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Tempo Mage Deck List Guide (The Boomsday Project August 2018)

Last updated on Aug 09, 2018 at 06:54 by Kat 6 comments

Table of Contents

Tempo Mage decks have been developing for a long time in Hearthstone, and although they take a different form in each expansion, the overriding theme remains the same. The idea is to protect your early board and then finish off your opponent using spells.

Mage has several cards that have incredible synergy with Secrets. This can lead to some of the cards being discounted in Mana cost if a Secret is in play, as well as Secret cards being pulled out of the deck for greater consistency. In older variants of the deck, cards such as Kabal Crystal Runner and Ethereal Arcanist have been used to take advantage of those synergies to create a very powerful early board.

Despite this, the archetype was previously not particularly successful as an aggressive deck. However, the releases of Kabal Crystal Runner in the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion, followed by Arcanologist in Journey to Un'Goro, filled in the gaps where previously the archetype was struggling. The deck became capable of some extremely explosive early turns, which have been able to carry it to victory.

The Boomsday Project expansion has provided the deck with additional sources of spells damage, specifically Celestial Emissary. This allows the deck to burst even more damage later in the game, while also providing the deck powerful new board clear combo with another addition to the deck, Shooting Star.

1. Tempo Mage Card List

This Tempo Mage deck costs 4,120 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards

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2. Tempo Mage Mana Curve

0
6
10
10
2
0
1
1

3. Aim of Tempo Mage

The idea of this deck is to get minions onto the board early, and then protect them for long enough that they do significant damage to your opponent. After the board has been lost, you will be looking to use your burn, fuelled by card draw, to deliver lethal damage.

4. Tempo Mage Mulligan

This deck is looking to occupy the board as soon as possible, and then defend it with Secrets. As such, Arcanologist is an auto-keep in all situations. Beyond that, you are looking for Mana Wyrm and Kirin Tor Mage. With so much Secret synergy in the deck, you can keep one of Counterspell and Explosive Runes in your opening hand too, as long as you do not have Arcanologist and you do have the Kirin Tor Mage. This is because one Secret is fine, but if you get a second one, it can become a little cumbersome.

Against usual Hearthstone curve principles, you should also keep Aluneth against all but the most aggressive of decks. Almost every other card in the deck is cheap enough that the worst case scenarios are not too bad. Aluneth has such a huge win rate when drawn that although you have to wait to play it, it more than compensates for the occasional bad draw due to keeping it.

5. Tempo Mage Strategy

5.1. Tempo Mage Early Turns

In the opening turns, you will be looking to do as much minion damage as possible before your opponent gains control of the board. Playing Mana Wyrm on the first turn is often the difference between winning easily and having to fight for victory. The Mana Wyrm can be so difficult to deal with that it can sometimes win the game all by itself.

If you have Kirin Tor Mage in hand, a turn two Arcanologist is often extremely powerful. When cast for free, your Secrets represent a huge amount of tempo. You should not, however, play them for free just because you can. For instance, if your opponent has The Coin, you will often not play Counterspell until they have used it. Countering The Coin can often lose any tempo gained, although if you are likely to hinder your opponent's entire turn, you can sometimes make use of that.

If you manage to get a minion to stick to the board, it is usually correct to use Frostbolt to stop an opponent's minion from being able to trade into it. You should be looking to maximize how much damage you are likely to do across the course of a game. If your Frostbolt allows your 2/3 minion to hit face twice more, then you will do 4 damage with that minion, instead of the 3 that the Frostbolt would have delivered.

Sometimes you will have a hand with very little board development available and many spells. In those situations, it can be correct to play Arcane Missiles on the first turn. This is an ugly-looking play, but as you are in a hurry to do damage, playing the Arcane Missiles before they will be blocked by any minions can speed up your clock. This should not be done if your opponent is likely to have a lot of small minions.

If you do wish to try and regain control of the board after a poor opening hand, it is possible to do so using Shooting Star. Although the card offers no direct damage like other spells in the deck, it is an incredibly high-tempo card. It can be played immediately for free in combination with Sorcerer's Apprentice and it can also become a very potent board clear if played after Celestial Emissary.

