Introduction


Note: If you want to know what the Pros think of Freeze Mage, skip to the end. We ask players like Amaz and Gaara on what they think about the Freeze Mage.

Freeze Mage is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, deck used in today’s meta. It originated in beta when Frost Nova

and Blizzard
costed 1 less, this let the deck stall even more than it does in this meta and even without Mad Scientist
it was absolutely insane, one of the other reason to its success was Pyroblast
since it costed 8 Mana at the time, that let you also cast i.e. another Frostbolt
after playing it. That combined with Ice Block
led to Freeze Mage being a completely broken deck, crushing most opposition. The deck has since then been nerfed a couple of time, mainly with the Pyroblast
nerfed and the cost increase of both Frost Nova
and Blizzard
. It has gotten better over  the past year due to a couple of buffs. Not directly on cards but instead on new expansions, most notably through the release of Emperor Thaurissan
and  Mad Scientist
.

General Strategy


Freeze Mage is famous for a couple of things:

1. Playing it feels like playing solitaire.

2. People claim there is 0 counter-play against it.

3. It instantly loses to Control Warrior (kind of true).

Unfortunately, this is kind of true. Sometimes you find yourself just playing against the clock to get Alexstrasza

in time or put the Ice Block
in time but often you feel safe stalling the game with a couple of heals (Antique Healbot
) and Ice Block
backing you up. The purpose of this deck is playing solitaire, you’re trying to get the right combination with your cards. One of the most important cards is Alexstrasza
, it’s an 8/8 for 9, not very impressive stats, it’s the effect that makes it an absolute godsend to this deck. Its effect lets you set a characters HP to 15 and allows you to unleash your damage spells. The deck contains enough damage through spells to deal 36 damage, straight out. and that’s not even counting Alexstrasza
, who usually deals around 13-15 damage depending on how much you’ve dealt to the opponent previously.

The main strategy of the deck is just to stall until you have the combo pieces needed to win the game, the combo pieces varies but most often it’s Alexstrasza

+ 15 damage. Often it’s Fireball
+ Frostbolt
+ Ice Lance
+ Ice Lance
or Fireball
+ Fireball
+ Frostbolt
, but with the release of Emperor Thaurissan
 it has enabled some other combos. Most notably it allowed Pyroblast
into the deck. Pyroblast was usually not run in the previous versions of the deck due to it costing 10 mana and not allowing you to play other damage card in the turn you play it. With Emperor Thaurissan
you can now cast Pyroblast
together with a Frostbolt
and an Ice Lance
, if you’ve used Thaurissan of course.

The introduction of Thaurissan also led me to include one of my absolute favorite card, Malygos

. Malygos is a cool card. It’s not very flashy and could often not be combo’d the turn you used him, due to his high mana cost. Thaurissan helped out a lot in the way that it can reduce Malygos’ cost along with some other cards to allow for instant 17 damage combos (Malygos
+ Frostbolt
+ Ice Lance
) That costs 9 mana if their cost has been reduced by one, which is a very normal scenario given the decks draw engine and card advantage. Malygos allows for some insane combos with lethals that would otherwise not be possible.

So, you’ve basically understood the basics. In the early game set up Ice Block

and Ice Barrier
. Draw cards through Loot Hoarder
, Arcane Intellect
and Acolyte of Pain
. Then reduce the cost of your cards using Emperor Thaurissan
for some lethals through
or through Malygos
. The deck concept is very simple, stall the game and then kill them in one or two turns. The hard part of this deck is using your resources in just the right way. I’ll cover that later.

Card Choices


So, right off the bat there are a couple of cards I do not run, one of the more obvious ones being Archmage Antonidas

and instead I run Malygos
. Why you may ask? Well. They’re basically one of the win conditions in this deck, if we do not count in Alexstrasza
. Archmage Antonidas
‘s win condition is spawning infinite Fireball
s to deal around 12/13 damage just through spells, if you get the combo working, per turn. Malygos
is often used to deal massive damage in one turn with either Ice Lance
s or Frostbolt
s that have been reduced through Emperor Thaurissan
.

