Mech Mage. A term that used to inspire fear into the hearts of many is now relegated to the Wild wasteland where all the top decks are being offered limitless power while a much smaller group of players push and shove their way up the ranks.
An old staple of the ladder, Strifecro's Mech Mage decklist is one of the most popular that's ever existed. As you can see, Goblins vs. Gnomes makes up approximately 70% of the entire composition. Clearly the archetype can't survive without it. But Whispers of the Old Gods did come with a few new cards that could be potential fits. Psych-o-Tron the larger, corrupted version of its smaller brother Annoy-o-Tron and Corrupted Healbot the twisted bot who no longer has your health among its interests.
Finding Room for New CardsBecause of the insane amount of synergy, it's actually really hard to make space for these new cards. Almost 75% of the deck is a Mech minion or one that has an effect that benefits from their presence, four slots are used up by burn spells, we've got some card draw in the form of two Azure Drakes, and Dr. Boom is an auto-include.
This leaves Loatheb as the odd man out, and with the Druid combo having been nerfed, we're actually much more comfortable substituting it with Corrupted Healbot. Psych-o-Tron is a bit harder to fit as we can't remove too many low cost minions, this is an aggressive deck after all. Going back a few months, you may remember how many players started running only a single copy of Tinkertown Technician. So we decided to go all in on this and replace them with two Psych-o-Trons, effectively doubling the Taunts and Divine Shields in the deck.
ThoughtsHaving played about 15 matches with the new decklist, we can say that most of the time the Psych-o-Trons are more useful than the Technicians. Spare parts really aren't all that important, especially since we aren't running any kind of spell synergy like Flamewaker. The added barrier that they give you really allows you to push the rest of your minions to the face and keep up the aggression. And in some situations they give you a free trade with the Divine Shield.
Healbot was a bit harder to judge and it easily remains the most flexible spot. If you start running into more spell based decks, by all means put Loatheb back in. But if you get the Healbot behind those Taunts, we've found that the opponent is often unable to deal with it unless they have targeted removal.
One of the benefits of this is you have slightly more resilience into the midgame. These three minions are much harder to remove than the cards they replaced, but you do have to be a bit careful since Healbot can help your opponent stall out the game.
Sadly it isn't possible to cheat out the the 6/6 prior to Turn 3, but more than ever it's easier to spiral the game out of control with your early game momentum.
It's worth noting that as a whole the deck is just a bit slower to start, but as a result can really carry momentum through the early to mid-game transition. Give it a shot yourself and let us know what you think!