5.2. Secrets

The Secrets in this deck are useful in different situations. Their roles can be slightly different in this version of the deck compared to many other Secret Mage decks, as their role tends to be more Aggro-minded.

5.2.1. Counterspell

Counterspell is very versatile in this deck, but is often best used to protect your board if you get a very fast start. Playing Kirin Tor Mage with Counterspell can often make sure the Kirin Tor Mage, and any other minions you have already played, get to deal their damage to the face on the next turn. You should usually try to avoid playing Counterspell if your opponent still has The Coin in their hand.

5.2.2. Explosive Runes

Explosive Runes can be saved to deal with a large Taunt if you know one is likely to be played. Quite often, though, it is well used as a 0-Mana spell that does 6 damage. The damage that is done to the face by Explosive Runes is one of the reasons that this version of the deck is so strong. It forces through some damage to the face, and also keeps the board clear for your minions to continue to damage your opponent.

5.3. Tempo Mage Later Turns

At some point, your opponent will have either dealt with your board, or died to it. When it becomes apparent that your board is likely to be lost, you will have to choose the right time to start using your direct damage to fire at your opponent's face, rather than their minions. This is often the case when playing into a key AoE turn for your opponent, where killing their minions to protect yours will become wasted damage. Cards such as Cinderstorm should be used as soon as you realise that you have lost the board. At this point your opponent's board is only going to get bigger, and you would like to do as much damage as possible directly to their face.

6. Card Strategies for Tempo Mage

6.1. Aluneth

It is not ideal to play Aluneth until you have expended almost all of your minion cards. However, it is extremely important that you play Aluneth as quickly as possible, so you should prioritise minion development over using spells on Turns 4 and 5 if at all possible. If you have cards in your hand, it is usually correct to play the Aluneth anyway on turn six.

6.2. Primordial Glyph

In this version of Secret Mage, your Glyph will almost always take direct damage, Polymorph, or a Secret. You will be trying to hold your Primordial Glyph for as many turns as possible so as to have the maximum amount of information available to you when you cast it.

7. Tempo Mage Key Cards and Swaps

7.1. Legendaries

Aluneth is extremely important in the deck and your win rate will suffer greatly if it is not present. If you cannot afford this card, you should consider looking at the budget deck below. You can also try one of the suggestions for Epic replacements below

7.2. Epics

Pyroblast and Primordial Glyph are strong cards, but if you do not have a full complement of these, you can add Mirror Entity, Arcane Keysmith, or Vex Crow to keep some value in your deck.

8. Budget Tempo Mage Deck

Aluneth is extremely important, but you can play the list below at lower ranks to see if you like the idea of the deck.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards

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This deck works the same way as the main deck, except it adds extra card draw to make sure you get to your good cards faster. Vex Crow, Loot Hoarder, and Mirror Entity all give you extra board presence to compensate for lost damage. It is important to look after this board as much as possible, and kill opposing minions with your damage spells for as long as you can.

9. Quick Tips and Tricks

  • Only play Counterspell when your opponent has The Coin if it is going to make them miss their turn.
  • Identify when your opponent is going to take over the board and start to launch everything you have at their face at this point.
  • Arcane Missiles and Cinderstorm are often better on an empty board as damage spells than they are as board clears. This is not true if the opponent has very small minions.
  • Playing Aluneth on Turn 6 is almost always correct.

10. Similar Hearthstone Decks

If you enjoyed playing this deck, you may also enjoy Odd Rogue.

11. About the Author

This guide is presented to you by Kat, a professional Hearthstone player competing at the highest level since closed beta. She is a consistent legend player in both Wild and Standard with multiple high-rank finishes.

12. ChangeLog

  • 09 Aug. 2018: Guide updated for The Boomsday Projecte expansion, removed 2x Amani Berserker, 2x Lifedrinker for 2x Celestial Emissary, 2x Shooting Star.
  • 01 Jul. 2018: Monthly checkup. Deck is up to date.
  • 26 May 2018: Aggro Tempo Mage Guide added. A fun, and strong, deck which puts heavy pressure on the opponent from the very start.
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