Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped students around the world reach many of these same achievements.
If you’re new to Hearthstone, or just have a limited collection of cards—I feel your pain. It is often difficult to find cheap but viable decks to play on the Hearthstone ladder. Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by creating budget decks for each class.
This Standard deck is constructed with only Basic cards gained from reaching Level 10 with this class and cards from the One Night in Karazhan adventure set.
Basic + Karazhan Mage is a midrange deck that focuses heavily on controlling the board through efficient minion trading and excellent removal spells that often double as reach to bring your opponent's life total to zero.
Minions - 18
2x Babbling Book
- While its stats are underwhelming, Babbling Book is a way we cheat into spells that more expensive decks have access to.
2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2 mana for a 3/2 body is great. When played on turn two, the Ooze has the capability of trading with most 3 mana minions.
A battlecry that destroys enemy weapons is outrageous. Playing this at the right time against a class with weapons can single-handedly swing games in your favor.
2x Medivh's Valet
- Medivh's Valet is a mana efficient 2/3 minion. Even though he doesn't provide much synergy for the cards in our deck (because we play no Secrets, unless generated by Babbling Book), he's still a solid play on turn 2.
2x Razorfen Hunter
- Razorfen Hunter is a mana efficient minion that spawns a 2/3 and a 1/1. Its inclusion over other cards at this slot is due to the utility of the 1/1 with our Hero Power, which together can deal with a 2 health minion.
2x Shattered Sun Cleric
3 mana for 3/2 isn’t mana efficient, but the battlecry more than makes up for it. The downside is that if you don’t have a minion on the board, this card suffers.
The ideal scenario is to play this on the same turn a minion you control can trade with something equal in value and survive, or can trade up to kill something more expensive.
2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta
- 4 mana for 3/5 is fair value, but it’s the taunt along with the 5 health that makes this minion key against aggro decks.
2x Water Elemental
Water Elemental is arguably better than the Chillwind Yeti. This minion has 3 attack with a 6 health body AND freezes whatever it touches.
He’s especially potent against classes with weapons. With board control, your opponent will never be able to use his weapon.
1x Prince Malchezaar
- Prince Malchezaar is one of our primary win conditions in this deck. His value is similar to Boulderfist Ogre in terms of stats, but its the random Legendaries that he shuffles in our deck that can swing games in our favor against more expensive decks.
2x Boulderfist Ogre
The ogre is a plain 6 mana for 6/7, but that’s why we love him. He’s not subject to silence and cards like The Black Knight or Big Game Hunter, and will kill other minions (up to 6/6) without dying.
Avoid buffing him to 7 attack unless you absolutely need to. You want to keep him out of Big Game Hunter range.
The ogre along with your burn spells will often be what you’ll end up finishing games with.
1x Medivh, the Guardian
- Medivh the Guardian is a large threat, while providing the added benefit of being able to supercharge our spells to bring tempo onto the board. You'll generally want to play him the turn before you can play a large cost spell.
Spells - 12
2x Arcane Missiles
A Mad Bomber‘s battlecry that doesn’t target your own minions! How nice. It can often combo with your hero power to be more effective.
Understanding probability is the most important aspect of playing this card. If your opponent only has one minion on the board, then probability of hitting it at least once is 87.5%, twice is 50%, and thrice is 12.5%.
Avoid playing Arcane Missiles unnecessarily if you can. Play it when the odds are in your favor.
- 2 mana for 3 damage and freeze is great. It can be used in conjunction with your hero power to take out 4 health minions, or to kill your opponent.
2x Arcane Intellect
3 mana to draw 2 cards is fair, but this isn’t a card we want in our opening hand. Playing Arcane Intellect on turn 3 is weak because it doesn’t affect the board.
This card becomes a life saver later in the game when it can draw into answers when we’ve run out of cards.
- It’ll take out anything with 6 health for 4 mana. One of the best Mage cards in the game.
2x Firelands Portal
- Firelands Portal provides almost 9 mana worth of value for 7 mana. It also synergizes really well with Medivh the Guardian's weapon, which will let you spawn two 5 mana minions with one cast.
The scariest Mage spell that every opponent needs to be wary of. If you’re behind, he’ll clear the board to bring you back in the game. It’s up to your opponent to play around this by not overcommitting and putting too many low health minions on the board before turn 7.
If you’re ahead, this is the spell that will seal your opponent’s death.
In general, you want to mulligan to setup your first three or four turns. Please note that there is a distinction between going first and going second in Hearthstone, and this should factor into your mulligan choices.
When going first, your advantage is the ability to play first. In addition, you gain mana crystals before your opponent. To take advantage of this, you want to be aggressive in your mulligan to put minions on the board.
When going second, your advantage is mainly The Coin, which gives you tempo over your opponent for a single turn, and also an extra card. Depending on the nature of your deck, whether it’s Aggro, Midrange, or Control, you’ll be looking for different things.
When playing an aggro deck, you’ll be looking for the same cards going second as you would going first. The objective is to quickly populate the board and bring down your opponent’s life total.
When playing a midrange deck, you’ll also be looking to get onto the board early, with the caveat that you can keep a single copy of a situational minion or spell that you think may be useful to counter an opponent. This might be a minion like Eater of Secrets to counter classes with Secrets or a removal spell like Frostbolt.
When playing a control deck, you’re looking to save the coin until much later in the game, generally when you can bring out a large late-game threat earlier than usual.
While I won’t make an exhaustive list, these are some of the cards you should consider keeping in your opening hand when playing this deck. In general, your goal with this deck is to get onto the board as soon as possible. It’s important to dig for an early 1 or 2 mana minion to play so you can begin to pressure your opponent’s life total.
- 1 Mana: Babbling Book
- 2 Mana: Acidic Swamp Ooze, Medivh's Valet
- 3 Mana: Shattered Sun Cleric with a 2 mana minion, Razorfen Hunter
- 2 Mana: Frostbolt with The Coin
To upgrade this deck, check out the Tempo Mage section of ManaCrystals.com!
If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world.
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I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comment sections below.