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Legendary Reno Jackson Mage Freeze Standard Deck

Last updated on Jul 11, 2016 at 16:29 by Sottle 13 comments

Table of Contents

In this guide you will find instructions on playing Freeze Mage. Freeze Mage is an extremely deep and complex deck that can be incredibly dominant when played correctly. It has a high learning curve and is considered by many to be one of the most difficult decks to play, but for those who are up for the challenge it offers fantastic rewards.

This particular version of the deck includes Reno Jackson to fully heal you and buy you even more turns to set up your game winning combos. On top of this it adds the additional burst potential of Malygos to be able to up the total amount of damage in the deck.

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. Legendary Reno Jackson Mage Freeze Standard Deck

Our deck costs 8,480 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

Freeze Mage is a powerful deck that relies on stalling the game with AoE clears and freeze spells, while drawing through your deck to gather the resources needed to combo your opponent down from 30 Health.

Your early turns will be quite passive, often consisting of drawing cards with Arcane Intellect, playing your early-game card draw minions, or developing one of your secrets. One card to pay special attention to in these early turns is Acolyte of Pain. You should avoid playing this card out before you can guarantee drawing a card from it by pinging it with your Hero Power. Card draw is extremely important in this deck and sacrificing your Acolyte for a single draw will often leave you lacking in options in the late game.

Once your opponent starts to establish a board of their own, you must start to make difficult decisions about how to use your removal options and stalling tools to stretch out the game as long as possible. As a general rule, you do not want to use your direct damage spells like Frostbolt and Fireball to remove minions, unless the deck you are playing against is extremely aggressive. The exception to this rule is Forgotten Torch which can be used freely as an early game board control tool since you want to cycle this card into the superior Roaring Torch at some point anyway. Roaring Torch is a key card to have in your deck as it allows you to string together even more powerful combinations of spells in a single turn, especially under Emperor Thaurissan discounts.

Planning several turns ahead is key to the deck and working out how to use your spells. Avoid using Frost Nova just to freeze the board for one turn if you have no way to answer the board the following turn. The correct use of Frost Nova is either to play it in combination with Doomsayer to sweep the board if they cannot remove the Doomsayer, or to stall for a turn to allow you to Flamestrike the board the following turn.

On the subject of Doomsayer, although the most common use of it is to create a strong board clear in combination with a Freeze effect, there are alternative situations to look out for. For example, against Aggro decks, playing a Doomsayer early to deny them from playing minions for a turn can be really strong. Along the same lines, it can be powerful to play Doomsayer even on an empty board, especially if you plan to follow it up immediately with Emperor Thaurissan, Archmage Antonidas, or Alexstrasza. This will prevent your opponent from playing minions and allow you to drop your big threat onto an empty board.

Your Secrets in the deck, Ice Barrier and Ice Block, are vital. Ice Barrier is a useful card to stall the game for a turn or two, especially if played early enough, where as Ice Block is your ultimate checkmate card. If you are behind an Ice Block you can easily plan the minimum number of turns you have left to live and work out how to kill your opponent in the time you have.

Emperor Thaurissan adds a compeletely new dimension to Freeze Mage. Since this is one of the most combo intensive decks in the game, and you almost always have a large hand, Emperor Thaurissan has the potential to have a massive effect on the game. The difficulty comes from finding a turn that is free to play Emperor Thaurissan, as Freeze Mage's turns are often very tight on Mana usage. Once you do get this card into play however, it has a lasting effect on the game, as you are now able to squeeze more plays into a single turn, which is often the difference between victory and defeat.

The addition of Reno Jackson to this version of the deck creates a whole new dimension to its play, and drastically affects the decisions that are made when putting the deck together. Certain sacrifices are made to reduce the amount of double copies in your deck, with many cards like Loot Hoarder, Blizzard, and Acolyte of Pain being cut down to a single copy in order to increase the chances of your Reno activating. A subsequent patch has updated Reno Jackson to have a yellow border when it is active, which helps enormously with knowing when the heal effect will go off. Previously this deck required you to meticulously keep track of your draws to be able to play Reno Jackson with any confidence, but Reno now falling in line with other similar cards and highlighting itself when it is active makes the deck a lot more simple to play.

Archmage Antonidas is included in the deck as an additional win condition if you are unable to draw your Alexstrasza. If it seems unlikely that you will enough turns to live to win through the Alexstrasza route, playing a turn like Archmage Antonidas, Frostbolt, Ice Lance, or Archmage Antonidas, Ice Block, can create an alternate route to victory for you, simply burning your opponent out of the game with repetitive Fireballs. Due to the addition of Emperor Thaurissan to the deck, Archmage Antonidas is now an automatic inclusion in Freeze Mage as opposed to a flexible card, this is because the discounts that Emperor provides can create even more devastating combos with Antonidas than usual.

