Our Cyclone Mage deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this popular Mage build for the Rise of Shadows expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!
Introduction to Cyclone Mage
It is fair to say that Mage, after losing so incredibly many important cards with the Standard rotation, landed on its feet again in the Year of the Dragon. A certain card called Conjurer's Calling turned most of Mage’s archetypes into minion-heavy lists with an absurd amount of board swing potential.
But in the end it is Mana Cyclone who serves as the solid backbone of the archetype called Cyclone Mage. The ability to gain a ridiculous amount of strong Mage spells in the very early game unlocks so many plays to deal with your opponent that even the most revered Mage experts admire the pure power level of this deck. In this guide we try to explain how you get the most out of your Mana Cyclone while maximizing your summoning value on board!
Cyclone Mage Deck List
Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Cyclone Mage archetype page!
Cyclone Mage Mulligan Strategy & Guide
Vs Aggro Decks
Against archetypes like Murloc Shaman, Mid Range Hunter and Zoo Warlock we want to hit our early minions as early as possible. We do not want to keep our defensive spells if we don’t hit Sorcerer's Apprentice as well, because we need to contest the board while defending it. Banana Buffoon offers both board stats and cheap spells for defensive value-trading, which makes it a top priority in the mulligan against aggro.
Vs Control Decks
Keeping Mountain Giant against classes like Warrior and Mage is the safest bet in the universe of Hearthstone. If you hit it, try to look for Conjurer's Calling so that you can lay down the law as early as possible. Early minions and Arcane Intellect are valid keeps as well.
Cyclone Mage Play Strategy
On first sight, Cyclone Mage plays out like the typical Conjurer Mage we all know since the incarnation of Rise of Shadows, and yes, this playstyle showcases a very important part of Cyclone Mage’s general game plan.
Since Mountain Giant has been added to the Elemental tribe, Elemental Evocation causes this vanilla 8/8 to be present on the board even earlier to receive the Conjurer's Calling treatment. A board worth of 40 to 50 stats on turn 5 makes Cyclone Mage already incredibly powerful; don’t forget that this kind of play will – on average – win you most of your games. Matchup interpretations compared to the classic Conjurer Mage lists don’t really differ, so don’t forget where Cyclone Mage is coming from!
Being the initiator of summoning mages, Khadgar can’t miss his appearance in this list, of course. Many players don’t like his inclusion as he often feels like a “win more” card in many situation. However, the fact this card can singlehandedly decide the dreaded mirror matchup between Conjurer Mage opponents makes it a staple.
Luckily for everybody’s favorite archmage, the recent card buffs gave Khadgar additional value: If you decide to play the buffed Unexpected Results in your iteration of the list, you will find yet another way to alter your game plan by creating huge board states in the early and mid game.
While summoning still may be a core concept of Cyclone Mage, you will often find yourself in spots where you can’t slam Mountain Giant into Conjurer's Calling, and that is where Mana Cyclone comes in.
Taking a look at our iteration of the archetype, we see a lot of cheap and low-value spells like Mirror Image, Ray of Frost or Magic Trick. In matchups against aggro and mid range opponents, these cards can offer a decent amount of early defense and flexibility. Against control opponents, however, we want to use those spells to receive new and more valuable cards through the wonderful spell vendor called Mana Cyclone.
It is incredibly hard to showcase a general plan on how to play Mana Cyclone in an optimal way. We do, however, know that Sorcerer's Apprentice is its best friend. Reducing all 1-mana spells to 0 mana enables Mana Cyclone to gain insane value very early on, and in certain matchups you want to get rid off your cheap spells as fast as possible.
A miracle turn could involve playing Sorcerer's Apprentice together with two 1-mana spells from your deck, one being Magic Trick, which digs into an Arcane Missiles, topped off by Elemental Evocation into Mana Cyclone. In a perfect world, this play can happen on turn 1, which should occur rather infrequently. However, generating four new cards for a mere 2 mana is an insane play even on turn 4 or 5, and that is where Cyclone Mage’s – in theory unlimited – power level comes from.
Your Mana Cyclone miracle can turn into a bunch of heavy control cards like Blizzard or Frost Nova against aggro opponents, or into much needed burn damage like Frostbolt or Pyroblast against control archetypes. Mage’s spell pool also provides tons of card draw through cards like Arcane Intellect or Book of Specters which let you draw faster into your minion threats.
