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Secret Tempo Mage deck list guide - Hearthstone - Kobolds - January 2018

Our updated guide to playing Secret Tempo Mage in the Kobolds and Catacombs meta.

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John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.

Our Secret Tempo Mage deck list guide features the best deck list for Season 46 (January 2018). Our Secret Tempo Mage guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

Secret Tempo Mage is a Hearthstone deck that's absolutely stuffed to the brim with Secrets and spells, and it's the type of deck that will leave the other player constantly fighting to keep up. All the way throughout each match they'll have to do their best to try and read the possible pitfalls that might lie ahead of them, and respond to your fiendish collection of Secrets as best they can - or can't, as will often turn out to be the case.

While they're trying to read the board state, you'll be working to snowbasll your own side of the board with an increasingly deadly fighting force of your own. How exactly you play this process out depends very much on how those Secrets influence the board state, and the difficulties the opponent forces you to deal with too.

In our Secret Tempo Mage guide, we've got the latest and greatest Kobolds deck list for you to use, along with some general strategy advice and tips for completing the Mulligan stage correctly. To wrap things up we've also covered all of the combos you can utilise using this exact version of the archetype. Making all of the plays second nature is absolutely vital for travelling the uncertain path each game is going to present you with!

UPDATE: 15TH JANUARY 2018

We've finished our mid-month review of Secret Tempo Mage and will leave our recommended deck list unchanged for the rest of the month. Although some experiments are still being made, this appears to be the most consistent version of the archetype you can play on the January ladder.

Secret Tempo Mage deck list and strategy

Here's the most popular version of Secret Tempo Mage that's being played at this relatively early stage of the Kobolds and Catacombs meta. Expect further tweaks and improvements as the next few months play out.

MageNeutral
2 x Kabal Lackey
2 x Mana Wyrm
2 x Arcanologist
2 x Frostbolt
2 x Medivh's Valet
2 x Primordial Glyph
2 x Sorcerer's Apprentice
2 x Arcane Intellect
2 x Counterspell
2 x Explosive Runes
2 x Ice Block
2 x Kirin Tor Mage
2 x Fireball
1 x Aluneth
2 x Kabal Crystal Runner
1 x Pyroblast

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

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0EAr8IotMCDnHAAbsClQOrBOYElgXsBde2Auu6Aoe9AsHBApjEAo/TAgA=

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General Strategy

This is, in essence, the classic Tempo Mage of old updated with a Secret twist to keep it relevant for the Kobolds and Catacombs meta. A Secret from Arcanologist made free with a follow-up Kirin Tor Mage provides you with a huge tempo advantage, for example, and evolves the deck far beyond the established Mana Wyrm / Frostbolt / Primordial Glyph opening plays that we've come to know and love.

If you have a flawless curve of insane tempo in the early-game, then you should race aggro opponents to the finishing line, otherwise you're best off taking a more controlling position. You're fast, but you're not aggro at the end of the day.

Come the mid-game you can start taking a more aggressive approach when you've established firm control of the board. Board presence is everything with this deck, so always try to ensure you have more out in play than the opponent does

Against control opponents it's a lot more important to start putting the pressure on nice and early on and then slam your hand over the victory line quickly. These types of opponent will always beat you in the slow race when the late-game rolls around, after all, and so you do need to take quite an aggressive stance. Make your fast minion plays over everything else, and save cards like Arcane Intellect and Primordial Glyph for later on in the game when you need more fuel.

In slow matches, it's also a little more important to plan the use of your Secrets carefully, and do your best to et your opponent up for a very bad time of things. The more in-depth your knowledge of the meta, the more refined your reads will become here, so just keep practising and always take time to learn from previous match-ups.

New cards in the archetype include Explosive Runes and Aluneth. The former should help out against Control opponents a great deal, while the latter can help refuel your hand after a very fast and furious early and mid-game.

Strategies against each class:

The following advice is based on the previous Frozen Throne meta and will be updated to suit Kobolds and Catacombs shortly after launch. Some of the broad insight will still apply, however, and so we're leaving it here in its current state.

Druid - Druid matches are tough for any class, although Tempo Mage performs OK against the big green menace. Counterspell and your excessive burn spells are difficult for the Druid to deal with - outside of their few armour generation options, that is - so always have an eye on whether you have the damage in hand to take them out.

Hunter - It might be tempting to go for that Volcanic Potion tech choice as insurance against aggro, but Hunter is seeing so little play right now it’s not worth the immediate inclusion. The spells you already have available to you - plus your hero power and the tempo you can gain with Kirin Tor Mage - should be more than enough to keep all the little minions in check.

Mage - Once you’ve uncovered which variation of Mage you’re up against you can strategise accordingly. Freeze Mage will look to stall your minions, so lean towards the burn approach. Exodia Mage is trying to find all the right pieces for the one-turn kill, so race them down as quickly as you can. Control Mage will be tough, but time your secrets well and you can disrupt their plans and burn them down before their late-game swing.

Paladin - Without area-of-effect removal options, match-ups against the popular Paladin decks on the ladder right now can be difficult for Tempo Mage. With a strong Murloc opening in particular, it can be impossible for you to claw your way back into the game. Nevertheless, try to control the early game by picking off the most threatening targets with your spells, such as Murloc Warleader and Murloc Tidecaller. If the Paladin isn’t able to build a stable board of Murlocs you can then take the lead in the match.

