      April 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      I can agree with all what you wrote here. I’m also sitting in rank 4 right now. I changed Lich king and 1 Witchwood Piper for 2 Rotten Applebaums. Getting back some of lost hp feels good after early game. Still collecting dust for 1 more Arcane Keysmith and Gluttonous Ooze. Even in rank 5 there are people who screw up playing around secrets 😀 I tried to play with acolytes of pain but it was easy to get full hand so i got rid of them. I’m still curious about Alexstrasza and Sindragosa. I think that sindragosa would be better replacement for Alana. Like you said i also dont use Alana often. When i do, my game is already won or enemy can clear the board or kill me. Although Sindragosa for 8 mana puts 2 0/1 on the board so we can immediately get our 3/6 life stealer and we also get free legendaries.
      PS: I managed to win about quest rouge once. He drew terrible cards and had no idea that he can wait playing against me, but he put on the board his 4/5 finished quest minion and let me kill it 😀 Remember guys, never surrender too early, maybe that’s the one 🙂

  9. Matthew
    April 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I managed to get from rank 10 to rank 5 quite easly. Still wonder if alextrasza wouldnt be better than lich king. Lich king sometimes gives useless cards that you cant get rid off and against slow decks its easy to have full hand. I put pyros in this deck. I just like it, enemy struggles to get him away and its good having something to put on the board in slow matchups. I dont recommend discarding jaina at the beginning. If u dont get her early enough, you are going to lose.

  10. zdq
    April 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Sad to say this as mage is my fav class, but very inconsistent deck. When WW started went with this deck through the ranks to r6 but now back to r10 losing a lot! Very frustrating. 🙁 Quest warrior instant concede.

    • GhostlordTV
      April 24, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      I respectfully disagree about Quest Warrior. I do not find it very difficult to beat them. Most of the time I have them on their heels, forcing Brawl’s to save their games, but Jaina is too strong, especially with Elemental lifesteal.

      • zdq
        April 25, 2018 at 4:11 am

        My experiences are similar as yours about the other matchups you described, but whats your strategy vs quest warrior? He can get sulfuras and start spamming before Jaina and even then, he is aware he doesnt need minions to kill u, so he doesnt give u any targets for water elementals. And saving his AOE for Allana. Do u think running Pyros and Sindragosa makes the difference in this matchup?

  11. James
    April 23, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Why Lich King over Sindragosa?

    • GhostlordTV
      April 24, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      I use Sindragosa 100%. Lich King spells are too inconsistent (Army of the Dead) and Sindragosa synergizes with Jaina perfectly.

  12. DestinyXXX
    April 23, 2018 at 5:36 am

    The following IMO is the best list. You need those taunts to resist against aggro until t5 (arcane keysmith, witchwood piper, sandbinder etc are just too situational). There are 29 cards, the last one is up to choice. Pyros, Sindragosa, Lich King, Toki, Ysera, Alexstrasza all work fine but maybe -maybe- the best one is just an inexpensive 1x Rotten Applebaum.

    ### big spell mage
    # Class: Mage
    # Format: Standard
    # Year of the Raven
    # 2x (1) Arcane Artificer
    # 2x (2) Doomsayer
    # 2x (2) Raven Familiar
    # 2x (3) Stonehill Defender
    # 2x (3) Tar Creeper
    # 2x (3) Voodoo Doll
    # 2x (4) Polymorph
    # 2x (4) Saronite Chain Gang
    # 2x (5) Dragon’s Fury
    # 1x (5) Harrison Jones
    # 2x (6) Blizzard
    # 2x (6) Meteor
    # 1x (6) Skulking Geist
    # 1x (7) Baron Geddon
    # 2x (7) Flamestrike
    # 1x (9) Dragoncaller Alanna
    # 1x (9) Frost Lich Jaina
    # To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone

  13. asdasd
    April 19, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    This deck seems like a free win against hadrodruid but does it have even the slightest chance against shudderwock shaman?

    • GlosuuLang
      April 20, 2018 at 1:42 am

      It’s kind of an instant loss against the heavy-combo Shudderwock deck, but that deck is very rare to see nowadays because Aggro counters it hard. The ladder right now is Hadrodruids, Cubelocks and Paladins, and Big Spell Mage reliably wins against those except Cubelock, which is a close matchup.

      • Programmer
        April 22, 2018 at 11:04 pm

        How can you win vs HadroDruid and Hunter? you can’t gain life, you lose vs aggro. Vs Hadronox you can’t stop the combo, you are a fool if you think to polymorph, and your cc is useless. They have carnivore, and infinite board reanimation

        • GlosuuLang
          April 23, 2018 at 2:07 am

          Hadrodruid: almost certain win if you draw Skulking Geist before 10. You destroy the Naturalizes, then Polymorph Hadronox, then outvalue hard with AOE removals and Water Elementals. If you don’t draw Geist before 10 and they DO draw Hadronox before 10 (this scenario may happen like 30% of the time) this does get more complicated, but I still believe the Mage is favored. I usually Polymorph their Lich King. This achieves two things: take LK out of resurrect pool (very important because it generates a lot of value and it also has a high attack) and it makes Witching Hour 50% to low roll on a Sheep. Really, Control Mage is quite favored vs Hadrodruid.

