Our Wild Secret Mage deck list guide will go through the ins-and-outs of this deck! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, card replacements, and omissions for this popular list!
Introduction to Wild Secret Mage
Secret Mage is a tempo deck that aims to gain early advantages through Mage’s powerful Secrets. The deck has evolved a lot over the years as Mage gains more cards that have Secret synergy. There’s so much Secret synergy in Mage now that there isn’t enough deck space to fit it all in. Thanks to Mage’s Legendary Weapon, Aluneth, the deck has a powerful tool to keep it from running out of steam in the late game, encouraging it to run more damaging spells that can target the opponent’s face. Thanks to this strategy and the multitude of damaging spells Mage has gathered over the years, this deck is often referred to as Burn Mage.
Check out our Standard Deck Guide for Secret Mage!
Wild Secret Mage Mulligan Strategy & Guide
This deck wants minions early and spells late. The minions trade with the board and deal early chip damage before your opponent plays their taunt minions. Later in the game your minions will be readily answered and often blocked entirely, so your damaging spells give you the reach you need to finish your opponent off.
There isn’t much difference in this deck between what you want against aggro or control. Part of this is that ideally you would always hit your opponent’s face, but also your early minions accomplish what you need them to in both matchups. Against slow decks they pressure your opponent’s life, and against aggro decks they can keep threatening minions off the board if need be.
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Mana Wyrm – Drawing this card on curve is everything. It’s not easy to remove that early and it can snowball out of control pretty easily.
- Kabal Lackey – Now that Patches doesn’t have Charge you can actually expect your 1-health minions to do something, whether it be trading into a better minion or just dealing a little damage before it dies. Lackey let’s you play a Secret super early, which can be handy for either dealing more damage (the earlier you you play Explosive Runes the more damage it’s likely to do) or for disrupting your opponent’s game plan.
- Arcanologist – Not only is Arcanologist a well stat-ed minion, but it draws you a card. Card draw is always desirable but Arcanologist doesn’t grab just any card, specifically a Secret. This is important overall because of the deck’s synergy with Secrets, but especially leading into your 3-mana turn when you want to be playing Kirin Tor Mage. This is a much more powerful 3-mana play if you have a Secret to play with it.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Mad Scientist – Despite this being one of the best cards ever printed, it’s not the favorite for this deck anymore. This is due entirely to Arcanologist, who has better stats for the cost and also fetches a Secret. Mad Scientist has an edge in that he puts the Secret into the battlefield for you, but that’s not always what you want. Your 2-mana turn leads directly into your 3-mana turn, when you want to be playing Kirin Tor Mage with a Secret. The deck does run a lot of Secrets, but the best way to guarantee you’ll have one in hand is to play Arcanologist the turn before. Having the card in your hand to play also lets you decide whether or not you want to play a specific Secret, for example you don’t want to have Counterspell on the field in most cases before your opponent has used The Coin. Kabal Crystal Runner benefits from Secrets that have been played, and not from ones fetched by Mad Scientist. Mad Scientist is a good keep if it looks like you’re going to use The Coin turn 1 (an undesirable play but one you have to make sometimes), or if it fills in your curve. For example, if your hand is Mana Wyrm/Mad Scientist/Kirin Tor Mage then you have your early game curve ready to go. The only card you want more in this situation is Arcanologist, and the likelihood of drawing it when mulliganing only one card is low. Against aggro Coin turn 1 into Mad Scientist can be good if you also have Medivh's Valet to play on turn 2.
- Kirin Tor Mage – Ideally you keep this every time, but sometimes going first it’s a risky keep. Having a turn-1 minion to play is pretty important for this deck, but considering that there are only 3 in the deck I’ll risk it going second every time. This backfires less when you don’t get a 1-drop and more when you don’t find a Secret, but that happens rarely so it’s worth it. Going first however, you pretty much need to have an Arcanologist to keep this card without a 1-drop in hand. You can lose a lot of tempo if your first good minion is played on turn 3.
- Aluneth – You really want to keep this card, but sometimes you can’t. Against slow decks, always keep, but against aggro you have to send it back if your early curve isn’t good enough. Aluneth refills your hand every turn, preventing you from running out of steam in the mid-late game.
