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Hand Mage deck list guide - Rise of Shadows - Hearthstone (April 2019)

Early thoughts on how Hand Mage might shape up in the new expansion.

Our Hand Mage deck list guide features the best Rise of Shadows deck list for Season 61 of Hearthstone (April 2019). Our Hand Mage guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.

Hand Mage is a Hearthstone deck that’s come back into the fray following the release of the game’s latest expansion. While not immediately obvious during the theorycrafting stage, now that Rise of Shadows is live players have found a way to make it work using a few extra cards from the new set.

The power of Hand Mage lies in the deck’s ability to hold many cards in hand at once, which then empower other minions or improve the effects on certain cards. It’s an archetype that players experimented with in a recent expansion when the Mage gained Meteorologist and Astromancer, but it never reached the potential those cards offered. It’ll be interesting to see whether the likes of Khadgar and Kalecgos can bump it up a few places in the tier list

If you want to be the first to find out then we have everything you need to know in our Hand Mage guide. We’ve got the best deck list currently seeing play in Hearthstone, as well as an overview of the strategy involved in playing it. Much later you can also read our Mulligan tips and a breakdown of all the key combos in the deck.

Hand Mage deck list and strategy

MageNeutral
2 x Daring Fire-Eater1 x Acidic Swamp Ooze
2 x Book of Specters 2 x Firetree Witchdoctor
1 x Khadgar2 x Scaleworm
1 x Arcane Intellect2 x Twilight Drake
1 x Conjurer's Calling1 x Zilliax
2 x Messenger Raven2 x Crowd Roaster
2 x Pyromaniac2 x Mountain Giant
2 x Meteorologist
2 x Astromancer
1 x Jan'alai, the Dragonhawk
1 x Hex Lord Malacrass
1 x Kalecgos

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

Deck Import ID: AAECAf0ECIoHlpoDqwSDlgOggAOohwOvhwOKngMLzYkDzu8C6IkD55UDpIcDifECjQi1/ALD+ALolAPhBwA=

More great Mage guides:

General strategy

As the name suggests, the main aim of Hand Mage is to be holding a full fan of cards in your grasp for as much of the game as possible. You want to do this as the deck contains many cards that are empowered or made easier to play in those circumstances, which can be a challenge for your opponent to handle when you get considerable value out of them.

The return of Hand Mage in Rise of Shadows is mostly down to the addition of Khadgar – a new Mage minion that works wonderfully with a number of the cards that were originally included in the list, so as to make them even more impactful. A fairly robust Dragon package has also been included in favour of multiple removal spells to give the deck a more balanced mid-game. It still plays like a control deck, but is simply a different way for you to get to your late game power swing.

Early game: Not letting your opponent get too far ahead on the board is the plan for the early game. You have a few minions that you can slam down to contest with theirs, some of which will also help you draw or Discover extra cards – that’s massively important for setting you up in a few turns while also maintaining your hand size. Book of Specters is especially good for card draw too. Find efficient trades and make full use of your hero power, especially when it’s buffed with Daring Fire-Eater, to get the most from each card you have.

Mid game: As you enter the mid game more of the power of Hand Mage becomes available. If you’ve got a large hand still, Mountain Giant should be at about the right cost to play and can floor your opponent if they have no answer to it. Similarly, a Twilight Drake with especially high Health can stick around on the board after multiple trades to gain considerable value for the cost. Again, with a large hand size, you can use Meteorologist as some powerful single target removal.

Late game: Astromancer is one of the final cards in the deck that can exploit your hand size to summon a random minion with a cost that matches the number of cards you hold. If you pair it up with Khadgar you can see some serious value from it in a single play. Similarly, if you’ve hit the hero power damage target on Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk then summoning two copies of Ragnaros the Firelord onto the board usually spells doom for your opponent. The late game strength doesn’t end there, though, as you can also use Hex Lord Malacrass to refill your hand all over again or threaten your opponent with the sheer stats of Kalecgos.

Aggro opponents

Here are some important tips to help you best aggro decks:

  • 1. Look for the most efficient trades possible with your minions as this deck lacks a lot of classic Mage removal.
  • 2. Make full use of your hero power to ping down their minions and save your card resources.
  • 3. If you fall behind, Zilliax can be a great catch up card as it affects the board immediately and sticks around as a Taunt minion.
  • 4. If you get a Mountain Giant down early, sometimes it’s best to just go for their life total instead of minion trading as they may struggle to remove it efficiently.

