Our updated guide to playing Control Mage in the Witchwood meta.
Our Control Dragon Mage deck list guide features the best deck list for Season 69 of Descent of Dragons (December 2019). Our Control Dragon Mage guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.
Control Mage is a Hearthstone deck that has played an important part in the meta all the way back to the very earliest days of the game’s beta period. Over the years, though, the list has lost a whole lot of its strongest cards. With the release of Descent of Dragons, we’ve not seen a great deal of success for Control Mage, but it has been given a rather enticing Dragon package, such is the expansion’s theme.
Even though it looks very different compared to its original incarnation, the way it’s played is still very much the same as it has always been. It’s a fiddly deck if you haven’t played anything similar before, but it can be very rewarding once you’ve acclimatised to the levels of patience required to pilot this deck effectively. You need a little bit of nerve to ride things into the long game as well, where your strengths lie in abundance.
Control Mage deck list and strategy
Below is the Control Mage deck list seeing the most play early in the Saviors of Uldum expansion cycle. Check back for updates, we’ll keep an eye out for any changes!
|2 x Arcane Breath||2 x Firetree Witchdoctor|
|1 x Khadgar||2 x Scalerider|
|2 x Arcane Intellect||1 x Frizz Kindleroost|
|2 x Conjurer’s Calling||2 x Scaleworm|
|2 x Azure Explorer||2 x Twilight Drake|
|1 x Malygos, Aspect of Magic||2 x Big Ol’ Whelp|
|1 x Kalecgos||1 x Dragonmaw Scorcher|
|1 x Zilliax|
|2 x Khartut Defender|
|1 x Crowd Roaster|
|1 x Alexstrasza|
|2 x Mountain Giant|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAf0ECMUEoIAD7IkD6JQDlpoDip4DiLAD4bYDC6sE4QeNCInxAuiJA4OWA6GhA/WsA/qsA+ewA4exAwA=
More great Mage guides:
- 1. Best Budget Decks – Hearthstone: Best Budget Decks for Ashes of Outland
- 2. Tier List – Hearthstone deck tier list (Ashes of Outland)
- 3. No Minion Spell Mage – No Minion Spell Mage deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 4. Highlander Mage – Highlander Mage deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 5. Dragon Mage – Dragon Mage deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 6. Cyclone Mage – Cyclone Mage deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
As a Control Mage your game plan is all about stalling out your opponent and drawing cards until your win conditions eventually show up. Freeze effects are here too, offering a quick, if temporary, way out of a jam. You’ll want to use them wisely as once they’re gone there’s not much in between Jaina’s face and a horde of enemy minions.
Your goal is to stall as much as possible until your big plays come in, and continue to wipe out any foothold your opponent gets in the game. If they run out of resources before you, then you’ve won. There’s also the potential to sneak a victory if you end up with a bit of board presence – dropping Alexstrasza immediately puts the opponent’s health at 15, sometimes allowing for a swift lethal.
Early game: Stall, stall, stall. You’ll usually want to try to draw some cards with Arcane Intellect and play out minions and spells to help you survive, such as Scalerider for a bit of immediate damage or Firetree Witchdoctor to let you Discover something useful.
Mid game:Frizz Kindleroost and Khartut Defenders are sound mid game plays to raise tempo potential and slow your opponent down. Get some Dragons out onto the board and you’ll be in good stead, taking tempo and keeping your deck cycling. If you start drawing discounted Dragons from Frizz Kindleroost, play them out, and pick your Malygos, Aspect of Magic spell carefully.
Late game: When you’ve regained composure and stabilised, you can start getting more aggressive. Alexstrasza can cut your opponent’s health to just 15, potentially offering an imminent lethal unless they can deal with it. Mountain Giants and Kalecgos are great ideas for finishing enemies, and if you’re lucky they won’t be able to stop this final push of pressure. Your Crowd Roaster and Scaleworm can take out enemies, leaving the foe open to hits from your board pressure.
