Hello everyone and welcome to the first article of the new Countering the Flavor of the Week Series (CFWS)! CFWS is also the first of many new Hearthstone Players Series to come in the near future.
In this series, I will be dissecting with you guys the most played deck in the Hearthstone meta-game at the time. I shall explain how it works, its strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly (as suggested by the title!) how to properly counter the deck!
In today’s spotlight, we’re going to feature this week’s ladder terror: The Mech Mage!
Explaining the Deck
Mech Mage has reached the new heights as an indirect result of the Undertaker balance change. Prior to the nerf, the deck was already the second most played aggro deck behind Aggro Hunter. Therefore after the nerf, aggro players saw Mech Mage as the next best option.
There are various different versions of Mech Mage. Somes use Unstable Portal with mana-wyrm. Others use Mad Scientist with mirror-entity. Individuals have also mixed and matched, having some combination of both. cogmaster is even debatable. However, I personally believe the strongest and most consistent version of Mech Mage is the one running Mad Scientist + Mirror Entity.
Mech Mage is an aggressive Mech-themed deck relying on the card synergy. Like all other Aggro decks not named Zoo, the deck is slightly inconsistent but has the potential of explosive starts that snowball into winning the game.
The main idea of the deck is to take advantage of Jaina’s Mech-tribal cards. In my opinion, Mage can put out the best Mech deck in the field because of the power-level of its Mech cards. And what cards are they you ask? snowchugger, goblin-blastmage, and archmage-antonidas!
Snowchugger smoothly fills out the curve by adding an extra 2-drop to the deck. Meanwhile, Goblin Blastmage is simply overpowered with its synergistic Mech ability. Last but definitely not least, Archmage Antonidas makes the best use of your Spare Parts.
The other Mech cards in the deck are the already well-known: mechwarper, annoy-o-tron, clockwork-gnome, and so on…
The deck plays out similar to Zoo, trading for board control while also threatening lethal [damage] very quickly.
The list posted in this article (right there ->) is the most popular Mech Mage list on ladder. Here is the link in case you prefer the actual image: http://i.imgur.com/q6zRjbZ.png.
The Deck’s Strengths
Now that we’re familiar with the deck, we’ll look at know how it actually wins games.
In general, there are two primary ways for Mech Mage to win a game:
- An explosive start that snowballs into a quick win – This includes abusing the raw power of mechwarper, mad-scientist, and/or Goblin Blastmage. It is very common for a Mech Mage to drop their entire hand onto the board and finish with burn spells (fireball and/or frostbolt) before their opponent can recover.
- A good archmage-antonidas turn – This involves trading Spare Parts for multiple Fireballs that lead to tons of damage the opponent won’t be able to fight through.
The Deck’s Weaknesses
Alright, so now we know how the deck wins. So how do we stop that from happening? There are some very important points that to understand in order to beat Mech Mage:
- Its Mech synergy is not only its strength but also its weakness – If you manage to keep their board “Mech-less”, they’ll be stranded with a slew of synergistic cards in hand. Cards such as tinkertown-technician, cogmaster, and Goblin Blastmage all have their value greatly diminished if there is no Mech on the board. Thus, the deck is usually overly reliant on those cards to win.
- The deck is extremely vulnerable to sweepers – Unlike Deathrattle Aggro decks, Mech Mages have very few persistent minions! In fact, the only one currently used in the deck is piloted-shredder. This means that if you manage to clear their board, they are very unlikely to be able to build back up from that point.
- The deck is inconsistent – Mech Mage relies on curving out almost perfectly from the outset of the game in order to win. Outside of early game pressure and very strong Goblin Blastmage turns, there is no way for the deck to regain board control once they’ve lost it.
- Lack of card draw – Just like any other aggro deck not named Zoo-lock, it has poor card draw options. This means eventually the deck will run out of steam. Whenever Mech Mage is unable to kill you fast, they become overly reliant on Antonidas’ card advantage to grind out games.
How to Fight Against It!
With all of this known information regarding Mech Mage, it should be easy to figure out the best deck(s) possible for playing against it!
The main idea is play a deck with enough defenses to withstand the early game rush and a complementary board sweeper to take care of a possible snowball. Decks capable of doing this should be greatly favored as a result.
Druids, Shamans, and Hunters are the only classes that are not capable of such a feat. Shamans not only have weak healing capability but also an unreliable board sweeper (RNG involved), meanwhile, Druids and Hunters have no way whatsoever of wiping out the board outside of very gimmicky combos.
So with that said, I recommend you not playing Druid or Hunter this week. Shaman may be playable depending on the way you build your deck. But what about the other classes? What lists would you recommend us, Nuba-san?
There are quite some lists that you can play this week, and all of them are favored or slightly favored against Mech Mage:
- Paladin Control and Hand-lock – I recommend using lists with two Zombie Chows. However, don’t forget the usual arsenal of Darkbomb, Shielded Minibot, muster-for-battle, mortal-coil, etc… If you’re playing Paladin, I also recommend running 2 copies of equality.
- Rogues – The standard Oil-Rogue list does well enough. If you are having trouble and/or are facing a lot of Face Hunters, don’t forget to add a copy of antique-healbot.
- Various Mage Control Lists – The only suggestion I can give is to stick with the Zombie Chows as well.
- Priest and Warrior Control – These heavy control decks are already strong enough against Mech Mage. You don’t even need to run Zombie Chows. Nothing new here!
With all that said, the list I recommend most for this week is Warrior Control with a kezan-mystic in the utility slot usually reserved for big-game-hunter.
The idea behind this suggestion is that the meta-game is still in chaos and constantly changing (everyone is still grinding ladder). This means outside of a few aggro decks such as Face-rush Hunter and Mech mage, we cannot tell what we are going to be playing against. Warrior Control is just too strong in this kind of meta-game (while directly countering the two most played aggro decks).
I’ve also included a Paladin list as another option for you to play in case you are not in the mood for playing Warrior this week! If you’re still not satisfied with Paladin, I went ahead and prepared a few other lists as suggestions for you to play this week.
Notice none of these lists have any of the so-called “meta” cards such as Harrison Jones, The Black Knight, or big-game-hunter. Because the meta-game has not settled down yet, we don’t want to clog up our hands with dead cards too often!
Of course there are other nice lists to play, but I decided to post my favorite ones here; the control ones!
Beating Mech Mage isn’t impossible. As seen here, it is actually pretty easy! All you need to do is tweak your deck a little and [most importantly of all] know how the deck functions!
Keep a close eye on Hearthstone Players as more updates are coming soon to the website. The one benefiting most from these updates will be you, the readers!
I will take a little time from you guys to advertise my newly created Facebook Fan-page. There you will be able to view all my newly-posted articles and know when I am streaming instantly! =D
This concludes the first article of my new weekly series. I hope I made your ladder grinding easier this week and you can count on reading another one of these next week! =D