Budget Secret Mage Deck List Guide (Kobolds and Catacombs)

Class: Mage - Format: mammoth - Type: tempo - Style: budget - Meta Deck: Secret Mage

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Deck Import

Our Budget Secret Mage deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will teach you how to play this Tempo Mage list. This Budget Secret Mage guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!

Introduction to Budget Secret Mage

At certain points in the Journey to Un’Goro meta, Secret Mage was a top tier deck. The addition of Arcanologist made it possible to consistently get Secrets in play and take advantage of the numerous Secret synergy cards.

In Kobolds and Catacombs, Secret Mage gained some new tools, including Explosive Runes, which has become a mainstay in Mage’s tempo-oriented Secret package.

This budget version of the deck does lose out on some of the tempo swings enabled by Medivh's Valet and Corridor Creeper, as well as value generator Primordial Glyph, but can hold its own on the Standard ladder with some cheaper alternatives.

Budget Secret Mage Mulligan Guide

High Priority Keeps

  • Mana WyrmWith the rotation of Tunnel Trogg into Wild, Mana Wyrm is hands down the best one cost minion in Standard. Keep this card.
  • Arcanologist – Somewhat reminiscent of Mad Scientist, Arcanologist pulls a Secret from your deck. Arcanologist is almost always your best turn two play.
  • Kirin Tor Mage – The finally piece of the 1-2-3 dream curve, Kirin Tor Mage cheats one of your secrets into play, generating a huge tempo swing in your favor.

Low Priority Keeps

  • Frostbolt – Frostbolt is great in some matchups, but is probably kept too often. Just because you can cast it on turn two doesn’t mean you always want to.
  • Sorcerer's Apprentice – Apprentice is great in that it can be played on turn 2, but is usually an inferior on-curve play to Arcanologist.
  • Kabal Lackey – Very few Secrets get good value being cheated out turn one, but Lackey can help pump an early Mana Wyrm to threaten your opponent.

Budget Secret Mage Play Strategy

Secret Mage relies heavily on generating pressure in the early game with minions. As such, landing a Mana Wyrm into Arcanologist and Kirin Tor Mage is the dream. Early board presence can leave a clear path for your Kabal Crystal Runners to the opponent’s face.

With enough consistent pressure applied at the start of the game, the deck has a formidable amount of late-game burst in the form of both spells and minion buffs. On top of Fireballs, Bonemares and Firelands Portals can contribute to a finishing blow.

Budget Secret Mage Future Card Replacements

  • 2x Cobalt Scalebane > 2x Corridor Creeper – In many situations, Corridor Creeper offers a second 0 mana 5/5 in a tempo-based deck. This can be much more consistent than landing a buff with Scalebane
  • 2x Sorcerer's Apprentice > 2x Medivh's Valet – Valet is one of the most critical cards missing form this deck. If/when you have access to the final wing of One Night in Karazhan, add this card to your deck.
  • 2x Kabal Lackey > 2x Primordial Glyph – Like every Mage deck, Secret Mage really wants Primordial Glyph included.
  • 1x Mirror Entity > 1x Aluneth – If you received this Legendary weapon, it would be a welcome addition to this deck. The extra card draw gives Secret Mage the extra gas it needs to close out games.

Budget Secret Mage General Replacements

Here’s a list of cards you can add to this deck if you happen to be missing anything in the list.

  • Raven Familiar – While this deck only runs a few heavy spells, Firelands Portal may be enough to warrant this 2-mana conditional draw minion.
  • Loot Hoarder – Loot Hoarder provides decent early game cycle to make up for your lack of Primordial Glyph and Babbling Book.
  • Spellbender – Strictly worse than Counterspell in most matches, but has potential in a Secret package when running into a lot of Paladins during your climb.
  • Ice Block – While the extra turn isn’t typically relevant, ensuring that you have a Secret in play can guarantee value from Medivh’s Valet.
  • Medivh, the Guardian – Occasionally, the card draw from Aluneth can get a little out of control. In the rare situation where fatigue becomes relevant, Medivh can save the day while offering synergy with Firelands Portal.
  • Volcanic Potion – One of Secret Mage’s biggest weaknesses is getting overrun by a wide board. Volcanic Potion can wipe a weak board and leave you with enough mana to develop minions.
  • Ethereal Arcanist – Four Secrets is probably too few to get consistent value off of this card, but it even pumping Arcanist once gets good value from your four mana.
  • Arcane Giant – EZ BIG EZ MAGE was a real thing for a while in the Un’Goro Meta, and for good reason. With the number of spells you’re pumping out in this deck, Arcane Giants may be a reasonable inclusion if you have Karazhan.

About the Author

A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.

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Discuss This Deck
  1. Lostsilver
    April 13, 2018 at 6:43 am

    take out 2x frostbolt for volcanic potion if you’re running into paladin.

