Infinite Value Mage
Blizzard recently announced a huge change to the future of Hearthstone. They are splitting the constructed side of the game into two different formats, Standard and Wild. Wild is basically the game as it exists now, with any released card being allowed in a deck. Standard however will exclude cards from sets that are over two years old and will be the official tournament format once it releases.
The first card sets being cut from Standard mode are the Naxxramas adventure and the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion. To put it simply, goodbye Dr. Boom, Piloted Shredder, and Mad Scientist! While it is disheartening that there seems to be no way of changing the meta game without removing entire card sets from the game, overall this is a positive step in Hearthstone’s evolution.
With Reno Jackson being the only League of Explorers card to significantly impact the meta, we once again find ourselves playing the same old decks: Secret Paladin, Mid-range Druid, and Zoolock. So, to keep from simply rehashing old decks, until the Standard format hits, Deck of the Week is going to focus on more novel decks instead of competitive choices. This week’s deck is a mage deck that focuses heavily on the Discover mechanic, humbly called by Savjz, the Infinite Value Mage.
Discover is Hearthstone’s latest mechanic which lets players chose from three cards that are selected at random within the bounds set in the card’s text. The Jeweled Scarab, for example, is a 2 mana 1/1 that discovers a 3 mana card. When played, three random 3 mana cards appear for the player to choose, although it has been confirmed by Blizzard that class cards are four times as likely to be discovered than neutral cards. We also know that class cards for other classes won’t appear, just the class you’re currently playing. The player then selects the card they want and it is added to their hand.
The deck is called Infinite Value Mage because using certain tricks allows you to create an almost unlimited number of free cards through Discover. The first trick is the mage secret, Duplicate. Duplicate triggers when your opponent kills one of your minions and then places two copies of that minion back into your hand. Jeweled Scarab is a 1/1 minion and easily removed, which means an unsuspecting opponent will remove it first, giving you a chance to draw two more cards. Ethereal Conjurer also lets you discover a card, and it forces your opponent to make a difficult decision even if they know what your secret is. With 6 attack damage, most opposing decks can’t afford to leave the Conjurer alive because you’ll be dealing 6 damage to their face every turn. However, if they kill it, you get to play two more of them! Just make sure that you trade away your weaker minions on your turn so they don’t trigger Duplicate themselves.
The other trick that duplicates cards in this deck is Echo of Medivh. When you cast this spell, it adds a copy of every minion on your side of the board to your hand. This pairs well with Emperor Thaurissan, since reducing the cost of your minions makes it easier to play them and then cast Echo at the end of your turn. Almost every minion in this deck is worth getting a second copy of, so don’t worry about copying the perfect cards. If you have a board with three or four minions, cash in the Echo of Medivh. Just be careful not to fill your hand and overdraw.
Of course, simply discovering a lot of free cards won’t guarantee a win. That’s why this deck has several cards that almost always make valuable exchanges or give you extra value from card effects. Brann Bronzebeard is a League of Explorers legendary card that makes the Battlecry on a card trigger twice. Because the Discover mechanic is classified as a Battlecry, that means you can get two free cards if you play a Discover minion while Brann is active. Another good card to combo with Brann is Antique Healbot which then gives you 16 health. Since Brann can only reach his full potential when played with another card, it’s often worth holding him until later turns when you can play both cards at once.
Sludge Belcher is another card that generates significant value. It’s a taunt minion that has 7 effective health split up over two minions which makes it very difficult for minion based decks to deal with effectively. Taunt also usually forces your opponent to kill the Belcher first making it an easy card to get duplicated. This gives your opponent another 14 health that they have to chew through and may stall a game so long your opponent simply runs out of resources. Doomsayer can also get a lot of value, but is more tricky to use. At the start of your next turn after playing Doomsayer, he will wipe the entire board, both your minions and your opponent’s. Doomsayer combined with Frost Nova incapacitates your opponent’s entire side of the board and then wipes it out. Doomsayer can also be played preemptively against aggressive decks. If played on turn 2, Doomsayer will keep them from developing their board until turn 3 which saves your health and gives you time to draw more answers.
What really ties this deck together though are the other class cards mages have to offer. Ice Block is the second secret this deck runs, and it serves one purpose: to stall the game one extra turn. While one turn won’t be the difference every game, it will turn close games in your favor or buy you time to find that one card you need to shut down your opponent’s win condition. Blizzard and Flamestrike are two of the best board clearing spells in the game, and having Polymorph allows you to deal with any large, single threats your opponent might play. Finally, because the Ethereal Conjurer always discovers your mage’s class spells, you have a good chance of finding something like a third Duplicate or Flamestrike.
Unfortunately, playing this deck can be a little frustrating at times. While there are lots of card interactions and many free cards, there is no actual card draw built into the deck. If you get a bad draw, there is no way to recover except lucky discover cards or stalling the game. This deck also requires patience. Playing cards like Doomsayer into easy removal can often cost you the game. When facing heavy control decks, they usually just have more threats than you can efficiently remove.
Overall however, Infinite Value Mage is a fun deck to play and makes use of many new cards from Hearthstone’s latest adventure. It can be effective on the competitive ladder right now, but this deck is really about the thrill of not knowing what your next card will be. It could be just about anything! If you have a fun deck that you would like to see featured on Deck of the Week, be sure to tell me about it on Twitter @AGRitterific.