Mastering the Echo Giant Mage: Beginner Guide

This is part 1 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections: Part 1: Beginner Guide Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards, and Tech Choices Part 3: Match-ups and Mulligans Echo Giant Mage is a Control deck with some combo elements. Even before was released with Goblins vs Gnomes people experimented […]

This is part 1 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections:

Introduction

Echo Giant Mage is a Control deck with some combo elements. Even before Echo of Medivh was released with Goblins vs Gnomes people experimented with a deck that evolved around Molten Giants, Duplicate and some core cards of Freeze Mage (Blizzard, Frost Nova, Doomsayer etc.).

Nowadays Echo Giant Mage is a very good deck against aggressive decks, while being not an underdog against Warrior like Freeze Mage.

Summary

In general Giant Mage’s game plan is to be a control deck, until it has an Ice Block up and Molten Giant and some sort of duplicate effects available (Echo of Medivh, Duplicate). Then it transitions into a combo deck that aims to one shot the opponent with multiple Molten Giants and/ or Alexstrasza. This is Giant’s Mage main path to victory. But it is not it’s only path to victory. It is quite flexible. Against aggressive decks, it can also “outheal” them by getting multiple copies of Antique Healbot, Alexstrasza or even by virtual heal by getting multiple copies of Sludge Belcher. Against other control decks it can also outgrind them by getting multiple copies of Sylvanas Windrunner or Emperor Thaurissan. Having your whole hand reduced to zero mana with an army of Emperors is quite a realistic scenario with this deck.

Strengths:

  • It has lot of card draw
  • It can defend itself very well against Aggro decks
  • Flexible and unique play style
  • Unexpected deck, the majority of players will think they play against Freeze Mage and run into your Duplicates and Molten Giants

Weaknesses:

  • A well-timed Kezan Mystic may ruin your day, but gladly this card is not very popular nowadays
  • Can be inconsistent, for example drawing anti aggression cards with duplicate effects against control and value cards with duplicate effects against aggressive decks may ruin your day
  • Very reliant on the one Polymorph against cards like Ysera, that can outright lose you the game if they stick for several turns

Favored Against

  • Face Hunter
  • Zoo Warlock
  • Tempo Mage
  • Freeze Mage
  • Midrange Paladin
  • Aggro Paladin
  • Control Priest
  • Oil Rogue
  • Midrange Hunter
  • Mech Shaman
  • Patron Warrior

Equal Against

  • Control Warrior

Unfavored Against

  • Malygos Warlock
  • Handlock
  • Ramp Druid
  • Midrange Druid

Card Choices

Doomsayer

doomsayer is a very skill intensive card to play. For beginners it may be a rather tricky and hard card to use optimally. Obviously it is not a card you can simply throw out there and play on curve. The optimal timing of it is very hard to find, depending on the matchup, the boardstate and the cards in your hand.

Doomsayer and Frost Nova on Turn 5 is a very powerful combo against a lot of decks. But against highly aggressive decks or very tempo focused decks like Rogue or Druid, where it is quite hard to get  Doomsayer’s trigger off it is recommended to simply throw him out to contest something like a lone Shade of Naxxramas .

But in general you want to be rather greedy with this card and get as much value out of it as possible, because this deck unlike other control decks does not play many hard removal cards (hard removal are cards like Execute or Siphon Soul).

He is also a very fine duplicate target against aggressive decks. So don’t be afraid to simply throw him out there, if you have Duplicate up. Multiple Doomsayers can buy you a lot of turns, which will increase the likelihood of drawing into your win conditions. Doomsayer also acts as a hard counter to the most popular Mage Secret: mirror entity. But if you have a Duplicate up, you must be aware of the fact that you will duplicate Doomsayer. Sylvanas Windrunner also helps you donating a Doomsayer to your opponent, which like Mirror Entitity will result in a guaranteed board wipe.

Anyways, because of its complexity we will get more detailed about this card in the matchup section.

Explosive Sheep

explosive-sheep was one of the first spoilers from Hearthstone’s latest pack expansion. It’s initial inception of an anti aggression card was not wrong. When Goblins vs Gnomes came out it was widely played in a lot of control decks, but nowadays it only sees play in Mage Control decks. It has nice synergy with Mage’s hero power. If you don’t need the immediate effect or have a Duplicate up, you can simply play the Sheep as a sort of tempo play that forces your opponent to make awkward plays.

Mad Scientist

mad-scientist is the bread and butter of every Mage and Hunter deck. Mage secrets are overall more powerful and therefore more expensive, so Mad Scientist is even more powerful within the Mage class. Be aware of the fact that if you have two Mad Scientists out, that if the first one gets Duplicate your opponent can give you multiple Mad Scientist. Against aggressive decks that is not too bad, but against Control decks getting multiple Mad Scientists over more value minions can outright lose you the game.

