Elemental Tempo Mage (Witchwood Expansion)

Class: Mage - Format: Raven - Type: Tempo - Season: 49 - Style: Theorycraft

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Deck Import

Mulligans

General Mulligans

Generally, you want Fire Fly for turn-1 and Pyros for turn-2. Then you can go for Tar Creeper or Flame Elemental and Hero Power/ Primordial Glyph/ Book of Specters if you think your hand needs more Elementals. From then on just a steady supply of Elementals to make sure their Battlecries go off.

Special mentions to Voodoo Doll. You keep her against Rogues, especially if you have the Coin. If you can kill their big Edwin you've won.

Aggro Mulligans

Turn-1 Fire Fly, turn 3 Tar Creeper is most important in these match-ups. Pyros trades well with Fire Fly and Flame Elemental as well as Silver Hand Recruits, all three of which are everywhere right now. Even Archmage Arugal is a keep if you don't have Pyros. You need to survive the early game.

Voodoo Doll is an interesting keep because it can remove two minions potentially. Even Glacial Shard could be used, since it freezes a minion and therfor will trade with anything you want.

Blizzard should be kept against Odd Paladin if you have the Coin. Turn 5 Blizzard might just give you the room for breath you need to make a come back.

Control Mulligans

The only real difference here is Book of Specters. You play Fire Fly, maybe Pyros if you drew the bird and turn 3 I prefer Book of Specters and Flame Elemental (or another Fire Fly if you drew it). Jaina might be a good keep if you forsee a long duel. She'll probably win it for you.

I don't keep Primordial Glyph most of the time but if you have Fire Fly in your initial hand and no Pyros/ Book of Specters, there's an argument here that Primordial Glyph should be kept.

Introduction

Hearthstone is like wild west right now with all the new decks everyone’s experimenting with and although some decks like Odd Paladin and the Spiteful series of decks seem like they’re here to stay, this does not mean that it’s time to toss away our theory hats. On the contrary, now that we have an idea of how the actual Witchwood meta is going to look like it’s and even better time to work on deck ideas and build test them against those decks to see if they hold up. In this guide I’ll introduce you to my version of Elemental Mage and I’ll walk you through mulligans, combos, the general strategy you should be following and of’course some substitutions. I’ll probably include a couple of match-specific plays, but with how “random” the Witchwood meta still is I’d suggest you take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I’ll probably update this section when more decks have settled.

General Strategy

This is a Tempo deck, which means that you generally want to have control of the board and stay ahead of your opponent in card advantage up until you hit that sweet spot where you can aggresively start going face. This style of play perfectly copliments the Elemental package, because Elementals usually recquire you to have played another Elemental last turn in order for their Battlecries to go off. The freeze mechanic also synergizes well with this style of play because it allows you to bypass your opponent’s minions and focus on dealing large amounts of damage after you’ve succesfully established a board. This is why Glacial Shard and Blizzard are included in this build.

In other words, this deck attempts to establish a decent board during the early and mid game while making the neccesary trades and then tear down your opponent by either freezing their board and bypassing their minions or through the new inclusion to the Elemental family, Cauldrion Elemental. This guy acts as your main finisher, which is why I’ve included two of them. You want to draw this guy. If you drop this on turn 8, even your small Fire Fly and Flame Elemental are significant. Generally people tend to ignore these guys and go for the bigger bodies which is why you’ll often find yourself with a board of 4 or even 5 of these, each of which will take 3 out of your opponent’s total.
Another way to finish your opponent is with Blazecaller, but he’s generally less reliable. 5 damage to the face is great, but more often than not you’ll drop him to remove a big threat your opponent dropped. Plus, to activate its battlecry you’ll need to drop an Elemental the previous turn.

