Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Deck List
Part III: Deck Overview
Part IV: Card Overview
Part V: Alternatives
Part VI: Potential Replacements
Part VII: Class-Specific Matchups
Part I: Introduction
Hi guys, welcome to my Brainless Mage Deck guide. This deck is very, very stupid and cheap – but is hilariously effective even at high ranks. I climbed from Rank 10 to Rank 5 with this deck. It only has a few counters, but does well against the current ladder now that people aren’t running anti-mage decks often.
This thread is more just going over the card choices and matchups, as the actually strategy is very straightforward.
Part II: Deck List
2 x Leper Gnome
2 x Mana Wyrm
2 x Elven Archer
2 x Novice Engineer
2 x Loot Hoarder
1 x Sorcerer’s Apprentice
1 x Bloodmage Thalanos
2 x Coldlight Oracle
2 x Nightblade
2 x Mirror Image
2 x Ice Lance
2 x Frostbolt
2 x Ice Block
2 x Arcane Intellect
2 x Fireball
2 x Pyroblast
Imgur:( I use Frost Novas since I don’t have Ice Block):
Part III: Deck Overview
This deck isn’t your typical freeze mage, aggro mage or giants mage – it is a burn mage to the extreme. There is practically no freeze in this deck (except if you don’t Ice Blocks and use Frost Novas in their place), so the mage nerfs didn’t really affect this deck.
The deck is painfully simple to play – you only hit the enemy hero. Cards like Leper Gnome and the especially rare Nightblade really hit this point home. Exceptions to hitting the hero are very rare.
The deck has the maximum amount of burn possible through mage spells. 2 Pyros, Fireballs, Frostbolts and Ice Lances give you 46 possible damage (more with Spell Power). If you count Nightblade and Leper Gnome BC/DR effects, we get up to 56 damage.
The deck has few defensive tools since it’s mostly focused on offense. Mirror Image is an early game defensive tool, not so much to protect you from damage, but to let you get a couple licks in from your minions. Ice block/frost nova are your late game defensive tools to buy you extra turns.
The last part about the deck is the card draw. With this much card draw, getting 30 of your 56 possible burn damage is easy to get. If you think of it as 56 damage is dispersed throughout the 30 cards, you need to get 15-16 of those cards to get your required damage, the other non-damage cards are there to help you get to those cards.
Part IV: Card Choices
Leper Gnome, Nightblade, Ice Lance, Frostbolt, Fireball, Pyroblast
As stated before, this is your 56 possible damage. There is almost no situation where you would use any of the spells on a minion, that being if you have to Frostbolt/Fireball a taunt minion that will let your minions attack their hero and live.
Frostbolts and Ice Lances are your most efficient sources of damage and have the most damage potential in one turn. Ice Lances should ideally be saved for when you can Frostbolt first for damage efficiency. If you have 2 frostbolts, you can get rid of one when you have spare mana, but they need to be saved for Ice Lances if you only have 1. Since the Frostbolt/Ice Lance combo is cheap mana-wise, they’re the ideal candidates for using with Bloodmage Thalanos/Geomancer. Thalanos + Frostbolt + Ice Lance x 2 is 14 damage for 6 mana.
Because of the way the deck works with the general lack of control, Pyroblast needs to be a finisher only, since by turn 8 your opponent will have built up a full board and you will die spending all your mana without control.
Minions that must be dealt with
Leper Gnome, Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nightblade, Loot Hoarder
These minions are what give the deck a more aggressive feel and provide early “challenges” for your opponent. If any of these guys can get a few damage points in, consider that a win and that is less burn you have to draw/use on your opponent. At the very least, your opponent dealing with these cards loses them tempo.
Novice Engineer, Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalanos, Coldlight Oracle, Arcane Intellect
Drawing your burn is essential, and mana management is perhaps the hardest part of playing this deck. Coldlight Oracle works well in mage burn decks because you don’t really care what your opponent can do – as long as you get the required cards you will be able to kill them quicker.
It’s best to card draw earlier and then start doing damage around turn 5. Often you want to compile your Frostbolt/Ice Lance combo, and ideally get an additional boost by using Thalanos with your burn for spell power.
