If like me you have started playing ranked matches in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and you’re looking for a basic deck to quickly get past the first few ranks, why not give this mage secret/ice focused deck a look?
It’s super fun to play, pretty simple to build and got us from the bottom rank (25) to rank 20 in a few hours (with a six-win streak). And if you use it to reach rank 20 by the end of April, you’ll unlock a cool Pandaria card back for your troubles. This deck costs just over 1,000 arcane dust to make.
– Arcane Missiles x1
– Ice Lance x1
– Mirror Image x1
– Arcane Explosion x1
– Frostbolt x2
– Arcane Intellect x2
– Counterspell x1
– Ice Barrier x1
– Mirror Entity x1
– Vaporize x1
– Fireball x2
– Polymorph x2
– Blizzard x1
– Flamestrike x2
Cost in arcane dust: 420
– Mana Wyrm x1
– Mana Addict x1
– Mana Wraith x1
– Sorcerer’s Apprentice x1
– Kirin Tor Mage x1
– Water Elemental x2
– Azure Drake x1
– Gadgetzan Auctioneer x1
– Frost Elemental x1
– Ragnaros the Firelord
Cost in arcane dust: 2,220 (620 excluding Ragnaros)
Total cost in arcane dust: 2,640 (1,040 excluding Ragnaros)
You could replace Ragnaros with a Core Hound or War Golem or other high damage-dealing minion to keep the cost to 1,040 arcane dust.
Why I like this deck
It has a nice mix of crowd control, damage and secret spells, with a few select minions that work well around these kind of cards. It can turn a match around (I’ve been down to single digit health before with the opponent still around the high 20s, and have gone on to win). It also got me through the first few ranked levels in a few hours. But above all, it’s great fun.
I like to buff my cheap minions early on using low-cost spells. For example, throw out a sorcerer’s apprentice to lower the mana cost of bringing out minions in following rounds.
Mana Wyrm and Mana Addict can be devastating in early game situations if they are not shut down. Simply play spell cards to increase their attack damage. I once managed to keep my Mana Wyrm alive from turn one until turn five or six, by using spells like Arcane Missiles and Frostbolt to destroy enemy minions, and Mirror Image to taunt enemy minion attacks away. By this point I was able to deal 7 damage to the enemy hero for two turns before he shut my Mana Wyrm down.
I also like to use Mana Wraith to prevent the other player from dropping down more powerful minions early on, giving me more time to build up my spell cards.
Dropping a Kirin Tor Mage followed by a secret spell like Ice Barrier is good to use early on too, as it only costs three mana to play both, and it will give your mage a tidy +8 armour when you’re next attacked.
Freezing the enemy hero and using Ice Lance to cause 4 extra damage is pretty fun to do early on too.
I try to boost my card draw around the mid-game, with cards like Azure Drake (battlecry: draw a card), and Gadgetzan Auctioneer (Whenever you cast a spell, draw a card). The latter is quite tricky to use because 5 mana is not cheap, and you need to have a handful of spell cards ready to get the most out of him. During later turns where you have 7 or 8 mana for example, you can easily use two or three spells at once and immediately draw two or three cards.
Using Arcane Intellect (draw two cards) with Gadgetzan Auctioneer in play is amazing, because this will draw you three new cards at once.
I will start to use spells such as Polymorph, Blizzard, Flamestrike and Fireball at this stage to establish board control and take out my opponent’s more powerful minions, using my mage’s hero ability to finish off enemy minions with low health, while dropping any secret cards I draw where possible. Using Counterspell at this stage is handy to prevent the enemy using their decent spell cards.
I tend to save my two Water Elementals and one Frost Elemental for the latter stages of a game, because at this point my opponent will have used most of their removal cards, like Assassinate and Polymorph, and these minions are great for board control. They have decent health too, and you can use them to freeze any tough minions that come into play, or the enemy hero themselves (to prevent them from using their weapon for example.
At this point I also hope that Ragnaros is available for me to play. The Firelord is an absolute game changer if your opponent has already used all their decent removal cards, and can quickly win you the match in a couple of turns.
I also burn Fireball and Flamestrike cards at this stage to really dish the damage out.
I like to save Mirror Entity and Vaporize for the latter stages of a match, as there is a higher chance at this point that the enemy will play a powerful minion with a high mana cost, or a legendary. On several occasions I’ve copied an opponent’s powerful card like Ironbark Protector, before using this copy of it to finish my rival off. Or, using Vaporize to tempt an 8-mana minion into attacking me before instantly destroying it.
This deck is meant as a fairly basic mage deck for ranked beginners with a mix of ice and secret cards, and average card draw. You could add further ice cards with Cone of Cold (freeze a minion and the minions next to it, and deal 1 damage to them) and Frost Nova (freeze all enemy minions), but I prefer the versatility and power of my deck above. For example, I would prefer having two Blizzard cards (deal 2 damage to all enemy minions and freeze them).
You could also add the epic secret cards Ice Block (when your hero takes fatal damage, prevent it and become immune this turn) and Spellbender (when an enemy casts a spell on a minion, summon a 1/3 as the new target), but these would cost a hefty 800 arcane dust to create.
I’d like to add in an Ethereal Arcanist (If you control a secret at the end of your turn, gain +2/+2), but recently used arcane dust to purchase Ragnaros, so need to do some saving up before I can craft this card.
I’m also considering crafting a Violet Teacher (Whenever you cast a spell, summon a 1/1 Violet Apprentice), though I suppose this would work better in a minion-focused deck.
Please let me know what you think of the deck and what you would do differently – share your comments below. Hearthstone is all about practise and improvement, and I’d like to make this deck even stronger in the future.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.