By Purpledrank_HS

Freeze Mage may be the hardest deck to play in all of Hearthstone.

Contrary to every typical archetype of Hearthstone decks, Freeze Mage does not have a focus on controlling board via minion combat. The decision making process as to when to attack the opponent's hero and when to use your minions to trade with your opponent's minions is the cornerstone of success of a Hearthstone player and concept a Legend rated player has a firm grasp on.

Aggressive decks such as Face Hunter and Zoo face these decisions constantly. Midrange decks such as Druid and Paladin face similar decisions. Control decks such as Handlock and Control Warrior also have a focus on controlling the board. Combo decks such as Oil Rogue and Patron Warrior... Yeah, you get the point.

Every archetype of Hearthstone decks has an emphasis on minion combat. However, the fundamentals of minion combat are not a skill transferable to Freeze Mage. A Freeze Mage's emphasis is on allocating their mana towards four main types of card functions:


  • Card Draw Mechanics (Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder, Acolyte of Pain, Arcane Intellect)
  • Burn Spells (Ice Lance, Frostbolt, Fireball, Pyroblast, Alexstrasza)
  • Board Clears (Doomsayer, Blizzard, Flamestrike) and Stall (Frost Nova, Cone of Cold)
  • Defensive Cards (Ice Block, Ice Barrier, Healbot, Alexstrasza)



The following two lists are the one's I have had the most success with:

The list titled “Burnout” is more successful against Warlock, Druid, and Control Warrior. The list titled “Healbot” is stronger versus Hunter, Patron Warrior, and Oil Rogue.



Tech cards choices


  • Counterspell instead of an Ice Block in the Healbot list. The reasoning behind it is to more reliably get Doomsayer/Frost Nova board clears, and to get more successful Archmage Antonidas turns. Furthermore, Counterspell is interchangeable with Ice Block in certain scenarios. For example, if you are at 14 health, a Druid player can Force of Nature/Savage Roar to pop an Ice Block and you will end up at 2 health. If the Force of Nature is Counterspelled, you end the turn at 14. Another example is blocking lethal against a Hunter player holding a Kill Command.
  • Cone of Cold instead of the second Blizzard in the Pyroblast list. Cone of Cold can be used as a cheaper enabler for Doomsayer and can be used as a board clear versus 1 health minions (hint, hint: Face Hunter).
  • Healbot over a second Loot Hoarder in the Pyroblast list. Healbot is a great choice in metagames which include a large percentage of Hunter, Rogue and Patron Warrior.


Mulligan Guide


  • Mad Scientist, Loot Hoarder and Acolyte of Pain are cards which are kept in every single matchup. We will label these the A+ quality cards. In general, besides these three cards, the following can also be considered in your opening hand:
  • Frostbolt should be kept in any matchup in which you anticipate your opponent would play a Knife Juggler. It is also acceptable to keep Frostbolt against Rogue if one of the A+ quality cards is already in the opening hand.
  • Doomsayer should be kept versus Druid, Warrior, Priest, Shaman and Paladin once again only if an A+ quality card has already been drawn.
  • Arcane Intellect is an A+ quality card against Priest, Warrior and Handlock. It is thus kept in the opening hand in these matchups regardless of the rest of the hand.
  • Emperor Thaurissan should always be kept against Warrior, Handlock and Priest. It is an acceptable keep in every other matchup given an A+ quality card has been drawn.
  • Archmage Antonidas may be kept against only Control Warrior.
  • Healbot as well as Ice Barrier can be kept versus Face Hunter regardless of the rest of the hand.
  • Bloodmage Thalnos can be kept if no A+ cards have been drawn to be played as a suboptimal Loot Hoarder.


Matchups and Gameplans


The most basic and obvious of game plans is to stall the game until Alexstrasza and then follow that with 15 damage of burn spells directed at the opponent’s face. This is the dream world and some games will end this way. It is however important to figure other game plans to increase our win rate when dream world does not get to happen.


Control Warrior (20/80) - This matchup was not winnable before Emperor Thaurissan became a card. It is still not a good matchup but it is certainly winnable. The key to the matchup is using Emperor Thaurissan to discount at least three of the following cards: Frostbolt, Ice Lance and Archmage Antonidas. You need to discount these cards to be able to generate as many Fireballs as possible.


Patron Warrior (50/50) - Since Patron Warriors have switched over to using a more draw heavy deck rather than the older list utilizing Grommash Hellscream and Dr. Boom, Freeze Mage now very much stands a chance against Patron Warrior. In this matchup, the main thing to consider is the fatigue count: who has drawn more cards? The party which has drawn more cards has to be the player to make the first move.

For Freeze Mage, it is far easier to be on the defending end; meaning to have drawn less cards. On the defending end, Freeze Mage should be looking to play Alexstrasza as a heal card and using its burn spells to control the board and remove Patron Warrior’s threats. The game plan is to win by fatigue. Freeze Mage can be offensive as well in this matchup. If Patron Warrior happens to be on a low card count and did not draw Armorsmith early in the game, Freeze Mage should aggressively try to close the game using Alexstrasza.


