Into The Wild: Reno Mage
After a brief break to force in some aggro matches, we're back to playing games that go beyond turn five.
July has been a busy but successful month this series. A variety of real life things happened which mean that I had less time to play than in previous months, but the absurd win rate of Secret Mage meant that I also got a much higher ranking than I normally do. Sadly, we followed that up with some pretty mediocre decks and Reno Mage was no exception.
I don’t know what went wrong this week. Reno decks have been some of my favourites to play since the card was first released and every Wild-related forum and website tells me it’s one of the best decks in the format. My win rate, though, was exactly 50%. Maybe it’s just the fact that I was playing rank 4-5 opponents and receiving less “free wins” from their mistakes.
It certainly wasn’t the match-ups: the only deck I lost against more than once was Token Paladin. I had some losing record against other decks, of course, but I only faced them once. Again, the problem of sample size becomes an issue and when you are playing a deck full of one-ofs it only gets worse. Is Arcane Blast worth a spot? Hard to say when you only get to cast it six or seven times. The ability to customise the list is one of Reno’s strengths, to be sure, but it also makes data hard to gather.
I messed around a lot with the deck’s configuration this week, so much so that I won’t post a list with the article. There are a few cards that I wouldn’t dream of cutting, though. Kazakus is an obvious inclusion, but he also makes Inkmaster Solia and Brann Bronzebeard a lot better too. Brann is not an auto-include, in my opinion, but if you include stuff like Healbot and Elise he can do a lot of work. On the other hand, do not make the mistake I made in one game and shuffle two Elise packs into your deck when you need Reno’s ability to stay alive.
Cabalist’s Tome and Primordial Glyph are not at their best in this deck, but they do have their moments. Like any card with a random outcome, they can be hit or miss, but some decks make better use of simply having spells in your hand than the versions I played. Flamewaker loves them both, I’m sure, and you can probably build a more tempo-focused deck that makes better use of these cards.
The deck is a lot of fun to play, however you set it up. Elise is still sweet, and she gave me a lovely little story to tell this week. The Trailblazer is great in attritional match-ups, and against a Control Warrior earlier today I managed to get two packs, thanks to a Manic Soulcaster. Dinomancy didn’t look great, let alone a second one, until I was able to combine it with Feeding Time and the two Charged Devilsaurs I also opened. Two Brawls and 40-something armor were not enough to keep up with that sort of value.
The usual question I like to pose towards the end of these articles is whether or not you should play the deck on the ladder. The truth is, it depends. The deck is fun and it is powerful, but it is not fast. If you’re interested in winning lots of games and climbing the ladder fast, Reno Mage is not for you. If you want to win games and have fun doing it, Reno Mage is for you. It has so many moving parts and so many decision points that you can really make the deck what you want it to be. Do you want to burn your opponents face off with Pyroblasts and burn spells? Go nuts. Maybe you want to play a bunch of secrets and make free 5/5’s: be my guest. You can probably make a successful Tempo Mage deck with Reno as a backup plan if you want.
I did not have a lot of success with Reno Mage, but I did have a lot of fun playing it. I’m sure there are better, more consistent versions of the deck out there if you want them.