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Minion Mage deck list guide - The Witchwood - Hearthstone (April 2018)

How to get started with the new archetype coming with The Witchwood.

Minion Mage is a new Hearthstone archetype that many people believe will end up playing a pretty big part in the upcoming Witchwood meta. The secret sauce for this deck comes from two key cards: Archmage Arugal and Book of Specters.

The former provides incredible value by rewarding you with a second copy of each minion you draw into. The latter provides even more incentive to double down on minions in the deck, rather than spells - it's essentially a better Arcane Intellect you can play earlier on.

That's not to say you should ignore spells altogether though, and you can certainly afford to keep a few of the most important of these sorts of cards in the deck. You just want to thin the odds of losing them as much as possible, and be more selective about the ones you choose to include as a result.

In this first edition of our Minion Mage deck guide, we've highlighted a theorycrafted deck that we've made for the start of the Witchwood meta. It is of course subject to a lot of change over time, although we think the core components are pretty locked in for this one. We'll update it shortly after launch though.

We've also got some tips for Mulliganing the deck, then provided a broad overview of the strategy involved in playing it. After that we've got a look at all of the big combos in the deck. Brush up on these so you know how to squeeze as much value as possible from this intriguing new archetype.

Minion Mage deck list and strategy

Here's a deck list that we've theorycrafted for the start of The Witchwood meta. Like all decks being played right now it is subject to a huge amount of refinement over time. Avoid crafting anything expensive until we now how the meta's shaping up.

1 x Archmage Arugal2 x Fire Fly
2 x Book of Specters2 x Tar Creeper
2 x Lesser Ruby Spellstone2 x Voodoo Doll
1 x Pyros2 x Servant of Kalimos
2 x Shimmering Tempest1 x Baron Geddon
2 x Leyline Manipulator2 x Blazecaller
2 x Polymorph
2 x Steam Surger
2 x Water Elemental
2 x Bonfire Elemental
1 x Frost Lich Jaina

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0EBNACysECm9MCzPQCDU2LA8LBAuvCAsLDAsrDAsfHAsjHApbTAs3rAs7vArfxAs7yAgA=

This particular version of Minion Mage is built heavily around the many Elemental minions that exist in the game. The broad idea is that you play a value game here, snowballing your threat on the board and using the bonus Battlecry effects of your Elementals to ensure you're always one step ahead of the opponent.

A crucial part of that strategy is making sure you empower certain cards by playing an Elemental the turn before the card in question, in to gain that bonus. You need to be thinking one or two steps ahead at all times as you navigate through the early game, into the mid, and then finally into the late-game.

Once The Witchwood meta is properly under way we'll flesh this section of our Minion Mage guide out further with specific strategy advice. Until then, study the combo section at the bottom of this guide carefully so you have a solid grounding in what actually makes it tick!

More great Mage guides:

Minion Mage Mulligan guide

We'll have to wait and see how the early meta shakes out before giving hard and fast advice on Mulliganing this deck.

It seems like a pretty safe bet to us, however, that you'll want to keep Archmage Arugal no matter what. The subsequent value - especially if the opponent can't answer the threat immediately - is fantastic.

Pyros and Fire Fly are going to be other solid keeps as well, and if you can follow up some kind of board presence with Book of Specters you're going to find yourself with a fat hand of options to play around with.

What may complicate things is the desire to play Book of Specters right after you've played Archamge Arugal. The Mana use gets a little scrappy unless you can Coin out Arugal and then follow up on the next turn with the spell.

This one might not be as simple as it first looks, in other words. We'll be back with an in-depth look at the Mulligan stage once the expansion is live and we've had a chance to play around with the deck in the new meta.

Minion Mage tips, combos and synergies

You've got lots of combos to play around with in this deck and so it pays to do your reading before hitting the ladder!

- Archmage Arugal's mechanic is pretty simple. Once he's on the board, any minion you draw into your hand is effectively duplicated. There's obviously huge potential synergy between this card and Book of Specters.

- In its default state, Lesser Ruby Spellstone provides you with one random Mage spell when played. If you can play a pair of Elementals while it's in your hand, however, then it'll give you two spells. Play another two Elementals to max the card out at three spells.

- Shimmering Tempest not only provides further Elemental synergy for this deck, it'll also grant you - admittedly random - Mage spells when it dies. This is a nice way of getting around the Book of Specters limitation though.

- Any cards in your hand that did not start off in your deck become two Mana cheaper while Leyline Manipulator is out on the board.

- There are certain cards in this deck that provide a bonus effect if you played an Elemental on the previous turn. They are: Steam Surger, Bonfire Elemental, Servant of Kalimos and Blazecaller. The token generated by Fire Fly makes for a really nice enabler in this context, so just try to plan your turns out accordingly.

- When Frost Lich Jaina is played, your hero will be transformed, granted five points of Armor and gifted a new Hero Power that does one damage and summons a Water Elemental if the target dies from the attack. Try to engineer the board so you always have a one-Health target available on your next turn, and don't forget you can target your own minions too!

- Tar Creeper only has its additional Attack strength on the opponent's turn. You might want to do a little partial trading to set your opponent up with as big a problem as you can on their turn. Your plans won't always work out, but you can hopefully force them into a less efficient turn than they'd have otherwise liked.

- Don't forget that you can use your Hero Power on Voodoo Doll to eliminate the nominated target. From Turn 5 onwards you basically have an Assasssinate card available to you.

- Keep in mind that Baron Geddon's end-of-turn damage affects minions on both sides of the board as well as both heroes too. If you have minions that are going to perish in the flames anyway, you might as well get them to do the most useful work that they can first - that may mean trading into a target in order to fatally expose them to Geddon's fury.

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