For anyone that pulled Jaina during the Frozen Throne expansion and didn’t play her because Big Spell Mage was so expensive fear not: you can use her here. I know this deck isn’t “budget” deck, but it’s a bit cheaper. Jaina is here for the late game. She’s not your main win-condition, so don’t focus your whole gameplan on her. She naturally synergizes with Elementals and will increase your life total with every damage your minions (with the exclusion of Archmage Arugal ) deal. Plus, the Water Elemental she produces act as another way of freezing your opponent’s bigger threats, allowing you to continue to bypass their boards.

MVP goes to Voodoo Doll , the new toy we got from the Witchwood expansion. This deck utilizes Book of Specters to refill your hand, which limits the amount of spells (more importantly removal) you can include. Obviously Voodoo Doll is included as your most efficient removal tool, specifically because of how well she’s paired with Jaina’s Hero Power. A similar role is fullfilled with Blazecaller but as I mentioned he is often proven inconsistent which raises the little dolly to the top of the list as MVP. She wins games, seriously.

Lastly, it’s important to mention your card draw. As I said, this deck uses the new Book of Specters card to refill your hand. Therefor, we don’t carry a lot of spells. Each spell is specifically chosen because it synergizes with important cards I’ve included in the deck. Bonfire Elemental deserves special mentions because of how crazy a 5/5 body with card draw is as a tempo swing. Tempo recquires tools to keep ahead and card draws are the most important way of gaining said tools.

That’s pretty much it with the general gameplan. Next comes combos.

Combos & Card Purpose

Fire Fly & Flame Elemental : These are your “battlecry” enablers. They cost 1 mana which makes them easy to include in your turn and make sure your Blazecaller and Servant of Kalimos go off on the next turn. They’re also efficient removal tools against Odd Paladin and zoo-like decks. Glacial Shard also works in a similar manner, but it’s usually better to keep it in your hand for the late game to “pause” a minion.

Archmage ArugalBook of Specters or Bonfire Elemental combo: In a minion-heavy deck Archmage Arugal is king! I personally prefer to combo him with Bonefire Elemental because more often than not I end up burning a card when he’s used with Book of Specters . Another efficient way to use him is with a Tar Creeper , or bait your opponent to waste a removal on him if you feel like you won’t need his extra copy battlecry.

Voodoo Doll : I seriously love this card. Pair her with Frost Lich Jaina and get a Water Elemental and a minion off the board with 5 mana. It’s often worth keeping her on your initial hand against Rogue to ruin their Edwin VanCleef , that’s game-ending.

Leyline Manipulator : Another MVP is Leyline Manipulator . In a deck filled with minions card-generation is very significant, so cards like Archmage ArugalPrimordial Glyph , PyrosSteam Surger and good old Servant of Kalimos provide this guy with an infinite number of targets. A 2-mana discount is game-changing, especially if you hit another Leyline Manipulator with Servant of Kalimos . Even your little Flame Elemental becomes 0 cost, which isn’t too big but it makes it even easier to include in your turn so your other elementals can go off.

 Blazecaller : Don’t forget, this guy’s battlecry is lifesteal-enhanced after you played Frost Lich Jaina . If you’re low on health, do play Blazecaller simply for the heal.

Card Substitutions

First, let me say that some of the cards here can’t be replaced. If you can’t include Book of SpectersPyrosVoodoo Doll or Blazecaller you’re probably better off playing another deck. Frost Lich Jaina also enables you to have a late game and a small chance against Cube Warlock, so I’d argue this deck needs her as well. I’ll assume you either have or can craft all the Rare and Common rarity cards.

The Lich King : A powerful 8-drop with card-generation that will make your Leyline Manipulator even more viable. If you pulled him, you can try him out. I’d take out a Cauldron Elemental in this case. I don’t include him in my list because it’s an aggresive tempo deck and tossing a huge taunt minion on turn 8 puts a break on the aggression.

Fireball : There is an argument that Primordial Glyph is too RNG for a Tempo deck. I prefer Primordial Glyph because it’s easier to pair with other cards, synergizes with Leyline Elemental and offers a 2-mana discount on its own, but Fireball gives you more removal tools and a possible finisher. However, it’s not so easy to include in your late game turns with your big Elementals.

