Hi Guys! Welcome to the Mother of Dragons Mulligans & Match-up’s Guide. This Article assumes you have read the introduction to the deck.
The next thing I would like to say is that I would urge you to check this article (and/or my youtube channel) every few days for the next week or so because I intend on uploading a couple of my games with the deck.
As always, comments, likes, and questions are welcome. 🙂
Okay in this section I’m going to dish out some pretty basic Mulligan advice, please note that anything I say in this section is super-ceded by anything I say in the Match-ups section.
Against All Archetypes
- Always Keep: [card]Mad Scientist[/card] (1x copy vs Control, 2x copies vs Aggro)
- Sometimes Keep: [card]Doomsayer[/card] + [card]Frost nova[/card]
- Almost Never Keep: Big Drops (such as [card]Malygos[/card])
As of yet I cannot think of a single Match-up where a Turn Two Mad Scientist sucks. I always keep this card. With that said, I would recommend only keeping one copy versus Control due to the fact that in the slow match-ups the last thing you want is for the first Scientist to fetch [card]Duplicate[/card] or [card]Effigy[/card].
Keeping Frost Nova + Doomsayer combo can also be helpful, especially against decks that very quickly flood the board with ‘non-sticky’ minions. For example, against Grim Patron Warrior a Turn 5 Doomsayer Combo is a good way of countering their Turn 5 power play of [card]Grim Patron[/card] + [card]Inner Rage[/card] + [card]Death’s Bite[/card] (2nd Charge).
As for Dragons, in some situations it might be tempting to keep a Late-game Dragon in the starting hand because it ensures you have a dragon to combo-off all your other stuff (e.g. [card]Blackwing Corruptor[/card]). In this deck however, I think the high number of Dragons in the deck make such a clunky keep unnecessary.
- Always Keep: [card]Frostbolt[/card]
- Sometimes Keep: Doomsayer,[card]sorcerers-apprentice[/card], [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card], [card]Twilight Guardian[/card]
- Rarely Keep: [card]Ice Barrier[/card]
I recommend keeping the Frostbolt against Aggro because it is a fairly decent removal spell that almost always finds a decent target. Remember that the goal of the early game it to just slow them down and in many cases Frostbolt is great for that.
Keeping Doomsayer is a sometimes a decent keep since it can sometimes be a reasonable Turn 2-3 play by itself, and of course holding onto the card increases the chances that we can Doomsayer + Frost Nova combo on Turn 5.
The reason you should think about keeping the Apprentice is because against Aggro you rarely win the [card]Malygos[/card] + [card]Arcane Missiles[/card] x3 on Turn 10. Thus, since you do not need this combo to win it is often a good idea just to throw this card out there in the early game just for trades and a bit of tempo.
Keeping Acolyte of Pain is often reasonable owing to the fact that in a number of Aggro Match-ups it can trade well with the opponents stuff (e.g. [card]Leper Gnome[/card], [card]Muster For Battle[/card], etc). Drawing cards is not the primary motivation for keeping it however, I keep it because you don’t really have any other 3-drop play in the deck. Thus throwing it back will often mean having a Turn 3 where we just Hero Power Pass.
As for Ice Barrier, holding onto a copy can be decent against ‘Face decks’. However, against Board-control style Aggro decks I think Ice Barrier is a poor keep owing the the fact it does absolutely nothing to control the board (I am however currently experimenting with the aspect of the Mulligan).
- Sometimes Keep: Frostbolt, Acolyte of Pain, 4-mana Dragon
- Rarely Keep: [card]Fireball[/card], Doomsayer
Fireball is a good keep in the situations where the enemy is able to put high health minions onto the board quickly (for example Priest can [card]Northshire Cleric[/card] + [card]Velen’s Chosen[/card]). Frostbolt is good versus the Control Decks that play threatening early game minions (e.g. [card]darnassus-aspirant[/card]) but is not a neccessary keep versus classes whose early game minions are non-existant, non-threatening (e.g. [card]Zombie Chow[/card]) or too big for Frostbolt anyway (e.g [card]Armorsmith[/card]).
Against Mid-range I would recommend that you basically take elements from the above two sections (Aggro, Control) and merge them into something appropriate. Against fast Mid-range Mulligan almost like you would Mulligan against Aggro. Against the Slower Mid-range decks Mulligan as it were Control.
Since every combo deck is radically different I cannot offer any general Mulligan advice. My only tip is to think about what you need most in that particular match-up. For example, against Freeze Mage a good keep might be Fireball since it gives you a good way of dealing with the enemies Doomsayer. Against Grim Patron Warrior your keeps should be anything good against the potential flood of Patrons (e.g. [card]Chillmaw[/card], Doomsayer).
