I started playing since beta, and season 2 was my first time trying hard on ladder, reaching legend on the Asian server. The mage deck (http://imgur.com/xQMnDky)
I mainly used was pretty cheap other than Leeroy and Thalnos, so I was curious whether it would be still successful without legendaries.
I made a fresh account on NA, and it was my goal to get to legend with a free-to-play version of the mage deck I used. It took me around 150 wins from rank 19 (that account was rank 10 last season) to get there. It would have been much quicker if I didn’t tilt, dropping mid rank 2 to low rank 5, as I was supposed to be working on my final year project 😛
Arcane Missiles x 2
Ice Lance x 2
Mana Wyrm x 2
Frostbbolt x 2
Amani Berserker x 2
Knife Juggler x 2
Arcane Intellect x 2
Fireball x 2
Water Elemental x 2
Azure Drake x 2
As you can tell, this is a more control version of aggro mage. From my experience, this deck is pretty solid against all current meta decks (even against control warrior, probably ~35% win rate ), and just received a buff since frost mages have gain popularity.
Let me explain my card choices, in contrast to the original aggro mage:
- Amani Berserker: I think I see more aggro mages using this card this season, but its versatility might still be underrated. This card is both my yeti-killer against control, 1-drop sweeper against zoo, and anti-aoe. Also my favorite turn 1 play against miracle rogue with coin
- Elven Archer: Tempo card, 4-mana worth hero abilities into a 1-drop. She cleans up stuff, especially when the deck is throwing so many random darts and missiles, as maintaining board control is crucial with this deck.
- Harvest Golem: Replacement for Thalnos, and in many situations (excellent sweeper against aggro) it might even be a better choice.
- Argent Commander: Replacement for Leeroy, cost more but much better stand alone card and can be used for removal or as finisher
- Polymorph: 3rd fireball for minions, sometimes there are Bloodhoof and Ragnaros that you have to deal with
- Chillwind Yeti: Mid-range value, better turn-4 play than water elemental in some situations (predicting azure drake from opponent)
There are cards I think is good but 2 is too many for this deck:
- Leper Gnome: It’s best to be played at turn 1 (not against mage, rogue, druid) or smoothing your curve at early turns, proc knifes and provide a body against aggro, also of course the 2 direct damge
- Mirror Image: I am looking to trade and control board anyway, and not a lot of cases I would use the card just to buy time and protect my board
- Sorcerer’s Apprentice: She provides good tempo, might even swing the game if you play her on turn 3 and frost bolt a knife juggler when against zoo. Quite situational and Berserker is a better play if you want to develop board
- Wolfrider: Still good for damage (esp against warrior, shaman) but 2 is too many for this mid-range deck
The core of aggro mage has a lot of control potential: Knife juggler and arcane missiles are better at control than rush deck, water elemental is an insane 4-drop, your spells can be situational removals, and hands down the best hero ability for board control
Generally your play style is to mulligan for solid turn 1-4 drops, use your mana and cards efficiently (low drops should smooth out your mana usage, which is an edge against typical control decks with costly minions). I have more tips for specific matchups if people are interested.
It only cost 900 dust (10 commons + 5 rares) to enchant the whole deck, and I have proven its strength with reaching legend playing this list exclusively. Sorry if my post was difficult to read, English is not my mother tongue. I would like to hear any comments and questions regarding to my decklist, and hope this would help new players enjoying the ladder experience without paying at all!