Hey! Wanted to share my current Secrets deck and my experiences with variations of it.
My Current Secret Decklist:
x2 Secret Keeper
x2 Mana Addict
x1 Spellbender (working on my 2nd)
x2 Kirin Tor Mage
x2 Ethereal Arcanist
x1 Faceless Manipulator
x1 Archmage Antonidas
This is what I'm running at the moment and I'm often back and forth swapping out x2 cards for mana worms as I like being able to keep them busy until the secrets start flowing. It is stacked with removal and has a fairly strong late-game. My general approach when playing it is to gain an early mid-game advantage and hold it in a secret-headlock. lol.
Personally I don't feel one needs more than a single iceblock in a deck. If I happen to play it early game it's to benefit the ethereal arcanists that are to follow. Later game it also serves its purpose to give you an extra turn, but people are getting the hang of widdling you down to a few hit points before setting it off. So the value of a second iceblock drops significantly at that point.
Vaporize can have its benefits and often times it pays for itself by buying me a turn when an opponent refuses to attack, worried I have it up. You can do jerk-ish things with it. I like stressing my opponents out. lol.
I do not play with arcane intellect. If I have to play a card to draw two cards, one of those cards could have already been in my hand. lol. I honestly don't understand the hype of drawing extra cards if said cards are sacrificing their position for better cards in the deck. I see the benefit in a murloc/early rush type deck where one is clearing their hands with low mana cost cards every couple of turns. Or if the card has other benefits beyond just a draw card.
I would suggest even those 1/3 common minion that draws a card when it takes damage, over arcane intellect. But thats just in my experience.
Mirror entity is love/hate for me. I love it when they 'play around it' (its why I love secret deck in general, making them guess). But i hate it when I score a copy of a crappy creature I'd never put in my own deck. lol.
It does however help in keeping the advantage in moments. Giving them yet another thing to deal with. Late game they are forced to play their legendary creatures a little more cautiously. It also betters the chances of setting off combos from benefiting cards to have more secrets in the deck.
Nat Pagle I can see having its place because of its mana cost. I imagine it definitely is a distraction to them, and anything that keeps them busy until your secrets are in play is advantageous.
I have a bloodmage thalnos but not in this deck. I often wonder if I should DE him to get my other spell bender. But I really like him in my spelldamage themed deck. I feel like he should be buffed every so slightly. Having the 'draw card' be a battlecry instead of on death. But thats another convo. lol.
I don't have an Alexstrasa so I can't comment much on that. I'm currently using archmage and I feel it fits wonderfully with secrets. With 7 mana cost you can pair it with spellbenders/counterspell to help protect it a turn. It's pretty much a nightmare if a turn 9 you played flamestrike and cleared the board. Then turn 10 you play archmage, kirin tor + counterspell lol. Insert more lol's if you happen to faceless manipulator it for double the fireballs.
Anyways. I relate to much of what you're saying with ramp druids and pallies. I feel most vulnerable to murloc/minion rush/charge decks. Removal costs a lot of mana and tends to take up my whole turn when doing so. So if they're massing cheap/efficient minions, or somehow get a nice advantage early, I can be overrun quickly. I have a sigh of relief, and a schoolgirl giggle, when they can't do anything first couple of turns.
I haven't tried arcane explosion in this deck yet. Which could help such a problem. I imagine those in combination with Wild Pyromancer is what you had intended too. Clearing the board early on so you could get into the kirin-tor/secret flow unhindered.
If I had to make any suggestions to your deck (and take this advice lightly as I'm learning this as you are) remove the Novice engineers/loot hoarders or Wild pyromancers and replace them with mana wyrms. The mana wyrms can be a threat earlier on, they're a tad harder to kill, they gain benefit from your turn 2-3 spells if you were to play them.
Currently your turn 2 slot is a bit crowded. Which I can understand as we have a desperate need to not fall behind and play catch-up for turn 3. But I don't find Novice engineers/loot hoarders to be ideal plays for slot 2. Secret decks tend to really unfold at 3 slot. With the combos the deck offers, our mid game is usually not the problem. It's early and late game. So perhaps if you helped better balance the flow of mana cost throughout your deck. Have x4 cards you can potentially play on turn one, x4 on turn two, then your mass of secrets/kirin tor, etherreal arcanists and sheep/fireball/polys turn 4-7. Abominations can sit nicely in turn 5. Perhaps see about some late game aoe, or some end-game 'plan'.
Secretkeepers/Mana wyrms usually die immediately. But that's a good thing as we're just buying freedom for turn 3-4 combos anyways. If we have to play catch-up before getting into our flow, the deck loses so much potential. So you want something in turns 1-2 that is threatening.
And lastly. Try to get some Ethereal Arcanists in there!
Edit: I see the reason for 2 iceblocks now. With alexstrasa.
Hope all this rambling helps. Cheers!
Edited by Kinross on 12/30/2013 6:04 PM PST