          Hunter: you need to survive. Turn 2 Doomsayer, Turn 3 Stonehill, Turn 5 Dragon’s Fury. Turns 6-8 some combination of Arcane Artificer + Big Spell to gain Armor. Turn 9 DK Jaina. If by Turn 9 you are the DK and you’re not super low on Health, you start to heal back and freeze his Face, by that point you win easily. Otherwise Taunts from Stonehill Defender are tough for a Hunter, they only have Ironbeak Owl to directly deal with them.

        • Erik
          April 23, 2018 at 5:51 am

          Hadrodruid is pretty much the easiest matchup if u just keep geist or draw it before turn 6, basically a free win, even won 2 times against 3 hadronox bcuz i used my boardclears at the right times ^^. just like the post says if u geist they have to play a standard hadronox on turn 9 and its pretty much impossible that u havent drawn atleast 1 poly to save for that turn

        • Rainheart
          April 23, 2018 at 6:26 am

          Although my deck is not the same. But it’s the same easy way to deal with HadroDruid. You need Geist to destroy the Naturalize + Hadro combo. Then use Polymorph on Hadro.. You have Arcane Artificer + big aoe spells.. The only chance to loose it DKJaina is at the botom of the deck. My first vs Hadro, I lost ’cause I didn’t know the combo. But that’s the only 1. Some players quited when they saw me use Raven and Polymorph came up.

          Vs Hunter: True. We need lucks.

  14. GlosuuLang
    April 19, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I really want to play this deck because I got Alanna back at the start of KnC and I have never been able to use her effectively in ladder. Alas, I’m missing Jaina and a bunch of other epics… =( People complain that aggro is brainless, but in the end it’s the only early option for budget players.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 19, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Yeah, this deck is super expensive… And it has so many must-have Epics & Legendaries. It’s pretty sad that slow, Control deck are usually 2-3 times more expensive than Aggro.

  15. Zleylak
    April 19, 2018 at 5:46 am

    In my opinión, this deck need more draw

    – 1 Alextrasza
    – 1 acidic ooze
    – 1 arcane keysmith
    + 2 acolyte of pain
    + 1 harrisson jones

  16. Flappy
    April 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    How about switching Aluneth for Baron or Syndragosa?

    • Nick
      April 18, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      That’s a terrible idea.

      • Flappy
        April 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm

        Im addicted to Alumeth. But you were right lol.

  17. Criznittle
    April 16, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Acid swamp for Harrison?

    • Rainheart
      April 19, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      It’s a 5 mana card. So, NO.

  18. XPV70
    April 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm


    Great deck, I myself am a Control Mage (big spell) fan.

    I have all the cards but Singdragosa and Baron Geddon. I can only afford to craft one.
    Which one should I craft and why? What is the replacement for the one I do not craft.

    • Rahul
      April 15, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      Baron is a must in this deck. Sindragosa can be replaced.

      • XPV70
        April 15, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        I managed to craft both yesterday, I had a few Wild Cards lying around so I dusted them and I still have 1600+ dust left :D.

        Rank 2 with 67% win rate after 20 games, but I removed a Raven Familiar for a Mossy Horror for all the Paladins around, Is there any other changed that could be good?

    • M.D
      April 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      An Acolyte of Pain can be a good replacement for Singdragosa as it gives the deck some much needed draw power.

  19. ChesterH
    April 14, 2018 at 9:22 am

    How does this deck fair against shudderwock shaman?
    a rough win percentage will do

  20. Carlo
    April 13, 2018 at 12:51 am

    May I ask what is the role of Sindragosa to the deck?

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 13, 2018 at 9:53 am

      Late game value generator. The 0/1’s it summons are also great after you turn into Frost Lich Jaina – pinging them means that not only you get a random Legendary, but also a 3/6 Water Ele on the board 🙂

    • aviv sarig
      April 13, 2018 at 11:01 am

      her job is to summon two 0/1 that you can ping with forst lich jaina for 3/6 life steal

  21. billius
    April 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    needs skulking geist to counter all the lock and druid spells

  22. Shadowsword
    April 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Any suggestion for a sindragosa replacement? Thanks!

    • XPV70
      April 14, 2018 at 8:47 am

      I’m not the author, but I think Elise would be great in this deck. I don’t know, I personally don’t play Singdragosa either, but might add her soon.

