Freeze Mage Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows – June 2019

Freeze Mage Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows – June 2019

Our Freeze Mage deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this classic 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 Freeze Mage

Freeze Mage is as old as Hearthstone. It is the original combo deck, the very definition of playing solitaire within the game. The ability of Mage to repeatedly freeze the board, to stall and delay, and then unleash the power of Alexstrasza and various burn spells on the helpless opponent caused the deck to be the subject of multiple nerfs, and eventually both Ice Lance and Ice Block were rotated to Hall of Fame, finally dealing the killing blow to the deck.

Yet, in Rise of Shadows, Freeze Mage is back. It is not quite what is used to be, but there are recognizable elements in the deck. The deck still runs AlexstraszaFireball, and Frostbolt, which can be used to assemble 30 damage over two turns in the late game. However, it has been forced to modernize its gameplan slightly and it also includes minions in its current form: the power of Mountain Giant and Conjurer's Calling is simply too strong to resist.

The current Freeze Mage deck is still capable of stalling the game and going for a lethal two-turn combo, but it has an alternative win condition where it uses freeze effects to prevent the opponent from answering its big minions and simply uses them to punch face. Therefore, while the deck resembles the old Freeze Mage, and sometimes reaches the same feel of denial after denial, it also plays for the board more than the old versions.

Freeze Mage Deck List

This sample deck list is from SoLegit, who piloted it to #9 Legend.

Deck Import

Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Freeze Mage archetype page!

Freeze Mage Mulligan Strategy & Guide

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

Freeze Mage Play Strategy

There are several ways to win the game with Freeze Mage. Your specific plan to win an individual game can change depending on the situation and your draws, but usually some path becomes more natural as the game progresses. Some of the ways you can win include:

  • Alexstrasza the opponent to set them down to 15 Health. Follow it up with FireballFireballFrostbolt to deal 15 damage for 10 mana. This is the classic Freeze Mage win condition, but it does not work well against healing or armor.
  • Play Mountain Giant. Play Conjurer's Calling. Profit. Giants can end the game early, especially in combination with some burn spells from hand. The Giants strategy can be used early in the game, especially when you are on the Coin. If you can draw some additional cards early on with Arcane Intellect, you can set up a nice Mountain Giant + Coin + Conjurer's Calling turn.
  • Play minions. Freeze the opponent’s board for multiple turns while you hit face. Profit. Because the deck runs both Frost Nova and Blizzard, it can freeze the board multiple times at relative ease. If you can land some big minions on the board – Mountain Giant or Astromancer – you can use your minions while denying the opponent a chance to use their minions, and run away with the game.
  • Play Archmage Antonidas. Play spells. Profit. Archmage Antonidas can generate tons of resources for you, and if the opponent cannot answer it promptly, it can just win the game alone. Combine Antonidas on turn 10 with Frost Nova for a major swing.
  • Whenever you have minions on the board, Alexstrasza can threaten lethal. If Alexstrasza is discounted down to one mana from Luna's Pocket Galaxy, just about any minions will do, as you can use multiple damage spells from hand on the same turn.
  • Discounting all minions in your deck with Luna's Pocket Galaxy can enable an endless stream of threats combined with multiple board freezes and win the game.

VS Aggro Decks

If you can stabilize, you usually win the game. Pay attention to your health total, because your means of protecting it are limited.

Your main healing card in the deck is Zilliax. You do not have a lot of Mechs to Magnetize Zilliax on, only the Annoy-o-Trons from Giggling Inventor, and sometimes random Mechs that you may conjure up with Conjurer's Calling. Therefore, Zilliax is usually played as a separate minion, but pay attention to any random minions you generate to look for better opportunities.

The only other healing card in the deck is AlexstraszaAlexstrasza can get you back up to 15 health, which can win some games where it helps you stabilize. There are several things to consider when using Alexstrasza: First, you may want to use Alexstrasza offensively. If you can ever set up 15 damage ready to go, dropping that Alexstrasza targeting the opponent can just steal the win. Second, as Alexstrasza sets you to 15 health instead of restoring health, finding the right time to play it can be difficult. You want to use it to heal as much as possible, but as it costs nine mana, you need to make sure that getting to 15 health is enough to keep you safe for the following turn as well. Whether to attack or defend with Alexstrasza and when exactly to do so in an aggro matchup is one of the most difficult things to decide when playing the deck.

In addition to healing, you can stall the game with freeze effects. Frost NovaBlizzard, and Ray of Frost are all useful, and can be combined with Doomsayer for a board clear. Ray of Frost can freeze a big minion for multiple turns or sometimes destroy a minion. You can also use it strategically to save your full board freezes for later stages of the game. Note that Doomsayer can also be played without a freeze effect, especially early in the game when the opponent does not have a large board presence yet – it can be effective in preventing the opponent from snowballing out of control even if it only kills one minion, or sometimes even if it kills nothing at all.

You can also defend with Taunt minions. Zilliax and Giggling Inventor are natural Taunt minions in the deck, but Conjurer's Calling can create more. Conjurer's Calling on a Mountain Giant is especially effective, as Mountain Giant can only transform into itself or Grave Horror, and you therefore have a 75% chance to get at least one Taunt minion when you use Conjurer's Calling on a Mountain Giant.

