Blackfall's Mage Control post-HoS - July 2017

By: Blackfall
View other Decks by Blackfall
Posted: 2 weeks ago
Updated: 6 days ago
Up to date (Skyrim patch)
Crafting Cost: 19150crystal
Missing Soul Gems: Add your collection to see the soul gems you are missing.
+87
Updated for July 2017 Metasnapshot: -2 Dark Rebirth, -3 Pickpocket, +2 Crushing Blow, +3 Thieves Guild Shadowfoot. Meta became much more aggressive, these changes help the deck against agro decks.

Hey everyone!

New expansion means new decklist! I have been refining this list ever since Heroes of Skyrim came out, and managed to hit legend on July 2nd with an overall winrate or 82.05%, from rank 5 to Legend, by only playing Control Mage.

Before we get into it, I’d like to post here the article I’ve written on Between the Lanes. It’s entitled “How to improve as a Control player” and it aims at helping you understand important notions you would want to understand if you’re playing a lot of control decks. You can find the article here !

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How was Control Mage impacted by Heroes of Skyrim?

After the different nerfs to Control Mage (Mantikora, Healing Potion, Elusive Schemers, etc.), I did not think we would ever get back to a place where CM could improve on its current state. Turns out, I was wrong! Heroes of Skyrim brought us a nice package of important cards that are making the deck even more versatile, and able to answer almost every situation.

Now, let’s keep the introduction to CM. If you want, you can go and check my previous Mage decks that are in my profile that provide an introduction to what is Control Mage. Let’s jump directly into the card choices!

Card choices:

Once again, Supreme Atromancer is not in this list. Especially with Heroes of Skyrim, Atromancer is absolutely unecessary. You can still play it, but the deck plays much more smoothly without them. Just my opinion!

I will indicate when an old set of cards were replaced by a new one, so you can keep track of the changes much more easily.

Dark Rebirth: Replacing Brilliant Experiment.

Dark Rebirth is simply a faster Brilliant Experiment that triggers the Last Gasp effect of a creature (just a small plus) and replays the card immediately. Triggering the Last Gasp effect is only relevant to our deck because of Elusive Schemers, which is very powerful in the control mirror (drawing as many Schemers as you can in the control mirror is usually a win condition). But its power resides in its versatility. Since you don’t have to pay the mana cost of the creature you’re Rebirthing, you can immediately gain life with Knight of the Hour, re-trigger your Mantikoras, Miraak, Odahviing, Bringer of Nightmares, Riften Pickpocket, Ayrenn and so on. Finally, if you have an Ancano in your hand or on the board, Dark Rebirth suddenly reads “3 Magicka: Deal 5 damage”. Another way of winning the game!

Mage’s Trick: Replacing Cunning Ally.

I’ve read a lot of stuff about this card. At first glance, paying 3 magicka to deal 1, draw 1, gain 1 life doesn’t seem that powerful. This card is often compared to Rapid Shot, even though the comparison should not be made. Rapid Shot basically says “Kill a creature or draw a card” whereas Mage’s trick says “Kill a creature and draw a card and gain 1 life”. Agreed, Mage’s trick costs 2 more, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay. The card also allows, on turn 3, to start setting up an Ice Storm (because of it’s ping effect). Mage’s trick is just a Jack of all trades, and I don’t think I will ever go back to playing Cunning Ally instead of them. My guess is, you just have to play with the card to realize how useful it is!

Riften Pickpocket: Replacing Wardcrafter.

My favorite card of Heroes of Skyrim. So yeah, we’re replacing a 2-drop for a 4-drop, but man what a 4-drop this is. I don’t know where to begin as this card does SO much:

1) The ability to choose what you want to draw is extremely relevant. Being able to adapt your draws to the situation you’re currently in is extremely strong when playing a control deck. When you’re playing Pickpocket, you’re almost never going to draw the most powerful card presented to you (when I mean “powerful card”, I mean in a vacuum. If you see Rapid Shot, Wardcrafter, Supreme Atromancer, the best card is fairly obvious). You’re going to draw the card that fits the situation you’re in the best. And that’s were Riften Pickpocket shines, it allows you to adapt.

2) You do see 3 cards from your opponent’s deck, which means it gives you information on what type of deck your opponent is currently playing. That’s never something to pass on, especially if you’re playing control. As I said before, it’s hard to outsmart a strategy you haven’t think of.

3) This card is an absolute bomb in the mirror matchup. Being able to draw a 4th Mantikora, 2nd Miraak, 4th Lightning Bolt or even a 4th Schemer is nuts.

4) Your opponent doesn’t see what card you’re getting from Pickpocket. Meaning, they can’t play around it. Information is power!

