Tempo Mage is a Hearthstone deck archetype that requires you to build an early presence on the board, and then use either removal spells or high-value minion trades to control the opponent's board development while continue to grow your own. From here on out, it's a question of snowballing that threat and pushing damage into the enemy hero's health pool whenever the natural opportunity to do so presents itself. By the time the end-game rolls around, you should be in a pretty commanding position.
This deck has been around in one form or another for as long as we've been playing Hearthstone, and there's usually a new trick or two in each expansion that ensures it remains relevant in every metagame. In the case of Journey to Un'Goro, Tempo Mage now benefits from cards such as Arcanologist and Primordial Glyph. It's not yet certain that this archetype will remain strong in the new metagame, but it's nice to know that devoted fans of the archetype at least have an option!
In our Tempo Mage guide, we've got a look at one of the most consistently powerful Tempo Mage deck lists you can wield, followed by an overview of how to actually play it. After that, we'll give you a few pointers on Mulliganing your starting hand, followed by a look at all of the most important combos you need to know about.
Editor's note - April 2017 Update: Although the Quest and Elemental Mage decks are getting all of the attention at this stage, it's very possible that a pure Tempo Mage deck will prove competitive once the launch dust has settled. We've updated our deck list and combo section to help you get going with this Un'Goro version of an old favourite!
(For the Wild version of this deck, make sure you take a look at our Tempo Mage (Wild) deck list and guide)
BREAKING NEWS! - Don't miss our round-up of the best Journey to Un'Goro decks that are busting their way into the new metagame!
Tempo Mage deck list and strategy - April 2017
We think this is the best Tempo Mage deck list you can make use of in Season 37.
|2 x Arcane Missiles||1 x Bloodmage Thalnos|
|2 x Mana Wyrm||1 x Acolyte of Pain|
|2 x Mirror Image||1 x Barnes|
|2 x Arcanologist||2 x Burgly Bully|
|2 x Frostbolt|
|2 x Primordial Glyph|
|2 x Sorcerer's Apprentice|
|2 x Arcane Intellect|
|2 x Mirror Entity|
|2 x Fireball|
|2 x Water Elemental|
|1 x Archmage Antonidas|
|1 x Firelands Portal|
|1 x Flamestrike|
It's crucial that you get off to a fast start with any Tempo Mage deck list and this version is no exception. Mana Wyrm is an incredible powerful card, particularly if you can back it up with cards like The Coin or Frostbolt. This will ensure you start the process of halting the opponent - while growing your own threat - nice and early on. The rest of your early-game minion presence comes from the likes of Arcanologist, which is guaranteed to pop Mirror Entity into your hand. Sorcerer's Apprentice and Acolyte of Pain are other options, but you'd hope to get more value from them than just a body on the board.
This process of balancing control with aggression essentially continues throughout the mid-game, where you should keep holding back the opponent's progress while developing your own board further. Knowing when to start pushing damage over control is tricky with this deck, and you need to constantly review the strength of the cards in your hand. If things are looking slow then keep controlling the game, but if you're getting close to a big spell-based finish then it makes sense to start pushing damage straight into your opponent's health pool.
You've less raw late-game minion strength at your disposal now, although the likes of Firelands Portal can both deal with a bothersome minion and summon something deadly for your opponent to deal with. In this version of the deck, we're including Archmage Antonidas, who can recycle all of your cheap remaining spells into much meatier Fireballs. Burgly Bully in particular can provide some extremely cheap fuel for this particular fire...
More great Mage guides:
- 1. Quest Mage - Quest Mage deck list guide (Open the Waygate)
- 2. Aggro Burn Mage - Aggro Burn Mage deck list guide
- 3. Elemental Mage - Elemental Mage deck list guide
- 4. Freeze Mage - Freeze Mage deck list guide
- 5. Tempo Mage - Tempo Mage deck list guide
- 6. Quest decks - Hearthstone: Un'Goro Quest decks
- 7. Un'Goro decks - Hearthstone: Un'Goro decks
- 8. Tier list - Hearthstone: Deck Tier List (Standard) - April 2017 (Season 37)
Tempo Mage Mulligan guide - April 2017
Mana Wyrm is hands-down your priority pick and you should never throw this creature back. There's an argument in fact for discarding everything to get your hands on just one of these minions. If you pick one up, you should next be looking for a nice clean early removal option like Frostbolt to back it up with. The benefits of Primordial Glyph are a little uncertain, but have obvious extra synergy here as well.
If you're playing against Aggro opponents, further good picks include Arcane Missiles or Mirror Image which can boost up your Wyrm or put up some light defenses. For Control opponents, cards like Frostbolt become even more important.
As always with tempo decks, the most important thing to do is build out a solid handful of opening turns, as you can't afford to miss a beat as you build up your board. Plan you first three turns extremely carefully, and make sure you're making the most of your Mana each turn.
Tempo Mage tips, combos and synergies - April 2017
How you weave all of these spells and minions together is of course the secret of playing the Tempo Mage archetype well. To help you get on top of the latest Un'Goro synergies, here's a quick breakdown of all the combos available to you.
- Bloodmage Thalnos boosts the strength of any damage spells you cast by one extra point of damage. Expect this card to be removed fast by any opponent worth their salt.
- Mana Wyrm grows stronger with each spell that you cast. It's a superb Turn 1 play, particularly if you have the ability to feed it with The Coin, or another spell soon afterwards.
- Sorcerer's Apprentice reduces the Mana cost of all of your spell cards.
- Firelands Portal will not just remove a 5 Health-or-less minion from the board, it'll add something tasty to your side of the board as well!
- Every spell you cast while Archmage Antonidas is out in play will cause a Fireball to be added to your hand/
- With this version of the deck, Arcanologistalways adds Mirror Entity to your hand.
As part of his ever-growing tutorial series for Hearthstone's Standard metagame, popular streamer Trump has turned his attention to Tempo Mage. We think you'll get a lot out of watching the latest installment, and so have embedded it here in our Tempo Mage guide.
Keep in mind here that the archetype has changed a bit since the last expansion, and so the deck list being used looks different. It's more important to think about the general principles involved with Tempo Mage when watching this video. These should always remain relevant, whatever minor changes are made to reflect the current Hearthstone metagame.
If you've enjoyed this video by Trump then we recommend subscribing to his channel on YouTube. We learned a huge amount from him when we first started playing the game, and there are few streamers with a better talent for explaining the ins and outs of the ever-shifting meta.