Fractured in Alterac Valley Mage Theorycrafts – New Mage Deck Ideas

When it comes to Mage in Fractured in Alterac Valley, the class is kind of a one-trick-pony. Blizzard has went all-in on one theme – Big Spells. Yes, we have some support for other things sprinkled here in there, like Hero Power (Amplified Snowflurry) or… I honestly don’t know what Build a Snowman would support, maybe Questline Mage to have another, more reliable Frost spell? (It’s not going to make it become viable again, but still.)  That’s why this theorycrafting was a bit hard. Yes – one of the themes was obvious, and it HAD to be there, but I don’t see many people theorycrafting other Mage decks simply because… there’s not much to theorycraft. I tried really hard to give you something more, and yes – they will probably turn out to be complete memes, but at least you can’t say that I haven’t tried.

Mage’s future hangs in balance, and the deck it will most likely be based on is…

Big Spell Mage

When it comes to building a Big Spell Mage, it’s actually quite a challenge. The problem here is that you don’t want to play small spells for a few reasons: Balinda Stonehearth, Magister Dawngrasp and Iceblood Tower. Balinda hitting small spells is bad, because they become expensive and her stats drop. Dawngrasp doesn’t work well with small spells because you’re losing the Battlecry impact  + since you can’t target them, depending on what spells you run they might even hit a wrong target. And finally Iceblood Tower – well, since you pay 10 mana up front, you don’t want it cast a 0-3 mana spell, for example, that would be a disaster and a massive tempo loss.

Not being able to play small spells is a problem, because Mage RELIES on small spells in the early game. The class has rather weak minions and many of them actually synergize with spells, so playing them is pointless. But you do need to fill those early turns somehow, you can’t just skip turns 1 to 7. That’s why I tried to fill the deck with a mix of removal in a minion form, Armor/Life gain, and stall. Those early minions are NOT meant to win you the game, no. They are just meant to get you to Turn 7, when the real action starts.

The real action is you playing a big spell after a big spell every turn. If you actually aren’t under much pressure, the best thing would probably be playing Clumsy Courier into Iceblood Tower – now you have your tempo for the next couple of turns set up. But let’s be real, you probably will be under pressure, so you will have to do something like Courier into Rune of the Archmage and hope that it will bail you out, or just straight-up cast Flamestrike / Mask of C'Thun to remove some stuff on the board. Then you want to play another big spell next turn, and another one… faster decks won’t have nearly enough pressure to go over all of your removals etc. And against slower decks, you mostly rely on the spam of Water Elementals from Deep Freeze that will keep them busy while you damage them with Mask of C'Thun and hopefully some extra burn from Rune of the Archmage. Then, you also have Magister Dawngrasp, which is first used for the big power turn of repeating all different spells with Battlecry, and then you can sometimes win the game in a long run with an upgraded Hero Power.

I think that you can make an argument for Celestial Ink Set in the deck – after all, whenever you will play a big spell, you will make your other big spells cheaper and easier to play. But I’m not so sure about that. First of all – it’s useless for the first half of the game. You can equip it on T2, but it won’t do anything for you. The second issue is that I’m not a big fan of how the numbers look like. For example, if you drop Ink Set and play your first big spell on T7, what does it do, exactly? Even if you hit another 7 mana spell with its effect, it becomes 2 mana… and you’re at 8 mana next turn, so you still can’t play two spells in a turn. You would need to play another big spell and hit the same one you discounted again in order to be able to play it on the same turn… and that’s an awful lot of reliance on RNG. So in reality, the card usually doesn’t become relevant until Turn 9, where you actually get to double-dip on big spells thanks to it. But I honestly think that it’s too late.

Some other considerations include 2nd Arcane Brilliance (but I thought that it’s too much because you will get one natural + second one repeated by Dawngrasp), cutting Balinda and Flamestrike for two copies of Fire Sale (good early AoE + you could just trade it in the matchup you don’t need it – and you cut Balinda because you would have too many 4-Cost spells), or maybe Mass Polymorph (but I like the Dawngrasp repeating Arcane Brilliance to give you more spells).

