Reno Highlander Mage Deck List Guide - Descent of Dragons January 2020
This guide contains detailed Strategy, Mulligan, and deck-building information to help you play Reno Mage in the Descent of Dragons expansion.
Reno Mage is a "highlander" deck, including only one copy of each card in order to make use of Zephrys the Great and Reno the Relicologist. It is a versatile control deck with a threat-heavy lategame.
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Reno Highlander Mage Deck Lists
Reno Highlander Mage Mulligan Guide
Reno Mage includes a few key build-around cards with a much higher power level than the rest of the deck. These will be your main Mulligan targets in most matchups.
- General Mulligan (keep regardless of what your opponent is playing) — Luna's Pocket Galaxy, Reno the Relicologist, Zephrys the Great.
- Mulligan against Aggro (also keep if you think you are playing against an aggressive deck) — Frostbolt, Doomsayer, Zilliax, Ray of Frost.
- Mulligan against Control (also keep if you think you are playing against a slow deck) — Arcane Intellect, Twilight Drake, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza.
Reno Highlander Mage Strategy
Reno Mage is a control deck with a powerful late game based on summoning multiple large minions. Cards like King Phaoris, Conjurer's Calling, and Power of Creation allow you to generate several waves of threats and heavily pressure your opponent.
You will find yourself taking a variety of different routes to get to this stage thanks to the nature of the deck's highlander style. As a general rule, though, you will be playing passively during the early game and seeking to recover with a powerful swing turn. This could take the form of one of your major board clears, such as Reno the Relicologist, or of a massive board development.
Luna's Pocket Galaxy is an incredibly potent card that can totally change the way games play out. If you find it, try and play it as early as possible in order to maximise the amount of discounted minions you draw in the next few turns. Reno Mage has several comeback mechanics (mostly in the form of board clears), so do not be afraid to take some damage if that is the cost of playing Pocket Galaxy early.
Zephrys the Great is a very difficult card to use well, and rewards players with a comprehensive knowledge of the Basic and Classic sets. Its Battlecry discovers the "perfect card": a card from the Classic or Basic set from any class that Zephrys believes will be useful based on the current game state. This high level of flexibility makes it hard to identify exactly when Zephrys will be most impactful. One strategy you can use for valuing it is to evaluate your hand and consider what is missing; if you are lacking a threat, a major removal or a board clear, and think you may need one, hold Zephrys until a turn on which it can serve that purpose. Do not be afraid to play it on turn 2 if your hand demands it; Wild Growth can be an exceptionally strong option in this deck due to its heavy curve.
Try to set up your turns in such a way that it will be obvious to Zephrys which card you are looking for. Setting your opponent's Health to 6 before playing Zephrys, for example, is much more likely to result in the offer of a lethal Fireball than playing Zephrys at the beginning of your turn. Additionally, be on the lookout for situations where a highly niche card can swing the game; Hungry Crab is frequently offered as an answer to opposing Murlocs, for example.
Against Aggro, it is important to limit the amount of damage you take, as the deck runs only a small amount of life-gain. Use freeze effects liberally, and err towards playing high-value minions like Stargazer Luna for tempo rather than holding onto them for maximum value. This will help you drag games out long enough for your superior lategame to seal the win.
Against Control, try to stagger your threats in order to put some strain on their removal options. Overextending into board clear spells like Brawl can be costly, but equally it is important to make your opponent use them; forcing out a board clear with a medium-sized board can clear the way for big plays like King Phaoris to win the game.
Reno Highlander Mage Card Swaps
- Against Control — Add 1x Hex Lord Malacrass, 1x Astromancer and 1x Pyroblast for 1x Ancient Mysteries, 1x Flame Ward and 1x Ice Barrier.
- Against Aggro — 1x Mind Control Tech for 1x Big Ol' Whelp
- 10 Jan. 2020: Deck has been reviewed following the January balance patch.
- 10 Dec. 2019: Deck has been updated for the Descent of Dragons expansion. Removed 1x Puzzle Box of Yogg Saron, 1x Counterspell, 1x Sand Binder, 1x Arcane Keysmith, 1x Khadgar, 1x Vulpera Scoundrel for 1x Azure Explorer, 1x Big Ol' Whelp, 1x Malygos, Aspect of Magic, 1x Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, 1x Ice Barrier, 1x SN1P-SN4P.
- 09 Aug. 2019: Deck added.
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