A guide to Quest Mage by one of the all-time best pilots in the format. Today Tauntischeat is sharing his knowledge on one of the most notorious decks in the Wild Hearthstone format.
With the nerf to Darkglare Warlock, the Wild metagame is in for a shakeup. Darkglare Warlock, as we know it, at least in its current form, is essentially dead, and Raza Priest is sure to stay on top. Quest Mage will most likely see a resurgence with one of its worst matchups gone and one of its best matchups sure to stick around. With that, we bring you a wild player known for his love of the deck, Tauntischeat, to teach you how to beat those filthy “Yellow cards on curve” decks.
What is Quest Mage?
Quest Mage is a fast combo deck that can play many different versions depending on the situation. It mostly punishes slower combo decks, such as the previously mentioned Raza Priest or Malygos Druid, but struggles against aggressive decks.
Quest Mage utilizes cheap spells alongside Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Flamewaker to cause mass amounts of damage to the board (and likely your opponent’s face) and then finishing the turn off with a Mana Cyclone to fill your hand with spells. Once the deck finishes the Open the Waygate quest, it tries to end the game out with two strong Flamewaker turns or with a Warband of zero mana giants to smash the opponent’s face. The rest of the deck aims to complete your quest efficiently or cycle quickly through your deck to find your good cards.
Triple Giant Quest Mage:
Minion based Quest Mage: AAEBAf0EBNDBAu72AsW4A/e4Aw3mBOMRgrQCzu8CyIcDn5sD4psDu6UD+6wD/awDuLYDpNED/tEDAA==
Stock Quest Mage: AAEBAf0EBNDBAu72AsW4A/e4Aw3mBOMRgrQCmMQCzu8CyIcDn5sD4psD/50Du6UD+6wD/awDuLYDAA==
Triple Giant Quest Mage is an evolution that happened at the end of the Ashes of Outland’s meta as people realized that the extra giant was not necessary and that it was better have more mulligan consistency instead.
Cutting the giant helps vs. aggressive opponents because it makes it harder for you to draw dead. However, this comes at the cost of being worse against armor based opponents since you lose some burst damage.
So far, the three giant Quest Mage list is the one I’m most looking forward to playing after Darkglare leaves the Wild Hearthstone meta.
Giants, minions or going old school Quest Mage
Minion-based Quest Mage is better against armored opponents since the increase in minions helps chipping them down and allows extra draw consistency with Book of Specters. Overall this list feels a lot more consistent than the normal ones because it’s less reliant on the Cyclone for spell generation. However, this also takes away the biggest possible high rolls from the deck that make it so powerful.
The final list I wanted to include is the tried and tested Quest Mage list. The stock quest mage list worked well in the past, although it’s not the best way to build the deck if you try to tech towards the metagame. However, it still deserves a mention due to how good it performed in the past.
Gameplan of Quest Mage
The Quest Mage game plan splits into four stages:
1) Gathering Resources
The beginning part of the game is where you play your 2-drops and draw cards.
At this time, you’re desperately trying not to die to aggressive decks. Against control decks, on the other hand, you are trying to build up pressure where possible.
2) The Swing Turn
Swinging the game involves going in with Sorcerer’s Apprentice into many 0 cost spells and then play Mana Cyclone. You hope to swing the board in your favor versus aggressive decks with Flamewaker and cheap spells. Sometimes it is required to attempt the swing turn without Flamewaker, though this is often higher risk.
3) The Setup
After you do the swing turn and often only happens versus control matchups since they give you the time. Here you’re trying to slowly accumulate giants and play the spells you created from Cyclone as you finish Open the Waygate.
4) The Combo
The turn that you have your combo assembled and can go in with Time Warp together with 0 mana Giants or huge Flamewaker turns for game-winning burst or tempo swing.
Wild Quest Mage Mulligan
The Quest Mage mulligan is quite complex and relies on different synergies. The complexity of these decisions is why I will go by card for card in which situations it’s a keep.
There are several cards we keep in every situation. These include the obvious ones, such as Open the Waygate and Evocation, since they are vital to our gameplan. In addition to this, minions such as Licensed Adventurer and Questing Explorer assist well in progressing through our game plan of completing the quest.
The final card on the list of must-keeps is Mana Cyclone. The first copy of Mana Cyclose we always hold. The second copy of Mana Cyclone is slightly more restricted; however, it is worth keeping if you are on the Coin, and you have access to a card such as Elemental Evocation alongside it.
Minions You Sometimes Keep:
Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Keep if:
-You’re going first, and you already have a 2-drop.
-Or, you’re going first against aggressive opponents, and you have any 1-cost spells.
-And, if you’re going first and have a Mana Cyclone or Evocation.
-You’re going second.
Flamewaker: Keep if:
-When you’re going second and have Mana Cyclone or Evocation.
-Or, You’re going second against Rogue
-You’re going first in the mirror and already have a two-drop
Starscryer: Keep against control, only keep against aggressive decks if you don’t have another two-drop.
Violet Spellwing: Keep when going first against Rogue; it’s great against their 1-health pirates.
Stargazer Luna: Keep if you’re going first in the mirror, and already have a 2-drop.
Wandmaker: Only keep versus Rogue.
