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Aggro Tempo Mage Karazhan Standard Deck

Last updated on Nov 10, 2016 at 22:50 by Sottle 22 comments

Table of Contents

Tempo Mage is a deck that has existed in various forms since the Curse of Naxxramas expansion, but has continued to improve with each expansion. This version of the deck is much more aggressive than most and plays a lot of extra card draw and direct damage to burst down the opponent.

This deck was pioneered by 2015 Hearthstone World Championship runner-up Hotform who used it to achieve Rank 1 Legend.

Upon reviewing this deck after the nerf to Yogg-Saron, Hope's End it is deemed necessary to remove it from this particular build.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Aggro Tempo Mage Karazhan Standard Deck

Our deck costs 4,640 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

This build of Mage is an aggressive Tempo based build that aims to curve out aggressively and overrun the opponent with aggressive early board presence before finishing the game out with burn spells. If this initial plan does not work out, the deck also plays a powerful individual win-condition in the late game in the form of Ragnaros the Firelord.

Your early-game turns are extremely important with this deck. Due to the amount of synergy between your early-game cards, you are often able to gain a lead in the first few turns that is insurmountable for your opponent until the mid-game, allowing you to continue your pressure with your own mid-game threats. For example, the opening of Turn 1 Mana Wyrm into Turn 2 Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Coin, Frostbolt leaves you with a huge board on turn 2 and removes the opponent's opening minions. Starts like this will outpace even the fastest starts from decks like Zoo and Aggro Shaman.

Cult Sorcerer is included in the deck to provide an additional minion to play early. Cult Sorcerer is chosen over other minions because the Spell Damage effect makes it more useful in later turns than most cards that you can put in your deck. Obviously, the C'Thun synergy has no effect on this deck, but it is a strong card none the less. On top of this Bloodmage Thalnos is also included in this particular deck to serve much the same purpose, but simply sacrificing some stats for the ability to draw additional options. Bloodmage is particularly useful when looking to close out a game as it can help to buff your burst spells or help you dig through the deck for that Fireball you need to end the game.

Finally, Flamewaker rounds out your early game perfectly and can provide you with even more Tempo, especially when combined with Sorcerer's Apprentice. This card improves your matchups against decks like Paladin and Zoo significantly, since you are able to clear up their small token minions efficiently, while targeting their more important minions with your removal spells. In this deck Flamewaker also doubles up as an Aggro minion, since you can use it and cast multiple spells like Mirror Image and Arcane Missiles, to repeatedly create damage to your opponent.

This deck departs in strategy from other builds of Tempo Mage around the mid-game period. While other builds play powerful threats like Faceless Summoner, this build is more about all-out aggression and building up a critical mass of burn damage in your hand. The key to this strategy is recognising when you need to go all-in on damage and start to draw through your deck for burn spells at the cost of board development. After a certain point in the game you may find yourself with direct damage as your only out and it is at this point you should start making plays such as pinging your own Acolyte of Pain with your Hero Power to try and cycle through your deck. This strategy will also bring you closer to Ragnaros the Firelord and other power cards.

Forgotten Torch is a key card in the deck and should be used as your primary source of removal in the deck. Since the deck is so reliant on drawing large amounts of damage to back up its fast starts, putting the Roaring Torch into your deck as soon as you can is usually beneficial. Using Forgotten Torch to clear out minions is usually the ideal strategy as it also allows you to save your other spells for direct damage. Don't be afraid to use your other spells to clear the board however if it protects minions in play and allows them to gain repetitive damage.

In the late-game you will often be relying on your power cards in the 7 and 8 Mana slots if you have not been able to generate enough pressure in the early-game. Firelands Portal can be used to swing the board state or be used as additional burn damage depending on the state of the game. Flamestrike can be used to rectify a lost board state that you have fallen behind on. Finally, Ragnaros the Firelord is a huge power card in its own right and can be an absolute terror to classes that do not have hard removal to deal with it.

Always look for opportunities to set up two turn lethal against classes that play little or no healing in their deck. Many newer players will miss out on this opportunity by continuing to develop or react to the board. If you have enough damage in hand to end the game over the course of two turns and your opponent does not have the ability to kill you immediately, you should always take this opportunity.

3.1. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

In almost every matchup, your priority should be to get a Mana Wyrm in your opening hand. If you do not have this card you should be considering throwing away your whole hand to get one. If you do have this card you can start to keep additional cards to support your Mana curve like Sorcerer's Apprentice and Arcane Blast.

Against Aggro matchups, the same rules apply, but you can give a higher priority to cards like Frostbolt and Arcane Blast to cement your board presence early, especially if you have Mana Wyrm. Flamewaker is an extremely high priority keep in these matchups, especially if you have The Coin or Arcane Missiles.

Against Control, you want to focus on simply getting your early game minions to make sure that the Control deck is on the back foot. Frostbolt or Arcane Blast are still strong in these matchups as many Control decks are still playing early minions in the Standard meta. Against Warrior specifically, Mirror Image is a fantastic keep as it will protect your early threats from Fiery War Axe.

3.2. Card Swaps

Ethereal Conjurer can be used in place of Azure Drake.

The combination of Flamestrike and Firelands Portal in the 7 Mana slot is flexible.

4. ChangeLog

  • 10 Nov. 2016: - 1 Yogg Saron, Hope's End, -2 Water Elemental, -1 Mirror Image, +1 Flamestrike, +2 Firelands Portal, +1 Ragnaros the Firelord.
  • 28 Jun. 2016: Deck added.
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