Odd Mage Summary
Odd Mage is an aggressive, Tempo-based deck that focuses on controlling the board in the early game and finishing the opponent with a huge burst turn. The odd Hero Power, which deals 2 damage instead of 1, has obvious synergy with Mage’s newest Legendary minion, Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk. There’s also synergy with Daring Fire-Eater, and Pyromaniac, which makes this one of the truly new archetypes enabled by Rastakhan’s Rumble.
Odd Mage has the potential to outrace Odd Hunter, and has enough sustainable damage to beat an Odd Warrior. This combination makes Odd Mage a perfect choice for today’s meta.
Odd Mage Card Choices
Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk was one of the most anticipated cards from the release of Rastakhan’s Rumble. After the Mana Wyrm nerf, Mage players were left with their decks feeling a bit anemic. Jan’alai gives Odd Mage the final burst it was missing before the December Release.
Just as many other Odd Decks, this one is built around the synergy with its hero power. For 2 mana, Odd Mage can direct 2 damage any minion or hero every turn. This allows the Odd Mage to commit to clearing a minion off the board against another minion based deck, or give up on the board completely and rely on burst from hand to finish the game.
- (x2) Daring Fire-Eater
- (x2) Fire Fly
- (x2) Black Cat
- (x2) Cinderstorm
- (x2) Pyromaniac
- (x2) Clockwork Automaton
- (x1) Jan’Alai, the Dragonhawk
- (x1) Baku the Mooneater
These are the core cards for the deck. They cannot be removed from the deck without changing the identity of the deck. Daring Fire-Eater kills Hench Clan Thug, or nearly any other 3-drop, while putting a minion on the board (albeit a 1/1, it is on the board nonetheless). Black Cat, a 3/3, is also imperative to the deck. The number one problem with any Tempo-based deck is running out of resources, so having cards that replace themselves is necessary.
- (x2) Arcane Missiles
- (x2) Dire Mole
- (x2) Explosive Runes
- (x2) Kirin Tor Mage
- (x2) Fungalmancer
- (x1) Leeroy Jenkins
These cards I wouldn’t consider Core Cards, but may be considered to be replaced as the meta develops. These cards are very important to the deck, and should not be changed under normal conditions. Adding the Kirin Tor Mage gives you an aggressively-statted minion on curve, as well as sometimes having the upside of playing a secret for free. I would never take out Kirin Tor Mage, nor the Explosive Runes, as they add burst and board control to the deck.
Strong 1-drop minions are also essential for a Tempo-esque Mage. Dire Mole, as a 1/3, is the best that is offered at the moment.
- (x1) Glacial Shard
- (x1) Stargazer Luna
- (x1) Splitting Image
- (x2) Nightblade
These cards are the cards that may be replaced depending on the meta. Having only 4 cards to play on turn 1 makes your mulligans very restrictive, as missing turn one is a huge detriment to the deck. Stargazer Luna often draws for 2 cards on turn 7 while putting a 2/4 on the board. The most interesting inclusion is Splitting Image. While testing this deck, Splitting Image tested way better than Counterspell or Spellbender. Playing Splitting Image or Explosive Runes with Kirin Tor Mage on turn 3 almost guarantees its survival, winning the board by itself.
- Secret Keeper
- Arcane Intellect
- Untamed Beastmaster
- Frost Lich Jaina
Counterspell, as powerful as it is, is one of the easiest secrets to play around, especially in the currently spell heavy meta. Often enough, just the threat of a Counterspell forces the opponent to make suboptimal plays, often leading to your victory, whether you played a Counterspell or not.
Even with the lack of good 1 mana minions, Secret Keeper does not make the list. As a 1/2 for 1 that nearly never meets its upside of +1/+1 due to only 3 secrets being played in the deck, this is not a good fit for the deck.
With the amount of draw engines available to Odd Mage, Arcane Intellect only represents a tempo loss. Spending 3 mana to gain a net of 1 card, is a value play and not a tempo play. Each draw engine in our deck comes attached to a minion making it a positive tempo play.
Untamed Beastmaster offers a lot of synergy to any deck running Baku the Mooneater and Dire Mole, while being a well-statted minion itself. However, there is not enough room in the deck for the Beastmaster, without changing other core cards. If you were to run the Beastmaster, I would take out the secret package and run Vicious Fledgling, Tar Creeper, and Bittertide Hydra. The inclusion of Untamed Beastmaster makes the deck more reliant on keeping the board, slightly changing the identity of this deck. Odd Beast Zoo Mage is a cool archetype, however at the moment it is just weaker than this deck, its burn related cousin.
Frost Lich Jaina is entirely too slow for the deck. Even a single dead card in your hand can often lead to disaster. As a deck that often struggles with its turn 1, Jaina ends up being a very poor fit for the deck. You will not win the value game, so it is best to keep your upgraded hero power.
Mulligan and Strategy
The general mulligan for Odd Mage is Fire Fly, Dire Mole, Black Cat, Kirin Tor Mage. Your primary win condition with this deck is gaining control of the board early, then completely abandoning it as you get close to the final turns, finishing the game with burst from hand. Fire Fly is the best way to gain a board presence. Ideally, it will allow you to have 2/4 worth of stats on the board going into turn 3, which really becomes your power turn.