Okay so before I start I want to make a few disclaimers.
- Firstly that games with this deck usually take a long time which therefore means it is difficult to play a lot of games with this deck for testing purposes.
- Secondly most of the data I have is based on my experiences playing at ranks 15-10 (but hey! its early in the season).
These two facts mean that this information may not be wholly accurate and your experience with the deck may differ (although of course I shall do my best to provide good information). Where I give match-up percentages you should interpret them cautiously and assume a margin of error of approximately +/- 5%.
My Personal Stats (so Far)
Anyway, here’s what my stats currently look like (information correct as of 11th September 2015):
“All versions” includes the stats for previous builds of the Deck (e.g. when I was running [card]Ice Block[/card]). The “Latest Version” is all games after adding [card]Effigy[/card] to the deck.
So yeah, that’s the data I am basing the following Match-up stuff on. Okay, let’s begin!
- Face Hunter: (60%), Hybrid (55%), Mid-range (50%)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Keep Ice Barrier (versus Face Hunter only).
- My current record vs class this season: 7-4 (63%)
Hunter is typically an aggressive deck with limited amounts of damage, it often struggles with decks that pack a lot of Taunts and Heal (like we do). Moreover, lots of the Aggro Hunter’s minions are weak one-health critters, which are obviously good targets for Mage Hero Power and Acolyte of Pain.
Against Face Hunter (and to a lesser extent Hybrid) I have had good results by keepimg Ice Barrier in the starting hand. This match-up is almost always a damage race, keeping this Secret makes it much harder for the Hunter to burst us down.
Thus, against the very aggressive Hunter’s we have the tools to beat them, play ultra-defensively and you usually do okay. Mid-range Hunter however is a lot less reliant on burst damage and can really hammer you hard with value minions (e.g. [card]savannah-highmane[/card]). Moreover, Mid-range is much more likely to use [card]Freezing Trap[/card]. These things make the match-up considerably harder.
- Ramp/combo Druid: (50%), Token (60%)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Consider Keeping Fireball to counter ramped minions (versus Ramp).
- My current record vs class this season: 6-3 (66%)
I have only played a handful of games (2 or 3) against Token Druid but so far they have given me no difficulty what-so-ever (but this might be due to opponents misplaying and/or them playing unrefined lists), most of the time they just run out of cards really quickly and you just drown them in card advantage. With that said, make sure you respect the power of [card]Savage Roar[/card] by keeping the board as clear as possible.
Ramp Druid is however a much harder match-up; If they play something big quickly either due to [card]Innervate[/card] and/or [card]Wild Growth[/card] it can be really hard to survive. Late game you need to keep the board clear otherwise Force + Roar combo will wreck you, and that’s why Dr. Boom is such a nightmare. Its hard but winnable.
- Tempo Mage (45%), Mech Mage (50%), Freeze Mage (Insufficient data), Echo Giants (Insufficient Data).
- Special Mulligan Advice: Doomsayer is really good for triggering [card]Mirror entity[/card]
- My current record vs class this season: 5-6 (45%)
Tempo Mage can be really hard due to the speed of the deck coupled with the fact in the late-game it can be hard to get out of burst range due to the fact the Ice Barrier won’t trigger on Fireball. Mech Mage is a similar match-up but seems to be slightly easier because their deck relies on Mech synergy and you can disrupt that (e.g. Frostbolt [card]Mechwarper[/card]), that and Blackwing Corruptor has a few more targets. In both Match-ups you want to play defensively; we win by grinding them out, not by flashy combos. Doomsayer is a great card to keep because it gives you a fantastic counter to mirror entity.
Against Freeze Mage I would recommend trying doing whatever you can to get the Mage to ‘misplay’ by hitting your face with minions. Getting Ice Barrier proc’d should increase your chances of winning significantly.
- Secrets Paladin (40%), Mid-range (60%), Control (Insufficient Data)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Value Doomsayer + Frost Nova highly, most lists don’t run Silence. Maybe keep Ice Barrier (versus secrets)? Value Acolyte.
- My current record vs class this season: 11-10 (52%)
Secrets Paladin is probably the worst match-up for the deck; and the faster the version the worse the match-up is for us ([card]SecretKeeper[/card] is a nightmare and [card]Divine Favor[/card] draws them so many cards!). Play ultra-defensively and preserve as much life as possible, and with good luck you might stand a chance (but don’t count on it!).