Bringer of Nightmares: Replacing Fate Weaver.

Probably my second favorite card from the Heroes of Skyrim. Bringer of Nightmares gives CM a polymorph/silence effect! This is exactly what we needed to counter card that really hurs us, like Eclipse Baroness, Sower of Revenge, and everything that requires a Silence to be properly answered.
When you play this card, there is 4 possible outcomes you need to consider:

1) Well first, you can just outright win the game on a high roll. If you get things like Paarthurnax, Odahviing, Alduin… It’s game over.

2) It does exactly what you want it to do. Transform a threat into a cheap creature, or into a creature you can manage on the spot (Execute, Firebolt, and so on).

3) You see a big creature from Bringer of Nightmares, and you just can’t transform what you wanted originally into it. Therefore, you have to transform one of your creature, resulting in improving your own board instead of controlling your opponent’s.

4) Worst case scenario, very unlikely, you see a creature you really don’t want to transform another into, either one of yours or theirs.

Overall, it’s a formidable replacement for Fate Weaver, which was only there to draw more cards. But since we’re playing Riften Pickpocket instead of Warcrafter, we still have the same number of card draw engine.

Ancano: Replacing Nahrkiin, Dragon Priest.

This card is so powerful that you would still play it in all your blue based decks if it didn’t say “Your spells have breakthrough”. It’s even sometimes a negative effect, when for example you want to Ice Storm a board and not destroy a rune. Ancano is considered as the blue Tazkad, and rightfully so. It’s just a powerhouse. It replaces Nahkriin (which was never a must-have in control mage), costs 1 less magicka, and IS a must-have.

In conclusion, Heroes of Skyrim brought us a fair amount of new cards that greatly improve Control Mage, and I believe this list to be one of the most effective out there.

As always, feel free to ask me any question, I’ll be glad to answer them ;)

See you guys on the ladder!

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97 Comments

Vayelin 2 weeks ago
Thanks for sharing!
So you've removed shadowfoots(shadowfeet?) and brought back schemers. Is the steal effect not good enough?
1 Reply
No, I love shadowfoot, it's a very powerful card. I'd go -3 Schemers, +3 Shadowfoot in a very fast metagame where I wanna play something on turn 3. I'd keep the Schemers in a slow metagame, and i'm playing in a slow metagame right now.
u dont actually play this deck am i right? u play aggro orc for ladder
3 Replies
I am playing this deck. Some of us don't like playing agro decks :)
3asybash2k 2 weeks ago
ah ok i remembered ur name and i thought u played the orc deck gainst me today in ladder.

is bringer of the nightmares a wabbajack on a stick? seems too op for me.
Yep, it's a Wabbajack on a stick. Definitely a powerful card.
Stylez79 2 weeks ago
Thanks for the Deck blackfall, i waiting for this.
1 Reply
You're welcome, hope you'll enjoy it ;)
I am new player but i like control decks. I have all the cards but i dont have the legendary cards except Ancano. Could you give me suggestion what legendary cards are the most important to this deck ? I have few souls to craft some of them.
4 Replies
Sure thing. If you don't have any legendaries that are in the deck except for Ancano, then your priority number 1 is Odahviing. Very powerful card, and it's played in a good number of decks.

Then, I would go like this:

Ayrenn >>>>> 1st Dawn's Wrath > Miraak > 2nd Dawn's Wrath > x3 Daggerfall Mages > x3 Bringer of Nightmares.

In the meantime, you can replace the x3 Daggerfall Mages with x3 Telvanni Arcanists, it works just fine! It's obviously not as powerful, but the Arcanists are the best replacement for the Daggerfalls.
Thank you for the reply.
One more thing. I noticed that the Knight of the hour is Dark Brotherhood card. Can I use Mystic Dragons instead or is there better card to use ?
Not really, Knight is important because it's your main source of healing, you need it.
Well I mean, Cloudrest is a good replacement for knight of the Honor, you dont NEED healing, you just want it
Yehtox48 2 weeks ago
Is it capable of beating prophecy mage with echo and praetorian ?
1 Reply
It is definitely capable of doing that, but the games are very tricky. You have to be extremely efficient in your plays.
bankai12 2 weeks ago
Hi Blackfall
Really enjoyed reading your guides that are so informative for a noob like me!

Can I ask you a couple of questions?
1) How successful have you been against pratorean/echo decks? What's your strategy against them? I have been looking to midrange decks like Merrric, Assassin, lately to counter that strategy. And how come you didn't include echo/PC yourself if you want to play the value oriented late game?
2) What's your game plan against dragon ramp scout? With their multitudes of big dragons, shouts, and hist grove, I feel they overrun me late game with big stuff!
3) How do you fare against aggro like orc warrior? You don't have many prophecies. I often straight out lose because I don't get a good opening hand with early drops and my prophecies don't trigger.