I personally run Malygos

instead of Archmage Antonidas
due to a couple of reasons. First of all I feel like Antonidas does not provide the burst damage that I like to use, instead it deals damage over a couple of turns and gives the opponent a chance to respond to Archmage Antonidas
and deal with it before getting to use its effect. Very rarely do I play Malygos
without having a lethal including him and even then the body is a lot better than Antonidas. A 4/12 is almost always better than a 5/7 due to its sheer ability to 2 for 1 or even, in some cases, 3 for 1.

So, in previous lists before Blackrock Mountain I used to run Archmage Antonidas

instead of Malygos
but after Blackrock it changed. Why? Well, there’s one card that was released in Blackrock that buffed this card beyond belief, I have already mentioned him but here’s all the reasons why Emperor Thaurissan
is such a good card.

Emperor Thaurissan

is definitely a card that everyone recognized as one of the best card in the expansion, if not the absolute best. This is due to the sheer amount of combos he produces. Combos that have previously not been possible (Malygos
) is one of the bigger reasons that the card deserves the 2nd best card in the deck. It allows for some crazy stuff like Fireball
+ Fireball
+ Frostbolt
+ Frostbolt
+ Ice Lance
+ Ice Lance
for a total of 26 damage. This only takes 8 mana if every card has been reduced by Emperor Thaurissan
. Even more, this allows for cheap board clears with Blizzard
, Flamestrike
and the Frost Nova
+ Doomsayer
for very little mana and allow for setting up stuff like Ice Block
or Ice Barrier
for very cheap and maybe playing some card draw like
too, allowing you to draw your combo pieces a lot faster and win the game.

So, I’m talking about how you are supposed to use your combo to win the game from no board control. “But WindUpRabbit, the deck consists of 30 cards! How am I supposed to draw the right cards for a combo?” Worry not young Timmy, there’s a huge draw engine behind all the damage cards. The main ones are Loot Hoarder

, Bloodmage Thalnos
, Acolyte of Pain
and Arcane Intellect
. These cards do not only allow you to keep some kind of early presence on board, but also fill your hand very quickly and allow you to always be able to either stall or dish out damage. One of the even more important card is Mad Scientist
. Mad Scientist
is the best card in the game, straight out. This card allows you to not only put a decent body on turn 2, it also allows you to PUT A 3 MANA SECRET IN PLAY. That’s incredibly good, as someone who has played Yu-Gi-Oh very competitively it’s basically that, you can not give a card an ability to draw cards and still have a decent body or not be cost expensive. That’s ridiculously good and honestly, it’s even better in Freeze Mage since you do not have to use 3 mana to set up an Ice Block
or Ice Barrier
and can instead use that mana to draw more cards. Not only that, it also thins out your deck! Amazing and can NOT be substituted for another card if you want to reach the high ranks with this deck.

So, other than that the deck contains mostly draw, such as Loot Hoarder

, Bloodmage Thalnos
, Arcane Intellect
and Acolyte of Pain
to allow you to draw cards. Against control you HAVE to keep an eye on your hand limit and not play cards like Acolyte of Pain
when the opponent has a possibility to make you burn cards. If you burn Alexstrazsa there’s a high chance that you lose.

Substitutions


Of course there are cards that can be substituted, especially in a deck where there are very many different win conditions that you can run. The “normal” deck-list runs Archmage Antonidas

and uses it combined with low cost spells such as Frost Nova
for a very high damage output with Fireball
s. I run the Malygos
version since I’m a huge fan of the card and it’s a lot better with the release of Thaurissan since it allows you to play Malygos
with spells, when before Blackrock Mountain this was not possible. This allows for Malygos
+ Frostbolt
+ Ice Lance
for 9 mana (if all have been reduced by Emperor Thaurissan
of course) for a total of 17 damage and if you have played Alexstrasza
before it kills them or sets them up next turn if they have healed previously.

Cards such as Bloodmage Thalnos

are very good but can be substituted for cards such as Loot Hoarder
if you do not have the sufficient collection. Unfortunately Doomsayer
s, Ice Block
s can not be substituted since they fill a unique part.

