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Hearthstone: Tempo Mage deck list guide - May 2017

Our updated guide to playing the best Tempo Mage deck in Season 38.

Our Tempo Mage deck guide features the best deck list for Season 38, with Mulligan advice, strategy tips, card combos and synergies.

Tempo Mage is a Hearthstone deck archetype that requires you to build an early presence on the board, and then use either removal spells or high-value minion trades to control the opponent's board development while continue to grow your own. From here on out, it's a question of snowballing that threat and pushing damage into the enemy hero's health pool whenever the natural opportunity to do so presents itself. By the time the end-game rolls around, you should be in a pretty commanding position.

This deck has been around in one form or another for as long as we've been playing Hearthstone, and there's usually a new trick or two in each expansion that ensures it remains relevant in every metagame. In the case of Journey to Un'Goro, Tempo Mage now benefits from cards such as Meteor and Primordial Glyph. It's not yet certain that this archetype will remain strong in the new metagame, but it's nice to know that devoted fans of the archetype at least have an option!

In our Tempo Mage guide, we've got a look at one of the most consistently powerful Tempo Mage deck lists you can wield, followed by an overview of how to actually play it. After that, we'll give you a few pointers on Mulliganing your starting hand, followed by a look at all of the most important combos you need to know about.

Editor's note - May 2017 Update: Things have settled down pretty quickly for the Un'Goro Tempo Mage, and you only need a few cards from the latest expansion to pilot our preferred version this month. In terms of relative power rankings, it's a bit of a mid-table affair right now, but there are certainly worse ways to climb the ladder right now.

(For the Wild version of this deck, make sure you take a look at our Tempo Mage (Wild) deck list and guide)

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Tempo Mage deck list and strategy - May 2017

We think this is the best Tempo Mage deck list you can make use of in Season 38.

2 x Arcane Missiles1 x Acolyte of Pain
2 x Babbling Book1 x Burgly Bully
2 x Mana Wyrm
2 x Mirror Image
2 x Arcanologist
2 x Frostbolt
2 x Primordial Glyph
2 x Sorcerer's Apprentice
2 x Arcane Intellect
1 x Counterspell
1 x Mirror Entity
2 x Fireball
2 x Water Elemental
1 x Meteor
1 x Archmage Antonidas
2 x Firelands Portal

It's crucial that you get off to a fast start with any Tempo Mage deck list and this version is no exception. Mana Wyrm is an incredible powerful card, particularly if you can back it up with cards like The Coin or Frostbolt. This will ensure you start the process of halting the opponent - while growing your own threat - nice and early on. The rest of your early-game minion presence comes from the likes of Arcanologist and Babbling Book. Sorcerer's Apprentice and Acolyte of Pain are other options, but you'd hope to get more value from them than just a body on the board.

This process of balancing control with aggression essentially continues throughout the mid-game, where you should keep holding back the opponent's progress while developing your own board further. Knowing when to start pushing damage over control is tricky with this deck, and you need to constantly review the strength of the cards in your hand. If things are looking slow then keep controlling the game, but if you're getting close to a big spell-based finish then it makes sense to start pushing damage straight into your opponent's health pool.

You've less raw late-game minion strength at your disposal now, although the likes of Firelands Portal can both deal with a bothersome minion and summon something deadly for your opponent to deal with. In this version of the deck, we're including Archmage Antonidas, who can recycle all of your cheap remaining spells into much meatier Fireballs. Burgly Bully in particular can provide some extremely cheap fuel for this particular fire...

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More great Mage guides:

Tempo Mage Mulligan guide - May 2017

Mana Wyrm is hands-down your priority pick and you should never throw this creature back. There's an argument in fact for discarding everything to get your hands on just one of these minions. If you pick one up, you should next be looking for a nice clean early removal option like Frostbolt to back it up with. The benefits of Primordial Glyph can be quite impressive in their own rights, but there's obvious extra synergy with the Wyrm as well.

If you're playing against Aggro opponents, further good picks include Arcane Missiles or Mirror Image which can boost up your Wyrm and/or put up some light defenses. For Control opponents, cards like Frostbolt become even more important.

As always with tempo decks, the most important thing to do is build out a solid handful of opening turns, as you can't afford to miss a beat as you build up your board. Plan you first three turns extremely carefully, and make sure you're making the most of your Mana each turn.

Tempo Mage tips, combos and synergies - May 2017

How you weave all of these spells and minions together is of course the secret of playing the Tempo Mage archetype well. To help you get on top of the latest Un'Goro synergies, here's a quick breakdown of all the combos available to you.

- Mana Wyrm grows stronger with each spell that you cast. It's a superb Turn 1 play, particularly if you have the ability to feed it with The Coin, or another spell soon afterwards.

- Sorcerer's Apprentice reduces the Mana cost of all of your spell cards.

- Firelands Portal will not just remove a 5 Health-or-less minion from the board, it'll add something tasty to your side of the board as well!

- Every spell you cast while Archmage Antonidas is out in play will cause a Fireball to be added to your hand/

- Punish your opponent for their poor positioning, and try to drop Meteor in such a way that it inflicts maximum carnage against their board state!

As part of his ever-growing tutorial series for Hearthstone's Standard metagame, popular streamer Trump has turned his attention to Tempo Mage. We think you'll get a lot out of watching the latest installment, and so have embedded it here in our Tempo Mage guide.

Keep in mind here that the archetype has changed a bit since the last expansion, and so the deck list being used looks different. It's more important to think about the general principles involved with Tempo Mage when watching this video. These should always remain relevant, whatever minor changes are made to reflect the current Hearthstone metagame.

If you've enjoyed this video by Trump then we recommend subscribing to his channel on YouTube. We learned a huge amount from him when we first started playing the game, and there are few streamers with a better talent for explaining the ins and outs of the ever-shifting meta.

Comment on this article

  • jacobgibson87 #1 23 days ago
    Honestly, I substituted the burgly bully with spell breaker because i didn't own and couldn't afford it. But honestly it's working wonders. Instead of having to fireball or frostblast a paladin's buffed minion, you can just silence it and attack face. Stuff like that. But that's my personal opinion.
    Sign in to reply
  • Bedders #2 15 days ago
    @jacobgibson87 Missed this sorry! I'll give it a go :-)
    Sign in to reply
  • Bedders #3 4 days ago
    I've just given this another update. Most of the changes I've made are pretty indicative of the consensus around how this archetype should look right now. Let me know how you're getting on and if you've found any tweaks that work particularly well.
    Sign in to reply

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