[G9/BWG] Control Mage

By: GunterNine
View other Decks by GunterNine
Posted: 6 months ago
Updated: 4 months ago
Outdated (Madness patch)
Crafting Cost: 15100crystal
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Welcome to Control Mage - SoS Edition.

There are many versions of Control Mage, and this is just one of them.

This deck started out as a Stealer of Secrets deck, but has since morphed into a version of Control Mage with it's own, and new, identity. This, also, is in fact one of the cheapest and consistent control decks that I've ever had the pleasure of piloting. (Special thanks to Midstorm of the BWG for pointing me at this monstrosity, and GicaForta for brainstorming.)

If you are not familiar with Stealer of secrets, let me enlighten you.

The deck is based around a one turn kill combo involving Stealer of Secrets, Shadowmere, Mentor's Ring, and as many actions as you can cast.

Executing the combo:

Step 0) Survive long enough to get 12 magicka and enough actions in your discard to kill your opponent.
Step 1) Play Shadowmere to a lane, preferably one without a guard, or at least a guard that has four toughness or less.
Step 2) Play Stealer of Secrets in the same lane, or the other lane if there is no guard.
Step 3) Play Mentor's Ring on the Shadowmere to give Stealer of Secrets "Charge".
Step 4) Swing with Stealer of Secrets, and/or Shadowmere if necessary.

See? Pretty simple. How we get there is an entirely different story.

First, let's start with identifying this combo's main weaknesses.

First? Hallowed Deathpriest is one of the bigger threats to this combo, because the deck only runs 2 stealers and can only run 1 Shadowmere, so if any of those get hit, you are in big trouble.
Next up? Piercing Twilight is an annoyance, but not an outright game loss. It can hit a few of your spells which can make things difficult, but you can still win.
Lastly? Memory Wraith is a big pain. Early in the game, it's not so bad, but late in the game it can be devestating.

But wait, there's more!!!

There is a critical weakness to this deck that doesn't involve any specific creatures or spells, and that's straight up game mechanics. You can, and will eventually, find yourself against an opponent who knows what your deck is about. And when you do, they will simply stop playing creatures and let you draw out. Your hand will eventually fill up, and you will lose key combo pieces, because we can only hold ten cards in our hand. If you are playing against a House, this makes it an "easy win" for them, as opposed to a Class.

Now this is where the evolution of the deck has come in. Over the last 2 months of playing this deck I've identified these weaknesses and started working on potential solutions.

The first (second) evolution was adding in The Night Mother. This addition was realized while dealing with the aforementioned "losing to card draw". If your opponent doesn't play any creatures, you can't play your control spells and you lose. But, what if you gave them creatures so you could cast your spells? Not to mention that the deck itself is focused around destroying your opponent's creatures anyway, so if works as a secondary win condition at the same time!

The second (third) evolution plays off of the first, and that is the inclusion of Mage's Guild Retreat. Another support that works synergistic with our deck that is filled with actions. By casting at least 2 spells a turn we get a free 5/3 Breakthrough, 5/5 Guard, or a 7/5 Ward Atronach. This provides additional threats, and if left unchecked these summons can make the SoS kill a lot easier.

Now, you are probably listening to that little voice in your head that says that these supports won't last or be effective, because they will be removed. And it's true. We are currently in an anti-support meta with spells like Edict of Azure, Dismantle, and creatures like Dishnikh Yal Archer, Shadowfen Priest, and Vicious Dreugh. But, the silver lining you aren't looking at is that sixty percent of those cards are creatures, and our deck loves to eat creatures.

So even if they do remove your MGR and/or TNM, you have a good chance to get value out of forcing your opponent to interact with you. And with that said let's move on.

Card Selection:

Execute: Simple and cheap spell used to take out creatures with low power.
Firebolt: Simple 2 damage to a creature, to either finish it off or kill it outright
Crushing Blow: A versatile card that will allow you to nuke creatures, or close the gap by four points for Stealer.

Dragon Aspect: An aside about this inclusion, THIS was actually the first major modification made from Midstorms original concept. Given that we are playing the "long game" with this deck and going to be seeing approximately 80% of the deck in our hand at any given point, this cards inclusion makes for a good "removal" card early game and a great "removal" card late game. It can also have the secondary ability to provide additional life which increases the decks surviveability.

