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Aggro Tempo Mage Deck List Guide (The Witchwood May 2018)

Last updated on May 26, 2018 at 15:37 by L0rinda 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.

With the removal of Kabal Crystal Runner and Ice Block for The Year of the Raven and the introduction of The Witchwood expansion, the archetype again had to reinvent itself. This time it did so by adding more early damage to enable it to continue to threaten early victories.

There are many choices to make when building a Secret Mage deck, which means that sometimes the specific cards will either be decisions based upon the meta or personal preference. When reading through Secret Mage guides, always be aware that you can change a card for another card of the same type, and not have a big negative impact on the way the deck plays out.

1. Aggro Tempo Mage Card List

This Aggro 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. Aggro Tempo Mage Mana Curve


3. Aim of Aggro 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. Aggro 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. Aggro Tempo Mage Strategy

5.1. Aggro 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.

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. Aggro 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 Aggro 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. Aggro 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 Aggro 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 and Tempo Mage

11. About the Author

L0rinda has extensive experience with Hearthstone. After starting out with Arena and becoming one of the most prominent streamers in that format, he moved over to Constructed and now primarily spends his time as a caster for Blizzard, Starladder, and Dreamhack.

12. ChangeLog

  • 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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