Tech Choices


So, this deck is actually not tech heavy, most of the cards in the deck are very important and can not be cut such as Fireballs, Frostbolts and other damage spells and Malygos

fills the same purpose as Archmage Antonidas
since they both act as late-game heavy hitters. If you’re against a LOT of face hunter you can switch in another Antique Healbot
instead of Malygos
and try to win just due to out-sustaining the opponent with Alexstrasza.

Pyroblast

is a card that has been heavily debated about. Are you supposed to have it in your deck? Keep it out of it since it doesn’t allow you to use other cards? The last question was the most popular BEFORE Blackrock Mountain, Pyroblast doesn’t allow you to play other burst cards that turn. But with Emperor Thaurissan
the look on this card has changed since you can often get it reduced to 9 mana along with Frostbolt
and Ice Lance
. If you really dislike this card, feel free to remove it and add more survival (Antique Healbot
) or more draw (another Loot Hoarder
). I personally love this card due to it’s amazing animation and just due to its sheer ability to close out games.

Unfortunately, I can’t help much with Tech Choices since it’s a fairly linear deck to build and most cards are auto-include. You can play the deck almost any way you like and can customize it with your play, I run the basic version and do not tech too much since it makes the deck too focused on defeating one type of deck instead of laddering.

Match-ups and Mulligan


So one of the more popular reasons why Freeze Mage is not recommended right now is due to the amount of Patron Warriors on the higher parts of the ladder and I agree, it’s a problem but it’s definitely not unwinnable since Patron Warriors do not run many armor giving cards, more on that later on. My win-rate this month can be seen here.

Vs Hunter


So, Hunter is a very disliked class, how come you may ask? Well, it’s very fast, it’s annoying to play against and it’s infuriating to always play at sub 15 hp. This deck does an excellent job of keeping them off your face. In this match-up you need to mulligan for aggressive cards such as Mad Scientist

and it’s VERY important that you get some board presence, or they’ll just win the game off you not having any board. Using removal on high value minions such as Knife Juggler
is DEFINITELY ok, against Hunter you will not win just by burst and instead you should try to just outlast them with healing, Ice Block
or Alexstrasza
. The match-up is a 60/40 in your favor

Mulligan

Look for:

– Mad Scientist


– Loot Hoarder

– Frostbolt

These cards are kept due to the sheer amount of board presence and value in the early game, these should always be tried to be kept. You do NOT want more than one Frostbolt

though since saving one for damage later is wise.

Rarely keep: (if you don’t want to mulligan your entire hand)

– Ice Barrier


–Antique Healbot

–Acolyte of Pain
.
–Doomsayer
+ Frost Nova

These cards should only be kept if you have to mulligan your entire hand otherwise, they’re worth keeping because they are ok against the match-up but are not needed to win.

Never keep:

–Alexstrasza


–Ice Block

–Emperor Thaurissan

High cost cards in general should NOT be kept against aggro since they add little to no early game.

These should be fairly straight forward, your goal is to get some board presence and draw enough cards to survive the early game and then seal the game when the opponent runs out of steam.

Against midrange hunter, a lot more prevalent nowadays you should play like you are against Face Hunter. Try not to take unnecessary face damage and avoid losing board presence. Make sure that you get value from your Mad Scientist

and if the opponent has a Freezing Trap
make sure to use something like Antique Healbot
to proc it and get value from the heal.

Vs Zoo


Zoo should be an easy match-up, they do not play any heals and you might often find yourself to have lethal with burst without using Alexstrasza due to the amount of tapping they do and they do usually not have the resources to deal enough damage to the opponent to pop the Ice Block

in time. Here it is also very important to keep an eye on your HP and their HP. Plan your moves to make sure you don’t screw up and accidentally put yourself in a bad position (getting your Ice Block
popped without follow-up or lethal on hand). Against Zoo you should easily be able to win unless you draw nothing in your opening hand and you get no draw/secrets/board in the early game. This all depends on your mulligan since it can make you lose the game or win it. Beware of Mal'Ganis
and try to play around it since it absorbs a
at the right time can be key to winning, and trying to minimize the opponents deathrattles (Nerubian Egg
by using cards like Blizzard
can be key to getting his board as small as possible and trying not to take much damage. Of course combos like Frost Nova
+ Doomsayer
can be good if the opponent does not have an Ironbeak Owl
.

