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Cabalist's Tome Tempo Mage Karazhan Standard Deck

Last updated on Sep 12, 2016 at 16:07 by Sottle 23 comments

Table of Contents

This deck is a tweaked version of Tempo Mage that aims to go further into the late-game with tools like Cabalist's Tome and Archmage Antonidas to create additional value. It can offer stronger results against Control decks that are able to outlast your fast starts.

This particular version was closely adapted from a version my compLexity teammate Asmodai used to hit Rank 1 Legend.

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. Cabalist's Tome Tempo Mage Karazhan Standard Deck

Our deck costs 6,960 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve

0
9
7
4
2
4
1
3

3. Strategy

This build of Mage is a slower version of the deck commonly known as Tempo Mage. It still contains most of the early-game board presence that the more aggressive builds do, but is more capable of surviving in the late-game through options like Archmage Antonidas and Cabalist's Tome.

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 nonetheless.

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 deal damage to your opponent.

The key to playing this deck successfully is recognising when to simply race your opponent for damage, and when to go for a more board controlling strategy to create more repetitive damage from your minions over time. This usually comes down to reacting to your hand. If you are holding significant damage in the form of Frostbolt and Fireball, it can be right to engage in a race. Alternatively, if your hand is full of cards that give you longevity like Azure Drake, Cabalist's Tome, and Archmage Antonidas, you can afford to play the long game and aim for board control.

This build of the deck is much more heavily tilted towards the late-game strategy due to cards such as Cabalist's Tome and Archmage Antonidas which can provide you with additional fuel to go into the later turns against more resilient Control decks. Cabalist's Tome is a card that is usually too slow to justify seeing play in most forms of Tempo Mage, but this deck reaches critical mass in terms of cards that justify its inclusion. It provides more spells for Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, provides more spells to be used with Archmage Antonidas and grants you a huge hand size to be discounted by Emperor Thaurissan.

Emperor Thaurissan himself is key to the late-game strategy of the deck since it can be used to transform large clunky hands that come from the casting of Arcane Intellect and Cabalist's Tome into a devastating force. The combination of discounting Cabalist's Tome spells alongside Archmage Antonidas makes for the potential to generate an enormous amount of Fireballs. Not to mention the fact that any 1 Mana spell that you can discount to 0-Mana immediately becomes hugely potent in combination with Antonidas.

Firelands Portal is a card that can sometimes feel clunky and hard to use effectively because of the high Mana cost, but in the right situation can completely flip a game on its head. The average stats from a 5-drop are very promising, offering above 4/4 of value on an average outcome. On top of this, the potential top end outcomes include Earth Elemental and other huge minions that can completely swing the game. Also of note is the ability for Firelands Portal to hit Heroes, which means it also functions as a good topdeck in situations where you are looking for damage to finish the game.

Archmage Antonidas is a card that can be used for an aggressive push to finish the game, or as a reach for some late-game value. You should definitely endeavour to hold on to your Antonidas until you are able to get immediate value from it, preferably after discounting your hand with Emperor Thaurissan, but the decision as to where to direct your damage can be more difficult. Against decks that do not run life gain like Hunter, Shaman, and other Tempo Mages, you can confidently use Archmage Antonidas to set up a lethal push while ignoring your opponent's board. Other decks that are able to sustain themselves such as Paladin and Warrior however, you may be better served using Antonidas as a value tool by using Fireballs to repeatedly clear minions from the opponent.

If your opponent has been able to deal with your mid-game threats, and is threatening to shut you out of the game, this deck plays Yogg-Saron, Hope's End as a final fallback to be able to retrieve lost board states or make a last grab for lethal damage. The timing of Yogg-Saron is crucial: ideally you want to play Yogg-Saron on a board where only your opponent has minions in play to maximise the chances of removal spells going to favourable targets. Despite this, if you hold on too long, then even Yogg-Saron will often be unable to catch you up unless your are lucky enough to cast Twisting Nether or DOOM!. If you are playing Yogg-Saron on a board with friendly minions it is usually correct to make the attacks with them first. However, this decision is dictated by the goal of your turn. If you are simply trying to clear the board then attacking with your minions first is usually correct, but if you are trying to kill your opponent as a last resort then having a minion in play that can be buffed for extra damage can mean that waiting to try and attack afterwards is correct.

When waiting for a Yogg-Saron turn to resolve, you can often gain some clues about what spells have been cast by looking at the UI. This is important since Yogg will often take the length of the entire turn to resolve all of its Spell casting, which means you will need to commit to certain further actions in order to get them through before the turns ends. As soon as you play Yogg-Saron, any minions that have a green border are still alive and able to attack. The same applies for your Hero and will indicate if a spell such as Bite or Heroic Strike has been cast. On top of this any Spells in your hand that turn green are castable and will indicate that Preparation has been cast. Finally you can target any available attacks at enemy minions on the board to see if they are still alive and targettable, or will die by the end of the turn. Use all this information to plan your remaining actions accordingly.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

Mana Wyrm can be buffed with the various low cost spells in your deck.

Sorcerer's Apprentice also has strong synergy with the spells in your deck. This card is often the difference between simply removing a minion, and removing a minion while putting your own into play. It also combines excellently with Mana Wyrm to create some very scary board states in the early game.

Flamewaker also synergises extremely well with the various cheap spells in the deck.

Archmage Antonidas also synergies with cheap spells by turning them into Fireballs.

Emperor Thaurissan can be used to tie spells together more easily with any of the above synergy cards.

3.2. 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. Babbling Book is also a strong card to look for in your opening. If you do have one of these cards 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.

3.3. Card Swaps

Arcane Explosion can be included in the deck in place of Mirror Image to help you more consistently clear boards presented by Zoo and Shaman decks.

Ethereal Conjurer and Azure Drake are relatively interchangeable and you can feasibly play any combination of these cards.

4. ChangeLog

  • 12 Sep. 2016: Deck added.
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