Sunfury Protector

Having only one taunt giver for your bigger minions must seem kind of weird, when you are not experienced with the deck. The reason for that is that more taunt givers are not really needed, because drawing multiples without any Molten Giant is kind of awkward. In addition to that, this deck plays Ice Block as a sort of pseudo taunt, so you don’t really need to give taunts to your giant when you have an Ice Block up. Against aggressive decks it is sometimes a good play to simply play him on Turn 2 to contest opposing two drops.

Arcane Intellect

Card draw (arcane-intellect) is essential to any good control or even combo deck. Having more cards in your hand gives your more options for the current turn and allows you to better plan ahead for future turns.

Duplicate

duplicate is a sort of pseudo card draw, that is quite flexible and requires some setup. Be aware of the fact that your opponent can play around it, by simply ignoring your minion or by killing less valuable minions like Sunfury Protector as their first kill target.

Frost Nova

frost-nova is a really valuable card. You want to be rather greedy with it and not simply willy-nilly freeze a board on Turn 3. This deck, unlike Freeze Mage only plays two freeze effects, so proper time management and optimal usage of it, is very important. Freezing a 6  attack power board of your enemy and then being unable to freeze a 15 attack power board from your opponent on a future turn can be a disaster. Especially because of Doomsayer, you really need to value Frost Nova very highly. Also note that this card can be used offensively, when you have double Molten Giant on the board and Ice Block up.

Ice Block

If this card somehow was a neutral card, it would be played in almost every control deck, ranging from Control Warrior to Handlock. Ice Block obviously gives you an insurance against burst out of nowhere, while also giving you the opportunity of making high risk and high reward plays. Ice Block is the main reason why this deck is better against Patron Warrior than Handlock. With Handlock you can even lose if you taunted up two Mountain Giants against Grim Patron Warrior. Ice Block negates all potential one turn kill (OTK) shenanigans, which is really powerful.

Big Game Hunter

big-game-hunter has decent stats for a three drop, while giving you access to a super powerful tempo battle cry. Getting multiple Big Game Hunters is one of the ways to beat Handlock and the omnipresence of Dr. Boom makes this card a must play in this deck. Playing him on Turn 3 against aggro, is a good play if you lack other good plays. Big Game Hunter contests very nicely a potential Animal Companion.

Acolyte of Pain

acolyte-of-pain is a rather flexible card in this deck. You can choose to cut him for the second Sludge Belcher or a third freeze effect like Cone of Cold. The decision to play him comes down to personal preference. We play him, because we liked another card draw in the deck that helps you drawing into your key cards.

Echo of Medivh

This cards usefulness can range from nonexistent (because your draw is horrible) to decent (copying one Antique Healbot, Molten Giant etc.) to outright crazy value by copying an entire board of Sylvanas Windrunner, multiple Molten Giants and Antique Healbots etc.

In general you want to be rather greedy with it against control decks, while not being too greedy against aggressive decks. Copying one Antique Healbot against a deck like Face Hunter is completely fine, while wasting it against control only to copy a single Sludge Belcher is very bad. This card is also the reason, why you really need to plan ahead with this deck. Simply playing a Molten Giant on Turn 8 for 8 mana against a control deck, without Duplicate up can later lose you the game if your Echo of Medivh then gives you less value.

Polymorph

polymorph is highly needed in this deck to have reliable removal for cards like Archmage Antonidas or Ysera. Against decks that play these cards, you absolutely need to save Polymorph for them.

Antique Healbot

The initial reception of this card was quite bad. Nevertheless it found its way in a lot of control decks. Playing Antique Healbot into a Freezing Trap, while having a Duplicate up forces the Hunter player to make a hard decision.

Sludge Belcher

sludge-belcher is the best neutral taunt in the game. Against both control and aggro decks he is a good Duplicate target. We chose to cut the second copy of it, because sometimes he can be rather clunky.

Emperor Thaurissan

emperor-thaurissan really shines in this deck. Getting discounts on all your sweet cards is exceptionally powerful. Getting multiple copies of Emperor Thaurissan can put you very far ahead in any given game. As already mentioned letting your whole hand cost zero to three mana is very possible with this deck.

Sylvanas Windrunner

The other high value six drop. sylvanas-windrunner is a little bit harder to optimally play. If you simply play her and any potential duplicates on an empty board, unlike Emperor Thaurissan you won’t get any value out of her card text. She will simply be a 5/5 for 6 mana, which is decent, but not the reason why she is played in almost every single control and midrange deck. So in general against other value based decks only play a copy of Sylvanas if you can steal something valuable. An exception would be if you fear that your opponent might play something like Ysera or Archmage and you don’t have an answer for them and therefore need to play her preemptively.