Firestorm: Baby Ice Storm, also a prophecy so it can be a "free" creature kill spell.
Lightning Bolt: A staple of 4 damage to a creature or to the dome (Sometimes that little bit to the skull makes Stealer's job easier)
Cast into Time: Could we really call this a control deck without one of the best removal spells in the game? Great for removing a single creature, even better for removing troublesome creatures... that's multiple.. from the match!
Piercing Javelin: Another great removal tool for individual creature removal, regardless of health level. And even if it doesn't have the additional effect that Cast through Time does, in removing multiple threats, it does have the chance to be cast for "free" in being a prophecy.
Ice Storm: Daddy Firestorm. This is a staple in removing and slowing down hyper aggressive strategies. Use it wisely.
Spirit Knife: Originally I thought this was a bad card, but the ability to deal out 7 damage plays well for late game removal of high health creatures, along with the "draw a card" mechanic, to dig faster for combo pieces.
Ancano: Yes, he's control. He's 8 Magicka for 5 damage and a 5/5 body leftover to be more removal. His breakthrough ability is also synergistic with spells like Ice Storm and Lightning Bolt.
Dawn's Wrath: Sometimes you just need to clear the board. This is also a great tool to use against creatures that you can't directly target. Don't be afraid to use this to clear a single creature from the board, over a wipe, especially if it's a creature that you can't deal with effectively.

But, we're not done yet. If we packed ONLY removal and damage spells, we wouldn't survive all that long. I mean, sure, we'd have a pretty good chance, but it's not enough in most cases. This is why we include the following.

Supporting Ensemble:

Healing Potion: An aside to talk about this card. I can't express how valuable this card is to the deck, and it really is what separates it from it's Battlemage brother version. With 3 of these in the deck and the serious potential to see all 3 (maybe 4+ from Revealing the unseen) over the time of the match effectively starts you with 45 health instead of 30. That's a lot of health for an opponent to eat through, especially when they are struggling to keep creatures on the board. What's more is that it is a prophecy, so early game damage could be entirely negated when they proc a rune. Speaking of, the additional 15 health between the 3 copies in the deck make it "safe' to allow up to 3 rune procs and draws before needing to refill your health bar.

Ice Spike: This helps whittle down your opponent's health, making Stealer's job easier, and helping you dig to the combo.
Dismantle: Who doesn't hate pesky support cards, like Necromancer's Amulet for example. I've found myself actually tutoring for this at 12 magicka more often than I have tutored for Shadowmere or Stealer of Secrets.
Revealing the Unseen: While this deck has a plethora of action spells dedicated to removal and utility, sometimes 39 just isn't enough! Besides, if your opponent catches on to what you are doing, this will give you additional actions for Stealer and provide some mystery that they cannot account for.
Knife to the Throat: Sometimes all you need to do is silence a creature. The drawing of a card is certainly a bonus that helps us dig.
Merchant's Camel: Another digging tool, and potentially damage to the dome or annoyance for ground forces.
Laaneth: Combo piece, or toolbox, tutor. (Get's a second link, because... Laaneth!)
Paarthurnax is a late game threat, and this deck always reaches the late game, that must be answered. If you are low on actions in your hand he will provide an additional 3, if you are at "overdraw" it's three more cards into your discard. He also functions as a "wincon", seeing as a single swing with him will nullify 29.7% of your opponent's maximum health. Not to mention, there's the possibility of getting Aspect 4-6, or being able to revive a lost creature with a Soul Tear.

So, there you have it. Do you have the knowledge and the skill to survive long enough against the hordes or Orcs, Vipers, Dragons and Gods to steal a few games from your fellow players?

Load 'er up, and find out!