Finally, the secrets from Arcane Keysmith can be crucial in aggro matchups. Arcane Keysmith is first and foremost a tech card against aggro, as secrets can provide you with armor or destroy attacking minions.

While understanding how to defend is important, you should also keep an eye out for opportunities to strike back. If you’re on the Coin, an early Mountain Giant can turn the tables and force the aggressive deck to defend. If you have multiple freeze effects in hand, combining them with a big minion can also end the game early in your favor. Defend, but be ready to strike back if you find an opening.

VS Control Decks

Against control decks, the situation is different. You are the aggressor, because your defensive tools are limited and pale in comparison to your offensive capabilities.

Your opponent’s healing capabilities play a crucial role in strategy selection. Combining Alexstrasza and burn spells is a classic Freeze Mage way to end the game, but most slow decks have healing or armor gain, so a total of 30 damage does not quite cut it. Usually, you need minion damage too, and the win comes from a combination of minion damage and burn spells.

Maintaining a steady flow of pressure is important. Conjurer's Calling is a powerful card, but you have plenty of targets for it, so typically you do not need to try to get value from it immediately. Mountain GiantAstromancer, and Giggling Inventor are all excellent targets for Conjurer's Calling, so typically you can play some of them without using the spell too. Do not overcommit to the board, but rather ration out your threats so that your board is always scary and you can always refill it.

Luna's Pocket Galaxy can play a major role by discounting all of your big minions in the deck. Then you can proceed to draw, freeze, and play minions, all at the same time for the most tempo possible.

Freeze Mage Card Substitutions

Freeze Mage is an expensive deck. You run some combo pieces for direct damage finish while also retaining many of the most expensive cards from other Mage decks.

  • Arcane Keysmith is a defensive option. A more aggressive build can go for Novice Engineer for additional card draw.
  • Zilliax is one of the best cards in the game. You really should craft it, because you can use it almost everywhere. For a budget replacement, you could try Lifedrinker.
  • Astromancer adds more threats and more Conjurer's Calling targets to the deck. You can try Rabble Bouncer or Giggling Inventor as a budget replacement.
  • Kalecgos makes faster burn possible and provides a discovered Mage spell. You can try Pyroblast, even though it is not quite the same.
  • Archmage Antonidas is crucial for direct damage reach, as the deck itself runs only a limited amount of direct damage spells. You can try Pyroblast, even though it is not quite the same.
  • Luna's Pocket Galaxy is one of the main reasons the deck made a comeback, as it allows for more powerful swing turns with minions and freeze effects. It might be possible to play the archetype without it, but there are no direct replacements, so you would need to add some appropriate tech card against the meta you are facing.
  • Mountain Giant is a key card to use with Conjurer's Calling. It cannot be replaced.
  • Alexstrasza is a key combo piece for a two-turn direct damage kill. It cannot be replaced.
  • Doomsayer is your only early board clear and has great synergy with freeze effects. It cannot be replaced.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

Leave a Reply

6 Comments

  1. Taznak
    June 19, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Final tip from me for this deck: the fact that you run Mountain Giant, Kalecgos, Alexstrasza, Giggling Inventor and Astromancer means you can sometimes choose whether you want random 7-drops, 8-drops, 9-drops, 10-drops or 12-drops from Conjurer’s Calling.

    If you want defense, 12-drops are the way to go, because half of all options have taunt. If you want a big, threatening board presence, I’d say 10 drops > 9 drops > 12 drops > 8 drops > 7 drops.

    10-mana high rolls include Deathwing, Mecha’thun, Kalecgos and Big Bad Archmage, while the only real low roll is Nozari, which isn’t too terrible.

    9-mana high-rolls include King Krush, Mulchmuncher, Bull Dozer, Shovelfist, Oondasta and Ysera, but there’s rather more low-rolls in Cenarius, Shudderwock and Lord Jaraxxus.

    There’s plenty of great 8-drops, but the low-rolls get a lot worse due to Hir-eek. High rolls for 7-drops get dramatically less powerful, and there are awful low-rolls like Giggling Inventor, so the drop in average minion quality is highest when you move from random 8-drops to random 7-drops.

  2. Taznak
    June 19, 2019 at 4:12 am

    Another great synergy in this deck is Antonidas + Ray of Frost. Against Control Warrior, even a 7-mana Antonidas who gets answered immediately can give you a bunch of Fireballs if you follow it up with Ray of Frost, Ray of Frost, Ray of Frost, Coin, Ray of Frost.

  3. Monkshow
    June 18, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Is Malygos a good replacement for Kalecgos?

    • Maaaxe
      June 19, 2019 at 1:03 am

      i’d rather go with a Pyroblast or you struggle against “weenie”-Decks a Flamestrike/Bizzard

    • Old Guardian - Author
      June 19, 2019 at 2:56 am

      The problem with Malygos is that it is only good if you can discount it down to one mana. In that case, it is awesome indeed, but if you have a nine-mana Malygos, it is difficult to make good use of it. This is why I recommend Pyroblast, but you can try Malygos too, it is not a disaster by any means.

      • Monkshow
        June 19, 2019 at 10:09 pm

        Yeah it makes sense, Kalecgos even if not discounted is a great card which can be played on a single turn. I think it can be worth to craft him