Priest - With their multitude of control options and excessive healing you can easily run out of resources when up against a Priest. Burning them down is not a great strategy either. However, four-attack cards such as Kirin Tor Mage are important for gaining an advantage as they are harder for the Priest to deal with. Kirin Tor Mage is especially good for getting the Priest on the back-foot early. They may panic and be forced to waste multiple resources in order to remove it.

Rogue - Tempo Rogue is your main concern in the current meta, and so your best bet is to take quite an aggressive stance in this match-up. Don't spend your entire time controlling the board, but do take sensible trades while building up towards your big burst finish.

Shaman - As with any class that comes up against Token Shaman, you’ll want to keep the board as clear as possible. Don’t be afraid to use your spells aggressively to do so, as much as it may pain you to Fireball a Flametongue Totem behind the safety of taunt minions. Save your secrets, particularly Counterspell, to disrupt potential Bloodlust or Evolve plays. If they misplay to avoid it or boldly waste one of these cards into it, you’ve already gained the psychological victory.

Warlock - Control Warlock will try to build a wall of minions in front of them to protect their life total. Your spells do not care for this. Do not, however, leave too much up on the board that you end up getting slowly whittled down. Their excessive life tapping will also work in your favour and push them nearer towards a life total you can easily burn down. If they’re too nervous to tap, their resources will run low too, allowing you to storm ahead.

Warrior - The Pirate Warrior match-up is a dangerous one as they are definitely far quicker at racing you down. Try to fend off the damage as much as you can in the early game with spells, your hero power and tempo plays via cards like Medivh’s Valet. Survive the early onslaught and the game is yours. Control Warrior is far tougher - don’t let them generate too much armour or they’ll race far out of burn range.

More great Mage guides:

Secret Tempo Mage Mulligan guide

In both aggro and control match-ups you're always going to favour drawing Mana Wyrm, so hold onto it at all costs. If you can follow that up with a Frostbolt for removal or an Arcanologist, you're going to be in great shape. If you get the latter, you also want to hang on to Kirin Tor Mage to gain some major tempo.

Primordial Glyph will also empower the Wyrm and give you an extra tool to play with as well. Kabal Lackey needs to be played with a Secret in-hand to gain its power so just be mindful of how you factor this card into your early-game curve.

That's the basics of Mulliganing this deck, then, but why are we making those choices? Here's a closer look at some of the key cards we've outlined above.

1. Mana Wyrm: Nothing outranks this minion on the list and if you receive it in the Mulligan phase it represents the backbone of your early tempo plays. The raw vanilla stats aren't exactly terrible for dealing with early aggro minions, but it's the attack-increasing synergy with the many spells you'll play that really make it shine. Expect anyone but the greenest of opponents to remove this target as quickly as they can.

2. Arcanologist: This is of course a Secret-fuelled deck, and so the value of this card is pretty self-evident. Second only to Mana Wyrm when it comes to priority keeps, if you can pair this up with a Turn 3 Kirin Tor Mage and the free Secret provided, you're going to find yourself in very good shape indeed. Even if you don't get a combo rolling, it's hard not to get value out of this minion on Turn 2.

3. Frostbolt: The Mage's signature early-game removal spell not only helps stop the opponent from getting off to a preferential start, it also serves to empower your active Mana Wyrm, which can then go onto make a more meaningful play itself. Good times!

4. Primordial Glyph: We're quite surprised to see Primordial Glyph escape a swing of the nerfbat during the Un'Goro metagame - only its RNG element prevents it from being truly obnoxious. Like Frostbolt it has exceptional synergy with Mana Wyrm, and it also provides you with a sometimes powerful spell that's so cheap it feels like cheating!

Please note that we've removed our hero by hero Mulligan chart until the meta has stabilised in the Kobolds and Catacombs meta. We'll replace it with an updated version in time for the start of the January season. Thanks for your patience.

Secret Tempo Mage tips, combos and synergies

There are quite a lot of combos to juggle with any kind of Tempo Mage, and the latest Frozen Throne version is certainly no exception.

Here's what you need to be thinking about when playing this deck out:

- Every time a spell is played your active Mana Wyrm will gain an extra point of Attack power. Something to always keep in mind as you're planning out your turn, especially if this combo starts happening later on in the match than you might have liked.

- Arcanologist will choose a remaining random Secret from your deck and put it in your hand when played.

- You get to play a Secret for free after putting Kabal Lackey or Kirin Tor Mage onto the board. Keep that in mind when planning out your potential Mana options on any given turn.

- Not only will Primordial Glyph allow you to Discover a new spell, the cost of that spell will be reduced by two Mana when it's in your hand.

- The extra Battlecry effect of Medivh's Valet will give you a huge tempo swing, and so you should always try to gain this extra effect through one of your many Secret plays.

- As long as Sorcerer's Apprentice is on the board, all of your spells will cost one Mana less. This effect stacks with multiple copies of this minion.

- If the opponent plays a minion with six or less Health then it will be destroyed automatically by your active Explosive Runes. If the minion has less than six Health, any excess damage is applied to the opponent's Health pool.

- Aluneth will give you three extra cards at the end of each of your turns. Watch the size of your hand so you don't end up burning any crucial cards! As a tempo orientated player though, you should be emptying your hand pretty rapidly.

- Kabal Crystal Runner costs two Mana less for each Secret you played earlier on in the match. It's very common to find yourself playing this minion for free.

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