Freeze Mage Deck
This version of Freeze Mage was popularised by Monsanto, and refined by Freeze Mage expert Laughing, a few days after the launch of the Journey to Un'Goro expansion. The list has endured as the staple list since that time, and anyone looking to learn the archetype would be well advised to start with this list.
1. Card List
This deck costs 8,080 and it is made up of the following cards.
|Mage Cards||Neutral Cards|
2. Mana Curve
3.1. Mulligan Phase
Although it may seem like you want the combo pieces in your opening hand, this is actually not correct because you can do nothing with them until much later in the game. The first few turns are ideally spent cycling through the deck with Loot Hoarder and Acolyte of Pain, removing Secrets from your deck with Arcanologist, and gaining tempo with Doomsayer. For those reasons, these will be the cards you will be hoping to keep in the mulligan phase.
Against very aggressive opponents, you will mulligan for only Doomsayer. This card can often be the sole reason that you survive into the mid-game against Aggro, which is when Freeze Mage starts to take over the game.
As there is no way for the deck to win in the early turns, you will be doing everything you can to use those turns to not die. However, this does not mean that you should be immediately killing every minion your opponent plays. Efficient use of every resource is critically important in Freeze Mage. For instance, you might have the option to ping a 2/1 minion on Turn 3 with your Hero Power. If you have a 3-cost card in your hand like Ice Barrier or Arcane Intellect, you will have to think very carefully before making the ping. If you ping this turn, then next turn you might waste another Mana playing the 3-drop. With this deck, your Health total is a very important resource, and it is often correct to take a small amount of damage to further your long-term aims.
In the mid-game, you will be looking to stop your opponent from killing you, or from getting through your Ice Block. Doomsayer and Frost Nova is a combo that you can use to clear an entire board, but beyond that, you will have to manage your resources efficiently, and look for opportunities to win the game. Sometimes you will have a choice between playing Blizzard and Frost Nova to buy some more time. Even if it does not kill the opposing minions, it is usually correct to go with Blizzard in this spot, as it will save you Mana when trying to do several things in one turn later on. You will also be looking for an opportunity to play Ice Block, as when this is in place, winning the game is much easier to set up.
After you have staved off death, and set up an Ice Block, you will be in position to win the game. The usual method for doing this is to play Alexstrasza and then hit your opponent with two Fireballs, and either a Frostbolt or a Medivh's Valet on the following turn. If your opponent has healing, or you have had to use up damage cards earlier on to stay alive, then you will have to get creative. One method to deal additional damage is to play a second Ice Block and a Fireball on one turn, and then Pyroblast on the next turn. There are also ways to get more Fireballs by using Archmage Antonidas with the Ice Block, or by drawing more cards while trying to stay alive.
3.5. Chip Damage and Armor
Sometimes you will have to deal with opposing armor. Armor represents damage that you will always have to inflict, as opposed to Health, which can be reduced by Alexstrasza. A great way to deal with armor is to use your minions, when possible, and to save spells for finishing off your opponent at a later time when minions might not be able to get through to the enemy Hero anymore.
There are a few occasions, though, when minion damage to enemy Hero can be very important. If you can get your opponent to around 15 Health using just your minions, this will open up Alexstrasza as a self-heal option. If it looks like you will be able to build a board that can do some consistent damage, it is definitely worth considering. Against classes that can heal after you play Alexstrasza, you will need to try to force them to heal before you play Alexstrasza. Minions can sometimes play a big part in that.
In some situations, your opponent can make you overdraw, for instance by making you draw three cards from an Acolyte of Pain when you already have seven cards in hand. Unless the game is likely to go to fatigue, you will not usually mind overdrawing. However, if you do not have Alexstrasza, or another key card, and it seems likely that your game will go on until you get that card, then you should be wary of this happening. The best way to envisage this situation is to pretend that the burned card is the bottom card of your deck. If that card is never going to be used anyway, then it does not matter if you overdraw it.
4. Individual Card Strategies
Arcanologist is ideally played on Turn 2. The Secret being removed from your deck is important to help your future draws, and the 2/3 body of the Arcanologist is at its strongest early in the game.
4.2. Acolyte of Pain
The purpose of Acolyte of Pain in the deck is to try to draw at least two cards. The best situations for this are either on Turn 5 when you can play it and ping it on the same turn, or to play against a minion with a low Attack, which is unlikely to be buffed.
Against Aggro decks, Doomsayer should be played as late as you dare, so as to get maximum efficiency from the card. However, this often means Turn 2, and can even mean coining it on Turn 1 in some cases. When deciding whether to play Doomsayer, try to work out if they will be able to kill it if you delay an extra turn. This means that you will need to consider the opponent's likely development next turn as well as any direct damage or Charge minions they will have the turn after. If it seems likely that they can kill the Doomsayer if you wait, then you should play it immediately. Remember that not only does it kill the enemy board, but it stunts their development for a turn, which might allow you to play a Medivh's Valet or Loot Hoarder onto an empty board, which in turn might allow you to use those minions as additional removal.
4.4. Primordial Glyph
Primordial Glyph will normally be played on a turn where you have 2 spare Mana and nothing better to do with it. The later you play the card, the more information you will have, but also the more it is likely to mess up your turn as you are usually using every available point of Mana to control the board later on. The first thing to notice is that an Ice Block that comes from the Glyph can be played alongside Alexstrasza for a total of 10 Mana. This is extremely important because one of the major issues the deck can have in setting up the victory is finding time to play Alexstrasza without dying.
Beyond Ice Block, you will want to see how the card you take fits into your game plan. A reduction of 2 Mana on Flamestrike or Blizzard can often mean an early board clear from which an aggressive opponent cannot recover, while extra burn might allow you to win the game much earlier than you would be able to if you had to wait to draw lethal damage. A lot of vision is required to make these decisions, which again highlights the importance of playing the Glyph as late as you dare.
Be aware that with Archmage Antonidas, you can usually get at least two Fireballs by holding on to your Glyph until you have ten Mana available. This can sometimes be even more by taking Glyph from the Glyph that you cast, and repeating the process.
- 28 Jun. 2017: Deck content re-formatted and altered to suit new Icy Veins layout.
- 01 May 2017: Deck added. The latest iteration of the traditional Freeze Mage deck.
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