Not Worth Keeping (You might be tempted, but send it back)
- Primordial Glyph – If you end up having this in your opening hand without a better 2-mana play it’s certainly better to play it than to ping face, but it’s definitely not ideal. In the early turns you want to be playing minions and keeping your opponent focused on responding to your board, and Glyph rarely helps with this. Sometimes you end up with Unstable Portal, but outside of that (and depending on which minion it produces) it doesn’t really give you any board presence. Glyph is better used late game to find additional burn, Freeze, or a Secret if you need it.
- Sorcerer's Apprentice – Again, better than ping-face on turn 2, but not worth keeping early. If you play Sorceror’s Apprentice on your 2-mana turn, it doesn’t help you optimize your mana on your next turn in most cases. If you go second, you can Coin into double Secret this way, but your opponent will have 3 mana to deal with it and two previous turns to play minions that can trade into it by this point. Arcanoligist, Mad Scientist and, thanks to the way its stats are distributed, even Valet are all better 2-mana plays early. Apprentice’s strength comes from late game, after having played Aluneth, when you can play several spells in one turn with 1 or both Apprentice on the field.
Wild Secret Mage Play Strategy
In just about every game you want to be the aggressor. Your early minions are well stat-ed for what they do, so you can put on a lot of pressure early. Around turns 4 or 5 your opponent can start answering your minions better, whether it be through removal or taunts, so at this point you’ve hopefully dealt enough damage through your minions that you can start trying to burn them down with your spells. Once you have 6 mana available you can play Aluneth to keep your damaging spells coming.
VS Aggro Decks
This deck does struggle against aggro, and Aggro Paladin specifically is the #1 reason this deck isn’t more oppressive than it is. This deck’s early minions are often better when you draw just the right ones, but when you don’t your opponent’s board can snowball out of control pretty quickly. This deck’s vulnerability to aggro has led some players to start including Frost Nova in their lists.
Try to go face as much as possible because you won’t be able to hold the board forever, but make value trades when it matters. Dealing an extra 2 damage is more important than removing a Silver Hand Recruit in most cases, but not important enough to leave a Knife Juggler on the board. Trade with your spells before your minions, ideally you won’t draw many early game but if you do it’s better to remove your opponent’s minions with them so that the minions you do draw can keep pressuring your opponent’s life.
Against Paladin the best Secret in your deck is Counterspell. Those decks are heavily reliant on Call to Arms, and negating that card can be devastating for them. Hitting Muster for Battle with it wastes a lot of your opponent’s mana as well, and results in a big tempo swing for you. If your opponent has The Coin they’re probably planning on playing a minion turns 1 and 2 then coining out Call to Arms on 4, in which case your Counterspell can be disappointing, but at least it bought you a turn.
VS Control Decks
Against Warlock you do what you usually would, try to get in as much damage with your minions as possible, then hope to close the game out with spell damage. What’s important here is when you play which Secret. Due to Mad Scientist and draw RNG in general you won’t always have control of which Secret is going to be in play, but when you do each of them is more powerful at different points in the game. If you’re going first, Kabal Lackey into Potion of Polymorph will often end up wasted, as your opponent will probably play Kobold Librarian turn 1. Explosive Runes is good at this point in the game, but if they don’t play Librarian, then your opponent can take advantage of it when they have 4 mana to trigger Voidcaller. A Potion of Polymorph is good to play leading into their 4-mana turn for this reason. Counterspell is good in the early turns to protect you from Hellfire, and this is actually a matchup where negating The Coin is helpful. If your opponent is playing Giants Warlock, and you have a Counterspell up on their 4th turn, they will have to wait until turn 5 to produce a board of lethal Giants. Similarly, playing Potion of Polymorph or Explosive Runes leading into their 5 mana turn will ruin their Naga Sea Witch.
VS Big Priest
Wait until after they’ve used The Coin to play Counterspell if you can. Having Counterspell up leading into their 6th turn prevents them from using a lot of board wipes they have available, but also Shadow Essence. Counterspell into their 5-mana turn is also good, as it blocks Excavated Evil. Potion of Polymorph is almost (but maybe not) worth keeping just because of how ruinous it can be to have a 1/1 sheep token in their Resurrect pool, but it’s going to be several turns before your opponent plays a minion from hand (at least one worth polymorphing). If they get Barnes on 4, don’t kill the token if it’s Ragnaros the Firelord. One Ragnaros does nothing too impactful against you, but several can wipe you out pretty fast. If you kill it they’ll bring back a bunch more.
