When going to ladder you need to know how to take down the strongest decks around. One of those is Tempo Mage, an incredibly fast, burst-heavy list that has one of the strongest curves in the game. This guide will break down that strong curve and look at how C’thun Druid, with its strong ramp and gigantic minions, can over power Mage before they ever get going.
C’thun Druid is a deck that is notorious for “building itself”. That is to say that it is a deck where most of the cards have to be included in order to play to their giant finisher. However, that does not mean there is only one version of the list. Some decks run more card draw and ramp, some tech in a high number of finishers, and others are more early game based. All of the decks have their own strengths and weaknesses, and you should play the one that best suites your style. To help you figure out what that is, two deck lists and guide have been linked below.
When mulliganing against Mage you need to look for your early cards. The deck, especially the newer burst-heavy versions, operate around a strategy of getting in early damage and then following it up with massive amounts of burn. To offset that you need to get rolling as soon as you can to force Mage on their back foot early. To do that, you need to mulligan for low drops and removal.
Cards to KeepInnervate Wild Growth Beckoner of Evil Wild Growth Wrath Disciple of C’thun Twilight Elder
C’thun’s Chosen and Klaxxi Amber-Weaver should both be kept with the coin and a good curve.
Swipe is a good keep with a strong curve.
How to Win
You need to outpace Tempo Mage if you are going to win this match. Though they have damage, you have some of the strongest minions around. As such, you can simply go over their head and use your sheets stats to steadily control the board. Keeping priority is key in this game because if Mage every gets ahead or if you have a dead turn you will not be able to come back.
The other important part of this match is going to be pressure. While Mage is definitely the more aggressive deck, you need to build a scary board and keep up as much damage as you can. This is because Tempo Mage’s win condition is their burn, and if you get aggressive they will be forced to use it on the board instead of your face. This takes the pressure off of you and allow you to more easily stick to your gameplan without the worry of dying.
Early Game Strategy
The start of this is going to be very interesting because you can really start to take over if you get the upper hand. Though Mage is the tempo deck, early ramp or a strong can really start to put the squeeze on them. The new version of Mage is much more focused on spells and card draw than early minions. If you can strong arm them out of the gates they can be left with really awkward hands.
Run out as many minions as you can, regardless of their ability or what they can do. That may sound counter-intuitive, but you have to try to get something onto the board every turn. Bodies are going to be vastly more important than abilities here, because as long as you have something you can trade with it is going to force Mage to react. This is so important that using an Innervate to just play two three drops or the like is usually a very good play.
Set up Klaxxi Amber-Weaver in any way that you can. An early 4/10 is far beyond anything Mage can remove, giving you a body that can repeatedly remove minion after minion.
The final rule of these turns is to clear everything your opponent has. All of Mages minions build off of each other. Letting anything, from a spell discount to spell damage, live is going to spell trouble moving into the middle game. Going face over clearing is never going to be worth it.
The middle turns of the game are where you really need to crank up the heat. Tempo Mage once built in the same way, but today’s list is all about going to the face with spells. That means they are just going to be increasing their damage potential throughout the game, elevating the amount of spells turn after turn. You really need to push because this game quickly turns into a race.
The two big threats Mage runs during the middle of the game are Azure Drake and Water Elemental. Each of these can be hard to deal with if you aren’t prepared so you should always keep them in mind. Try and save a removal spell for these if you can, especially the elemental.
Your best tool during these turns is Druid of the Claw. Not only is it great turn way to put up a large taunt that demands a Fireball, but its charge form gets a lot of value in this matchup. Anytime you can power out the 4/4 and trade into a small threat you should. This kills Flamewaker, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, an un-buffed Mana Wyrm and Cult Sorcerer without breaking a sweat. Even using it to trade into a midrange threat like an Azure Drake isn’t a bad move.
Flamewaker is the most concerning card Mage has because you cannot really interact with it. Most tempo players will hold the three drop until they have a hand full of spells and then unleash all fury. To counter that, always try to keep your biggest health minions on the board. This will help absorb Flamewaker hits and limit the damage your opponent can do on a big combo turn.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is going to be all about threatening as much pressure as you can. You are a deck with a giant OTK finisher that your opponent’s are going to have to respect. As a result, every turn you stay alive is one turn closer to victory. If you can push for damage and play a string of large threats your opponent is going to be forced to remove your board, which then buys you more time.
Your best card during these turns is Twin Emperor Vek’lor. The two 4/6’s can really come in handy in terms of both board control and pressure. If the legendary is in your hand you want to play to turn seven, as it can help you stabilize.
Almost every Tempo Mage deck these days runs Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End. The giant spell-slinger may not be the most predictable card around, but you should keep it in mind when facing Mage. Yogg is most often going to be an AOE spell of some sort. As a result, if you are ahead on board do not play anymore minions just in case.
Know that there will come a point in the game where Mage stops caring about the board and just focuses on burn. They will draw as much as they can and do whatever it takes to hoard damage. When that occurs (or when you have a large board) try and squeeze in your hero power as much as you can. One health may not seem like much, but it can go a long way.
Always stay on top of your opponent’s damage potential. Mage has a ton of ways to do damage, from Arcane Missiles to Flamewaker to Fireball to Frostbolt and Forgotten Torch. You need to always be aware of what burn spells they’ve used and what they have left. Keep spellpower in mind as well.