      • Shadowsword
        April 16, 2018 at 9:50 am


  23. ChaosDY
    April 12, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Big Spell Mage doestn run Ice Block though? not a proper variant anyways. The deck i run boasts an 83 percent win rate and runs 2 polymorphs, Alana, Medivh, Frost Lich, and pyros, with a bunch of board clears, arcane artifcers, and some discovers.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 12, 2018 at 9:56 am

      It sure does – but it won’t be able to after the rotation 🙂 Ice Block rotates out to Hall of Fame.

  24. DiKhay
    April 12, 2018 at 5:54 am

    What do you think about Countess Ashmore + Swiftness Messenger in the deck? Some draw is great since you won’t ever go to fatigue in these days, drawing a deathrattle (Voodoo doll or Rotten Applebaum, with a pseudo fireball can be great IMO). While Swiftness Messenger can be used to trade in early game with 2/6 rush.
    Also I’m afraid this deck will lose hard to Shudderwock Shaman, RinLock, and struggle a lot against CubeLock, which are certainly Tier 1/ top t2 decks.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 12, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Adding a Rush minion and Ashmore might actually be a good idea! I’ll definitely test it out.

      • Nachsplitter
        April 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

        Once you drop the Death Knight, will Ashmore draw your elementals?

        • Ao
          April 24, 2018 at 2:55 am

          Ashmore will not draw your elementals (if you are thinking about the lifesteal draw), Jaina gives lifesteal to your elemental when they are on the board. And even a silenced elemental retain lifesteal.

    • Rick
      April 24, 2018 at 8:33 am

      If you going to out countess and swift messenger, what are you taking out? Thanks!

  25. Kludgy
    April 11, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I really think nozdormu should be added

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 12, 2018 at 3:46 am

      Not sure if it’s a meme suggestion or a serious suggestion.

  26. Anomandaris
    April 11, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Seems like we need more card draw, especially to get to Jaina faster. Also do you think Alex is still good in this deck? Without iceblock its not that great for healing and without burn its not good offensively.

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 12, 2018 at 3:45 am

      I think that Alex is still very useful – you will be able to clear the Aggro boards time and time again, but you might need Alex to stabilize at a reasonable health total after you get there.

      Yes, “getting there” will be harder without Ice Block, but it doesn’t change the fact that Alex should still save you many times.

      As for the card draw, I’m not entirely sure. On the one hand, you’re right, getting Jaina as quickly as possible would be valuable. On the other, this deck has a very high mana curve, meaning that more card draw might make your hand even more clunky. I’m also not sure what kind of card draw would you want. Loot Hoarder? Acolyte of Pain? You probably don’t want to put Arcane Intellect in, because another low cost spell would reduce the effectiveness of your Dragon’s Fury.

      • Slomo
        April 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

        Maybe cut the keysmith and go for red eyed scout, the highroles are insane and even a 5 drop doomsayer wont lose you the game, so if you want that card draw cut some of the low cost cards and slot in red eyed scout. And talkin about Alex, despite keeping you alive she can also give you kinda an otk quite early in the game if u play alana and the opponent cant remove all dragons so you keep 3 of them… in that case alex’ing enemies face wins you the game.

      • DestinyXXX
        April 23, 2018 at 5:43 am

        IMO 2x Raven Familiar + 1x Harrison Jones are all the draws you need to win most of the games.

  27. Zeus
    April 11, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    If it’s a Big Spell Mage, why not fit in Spiteful Summoner?

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Two reasons, actually.

      First of all, the deck runs 4-7 cost spells, and those are not great for Spiteful. 8-10 mana spells are much better. Rolling an average 4/4 4-drop or something is not really great.

      And then, this is not really this deck’s play style. Spiteful is a tempo card. This deck has pretty much no tempo, it’s a pure Control deck. Spiteful just won’t do that much – it’s pretty slow vs Aggro (unless you roll a Taunt, of course) and a slower deck will have an easy answer even if you high-roll it, since your deck runs almost no big minions anyway.

      THAT SAID, if a meta will turn out to be slow, Spiteful is still going to be better than Applebaum. So if you don’t face too many Aggro decks, you might try it out.

  28. Ribbuster
    April 11, 2018 at 8:07 am

    What do you think of witch wood grizzly instead of the rotten applebaum?

    • Stonekeep - Author
      April 11, 2018 at 9:34 am

      I feel like Applebaum is better in Mage, which is very low on healing pre-Frost Lich Jaina.

      Grizzly is probably a better anti-minion Taunt, but healing is important to get out of the burn range.

      E.g. Priest or Druid can always gain Armor, so they’d prefer a bigger Taunt on the board. But Mage will play a board clear next turn anyway and doesn’t have many ways to gain life, so the healing part seems more important.

      That’s how I feel about it, but it might end up being a meta call.

      • Rick
        April 24, 2018 at 8:36 am

        Have you played this deck more? Any modifications? I love big spell decks! I tried the deck and it has trials thats why I am debating certains cards to replace. I wanted to see your professional option after playing it a few times.


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