Against Face Hunter keeping Ice Barrier has been a successful strategy for me, and so this is a Mulligan strategy I plan on experimenting with versus secrets Paladin.
Secrets Paladin is hard but Mid-range Paladin is actually pretty easy, the game tends to go long enough for you to draw into (and stabilise with) cards like Doomsayer and Chillmaw. These decks tend to lack burst damage and so if you can stay roughly equal on board you have very good chances to win. Note that the greediest Mid-range Paladin lists might pack a lot of Heal, and that’s good for us because our burst combo’s make their healing look like a joke (the 8 heal from [card]Lay on Hands[/card]is nothing compared to the damage we can dish out with Malygos). The slower the list, the more you should try to win with combos.
Also note that if they flood the board with small minions then a “Tempo Nova” can be devastating for them.
- Dragon Priest (45%)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Value Fireball, it can deal with Velens Chosen. Value Acolyte (it’s better to play it early since playing it later in the game runs the risk of losing it to [card]Cabal Shadow Priest[/card])
- My current record vs class this season: 4-5 (45%)
Since swapping Effigy for Ice Block I am 3-1 against the Dragon Priest. Nonetheless, I currently consider this the 2nd hardest match-up. The problem is that their deck is like ours, but considerably faster (e.g. Twilight Whelp, [card]wyrmrest-agent[/card], etc) and worse still the high health minions (e.g. Twilight Guardian) are extremely hard to deal with once buffed with Velens Chosen. In the Late-game Ysera is a card we cannot deal with efficiently.
With all this said the match-up is not impossible, I think the key to beating them is getting great value out of Duplicate and Effigy. That and drawing Doomsayer + Frost nova in time. Oh, and also not getting Mad Scientist/Acolyte of Pain stolen by Cabal Shadow Priest.
Basically these games tend to go very long and so therefore the eventual winner is usually whoever was able to be greediest. With that said, winning the game with burst combo’s is certainly doable.
- Oil Rogue (Insufficient Data)
- Special Mulligan Advice: None
- My current record vs class this season: 2-0 (100%)
This season I haven’t seen Rogue being played much at all. Since I have played so few games I am not going to speculate too much about the particulars of the match-up. With that said however, my current experience would have me believe that we are slightly favoured versus Oil Rogue.
- Mech Shaman (Insufficient Data), Mid-range Shaman (60%)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Never Keep Twilight Drake
- My current record vs class this season: 4-2 (66%)
Mid-range Shaman has not been that difficult, but this is probably more due to the fact Shaman is in a really bad spot right now.
My basic tip would be to watch out for [card]earth-shock[/card] when playing Twilight Drake.
- Handlock (Insufficient Data), Zoo (55%)
- Special Mulligan Advice: None
- My current record vs class this season: 3-0 (100%)
I think Zoo struggles against us basically because the deck doesn’t find dealing with Doomsayer combo’s easy, and we also have a decent chunk of Heal in Ice Barrier. Just play defensively and they will run out of steam soon enough.
- Patron (60%), Control Warrior (65%), Dragon Warrior (Insufficient Data)
- Special Mulligan Advice: Keep Twilight Guardian if rest of hand is good.
- My current record vs class this season: 7-0 (100%)
On paper I would have thought that Control Warrior would do well against us since [card]Execute[/card] and [card]Shield Slam[/card] should easily deal with all our big threats. But in practice this has just not been my experience, I guess its partly because our 4-drops are very good against [card]Death’s Bite[/card]. Maybe another reason is that the burst this deck has makes cards like [card]Shield Block[/card] a waste to valuable tempo; In plenty of games I’ve crushed Warriors even after they have gained 30 (or more) armour. Anyway, this is definitely a match-up where you can go for the big combo finish.
As for Patron, I have not had too much difficulty with it, I guess that’s party because Chillmaw, Twilight Guardian, and Doomsayer are all strong versus Grim Patron.
Okay that’s all folks. Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the Match-ups.
As always, comments, likes, and questions are welcome. 🙂
[toc]References & Further Reading[/toc]
- Smashthings, Smashthings’ Quick Brew: Dragon Freeze Mage
- Smashthings, Jaina; ‘Mother of Dragons Deck: An Introduction
- Smashthings,Jaina; ‘Mother of Dragons’ Deck: Match-ups & Mulligans
- Smashthings, Jaina; ‘Mother of Dragons’ Deck: Advanced Strategy
- Stonekeep & Smashthings, In-Depth Turn Analysis #17: 7 Isn’t Always the Lucky Number