VS Malygos Druid
Having a Secret in play on their turn 4 is pretty important because of Ironwood Golem/Oaken Summons, which one is up to how they draw. With a little luck your Secrets can prevent a Taunt minion from hitting the board, one which trades with at least two of your minions, or wastes one of your Fireballs. Having a Counterspell up on their turn 10 can win you the game right there, as losing 10 mana and failing to resolve Ultimate Infestation is devastating.
With Potion of Polymoph and Explosive Runes, the order they come into play is important. Playing Poly first means the minion is first transformed, and then has the Runes damage dealt to it. In a lot of matchups this is fine because it ensures the maximum amount of damage dealt through runes, but in this one not as much. Where in the early game it is desirable to have one of these spells remove an Ironwood Golem, in the later turns your opponent is hoping it triggers on it. These two spells are all that’s keeping your opponent from playing Aviana, after which they will sweep away your life all in one turn. If you play Poly after Runes, then your opponent won’t be able to waste both of you secrets with one card, as Poly will not trigger after a minion has been destroyed by Runes.
Secret Mage Card Substitutions
Aluneth is mandatory, but apart from that and Primordial Glyph, which is not mandatory, the whole deck is common and rare. This makes the deck pretty budget friendly already, so there’s not much point in suggesting budget replacements. If you don’t have Aluneth and want to try the deck out anyway, you could put in Duplicate. Duplicate is a really good secret, but with Aluneth and Arcane Intellect it’s a bit too redundant, and can lead to overdrawing. Back when Secret Mage didn’t have Aluneth, it would run this card, and when it returns Medivh’s Valet it actually really helps against aggro.
The card I’d like to fit into the deck more than anything else is Loatheb. I think Loatheb is one of, if not the, best cards in wild, and this deck is the type that can make the best use of it. Played on the right turn, it keeps your board alive for another round of hitting face, and that can make all the difference. To add this I would probably remove Primordial Glyph, but Glyphing into a board clear or Freeze effect is one of your best hopes against hyper aggressive decks, so playing the deck without any copies of it can be risky. Sorcerer’s Apprentice is also a candidate for removal.
Firelands Portal and Pyroblast help increase your damage ceiling, but for Wild they’re a tad expensive. If you were going to add one I’d go with Portal, because it at least doesn’t cost 10 mana and leaves behind a minion to pressure with.
A lot of people right now are playing Ice Lance in this deck. This has some merit, as it significantly increases your damage ceiling and highroll potential, but I don’t like it. Ice Lance is only a candidate for this deck because of Aluneth. The weapon pretty much draws your whole deck, so you’re likely to run into Frostbolt and Ice Lance at the same time late once it’s played. The deck struggles enough when it doesn’t draw Aluneth, and Ice Lance is so bad without Frostbolt. Think about it this way, if you have a lone Ice Lance in your hand, with no way to Freeze, Freezing Potion would be better, as at least that costs no mana. Drawing Ice Lance too early is like playing the first half of the game down a card, and if you draw it too late there’s a good chance you’ve had to use one or both of your Frostbolts for board control. Aluneth already ensures you’ll have tons of spell damage, so I don’t think there’s much reason to lean on that one card further.
I go back and forth on Ice Block. It definitely helps in the aggro matchup, but only if it’s not the first Secret you get. Your other Secrets slow your opponent down, and if your Mad Scientist or Kirin Tor Mage only puts Ice Block on the field on curve, then its only impact will be to possibly trick your opponent into an inefficient turn. With it in your deck however, you can ignore the board sooner and focus on damaging face, as you’ll always have one more turn to finish them off when they would otherwise win. I have definitely lost my fair share games I would have otherwise won had I been running an Ice Block, but I think I’ve been weighed down by drawing it early more often. Not to mention, it’s borderline pointless against control, as their gameplan is almost always to survive until Aluneth fatigues you. Some people give the argument “well having it out means Medivh's Valet always has a Secret” which is true, but not worthwhile enough to run Ice Block for that reason alone. You will almost always be able to play Valet for value in the later turns of the game.
Some versions play Flamewaker, which is a really good card, but I would argue it changes the deck too much. If it doesn’t, then it won’t get enough value to be worth it. Flamewaker is best along with a multitude of cheap spells to activate it several times. For this you need cards like Mirror Image, Arcane Missiles and two copies of Primordial Glyph. Those spells in combination with Flamewaker can be very powerful, but drawing them without him is definitely worse than the more consistent gameplay of Secret lists like this one.