Here are some important tips to help you best aggro decks:
- 1. You’ll want to be reactive against aggro decks in the early game.
- 2. Scalerider, Scaleworm and Arcane Breath can slow down your enemy’s early tempo for a low mana cost.
- 3. Dragonmaw Scorcher deals 1 damage to entire board of minions, allowing you to potentially clear a whole bunch at once.
These tips will ensure you find a win against other control decks:
- 1. Conjurer’s Calling along with Mountain Giants and Khadgar guarantees enormous board for your enemies to deal with.
- 2. Alexstrasza puts a Hero’s health on 15, which against most control decks equates to chopping their life total in half.
- 3. You should be under less pressure early on in the game, so try playing Arcane Intellect and Frizz Kindleroost as early as possible can set you up excellently for later.
Control Mage Mulligan guide
The opening hand you’ll often be after:
- 1. Arcane Breath: Damages enemy minions whilst potentially Discovering more removal.
- 2. Arcane Intellect: Getting your deck cycling in the early game is hugely important, especially if you’re not getting aggro’d down.
- 3. Frizz Kindleroost: Discounts all Dragons in your deck for the rest of the game, meaning you can do some ridiculous things later on.
Control Mage tips, combos and synergies
Control Mage has a fair bit to think about. Here’s what should be on your mind:
– Ray of Frost’s Twinspell allows you to choose two enemy minions to Freeze, but can also deal 2 damage to an already Frozen minion.
– Doomsayer can be used with your freeze effects to set up a nice board clear, but if your opponent can kill him from hand or silence the minion, you’re out of luck.
– Try getting Luna’s Pocket Galaxy cast as quickly as possible! 1 mana versions of so much of your deck are extremely valuable, from Alexstrasza’s up to 15 damage to King Phaoris’ big boards of minions.
– Arcane Keysmith is hard for your opponent to play around, as it’s harder to guess what you played than if you simply played a Secret on its own. Use this to your advantage and confuse your opponent into making a bad play.
– Khartut Defender heals you for 3 upon death, but its Reborn ability means you’ll benefit from this effect twice.
– Using Alexstrasza can set up your opponent for a very quick kill as it’ll drop their Health down to just 15. Follow that up with some minion damage for some surprise wins.
– There are lots of expensive spells in this deck, which makes Kalecgos a very handy play. From Power of Creation to Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron, the value is extreme, especially if Kalecgos survives!
Control Mage card choices and substitutions
There are a number of cards vital to the success of Control Mage. We’ve listed them for you below:
- Ray of Frost: Twinspell makes this more valuable than it appears, as it can keep your enemy stagnant over multiple minions or turns.
- Doomsayer: Again, this card is integral to keeping your opponent from running away with the game early on.
- Arcane Intellect: You need card draw to keep your resources replenished, so here you go.
- Frost Nova: Stops enemy minions from thumping you in the face for just 3 mana. Sounds like a bargain.
- Luna’s Pocket Galaxy: Can solo win games on its own if you hit some big minions. Don’t miss a chance to cast this if you can afford to pass a turn. Unfortunately far less powerful with its big buff reversed, but this card remains a strong setup for your late game.
- Zilliax: This thing is in most decks in the game because it’s a really good card. Survivability with Lifesteal and Taunt, immediate impact with Rush, and stickiness with Divine Shield, Zilliax has it all.
- Blizzard: Wide boards of small minions can be killed off, and the ones that can’t be are Frozen solid for a turn.
- Power of Creation: Can summon a pair of tough minions so you have a way to contest the board, or four if combined with Khadgar.
- Alexstrasza: Cuts the opponent’s health to 15, putting them in a precarious position. Also, can increase your health to 15 in a pinch.
- Kalecgos: A big fella at 12 health, this minion is hard to remove and offers an ongoing and powerful advantage to you in reducing the first spell you cast each turn to 0 mana.
- Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron: Will often clear the enemy board and build you one of your own. Alternatively, it could backfire massively, but either way this hail mary play will be important for many of your matches.