Mulligan

Look for:

–Mad Scientist


–Doomsayer
+Frost Nova
(not on their own though.)
–Loot Hoarder

–Arcane Intellect

Rarely keep:

–Bloodmage Thalnos


–Acolyte of Pain

Never keep:

High cost minions/spells or damage spells, not going to be very specific since it’s most of the deck but if you want to see a bit more exact you can check the hunter section since it explains what cards should always be avoided at all times. Importance of keeping is in order.

Vs Handlock


Against Handlock you need to try to avoid getting their damage on board out of hand since they can easily pop your ice blocks fast. This is very important to avoid since it allows for the opponent to kill you before you can set up for lethal.

Most Handlocks run either one Antique Healbot

or two, that can be a problem if you only have exact 15 damage on your hand and if you don’t have the right amount of damage or stalling (Frost Nova
/ Blizzard
/ Ice Block
) then it might lead to a really big problem and a sticky situation.

Well, so how exactly do you deal with their giants? What I’ve been trying to do is try to bait them to believe that you have a Mirror Entity

by using cards like Mad Scientist
in the early game you can bait them into believing you’re a Tempo Mage, it’s a very good idea if you have the opportunity.

Mulligan

Look for:

–Mad Scientist


–Acolyte of Pain

–Arcane Intellect

–Loot Hoarder

–Bloodmage Thalnos

These cards are very good since they allow you to have some early pressure and draw potential for some sick Emperor Thaurissan

if you have a full hand and setting up for early secrets is incredibly important. Importance is in order.

Might keep:

–Doomsayer

+Frost Nova
(not on their own though.)

Never keep:

The rest of the cards in the deck, they’re not particularly good to keep since they add nothing to your opening.

Vs Control Warrior


So here, we have your kryptonite. Control Warrior build up a lot of armor, that’s part of their game plan. Survive until late game and use high cost legendaries to win. Sounds a bit like Freeze Mage right? Stalling cards then winning at late game, yeah it does sound like Freeze Mage. The difference lies in how they finish the game and how they stall. Freeze Mage stalls by using freeze and using cards to stop the opponent from attacking. Control Warrior does this by adding up armor to his health pool and surviving. So, if they both get to late game they should be able to have a fair match-up right? Well the main purpose of Freeze Mage is reducing their Health to 15 using Alexstrasza

and then bursting them down.

So here’s the main problem, Alexstrasza does NOT REMOVE THEIR ARMOR meaning they will have more than 30HP even after you play Alexstrasza. How you win in this match-up is using Malygos

with a lot of spells to remove their armor. How exactly do you get enough time to unleash your spells? Well, you need to be wise in this match-up with your key card, Emperor Thaurissan
. To win games against Control Warrior you NEED to play it at the right moment. The right moment is using it to reduce the cost of cheap spells and Malygos
to allow for a very high damage turn to reduce their armor after Alexstrasza
. Lucky for us, the most amount of healing a Control Warrior uses is Alexstrasza
.

Mulligan

Look for:

–Mad Scientist


–Arcane Intellect

–Acolyte of Pain

–Loot Hoarder

These cards have bodies (most of them) and allows for you to remove their early game armor and draw cards. Again, putting secrets on the board ASAP is very important and allows you to safely play the early game without worries of them bursting you down quickly.

Might keep:

–Doomsayer

+Frost Nova
(not on their own though.)
–Emperor Thaurissan
only keep this if you have enough spells and Malygos
to play it on turn 6 without worries.

Never look for:

Rest of the cards since they add nothing to the early game and will probably be drawn later.

Vs Patron Warrior


Patron Warrior is better to play against than Control Warrior since it doesn’t allow the Warrior to run too much armor givers, unfortunately this is slowly changing. More and more Patron Warriors run Shield Block

and Shield Slam
as an engine nowadays, instead of cards such as Gnomish Inventor
.

Again, this deck should play played against like you play against Control Warrior. Getting value from Emperor Thaurissan

is key to remove their armor after Alexstrasza
. Again, this should otherwise be a fairly straight forward match-up, use Flamestrike
when you have to clear the patrons. Make sure they will not get any value from Frothing Berserker
by keeping their board clear so they do not get too buffed up (clearing Ice Block
means you lose).