Flamestrike

The arena all-star flamestrike is also a staple of every Mage control deck, especially because of the abundance of Grim Patron Warriors on the ladder. Pinging your opponents face with your hero power has almost no value at all with this deck, due to the lack of burn spells, so in general you are much better off pinging minions to bring them into potential Flamestrike range.

Alexstrasza

alexstrasza is a very fascinating legendary, because of her flexibility. She can act as a sort of legendary Antique Healbot, while giving you the option of suddenly bringing the opponent into lethal range. A Hunter player getting you very low on life (without popping your Ice Block), which then allows you to play very cheap or even free multiple Molten Giants, which are then followed up by Alextrasza is a scenario that comes up quite often with this deck.

Other control decks will sometimes try to not get you under 20 health, so that you are unable to play Molten Giants. Alexstrasza negates this strategy quite nicely, because you can simply set your life total to 15. This is something rather complex to play optimally, so we will get more detailed in the Advanced Guide!

Molten Giant

The punishers of uncareful opponents and also the namesake of the deck. Getting a full board of molten-giants in one single turn (Double Molten Giant for 0, followed up by the first copy of Echo of Medivh (netting you two Giants) and then followed up by the second copy of Echo of Medivh (netting you four more Giants)) can turn the game around, especially if you have Ice Block up and/ or Sunfury Protector and/ or Frost Nova.

General Strategy

For people who first pick up this deck, it may seem kind of overwhelming and hard to play. But once you get more used to the unconvential playstyle of this deck, you have a very powerful, skill rewarding and fun to play pile of 30 cards.

Early Game

The early game against aggressive decks mainly consists of controlling the board, reducing their damage output and therefore prolonging the game. Prolonging the game is your main path to victory, because the longer the game goes the higher your chances to draw into your key cards. (a mix of Ice Block, Antique Healbot, Molten Giants and duplicate effects). Mad Scientist, Explosive Sheep and Doomsayer help you keeping up with an aggro deck initial tempo initiative.  Your hero power is also very good at removing one to two toughness minions, and will also produce a lot of card advantage against aggressive decks.

Against slower decks your early game mainly consists of getting your secrets online and drawing cards with the help of Acolyte of Pain and Arcane Intellect.

Mid Game

The midgame is not that different to the early game against aggressive decks. You still want to slow them down and get as much time as possible. You can also get huge tempo turns when you combine Doomsayer with Frost Nova.

A lot of the time you will also try to set up some nice Duplicate value on your midgame minions like Sylvanas Windrunner, Emperor Thaurissan and Sludge Belcher. Even only copying one midgame minion with Echo can be a fine play if tempo is very important against the opposing deck type, especially if you did not draw into any Molten Giants or have two Echos sitting in your hand.

Against slower decks, you almost never want to play Echo of Medivh in the mid game. You want to get multiple copies of minions, to get crazy card advantage.

Late Game

In the late game you want to have Ice Block up to deny any potential death out of nowhere shenanigans. When you are at a decent amount of health in the late game and have an Ice Block up, winning becomes pretty academic against any type of aggressive deck. A lot of very aggressive decks, you can simply beat with an “army” of Antique Healbots, so you don’t need to wait for Molten Giants to get some crazy Echo of Medivh value. Against more value based decks like Zoolock, that have an inbuilt card advantage mechanism, an “army” of Antique Healbots won’t get the job done, so be a little bit more greedy with your Echos.

Against slower decks, your main concern after not dying (which is quite an easy task to accomplish) is to set up some huge Echo turns to drown them in card advantage.

Win Conditions

A control deck wants to reach the later stages of the game, where they have more powerful cards than faster/ more Aggro decks or Midrange decks. The early game cards of a control deck only exist to reach the late game alive and with a healthy life total. The deck’s main win condition are the Molten Giants, but depending on the matchup you can also win by copying multiple Antique Healbot, Doomsayer, Explosive Sheep and your high value legendaries like Sylvanas Windrunner.

  • Molten Giants

This is your main win condition against every deck. It does not matter if they play a slower or faster deck, if you have a board full of Molten Giants with Ice Block up, you will win the majority of time.

  • Sylvanas Windrunner/ Emperor Thaurissan. 

Getting multiple copies of these two cards will put you very far ahead against slower decks like Midrange Druid, Priest or Control Warrior and can even win you the game without ever drawing into your Molten Giants.

  • Antique Healbot/ Doomsayer/ Explosive Sheep 

Your anti aggression tools help you slow down the game against fast decks. If you also copy multiple copies of them you can also simply beat them by killing all their minions and/ our outheal all their damage. Fatigueing a Face Hunter/ Midrange Hunter with nothing more than an army of Antique Healbots is a very realistic scenario.

Closing

Echo Giant Mage is an extremely fun deck to play and if you want to play something unorthodox, that requires a lot of planing ahead, while still being highly competitive, you should definitely give this deck a try.

This is part 1 of this extensive deck guide series. Be sure to check out the other sections: