Looking for Something New? Dragon Control Mage!

A new control mage I've used to get to Rank 3 in the august season.

Introduction

Hello everybody, my name is Viktor. I’ve recently hit Legend for the first time and now I want to do it again with the decks I made with the new TGT cards, thereby also sharing my decks and experiences. The first deck I’ve tried out is a Mage Control/Grinder deck with a Dragon theme. The reason was I wanted to try out some of the new Mage cards, like Fallen Hero, Effigy and Coldarra Drake (which I have replaced by Nefarian).

After some testing in the last week of the season this is the decklist I have come up with. I made it only to Rank 3 so far but I am very confident that with some more experience and maybe a few alterations this deck can reach Legend. So this is a quick and short guide on the still experimental Dragon Control Mage!

Playstyle

So the basic strategy, as a grinder deck, is controlling the board until the late game with a lot of removal and then finishing your opponent of with the help of your three big finishers (Nefarian, Ysera and Rhonin).

  • Against aggressive decks is straight forward, if you can keep clearing their minions efficiently they’ll eventually run out of steam and you just win on card advantage.
  • Against midrange and control you’ll want to get as much value as possible from your secrets, polymorphs and legendaries. Especially planning which minions get duplicated/effigy. It’s extremely vital for this deck because they can give you incredible value. Besides that it’s also great fun; who doesn’t want to play with 3 copies of Sylvanas?

Card Choices / Substitutions

Core

The dragons are obviously the core of the deck. Twilight Guardian, Blackwing Corruptor, Azure Drake and Ysera are staple in every dragon deck and should therefore not be replaced, not even by another dragon.

Chillmaw is less important, but it is however the best counter you could want against Patron Warrior, since they don’t run silence and you’re almost guaranteed to wipe their board with the 3 damage AoE. I suggest that you run Chillmaw as long as you encounter some Patrons on ladder. If not, you can replace him with another dragon (preferably Alexstrasza).

Nefarian on the other hand is entirely optional and can be replaced by any dragon you want. If you face a lot of controllish decks I would keep him around, since in those matchups he can really make a difference. Overall, I strongly recommend always keeping the same number of dragons, since consistently getting the ‘Hold’ mechanic is essential .

Removals

Pretty straightforward; 2 Frostbolt for the early game, 2 Polymorph and Big Game Hunter for mid and late game and an Explosive Sheep and Flamestrike (and Chillmaw) for AoE.

You also have 2 Blackwing Corruptors that can help with the trading. I don’t think you can realistically cut any one of these card because they all play an important role in your strategy. For the record, Polymorph is way better than Fireball in a control deck because it lets you deal with annoying death rattles (Sylvanas, Highmane,…) and minions with more than 7 health .

Fallen Hero is also removal since you always want to play it with a fireblast, but it has the flexibility of being just a 2 mana 3/2, which is fine against aggressive decks, since it basically has Taunt. This is however not an essential card and can easily be replaced with other removal. If you face a lot of Hunters or Aggro Paladins, a second Explosive Sheep might be good. If you face midrange or control heavy meta, you can squeeze in a Fireball or a second Flamestrike.

Secrets

When TGT came out, I really wanted to give Effigy a try, and after some testing I can safely say that it is an insane card, which is why I’ve included it in this list. If you manage to get it off a 5+ mana minion (and you have a lot of those in the deck), it’s absolutely incredible. The reason being that your opponent has to kill something first, and only then you get the random minion. This is the same advantage as Bear Trap, which only triggers AFTER he hits face, so he has less options to deal with the new minion.

If Effigy triggers, you’re almost guaranteed (unless you get really unlucky, it’s still “random” after all) to be able to kill whatever he has played that turn. Therefore I’ve also included Defender of Argus, which is great for forcing your opponent to trade, even if it’s a face hunter, and thereby triggering Effigy.

It’s equally great when you have Duplicate in play, because you can dictate which minion you want to have 2 copies of. Playing Antique Healbot on 5, followed by the Defender has won me a lot of games against aggressive decks. Both secrets are great in this deck, but they’re really slow, so you also need to run Mad Scientist.

Against slower decks, you really need to be careful when you have a secret out, since you don’t want to Duplicate the Healbot or Effigy your Big Game Hunter. You need to set up a good scenario, which can be challenging but really pays off if it works. Against aggressive decks you care less about the value of your secrets, but in general you want to duplicate Twilight Guardian and Antique Healbot so you can grind your opponent down.

Others

Just to be thorough I’ll go over the last cards in the deck. The tech cards that can be replaced at will: Zombie Chow is still great against aggro but sometimes makes your secrets awkward, make sure to trade him in when you play a secret. Blackwing Technician is a very solid 3 drop (and your only active one). Arcane Intellect is basic card draw. You definitely don’t need 2 copies because of Duplicate and 2 Azure Drakes. Sylvanas Windrunner is (almost) always included in control decks. You can use fireblast or even the Blackwing Corruptor to kill her off and steal something good. And finally, Rhonin is just an extremely valuable card. It can act as a finisher and as a bait for hard removal, so you can play Ysera and Nefarian freely.

Matchups and Mulligans

Vs Warrior

Against Control Warrior you’re the favourite thanks to your secrets. Since your opponent will try to kill everything you play you can just Duplicate/Effigy him out of the game. Therefore this is the only matchup where I would consider keeping Effigy in my opening hand.

Besides that keep Mad Scientist, Blackwing Technician and Twilight Guardian (if you also have a dragon like Azure Drake).

Zombie Chow, Fallen Hero and Frostbolt are pretty useless in the early game since Warriors don’t play anything and kill your minions with the Fiery War Axe.

Against Patron the mulligan is the same but the matchup is a lot harder. The important thing is spending your resources carefullyand not dying. Remember that Frostbolting the Warriors face when he has a Death’s Bite out is a possibility to counter the Grim Patron flood if you don’t have another answer in hand!

Vs Hunter

Regardless of the type of Hunter, mulligan aggressively for Zombie Chow, Mad Scientist, Explosive Sheep and Frostbolt. Only keep Fallen Hero if you already have one or two of those.

You absolutely need to counter their early game aggression and then you’ll be fine. Midrange is a better matchup than Face since you can Polymorph the Savannah Highmane. I have 6-5 against Hunter and I think 4 of the 5 losses were against Face Hunter. If you encounter a lot of them you can add an extra Antique Healbot.

Vs Warlock

I always assume it’s Zoo and Mulligan for the same cards as Hunter. It’s a better matchup than Hunter though, because Zoo tends to go for board control, thereby triggering your secrets.

Handlock is about 50/50. If they get a good start it can be really tough, but if you manage to stabilize you can usually finish them off with a combination of Frostbolt and Arcane Missiles.

Keep track of their removal, usually their only answer to Ysera is Siphon Soul (or Silence) , so try to bait that out before you play her.

Vs Mage

The most common deck is still Tempo Mage, which is a very favorable matchup (4-1). Usually you have enough removal to wreck their strategy and take control in the midgame.

Mulligan for Zombie Chow, Frostbolt, Mad Scientist, Explosive Sheep and Fallen Hero (but only if you have the coin).

Vs Paladin

Ah yes, the Secret Paladin. Since the release of TGT 28 % of my games were against Paladin, almost all of them the Secret kind. This deck is quite good against it, with 13-8 . The reason is that you have all the necessary answers for their flood of secrets.

The Fireblast, Explosive Sheep, Polymorph and Flamestrike are all great for keeping control. And sometimes they’ll get an insane start with a Secretkeeper, and you don’t havea Frostbolt and you’ll lose, but there’s not much you can do about that.

Mulligan for Zombie Chow, Mad Scientist, Explosive Sheep and Frostbolt.

Vs Druid

Midrange Druid is one of the toughest matchups. If they curve well with a Wild Growth or Darnassus Aspirant you’re basically screwed. Therefore you need all the removal and early board presence you can get.

Mulligan for Zombie Chow, Mad Scientist, Fallen Hero, Blackwing Technician (even without a dragon!) and Frostbolt. If you already have a good hand you might consider keeping Polymorph or Twilight Guardian, and even Blackwing Corruptor if you have the Coin and a Dragon.

Gaining board control with a good curve is essential in this matchup.

Vs Priest

Against Dragon Priest, the key is also to gain board control early on, because if a Priest gains it he’s never going to give it back. If you manage that you should be able to win because you can kill off all his threats . Just beware of Lightbomb and Mind Control because these can really turn a game.

Mulligan for Zombie Chow, Mad Scientist, Fallen Hero, Blackwing Technician and Frostbolt.

I didn’t face a single Rogue since the release and only 3 Shamans with the new Midrange Totem deck, so don’t worry about those matchups. I think the meta is still too unpredictable to say if this deck is good or not, but I feel there are at least no terrible matchtups, except maybe Druid. And you can always change a few cards if you play against certain decks a lot and you want to improve that matchup.

Closing

So that’s it for the Dragon Mage. I really enjoy playing with this deck and think it has a lot of potential. I hope some of you will give it a try and reach Legend with it. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.