MUA: Patron Warrior vs. Freeze Mage

Freeze Mage is one of the strongest decks in the Hearthstone. It has a ton of a late-game burst, ample removal and enough stall tactics to make it good against just about any deck on ladder. As such, you need to be ready for the icy list no matter what deck you are playing. In […]

Introduction

Freeze Mage is one of the strongest decks in the Hearthstone. It has a ton of a late-game burst, ample removal and enough stall tactics to make it good against just about any deck on ladder. As such, you need to be ready for the icy list no matter what deck you are playing. In this guide, we will explore how to fight Freeze through Patron and reveal how using your armor and combo pieces correctly can put you on top of the troublesome combo deck.

Sample Decklists

Patron Warrior has a very set core list, which means there are many cards that you have to run. You simply cannot play this deck without cards like Grim Patron, Acolyte of Pain or Battle Rage. However, that does not mean there is no room for innovation. There are various builds of Patron, all of which are subtly tuned in different ways. Some are more aggressive, some run more sticky minions and others are tempo based. To help you understand the different styles and find a list that best works for you, a couple of different builds have been linked below.

One, Two, Three

Guide

Mulligan Guide

When facing Mage you have to mulligan for Tempo over Freeze. The reason is that having a slow start against Freeze is nowhere near as bad as having a slow start against Freeze (which usually results in a loss). As a result, you need to look for your early removal and early minions. Armorsmith, which is good against both Mage builds, is always going to be the most important card, but you want to take anything that gets you some board presence. Beyond that, always make sure to keep your weapons.

Cards to Keep

Execute Fiery War Axe Armorsmith Slam Cruel Taskmaster Frothing Berserker Acolyte of Pain Death’s Bite

Situational Keeps

Inner Rage is can be good to combo with activators like Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain.

Battle Rage is good if you have an opening where you think you can set it up.

Frothing Berserker is a good keep if you strong cards to go along with it.

Piloted Shredder is strong keep with the coin and a powerful early curve.

Grim Patron is a strong keep if you have a solid opening or activators.

How to Win

One of the most important parts of playing against Freeze Mage is to recognize it as Freeze Mage as soon as possible. This will tune you into the matchup at hand and give you a better idea of how to play your turns. You can usually do this as early as turn one. If your opponent doesn’t play one of Tempo Mage’s telltale minions (Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer’s Apprentice) they are usually Freeze. If they open with Mad Scientist, seeing if they play a minion (Tempo) or draw (Freeze) on turn three will usually tip you off.

Another important part of this matchup is gaining armor. While you have nowhere near the lifegain that Control Warrior does, you have a lot more burst and fast damage at your disposal. That means gaining just ten or so armor can buy you enough time to set up your finishers before Freeze Mage can finish you off. You want to always do your best to sneak in armor ups. Beyond that, don’t be afraid to use your Whirlwind effects to go for giant Armorsmith turns.

Finally, you always want to play around AOE and stretch out Mage’s removal. Pressure is incredibly important anytime you are playing against Freeze, and your deck has a lot of ways to do fast damage. Your opponent knows this, which means they are going to play in fear and use their removal anytime you drop them into the teens. Never overcommit into a Flamestrike, and try to play as many beefy or sticky minions as you can to bait out their Fireballs and Frostbolts.

Early Game Strategy

The opening of the game is going to be pretty slow. Mage is going to either put down a Mad Scientist, ping you, or try to draw cards. While they set that up, you want to start building a board presence in any way that you can. You need to start getting in damage as early as you can, and even a one health minion can help you do that.

Do not be afraid to use an Execute if they play a Doomsayer in response to your Armorsmith. While that isn’t the best value in the world, Armorsmith is one of your win conditions. You want to force Mage to use hard removal on it. Letting them kill it on turn two while also taking away your turn three play is not an option.

Acolyte of Pain is extremely important from both sides of the board. When you see Mage play theirs on turn three you need to remove it as cleanly as possible to limit their card draw and take away their combo potential. On the other hand, you should never worry about running yours out on turn three. Yes, Freeze may have a Frostbolt for the three drop, but that takes away three damage down the line. And, if they don’t have it, you are going to get some very strong draws.

Do not be afraid to go face with Fiery War Axe, especially if you have a Death’s Bite in hand. While you want to use the weapon primarily on minions, a lot of the time Mage will not have any early on. Hitting your opponent for six is not irrelevant, and you are most likely going to equip your bite on turn four anyway.

Midgame Strategy

The middle of the game you are going to be playing minions and Freeze is going to do their best to answer them. The goal here is to build a board that is threatening enough so they have to use removal but conservative enough so you still have threats in your hand. That can be a tricky balance to find, but it is how you keep the game going at your pace. However, if you have a strong push, also don’t be afraid to be aggressive.

If you run Piloted Shredder it is a great card to play when building up a strong board because of how resilient it can be to AOE. Similar to cards like Nerubian Egg, the four drop allows you to keep going face when your board gets cleared. That can be a very useful tool in this match. If you don’t run Shredder, you should try and save your Kor’kron Elites for the end of the game since they are one of the ways you can attack through freeze.

As with the earlier turns, you want to use Execute on Doomsayer. While the board clear is annoying, what really makes this card a problem is the tempo loss it causes. You never want to have a turn where you can’t add minions to the board.

Going for the Grim Patron combo is usually the right play, even against Freeze Mage. Yes, they do have access to things like Blizzard and Flamestrike, but the five drop dwarf is nice because it forces them to have that AOE or freeze on hand. If you can use them to play AOE on one card, you are going to be in good shape in setting up bigger boards later on.

Late Game Strategy

The end of the game is going to be you attempting to burst through Mage’s defenses and them doing their best to keep their Ice Block intact. While you do want to be careful with your health, these turns you need to really push for damage because the longer the game goes the more turns Freeze Mage has to put together their combo.

Once the game goes to turn nine, you need to always have Alexstrasza on your mind. Though she does not represent lethal in herself, it often means that lethal is one turn away. If the legendary dragon comes down you need to remove her and then go face hard. If you don’t have the means to, then try as hard as you can to gain as much armor as possible.

Make use of Loatheb. The five drop is very good in the late game, and you almost want to save it for these turns. Not only does it stop Freeze from being able to kill you (or at least sets them back a turn) but it also great for halting any chance they have of coming back.

One of the best ways to pop an Ice Block is with Grommash Hellscream. Twelve (or thirteen since you want to put them to one first) is the magic number in this matchup. If you ever have a chance to knock them down with the charging orc, don’t hesitate to do so.

Final Tip

You do not always want to run Dr. Boom out on turn seven. This is going to be your first instinct, but sometimes you want to hold the legend back since the Boom Bots can kill your opponent through Ice Block. If Mage is at a comfortable health, then you want to just run out the doctor on turn seven. However, if you are doing a lot of damage, try to run the doctor out when they are at a really low life total.