OTK Mage Deck List Guide (Rastakhan's Rumble December 2018)
This guide contains the basic strategies, mulligans, and deck-building decisions for OTK Mage decks in Rastakhan's Rumble meta. OTK Mage is a fragile "one turn kill" combo deck that uses Archmage Antonidas and 4 copies of Sorcerer's Apprentice to play infinite Fireballs. Thanks to Luna's Pocket Galaxy, OTK Mage decks are now capable of getting Archmage Antonidas and 4 Sorcerer's Apprentices into play in more ways than were ever possible before.
1. OTK Mage Card List
This OTK Mage deck costs 6,540 and it is made up of the following cards.
|Mage Cards||Neutral Cards|
2. OTK Mage Mana Curve
3. Aim of OTK Mage
OTK Mage is a glass cannon combo deck capable of dealing infinite damage in a single turn. Using Molten Reflection, Simulacrum, and Mana reduction effects, OTK Mage can play 4 Sorcerer's Apprentices and an Archmage Antonidas in one turn to generate a never-ending stream of Fireballs. OTK Mage runs plenty of card draw to help dig for its key combo pieces, in addition to a healthy number of Freeze effects which buy time until the combo is assembled.
4. How to OTK
Before Luna's Pocket Galaxy, OTK Mage decks were built around the synergy between Simulacrum and Leyline Manipulator. After copying 2 Sorcerer's Apprentices with Simulacrum, you can reduce their cost to 0 with a single Leyline Manipulator. With these two 0 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentices, you can play a normal 2 Mana Apprentice, Archmage Antonidas for 7 Mana, then use your final 10th Mana to copy an Apprentice with Molten Reflection while generating your first 0 Mana Fireball.
With Luna's Pocket Galaxy, OTK Mage does not need to jump through quite as many hoops if it can ever create a 1 Mana Archmage Antonidas. A 1 Mana Antonidas allows any combination of 4 total Sorcerer's Apprentices, Molten Reflections, and Simulacrums to OTK.
You never want to draw Archmage Antonidas before you can cast Luna's Pocket Galaxy, which makes for some awkward situations if you draw these cards in the wrong order. Drawing both in the early game will put you down a precious card, which can be especially punishing against aggro decks. However, you could make the case that Open the Waygate fits this same description, which was the key combo piece for OTK Mage decks while Cabalist's Tome was still in Standard.
Even if you do not hit Archmage Antonidas with Pocket Galaxy, there is still a great benefit to reducing the cost of your Sorcerer's Apprentices to 1 Mana. The 1 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentices made by Pocket Galaxy can be used to perform a number of OTK's with a 7 Mana Antonidas which were previously not possible:
- You can OTK with a 2 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentice, a 1 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentice from Luna's Pocket Galaxy, two 0 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentices from Simulacrum into Leyline Manipulator. This OTK can be done without having to find a Molten Reflection.
- You can OTK with two 1 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentices from Pocket Galaxy, one 0 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentice from Simulacrum into Leyline Manipulator, and a Molten Reflection. This also works with one 1 Mana Apprentice from Pocket Galaxy, and a Simulacrum which copied the 1 Mana Apprentice.
- A 2 Mana Molten Reflection off of Primordial Glyph can be used to create several new OTKs with a 1 Mana Apprentice.
5. OTK Mage Mulligan
The majority of 1, 2, and 3 cost cards in OTK Mage are included for their utility in the late game, but are relatively weak when played in the early game. Arcanologist is the only 2 drop in the deck that is consistently playable on curve, which makes it a universal keep across all matchups. Luna's Pocket Galaxy is a powerful combo accelerator that is worth keeping against everything but the most aggressive decks, while Frostbolt is the deck's best answer for early threats and should be kept against any non-control decks.
Against aggro decks, mulligan away combo pieces and card draw to look for defensive cards which can keep you alive. You will often need to land a timely Frost Nova + Doomsayer combo to beat aggro decks, which makes both of these cards strong keeps against aggro.
OTK Mage is at its best against slower control decks. If your opponent is unable to apply pressure in the early and mid game, keep card draw (Arcane Intellect) and combo pieces (Simulacrum, Luna's Pocket Galaxy) to help speed up your combo.
6. OTK Mage Strategy
6.1. OTK Mage Early And Mid Game
OTK Mage is good at three things, and only three things: stalling for time, drawing cards, and killing in one turn. It is nearly impossible to win games without Archmage Antonidas, so it is best to not even consider factors such as early game chip damage which might be important to other decks. Our "plan A" is to OTK, and Plan A is our only plan. Consequently, you should spend the early and mid game doing the other things that OTK Mage is good at: drawing cards and stalling for time.
In most other decks, Doomsayer is typically at its best when played in the early game to set up a turn where you can play a heavy-hitting defensive minion into an empty board. In OTK Mage, there are no heavy-hitting defensive minions waiting to stabilize the board for you after Doomsayer is played. Instead, Doomsayers should be carefully conserved until they can be combined with Freeze effects to do a Mage's imitation of Twisting Nether. Look to use Frostbolt in the early game to kill pesky aggressive minions, and to use Cone of Cold and Blizzard in the mid game to keep your life total high.
Sorcerer's Apprentice is a key combo piece for the deck's OTK, and should never be played in the early or mid game for tempo. You will frequently need every copy of Sorcerer's Apprentice to assemble the OTK, especially with a 1 Mana Archmage Antonidas off of Luna's Pocket Galaxy.
6.2. Surviving with OTK Mage
The most challenging aspect of OTK Mage is finding ways to stall out the game until your combo is assembled. Drawing cards, playing Simulacrum with a Sorcerer's Apprentice in your hand, and flinging Fireballs at your opponent's face is the easy part; surviving is the challenge.
The key to surviving with OTK Mage is patience. You always want to keep your opponent's board clear and your life total out of burst damage range, but you will eventually run out of freeze cards if you use them too quickly. Generally speaking, it is best to conserve your freeze effects and Doomsayers until they can have the strongest effect on the game. It is very tempting to use a Cone of Cold in the early game to prevent chip damage from your opponent's early minions, but freeze will often have a much larger effect on the game if you use them in the mid to late game. By holding on to your freeze effects until later, you will also free up your Mana for cards like Arcane Intellect and Simulacrum in the early game.
Arcane Artificer is best played in combination with Blizzard, potentially setting up a turn where you can cast Luna's Pocket Galaxy the turn after to gain 13 total armor. Most opponents will know to kill Arcane Artificer as soon as possible, because it can single-handedly take over a game if ignored. Try to hold on to these key minions until you are reasonably sure that they will gain you 6 or more armor.
7. OTK Mage Single Card Strategies
7.1. Primordial Glyph
Primordial Glyph is a highly flexible card which can be used in a variety of ways to get out of tricky situations. It can find card draw spells, additional board wipes, and can even find a Molten Reflection or Simulacrum to help you set up the OTK.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to wait on using Primordial Glyph until you know exactly what kind of card you will need it for. Unless you are under fast pressure from an early Vicious Fledgling or Hench-Clan Thug and need to find a cheap removal spell, try to wait until the late game to cast your Primordial Glyphs. It is also important to remember that a 2 Mana Molten Reflection off of Primordial Glyph sets up a number of new OTKs.
7.2. Research Project
Similar to Primordial Glyph, Research Project gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on. When used in the early game, the symmetrical card draw of Research Project will provide a great benefit your opponent. Whenever possible, try to wait until your opponent's hand is nearly full before playing Research Project.
If you are ever facing lethal Damage from your opponent but do not quite have everything you need to OTK, you can play 2 of your Sorcerer's Apprentices before playing Research Project to give yourself a free shot at 2 more cards.
8. OTK Mage Key Cards and Swaps
Archmage Antonidas is necessary for the OTK to work and cannot be replaced. The only other legendary card in the deck is Luna's Pocket Galaxy, which is not needed to make infinite Fireballs. As previously mentioned, you can OTK with 1 Sorcerer's Apprentice, 2 Simulacrums, a Leyline Manipulator, and a Molten Reflection. If you are on a budget, Luna's Pocket Galaxy can be replaced by an additional card draw minion, such as Novice Engineer or Acolyte of Pain.
Primordial Glyph has been one of the strongest Mage cards in the game since it was released in Journey to Un'Goro, and it plays an important role in OTK Mage. If you do not have Primordial Glyph, you can replace it with Novice Engineer.
8.3. Flex Slots
OTK Mage is surprisingly tight, as the key combo pieces, card draw, and freeze spells take up the majority of the deck's available space. Witchwood Piper is the only true flex slot in the deck, and can be replaced by another card draw minion (such as Acolyte of Pain), another defensive tool (Meteor), or a tech card (Skulking Geist).
9. Budget OTK Mage Deck
After cutting Luna's Pocket Galaxy from the deck, you can also cut one copy of Sorcerer's Apprentice, as no OTK with a 7 Mana Archmage Antonidas can afford to play more than one Sorcerer's Apprentice for 2 Mana. This allows you to play Acolyte of Pain, a powerful source of card draw and early game board presence. Primordial Glyph was also cut from the deck and replaced by Stonehill Defender for budget purposes.
|Mage Cards||Neutral Cards|
10. Wild OTK Mage Deck
Ice Block is a massive pickup for OTK Mage in Wild, and instantly becomes the deck's best defensive card. The return of Cabalist's Tome allows Wild OTK Mage to return to Open the Waygate builds which were present in The Year of the Mammoth, shifting the focus of the deck away from Simulacrum and Leyline Manipulator.
|Mage Cards||Neutral Cards|
11. Quick Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to empty your hand of low-cost minions (including minions with their costs reduced by Luna's Pocket Galaxy) before using Simulacrum to copy your Sorcerer's Apprentice!
- If you are able to cast Luna's Pocket Galaxy before Archmage Antonidas is drawn, you can afford to use one of your 5 non-Antonidas combo cards as a defensive tool. In these scenarios, it is sometimes correct to use a Simulacrum or Molten Reflection on a Doomsayer or an Arcane Artificer.
- Try to use Simulacrum before Luna's Pocket Galaxy. The 1 Mana minions made by Luna's Pocket Galaxy cost less than a 2 Mana Sorcerer's Apprentice, which could potentially interrupt your combo.
12. Similar Hearthstone Decks
If you enjoyed playing this deck, you may also enjoy other combo decks. Malygos Rogue also kills the opponent with spells by creating copies of Malygos with a Kobold Illusionist and Necrium Vial. Mecha'thun Priest takes a slightly different approach to killing its opponents in one turn: it uses a Reckless Experimenter and 2 Ticking Abominations to blow up Mecha'thun after blasting through the deck with Hemet, Jungle Hunter.
- 04 Dec. 2018: Deck has been reviewed for the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion.
- 26 Oct. 2018: No updates for the Giggling Inventor nerf.
- 04 Sep. 2018: Guide created.
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