Greetings Travelers, it is LBYS, a 28x legend player and a self-proclaimed Freeze Mage expert!
I have piloted this deck to Top 50 at least once every season on stream. I feel like the deck is highly underrated at this point in time on ladder and in conquest lineups.
I am here to break down the early game (first three turns or so), mulligans, and basic win conditions of this high skill cap deck. Be aware that this is only a beginner’s guide and it doesn’t go through all the steps to win as it would be way too much to put on paper. I am looking to go through decklists and tech in another article at a later date.
The deck can be played in a variety of ways so be sure to check out my stream at the end if you want live examples as it can be very hard to put to words. I will be going off my standard deck build as shown in this article.
Always assume Patron since Control Warrior is almost unwinnable. There is no reason playing around a matchup that you aren’t going to win anyway. Against the Warrior class, you are looking for [card]Mad Scientist[/card], [card]Loot Hoarder[/card], [card]Arcane Intellect[/card] and [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card]. If you have any of the previous cards, you are able to keep [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card], [card]Alexstrasza[/card], and [card]Doomsayer[/card].
I have played the Patron matchup a great deal and have come to the conclusion as of now that it is correct to drop Doomsayer into a [card]Armorsmith[/card] if the Warrior plays that on turn two. Otherwise, just play your draw for the first three turns looking for [card]Flamestrike[/card] to clear Patrons. Once you find Flamestrike, you shouldn’t play all your draw just in case your win condition is fatigue. Doomsayer is fine if they make a board turn 1-4 since they almost always have a way to clear it further on into the game. Drawing only one card of Acolyte of Pain is okay almost to the point of trying to only get one card off of it. Using [card]Frostbolt[/card] on an Armorsmith or an [card]Gnomish Inventor[/card] is sometimes correct but you want to save Fireball for their Emperor. You need to remove that card the turn it is played.
Win conditions are either using Alexstrasza and burst on the Warrior if you draw well or running the Warrior out of damage and using Alexstrasza on yourself and fatiguing the Warrior player out of the game. It takes a lot of experience to know which one of the two to go for off the mulligan and how the game pans out.
It is almost always the mech variant of Shaman but the mulligan doesn’t differ that much from midrange anyway. You are looking for Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, [card]Bloodmage Thalnos[/card] (mulligan if you have another previous two cards), Frostbolt, and Doomsayer. Keep Arcane Intellect and Acolyte of Pain only if you have 1 of the 2 mana minions. You really want to prevent early snowball off [card]whirling-zap-o-matic[/card] and [card]Mechwarper[/card]. Dropping Doomsayer is fine early since you usually win the game once you get to your turns 6-7 where you can be clearing their entire board. Fight for early board as much as you can.
Win condition is almost always using Alexstrasza aggressively but I have had games where a defensive Alexstrasza was the only way to win the game.
Oil Rogue – This is really interesting matchup. It is really easy to throw the game from either side. You want to keep Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalnos, Frostbolt, and Arcane Intellect. If you have any of the previous cards, you may keep Acolyte of Pain and Emperor Thaurissan.
Always use your Frostbolt if you can’t remove their first 3 mana minion otherwise. It will do way too much damage if you let any of Rogue’s minions stay on the board. Using Fireball on a [card]Violet Teacher[/card] turn 4 is okay. The way I usually play the matchup is play to the very late game by using burn aggressively on minions unless you draw well or they draw poor. Alexstrasza is rarely used on the Rogue player in my experience. The Rogue will not have enough damage to get through double Ice Barrier and an Alexstrasza heal. Any damage the Rogue uses on your minions the better. If you keep minions off the board for the Rogue, they cannot get value off [card]tinkers-sharpsword-oil[/card]. Be wary of how much you are drawing because you can’t go for the late game if you draw too much.
Most likely the aggro version of Paladin since it is almost universally agreed it is the better variant. Look for Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalnos, Doomsayer and Frostbolt. I like to keep Acolyte of Pain on coin only since it is guaranteed two draws if coined out.