Mulligan:

Look for:

–Mad Scientist


–Arcane Intellect

–Acolyte of Pain

–Loot Hoarder

These cards have bodies (most of them) and allows for you to remove their early game armor and draw cards. Again, putting secrets on the board ASAP is very important and allows you to safely play the early game without worries of them bursting you down quickly.

Might keep:

–Doomsayer

+Frost Nova
(not on their own though.)
–Emperor Thaurissan
only keep this if you have enough spells and Malygos
to play it on turn 6 without worries.

Never keep:

Rest of the cards since they add nothing to the early game and will probably be drawn later.
Again, same as Control Warrior here.

Vs Other Classes


The rest of the classes are almost non-existent on the ladder and should be approached on the same way as  match-ups play out the same way.

Always keep:
–Mad Scientist


–Arcane Intellect

–Loot Hoarder

Sometimes keep:
–Bloodmage Thalnos


–Doomsayer
+Frost Nova
(not on their own though.)

Never keep:
Any other card, since they don’t help your early game.

That’s about it for the mulligans, unfortunately there’s not too much against the other classes since they usually play out the same as the rest of the decks. Just beware of healing and try to bait it out fast.

Ladder Experiences


I’ve played a bit over 200 games in 20 days with the deck and has so far found it to be the perfect deck for laddering since it allows most games to be winnable and the deck is VERY enjoyable to play. I reached rank 2 this season, not trying too hard to ladder to legend with it. I’ve reached legend with the deck the last season, where I played Tempo Mage half of the way and Freeze from 5 to legend. There are countless pro players who not only enjoy playing the deck, they also use it when they need to have a high winrate to grind.

If you want to ladder from 20 – 5 quickly I can not recommend this deck since games take a very long time to play. Using it from 5 – Legend will definitely work though, since it maintains a high winrate. It is used in tournaments due to you being able to counterpick the opponent decks, and it’s a deck that can have a very, very high win-rate against some decks that lack healing.

Nowadays you can bluff the first couple of rounds when they don’t know if it’s Tempo or not, most don’t expect Freeze Mage. There’s one mayor problem though, when your opponents know they will tech in Kezan Mystic

and when you do, you automatically lose against them.

Asking the Pros


So, I was at Dreamhack Summer in Jönköping the previous weekend and there, I met a couple of pros such as Archon Purple, TempoStorm Gaara, Archon Amaz and TempoStorm Reynad. I asked them about their opinion on Freeze Mage, their answer was very different.

Question: What do you think about Freeze Mage in this meta?

Archon Amaz: “I think Freeze Mage is OK in this meta, as long as the Patron Warriors don’t run armor cards such as Shield Block

and Shield Slam
or Kezan Mystic
.”

TempoStorm Gaara: “I think Freeze Mage is borderline OP since it has a decent match-up against Patron Warrior and most don’t run Kezan Mystic

s, but as soon as they start to run Kezan Mystic
it’s worthless.

Archon Purple: “It’s ok, not better than Tempo Mage”.

TempoStorm Reynad: “Sure, if you’re good with the deck you can play the deck, but as soon as they start running Kezan Mystic

you need to stop playing it.

They all answer almost the same thing, the deck is not bad in itself, Kezan Mystic

makes the deck bad. I run it in tournaments because I’m very comfortable with the deck and it’s definitely an OK deck if you want a deck to stay competitive a very long time, it’s been in the meta since Beta and will probably stay there until the end of the game itself.

Closing


So, that rounds up my guide, I hope you’ll enjoy using a solitaire deck to climb and pray to god that Warriors get nerfed the next patch. If you play enough in a season you can be certain that you’ll get a high ranking, as long as you’re skilled enough and you take enough time and effort to climb and may the Mad Scientist

secrets be ever in your favor.

Hope you enjoyed the guide and if you want to contact me on any social media feel free, I’ll paste them in the end of this guide.

Twitter: @WindUpRabbitHS
Youtube: WindUpRabbitHS (Will be uploading Freeze Mage at the start of the next season).
Reddit: Brawlers9901

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I’ll answer do my best to answer them!

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