Shimmering Tempest : It’s a 2-drop which this deck doesn’t have other than Pyros and generates a Mage Spell whose cost will be reduced by Leyline Manipulator. Its card-generation is weaker than Primordial Glyph because your get to discover three cards and choose with the latter, which is more flexible. Plus, it’s weak to Jaina’s Hero Power and Odd Paladin’s Silver Hand Recruits, which is why it generally doesn’t make my list.

Fire Plume Phoenix : Possible substitute for Steam Surger , I’ll swap between the two constantly trying to decide which one I prefer. On one hand, Fire Plume Phoenix is too understated for a 4-drop and Steam Surger does give you a Flame Elemental at the end that has proved a powerful minion for turn-8 Cauldron Elemental. On the other hand, Fire Plume Phoenix makes immediate impact on the board with its Battlecry, doesn’t recquire you playing an Elemental the turn before and due to Flame Geyser recquiring two mana itself, you’ll do what Steam Surger does with a 2-mana discount unless you play a Leyline Manipulator which still means you either have other cards you wanted discounted and wait another turn or you play them both on turn 8. Through further testing I’ll conclude whether Fire Plume Phoenix is actually better.

Frost Nova : Good substitute for Blizzard with a 3-mana discount but 2 damage AoE is important with all those Odd Paladins running around.

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  1. Kingtristan
    April 23, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Hi! Love your guide! Been trying different versions of arugal decks, but i found it quite difficult to make it work. Anyway, there are some things that id like to ask:

    1. Is spellstone good in this deck? that card could give you 2~3 spells, which then can be discounted by leyline

    2. Is hand synergy good in this deck? With archmage arugal + book combo you can have massive hand size and can cheat out the giants

    3. Just one kalimos? Moe discovery cards means more cards you can reduce with your leyline right, so potentially, u can swarmed the board with discounted elementals

    Thank you in advance!

    • WildRage - Author
      April 24, 2018 at 9:21 am

      Hi, thank you very much.

      1) Ruby Spellstone? I playtested it a lot, actually. It definately works in this deck, but Primordial Glyph is far superior. A fully-upgraded Spellstone can potentially clog your hand with 2-3 bad spells and even cause you to burn a card. If you don’t want to craft Primordial Glyph, I’d go for Shimmering Tempest before I play Ruby Spellstone. Then again, all those Paladins out there could make a better case for Spellstone over Tempest.

      2) That’s potentially a different archetype and would recquire a lot of changes to work. My friend is playtesting what he has dubed “Hand Mage” where he runs the Arugal + Book combo, Giants, Aluneth and the new Witchwood minion that gets buffed whenever you draw a card. I don’t think Giants would work on the current build, they’re too slow. The deck is more focused on burst damage rather than hand advantage.

      3) You can run a second Kalimos. You already have a strong “swarm” combo with all the Flame Elementals but more discounts can’t hurt. If you want, you could take a Cauldron Elemental out. I personally run 1 because I prefer Bonfire on turn 5 and playing Kalimos right after is difficult because turn 6 is usually Blizzard time.

      I hope I was helpful. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. And if you’ve made a significant change on the deck that ends up improving it, mention it here. I’ll test it out and if it’s good I’ll update the guide and reference you.

      • Kingtristan
        April 25, 2018 at 12:12 am

        Thanks for the answers! The only change that i make is using fire plume instead of steam surger. Really like the immediate effect.

        • WildRage - Author
          April 25, 2018 at 5:13 am

          To be honest with you, I think Fire Plume Phoenix is the way to go. Steam Surger is too big and slow for the meta right now. Especially if you consider your biggest threats are aggressive decks like Paladin.

  2. The Chad
    April 23, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Congrats on making it to the weekly feature article! Very well written!

    • WildRage - Author
      April 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Thank you, I appreciate it. I’ll try to keep it updated and improved as the meta stabilizes.