Arugal Elemental Minion Mage Deck List Guide – The Witchwood – April 2018

Class: Mage - Format: raven - Type: midrange - Style: meta-deck

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Deck Import

Our Arugal Elemental Minion Mage deck list guide will go through the ins-and-outs of the potentially viable deck from the The Witchwood Expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype! For now the deck guide is theorycraft, but as soon as the expansion goes live we will start updating it right away!


One of the most unique decks from Kobolds & Catacombs was undoubtedly the Spell Hunter. A class that’s normally associated with the aggressive minion pressure got support for a deck built… without any minions (or at least minion cards – spells that summon minions were still fine). It looks like Witchwood is getting another oddity in a form of… Minion Mage. As we all know, Mage is known mostly for its powerful spells and spell synergies. So why would you ever want to build a deck around minions?

That’s mainly because of the two new cards – Archmage Arugal and Book of Specters. Not only they’re quite strong individually in a deck that’s based around minions, they form a very scary combo – if you play them together and draw 3 minions, instead of drawing 3 cards, you get twice as much. Because Mage doesn’t have a strong minion shell, the most common (and probably the best) idea is to go with the Elementals. The class has some Elemental synergies and those minions can be pretty good on the curve.

Technically, “Minion Mage” doesn’t mean that you CAN’T put any spells into your deck. In fact, this build runs a few spells. You just can’t put too many – after adding 2x Book of Specters, I’d say that you don’t want to run more than 4-6 extra spells on top of that. The perfect number will most likely need to be figured out during playtesting, but I’ve decided to add only the most flexible and strong spells you might want in a deck like that. Other types of cards like Weapons and Heroes are also fine. In this case, the deck indeed runs Frost Lich Jaina, but Aluneth doesn’t really fit into this build.


Between the fact that this is a Midrange deck and that you play Elementals, the most important thing is to stay on the curve. That’s why you want to mulligan for your 1-3 mana cards, especially minions. If you face a faster deck, or a deck where early removals is necessary (e.g. they might drop a high priority minion on Turn 2-3), you might want to keep the Frostbolt too.

Of course, you also want to keep the most powerful combo in your deck Archmage Arugal and Book of Specters. Even though you might not need the hand refill so early in the game, those are the strongest cards in your deck, so you always want to get them. Also, it might give you more options if your hand is poor.

General Strategy

The deck should mostly play like a classic Midrange build. You want to stay on the curve and on the board – that’s most important. Remember that since your deck is filled with minions, you have no AoE cards, so your comeback potential is pretty low. That’s why you want to play for the tempo and stay on the track. Playing off-curve, skipping turns doing nothing or almost nothing etc. is not advisable. Even though you run a Frost Lich Jaina, this it NOT a control deck and you can’t take the games slowly. You want to push with the minions and refill the board whenever it gets cleared.

When it comes to running out of steam, it shouldn’t be a big problem. Not only you have your Book of Specters (potentially with Arugal), but lots of your cards generate extra value – e.g. Steam SurgerBonfire Elemental or Servant of Kalimos. Besides the Book, Arugal can also combo nicely with Bonfire Elemental – while it won’t give you as much value, you will most likely get an extra card and possibly make your opponent’s turn awkward by forcing him to remove the 2/2 from the board.

The deck runs exactly 6 spells besides Books themselves. 2x Frostbolt and 2x Fireball are there for the early/mid game board control and potential burn damage finisher. They’re just a flexible removal/burn spells. Then, there is also Primordial Glyph, because of its flexibility. Since you can’t naturally put many spells into your deck, the Discover part of Primordial Glyph might let you choose whatever you need against the deck you face. For example, in a fast matchup you might be able to grab some AoE or a defensive spell, while against a Control deck you might get a removal for their big minion or possibly some extra burn damage. Of course, that number of spells means that you won’t always hit 3 minions from Book of Specters, but also the chance to fail (draw 1 or 0 cards) is very low. 2 or 3 draws should be the most common outcomes.

The deck’s main win condition is putting pressure with minions and refilling the board again and again. Then, after you get your opponent low enough, you can finish him with burn damage. Between 2x Frostbolt, 2x Fireball and 2x Blazecaller, the deck runs quite a lot of potential damage from the hand.

One card that deserves an extra mention is Leyline Manipulator. The fact that it’s a 4/5 Elemental for 4 mana is almost enough to already put it into the deck, but it can get lots of extra tempo in the right circumstances. In this build, it can discount the 1/2 token from Fire Fly, cards generated by Primordial Glyph, second and third form of PyrosFlame Geyser from Steam Surger and Elemental discovered from Servant of Kalimos. But probably the best play is dropping it after performing the Arugal + Book combo. All of the cards generated by Arugal haven’t started in your deck, meaning that you will get a 2 mana discount on each one of them, potentially leading to some crazy tempo plays.

