Having Trouble Playing Against Mages? Read

I don't have a problem beating mages. I have a problem beating mages without dedicating a deck solely to it and at the expense of losing to every other class in the game.
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I'm not exactly an expert (or even slightly knowledgeable ) on CCG balance and for all I know I'm about to make a fool of myself, but I hope this long rambling wall of text contributes something.

Yes, mage can be beaten. That doesn't mean it isn't imba.

The problem with mage is that it is far too versatile. The other classes have very specific strengths and weaknesses (with the possible exception of paladin), but even if you come across your anti-deck, you have a chance. It's not entirely rock paper scissors.

But mage can deal with pretty much anything. It's like having a rock with scissors taped to it. And even anti-mage decks can struggle against them presuming the mage is half decent. The key here is that mages are consistent while most other classes are not.

(removed a rundown of mage cards here to make it read smoother. You all know what mage can do anyway, early game delays massive direct damage.)

Compared to pretty much any other class, the mage has by far the most diverse set of cards.

Most of the other classes have very specific gimmicks that make them playable, and without the right cards they just get destroyed. Even when they pull off their combos, they get countered very easily. Mage cards work well in almost any situation at almost any time.
I don't think mage actually needs a nerf though. The other classes need to get some more consistent options, things that don't rely almost entirely on luck.

The closest competitor to mage at the moment is paladin. Imho pally is the least luck dependent class at the moment, although I haven't really played enough of the other classes to justify that claim. It can go toe to toe with mage decks because it has the ability to keep board control and apply constant pressure. Can delay the other classes almost as much as frost mage between divine shields, humilities and hero power forcing trades or removal.
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12/22/2013 08:49 PMPosted by UMCorian
You're sitting there saying: "Gee... if I weren't a Mage Player, how would I beat myself?"


You are being really stubborn, and for some reason refuse to take advice from A HIGH RANKING MAGE PLAYER. Who else should you go to if you want to know how to beat mages?

12/22/2013 08:49 PMPosted by UMCorian
you come up with a Pure Anti-Mage deck


Sure, Healing may have less impact versus other decks without so much direct damage. But what makes a good deck? A deck that maximizes its chances versus ALL other types. You cannot just discount the mage nukes and cry for nerfs because you think its too powerful. As you suggested, maybe your deck is just sub-par versus mages, and needs tweaking to improve its chances versus them, while staying competitive versus other classes as well.
Regardless, healing is a very cost efficient spell/effect in this game. You don't necessarily have to do it in the form of 1 card = 1 heal. I don't know what class you are playing, but there are many cards that offer a body alongside a healing effect or other utilities, such as damage (holy nova for example).
Some classes just won't match up well versus other classes. It is a natural part of any game. Either you accept it and try to maximize your chances of winning versus that class, or you can keep crying about how your class doesn't fare well versus another class. It will always exist in some form.
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12/22/2013 09:23 PMPosted by UMCorian
Either you accept it and try to maximize your chances of winning versus that class, or you can keep crying about how your class doesn't fare well versus another class.


The solution is to continue nerfing mages until they're as powerful as every other class, and you don't have to jump through hoops to beat them... just outplay them like anyone else. It's really that simple.


You do know that right now the top meta game is roughly Druid/Warlock right?
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MVP - Hearthstone


Very well. You've been told how the good players are beating Mages. Its your prerogative to ignore it and keep coming to the forums telling us all about how its impossible to beat mages while everyone around you successfully does it, while you continue to lose games against them because you refuse to do it yourself.


I'm kind of curious as well.. of the whole healing thing Sar.
Just how many cards are there that heal you as say, a Hunter?
Or in that scenario would you just go straight aggro/trapper deck?


Not every class relies on healing to beat a Mage; late-game decks have to rely on that.

Decks without healing generally go for very aggressive builds; this is pretty viable against many decks as if they don't have a strong early game they often get killed by turn 5-6 before they can even do anything. The only class I know of that doesn't have decent healing or decent aggro builds is Shaman. They have a weird variant that stalls the early game and then starts rapidly dropping strong minions in the mid-game; it works against Mage sometimes, but in my experience seems to be the weakest class against Mage.

