Wild Control Mage Deck List Guide - Rise of Shadows April 2019
This guide contains detailed Strategy, Mulligan, and deck-building information to help you play Control Mage in The Rastakhan's Rumble expansion.
Control Mage, once known as Grinder Mage, decks have existed for a large part of Hearthstone's history. The deck aims to take advantage of the efficiency in which Mage spells and the Mage Hero Power keep the board clear to grind down opponents. Once enough time has passed, the deck aims to put pressure back onto opponents using powerful cards like Frost Lich Jaina and Dragoncaller Alanna.
The Rastakhan's Rumble expansion has provided many more value tools for slow Mage decks to take advantage of, thereby becoming even more dominant in the late game, putting Control Mage in a solid position for the Rastakhan's Rumble meta.
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Control Mage is a deck that thrives in the late game due to having an array of powerful spells at its disposal. To complement this, you will mostly be looking for defensive tools to ensure you do not get overrun before you can make full use of your spells.
You should look for both Raven Familiar and Stonehill Defender in your opening hand in all matchups. These cards can help contest the board against Aggro while also allowing you to access more powerful tools in Control matchups. If you already have both of these cards, you can also keep Arcane Keysmith for a strong follow-up.
Against Aggro, you can additionally look for Doomsayer in your opening hand to keep the board under control.
Control Mage is a very late-game deck and it is important to try and survive the early game by any means necessary. This will usually means playing cards like Raven Familiar, Stonehill Defender, and Arcane Keysmith proactively to contest the board. You should take into consideration the matchup when making choices with Stonehill Defender and Arcane Keysmith. For example, against Aggro, you can benefit from cheap Taunts like Tar Creeper or Sen'jin Shieldmasta, whereas against Control, it is wiser to choose high-value options like The Lich King. Similarly, you can choose Counterspell or Explosive Runes from Arcane Keysmith to slow opponents down, or Frozen Clone if you desire a lot more value. Against Aggro, you also have the option of dropping an early Doomsayer. It is usually best to play Doomsayers on turn 2 to prevent your opponent from developing a board. However, if your opponent already has a board, it can also be played behind a Taunt minion on a later turn to increase the chance that it is able to activate.
In the mid game and late game, you can begin to use your spells like Dragon's Fury, Blizzard, Flamestrike, and Meteor to fight back against your opponent. When rationing out these spells, you should take into consideration the pace of the game before using them. For example, against Aggro, you can often freely use a spell each turn to keep the board under control and preserve Health. However, against Control, your Health is not under as much threat so you can afford to hold back with spells like Dragons Fury and Flamestrike to ensure you can get the maximum value. If at any point your Health drops too low, you can additionally combine any of the aforementioned high-Cost spells with Arcane Artificer to gain a large chunk of Armor in addition to clearing the board.
One of the cards that makes this deck thrive in a Control meta is the existence of Polymorph. With the popularity of revive effects like Bloodreaver Gul'dan and Witching Hour it can be used to completely remove cards from your opponent's card pool and shut down their strategies. When playing specifically against opponents that rely on certain cards, such as Hadronox for Taunt Druid or Voidlord and Doomguard for Cubelock, you should make sure you always have a copy of Polymorph on hand.
Skulking Geist is a powerful tech card for Control Mage that can help deny problematic strategies from opponents by removing key spells like Dark Pact, Inner Fire, and Naturalize. As there are no 1-Mana spells in your own deck, you should aim to use Skulking Geist as soon as it is safe to do so in all matchups to prevent your opponent from getting any value from their 1-Mana spells.
When you are deep into the late game, you have many high-value tools at your disposal which can help you start putting pressure back onto your opponent, each with their own considerations for when it is best to play them.
- Sindragosa offers a large 8/8 body to immediately threaten opponents in addition to providing 2 Frozen Champions to provide further Legendary minions to play onto the board. Sindragosa is a great choice to play if you are under no immediate threat and especially if you are planning on playing Dragon's Fury in the near future, which can help you kill off your Frozen Champions. However, it can be worth holding back if you plan on playing Frost Lich Jaina soon as the Frozen Champions make excellent targets for the Icy Touch Hero Power.
- The Lich King is another powerful minion that can be simply used as a large threat on the board. Unlike Sindragosa, The Lich King is much better on an empty board where it is likely to survive for multiple turns to maximise the value of the end of turn effect. However, as it is a powerful Taunt minion, it can also be worth using defensively if your Health is directly under threat and you have no other tools available.
- Frost Lich Jaina is one of the highest value cards in the game and will make you almost immortal if used correctly. Though the card offers minimal immediate value, the ability to provide your Elementals with Lifesteal provides a large amount of long-term healing. It also turns Baron Geddon into a powerful healing tool in addition to its AoE damage. You will also gain the Icy Touch Hero Power to allow you to gain Water Elementals for free. You should try to get the maximum value out of the Hero Power and look to set minions to 1 Health wherever possible. Cards like Meteor can be great for achieving this when used correctly.
- Dragoncaller Alanna is the last late-game tool in the deck and best saved for last. As the strength of the card increases with each high-Cost spell played, it can often win games immediately if enough spells have been played. You should be careful playing this card into opponents with powerful board clears as opponents will often hold back cards like Psychic Scream and Brawl specifically for this card.
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Do not be too greedy in the early game as you have a lot of value available in the late game.
- Use Arcane Artificer with big spells for large amounts of healing.
- Try to play Frost Lich Jaina as soon as possible.
- Combine Frost Lich Jaina with cards like Polymorph, Voodoo Doll and Sindragosa.
- Try not to play Dragoncaller Alanna too soon as it will offer more value over time.
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- 10 Apr. 2019: Deck has been moved to Wild for the Year of the Dragon.
- 03 Mar. 2019: Deck has been reviewed for the March play season.
- 07 Feb. 2019: Deck has been reviewed following the February balance patch.
- 08 Jan. 2019: Deck list updated. Removed 1x Witchwood Piper, 1x Voodoo Doll for 2x Daring Fire-Eater.
- 01 Jan. 2019: Deck has been updated for the January play season. Removed 1x Blast Wave, 1x Hex Lord Malacrass for 1x Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk, 1x Ziliax.
- 04 Dec. 2018: Deck updated for the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion. Removed 1x Witchwood Piper, 1x Voodoo Doll, for 1x Blast Wave, 1x Hex Lord Malacrass.
- 01 Sep. 2018: Guide has been reviewed for the September play season.
- 07 Aug. 2018: Guide has been reviewed and deemed appropriate for The Boomsday Project expansion.
- 01 Jul. 2018: Guide has been reviewed for the July play season. Updated the card swap section.
- 12 Jun. 2018: Deck added.
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