The famous 1 mana 1/3 with upside, this card may find its way to Mage decks that are interested in early game tempo. The potential spell damage synergy is also there, so if Mage ever becomes focused on that, Lab Partner will be the first card it includes. Just good.
This is a card that’s mostly relevant in spell damage Mage decks. Many minions of this type cost 2 mana, so you will usually discover something playable, and the discount could be relevant if you want to combo spell damage with a specific synergy card. Outside of this archetype, we don’t think it will see much play.
Good card for a faster Mage deck that wants some value alongside its early game board development. Wand Thief isn’t a turn 1 play, but it should be easy to activate since Mage generally runs a lot of other 1-mana cards in the fast shell that Wand Thief would be included in. We particularly like it in a Mana Giant deck.
This is a very strong card that reminds us of Flamewaker. It requires less support but doesn’t take over a game as much. It’s a great tool for a fast Mage deck to retake the board alongside a cheap spell, which is something the class desperately needs if it ever wants to compete without Zephrys.
Reasonable early game removal that can be used to stall in the late game, but this slot could be too overcrowded for Brain Freeze to find a place in a Mage deck. We would usually prefer running Ray of Frost, so unless we want to run both, Brain Freeze is a hard sell.
This card will go as far as the “Spell Damage” package takes it. It’s an excellent source of card draw, something that Mage is somewhat missing, so it encourages the class to go in that direction. However, we’re not sure the synergy is strong enough, and consistent enough, to buy into the whole package. If it is, Cram Session will usually draw 2 for 2, and that’s a good deal.
While random clown fiesta seems to be Mage’s thing recently, totems are not. There is no particular synergy that would make us want to play a 2 mana 0/3 in this class. We give this a hard pass. Maybe if it could cast a Puzzle Box….
This card is probably too slow to see play, and Mage’s 5 mana slot seems to be overcrowded with powerful cards that are more likely to win the game when they’re played on curve. You will usually wait until turn 6 to play Weaver alongside a cheap spell, and then proceed to pray. That doesn’t seem to be a reliable strategy in Hearthstone. The Mana Wyrms will also not get buffed by the spell that triggers the Spellburst.
Devolve was an extremely powerful card, and Devolving Missiles is very comparable to it, while being potentially stronger in many situations. Unless you’re facing a wide board, Devolving Missiles will deal with the threat you’re facing more efficiently. Combined with Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Firebrand, and you can swing the board hard in your favor. Just an excellent removal/transform effect that does too many things for 1 mana to be ignored. We can see different kinds of Mage decks utilizing it.
Shadow Bolt with upside since the damage isn’t wasted if there’s more than one minion on the board. This card reminds us of Rolling Fireball, which ended up being a staple in both Spell and Highlander Mage. Combustion could slot into these decks as well.
Potion of Illusion
This is potentially a powerful combo card that has some “Exodia” implications, so it’s hard to predict whether it will make it to the meta. The question is always whether the win condition it enables is consistent and fast enough to be competitive, and whether the deck that houses it can survive aggression. With the right pieces, Potion of Illusion can be busted, but those pieces might not be quite there.
Jandice offers a gigantic pile of stats, way more than what’s normally allowed on turn 5. The 5-mana pool has plenty of taunts and deathrattles that could minimize the downside of having one of the minions die from one hit. Mind games are also possible, though we think the selection will be straight forward most of the time. Highlander Mage should jump on this card, and other decks could also get in line. Not reliant on any specific synergy to be successful.
Mozaki, Master Duelist
This card has tremendous potential and is likely one of the hardest ones to evaluate in the current set. On one hand, it seems extremely difficult to realistically combo it as a finisher to burst the opponent down from full health since it’s so expensive and you’re required to invest so many cards to “boost” it up. Decks that are heavily fixated on this line of play may end up being memes.
On the other hand, Mozaki is a 5 mana 3/8, which makes it quite difficult to remove when it’s simply played in the mid-game. Since it’s a target that the opponent must kill or risk being blown out of the game, many resources could be sunk into it, giving the Mage a reasonable advantage. Rather than being the ultimate win condition of a combo deck, it could just be a powerful threat in a spell heavy deck. In that kind of shell, Mozaki is more likely to find success.
This is a Despicable Dreadlord with better stats, synergy-dependent scaling, and damage that goes face. It’s a strong build-around card that acts as the cornerstone of this potentially new archetype, but we think Mage might not necessarily have to build a whole deck around Ras for it to see play, so we’re a bit more confident about its chances. Decent at its baseline, with a game-breaking ceiling that it may not reach.
Scholomance Academy Set Rank: 7th
Overall Power Ranking: 8th
While many other classes have received cards that we’re fully confident in how good they are and how successful they will be, Mage’s set is more about hoping. Hoping that things work out and hoping that the meta lines up well for its potential strategies.
We should remember Mage’s current position in Ashes of Outland. It doesn’t have anything that is competitively viable, or close to competitively viable, other than Highlander Mage and perhaps Spell Mage. Neither archetype has received big upgrades in this set to make us believe they will be drastically better than they are currently.
So, what we’re left with is a set that is aimed at supporting entirely new Mage decks, and there’s no guarantee they will be a success. Mozaki is a fascinating win condition potentially, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes completely busted or completely unplayable. The same can be said of Ras and a speculated Spell Damage Mage deck.
These shells have been complemented with some nice cards, but can we say about any of them that they look dominant? Mage will have to pass the synergy test, to prove that the real thing ends up being greater than the sum of its parts, the ones we can only discuss on paper.
If it does, the class could display some of the most interesting playstyles you could find in Hearthstone. If it doesn’t, Mage might be reduced to a “lesser class”, watching from the sidelines as other classes execute their powerful plays more consistently.
Just agreeing with a lot of the comments already posted. Lots of time and effort into analyzing each and every card. Great work.
The more I read/hear from Vicious Syndicate, the deeper my respect. 10/10.
Paladin have a zero cost spell. Time is money friend!
The gold standard of HS articles
most important hearthstone content second to the game itself! love vS
Great job! Thanks Guys!
Fantastic work, super helpful! Thanks
Awesome review guys! I can’t believe how much effort went into this. Keep up the great work!