Over the past weekend Hearthstones Americas championship took place at the Folsom Street Foundry in San Francisco. Many notable professional players like Purple, Jab, Nias, and Trump were competing in the tournament for a trip to Blizzcon and a ten thousand dollar prize. It was an all Canadian final as Purple ended up defeating his fellow countryman Nias in a very tense 5-game finale. There was a myriad of different deck archetypes that appeared at the tournament, but the staple Patron Warrior deck ended up prevailing yet again with both finalists running it as one of their deck choices. Fortunately, Blizzard has got the hint and in the next patch the archetype will R.I.P with the Warsong Commander getting a serious nerf. This is great for the game of Hearthstone as this deck has been seen everywhere and even after a lack luster TGT release the deck has not lost any steam. I’ve been so sick of the stagnation in the game that I’ve purposely stopped writing about top-tier decks just because of their lack of diversity. Instead, I’ve written about good decks that are inherently different albeit because they’re an unused class or because they have an interesting theme to them. And that’s why Jab’s Casino mage stuck out to me. It’s the best of both worlds: it integrates fun unused cards coalesced in a structure that wins games. While he didn’t win the Americas Championship, he did come in third, earning a spot to Blizzcon and proving to everyone that his RNG Mage is actually good!
How to Play:
Much like the Tempo Mage, Jab’s Casino Mage flourishes by placing high value minions on the board while also removing the opponent’s minions with cheap spells. Cards like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Flamewaker, and Fireball are still the backbone of the deck and are the premium source for win conditions. This is one of those decks that become easier to play over time by learning all the intricacies, combinations, and matchups. Watch Jab play this deck here. You’ll be able to learn this decks strengths and weakness quicker by physically watching a pro player opposed to the generic write up that I provide that’s applicable to 300 different deck archetypes.
Any 3 or less mana costed card is acceptable for an opening hand but there are a few cards that you should especially be looking for. The Mana Wyrm and Mad Scientist are two of the best early game cards that the Casino Mage has in its arsenal. With twelve spells in the deck, the Mana Wyrm can precipitously get out control and sometimes win a game on its own. Getting a Mad Scientist early is also crucial because with only two secrets in the deck, it’s imperative to garner value out of the scientist, getting 5-mana worth of cards for only 2.
The RNG factor
If you haven’t surmised already, the reason the Casino mage has its sobriquet is because the amount of RNG in the deck. Virtually half of the deck has serious RNG repercussions; either good or bad, they are going to happen and it’s up to you to dictate the best possibilities. Sometimes it’ll hurt but sometimes it’ll win you games and the difference from the good players to the bad, is those who know how to harness this fickle beast known as RNG.
New and Questionable Cards:
Arcane Blast: Having a 1-mana, 2-damage spell is great for a lot of situations. Either to take out that pesky Knife Juggler or finish off a Piloted Shredder, the Arcane Blast is definitely a main stay for most tempo based decks these days.
Spellslinger: This card is a blast and you’ll almost always have fun playing it. With a deck built around extracting value from spells, this is a card that fits in well with that model. A 3/4 body for 3 isn’t too shabby either…unless the opponentPyroblast’s your face the next turn. ..
Grand Crusader: Both a new card and a questionable one. While it is fun, dropping a 5/5 body on the board for 6 seems a bit slow, even if you are getting a spell out of the deal. In my opinion, if you’re going to play slow, you mine as well put a Rhonin in the deck and get three free Arcane Missiles out of the deal!
Blingtron 3000: This is just ridiculous and you can’t convince me that this card belongs here, especially when you factor in that there isn’t a tool to remove the opponents weapon. I don’t care if you get additional instantaneous damage with this card, giving the opponent a free weapon is just too RNG-ish for me, but you know what? I didn’t finish third in the Americas Championship and I’m not headed to Blizzcon.
Jab has always been one of the best Hearthstone players in the game, habitually finishing high in the legendary ranks each season. Its decks like this that make him such an interesting player and the reason why I like playing his creations and writing about them. You can check out his stream here, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions make sure to leave them below!