Control Hero Power Mage

You see – Hero Power Mage didn’t really get many new tools this time around. I could just paste the old list, add Amplified Snowflurry instead and call it a day. But that would be boring, wouldn’t it? That’s why I came up with this slower, more Control-oriented variant of the deck. But how does it work, exactly? The goal here is to play a Control game with your spells while pinging your opponent with Hero Power as your main win condition, the finish the game with Mordresh Fire Eye or Rune of the Archmage.

In this case, Magister Dawngrasp is not so much played to repeat the Big Spells (but this is also a nice addition), but for the Hero Power upgrade. Sadly, any Wildfires you play before you drop him won’t carry over, but since he repeats a Fire spell and that’s your only Fire spell, he will still get +1 from the get-go. Now, the idea is to get a couple of Honorable Kills with your Hero Power and take things from there. It would grow really, really quickly. Let’s say that you started with one Wildifre, so the Hero Power is 2 damage. It’s not hard to find a 2 health target, you ping it, and your Hero Power now deals 4 damage each. Now you can either try to look for a 4 damage target, maybe do some extra damage with your other cards to bring something down to 4… or even ping your own Deepwater Evoker or Spammy Arcanist to get there. Now you have a 6 damage Hero Power – and that’s probably enough to stay there (I mean, you won’t have to go out of your way to increase it, but another +2 wouldn’t hurt if your opponent happens to drop something you can Honorably Kill). 6 damage means that your Hero Power turns into a Fireball. Reckless Apprentice is a Fireball on every single enemy. So you basically try to stall the game why you Fireball your opponent into face every turn with your Hero Power.

Yes, I do realize that this concept is quite wacky, but if the meta becomes slow enough, I think that it can actually work. If you manage to get two Wildfires early, you can even skip Dawngrasp and just try to kill your opponent like that – pinging them every turn and then finishing things with Mordresh. And maybe help yourself with Mask of C’Thun and Rune of the Archmage (again, this one is tricky, because in theory it can Pyroblast your opponent twice in the face… or play a lot of random, small spells that you don’t care about). We’ll see how it works – it probably won’t, but I think that theorycrafting it was more fun than theorycrafting your regular Hero Power Mage with a single new card.

Fire Mage

Hear me out, this is another wacky concept given that Mage didn’t get ANYTHING that would suggest Fire synergies this expansion… but when I saw the new Neutral Frozen Mammoth, I knew that I had to try. In a deck like that, this is basically a 4 mana 6/7. I know, I know, it’s still just a pile of stats, but I feel like at this point the pile of stats is big enough to matter. And in a deck like that, it has basically no downside – all you need is to play a Fire Spell next turn to unfreeze it, and that’s not a problem at all given that you run 10 of them in total.

Now, what are some other uses of Fire Spells? Yep – you got that right – burning your opponent. And that will be your main win condition. You play the early game tempo game and use your spells as either removal (especially vs Aggro) and burn (especially vs Control). You also have a few more tricks up your sleeve. Prestor's Pyromancer is a really nice card, even more so that the effect persists through your turn. You can, for example, drop him on T2 and then when you need a 4 damage removal play First Flame a turn or two later. Just remember to not “waste” his effect on a spell that deals no damage (like Hot Streak).

Then we’ve got Sanctum Chandler – your main draw engine. Even as early as Turn 5, you can drop it, play Hot Streak and another cheap Fire spell to draw 2 and have a nice tempo turn. Plus you now have a 4/5 your opponent really has to remove – which might not be possible for an Aggro deck. If it survives, you can often run away with the game by casting multiple Fire spells and drawing a lot of cards. And against Control, you can even wait until T6-T7 to set up an even stronger draw turn.

Finally, there’s Grand Magus Antonidas. Again, activating his effect won’t be difficult – just try to play at least one Fire spell per turn starting on T5, so he will always be active. Those three Fireballs can easily turn the game around against Aggro/Midrange or even finish the game if your opponent has no minions on the board at all (that’s 18 face damage, after all). Honestly, I think that Antonidas might be too slow and not fit into the deck that well, but hey, we’re only theorycrafting here and the card is definitely fun to play, so why not?

Overall, it’s another deck that has a solid, interesting concept… that won’t likely work well, at least not yet. However, given that all of those Fire synergies are from Year of the Gryphon, I could absolutely see Blizzard pushing it more next year.


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!

Leave a Reply