The decklist is currently up-to-date as of 19th March 2017
Hi there, my name is slw, you may know me from my stream at twitch.tv/s_l_w or from my guide on the older version of this deck at https://betweenthelanes.net/2016/09/02/deck-feature-s_l_ws-combo-battlemage/.
Ever since I seen the fatal_fail's first version
I almost immediately felt in love and been playing, streaming, enjoying and refining this deck for the last 2 months.
It seems that finally the meta became extremely favoured for this type of deck (hist grove scout is one of the better matchups, and withered hand archer which preys upon merric has become almost extinct), I am holding, losing and retaining rank #1 spot for over 5 days with it. Proof1 Proof2 Proof3 Proof4
For anybody familiar with hearthstone the deck will remind you a malygoslock/rogue feeling.
For a minor sellout, I will write an updated and more detailed guide if this gets more than 15 upvotes
UPD: Got the upvotegoal, will make sure to deliver an entertaining guide in a couple of days, watch closer
Well, I like to mention that this deck is a hybrid and will keep doing it.
1a. Control deck.
More often than not (every matchup except scout and controlmage) you will start the game (and often end it) being the control deck. Main target for your burn spells is the board and not the face. Don't attack pass 26hp when enemy board is not empty. If enemy has 2/1 on board, don't hesitate to spend a token to clear it.
Try to set-up a good icestorm if you draw it. Save tokens and elixir for it.
1b. Aggro deck
Sometimes you draw double crystal crystal tower or crystal tower + bannerman and should consider doing the so-called "racing". When you "race" you start hitting face and try to kill your opponent before killing you.
To figure out if you can afford racing try to predict if you can win with what you have on board+what you have in hand. Usually you shouldn't race unless you have a likely 3-turn lethal. The most important cards for this strategy is crystal tower crafter/bannerman [only two threats which can race] and beligerent giant [a card which will totally outtempo his counter-racing attempt].
Against scout and controlmage you generally try to win with atromancer. Against controlmage it's still correct to attack on every opportunity, but not so against scout. If the matchup requires having high comboburst save tokens.
Ok, guys, it's complicated. So the way I will explain it will be step-by-step guide, so try applying it from top-to-bottom for every time you mulligan.
Aggressive classes include crusader, assassin, warrior, battlemage.
1)Keep cunning ally, daggerfall mage, crystal tower crafter
2)Keep firebolt against non-ctrlmage non-scout
3)Keep firebolt against scout if you kept crystal tower crafter
4)Keep wardcrafter against aggressive classes or against control classes if you kept a 3-drop or crystal tower
5)Keep breton conjurer vs ctrlmage
6)Keep bannerman vs ctrlmage, scout.
7)Keep bannerman if you kept "enough" cards ("enough" is subjective)
8)Keep icestorm vs spellsword
9)Keep harpy against aggressive classes, curpurse classes and alkosh.
10)Keep rapidshot if you kept a 2-3 magicka creature or firebolt
11)Keep crushing blow against aggressive classes, archer, spellsword.
12)Keep Earthbone vs sorcerer or vs assassin if you keep "enough" cards.
Bannerman is very tough for them to deal with, elixir it and protect it. don't attack them too much unless you feel like you can just kill them. Usually you should save tokens for atromancer
Nonstandard control decks (sorcerer, spellsword, warrior)
If the game goes long they will die to your insane burst, they have less heal and less grinding potential than ctrlmage. Their main chance to win is to rush you down, and controldecks by their costruction are not well-suited to rushing people down.
Somewhat good matchups
Remove everything he plays, he will eventually run out of stuff. Don't forget to play around burn and pillage. You rarely should attack them pass 26.
Assassins of various sorts
Never attack pass 26 unless you got the board control. Remove everything, don't hesitate to spend tokens. At some point you may want to hit face, and icestorm all the prophecies away.