Defense and stall
Mirror Image, Ice Block, Ice Lance
Defense is limited, and there is practically no freeze in this deck. As you get into turn 6+ though, you can be facing 20+ damage in a turn, so those turns are usually combined with some sort of defensive mechanism + a bit of burn or card draw.
Mirror Image is one of the more controversial cards, but I like it in this deck as it is a cheap way to buff Mana Wyrm, gives you another turn 1 play, and also can help offensively by protecting a minion or two for a turn to let you get a hit in. Late game you can use it to survive for an extra turn. If your opponent is able to do 20 damage in a turn by his board, Mirror Image might reduce that by soaking up 2 attacks/spells, lowering his damage for that turn and potentially giving you another turn and letting you save Ice Block for another turn.
Ice Block is really overpowered in a deck like this. We’ll talk card potential replacements in the next section, but I’ll mention that Frost Nova is a good budget option that costs the same mana. Frost Nova serves the same purpose as IB but is slightly worse as it doesn’t protect you from charge/weapons/spells.
Finally, sort of how Mirror Image can help turn a what would be lethal board into a non lethal board, you can do the same thing with Ice Lance to freeze a minion for a turn lowering their damage output. A couple games ago I was against a shaman, and he played an Earth Ele on turn 5. He dropped me to 18 on turn 6. I Ice Lanced the Earth Ele to freeze it on turn 7, and the rest of his board only got me to 7. I Frost Novad the board on turn 8 with a Fireball, and then Pyro’d him to win on turn 9.
Part V: Alternatives
This deck as I posted it is very cheap for a competitive deck. Rogue and warlocks are the other classes that also don’t need many expensive cards to be solid. The only required expensive card would be the 2 Pyroblasts. The good thing about Pyroblast is that it is probably the most essential class card to craft, as almost no mage decks run without it.
Thalanos is easily replaceable, but he is ideal because of the hybrid card draw + sp damage. For a budget option, Kobold Geomancer serves nearly the same purpose.
The other expensive card in the deck list is Ice Block. As I mentioned before, I don’t actually have Ice Blocks, so I substituted in Frost Novas which are working well enough. They’ll never be equivalent to Ice Block because Ice Block also protects you from spells/weapons/charge minions, but it’s a pretty adequate budget replacement so I wouldn’t rush to craft Ice Blocks unless you really want to commit to mage. I’m a bit more hesitant on crafting class-specific cards.
Part VI: Possible Improvements
This deck is a pretty new creation, so I’m still experimenting here and there.
Possible replacement 1: Frost Nova for Mirror Image.
In terms of points of damage saved/prevented, Frost Nova is superior. I personally like Mirror Image because of the potential of protecting your early minions to reduce your burn requirement, and usually you don’t need to stall for that many later turns. By doing this change, you sacrifice the offensive potential in mirror image (letting your early minions live) for more defensive late-game by running both Frost Nova and Ice block.
Possible replacement 2: Nat Pagle for Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Thalanos
Card draw is really, really important. Pagle can win games if your opponent can’t deal with him quickly in the early game. At worst, he’s a 4 health shield with a 50% chance to draw you a card. Early game he can be very good if your opponent can’t deal with him, but I feel he’s better in a more freeze oriented deck where you can protect him in the late game with Nova/CoC/Blizzard. Still, there are games where Sorcerer’s Apprentice is completely useless and games where she is really helpful.
Possible replacement 3: Leeroy for Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Nightblade
Think of Leeroy as another Fireball. The problem is, he is a bit risky if your opponent has a taunt he is a dead card. It is interesting though that he can fill up your opponents board with useless 1/1s, but again that is more of a concern with a freeze oriented deck.
Possible replacement 4: Doomsayer for Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Thalanos
Doomsayer can be great to slow your opponent down, but he’s just strictly better in a more defensive mage freeze or even giants deck. Without CoCs/Blizzards and possibly Frost Novas, Doomsayer will always just be a 7 health shield at turn 4 and later where your opponent will always have a way to deal with him.
