Legend Giants Mage Deck Guide
Hi I'm sipiwi. I have played Hearthstone since closed beta and reached legend every season.
Most people know me as the creator of Tempo Rogue. Rogue has been my main class, but last season I focused on Handlock because of the amount of Miracle Rogue. It became boring in the end, but luckily I found this new Giant Mage. It helped my climb to #123 on the EU server the day the season ended and with a win rate above 60% (I didn't write down my results, but I'm sure it was above 60%).
The decklist in this guide is not my creation (even though I twisted it a bit with addition of Mana Wyrm), but hopefully I can teach you a few tricks about how to play the deck. It is a mix of Handlock and Freeze Mage - 2 decks I have played quite a bit.
So why do I like this deck more than Handlock?
You can't taunt up your Giants and your card draw is unreliable, but what you get as a mage is huge. Ice Blockis a sick card in a meta with a lot of burst, you get more removal spells, more win conditions if they deal with your big minions and you don't need to tap yourself to a low hp. The list is long, but I'm not saying that Handlock is worse than this deck. I simply like Giant Mage more in this meta game and I think it's more fun to play.
So why do I like this deck more than Freeze Mage?
Freeze mage has more card draw making it easier to burst the opponent down with spells. However, I prefer the extra win conditions this deck offers. Freeze Mage pretty much has a 0% winrate against Warrior control and Priest. I don't like decks with such bad and auto-lose matchups.
Before I talk about the cards I want to talk about the strategy of this deck. This will, hopefully, make it easier to understand what the cards are doing in the deck.
This deck wants to draw a lot of cards to be able to play Giants and to get answers for the board domination your opponent will have. These answers are board freezes, sometimes combined with a Doomsayer. The freezes are often chained ending up with a Flamestriketo clear the board. Other answers are Frostboltand Fireballthat can be used to clear minions instead of going to the face (another plus compared to Freeze Mage, who usually has to save them up for the killing combo).
This deck wins by:
- Bursting your opponents with spells + Ice Blockto keep you safe in the late game
- Your opponent not having answers to your early Giants
- Your opponent not having answers to your late big minions
The way you win depends on how much damage your Giants manage to deal to your opponents. Sometimes they will hit 1-2 times and you can burst them in the mid game, sometimes they are all removed (by Big Game Hunterfor instance) and you will try board clear and finish them of with Alexstraszaand 2 x Fireballand 1 Frostbolt(in other words 15+ damage that can also be dealt using Ice Lanceand/or Bloodmage Thalnos).
The "dream" (which isn't that rare) is that your Giants will win on their own because you freeze their minions and they don't have removal spells or taunts.
How to Play the Deck
There isn't a simple recipe to playing this deck. The way you want to play changes depending on your opponent, your draws, his draws etc, but here are some guide line:
- Mulligan for draw cards. You want to cycle your deck as fast as possible and you want many cards in your hand so you can play cheap Mountain Giant. Don't keep Mountain Giantif you are without the coin because you will not be able to play on turn 4. If you are coin you can play him turn 4 even without card draw so keep him (unless you are against a super aggro deck).
- Keep track of your opponent's removal. Know what removal is left in his deck and look at how he removes your big minions. If he can't remove one or he does it in a weird way (like Brawl) chances are he will not remove your next one. This makes a big minion like Archmage Antonidas, even with no spells in hand, a good play.
- Delay your board clears and freezes until they are needed to make them more valuable. This doesn't apply if you freeze to protect a big minion.
- Don't use your cards because you can. Think about value before using a card. This is even more important if there are still Mountain Giantin your deck.
- Don't start bursting your opponent if you don't have enough damage to kill him and remember to count possible heal/armor he might have. When you decide to go for the burst remember that you can only hero power once per turn. If you have plenty of mana compared to the spells you need to use you want to use hero power both/all turns.
- Remember that fatigue kills you even if you have Ice Block(traps can't activate on your own turn). Leper Gnomeis the same story.
- There will be many turns where you hero power because you have mana left. I usually hero power minions because it is very likely that I Alexstraszamy opponent anyway. If a minion is low hp it is a good target, but ping can also setup a Flamestrike. Even if you don't have it your opponent will think you have it and play differently.
As I have written in earlier guides the important thing about a good deck is that the cards have multiple roles. This ensures that you draw less dead cards (cards that are useless the turn you draw them and probably also the upcoming turns). In this deck the most common roles are damage and delay. A third roles that some cards have is combo. Cards that can be used with other cards to maximize their value (Doomsayer+ Frost Novaand Frostbolt+ Ice Lanceare examples). The many different roles make it impossible to describe how a card should be used in general. The best help I can give is to think about the alternative ways the cards can be used before you play it.
