Budget Tempo Mage (LoE Edition)

Editor’s Note: With the new Standard Format in 2016 for Hearthstone, we highly recommend going for cards in the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). Here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started! Budget Standard Standard C’Thun Druid Budget Standard Midrange Hunter Budget Standard C’Thun Mage Budget Standard  Aggro Paladin Budget Standard C’Thun Priest Budget Standard C’Thun […]

Editor’s Note: With the new Standard Format in 2016 for Hearthstone, we highly recommend going for cards in the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). Here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started!

Introduction

Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped students around the world reach many of these same achievements.

If you’re new to Hearthstone, or just have a limited collection of cards—I feel your pain. It is often difficult to find cheap but viable decks to play on the Hearthstone ladder. Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by creating budget decks for each class.

Requirements

  1. Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.
  2. Complete the Naxxramas, Blackrock Mountain, and League of Explorers expansions.
  3. Have 780 Dust for crafting cards.

Deck Playstyle

  • Tempo Mage’s goal is to control the board early on with extremely cost-efficient minions that synergize remarkably well with Mage’s cheap class spells. Minions like mana-wyrm, sorcerers-apprentice and flamewaker all accelerate or benefit directly from the casting of spells.
  • With this early game lead, Budget Tempo Mage seeks to end games early through the burst provided by fireball and argent-commander.

Minions – 15

2x mana-wyrm

  • An incredible little minion to play from our opening hand. Mana Wyrm synergizes extremely well with the cheap spells we have in our deck, and in conjunction with an early sorcerers-apprentice can snowball out of control.

2x mad-scientist

  • We run two mirror-entity as secrets in our deck, so Mad Scientist will always help us gain tempo on the board.

2x sorcerers-apprentice

  • Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a key minion in our deck, as she lets us play our mirror-images for free and reduces the cost of all our other spells. This ability, in conjunction with a mana-wyrm or flamewaker on the board is incredibly synergistic.

2x flamewaker

  • Flamewaker is an incredibly efficient card. Not only is he mana-efficient for the cost, his passive ability gives us 2/3rds of an arcane-missiles each time we play a spell. This is also incredibly synergistic with the cheap removal spells we have in our deck.

2x water-elemental

  • This time, we’ve substituted Water Elemental for piloted-shredder. Both are great cards, but Water Elemental provides more value for us when playing against classes that utilize weapons, which are currently very popular. You can substitute piloted-shredder for Water Elemental if you like it better.

2x azure-drake

  • Azure Drake combines both card draw and Spell Damage +1, both of which are extremely important in our deck. It’s also pretty awesome when effigy triggers on this, as most 5 mana minions have better stats than 4/4.

1x ethereal-conjurerNew!

  • Ethereal Conjurer is an incredibly fun card to play. Mage has a plethora of amazing spells in her arsenal, and the Ethereal Conjurer can provide you reach to finish your opponent or an answer to your opponent’s board. In addition, taunts in your deck can protect the 6/3 from dying too easily.

2x argent-commander

  • Argent Commander provides our deck a bit of extra burst to reach lethal or to trade with something on our opponent’s board and survive.

Spells – 15

2x arcane-missiles

  • Synergizes really well with flamewaker and can do quite well against early aggression from Paladins who muster-for-battle. If you have archmage-antonidas which is listed in the upgrades section, this is a cheap way to gain a fireball.

2x mirror-image

  • Mirror Image is remarkably useful when played for free with sorcerers-apprentice. A fairly common play is to play mana-wyrm on the first turn, and follow that up with sorcerers-apprentice and mirror-image on turn 2.
  • This serves to protect both your mana-wyrm and your sorcerers-apprentice and also buffs your mana-wyrm at the same time.

1x flamecannon

  • With the influx of 3 mana minions with 4 health, flamecannon is a useful spell that can help us clear annoying spider-tanks. Just be sure to clear the board first to isolate the target you want to deal 4 damage to.
  • We run a single copy because it’s a bit more situational than frostbolt and requires you to isolate a target to really benefit from it.

2x frostbolt

  • 2 mana for 3 damage and freeze is great, and synergizes really well with sorcerers-apprentice. A common play is to play sorcerers-apprentice and Frostbolt together on turn 3 to establish a board and elimate a threat at the same time.
  • You can also use Frostbolt to freeze a minion or character and deal 5 damage to it over two turns with your hero power.

1x unstable-portal

  • While random, the Unstable Portal synergizes extremely well with our mana-wyrm, sorcerers-apprentice, and flamewaker. Sometimes it’ll even give you a Epic or Legendary minion that can become a win-condition.

2x arcane-intellect

  • 3 mana to draw 2 cards is fair, but this isn’t a card we want in our opening hand. We want to play Arcane Intellect later on the in the game when we run out of cards to gain tempo.

2x mirror-entity

  • We almost never want to play Mirror Entity out of our hand, but instead want to bring him out from mad-scientists Deathrattle. This card can significantly reduce your opponent’s tempo as he’ll try to find ways to trigger the trap with a smaller minion, making the turn awkward for them.

2x fireball

  • It’ll take out anything with 6 health for 4 mana. One of the best spells in the game.

1x flamestrike

  • A board reset that’s very effective against decks like Zoo and Patron Warrior. We only run one copy because having two in our hand early on hurts us.

Mulligan Guide

In general, you want to mulligan to setup your first three or four turns. Please note that there is a distinction between going first and going second in Hearthstone, and this should factor into your mulligan choices.

When going first, your advantage is the ability to play first. In addition, you gain mana crystals before your opponent. To take advantage of this, you want to be aggressive in your mulligan to put minions on the board.

When going second, your advantage is mainly the-coin, which gives you tempo over your opponent for a single turn, and also an extra card. Depending on the nature of your deck, whether it’s Aggro, Midrange, or Control, you’ll be looking for different things.

  • When playing an aggro deck, you’ll be looking for the same cards going second as you would going first. The objective is to quickly populate the board and bring down your opponent’s life total.
  • When playing a midrange deck, you’ll also be looking to get onto the board early, with the caveat that you can keep a single copy of a situational minion or spell that you think may be useful to counter an opponent. This spell might be something like a kezan-mystic to counter classes with Secrets or removal like frostbolt.
  • When playing a control deck, you’re looking to save the coin until much later in the game, generally when you can bring out a large late-game threat earlier than usual.

While I won’t make an exhaustive list, these are some of the cards you should consider keeping in your opening hand when playing this deck. In general, your goal with this deck is to get onto the board as soon as possible. It’s important to dig for an early 1 or 2 mana minion to play so you can begin to pressure your opponent’s life total.

Minions

  • 1 Mana: mana-wyrm
  • 2 Mana: mad-scientist, sorcerers-apprentice
  • 3 Mana: flamewaker

Spells

  • 1 Mana: arcane-missiles against Paladin or with flamewaker and the-coin.
  • 2 Mana: unstable-portal

Gameplay Video

Upgrades

Here are some substitutions that will improve this budget deck. If you’re looking to craft cards to play this class, it’s best to start with the “Key Substitutions” first before working your way to the “Nice-to-Have” Substitutions. Unless stated otherwise, you can substitute a single copy of an upgrade card instead of two if you don’t have both.

Nice-to-Have Substitutions

  • 1x argent-commander ? 1x dr-boom
  • 1x argent-commander ? 1x archmage-antonidas

Personal Preference

  • 1x ethereal-conjurer ? 1x loatheb

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have questions, feel free to use the comment sections below. Our team at HearthstonePlayers would be happy to answer them.

Coaching Lessons

If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

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