This card will likely be quite strong, at least for the next year, due to the variety of spell-damage synergies available to the class. While it isn’t a full board clear such as Arcane Explosion, its smaller mana cost is more suitable for a world without Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Most of Mage’s freeze effects have been taken away, so we’re not sure what this card is doing in the core set. Has a chance of being fringe playable with a ton of support, but it’s the kind of support we don’t think is likely to happen.
One of the strongest Mage cards ever made, Arcanologist’s presence in the core set makes secrets viable without needing to print a secret tutor every 2 years. The worst thing we can say about Arcanologist is that she’s not as good Mad Scientist, which was one of the most broken cards of all-time. We’re sure she won’t be offended.
One of the strongest sources of card draw in a core set lacking draw, which puts Mage in a better position than most classes in this category. Arcane Intellect isn’t amazing and does tend to drop out of decks if stronger options are available, but its presence gives Mage an important head start.
Cone of Cold
Both Frost Nova and Blizzard are gone, and Mage is given a buffed Cone of Cold to compensate for it. This isn’t enough compensation, as Cone of Cold is essentially a nerfed Frost Nova and we don’t see a great role for it to play.
The best defensive secret available. Highly meta-dependent.
The first secret that gets cut when we have better things available. The windows in which Mirror Entity is a strong card are usually quite small.
With Mage losing most of its burn, only Fireball is left alone in the core set to remind players that Mage is supposed to pew pew. Any aggressive, spell-damage or burn-centric Mage deck will likely run this card as a finisher, alongside whatever burn it will hope to get from new expansions. One of the best direct damage spells in the game.
Conjurer was one of the first discover cards that were released in League of Explorers and shows how far we’ve come since. We’ll also remind you that this minion had 3 health and was buffed to keep up with the times. Even its current iteration is likely not good enough as it looks embarrassing next to Wand Thief. He does have 6 attack and one of the best attacking voice-lines, so we’ll give him his due.
Slightly better than Webspinner, since its effect is immediate and the generated card quality is a little higher, but we’re not going out of our way to play this card. A filler 1-drop that’s back in the core set mostly because it’s so adorable.
We’re not sure what this card is doing in the core set. You can think of it as a weaker Steamwheedle Sniper that was available in Hunter and gave the class a 2-damage targetable hero power. It wasn’t good and Fallen Hero has never been good either.
Probably the best secret available to Mage in the core set, but just like we’ve said about Hunter secrets, useless without great support.
Jaina’s trusted companion, for moments when she doesn’t have anything better to summon because she just started playing the tutorial and hasn’t bought any packs yet. Whenever this card popped in Mage decks over the last year, it proved to be very bad.
Okay, so the presence of this card alongside Fallen Hero is telling us that Team 5 might be trying to promote a hero powering Mage deck (later edit: they are). The hoops they’ll have to go through to make this happen should be so difficult to manage that we’re just going to give this glorified Boulderfist Ogre a 1 and tip our hats if this card ever gets into a constructed deck.
A 5-damage Flamestrike is a good buff to a card that looked outclassed compared to other expensive AOE effects of recent times. This still isn’t a card you’d comfortably run in most Mage decks due to its cost, but it’s a little more worthy of consideration.
Aegwynn, the Guardian
The new Mage legendary provides Mage with a reliable and persistent spell-damage buff throughout the game, especially when silence effects in the format have been significantly cut. As a 5 mana 5/5, it’s a bit slow but the effect is hard to ignore and can be very punishing with some of the cards Mage has received over the last year. Sometimes Jandice summons her and you’re very, very happy too.
Core Set Rank: 7th
Mage’s losses are major. Its burn damage has been reduced to almost nothing, its mass freeze effects are gone, and it lost one of its best Classic cards in Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Fortunately, it has some of the better card draw options in the core set, with Arcane Intellect and Arcanologist, that are very likely to see play and help the class’s overall consistency. It also received a new legendary that could help its spell-damage archetype, while Shooting Star should also scale very well in the deck. Flamestrike received a meaningful buff that could help defensive Mage decks offset some mid-game pressure. Things could have been better, but it could have been far worse for the class.