Hearthstone’s new Rise of Shadows expansion launched this month and brought with it a host of new deck types.
If you’re a fan of the Mage class, odds are you’ll want to learn about the new Khadgar Dragon deck that’s making waves on the competitive ladder.
The Year of the Raven was a strange one for Mage players. Although there were a number of playable Mage archetypes at different points of the year, very few of them were what you might consider tier one. Just before the launch of the Rise of Shadows expansion, Mage was finding moderate success with the Odd archetype through use of the Rastakhan’s Rumble card Jan’alai the Dragonhawk.
Unfortunately for Odd Mage fans, Baku The Mooneater was moved to the Hall of Fame, which means Odd Mage can no longer be played in Standard. But even though Odd Mage may be gone, Rise of Shadows brings the class a new archetype led by a hero with a familiar face: Khadgar.
Khadgar Dragon Mage is one of the most successful decks on the competitive Hearthstone ladder right now. The deck is made possible by a number of new Rise of Shadows cards, including the new Legendary Mage minion Khadgar. This new summoning-oriented minion aims to give the Mage class a way to populate the board and overwhelm their opponent. Khadgar is a two-cost 2/2 with an ability that makes your cards that summon minions summon twice as many.
In order to get the most value out of Khadgar, you’ll want to combo him alongside Power of Creation and Conjurer’s Calling. Power of Creation is an eight-cost spell that allows you to discover a six-cost minion and summon two copies of it. This means playing the card while Khadgar is on the field would grant you four minions instead of two.
Conjurer’s Calling is a much lower cost card that can be used to achieve a similar effect. Conjurer’s Calling costs three mana and allows you to destroy a minion then summon two minions of equal cost in its place. Using Conjurer’s Calling alongside Khadgar will award you four minions. Since Conjurer’s Calling has Twinspell, you’ll potentially be able to use the spell’s effect four times throughout the game. This means you shouldn’t always wait on Khadgar to use it.
A common early move for this deck that generates great tempo is using Conjurer’s Calling on a Mountain Giant. Cards like Book of Specters and Firetree Witchdoctor allow you to keep your hand highly populated during the early game, making it easy to cheat out a low-cost Mountain Giant. As long as your Mountain Giant survives at least one turn, you can attack with it one last time before transforming it into two fresh 12-cost minions.
Khadgar and his summoning package aren’t the only ingredients this deck needs to be successful, though. Many of the Dragons available to Mage in the current Standard rotation provide a ton of support for what this deck aims to accomplish. Cards like Crowd Roaster and Dragonmaw Scorcher provide board clear while also being potential targets for Conjurer’s Calling thanks to their high cost.
The Dragon package included in the deck is also complimented by the other new Legendary Mage minion, Kalecgos. This card is a 10-cost 4/12 minion that causes your first spell each turn to cost zero. Kalecgos also has a Battlecry that allows you to discover a spell, meaning the turn you play Kalecgos will provide a huge tempo swing.
You’ll want to use Kalecgos to discover a spell that can provide a big shift in tempo based on your situation. If you need to clear your opponent’s board, look for board clear. If you need some extra damage in order to drop your opponent to zero, look for a Pyroblast or Fireball. Kalecgos has the potential to be the highest value card in the game if you get lucky—so think carefully about which spell you choose when using its Battlecry.
Most games with this deck will be won after you have amassed a board of minions through the use of Khadgar. Your Dragons and Mountain Giants will provide early game pressure and protection while you set up your Khadgar combo. The key to playing this deck successfully is knowing when to use Conjurer’s Calling. Don’t be afraid to use the card early in the game, and don’t be afraid to use it alongside Khadgar if you feel yourself running away with an early victory.
For your mulligan, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Book of Specters, Conjurer’s Calling, Mountain Giant, and Twilight Drake. If you’re playing against a weapon-heavy class, keep Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones if you draw them.