Midrange Shaman (70/30) - Midrange Shaman tends to focus on the development of a board and from there tries to grind other classes out of the game via board advantage. Thankfully for a Freeze Mage player, we have no interest in fighting for board control. The Freeze Mage player should just look to stall out the game long enough to find Alexstrasza or enough burn spells to close out the game. The most healing to be expected from Midrange Shaman is a single Healbot meaning if you have damage centric hand you can also burn out your opponent without even needing Alexstrasza.


Mech Shaman (60/40) - This is a scary matchup. There is a lot of aggression, a lot of burst and there is Ragnoros. The saving grace for Freeze Mage is that Doomsayer reliably goes off in this matchup as usually only one Earth Shock is played and no Hex. Once Fel Reaver hits the table, it should be the objective of the Freeze Mage player to run the Shaman out of cards aggressively using his burn spells on minions and taking this matchup to fatigue.


Rogue (70/30) - This matchup is very similar to the Patron Warrior matchup and much easier. The fatigue game plan is the best bet to winning this matchup making Antique Healbot one of the best cards in the matchup. One of the keys to the matchup is identifying how to allocate stall spells to prevent strong Tinker’s Sharpsword Oil turns. Using burn spells on minions is completely acceptable. Due to Rogue’s ease with dealing with Doomsayer, the best time to play it is early. Playing a Doomsayer into a turn 3 SI:7 Agent is good use.


Paladin (70/30) - What was said for Midrange Shaman is effectively the same as against current Paladin decks however Paladin play a few extra heals meaning burnout strategies do not apply. Alexstrasza must come down first in this matchup.


Face Hunter (70/30) - Hero power is your best friend. The game plan is to reduce the most amount of damage in the early game and run the Hunter out of cards. Early Ice Barriers are very important as when low in health, a Face Hunter does not need to ever trigger the Ice Barrier and 8 health will be forgone forever.


Midrange Hunter (60/40) - Highmane and Shredder are difficult cards for Freeze Mage to deal with however Freeze Mage can reliably execute the basic game plan of Alexstrasza on the opponent’s face in this matchup. Using Doomsayers and Archmage Antonidas as heals for 7 is often a key to winning this matchup.


Druid (30/70) - Druid may actually be the hardest matchup for Freeze Mage to handle. The key to winning the matchup is to successfully get a Doomsayer to clear their board which is out of the Freeze Mage player’s control as Keeper of the Grove shuts that down. Try to stall until Alexstrasza and win the game that way however once one Ancient of Lore is gone a pre-Alexstrasza burnout strategy is often a good one versus Druid.


Handlock (60/40) - The key to beating Handlock is to bait a Healbot before your Alexstrasza. Early damage pushed by Loot Hoarder and Mad Scientist should be able to force a heal from Handlock before Alexstrasza. Just remember to play around the Jaraxxus heal to 15  by using your burn spells accordingly.


Zoo (70/30) - Between Flame Imps and life tap, Zoo usually puts itself at a low health total to the extent that Alexstrasza is rarely needed. Just remember to play around Mal”Ganis and you should have an easy time handling Zoo.


Tempo Mage/Mech Mage (60/40) - Doomsayer is the hardest counter to Mirror Entity in the entire game. This trick alongside your other board clears is your key to dragging out the game until Alexstrasza.


Freeze Mage (50/50) - The key to winning the mirror is to pop your opponent’s Ice Block first.


Priest (90/10) - You have all the time in the world because Priest is not aggressive or bursty. The basic game plan of Alex on your opponent is almost a certain win. Current Priest decks are unfit to deal with Doomsayer making the matchup a near certain win.


How to Deal with Loatheb


Freeze Mage is a very spell heavy deck and Loatheb becomes a huge threat. One of the ways to deal with Loatheb is preparing for it to come down. Here are a few tricks:

  1. Use Arcane Intellect instead of Acolyte of Pain; when the Loatheb does arrive, you will be able to play Acolyte but not Arcane Intellect.
  2. Play Ice Barrier instead of Healbot (same logic as point 1.)
  3. Use Blizzard as a freeze effect instead of Frost Nova (you can still cast Frost Nova for 8 mana)


In what situation is it correct to use freeze spells


There are so many unique situations which will arise and words can only say so much. Most of these decisions will be improved with practice and experience. However, a key fundamental is to understand that it is OK to take some damage and there is a threshold that is too much damage.

The best Freeze Mage players in the world are patient and greedy enough to go exactly one notch under the threshold and stall out the game accordingly. Freeze Spells are especially strong in setting up for a strong Flamestrike turn. For example, a Frost Nova/Doomsayer turn is incredible against Druid as it baits a Keeper of the Grove to further extend into a Flamestrike. It is also important that you do not incorrectly use burn on minions which will already be a casualty to Blizzard or Flamestrike.

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