- Ice Lanceis a very good burst good because it's very cheap making it easier to do heavy damage and play Ice Blockon the same turn. It can kill minions if you freeze the board or damage them to set up for a Flamestrike. It can freeze big minions to save your hp or to make it harder to kill a Doomsayer. It is very powerful combined with Bloodmage Thalnosto finish the game.
- Mirror Imageonly has one purpose - to save you or save your minions. I like to play it with a Giant turn 4 with coin. The big thing about this card is to play it when your opponent doesn't have a board clear or doesn't want to use his board clear. It can be used with Doomsayerif you don't have a Frost Novaor you don't have the mana. This play is weak against board clears though. This card gains a lot of value if your opponent only has big minions out.
- Mana Wyrmis good against aggro. In a deck with many spells people need to kill this card fast. If they can't it works like Bloodmage Thalnos(+1 spell damage) when you try to kill them. I have won surprisingly many games because of a Mana Wyrmin the late game. The synergy with coin is important.
- Frostboltis a good burst card. You want at least 1 in the late game to freeze before you use Ice Lance. It can be used as removal if needed and if you are in big hp trouble it can be used to prevent a big minion from attacking.
- Bloodmage Thalnosis a very good burst card if you have Frostboltand Ice Lance, but if you need to draw cards just play it. It has good synergy with your board clear damage spells, but that has never been necessary in my games.
- Doomsayerhas potential to be the best card in the game. It is very hard to use! In this deck it is obviously good with board freezes, but it can also be used to make them use hard removal before you play your giants. If you know your opponent has a big turn ahead of him you can play it - even on an empty board. I often do this turn 5-6 against miracle rogue to prevent Azure Drakeand Gadgetzan Auctioneer. To use it to its full extend you need to be very good at figuring out what removal your opponent has. In some cases this card can be played with a giant to make it odd for him to remove it (if he removes it the giant will hit him in the face, but if he doesn't all his minions are destroyed and he can't play minions that turn). There are so many options with this card. Try it out!
- Novice EngineerWhy not Loot Hoarder? Well, because you need the draw a card the turn you play it to cycle it in the late game. Also you don't want an Earth Shockor another silence to ruin your day. This card is in the deck because you want to make it consistent. With this card it is more likely that you get all you other cards. The only tricky part about when to use it is that you want to spend your mana on something else if you already have the cards you need for the upcoming turns.
- Arcane IntellectYou #1 turn-3 play. Don't use it if you have the cards you need or if you need the mana for something else. In the early game you almost always want to use this card as soon as you get it.
- Frost Novais primarily used with a Doomsayeror to prevent your opponent from killing you. I can also set up a big Flamestrikeor in some cases let Ice Lancekill a minion like Gadgetzan Auctioneer
- Ice Blockis a key card in this deck. It might be the best card in the game right now because it prevents Savage Roar+ Force of Nature, Shadowstep+ Leeroy Jenkinsetc. You want to play this card when you are afraid of dying, but if you have 3 mana left you obviously play this card. It will give you 3 mana extra for important plays in the late game.
- Acolyte of Painis a card you want to have and play early to draw cards. Try to draw at least 2 cards from it either by playing it when your opponent has no 3+ attack minions out or playing it turn 5+ and ping it. Try to play around silence (pinging it the turn you play it is one way) and don't play it when you have 9-10 cards in your hand because a smart opponent will make you burn cards. Sometimes you really need the card draw or you have nothing else to play. In these cases you just play it and pray that he doesn't have a good answer.
- Fireballis a good burst card, but it is expensive so if you plan on bursting your opponent with this card it will almost always take more than 1 turn. It's also a good removal card in the mid game or against innervated big minions.
- Blizzardis pretty straight forward to play - a board clear/freeze. If you want to freeze the board many turns in a row it is often good to play Blizzardbefore Frost Novato have more mana to work with the next turn. Sometimes it's the other way around so keep it in mind. Try to delay Blizzarduntil you have to play it.
- Flamestrikeis very good against concealed minions and it is great after a Blizzard.
- Archmage Antonidasis a good card if used correctly. Even though its mana cost is 7 you rarely play it turn 7. You want to play it with the coin, Mirror Imageor other spells to get some value out of it. A good play is to burst you opponent down and play Archmage Antonidas+ Ice Blockto make sure you can finish them with your new Fireball+ something the following turn. If your opponent has made it clear that they can't remove my next big minion I love to play this annoying card without any spells.