  2. TeoGeo
    April 7, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    i just cant get this deck… everyone says its good i cant get a win in rank 15 can anyone help?

  3. Sol
    April 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    What do you think about Cabalist’s Tome in this deck? I replaced 2x Bonemare for 2x Ethereal Arcanist, am considering swapoing 2x Kabal Lackey for 2x Cabalist’s Tome

  4. Seth
    March 6, 2018 at 1:16 am

    I feels like this deck just can’t burn down the warlock heals and out burn an aggro paladin fast enough. I am hitting so many of them in the rank 10 and above. Or just my decision makings are quite wrong may be. Seems like without Aluneth, this deck can’t climb pass rank 10.

    • Roffle - Author
      March 6, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Aluneth is a big loss, but the deck can get some wins without it. Aggro Paladin is generally a bad match up for Secret Mage and I can still see how Warlocks might slip out from under you with healing. It’s still early in the season though, so being at Rank 10 already is great progress.

      • Seth
        March 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm

        Sorry for judging this deck without playing enough games. The deck actually works when you played enough and got the hang of it. I made some replacement ( 2 flame geysers and 2 fire plume phoenix in place of bonemare and scalebane ) and it helped me a lot to climb to rank 5 yesterday. As the grind goes on, I got more familiar with it and saw some ways to squeeze out wins. Went to rank 10 to rank 7 ( 4 stars ) with this deck alone and after that I switched between some midrange hunter, demon zoo lock and this deck again to achieve rank 5.
        Thanks for the deck guide and my apologies for judging too early. Thumbs up.

  5. William
    February 26, 2018 at 3:04 am

    When I saw this deck At first I was doubtful, but after 5 consecutive wins in ranked play, I now believe that this is a masterpiece of a deck made of easy to collect cards that you can easily come across in your adventures
    Thank you for creating this deck Roffle

  6. JDCWolfpack
    February 22, 2018 at 7:32 am

    With the Bonemare nerf and the recent success of funglemancer in several decks does it make sense to swap 2x bonemare for 2x Funglemancer?

    • JDCWolfpack
      February 22, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Also, if you switch to funglemancer would you also want to add saronite chain gang and ghastly conjurer as taunts?

  7. Eduardo
    February 20, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Such a great deck, i was stuck at rank 17 with budget midrange hunter, so i arrived rank 15 with this deck for the first time

  8. Ghost
    February 7, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Started the game a week ~ ago and currently am sitting in rank 13 with this deck. However after the nerfs hit, I don’t know what to replace Bonemares with, any ideas?

    • Roffle - Author
      February 7, 2018 at 10:39 am

      I saw a (non-budget) list earlier today that was running Wolfrider, so that might be a good option. Ethereal Arcanist could also be a potential replacement.

  9. Clover Lee
    February 4, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for the deck dude
    What should I take out for Babbling Book?

    • Roffle - Author
      February 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Kabal Lackey or Bonemare (after the nerfs hit) might be a good place to start.

  10. Kakashi Hatake
    January 30, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I got rank 4 with this deck, but i switched 1x cobalt scalebane for 1x bittertide hydra. Good aggresive deck for begginers (its my second month playing).

  11. MrBuzzkill
    January 27, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I just went straight from Rank 25 to Rank 11 without losing once. I did change a couple of cards though. I felt that Bonemare and Cobalt were way too slow for this deck. I subsituted them for an Ice block, a volcanic potion and 2 Corridor Creepers.

  12. Briix
    January 26, 2018 at 8:27 am

    What would I replace Firelands Portal with since it seems to have rotated out of Standard?

  13. DeadLabs
    January 25, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    What would replace ice block

    • DeadLabs
      January 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Oops what I meant to say is what should I take out to put in ice block.

      • plyzd
        January 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

        I’m doing great with -1 Arcane Intellect +1 Ice Block

  14. plyzd
    January 11, 2018 at 10:05 am

    How can Mana Wyrm be an ideal turn 1 minion? Whenever it gets buffed the enemy destroys it in turn two. So the only damage it can deal is 1 if it ever get a chance to attack. Can’t get past rank 17 with this deck.

    • Brennor
      January 13, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      I’ve been playing this deck for a few days and its already carried me to rank 15, in my experience (which isn’t much) most classes won’t have an easy way to deal with this minion early in the game leaving you to usually buff it to about +2 or 3 attack before they have a chance to remove it, for just playing a 1 mana card that is more than worth it.

    • suede
      January 22, 2018 at 6:13 am

      i´m currently rank 15 with this deck…and Mana Wyrm is one of the best 1-cost minion in the game in my opinion.

      for example…
      with coin:

      1 turn – Mana Wyrm
      2 turn – coin (+1 buff), Kirin Tor Mage, secret (+1 buff) – you have now 3/3 and you may attack….

      without coin:

      1 turn – Mana Wyrm
      2 turn – Kabal Lackey (secret buff) or Frostbolt – Mana Wyrm is now 2/3 – attack…effect is the same….