Sorry a lot of questions but really keen to make control Mage work and beat the echo PC and Orc Aggro meta :p
1 Reply
Blackfall 2 weeks ago
Hey there :) That is indeed a lot of questions!

1) I'm doing ok against them. As I said multiple times, it's a very tricky match-up. You have to be efficient in your plays, and know when you need to become the aggressor. High rolling on your pickpocket (getting either a Commander or Echo) is also a reliable option to get back ahead, or at least on an even ground. I didn't include Echo or PC because they don't belong in a control shell. And I'm just not gonna take the easy way out by playing those 2 cards. I like to win because I found out a gameplan and stuck to it.

2) That's the thoughest match-up for this deck. Dragon scout is extremely resilient, and it's hard to outvalue them. Again, you need to know when it's time to become the aggressor, and just end the game as soon as possible.

3) I'm doing really well against Orcs. Mage's trick helps a lot. The match-up is still in our favor, wether the decklist is pre-HoS or post-HoS.

To be fair, this deck is very hard to play, especially if you're a new player. If you're trying to counter those Echo/PC decks, I don't recommend this deck. I honestly have no idea, for the moment, how to counter effectively those decks. This Control Mage does okay, but the games are very hard.

This deck has a very pure control style, and if you're new to this game, or just new to card games in general, this deck's not a good choice :/
bankai12 2 weeks ago
Thanks so much Blackfall!

Well I've been hearthstone since release but I'm not a good player so hence I call myself noob :) still determined to try learn as I like control style and want to improve my game

So it seems the main thing about beating PC Echo and ramp dragon is knowing when to be aggressor and being efficient. Can you expand on what you mean by that?
how do i know when to be aggressor and does that just mean going face or taking good trades?
And super efficient means getting at least 3 for 1 trades from ice storm etc?
I did read your control article by the way :)

Blackfall wrote:
Hey there :) That is indeed a lot of questions!

1) I'm doing ok against them. As I said multiple times, it's a very tricky match-up. You have to be efficient in your plays, and know when you need to become the aggressor. High rolling on your pickpocket (getting either a Commander or Echo) is also a reliable option to get back ahead, or at least on an even ground. I didn't include Echo or PC because they don't belong in a control shell. And I'm just not gonna take the easy way out by playing those 2 cards. I like to win because I found out a gameplan and stuck to it.

2) That's the thoughest match-up for this deck. Dragon scout is extremely resilient, and it's hard to outvalue them. Again, you need to know when it's time to become the aggressor, and just end the game as soon as possible.

3) I'm doing really well against Orcs. Mage's trick helps a lot. The match-up is still in our favor, wether the decklist is pre-HoS or post-HoS.

To be fair, this deck is very hard to play, especially if you're a new player. If you're trying to counter those Echo/PC decks, I don't recommend this deck. I honestly have no idea, for the moment, how to counter effectively those decks. This Control Mage does okay, but the games are very hard.

This deck has a very pure control style, and if you're new to this game, or just new to card games in general, this deck's not a good choice :/
Thanks for the deck ~ (ᵔᴥᵔ)
Hi Blackfall!Again a great CM deck I would like to try!Last one worked great for me I was so close to hitting legends.
I just have few questions

I dont have 2 Dawns Wrath and 2 Bringer of Nightmares.Any suptitutes? I just got a 1500 dust drop,I was thinking of crafting my first Dawns Wrath?

And can you give us any muligan tips?
Thanks!
1 Reply
I'm glad you're liking it :)

I think you should craft your 2 Dawn's right away, then finish with the Bringers. Dawn's wrath is a hard card to replace, so you should craft them asap. However, you can play the 3 Fate weavers instead of the Bringers (in the meantime).

For the mulligan guide, I have to wait for the metagame to define itself!
Love this deck, but I found it just a touch top-heavy and slow vs aggro. My solution was to remove 1 x Mantikora & 1 x Dawn's Wrath and replace them with 2 x Wardcrafter. This seems to be working better for me (and has the added advantage of being cheaper to craft if you need to) :-)

As ever, however, your CM Decks are both elegant and inspiring. Good job!
1 Reply
Thanks for the kind words, hope you'll have fun with it ;) However, if you want to have a faster match-up against agro, you shouldn't remove 1 Mantikora and 1 Dawn's. You should go -3 Pickpocket and either +3 Bruma profiteer or +3 Wardcrafters.
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