Our Budget Elemental Mage deck list guide for the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion will teach you how to play this tribal Mage list. This Budget Elemental Mage guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Elemental Mage
Since the release of Journey to Un’Goro, players have tinkered with the Elemental tribe in hopes that it would find a home in Mage. Unfortunately, the archetype has long played second fiddle to both Standard tempo-oriented builds and those containing Secret synergies.
Now, with the heavy-handed nerf to Mana Wyrm and many of the aforementioned Secret synergies relegated into the Wild format, Elementals may be Mage’s best budget-minded hope. Fans of tribal decks can rejoice and dust off their Fire Flys and Fire Plume Phoenix in preparation for the Year of the Raven.
This guide will give you the basics of navigating the mulligan phase and basic strategies, as well as an overview of substitutions to make as your collection grows!
Rastakhan’s Rumble introduced a few new cards to propel Elemental Mage into the go-to archetype for players not interested in dropping a lot of cash into the game. Elemental Evocation offers a huge Tempo play similar to an unnerfed Innervate that can give the deck an early board lead. While overshadowed by Duskbreaker, Arcanosaur still clears a wide board while developing a body and continuing the chain of Elementals. Both of these new cards fit nicely into a well-established budget Mage archetype.
Budget Elemental Mage Mulligan Guide
High Priority Keeps
- Elemental Evocation – This budget build of Elemental Mage wants to get ahead early in the game and Elemental Evocation helps it accomplish exactly that. Reducing the cost of your minions by 2 mana is a huge boost that can get you to powerful midgame minions early.
- Fire Fly – While it doesn’t have the snowball potential that Mana Wyrm used to offer, Fire Fly can still help fend off early game minions against aggressive opponents. The token it generates also helps fill out your curve and continue the chain of Elemental minions.
- Shimmering Tempest – As a 2/1 body for 2 mana, Shimmering Tempest isn’t the best turn 2 play, but does give you something to do on curve other than ping.
Low Priority Keeps
- Glacial Shard – Typically, you want to save Shard for a turn in which you can setup efficient trades or lock down a large opposing minion but, in certain circumstances, it may be worth holding in the mulligan.
- Frostbolt – Frostbolt can remove opposing minions but, as a reactive card, it doesn’t help develop on the board. Against aggressive decks, it may have a place in your starting hand. Otherwise, send it back for later.
- Tar Creeper – For some time now, Tar Creeper has been the bane of aggressive decks’ existence. This obnoxious Elemental is a great keep against other decks looking to win the board in the early turns.
- Lesser Ruby Spellstone – Spellstone is unlikely to be a card you play on turn 2, but may be worth keeping with an early Elemental curve to generate value in upcoming turns.
Budget Elemental Mage Play Strategy
Generally, Elemental Mage plays as a minion-based tempo deck. This means you want to stick minions in the early game to pressure your opponent. Paramount to this strategy is landing an early Fire Fly or Elemental Evocation into 4-drops to gain a huge advantage in the first few turns.
While the deck does have a fair number of burn spells, success is really predicated on the chip damage from early game minions. By the mid-game turns, Elementals begin to accumulate value if you’re able to maintain the tribal chain. Steam Surger, Bonfire Elemental, and Servant of Kalimos ensure your hand is well-stocked with Elementals going into the late-game. Additionally, a fully ramped Lesser Ruby Spellstone can help find the last bit of damage to close out the game.
As you begin to hit the top-end of your curve, it’s time to start counting damage and looking to set up a kill. Always be aware of how much burst you have in hand and be on the lookout for lethal.
Don’t commit too hard on the burn plan against aggressive opponents, however, as the lack of Ice Block means you may leave yourself open to a counter kill. The additional cards that this deck can generate make it possible to out-value hyper-aggressive decks in the late game. Tar Creepers can help mitigate some of this risk of dying, but correctly identifying which player is the beatdown is an important part of piloting this deck successfully.
Budget Elemental Mage Future Card Replacements
- 2x Lesser Ruby Spellstone > 2x Book of Specters – With so many minions in this deck, there is little downside to running Book of Specters at to draw cards at a reduced mana cost.
- 1x Servant of Kalimos > 1x Frost Lich Jaina – The late-game value engine that Frost Lich Jaina offers is hard to match. In a deck full of Elementals, the health swing this Death Knight offers is incredible.
- 1x Servant of Kalimos > 1x Archmage Arugal – Paired with Book of Specters, Archmage Arugal can fill your hand with plenty of options, ensuring you always have a strong play at your disposal.
- 2x Glacial Shard > 2x Mountain Giant – Many of the other substitutions put cards into your hand, Mountain Giants, now part of the Elemental tribe, can come down at a reduced cost.
- 2x Shimmering Tempest > 2x Blazecaller – The loss of Firelands Portal stung a bit for Tempo Mages, but Blazecaller provides a similar turn seven swing.
Budget Elemental Mage General Replacements
Here’s a list of cards you can add to this deck if you happen to have them or are missing anything in the decklist.
- Tol'vir Stoneshaper – With only a handful of early-turn plays, this deck may be susceptible to aggression at times. Stoneshaper helps shore up some of those problems, giving you a chance to stabilize.
- Pyros – Pyros is the Elemental that keeps on giving! This card replaces itself several times, increasing in size with each copy. Not much feels better than landing a 10/10 Pyros attack, even more so with Frost Lich Jaina online.
- Pyroblast – Healing isn’t as common as it once was in the Standard metagame, so Pyro can still bring your opponent back into lethal range.
- Nightmare Amalgam – This flexible multi-tribe minion can help your chain together Elemental turns, but isn’t necessarily required for this archetype.