The topic of card draw brings us back to a central question of this archetype: What happens if I didn’t draw into my summoning combo OR my Mana Cyclone? A first part of the answer is our own Arcane Intellect, a staple Mage classic that almost always should be played on curve. The second draw engine is Stargazer Luna; thanks to copious amounts of cheap spells, Luna can help you to blast through your deck before your opponent finds the right answers.
Sandbinder handles targeted Elemental draw in Cyclone Mage and can either hit Mana Cyclone or Mountain Giant, basically the two cards that decide our early to mid game strategy, and that of course increases our overall chance to execute either high-value or high-impact plays.
Last but not least, the highlight of this newer iteration of Cyclone Mage is definitely the freshly buffed spell Luna's Pocket Galaxy. Earlier lists have tried to play around it with, but the reduced mana cost justifies its inclusion as a staple card of Cyclone Mage. Just like Khadgar, the spell can appear as a “win more” card in many scenarios. But looking at the average game you will realize that – especially if you play this card with Sorcerer's Apprentice on board – playing 0-mana giants will happen more frequently than you would want to believe! And yes, we said giants, because Sea Giant is a valid inclusion in Cyclone Mage when looking at other strong archetypes such as Murloc Shaman or Bomb Hunter.
Cyclone Mage may very well be the archetype with the most win conditions in the current meta game. Mountain Giant into Conjurer's Calling, cheap spells into Mana Cyclone, Luna's Pocket Galaxy into heavy card draw; all these plays will win you games in the end.
Vs Aggro Decks
Against aggro archetypes, Cyclone Mage has all the tools to deal with early threats. As already said, cards like Ray of Frost or Mirror Image are must-keeps and can control the board state long enough to establish a good enough hand. It’s hard to not focus on the powerful Mountain Giant/Conjurer's Calling, but be sure to realize that Cyclone Mage should be able to win against many aggro opponents without it as well.
As usual, Zilliax is a master gatekeeper in terms of board control and survivability, but Banana Buffoon is the real MVP of Cyclone Mage in aggro matchups: it contests the board and gives us tools – well, bananas to be precise – to handle early pressure through cheap minions.
Turning Mirror Image‘s 0/2 bodies into 1/3’s can already decide the game against hyper-aggro lists like Murloc Shaman, and a well-timed Mana Cyclone can provide enough value to keep control of the board for days while establishing your own Mountain Giant/Sea Giant highlight reel!
Vs Control Decks
Versus control opponents such as Warrior, we want to hit our Mountain Giant/Conjurer's Calling power spike as early as possible. As a back-up plan, Mana Cyclone should be used for recycling our cheap spells into something more valuable.
Archmage Antonidas is the “emergency” inclusion for the case when we hit none of our early win conditions; it serves as a high-priority threat on board and can create endless amounts of burn damage through recycling our cheap deck. And don’t forget the endless possibilities in combination with a 1-mana “Tony” through Luna's Pocket Galaxy!
Cyclone Mage Tech Cards and Card Substitutions
- Luna's Pocket Galaxy: This spell is so good in this list, there really is nothing to talk about. If you don’t happen to have it in your collection and you don’t want to craft it, you can easily replace it with another tech card like Giggling Inventor or a second Sandbinder.
- Giggling Inventor: An incredibly powerful minion in the current meta game. Drawing this as a 1-mana card discounted by Luna's Pocket Galaxy almost always seals the deal against aggro. A good substitution would be Doomsayer or Frost Nova, but try to run both of these cards in the deck at any given point.
- Mind Control Tech: Not only good against aggro opponents, MCT gives you insane edge in mirror matches. If you feel like you’re facing a lot of Cyclone Mage, pick it right up!
- Rabble Bouncer: Normally a part of “classic” Conjurer Mage, this card’s popularity seemed to decline after the card buffs. It’s still great in aggro matchups, but you should be able to gain enough ground through your other early game minions!
- Harrison Jones: Weapon removal is not as needed compared to the beginning of the RoS meta, not last because of the late nerfs to Rogue. Keep an eye on the meta development to decide if it’s worth to put artifacts back to the museum!