Alternatively, if your main game plan fails, you can try to go for a longer game with Frost Lich Jaina. Even if you don’t necessarily play a Control deck, you can still get lots of value from this card. It’s also a great win condition in Aggro matchups if you managed to survive until Turn 9. At this point, you should have a bunch of Elementals on the board, so you’re not only gaining 5 points of Armor, but also give your Elementals Lifesteal, most likely gaining at least a few extra points of health (and most likely sealing the game in your favor).

This build is heavily experimental – we haven’t seen anything like that before. There are a lot of ways to approach this theme from the deck building perspective. You can, for example, go for a more aggressive build, possibly even Murloc Aggro Mage (although that might not work too well, because Mage has no Murloc synergies). You can try running no spells at all, with two books being the only spells in the entire deck. Or you can just try out the Book of Specters in a deck with even more spells – even if you will draw 2 on average, it will still be a more efficient version of Arcane Intellect. It means that this build will likely need a lot more adjusting before being viable, if it will be viable at all without getting more synergy in the future.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

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Discuss This Deck
  1. Shinobi assassin
    April 17, 2018 at 5:15 am

    I also have been experimenting with a similar deck. ### elemental mage
    # Class: Mage
    # Format: Standard
    # Year of the Raven
    # 2x (1) Fire Fly
    # 1x (2) Archmage Arugal
    # 2x (2) Doomsayer
    # 2x (2) Lesser Ruby Spellstone
    # 2x (2) Shimmering Tempest
    # 2x (3) Arcane Intellect
    # 2x (3) Explosive Runes
    # 2x (3) Tar Creeper
    # 2x (3) Voodoo Doll
    # 2x (4) Fireball
    # 2x (4) Leyline Manipulator
    # 2x (4) Steam Surger
    # 2x (4) Vex Crow
    # 2x (4) Water Elemental
    # 2x (7) Blazecaller
    # 1x (9) Frost Lich Jaina
    # To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone
    I run 8 spells, I prefer arcane intellect over book of spectres due to that fact. I have found that lesser ruby spellstone + leyline manipulator+ vex crow, can lead to crazy tempo swings. Doo sayer is key for early board control. And voodoo doll works amazingly well with frost lich jaina. I was on the fence at first with explosive runes, but after I played it I was always glad I did. It’s easy to swarm the board then blast a big minion with explosive runes and finish it off with a minion, then go face with the rest.

  2. arugalarugala
    April 14, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    I like where you are going with this, but seems too wasteful to run Book of Spectres with 6 other spells. I like the Arugal/Book combo in an elemental/spiteful version with pyroblasts, but need lots of battlecry removal.

  3. Springtail
    April 14, 2018 at 5:02 am

    I would replace the glyphs with ruby spellstones and the deathknight with a second servant of kalimos.

    The deathknight is strong however is a heavy loss of tempo the turn it is played; servant provides value too like the deathknight to allow the deck to sustain hand size however is not a heavy tempo loss – this is a tempo deck after all, the lifesteal is not needed.

    Ruby spellstone provides greater synergy with the deck and 4 drop reduction than glyph. It means you have greater value against slower matchups and provides more options; besides its also two mana so late game isnt a huge tempo loss.

  4. ShadowStorm
    April 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Hi StoneKeep

    Can you put the mulligan under this.
    And can i add you on hearthstone?

    Thanks ,Greetings

  5. Thraun
    April 12, 2018 at 8:38 am

    I know this would add more spells to the list but did you consider adding Ruby Spellstones? They would seem easy enough to upgrade and since the deck is otherwise lacking in spells it could help pick up some to bail you out of difficult situations or get some more burn to close out matches. Also synergizes with Leyline Manipulator which would help recover from the 2 man tempo loss of playing it.

    Nice deck though. Cheers

  6. KhemenThar
    April 12, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Hi Stonekeep, thanks for the list, I’m definitely going to test it.
    Just one question: why you didn’t add Baron Geddon? It seems a strong addition, also because some AoE removal could be useful.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      April 12, 2018 at 7:42 am

      Baron Geddon is a great card in Frost Lich Jaina deck, but not necessarily in this one.

      This is a Midrange deck that wants to stay ahead on the board all the time. Ideally you want to be the one having a board advantage all the time.