Control opponents

These tips will see you to victory against other control decks:

  • 1. Save Acidic Swamp Ooze for when your opponent plays their most powerful weapon. Getting rid of it can give you a huge advantage.
  • 2. Make sure you have enough cards in hand for a strong Meteorologist as you’ll need ways to remove some of their bigger threats.
  • 3. Hex Lord Malacrass can help you stick around in the late game if you’re running out of cards against control.
  • 4. Be careful of committing all your resources to a single play as all the removal available to control can cancel it out in a snap.

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Hand Mage Mulligan guide

These are the cards you want to see in your opening hand to get off to the best start:

  • 1. Book of Specters: There aren’t too many spells in this deck so you will want to get some excellent card draw value out of this as soon as possible.
  • 2. Firetree Witchdoctor: A decent two-drop in terms of stats but its ability to refill your hand with a spell is what makes it such a good early play.
  • 3. Messenger Raven: Similar to Firetree Witchdoctor, it’s not an especially great minion stat-wise, but it will refill your hand as well as giving you presence on the board.
  • 4. Mountain Giant: If you can fill your hand up fast this will be heavily discounted and playable very early. If it’s early enough your opponent will struggle to remove it.
  • 5. Twilight Drake: Kept for a similar reason to Mountain Giant. If you can fill your hand with cards over the opening turns then you can drop this on four Mana with a huge Health pool.

Hand Mage tips, combos and synergies

Knowing the interactions between your hand size and how that affects the cards your play is key to seeing success with Hand Mage. We’ve highlighted all the important combos here for you to memorise:

- By buffing your hero power with Daring Fire-Eater you can use it to ping away a lot of early game drops or finish off weaker creatures without spending extra card resources. It will also get you towards the damage target on Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk much faster.

- A number of cards in the deck gain benefits if you’re holding a Dragon in-hand. Try to make sure this is the case before using the likes of Firetree Witchdoctor, Scaleworm and Crowd Roaster.

- Do your best to ensure that Khadgar is down on the board before you play Conjurer’s Calling, Astromancer or Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk. These three cards go from good plays to absurd value if you summon multiple creatures from them.

- Remember that the Health of Twilight Drake can be increased for each card you have in your hand when it’s played, so wait until you have a rather full hand before playing it to get the most value.

- Meteorologist benefits from you having as large a hand size as possible. It only targets one single enemy, but it'll do a point of attack damage for each card in your hand. If there are no enemy minions on the board, that damage is guaranteed to go right into the opponent's face.

- Astromancer is another card that directly benefits from a big hand. When placed onto the board, this minion will summon a random minion with a Mana cost equal to the number of cards you currently hold.

- There aren’t many spells in the deck, but when you Discover one after playing Kalecgos it will also be free, meaning you can have a huge tempo play if you get lucky with the effect.

- Mountain Giant costs one Mana less for each card you have in your hand. This is one of the signature synergies for Hand Mage, so always plan ahead carefully when it comes to acquiring - and spending - cards in your hand.

Card choices and substitutions

There are a number of key cards needed to make Hand Mage work. We’ve listed those below as well as any substitution options should you be looking for a budget version of the deck:

  • Book of Specters: Some excellent card draw for the mana cost and the downside is severely reduced in this deck as it runs so few spells. Run Arcane Intellect if you don’t have this.
  • Khadgar: Improves the summoning effects in this deck to provide some bonkers value and is why the deck is back in favour.
  • Conjurer’s Calling: A new spell that works along with Khadgar to provide some extra summoning value.
  • Twilight Drake: As your hand will be full of cards for a lot of the game you can ensure the Health buff this receives is significant.
  • Meteorologist: With a decent hand size this can work as some strong single target removal.
  • Astromancer: With a large hard size you can pull some pretty big minions using this card. Play alongside Khadgar and the value is astronomical.
  • Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk: Another card that pairs so well with Khadgar. If you bring two copies of Ragnaros the Firelord onto the battlefield there’s a good chance you’ll win the game from there.
  • Hex Lord Malacrass: Useful to have in the late game if you need to refill your hand again, so any of the cards that benefit from a large hand size don’t lose all of their value.
  • Kalecgos: Great stats for a late game card and the Battlecry effect is huge when paired with the fact that you can cast a spell for free on the same turn.
  • Mountain Giant: A classic inclusion for decks that aim to exploit a large hand size. Get it down early and you can start slamming damage directly at your opponent’s life total while they struggle to keep up.

Comment on this article

  • Soxaldinho #1 7 days ago
    Meteorologist is not limited to single target removal. It spreads the damage around at random (whether this makes it better or weaker I'm not sure).
    Sign in to reply

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