Freeze Mage is a deck archetype that's been popular in one form or another since the very earliest days of Hearthstone's beta period. Even a round of nerfs around the game's launch window couldn't dampen the enthusiasm for this playstyle, and the community has continued to find new and interesting ways of tweaking the format as new expansions and Adventures have trickled through over the years.
We thought the removal of Mad Scientists from Standard play in the Old Gods expansion might actually spell the end of this deck, but remarkably it still feels like a solid performer. We say that with the important caveat that there are still some subtle shifts occurring in the Gadgetzan metagame, but so far the deck seems to be holding up pretty well.
One thing that hasn't changed is the deck's fiddly nature, particularly if you don't have a great deal of experience with playing it. In the next of our Gadgetzan deck guides, we'll walk you through the most popular Freeze Mage deck list right now, take you through the process of Mulliganing in the latest metagame, explain the fundamental philosophy behind the deck's strategy, then finish up with a look at all of the card combos that matter.
Editor's note - March 2017 update: The good news is that there are no changes to factor in for the March edition of Freeze Mage. The bad news is that March is almost certainly the last time the deck will see competitive play in Standard. Ice Lance is being shipped off to the Hall of Fame with the Un'Goro expansion, and it's hard to imagine the devs replacing it in any meaningful way. Enjoy it while it lasts, in other words!
(For the Wild version of this deck, make sure you take a look at our Wild Freeze Mage deck list and guide)
BREAKING NEWS! - Don't miss our Journey to Un'Goro guide, which contains everything we know about the next expansion for Hearthstone!
Freeze Mage (Standard) deck list and strategy - March 2017
So far, this Freeze Mage deck list seems to be about the best version in circulation at the moment. The great news is that you don't need a single card from the Gadgetzan card set if you're feeling strapped for cash!
|2 x Ice Lance||1 x Bloodmage Thalnos|
|2 x Frostbolt||2 x Doomsayer|
|2 x Arcane Intellect||2 x Loot Hoarder|
|2 x Forgotten Torch||2 x Novice Engineer|
|2 x Frost Nova||2 x Acolyte of Pain|
|2 x Ice Barrier||1 x Evolved Kobold|
|2 x Ice Block||1 x Emperor Thaurissan|
|2 x Fireball||1 x Alexstrasza|
|2 x Blizzard|
As a Freeze Mage your game plan revolves around stalling your opponent's board development with big board clears, while at the same time using your card-drawing skills and minions to fatten up your hand with your core win-conditions. Combos like Frost Nova/Blizzard and Doomsayer allow you to - typically - wipe whatever's out on the board, and frustrate the opponent's progress. If the game gets away from you, you have a pair of Ice Blocks which need to be played proactively in a post-Mad Scientist game.
As for the win-conditions we've mentioned, your goal has been simplified somewhat over the last six months or so. Alexstrasza is used to bring your opponent straight down to 15 Health, a move you would then follow up with game-ending spells and spell combos - Frostbolt and Ice Lance, for example, with a Fireball thrown in. Emperor Thaurissan's cost-reduction effect is more important than ever, so don't play him until you have a good collection of spells in-hand.
The route you choose will depend a huge amount on the cards you happen to draw, the opponent you happen to face, and the state of your Mana curve. This is not an easy deck to play at all, and learning how to navigate safely towards your win-condition is something that only experience can really teach you.
More great Mage guides:
Freeze Mage (Standard) Mulligan guide - March 2017
There are certain cards in this deck that are always going to be the correct choice to make, regardless of who you're facing off against: Acolyte of Pain, Loot Hoarder, Novice Engineer will all help you begin the process of drawing your devastating spell power together from the earliest turns.
You might consider keeping a Forgotten Torch if you have The Coin - getting that Roaring Torch in the deck as quickly as possible could end up being crucial.
Freeze Mage (Standard) combos and synergies - March 2017
There's lots to think about at every stage of every match with the Freeze Mage. Here are some of the most important combos to keep in mind as each game plays out:
- Ice Lance is boosted by Blizzard, Frostbolt, Cone of Cold and Frost Nova. You'll typically use it as a finisher against the opposing Hero's face, but it can be used as emergency minion removal if things are looking really dire.
- Bloodmage Thalnos is another reason to consider your maths carefully, particularly in the more complex late stages of the game. Don't miss lethal by a whisker because you failed to factor in his fractional extra spell damage.
- Doomsayer can be used with your freeze effects to set up a nice board clear, but keep in mind that the wipe is not guaranteed. If your opponent can Silence or assassinate this character, the effect won't trigger!
- It's important to make sure you have at least the majority of your win-condition spells in-hand before putting Emperor Thaurissan into play. You really need that Mana-reduction effection to hit as many cards as possible.
Finally, here's Trump outlining the fundamentals of playing Freeze Mage as part of his Trump Teaching Deck series.
Keep in mind that the deck list itself won't be the same as that found in the current metagame, but the core playing principles remain relevant.