      Mirrored AoE damage will often be a dead card – if you have minions on your side of the board, you won’t want to damage them.

      You can try building a bit slower and more reactive deck, then Baron Geddon would definitely fit into it.

    • Lockjaw
      April 12, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Just change Servant of Kalimos with Barron Geddon – that will be more than OK.

  7. Kingtristan
    April 12, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Nice guide! Though I wonder, why Shimmering Tempest is not on the list? Bad for tempo?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      April 12, 2018 at 7:14 am

      2 mana 2/1 is not really great, and a random spell you can’t choose (like with Primordial Glyph) is often bad.

      The only advantage is that it’s a 2 mana Elemental, but there is no 3 mana Elemental synergy to activate anyway, so you can skip that mana slot in terms of Elementals.

  8. IronFist15
    April 12, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Hi Stonekeep! I built a very similar deck as Ele Mage is what I want to play day one. I love the Archetype!!! Something to consider as you play around with the cards today:

    1)You don’t use Mana Wyrm and that is the bread and butter for using the early game spells you have on the list. I opted to take Frostbolt and Primordial Glyph out and only use Fireballs, Books, and Spellstones. Six spells or less does seem to be the ticket here statistically. Fireball kept for burn, the other two for value.

    2)When crafting this deck I thought “What did Hunter look like in it’s glory days?”. And used that as a “Midrange” template. So my argument here is your 4 mana slot is jam packed! This is going to be a flex mana position for Spellbreaker as the world will keep turning with Warlock. So I felt that 10 cards in one mana slot would be over the top. I removed Water Elemental from my list when it was in originally as is yours.

    Overall, I love your list! As you experiment I hope my input is helpful, and I plan on playing around with Sorc Apprentice because that may be interesting. I think my deck is 95% elemental minions with Archmage being the only non ele. Great submission, and glad this archetype made it on the website.

  9. Wolnim
    April 12, 2018 at 4:14 am

    I have been experimenting with a similar list, and I strongly believe Ruby Spellstone is pretty good in a deck like this. You will be playing a vast amount of elementals if things go right, and it even synergises pretty well with Leyline Manipulator. Perhaps instead of Frost Bolt?

    • Wolnim
      April 12, 2018 at 4:19 am
      For reference, this is my list. I think Sorceror’s Apprentice is also redundant in this list, since most of your spells will already be discounted by either Leyline Manipulator or Primordial Glyph. And, as seen in my list, I think Igneuous Elemental is better than Amalgam in this list, since getting two 1 mana Elementals can greatly help the Elemental triggering you need for Blazecaller, Servant and Bonfire Elemental.

      I am very excited to see where this archtype lands, it seems really solid and it also has outs against cubelock in the form of direct damage and more card advantage, and flexibility in the form of Primordial Glyph. We shall see.

      • Kingtristan
        April 12, 2018 at 6:43 am

        Though i do agree Igneuous Elemental can provide more elementals to chain, I think Nightmare Amalgam is still necessary. Been playing alot of elemental mage at current meta and i feel like igneuous elemental’s stat is quite poor. we need a solid and agresive 3 drop which the nightmare can provide.

        Personally, I’ll take down 1 creeper for 1 igneuous. Hope this archetype can work *cross fingers*

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        April 12, 2018 at 7:16 am

        Apprentice is there, because Mage has no good 2-drops, and this is a 3/2 with a slight upside. I prefer it over Shimmering Tempest because of the stats – 2/1 is just too weak in a deck that wants to stay on the curve with strong plays every turn.

        Same reason for Amalgam – Igneous is good for activating the synergies, but I don’t think that a deck full of Elementals will have any problems activating those anyway. And 3/4 stats are just so much better on curve than 2/3. E.g. against 2/3 2-drops, Amalgam can just clear it, with Igneous you still have to ping. Even worse – if your opponent drops a 3/3 3-drop (which aren’t that uncommon, actually) – Amalgam gets ahead out of that trade, Igneous doesn’t.

        But like I’ve said, we’ll have to play around with the deck before discovering the best list!

    • IronFist15
      April 12, 2018 at 6:12 am

      Definitely the correct card to swap if you choose to replace!

  10. MisterFrost
    April 12, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Hi Stonekeep and thanks for the theorycraft here. I am so excited for Minion Mage!

    However in your guide you mention playing Frost Lich Jaina two turns earlier, assuming you get a reduction from Leyline Manipulator. This is not correct as Archmage Arugal’s text reads ‘whenever you draw a minion’ and FLJ is a hero card. Unless you playtested this and in this case, I am wrong but I am pretty sure you cannot discout FLJ.