Possible replacement 5: AoE for ???
The reason why I don’t like AoE in this deck is that it’s too expensive and takes up your entire turn. If you Flamestrike to clear the board on turn 7., by then your opponent will usually be able to fill up the board with threats again the next turn.
Possible replacment 6: Azure Drake for Nightblade
Azure Drake seems like a dream, card draw + Sp dmg. The problem is he’ll never and is too expensive to take advantage of the Sp dmg.
This deck is very strong on ladder now because with the mage nerfs, mages are less popular and thus the anti-mage decks are not prevalent as well. Although there’s no much to talk about in terms of strategy, let’s go over your matchups.
I’ve honestly only faced 1 hunter with this deck, but it was a very easy win and I really don’t think they are able to deal with you since they have no healing, and their offensive potential is very average. The really don’t get going until turn 6 or 7 which is too slow against this deck.
Shamans are very easy. They generally waste board spots on totems which have little offensive potential, so the only real problematic card is Earth Elemental. It can be worth it to Ice Lance the Earth Ele to stall it for a turn if you don’t need the Ice Lance for burn. As a mechanic, overload really limits their offense against you and they also can start slowly, giving you a chance to sneak in early damage with a minion.
Rogues have a tough time dealing with you because aside from Backstab, anything you play is generally removed by their weapons in which your minions do damage to them anyway. Rogues are great at doing damage to many different things and board control, but this deck doesn’t care about board control.
Warlocks are very popular now, and this deck does well verse them. There are two kinds of warlock decks that are popular: murloc decks and aggro decks with varying degree of speed. The murloc decks can win if they get a really good start (Blood Imp to protect them from pings), but usually you can hero power away their buffing murlocs. If you get out minions early, this is pretty much the only matchup where it’s better to trade with their minions because they will help you burn them by Life Tapping. If you can’t ping it away, trading is viable. Elven Archers are also MVPs vs Murloc decks.
The other type of Warlock deck is a more typical aggro deck. Some of these decks are slower with Sylvanas, Argent Commanders and Jaraxxus. These are less problematic, but a Voidwalker can prevent you from getting damage into their face with early game minions, so that’s the only thing that can be problematic here. They help you kill them, so winning by turn 8/9 is almost always doable.
Overall I will say that a more typical mage deck with more AoE is probably better against warlocks specifically, but this deck doesn’t do bad against them in any case.
This deck performs very well against mages since they have a ton of useless AoE cards and you don’t. Still you can get RNG’d some games with draws so it’s not 100%, and the problem is they are still running significant burn as well. Where most classes you just have to deal with their minions and make sure they don’t get out of control, you have to deal with spells and minions. This is the matchup where I still do well against, but it really would help if I had Ice Block.
Warriors have the same problem that rogues have where their primary removal involves taking damage and doing some of your burn for you, but Armor Up is really good against mages. The saving grace is that you can use Frostbolt and Ice Lance to stop warrior weapon damage as well as an offensive component. That can slow him down significantly and win you the game if you can draw your Frostbolts and Ice Lances.
Priests provide some threats. The obvious first one is their heal can some times be the difference of living for one extra turn. The other thing about priests is they generally run bigger minions late game. The good news is priests are really slow and defensive, and their heal doesn’t account for that much, but expect to go through 36-40 required burn, so they usually can last until turn 9/10.
Druids are tough, but still very beatable. A lot of them are still running 1 healing touch, which is a very problematic card. Ancient of Lore also can heal them for 5 health. A lot of druid cards on minions come with an offensive and a defensive option. Against most matchups, the defensive option is usually the best, but if they can adapt and try to rush you down, it can be a problem.
Paladin healing is insane. Almost every paladin is running the Guardian of Kings and about half the ones you meet are running Holy Light. This really stretches the burn required. It’s essential you get damage in early since they are pretty slow in the early game and really don’t have any way to stop you aside from their own 2 drops. Paladins are slow, but their mid-late game is strong. The good thing is that a lot of them have dead cards like Tinkmaster and Equality/Consecration, but they’re late game healing can make it a nightmare.