- Alexstraszais another card that is hard to use. A general rule is to use it when you can. Its high mana cost makes it hard to use without dying, but it is often a 15 damage burst + an 8/8 minion. Against aggro it is often nice to heal yourself instead and this can also be the case in other rare situations (an example is that you are dying and you don't have and Ice Block) . If you just cleared your oppoonent's board playing 2 x Molten Giant+ Alexstraszaon yourself is very strong as an example. The deck has a lot of strong 1-mana spells so try to keep one of those if you want to play Alexstraszawith 10 mana.
- Mountain Giantis a very nice card with coin. If you don't play any cards (excl card draw) before turn 4 you can play this guy. Without coin it's a lot harder to play him, which is why I don't keep him when I mulligan. It's still a good play turn 5-6-7 play, but I prefer to search for card draw. 2 common mistakes: you CAN'T coin out this guy (if you haven't made this mistake already you would have fallen for it. Admit it!)! If you have two giants remember that the second one will cost one mana more than the first. Arcane Intellectwill reduce this giant's mana cost by 1.
- Molten Giantis a very good card in this deck. It has great synergy with Ice Blockand in general this deck is often low on hp without being in danger. Think about if you want to play them for x mana or if you want to wait and play them for free.
In my other guides I have had a chapter on card replacements to adjust to the meta, but this deck need all of the cards in the deck except Mana Wyrm. I thought a whole chapter would be overkill, but you can use a Loot Hoarderif you want more card draw, Cone of Coldor Arcane Explosionif there is a sick amount of aggro, but I wouldn't change anything with the meta doesn't change dramatically.
Vs Aggro decks
The way you play against aggro decks is the same. You want to get board freeze/clear and Ice Block. Card draw and giants are good if you have the time to play them. Sometimes aggro is too fast, but when you start feeling you might have a chance you always win. That's my experiance at least. Suddenly you have a giant and a block out and they die to your burst next turn. Against paladin aggro Divine Favoroften wins the game for them and it is hard to play around it. Try to do it by playing your cheap cards when you can.
Mulligan tips: Mulligan for Doomsayer, Novice Engineer, Frost Nova. If you feel that your hand is strong enough already you can mulligan for card draw. This is a rare matchup where Acolyte of Paincan be stronger than Arcane Intellect. If you have 1-2 Molten Giant+ Ice Blockit is a strong combo you should consider keeping.
The druid decks that are around right now are quite different, but in general this matchup is fine. If they are aggressive you need board freeze and giants fast to win the game. If they are slower some of them will have Big Game Hunter, which is annoying. My attitude is that if they have it they have it. I just play the giant when I want to and hope it will not be sniped by the hunter. The last tricky thing in this matchup is their heals. After you Alexstraszakeep in mind that they can heal up. Some Ramp Druids even have Healing Touch. Before you play Doomsayerremember that they most likely have a silence. You can try to bait it out by using Acolyte of Pain.
Mulligan tips: The highest priority is card draw and Mountain Giantif you have the coin. If you already some of this I like to mulligan for more card draw and another giant (if you have coin), but it's also valid to mulligan for Doomsayeragainst their innervated minions.
This matchup is great... if they don't have a Flare. The only way you win if they have flare is by killing them fast with a giant or 2. I haven't played against a lot of hunters, but I have a good score against them.
Mulligan tips: Hunters are not very scary the first turns so I like being greedy by mulliganing for card draw and if I have coin. The less greedy way is to mulligan like you would against aggro decks (mentioned above). The dream scenario is to have 1 card draw card and good aggro answers.
The mirror is obviously even, but the coin has a pretty huge advantage. It is hard to remove giants without using precious damage, but Doomsayeris hard to remove too making it a strong giant removal. Ice Blockis importanr against Giant Mage, Freeze Mage, and Aggro Mage, but against aggro board removal/freeze is more important. Our deck is favoured against Freeze Mage because of the Giants. Freeze Mage has a har time bursting us because of Ice Blockx2 followed by healing us back to 15 when they have no damage left.
Mulligan tips: This matchup is very slow. Mulligan for as much card draw as you can and keep Mountain Giantif you have the coin. i really think this is the way to go, but if you face a lot of Aggro Mage mulligan for card draw + aggro answers.
I haven't played against a single Paladan control deck, but I imagine you have all the time in the world to draw your entire deck. Don't let him kill too many big minions with Equality(don't overextend). I don't know if it's a good matchup though because of the amount of heals in his deck. Try to setup Alexstrasza+ big burst the next 2 turns.
Mulligan tips: Against paladin I would mulligan like he is aggro. If he isn't you have a lot of time to draw the cards you need because of how slow Paladin Control is. If you already how aggro answers You can keep your card draw.