The most important thing in this matchup is to play around [card]Divine Favor[/card]. Do not draw like a maniac early since you will instantly lose the game if they draw upwards of 7 or 8 with Divine Favor. Keep the aggression low and play to using Alexstrasza defensively if it is the aggro variant. Using the coin to bring out a 2 mana minion is always correct since it challenges [card]Knife Juggler[/card] and [card]Shielded Minibot[/card]. The matchup is still slightly unfavored especially if they curve out well with Divine Shields.
In this matchup, you want to ward off all early aggression in the first couple turns. You are looking for Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Bloodmage Thalnos, [card]Ice Barrier[/card], and Frostbolt. These 5 cards are really important to have. You can also keep Doomsayer which can be dropped turns 2-4 to stall the Hunter’s damage.
If you have a 2 mana minion and the coin, always coin out your hero power if they play a 2-1 [card](Leper Gnome[/card]/[card]Abusive Sergeant[/card], etc) and then play the 2 mana minion. Otherwise, it is fairly straight forward. It is fine to play an Acolyte of Pain on turn 3 to force the Hunter to [card]Eaglehorn Bow[/card] it but only if you have some other draw mechanic still in your hand. Hard cycle for Alexstrasza is the way to go.
Incredibly hard matchup. You really want to be playing cards early game no matter what they are. Keep Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Arcane Intellect and Doomsayer. If you have Mad Scientist or Loot Hoarder, you can keep Emperor and any secrets you have. It is the highest priority that you are at least doing something other than using your hero power turns 1-5. Otherwise, your win conditions are playing [card]Archmage Antonidas[/card] and freezing the board, using Alexstrasza offensively, or very rarely running the druid out of cards. Do not be afraid to Frostbolt a [card]Piloted Shredder[/card] because you cannot let that do upwards of 16 damage to you.
I am always happy to queue into Warlock’s on ladder. Keep Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Arcane Intellect, and Acolyte of Pain. If they keep 2 cards in their mulligan, you can keep Doomsayer and Frostbolt since it is a higher chance of it being the more aggressive variant. Always coin out Scientist or Loot Hoarder if you have it. Put in as much damage as you can early against Handlock since you will very rarely have time to play Alexstrasza. The win condition against Handlock is usually using a >15 burst combo to their face. Play around [card]Antique Healbot[/card] and [card]Loatheb[/card] because those are the few cards that instantly swing games in the Warlock’s favor. Against Zoo Warlock, it is usually just using straight burn at their face since they usually use [card]Flame Imp[/card] and their hero power to a low enough health where a Fireball or two and a [card]Pyroblast[/card] will finish the job.
Who plays Freeze Mage on ladder? Always assume the Tempo archetype. Keep Mad Scientist, Frostbolt, Loot Hoarder, Arcane Intellect, and Doomsayer. The win condition is usually running them out of things to play with Flamestrikes and Doomsayer clears.
The hardest counter to [card]Mirror Entity[/card] is Doomsayer by far. Use that to your advantage but don’t be afraid to drop it earlier. Remove [card]Flamewaker[/card] as soon as possible because using Alexstrasza defensively is always an option, Flamestrikes clear their entire board always so once you get that off, it should be smooth sailing from there unless they put immense pressure early. The Frostbolt is used to remove [card]Mana Wyrm[/card] and [card]sorcerers-apprentice[/card].
By far the easiest matchup for Freeze Mage. Priest usually puts very little pressure on the opponent’s life total and this is where Freeze Mage has a huge advantage. Also, very few Priest decks run ways to deal with Doomsayer so combined with a freeze is a guaranteed board clear.
Keep Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Arcane Intellect, Acolyte of Pain, Emperor Thaurissan, and Doomsayer if you have a two of the above since you will need it eventually.
The only real way you lose this matchup is if Alexstrasza, both Doomsayers, and Archmage Antonidas are in the bottom 10. Even then, if you have enough stall, it is winnable even if Alexstrasza is second to last in the deck. You rarely want to use burn for removal since your Ice Barriers and Flamestrikes will clear what little pressure the Priest usually has. Alexstrasza offensively into a bunch of burn into Pyroblast is usually how the games pan out.
I stream weekdays in the afternoon CST time over at Twitch. I try to explain all my plays because this is a very complex deck and there are many different lines of play that can be taken. It is easy to mess up so it is not recommended for beginners until you get a basic understanding of the game. Hope you enjoyed the article – please feel free to leave comments and questions below.