This is the matchup analysis of Fatigue Warrior versus Mage.
We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing.
Cards To Keep
[card]Fiery War Axe[/card]
[card]Execute[/card] – with an activator
[card]Shield Block[/card] – with the [card]Shield Slam[/card]
[card]Justicar Trueheart[/card] – if you know enemy plays a slower Mage build (e.g. Freeze or Echo Giants)
[toc]Mage Meta Decks[/toc]
Mage. There are generally two kind of Mages you face – fast, more aggressive builds (Tempo Mage or Mech Mage) and the slower, heavy Control (Control/Grinder or Echo) ones. The first category is pretty hard, the second one is pretty easy.
[toc]Vs Control/Grinder/Echo Mage[/toc]
Let’s start with the slower matchups. For the most part, you don’t have to do anything. You run WAY more removals than they run threats. You generally win the matchups by Fatigue, where Ice Block is completely useless.
You want to maximize your Armor gain. The sooner you play Justicar, the better it is. The only real threat is [card]Archmage Antonidas[/card] so you absolutely need to keep one removal for it.
[card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card], while not being threat by itself, allows a big Antondias turn, so you also have to kill it immediately. You definitely won’t run out of removals, so that’s not really a concern.
If you play against Echo Giants Mage – don’t worry. You can answer their Giants easily and even if they get some big Echo turn, you have 2x [card]Brawl[/card]. Just sit back and enjoy the game of Hero Power + pass every turn. Try to maximize your Armor gain. There is no point on putting pressure on them.
So let’s say you can wait with dropping the Belcher until turn 7 where you can Armor Up alongisde. The same goes for Shieldmaiden & turn 8. Drop Justicar as soon as you can. even coin it out on turn 5 if you get it. Justicar played so early usually just seals the game completely. If you know that you play against Echo Giants Mage, don’t ever hit enemy face. You won’t likely kill him by putting the pressure anyway, and this way you give him more threats with [card]Molten Giant[/card]s. Just force him to pretty much never play them.
[toc]Vs Tempo and Mech Mage[/toc]
When it comes to Mech Mage, you absolutely need the early answers. If the Mech Mage snowballs on the board, you lose the game. [card]Snowchugger[/card] is your worst nightmare. If you don’t have answer for it and enemy starts freezing you, all your weapons are dead cards. You should probably kill it over the [card]Mechwarper[/card] if you have a [card]Bash[/card] or something – unless you don’t have any weapons in your hand, then Mechwarper is number one priority.
So, early weapons are a big deal – you want to kill their threats. [card]Mechwarper[/card] is high on priority list. You also try to kill every Mech they have – this way you deny the Battlecry value of [card]Tinkertown Technician[/card] and [card]Goblin Blastmage[/card].
If you stabilize around turn 4-5 and won’t let them snowball, they should run out of cards and you should win the game. After that, it’s still going to take long time, but it’s a slow grind. They play a single threat per turn and you answer them. Most of the stuff you can kill with the weapons or small removals, only some require bigger removals.
[card]Fel Reaver[/card] is awesome for you. It might threaten others, but you have so many ways to remove it. While you’re at it, try to burn as many cards as you can. If you burn 9-12 cards, the game can be much shorter, because Mage will just run out of cards in the deck. The only real “big threats” they play are [card]Dr. Boom[/card] which shouldn’t be that bad and [card]Archmage Antonidas[/card], which is also easy to kill. If you can afford to, keep one [card]Bouncing Blade[/card] for the Antonidas.
The only way they can win the matchup in the late game is if they cheese it out with Antonidas + Stealth Spare Part and get a lot of [card]Fireball[/card]s. So to prevent that, Bouncing Blade is a really good counter. The other way to counter it is to play something and yolo the [card]Brawl[/card], but that’s more risky.
When it comes to Tempo Mage, that’s also a pretty scary matchups. First turns shouldn’t be a big problem. No matter what he plays, you can answer it. It gets worse in the mid game. [card]Flamewaker[/card] is not a problem if played on empty board, but gets really annoying if they hide it behind [card]Mirror Image[/card]. So be sure to have an answer for it, like Shield Sla, Bash + AoE or a lucky Brawl.
Mirror Image counters you really had, because your weapons become useless. Since you rely on your weapons heavily to remove opponent’s early threats, it’s going to be hard.
Tempo Mage runs a lot of cycle/card draw so it’s hard to grind him out of the cards. There are even cases where you run out of cards before them.
[card]Azure Drake[/card] is a real threat you have to remove, you can’t just leave it on the board, but it doesn’t cost Mage anything to play it (in terms of cards). They should spit out stuff on the board every turn, probably faster than you can deal with it. [card]Brawl[/card] can save you, but not always, because you lose the initiative and they just refill the board again.
The biggest problem is that besides the very strong mid game they also have a decent late game. They end their curve with big threats like [card]Dr. Boom[/card], [card]Archmage Antonidas[/card], [card]Rhonin[/card] or even sometimes a [card]Malygos[/card]. Another problem is that they have a lot of burn, so even if you stabilize, you also have to get to high health amounts or they can just kill your from their hand. A very hard matchup.
Mech Mage runs [card]Mirror Entity[/card] if anything. But recently almost all builds have dropped the [card]Mad Scientist[/card] + Mirror Entity combo for the sake of [card]Mana Wyrm[/card] + [card]Unstable Portal[/card].
Tempo Mage also usually runs at least one copy of Mirror Entity. It’s really annoying for you, because you have pretty much no small minions to proc it. If you don’t draw into [card]Big Game Hunter[/card], [card]Sludge Belcher[/card] is the smallest thing you can proc it with. You’re basically giving enemy a 5+ drop for free a lot of time and you can’t help that.
Other Secrets Tempo Mage might play are also problematic. [card]Effigy[/card] is annoying because it gives Mage another minion on the board instantly. It’s a great tempo play and your deck really suffers when playing against high tempo.
[card]Counterspell[/card] might ruin your whole turn, because you well, play mostly spells. If they time it badly you can just proc it with a Slam or something, even a Coin if still have one. But if they play Counterspell before your turn 5 when they have a strong board presence, you’re in a bad spot, because they deny you the ability to Brawl.
I think Tempo Mage is much harder than Mech Mage. While Mech Mage puts more pressure in the first turns, once you deal with it, they have no way to refill their hand and you can just grind them out. Tempo Mage, however, besides the pressure can also refill their hands with [card]Arcane Intellect[/card] and [card]Azure Drake[/card] plus their late game is much, much stronger.