I win this matchup almost every time. This is another matchup that is turned around compared to Freeze Mage. Priest needs the perfect start or perfect answers to win. Remember that it is easy for the priest to kill your first big minions. Don't play a giant when he has 4 minions out. this lets him kill it for 3 mana and continue his board control. You have to control the game and play your giants when you are not in danger. After 1-2 giants he has now answers for your last 4 big minions. Remember the heal coming out of priest when you try to burst him, and remember that playing Doomsayerand Mirror Imagewhen your opponent has Northshire Clericlets him attack your minion and heal it to draw a card.
Mulligan tips: Mulligan for card draw and Mountain Giantwith coin. If you have that mulligan for answers to their perfect start. These answers are board clears and especially Doomsayeris strong because Shadow Word: Painis rarely played.
Miracle rogue is very strong right now, but this deck is slightly favoured against it. Flamestrikeis very strong and playing Doomsayerthe turn before you expect an Azure Drakeor Gadgetzan Auctioneeris very good too. Ice Blockdoesn't let him go all with no follow-up. Sometimes you lose because he is too fast, but I win more than 50% of my games. Remember that he can Sapbut most decks only use 1. If you see a Sinister Strikethey run 1 or none. Keep in mind that Earthen Ring Farseercan heal a lot if he bounces it back, but that removes his burst amount.
Rush rogue is gaining popularity. I do pretty well against it. You can ping a lot of 1-health minions and freezing everything is like skipping their turn. Sometimes their deck just wins, but it's a fine matchup. Remember that they can burn a lot of cards with Coldlight Oracle Shadowstepand King Mukla
Mulligan tips: In this matchup I want to mulligan for card draw and Mountain Giantwith coin. If you already have some of that AND the coin you can keep Flamestriketo play it turn 6 if he plays concealed Gadgetzan Auctioneerturn 5. Otherwise you just keep it to counter his Conceal. If you face a lot of Aggro Rogue (is likely in the beginning of a season) scroll up to "Aggro Decks" and mulligan that way.
This is another good matchup. It is like Shaman vs Miracle Rogue. Shaman is usually too slow, but if they get a fast start they win more often than not. An important thing is that Shaman can't heal themselves. Another thing to keep in mind is that all shamans play 2 x silence (Earth Shock) and 2 x Hex. Before the late game shaman rarely have 10 burst damage in their hand so you are safe even at low hp. Flamestrikeboard clears almost every time.
Mulligan tips: Mulligan for card draw and Mountain Giantwith coin. If you have that mulligan for answers to their perfect start. These answers board freeze/clears and Doomsayer, but keep in mind that shaman often removes this card easily.
Sometimes you don't have the cards to slow them down, but if you have a giant or a board freeze combined with some card draw you are fine. If you both have a giant out let them trade (unless they have mana for Siphon Soul) because your Ice Blockand your burst will win the to-the-face-race. Remember that he can burst for 16 turn 9 and 24 turn 10.
Mulligan tips: In this matchup I like watching how many cards they mulligan away to read what deck they play. Many cards (they keep 0-1) means I mulligan for Handlock, otherwise I mulligan for aggro (once again scroll up to find it). A card that I really like in this matchup is Mirror Image. It's good against both decks, but if I'm very sure it's Handlock I still mulligan for card draw and try to draw into it instead. Against Handlock I mulligan for card draw and Mountain Giantwith coin and sometimes Mirror Image.
Control warrior is the worst matchup you can think of. They armor up a lot, they have Alexstraszaand they have a lot of ways to remove Doomsayerand big minions in general. Even though this deck does better than Freeze mage in this matchup it is still hard. One way you win is by drawing all the cards you need and bursting him if he doesn't gain too much armor before your Alexstraszaturn. This doesn't happen very often. The way I have won the most is when I have I play a giant they can't remove (maybe they used all their removal already or they didn't draw any). You can try to bait out their removal with Doomsayer, but just play your giants and pray, if you don't have bait in your hand. Control Warrior is a slow deck and you REALLY don't want to use your damage as removal unless it is absolutely neccessary. Aggro Warrior is better, but not good. They kill you very fast, but Mirror Image, board freeze, and Ice Blockare very good cards.
Mulligan tips: In this matchup I mulligan against Aggro Warrior because you need very good answers to win it. Against Control Warrior you can lose with perfect draws and win and sometimes win with shitty draws. The matchup is very slow letting you draw a lot of cards before there is any actions. The Control Warrior is more about your first 10 cards against his first 10 cards.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about a very fun deck that is one of the best in the game right now. Players like Trump, Xix0 and many others have climbed with it last season and I think you can too.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask them below or message me on Facebook. Good luck!