Barnes Tempo Mage Deck

Last updated on Dec 08, 2017 at 08:56 by Kat 34 comments

Tempo Mage is a deck that has existed in various forms since the Curse of Naxxramas expansion, but has continued to change with each expansion. It uses a range of powerful Mage spells in combination with minions that have strong synergies with spells to gain early momentum and use it to overwhelm opponents.

This version of the deck takes full advantage of Barnes, providing access to extra copies of powerful minions such as Archmage Antonidas and Sorcerer's Apprentice.


Barnes Tempo Mage Card List

This deck costs 8,180 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Mage Cards Neutral Cards
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Barnes Tempo Mage Mana Curve


Barnes Tempo Mage Strategy

This build of Mage is an aggressive Tempo-based build that aims to curve out aggressively and overrun the opponent with aggressive early board presence before finishing the game out with burn spells. If this initial plan does not work out, the deck also plays a powerful individual win-condition in the late game in the form of Archmage Antonidas.

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 Pirate Warrior.

Bloodmage Thalnos is included in the deck to provide an additional minion to play early. It 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. While it may be lacking in stats, the card draw it gains as a result is more than worth it. Bloodmage is particularly useful when looking to close out a game, as it can help to buff your burst spells or help you dig through the deck for that Fireball you need to end the game.

This deck departs in strategy from other builds of Tempo Mage around the mid-game period. While other builds play powerful threats like Faceless Summoner, this build is more about all-out aggression and building up a critical mass of burn damage in your hand. The key to this strategy is recognising when you need to go all-in on damage and start to draw through your deck for burn spells at the cost of board development.

Barnes is included in this particular version of the deck and the minions in the deck are carefully chosen to work with it. Archmage Antonidas is the ideal result you want from Barnes, allowing you to throw out any spells you have the Mana available for to gain extra copies of Fireball. Because of this outcome, it is best to try and save Barnes for situations where you can capitalise this outcome. Most of the time you will not get Antonidas from Barnes, but most of the other outcomes still offer great value. The passive effects of Mana Wyrm and Sorcerer's Apprentice still make them great results, as does the Coin generation of Burgly Bully and the effect of The Lich King can be utilised if left unchecked.

In the late-game you will often be relying on your power cards in the 7-Mana slot if you have not been able to generate enough pressure in the early-game. Firelands Portal can be used to swing the board state or be used as additional burn damage depending on the state of the game, while Archmage Antonidas can be used with any cheap spells or copies of The Coin you have picked up from Burgly Bully to create enough Fireballs to finish off your opponent.

Always look for opportunities to set up two-turn-lethal against classes that play little or no healing in their deck. Many newer players will miss out on this opportunity by continuing to develop or react to the board. If you have enough damage in hand to end the game over the course of two turns and your opponent does not have the ability to kill you immediately, you should always take this opportunity.


Barnes Tempo Mage 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. If you do have this card you can start to keep additional cards to support your Mana curve like Sorcerer's Apprentice and Arcanologist.

Against Aggro matchups, the same rules apply, but you can give a higher priority to cards like Frostbolt and Arcane Missiles to cement your board presence early, especially if you have Mana Wyrm.

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 is still strong in these matchups, as many Control decks are still playing early minions in the Standard meta.


Barnes Tempo Mage Card Swaps

Babbling Book is by far the weakest card in the deck and should be your first priority when considering swaps.

If you find you are regularly getting overrun on the board, Flamestrike is a good choice to consider. Mirror Image is another option to consider, as it will provide an extra cheap as well as slow down aggressive decks significantly.

The Secrets in the deck are flexible and down to personal preference. Mirror Entity, Counterspell and Spellbender.



  • 08 Dec. 2017: 08 Dec. 2017: Deck updated for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion. Removed 2x Water Elemental, 1x Acolyte of Pain for 1x Aluneth, 2x Leyline Manipulator.
  • 13 Aug. 2017: Guide updated for the KotFT expansion. Removed 1x Mana Bind, 1x Acolyte of Pain for 1x Conterspell, 1x The Lich King.
  • 29 Jun. 2017: Guide updated for new Archetype format.
  • 08 Apr. 2017: Guide has been completely revamped for the Journey to Un'Goro expansion.
  • 10 Nov. 2016: - 1 Yogg Saron, Hope's End, -2 Water Elemental, -1 Mirror Image, +1 Flamestrike, +2 Firelands Portal, +1 Ragnaros the Firelord.
  • 28 Jun. 2016: Deck added.
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