Try to bait his removal before playing bannerman, don't overextend into dawn's. Consider saving blows/bolts for facedamage. It's stometimes good to play your atromancer as pseudo-icestorm (you play atromancer -> he is forced to storm and clears his own board). Harpy should be used to prevent tribune/ shackle oda or to setup merric. Keep raiding party + merric combo in your mulligan (but only together).
Never attack pass 26 unless it's an attack with bannerman. Try to plan how to deal with golden saint. It's often worth to be greedy with icestorm and try to get unsane value from it.
Non-withered hand archer
Very interesting matchup to play from both sides. Try to play around marshal. They usually have few ways to deal with atromancer, so sometimes atromancer on a relatively even board wins. Quite often you can combo-kill them too.
Despite them playing withered hand cultist this matchup isn't that bad as with withered archer. They are playing few relevant prophecies so the racing plan works. Also they tend to run out of cards faster than an archer.
Noticably hardder than its token cousin (icestorm is worse), still you should approach the same plan. If you can you need to try to prevent blackworm/ golden saint, but don't try too hard.
Somewhat unfavoured matchups
Try to keep the board clear and outlast them. Matchup usually comes to them drawing bone colossi in time or to you dying from blackworm necro early on.
Try to control the board early. If they get fervor consider switching to the aggroplan. Always keep in mind the threat of quinrawl or other pilfer creatures, harpies are very valuable in this MU.
Complicated. You really need to draw spinner in time and save it for breton/haunting spirit buffed threats/stornhelm. Racing them through opposite lanes usually works, so is comboing them down. Problem arrises when you don't draw your aggressive cards and can't clear their warded board.
WIthered hand archer
Cry, try to clear and pray he will run out of stuff. Sometimes works, usually not.
1)Attacking too much.
If you lost the game when your opponent was on <26 hp at the end it was probably your fault. Try to keep in mind all those games so together with experience you will get the feeling when do you need to attack and when you don't.
The way the game works is that you should use elixir for your "power"-turns. "Power"-turns with this deck include playing bannerman, playing icestorm, playing merric, playing atromancer and crystal tower + spells.
Since the list is so large number of elixirs you need to spend is large too. It's almost never correct to elixir out a 2-drop, say.
3)Going for lethal/merric when it's safer not too.
The deck should be played as control deck more often than a combo. If you see an exact lethal vs prophecy assassin, you shouldn't even try. If you see a chance to play merric without killing opponent's bannerman yo ushould probably not.
5.Decklist and matchup suggestions
Atm I am switching between three decklists over and over. https://gyazo.com/5c690df78775b151ba32065225c84afc https://gyazo.com/bf2506f0b6c7677c374e22d05dba658b https://gyazo.com/cd56ccf4af359d5b0cd8966ecaa7ddc4
Depending on the matchups you face, skaven pyro or dark rift can be either insane or atrocious. Dark rift is generally better against controlly decks and skaven against aggressive or token-driven decks. I suggest to not play dark rifts unless you have all three since dark rift is a type of card which is really insane if you get it turn 2 and mediocre otherwise.
If you lack some cards from the deck I suggest to take a look on how many cards do you have from the following 69-cards picture https://gyazo.com/c6ddc72cab83faee14f03cfd2e3a97a1 . If it's more than 50, cut some ards to make curve look similar to what I have in my deck and you can play it.
To be succesful you need at least three combopieces (and if you don't have a 4th try including schemers/ vigilant giants) and all three bannermen/icestorm. If you don't have daggerfalls don't worry, they are not essential really, just really good.
Many thanks to bgoldt for deckbuilding lessons, to fatal_fail for his original deck idea, to MercurialAir whose cardchoices I was using during the evolution of a deck. Special thanks to RomanesqueHS, EntaroThomas and Eon for extensive playtest, deck discussion and card suggestions.
Feel free to check my older guide at https://betweenthelanes.net/2016/09/02/deck-feature-s_l_ws-combo-battlemage/
, it contains a lot of useful info as well.
Hope you liked it,