Hunter isn't very popular period right now, but we've actually seen a resurgence of a really old deck-type that existed in the Cockatrice days (pre-beta); the trap deck. Basically, you run almost zero minions, and rely on direct damage, traps, and Eaglehorn Longbow. If the Mage tries to do giant drops on you, you Misdirect them back. You use things like Freezing and Explosive to slow down the game, meanwhile pinging them for 2 damage every turn. Given that Mages generally need to wait until turn 10 or so to win, this actually proves to be pretty effective, as the hero power alone can eat over half the Mages health, with Eaglehorn, traps, and a few charge minions easily doing the rest. Then you Flare away their Ice Block on the turn you're ready to kill them.

12/22/2013 08:49 PMPosted by UMCorian
Yeah, these forums clearly show "everyone around me successfully does it."

Honestly, I'm 80% sure you actually are trying to be helpful - you're just woefully out of touch. You're sitting there saying: "Gee... if I weren't a Mage Player, how would I beat myself?"... and you come up with a Pure Anti-Mage deck that, if you actually played the class in question, you'd realize you're trading a slim chance to beat a mage for a reasonable chance to beat one... at the cost of making yourself a huge underdog against any other non-mage class.

Healing vs any non-Mage deck is a Lose Slower card - if you're winning, it doesn't help you at all. If you're losing, it's not going to help you regain any tempo - you're just going to lose slower.


I'm not sure where you're getting the impression I'm only a Mage player. I'm a Mage player NOW because I play one deck at a time, but I've taken first place in the Managrind tournaments as both a Warlock and as a Paladin, and made two Blizzard top-50 lists playing Shaman/Priest. I'm playing Mage now to get my golden portrait, and when I do, I'll move onto the next class.

Anyway, healing is about picking the right cards. There's 4 main classes that can do it, and they all have utility beyond the simple "heal my hero to survive one more turn" idea.

1) Paladin: With the exception of Holy Light, all of their healing abilities do something else. Guardian of Kings drops a big minion, Lay on Hands functions as a slightly weaker Sprint, and Truesilver Champion is a weapon. So as a Paladin, you get your healing while getting secondary benefits. I'm personally not a fan of Holy Light because the ONLY thing it does is heal; I've seen some Paladins run it, but that's an example of what I mean of a "Full-out mage counter deck" vs. a deck that's good against Mage but strong against something else; that is, Holy Light is the exact type of card you're complaining about, where it's really not useful against almost any other class.

2) Druid. They run Ancient of Lore and Healing Touch. Healing Touch is one of the few exceptions where a healing spell can actually be useful on the board. Druids run a LOT of big minions (usually), so they actually do run into situations where their big minions get damaged down to low health, and it's a lot cheaper to heal it back up than it is to play a new one (though it's highly unlikely you'll get the full benefit of the 8 healing; usually at best you can expect 6). This is a fairly Druid-specific thing though. As for Ancient of Lore, he's almost always used for his draw power, but thanks to him being a choose one, you can use his healing in a pinch. Ontop of that, they have armor cards like Bite and more commonly Claw which are generally used as removal, but they can be used as healing against a Mage as well (once again, a card that will function differently against a Mage than against most decks, but is quite useful in either case).

3) Warrior. Their "healing" in the form of armor is a bit weaker than other classes, but Shield Block is a legitimately strong card since it heals pretty well without even losing a card. Then of course there's the hero power, which prevents the Mage from pinging you down over time. The big one though is that the Warrior's healing, while weaker, is very efficient against a Mage because they can't just Alexstraza it away. Which means you can build it up early and often. Another thing I see a lot of good Warriors running is Armorsmith, which I personally have never been a huge fan of, but it can translate into a LOT of extra armor.

4) Priest. Kind of weak healing-wise as well. They obviously have their hero power, but they also have Holy Fire; Holy Fire is important since Priests don't have a single card that can remove any minion until turn 10 (Mind Control), so they often rely on Holy Fire to deal with annoying 4-health minions. The healing on it is kind of weak, but it's enough to frustrate a Mage; and the longer the Priest stalls, the more of an edge the Priest can gain due to the Priest hero power out-pacing the Mage one. Still, in a side-by-side comparison of Warrior to Priest, you'd have to get the favor to Warrior.
Edited by Sar on 12/22/2013 9:48 PM PST
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MVP - Hearthstone
12/22/2013 10:44 PMPosted by UMCorian
You do know that right now the top meta game is roughly Druid/Warlock right? [Citation needed.]


TBH, the only people I've heard saying that mages aren't on top are mages.