As previously mentioned, the primary win condition is burst from hand, whether it be Leeroy Jenkins, Clockwork Automaton, or Jan’alai the Dragonhawk. This being said, you need to plan for the future. Many of your minions are easily dealt with, especially with the current build of decks in the meta, so you must know when to give up on the board. You must know by turn 2 how the board is going to look on turn 4, being that turn 3 is your power turn. You must know how you are going to burst your opponent down by turn 5, because this is often the turn where you start to give up on the board. One of the often overlooked interactions in the deck is Clockwork Automaton and Daring Fire-Eater, which when combined make your hero power deal 8 damage Fire-Eater adding 2 damage, and Automaton multiplying this 4 damage by 2.
Odd Mage is all about pressure. Pressure, pressure, pressure. This deck thrives when making the enemy take awkward turns. It is often better to skip a value play, or even float mana, than to give up on early pressure. The second most important takeaway from this guide is optimal use of resources. Even with the draw engines of Stargazer Luna and Pyromaniac, you still run the risk of running out of resources, so it is important to know when you need to use this resources on holding onto the board, or directing everything face.
In general, start using your hero power on enemy minions when you can no longer trade favorably on the board, and send your minions face. When your hero power no longer has any effect on the board, stop wasting damage on enemy minions, and direct everything to the enemy hero. Obviously this is dependent on your hand, board presence, and match-up. Taking all of these factors into consideration, using your forward thinking skills, and using your resources effectively make Odd Mage one of the scariest decks on the ladder.
Vs. Quick Decks
Against decks that go wide (read: Odd Paladin) hard mulligan for Fire Fly. The only exception to this would be if you have Dire Mole AND Arcane Missiles. This would allow you to grab the board early and prepare for turn 3 where you take control of the game. If you are playing against a tall aggro deck, such as Odd Rogue, then Explosive Runes and Daring Fire-Eater are your most valuable cards to keep in the mulligan. If you cannot deal with a turn 3 Hench-Clan Thug you often lose the board too early to ever come back.
Against aggressive Hunter builds, Cinderstorm gains a lot of value. It helps deal with Scavenging Hyena, Huffer, and Crackling Razormaw. Only keep Kirin Tor Mage if you have a secret AND a 1 drop.
High Priority Keep:
- Fire Fly – The earlier you lose the board against Aggro, the harder the victory becomes. Fire Fly along with your Hero Power give you the board against any deck until your power turns
- Dire Mole – It is absolutely imperative to play a 1-drop versus Aggro. A 1/3 is the best 1-drop Mage has to offer
Medium Priority Keep:
- Cinderstorm – Alongside your Hero Power, this card allows you to keep control of a board you already own
Low Priority Keep:
- Daring Fire-Eater – Allows you to retake the board if you lose it early. This card becomes a high priority keep vs. Odd Rogue
- Explosive Runes – Often only kept with Kirin Tor Mage. Against Odd Rogue it is your second way to deal with a turn 3 Hench-Clan Thug
Vs. Slow Decks
Against heavy Control you must mulligan for Tempo cards. You must keep up the pressure until you run out of resources, as they will have enough removal and healing to pull away if they have any room to breathe. This deck does have the damage to beat an Odd Warrior or Control Priest, but you must be perfect with resource management, and not waste a single point of damage. In this matchup, you need to make sure the enemy doesn’t 2-for-1 you until you are ready to give up on the board, which will happen later than it would versus Aggro or Midrange. If you don’t know the path to victory before turn 6, you will not win.
You thrive against slower Midrange and Combo decks, damaging them too fast for them to react. This being said, more often than not you completely ignore their board. Change your strategy if it is convenient to take a value trade, or if you would do more damage guaranteed over 2 turns by trading. The only real issue you need to watch out for comes from the Paladin combo decks. Time Out and Shirvallah, the Tiger can be absolutely destructive to your plan. When you sense a Shirvallah coming, it is time to either commit everything to keeping the board, or ideally, destroying all your minions and bursting him down. Do not give up if he connects with Shirvallah twice, even if he heals to 30. You have insane burst potential, and can realistically still find the 30 damage before they can combo. The ideal game against Combo/Midrange decks goes:
Turn 1: Dire Mole
Turn 2: Both sides of Fire Fly
Turn 3: Kirin Tor Mage + Explosive Runes
Turn 4: Daring Fire-Eater + Hero Power
Turn 5: Fungalmancer
Turn 6: Pyromaniac + Hero Power
Turn 7: Leeroy + Hero Power + Win the game
High Priority Keep:
- Dire Mole – Helps begin establishing the pressure required to win versus Control
- Fire Fly – Establishes a board as well as gives you a potential turn 2 play
Medium Priority Keep:
- Kirin Tor Mage – Can be kept with or without a secret. The 4/3 body must be dealt with before the opponent can continue with their plan
- Pyromaniac – Often a turn 5 play, this card can also be a turn 3 play, as a 3/4 body contests nearly every turn 3 played in Hearthstone
- Daring Fire-Eater – Once again allows you to retake a board you lost control of
Low Priority Keep:
- Fungalmancer – Solidifies your board and represents 4 burst damage
- Splitting Image – Protects your board and allows you to keep up the pressure. Only use this card if it would be a net tempo gain
Odd Mage has been generating a lot of attention and intrigue since the release of Rastakhan’s Rumble. A Control-variant has been explored, but the high performance of Tempo cannot be ignored. With this guide in mind you should be able to take down whatever you may face on ladder.
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