New Archetype - Control Mage

Highlander Mage has been the overwhelming flavor for the class throughout the Year of the Phoenix so far. But recently, an old favorite combination of Frost Nova, Doomsayers, and lots of other controlling tools has caused some disruption for the class. And deckbuilders are happily trying out Control Mage.

### Control Mage
# Class: Mage
# Format: Standard
# Year of the Phoenix
# 1x (1) Evocation
# 2x (1) Arcane Breath
# 2x (2) Doomsayer
# 1x (2) Astromancer Solarian
# 1x (2) Ancient Mysteries
# 2x (3) Vulpera Scoundrel
# 2x (3) Imprisoned Observer
# 2x (3) Ice Barrier
# 2x (3) Frost Nova
# 2x (4) Azure Explorer
# 1x (5) Malygos, Aspect of Magic
# 2x (6) Dragoncaster
# 2x (8) Tortollan Pilgrim
# 2x (8) Power of Creation
# 2x (8) Deep Freeze
# 1x (10) The Amazing Reno
# 2x (10) Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
# 1x (10) Kalecgos
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At first glance, Control Mage shares a lot in common with its Big Spell Mage cousin. But the Doomsayers and Imprisoned Observers make clearing the board and maintaining control the bigger focus here.

Evocation is another interesting pick not seeing play in many archetypes currently. In practice, it feels very much like a third Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron with more decisions. Prioritize spells that generate other spells like Magic Trick or Ray of Frost and make the most of whatever else is offered. You're likely to get ahead in one way or another.

The Gameplan

  1. Stall out the early game.
  2. Dominate board presence in the midgame through Dragons from Azure Explorer or Power of Creation off Dragoncaster.
  3. If need-be, outvalue them in the late game through The Amazing Reno and extra Power of Creations or Deep Freezes from your Tortollan Pilgrims.
Popularity and Winrate of the archetype over the past 2 months

The Advantages

There is a lot of freezing and board manipulating that you get to do with this deck. Decks that are focused on board dominance in the mid to late game are going to have a tough time standing up against you.

Priest in general and Egg/Enrage Warrior have a tough time breaking through that mid game hump and leave just enough room for this deck's win conditions (Deep Freeze, Power of Creation, and Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron) to clench the game. By the way, you get to run 2 of each of those.

The Disadvantages

There are just a few deck strategies right now that exploit the weaknesses of Control Mage too harshly, and they all revolve around bursting a ton of damage at you.

Tempo Demon Hunter may not be able to dominate the board like they usually do, but the right combination of Altruis the Outcast and Skull of Gul'dan doesn't care. Bomb Warrior can shuffle too many bombs in your deck and armor up to barely give you a chance. And Highlander Hunter is already trying to kill you by turn 7 or 8. And most of the time, they will.

Deep Freeze will help you in the Demon Hunter and Highlander Hunter matchups, but even with Dragoncaster, it might be too late. Prioritize this combo along with Doomsayer/Frost Nova and Ice Barriers to get as much room to breathe as possible.

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