      But, if you have in starting hand Kabal Lackey and Mana Wyrm….i always play Kabal Lackey first…

  15. suede
    January 7, 2018 at 12:01 am


    what about 1x Bonemare – > 1x Archmage Antonidas ?

    • Roffle - Author
      January 8, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Bonemare provides additional tempo in the form of immediate stats on board, so he’s a little more in line with what this deck is trying to accomplish. Antonidas is a good card, but doesn’t synergize with this deck since there are few cheap spells. Typically, it has enough burn to get wins without him.

      • suede
        January 22, 2018 at 6:03 am

        Thx, i was like its good idea, but….then i craft this deck and some additional cards you wrote like prim glyph and 100% agree with you (now im testing another mage spells and secrets for fun). My win rate is now about 70-80%, corridor creeper is also good card and fits in the deck, but i dont need him…every time he comes to game from my opponent´s hand, i kill it instantly and no buff after him…if you pull out Scalabane or Bonemare in the right moment, they change game in your favour, because they have strong buffs…astonishing 🙂 Sorry for my bad english…now i collect dust and go for your another budget decks and play and experiment with them…thank you very much man.

  16. XPV70
    December 16, 2017 at 3:59 am

    I just made the deck and I have a Medivh in my collection, which card should I switch it out for so I can have it? Or is it not necessary?

    • Roffle - Author
      January 8, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Medivh isn’t necessary for this deck. Really, only the 2x Firelands Portals synergize with him so the payoff usually isn’t big enough to warrant an 8 mana 7/7.

  17. Sepam
    December 13, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Maybe will be better to replace “Arcane Intellect” to “Aluneth” instead of secret (“Mirror Entity”)?

  18. ttrxv10
    December 9, 2017 at 7:27 pm


    I just got Aluneth and added primal but I didn’t replace the kabal’s… (I like having both)…

    Should I start replacing Bone’s first or Fire’s (building the meta-secret deck)

    • ttrxv10
      December 9, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Wait, let’s make a better question:

      I have x2 Primordial Glyph, 1 Aluneth, 1 Ethereal Arcanist, and 3 Explosive Runes, how do they fit here? 😛

      • Arthur
        January 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm

        Disenchant a explosivo rune, primordial gliph os a dangerous Card, sinceramente you can’t predict your next move with It. Change a arcane intellect for alluneth, mirror entity->primordial gliph, Cobalt scalebane->EA.

  19. Hey
    December 6, 2017 at 1:27 am

    I was just trying out this deck because I didn’t have much dust. I really wasn’t expecting anything from this but man this got me from rank 20 to rank 15 with 89% win rate on my smurf! I wanted a fast, fun, good, and cheap deck and this is just perfect. I even beat a secret mage (that wasn’t on budget)

  20. Tanlor
    December 5, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I have a lot of other secrets. Can i replace any of cards with the other Mage Secrets? Like destroy a minion that attacks your hero? 2 copys of a summoned minion? That’s not worth?

  21. Lester
    November 30, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Reached rank 11 with this deck… 😀

  22. Phanttom
    November 28, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    there is any place for Bloodmage Thalnos in this deck?

  23. Tomxj
    November 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Any place for Medivh in this deck or he wouldn’t work here?

  24. PetaZedrok
    November 1, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Is it alright to replace Kabal Crystal Runner (2x) with Arcane Giant (2x) ?

    • Roffle - Author
      November 1, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Kabal Crystal Runners are core cards in the deck, I wouldn’t recommend replacing them. Arcane Giants saw some play in Tempo Mage builds in the past, but this list is probably a bit too minion heavy to get good cost reduction on them.

  25. RockSecure
    October 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I noticed in the future card replacement section, it says the cryomancer can be replaced with medivh’s valet. However, there isn’t a cyromancer on the deck list. Which card should i replace valet with?

  26. Ethan
    October 23, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Can I toss in Frost Lich Jaina?

  27. Damian
    October 13, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Room for Avian Watcher?

    • Roffle - Author
      October 16, 2017 at 8:20 am

      The stats on Avian Watcher make it a bad fit for the deck. I think you’d be better off with something more aggressive like Cobalt Scalebane or Bittertide Hydra.

  28. josh wilders
    October 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Hello, I was wondering. Do you think Glacial Mysteries is a good replacement for a card here if one has it? Thanks for the deck! I went up to 17 in one sitting (which doesn’t normally happen)

    • Roffle - Author
      October 9, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Glacial Mysteries would be a little slow for this deck. Any of the cards in the General Replacements section would be good if you’re missing a card or two from the list.