It has only been a week since Goblins vs. Gnomes was released and, as predicted, the meta blew up. It’s the wild west out there right now, if the wild west consisted of tiny humanoids and crazy gadgets, and people are playing every deck under the sun on the ladder. A few cool decks have already popped up and today we’re going to discuss one that is fairly cheap to create and utilizes the main theme of GvG, mechs.

Anyone who is familiar with the game of Hearthstone knows that StrifeCro is one of the games premiere deck builders. He had a deep run in the Blizzcon Hearthstone World Championships and has finished at the top or near the top of the ladder many times since the ranked format was introduced. In short, he is one of the most decorated Hearthstone players in the world and used a very cool Mech Mage deck to win the recent Kinguin For Charity tournament in convincing fashion. StrifeCro did credit Brian “Brian Kibler of Brian Kibler Gaming” Kibler for creation of the deck but used his own build and was able to sweep the finals. This deck also seems to do very well on the ladder so it seems like the perfect way to kick off my deck write-up series for GvG.

Let's take a look at the deck and break down each card and how to play it.

The Deck

Frostbolt x2 - doing 3 damage for 2 mana is a great deal already but the freeze effect is very useful for dealing with bigger creatures that don't die on the initial cast. When you can wait a turn to ping or otherwise trade off minions to finish off a creature you can use the turn to keep playing mechs which is what this deck is all about.

Snowchugger x2 - a.k.a. "Chugga Chugga", this little guy does work with his 2/3 body and freeze ability. In most cases it's just another mech in the deck but there are plenty of times when you end up preventing damage due to the opponent's minions being frozen. Remember that if a minion attacks you chugga on their turn it will remain frozen for their next turn as well so you can ignore that creature if you want to.

Fireball x2 - what is there to say about Fireball that is not completely obvious? It's removal. It's a finisher. It's 6 damage for 4 mana! If you have a Mage deck that doesn't have Fireball in it then you're probably doing it wrong.

Goblin Blastmage x2 - as soon as I saw this card I knew that Mech Mage was coming. The 5/4 body is fine for 4 mana as is but you then get to add spell damage Arcane Missiles on top of that. This is pretty sick value for one card and is a key component of this deck. To be quite honest, I think this card could be nerfed and would still see a ton of play. Combined with the Mage hero ability there isn't much you won't kill with the Goblin OP-mage.

Clockwork Gnome x2 - that does it for Mage class cards. Now we jump in to the mechs. Clockwork Gnome is fairly weak but it is a 1-drop mech that can get the game started aggressively. The added bonus of a spare part is also nice but this cards main purpose is just to get the ball rolling as well as be a cheap activator for Blastmage.

Cogmaster x2 - another 1-drop that is extremely aggressive in this deck. If you get this down on turn 1 then it is very likely to be a 3/2 on turn 2 which can be a great tempo play if you can trade up or just start getting in the face damage. Either way, a 3/2 1-drop is fantastic and it's almost always going to be that in a deck with this many cheap mech cards.

Annoy-o-Tron x2 -I'm still conflicted when it comes to this card but the other options in the 2 mana slot don't seem much better so for now we'll go with the Annoy-o-Tron. It does have some great utility by protecting your other more valuable mechs as well as some synergy with the hero power since you can finish things off that attack it. This card definitely lives up to name, however, and will always be annoying for your opponent.

Mechwarper x2 - this little guy is a key to the deck's aggressive nature and allows you to flood the board and gain a massive tempo lead. Be careful not to get blown out by AoE removal though. It can be tempting to just go all out and in a lot of cases that is fine but this deck does not have Jeeves or any way to refill your hand so if you do get blown out it is very easy to run out of steam. Proceed with caution!

Harvest Golem x2 - ah, the good ol' Harvest Golem. This card has always been good and since it is now a mec, it's even better. A sticky minion that is tough to kill is great in tempo decks, this guy can often get in 4-6 damage before going down.

Spider Tank x2 - not the most exciting card in the deck but a card that fits the theme and is a nice body. Since it is a mech you can get this guy for 2 mana and this happens more often than you'd think. Coin + Mech Warper into turn 2 Spider Tank will snowball into a win almost every time so if you can make that play then by all means go for it.

Tinkertown Technician x2 - this is the real MVP of this deck. He will always be a 4/4 for 3 and give a spare part card which is massive value. You can trade and likely go 2-for-1 with this guy but I find myself going face and trying to get 8 damage at least. Since there are so many other threats on my board by the time he comes out the opponent often has to decide whether to kill off my TTT or Mechwarper and if they’re making that decision then I’ve likely won the game.

