UPDATE: -1 FLAMESTRIKE, -1 SNEED’S OLD SHREDDER, +1 DR. BOOM, +1 RAGNAROS THE FIRELORD
Hello guys, Giordy here! I am a three-times legend player who enjoys building decks and finding new interactions between cards. This season I made legend with my handlock build, which is pretty standard but very effective.
I want to welcome you to another article of GvG Experimental Decks series! In this series I am going to present, along with other reviewers such as Spark, a number of decks that we have been testing on the ladder now that the new expansion Goblins versus Gnomes is finally released. These are going to be decks that are tested by us and which we find fairly consistent and fun to play.
The purpose of this series is to show you our builds, so that you can test them, too, and give us feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. It is noteworthy to say that these decks reflect our personal play style and may not respect everyone’s tastes. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy our builds and that they can give you good ideas when it comes to building your own deck to play on the ladder!
In my previous article I discussed my Midrange Hunter build, describing its strengths, its weaknesses and its viability on the ladder. Rexxar served me well during my climb, but I wanted to try something else to help me push forward on ladder. When Goblins versus Gnomes came out I built an aggro mech mage with which I had a lot of fun, but the problem with aggro decks is often consistency. Aggro decks usually have an explosive start and their strength relies on the ability of burning your opponent down before he can react. When playing at high ranks, though, your opponent will know very well how to react and counter your aggressive strategy, and a well place AoE spell can put you out of the game: this is why midrange or control decks may be a better option at higher ranks (at least for me), because they are more flexible, thus allowing you to adapt your play style to your opponent’s. End of the story, I came up with a midrange mech mage build that would be able to sustain long games, if needed, while still doing what mech mage does best, which is apply pressure on your opponent. This is the deck that I recently used against Spark during the latest Hearthstoneplayers Showmatch Series, hosted on LittleKaty’s Twitch channel.
Discussing the build
I faced a lot of aggro mech mages during my climb on ladder and I always beat them with a well placed mass removal. So, I figured that one thing the deck would need in order not to run out of steam is using some draw mechanics. I saw several mech mages running around with 2x azure-drake and, although the minion is not a mech, it serves its purpose well enough. Despite the drakes, though, I felt like the deck needed some more draw mechanics, so I added 2x arcane-intellect. Someone might argue that the spell slows the deck down, but this is why it’s a midrange mech mage and not an aggro mech mage.
I tinkered with the deck a bit and I found out that it was still able to apply a lot of pressure on your opponent, but sometimes it was hard to end the game easily: the deck needed some finishing potential. I decided, then, to make use of plenty of minions which give you spare parts (clockwork-gnome , tinkertown-technician , mechanical-yeti , toshley), so that Antonidas would be triggered at its full potential. With all the draw engines included in the deck, it’s easy to draw Antonidas and finish the game quickly. If this does not happen, though, sneeds-old-shredder is there to impose its massive presence on the board.
Being a midrange deck, you can see that the deck openings are not as bursty as with aggro mech mage builds: there are no cogmasters and no mana-wyrms. Starting from turn two, though (or turn one if you have the coin), the curve is very smooth, allowing you to play at least one minion per turn. I chose spider-tank over harvest-golem because it trades better, and I chose mechanical-yeti over piloted-shredder because it gives you a spare part that you will later use in combo with archmage-antonidas.
The mech interactions are still all there and two copies of flamestrike await any paladin, mech mage, zoolock or druid that get too greedy and overflood the board. I included two of them because I found the spell to be really useful and really much needed on turn 7, but if you feel like it’s too much you can include only one copy of it.
I originally had two polymorph and no fireball in my build, but I feel like having one copy of each gives the deck more flexibility, allowing it to use the spells to either remove big threats or push for lethal as the game progresses.
toshley is a great minion that is totally underrated in my opinion. It has a great body ( 5/7 for 6 mana) and it gives you a spare part both when it enters AND when it leaves the game. If you give this deck a try you will find yourselves with a bunch of spare parts in your hand that you will be able to use both in combo with Antonidas or just for their effect. A single antique-healbot is there to save your skin against aggressive decks.
There are several possible replacements for cards present in this deck, depending on meta needs and personal tastes. First of all, you might not feel the need of having 2 Flamestrikes in your deck. If that is the case, you can totally replace one copy of it with a more solid dr-boom.
If you feel like Sneed’s Old Shredder is too slow and you rarely get to play it for its full potential, ragnaros-the-firelord might do the trick, giving the deck more finishing power. The shredder could also be replaced by Boom.
Some of you might feel more at ease with copies of polymorph in the deck, while some others might want to run two Fireballs to end games more quickly. Both choices are fine, as long as you can hold off sylvanas-windrunner and tirion-fordring.
The deck can be made slower or faster, but I think that too many modifications would alter the archetype entirely, so in that case you may wanna look at an aggro mech mage build.
I tried to make gazlowe work in the deck, but I found him to be too slow to impact the board significantly; besides, its body is really weak, being it only a 3/6 for 6 mana.
All in all, try to tinker with the deck and see what you find to be the build that most fits your play style.
General Mulligan Guide
Doing mulligan with this deck is pretty straightforward and it’s almost the same for all the matchups. You want to draw your two-drops and three-drops in your starting hand, so that you can have a curve that is as smooth as possible. Keeping frostbolt is fine if you have enough minions already, otherwise swap it for something to put on board. As a general rule, though, try to save frostbolt for your final burst, because you don’t have many spells that can go beyond taunts unless you draw into Antonidas.
You can consider keeping antique-healbot if you’re up against hunter, and you can consider keeping polymorph if you’re up against druid or warrior.
Always throw back arcane-intellect and azure-drake. Also throw back archmage-antonidas, unless you’re up against control warrior or priest.
This beast of a deck brought me all the way to rank 1. If you like Jaina and you don’t like aggro decks, this midrange mech mage can provide you with a good balance of minions, spells and spare parts interactions. The deck has a lot of synergy and I think it’s a lot of fun to play. Try it out and tell me how you like it!
As always, if you have any suggestions, tips, or questions, feel free to write in the comments section below.
Also, if you would like me to review a deck that is particularly dear to you at the moment, link it to me and I will check it out.
You can also contact me any time in-game (I mostly play on EU but also occasionally on NA): my battletag is Giordy#2566.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!