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Hearthstone: Hearthstone Hero guide: Mage

If you like to control the flow of a match, there are few better Heroes than the Mage.

If you like to control the ebb and flow of a match, there are few classes that can hold a candle to Hearthstone's Mage. The character's Hero Power - which allows them to deliver a targeted point of damage in exchange for two Mana - combined with some of the strongest removal spells in the game make this a powerhouse for the patient player.

You'll often use that Hero Power to eke out that teensy bit of extra damage needed to control your opponent's minion presence on the board, and the Hero's ability to deliver a Flamestrike on turn seven can effectively reset a game that's going badly. Those who fail to play around this powerful spell will find it extremely difficult to catch up - particularly if they've built an aggressive board presence, only to see it go up in smoke.

Significant Mage cards

We recommend that every player familiarises themselves with the class-specific cards of each Hero class in Hearthstone, but it's safe to say that there are certain Mage cards that you're likely to see in just about every type of deck. Here's a quick look at what you need to know about playing around - and getting the most out of - the Mage's most powerful spells and minions.

Fireball

Whether used as a finishing spell to the opponent's face, or to take out a particularly beefy minion on the board, Fireball is an extremely efficient spell. If you're playing a Mage, don't play this spell against your opponent's health pool just because you can - keep it to remove a serious on-board threat, or to deliver a surprise end to the match.

If you're on the other side of the table, be very wary as you approach seven health - with six Mana, your opponent can throw a Fireball out, then finish you off with the Hero Power.

Flamestrike

The king of all removal spells in Hearthstone, Flamestrike can end a match very quickly. Unless you're in a disastrous position, you should avoid wielding this powerful spell until your opponent has at least three minions out on the board - and even then you should bait out more creatures if you can afford to take the damage to your face.

If you're playing against a Mage, always assume they have this card in hand, and don't over-commit minions to the board on turn six. Make sure you trade off minions efficiently at this stage too, so if you are wiped out, the Mage has nothing to play back at you.

Water Elemental

You'll often see Mages pack Water Elementals in their decks along with a Chillwind Yeti or two and with good reason. The Elemental isn't just a strong minion in its own right, with a lovely fat health pool to keep it chugging along through a turn or two, it's also capable of freezing weapon-wielding opponents like the Rogue and the Warrior - very annoying.

You can also use this creature to temporarily bring a frightening minion to a halt, and buy yourself an extra turn or two to look for a solid solution to the problem at hand.

Polymorph

Always try to get the maximum possible value out of Polymorph, and don't throw it away on an annoying early game minion. Polymorph is as good at taking down a devastating late-game Legendary card as it is a frustrating - but manageable - Sen'jin Shieldmasta. Always try to look for a better way of dealing with a problematic board, unless the situation is in danger of escalating out of your control.

Opponents should try to bait this card out with one of their good - but not game-winning - minions, and then have a Plan B to follow up with when their minion goes 'BAAAA'!

Mana Wyrm

The Mana Wyrm synergises beautifully with The Coin, and if you're able to lay this creature down in combination with a card like Mirror Entity, your opponent will rapidly find themselves facing a steep uphill climb.

Don't get greedy with the Wyrm though, and don't be afraid to trade it off against a beefy enemy minion - even when it's been nicely buffed, and the temptation to hold onto it seems irresistable. If you're playing against the Mage and you see this critter come out, kill it as quickly as you can, and before it can grow too big.

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