Mechanical Yeti x2 - RIP Chillwind Yeti. You will be missed. But you won’t be missed that much because this Yeti is strictly better in this deck. Sure, you give the opponent a spare part but you get one too and a 4/5 body as well. Playing Spider Tank into Mech Yeti on turns 2 and 3 with a Mechwarper out is ridiculous and feels like cheating.

Piloted Shredder x2- first of all, this is another mech, so it’s good for this deck. Second, I understand that it is random which means you could get a bad 2-drop but when you evaluate this card it’s better to look at the EV (expected value) that you will get from this card. Approximately 70% of the time you will get an average to above average 2 drop and that will make the total stats of the card in the 7/5 range which is insane value for 4 mana. Plus it’s just fun.

Azure Drake x2 - this is the other card that I’m conflicted about. There is very little draw in the deck and this card gives some cycle but there are other options. After playing the deck I’ve found that even though this card doesn’t quite fit the theme of the deck it’s still an Azure Drake which we al know is just a good card. You get a 4/4 body which has to be dealt with and you can boost the damage on your Fireballs and Frostbolts. I’m still interested in testing things like Jeeves and Bloodmage Thalnos but for now we’ll stick with the Drakes as they have been solid.

Loatheb - (literally copy/paste from all of my articles because how many times can I talk about how good the card is) if you read my deck guides then you are probably seeing a trend. Loatheb is in every deck. What Loatheb does is protect your damage dealing minions allowing you to keep swinging as well as being a 5/5 body. I'm running out of ways to say that Loatheb is really good so I'll just stop there.

Dr. Boom - there are a few options to include in this deck as finishers. While you get most of the work done with the mechs in the early game there is a big potential to just fizzle out and run out of steam. Dr. Boom provides some late game punch and (ahem) explosiveness. Stats alone you’re getting 9/9 for 7 but once you factor in the trade potential with the bombs you get a ton of value. There is a reason you’re seeing this guy in so many decks. He brings the pain.

Playing the Deck

The best opening hand will be low cost mechs and a Frostbolt. You are looking for Mechwarper, Clockwork Gnome, Cogmaster and a Tinkertown Technician. It’s hard not to get a nice curve since most of the deck is low cost but when going first it’s a little tougher since there are only 4 1-drops. Mulligan a little more aggressively for them in that scenario. When you are going second you can hold onto 3 drops a bit more often since you can use the coin to smooth out the plays. Early on in the game try to use all of your mana each turn and load the board with the most total stats that you can. This is a deck that relies on gaining a tempo lead and holding it so you want to always keep squeezing as much out of your turns as you can.

In the mid-game you will likely have a board lead so this is where you need to make correct decisions around when to trade and when to hit face. The only way to really lose the board is to get greedy and go all face and lose your minions to removal while they keep theirs. Utilize your hero power to trade up and keep loading the board being careful not to over extend if it’s not necessary. Most games will not go past turn 8 or so since the face damage usually builds fairly quickly. Against weapon classes protect your Snowchuggers since they can lock a hero out of using their weapons for entire games if they stay alive. The Mech Yeti and Piloted Shredder are your carries during this stage of the game. You will also likely have some spare parts lying around by now so if you have a turn with a loose mana try and find a positive use for them. If you are running this deck with Archmage Antonidas then it is best to hold them and turn them into Fireballs but in this particular version I prefer to use them to fill out turns that don’t add up to exact mana usage. They often have some cool utility if you look for it.

Finishing the game is often done with Dr. Boom and Fireball damage. If you have a Fireball in hand then it’s time to get aggressive and start hitting face more often. Be aware that unless you can finish the game with just the Fireball taunt can still mess things up so don’t go all in on setting up lethal if you could lose to a sweeper or a big taunt minion. Often you will feel as though you have too much mana towards the end of the game and you will be tempted to slam every mech minion in your deck. Sometimes that is correct if you know that the main board clears are out of the way but in most cases if you can just keep the tempo lead without over extending that will give you a better chance going into late game. This deck does not have a huge amount of late game so winning from that position can be tough but with Fireballs and Frostbolts you always have a chance to find that extra bit of damage.

Since the deck doesn’t have late game there are a few options to change that. Archmage Antonidas is a fantastic card in this deck since you will get so many spare parts through out the game. Another option is Gazlowe since you can turn the spare parts into more mechs and keep your momentum going. I haven’t had as much play time with these versions of the deck but in the limited games I did use them they both seemed to work fairly well, so if you are losing to control a lot you may want to tech these cards in to swing those match ups back into your favor.

Goblins vs. Gnomes is sure to create a lot of fun and crazy decks and I look forward to bringing them to you guys. Let me know in the comment below how you like tis deck and any changes you have made. If you have a specific archetype that you’d like me to cover that’s a great place to let me know that as well. Good luck on the ladder and may all your packs contain legendaries.

Until next time, job's done!