Deck updates made Feb 23, 2019

Reverberating Strike removed for Crushing Blow increase. Found that additional "Direct Damage" was more valuable in cases where "overdraw" was an issue.
Removed Namira's Shrine, even as a one of it was a "dead card" 95% of the time.
Traded Crucible for a second Mentor's Ring, drawing into the ring works just as effectively, if not better, than tutoring for it. As well, providing another creature for your opponent to "get gas" proved to be detrimental.
Brass Arquebus, contradictory to providing your opponent with another creature, the Arquebus provides a tutoring outlet to find Shadowmere which is a Unique card, unlike Mentor's Ring and Stealer of Secrets.
Paarthurnax is a late game threat, and this deck always reaches the late game, that must be answered. If you are low on actions in your hand he will provide an additional 3, if you are at "overdraw" it's three more cards into your discard. He also functions as a "wincon" 1.5, seeing as a single swing with him will nullify 29.7% of your opponent's maximum health.

If you made it this far, then congrats and thank you! You've earned the "pro tip" for playing this deck. Want to know what it is? Here: Do not play this deck on the ladder unless you've already made Legend or are going for a promotion match. At a 75% WR it will take you approximately 7 hours to go up one rank, considering this deck usually takes 25+ minutes to finish a match.

Deck updates made March 26, 2019 See new writeup above.

In light of recent matches, especially in higher legend where players can identify the deck easier, I've found that opponents do not play nearly enough creatures and I will find myself at risk of "decking" myself, so I've now included The Night Mother into the deck. The Night Mother provides the necessary bodies for our removal suite to capitalize on, in the case of our opponent deciding they don't want to entertain us. As well, our deck is designed to remove creatures from the board anyway, so this acts almost as a secondary win condition.

Another addition has been Immolating Blast. This is a weaker Ice Storm in my opinion, and it's RNG focused, but it is one of the only cards that will hit both lanes with mass 'destroy' effects,

Removed were Brass Arquebus, as Laaneth provides a better tutor overall. And we've reduced Revealing the Unseen down to 2 so as to reduce the chance of our hand getting "clogged".

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midstorm 6 months ago
Nice write up Gunter my man!
Just a couple things to add, I'm in favor early game of just allowing them to get a controlled amount of hits in, save the healing in hand and heal back up after drawing a few cards from broken runes, just to dig a little faster. Unless its a deck with reach (charging creatures, or spell face damage plus reach), then you're going to lose life anyway and you don't want to go far below 15 with opponents like those.
Another thing is camel: you could even go to 3 of these, they don't just dig, they are also likely to put 2 actions in the graveyard each time they are played!
That's it,
and I also want to give a shout out to Gamaeuler, who first turned me on to the sos deck types months ago. Thanks Gama! And thanks Gunter!
1 Reply
Thanks Mid,

You are entirely right about letting your opponent get the "edge" on you in the early game to take advantage of the rune proc's and card draw.

Next part of the write-up: Strategy and Scenarios... ;)
midstorm 6 months ago
cool, love it.
You're going to have to compile it all for the blog too, and send it to Holoir.
MaxisZ 5 months ago
Nice fun combo deck
Camel can ruin combo if it shows 2 Stealer of Secrets + Shadowmere
Above problem of this deck is overdraw instead draw
1 Reply
Thanks for the input MaxisZ, and you are right, Camel can screw you occassionally, but the odds of it showing you that exact combination are slim to very very slim, and I feel that it is worth that risk.

And yes, you are right, the deck does have a tendency to overdraw if you aren't careful with spell use. This becomes a serious problem if you face off against another HARD control deck, but those are not as common as Soft to Medium control decks, which is what this deck preys on.
MaxisZ 5 months ago
GunterNine hi, what you think about this rebalance ?
May be Mage's Trick instead Ice Spike: + board control and life gen
-2 Namira's Shrine (oops you already did it :) )
+1 Merchant's Camel of course
+2 vicious dreugh (supports are really annoying)
-1 Knife to the Throat (it was totally useless in my experience. I want a wipe for 4 mana)
-3 Revealing the Unseen (they were weak enough too. since they still don't allow 30 hp otk. most often the preference is faster break the rune and speed up finish)
ps i like new ideas Brass and Paarthurnax

1 Reply
I like the idea of Dreugh, and you are right, supports are really annoying. But I want to restrict the number of actual creatures that are in the deck so as to not give the opponent a chance to capitalize on mechanics just as Slay. The original version ran Mage's Trick, and might be worth looking into again.

I can't drop Revealing the Unseen. They've provided too much value for me, but if they are proving to be "too weak" for the meta you are finding, then by all means cut them!
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