Hi! I’m Asmodeus, multiple times Legend and infinite arena player. I’m also the author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Welcome to my second matchup specific guide for the Reno Paladin deck. Last time I explained how to beat a Reno Warlock deck and this time I’m going to show you what to do against a Freeze Mage.
We are using the same decklist as in the previous matchup analysis. You can see the full list on the right side of this article. Just to address some of the questions from previous guide, let me briefly mention the utility of some cards that might seem questionable but actually work very well in this matchup. The second silence from spellbreaker makes it easier to deal with doomsayer or archmage-antonidas which are the keys to this matchup. You can also use either truesilver-champion or keeper-of-uldaman to combo it with hammer-of-wrath which will deal with all of the important cards you’ll want to remove even if your board is frozen.
Playing against Freeze Mage is another one of those matchups where you will need to develop your game sense to become very effective at it. Pay attention and learn when mages are using their AoE and removal so that you can put just the minimum amount of minions on the board while still forcing your enemy to respond by using his cards and mana. Your main priority in this matchup is to threaten face damage by developing your board, dealing with archmage-antonidas and using your healing efficiently so that the mage runs out of damage. You can win this matchup by constant pressure and outracing the mage, you can win it by outhealing and outlasting him and you can also win by fatigue.
If you understand this matchup and how you should play to win it you will be favored against Freeze Mage ladder players.
For this matchup you will want to start putting pressure as early as you can so aim for a decent curve. If you already have a couple of minions to play early you can elect to keep some more card draw or a reno-jackson as they will both be very useful.
- Cards to keep: zombie-chow, ironbeak-owl, shielded-minibot, flame-juggler, knife-juggler, haunted-creeper, muster-for-battle, deathlord, mind-control-tech, piloted-shredder, spellbreaker
- Keep when you already have good curve like a 2 drop and a 3 drop: acolyte-of-pain, reno-jackson
- When you have at least 1 drop for turns 1-3 and a hammer-of-wrath or truesilver-champion you can keep the mentioned cards and: keeper-of-uldaman
- When you have at least 1 drop for turns 1-3 and a weapon or consecration you can keep that consecration and: equality
Early game strategy
The early game of this matchup is very straightforward. You will want to develop your board by playing cards early on and avoid using hero power in the early game when you can play a card instead. Don’t worry about the mage’s minions, just keep hitting face unless it’s not much of a sacrfice to deal with them. Hitting a loot-hoarder or bloodmage-thalnos with your lights-justice is perfectly fine, but don’t go out of your way to clear the board. The amount of damage you deal is not really important but what matters is how much damage you threaten to deal. You want the mage to play removal spells and trade his minions without getting much value out of them in an attempt to survive. You don’t want the mage to draw cards and cycle them as much as he’d like while being in a comfortable board position.
If you force the mage to spend cards like frostbolt to stop some of the incoming damage it will mean that he has less cheap spells to generate fireballs with archmage-antonidas, which is very important.
Mid game strategy
In mid game you can pressure the mage pretty hard. Make sure to prioritize playing minions which don’t die to the AoE you’re expecting. Playing minions with more than 4 health, Deathrattle or Divine Shield will protect your from things like flamestrike and if you force the mage to use his hero ability for the remaining health on your minions it means that he’s not drawing cards or pressuring your life total.
Your Silence and removal should be used exclusively on doomsayer and archmage-antonidas with the latter being a priority. If you have only one way to deal with them in your hand you should sacrifice your board to the doomsayer and save your removal for archmage-antonidas. It’s critically important to disable archmage-antonidas right away because more than 2 fireballs from him will mean that you likely can’t outheal your enemy anymore.
Avoid using hero power too much so that you can have empty slots on the board for actual minions which can deal more damage, otherwise the mage can just ignore your board full of silver-hand-recruits and do his thing (Mages do nasty things, you don’t want any of that).
Late game strategy
When the mage targets your hero with alexstrasza battlecry that’s the moment you want to use your reno-jackson. You should avoid using reno-jackson before enemy mage uses alexstrasza at all cost. Learn the freeze mage decklist to know exactly what’s the damage potential of your enemy so that you can time your healing correctly. You can find an example of a popular Freeze Mage list to the right. In most cases you don’t need to use your healing before you reach 15 hp anyway so you’ll be able to save up other life recovery cards like antique-healbot and counteract the mage’s burst.
Always be aware of the number of cards left in your decks. You can bypass the ice-block by dealing enough damage to your enemy so that the fatigue kills him. Fatigue damage happens on his turn which means that secrets wont trigger.
- always leave an empty spot on the board for ironbeak-owl or spellbreaker. If you have something like haunted-creeper on the board you need to leave 2 empty slots (the maximum number of minions on the board is 7).
- always keep at least one way to deal with archmage-antonidas in your hand, so that you can disable or remove it when your board is frozen.
- Try to use reno-jackson after the mage plays his alexstrasza
- Pay attention to the fatigue counter so that you can plan potential lethal through the fatigue damage bypassing an ice-block
See you soon in the next Matchup Analysis guide!
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