I'm not really sure what's the strongest class right now, but at least at rank 3, Warlocks and Druids are certainly the most often encountered.
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MVP - Hearthstone
courtesy bump
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I'm playing Mage now to get my golden portrait, and when I do, I'll move onto the next class.


and you claim mage is balanced. If there was an equal chance for other classes to obtain golden portraits, you wouldn't be spamming mage. They're too powerful, plain and simple, thank you for the ammo to support what's already obvious to everyone not afraid their abuse of the class will be nerfed for their precious chance at a golden portrait.
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There are two problems with the Mage in constructed:
1) playing Mage requires little critical thinking.
2) playing against Mage allows little critical thinking.

There are MANY problems with the Mage in arena, direct damage spells are too versatile in that they double as removal and a win condition.
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MVP - Hearthstone
12/26/2013 08:13 AMPosted by TheSweeper
I'm playing Mage now to get my golden portrait, and when I do, I'll move onto the next class.


and you claim mage is balanced. If there was an equal chance for other classes to obtain golden portraits, you wouldn't be spamming mage. They're too powerful, plain and simple, thank you for the ammo to support what's already obvious to everyone not afraid their abuse of the class will be nerfed for their precious chance at a golden portrait.


It's hard to say if they're balanced or not, I haven't seen any reliable stats on their win rates. What I can unequivocally say is that people are creating viable decks that do very well against mage and still do well against other decks; relaying that information is the entire purpose of this thread. For example, I'm not 100% sure if I can say if Pyroblast is balanced or not, but I can say that Pyroblast is counterable; that's why that info is in the thread.

People can either come utilize information in the public domain to make decks that can beat mages, or they can keep coming to the forums complaining everyday about how much is unbeatable while everyone else manages to do it.
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Ok Sar, so I've read your entire post and all of the thread and I have extracted the following wisdom so far.

The two primary ways to beat mages is to burn them quickly or heal.

Obviously stacking up on both is bad because it breaks up synergy. And this is the main point that has been discussed to death, that if you build specifically to counter mages, you will not have the tools to counter other classes.

But, if I understood you correctly, the best way to make a strong well balanced deck, that can also fights mages, is to discover what strength your specific hero/deck has and augment it.

If you play a rush deck, then you pile up on charge, enrage and very damaging minions, if you play for the late game and have a more defensive oriented deck you run healing.

The gist of it is, you have to find what synergizes best with your hero and the way you play your hero and incorporate it into your deck.
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Not gonna read it. The game shouldnt be about beating mages.
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MVP - Hearthstone
12/26/2013 02:22 PMPosted by Destructicon
Ok Sar, so I've read your entire post and all of the thread and I have extracted the following wisdom so far.

The two primary ways to beat mages is to burn them quickly or heal.

Obviously stacking up on both is bad because it breaks up synergy. And this is the main point that has been discussed to death, that if you build specifically to counter mages, you will not have the tools to counter other classes.

But, if I understood you correctly, the best way to make a strong well balanced deck, that can also fights mages, is to discover what strength your specific hero/deck has and augment it.

If you play a rush deck, then you pile up on charge, enrage and very damaging minions, if you play for the late game and have a more defensive oriented deck you run healing.

The gist of it is, you have to find what synergizes best with your hero and the way you play your hero and incorporate it into your deck.


Yup, I'd say you hit the nail right on the head on every point.
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If its too long to read for you, basically the poster is saying:
Build a deck specifically to fight the mage because that is the only thing anyone plays anymore.
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MVP - Hearthstone
12/27/2013 04:32 AMPosted by Snoipah
If its too long to read for you, basically the poster is saying:
Build a deck specifically to fight the mage because that is the only thing anyone plays anymore.


You don't need to make a deck that does nothing but counter mage to beat mages. The same is true of any class though; as with anything, there are cards that will make you stronger or weaker against any class. Running Acidic Swamp Ooze helps against warriors, for example.

The skill of the game is in making a deck that's effective against the decks you expect to encounter and stands a chance against basically any deck. To throw your hands up in the air and say "I can't beat this class, it's impossible" is basically being a child and throwing a tantrum.
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No, what he says is that, the counter to mages is either balls to the walls aggression or healing, and even though you can't incorporate both into your build you can find which one synergizes with your hero and the way you are playing your hero/deck and add it, that way your deck will be solid vs both mages and other classes.
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Sar, I really appreciate this post, it's very helpful and I feel bad that people have to respond with "Well that's not good enough advice" or "Oh you must think you're a genius". While I admit your advice for hunters is a bit weak, your general advice is really good. Thanks, I'll try running more charge and weapons in my deck.
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