Alexstrasza is your key card in the deck. If you manage to reach turn 9 in a comfortable position with Alexstrasza in hand, you will often just win the game without any possible response from your opponent. The goal for finishing the game is Turn 9 Alexstraza to reduce your opponent to 15 life, and then using combinations of Fireball, Frostbolt, Ice Lance, Forgotten Torch, and Roaring Torch to end the game. As always with this deck, planning ahead is vital. Before using an entire turn on Alexstrasza, evaluate the position of the game and whether you have the necessary resources and time to finish your opponent. There are many factors to this such as whether you have an Ice Block in play, whether you hold the second Ice Block in hand, whether you have the necessary damage combos in hand, and how much your opponent can realistically heal for. The possible permutations are near-endless here, and it will take some practice with the deck before you are comfortable with them all. Just always keep in mind, that planning several turns ahead is of vital importance at all times.

Finally Malygos is also included in the deck due to the high amount of heavy Control decks in the meta. The extra burst damage provided by Malygos gives you a chance to defeat other Reno decks as well as Control Paladins running Forbidden Healing. This addition does decrease your matchups against Aggro significantly though, so if you are in an Aggro heavy meta a faster version of the deck is preferred.

If you find yourself approaching turn 9 and you do not yet hold Alexstrasza, you should continue to stall the game for as long as possible while drawing additional cards with your spare Mana. It is not unusual for Freeze Mage to draw through their whole deck over the course of a game, so remain patient if the vital card you need is one of your bottom 3-4. As always, it is important to assess the situation of the game, and how long you have to live. Sometimes your only way to win will be to make a sub-optimal play to draw the one card you need to save yourself.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

Frost Nova or Blizzard plus Doomsayer is your primary method for sweeping the board if your opponent cannot answer your Doomsayer.

Various combinations of spells can be used together for huge damage in a single turn. For example, the combo of Fireball, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Ice Lance, Ice Lance is 20 damage.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

In most cases you will simply look to Mulligan for your draw cards, such as Arcane Intellect, Novice Engineer, and Loot Hoarder, since drawing cards is all you will look to do in the early turns. Usually Acolyte of Pain should not be kept, since ideally you will not choose to play it until turn 5. More specific matchups strategies can be viewed below.

3.2.1. Vs Hunter

A difficult matchup for this deck. The consistent damage that Hunter can output through their Hero Power along with their minions can often end up killing you too quickly. You should mulligan more aggressively for Doomsayer, Loot Hoarder, and Ice Barrier in this matchup. Do not be afraid to play Doomsayer out on an early turn, at the very least this will heal you for 7 while they kill the Doomsayer. At best it can freeze the game for a turn if they cannot remove it. Playing an Ice Barrier early is also quite powerful, since you are simply in a battle for survival. You can also afford to be a little more liberal with cards like Frostbolt to remove minions against Hunter, since your fight for survival is a lot more desperate. The key to winning this matchup is recognising when you can use an aggressive Archmage Antonidas, or Alexstrasza to win the race. Since Hunter has no healing, it is easy to calculate how much damage you are able to output.

3.2.2. Vs Zoo

Contrary to what might seem immediately obvious, this is actually a strong matchup for Freeze Mage. Your Freeze cards are vital in the matchup, as repeatedly freezing a Zoo's board takes away all of the synergy in their deck. Zoo functions primarily through buff cards, which enter play while adding attack to an already established minion. Without a minion that is able to attack, many of these cards are quite poor in isolation. The goal against Zoo is to consistently freeze their board once it reaches an intimidating size, leading up to a full clear with Blizzard or Flamestrike. Again you can afford to use a Frostbolt to control the board early. Since Zoo is forced to life tap and lower their own health anyway, you will often not need all of your burst to finish the game.

3.2.3. Vs Control Warrior

This matchup is borderline unwinnable. Widely regarded to be the worst matchup in the game, this an uphill struggle from turn 1. The Warrior's ability to heal themselves above 30 health, and then have access to a pool of health, in the form of their armor, which cannot be removed by Alexstrasza, means you simply do not have enough damage in your deck to win the game. The only way you can hope to win this matchup is through building up a perfect hand of Malygos and multiple copies of Frostbolt and Ice Lance to be discounted by Emperor Thaurissan. If you are to have any hope of winning, you need cards such as Loot Hoarder early to try and create some repetitive minion damage if your opponent is unable to remove them.

3.2.4. Vs Priest

Mulligan and play out the game as normal. However, there is an additional consideration that must be kept in mind for your Alexstrasza turn. Since Priest is capable of healing, you need to take into account the worst case scenario when planning your 2-3 turn kill plan. With access to 9 Mana of their own, Priest can use Shadow Word: Death followed by Holy Fire to heal back up to 20 immediately following your Alexstrasza turn. Then on the turn following your initial volley of spells, they can heal for another 2 using their Hero Power, followed by another 2 with Holy Nova. The addition of Flash Heal and other big healing cards to Priest has also changed this dynamic, so you will need to carefully plan out whether you have enough damage to cover their potential life recovery.

3.3. Card Swaps

Malygos can be cut from the deck if you are finding it too slow overall. The goal of this deck is to beat heavy Control decks though, so if you are facing more Aggro you should use a faster version of the deck.

4. ChangeLog

  • 11 Jul. 2016: Moved to Unique Decks.
  • 01 May 2016: Deck added.
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