Tempo Mage Deck List Guide (Rastakhan's Rumble January 2019)

Last updated on Jan 01, 2019 at 00:00 by Kat 7 comments
General Information

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 Cosmic Anomaly in the Boomsday Project expansion, and 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.

While the deck is not as strong as it once was, the release of Spellzerker in the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion has helped recover a bit from the hit the deck took with the loss of Mana Wyrm.

1. Tempo Mage Card List

This Tempo Mage deck costs 5,200 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards
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2. Tempo Mage Mana Curve


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 Sorcerer's Apprentice 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

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 with Cosmic Anomaly or Spellzerker.

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.

6.3. Stargazer Luna

Stargazer Luna is a very potent card draw tool in the later stages of the game, often even surpassing the power of Aluneth. You should try and combine it with a Sorcerer's Apprentice to minimise the Cost of your spells so that you can play the maximum number in a turn. Once Stargazer Luna is in play, the strategy becomes simply to continually play the right-most card in your hand, prioritising low-Cost spells from Primordial Glyph and attacking your opponent directly where possible.

7. Tempo Mage Key Cards and Swaps

7.1. Legendaries

Aluneth and Stargazer Luna are both extremely important cards for the deck and provided huge amounts of card draw that greatly impact your win rate if not present. If you cannot afford these cards, you should consider looking at the budget deck below. You can also try one of the suggestions for Epic replacements below

7.2. Epics

Primordial Glyph is a very strong card, but if you do not have if available, 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, but with replacements for Aluneth and Stargazer Luna in the form of Research Projects. Due to the speed you can play your cards, with the help of Sorcerer's Apprentice, you should not worry too much about giving your opponent additional cards with Research Project. However, you should still avoid doing so until as late as possible to reduce the chance your opponent is able to draw cards that will counter your aggression.

9. Wild Tempo Mage Deck

Wild Tempo Mage does gain some additional tools and was once a tyrannical part of the Wild meta. However, it has since been overshadowed my many more powerful decks, but remains fun to play.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards
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The addition of Flamewakers provides even more burst potential when playing large numbers of spells and with a single copy of Ice Block in the mix, you can freely be as aggressive as you wish knowing that you have safety from being killed by your opponent. Lastly, the addition of Ice Lance and Forgotten Torch allows for even more direct burn damage instead of having to deal with the randomness of Cinderstorm.

10. 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.
  • Try to use Stargazer Luna when you have Spell Damage and Sorcerer's Apprentices in play.

11. Similar Hearthstone Decks

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

12. Changelog

  • 01 Jan. 2019: Deck updated for the January play season. Removed 1x Celestial Emissary, 2x Mana Wyrm for 2x Spellzerker, 1x Mana Addict.
  • 01 Oct. 2018: Deck has been reviewed for the October play season.
  • 18 Sep. 2018: Budget version of the deck has been updated. Removed 1x Celestial Emissary, 2x Vex Crow, 1x Mirror Entity for 2x Research Project, 2x Cosmic Anomaly.
  • 01 Sep. 2018: Deck updated for the September play season. Removed 1x Pyroblast, 1x Celestial Emissary, 1x Counterspell for 2x Cosmic Anomaly, 1x Stargazer Luna.
  • 09 Aug. 2018: Guide updated for The Boomsday Project 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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