Spells You Sometimes Keep:
Magic Trick: Keep when going second, and you already have an Apprentice in the mulligan.
Elemental Evocation: Only keep if you also have Cyclone.
Ray of Frost: Keep when going second against aggressive opponents, and you already have a Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the mulligan. It’s also a keep if you know you’re facing Mech Paladin, in particular.
Primordial Glyph: Only keep if you have an Apprentice and Cyclone in the mulligan.
Book of Specters: Keep the first one when you’re facing a Priest, Druid, or Warrior; these classes tend to have slower decks, so the extra draw is good.
General Tips for Quest Mage
- Time Warp has different uses depending on the matchup. Against Raza Priest and many other slower decks, Time Warp functions as a lethal burst combo with giants. But against faster opponents, you shouldn’t be scared about playing the quest without lethal and just using it to get ahead on board and get giants down.
- Loatheb can be a great hindrance to you, a good timed Loatheb can win the game. Try to play around your opponent having access to five mana if you know they run Loatheb. One way to do this is by not saving your Apprentice-Evocation combo for “one more turn” against decks that can run Loatheb.
- Apprentice-Evocation is a great combo, but when do you use it exactly? In general, I would wait as long as possible without using it. Try to make sure that if you clear the board with it, they can’t kill you with burst damage. Generally, that means that against aggressive opponents, it is better to use it early. Where, on the other hand, against control opponents, it is best saved for later.
Flamewaker’s optimal uses
- 4. Do not overvalue Flamewaker. I see Flamewaker as an understated minion that sometimes deals damage. I see the mistake frequently when players wait for a long time with a Mana Cyclone so you can get that extra damage during the combo turn with Flamewaker.
Do not do this unless you certainly know you can. The extra damage isn’t essential in most matchups anyway since Time Warp with giants is enough. And if the Flamewaker is used to clear the board, sometimes it’s better to go in earlier so that they don’t have the chance to form a board in the first place.
- The Quest 2-drops, Licensed Adventurer, and Questing Explorer are both great cards to get in your opening hand, but if you get them both, which do you play first?
- Questing Explorer is good versus aggressive opponents since the card stats often make it contest the opponents early game minions. The Adventurer is better into control decks, though, since there are almost no early game minions with which it has to compete. The lack of contesting options allows for extra chip damage, which is particularly valuable against decks such as Druid and Warrior.
- Consider keeping some of your 2-drops for the quest turn if you need the perfect 30 damage to finish them off.
- Don’t be scared to tempo giants; if you know that your opponent doesn’t have answers to it, just play them. Tempo giants are specifically prevalent against aggressive opponents where you don’t have time to draw all your giants, so one giant can hit the face twice with Time Warp or to trade very efficiently.
Some Matchup-Specific Tips
Non-board Aggro Decks:
Secret Mage and Kingsbane are interesting matchups since they are aggressive decks where most of the damage comes through burst and not board. Because of this, our most efficient strategy against these decks to race them! Try to go in as early as possible and get a giant down. Try to kill them before they kill you.
Something interesting with Secret Mage is explosive runes; try not to go in with an Apprentice during your combo turn if you can afford it, so you don’t instantly lose. You can also help the racing going by sticking a Flamewaker and freezing their minions. If we freeze their minions with a Flamewaker on the board, our opponents have to use their burst on killing the threat rather than going face.
With these steps, I think the Kingsbane matchup can be greatly improved, and the Secret Mage matchup can get so much better to the point it’s actually in your favor.
Playing against decks with armor gain tools can be tricky, especially if you only run three giants, so against Druid or Warrior, you need to change your game plan seen much in other matchups. You prioritize early 2-drops to get in chip damage, making killing them easier with the combo later.
You also want to play for value, for most of the game, picking minion generating spells and playing threats individually each turn, which slowly brings down the opponent’s life total. The slower strategy works especially well against Druid since they only have Poison Seeds as a board clear against your Giants.
If you need the extra damage, an interesting combo is to save Evocation, Apprentice, and Flamewaker for your combo turn, which allows you to get a ton more damage, which is often enough to kill even the most armored opponents. I feel like, with these strategies, any Druid opposition favors you and an Odd Warrior becomes an almost unlosable matchup.
Quest Mage Mirror:
The Quest Mage mirror is a matchup all about tempo. Playing a Flamewaker or Stargazer Luna on an empty board without any follow up is often a good idea. Because these are treats, they have to use valuable spells to kill, and if it sticks, you can snowball your board lead.
Tempo playing a Giant is also very good, as Quest Mage has no way to deal with it in their deck. Another good way to get an edge in the mirror is trying to go in on your combo turn second. Most of the time, the person who goes in second gets control of the board, and since the opponent already used their power turn, it can be a struggle to get it back.
Make sure they can’t kill you with the quest by not allowing too much chip damage to get you to a dangerous life total. But if all else fails, a skillfully generated Ice Block does the trick.
The reno mage matchup can be tricky since they have access to Ice Block, Reno Jackson, and Zephrys the Great. The best way to win against them is to “pop” them at 1 with your quest while ensuring you can deal 30 damage the next turn to make sure Reno is not an out.
Where the popping at 1 comes in is Zephrys the Great. They can often use Zephrys the Great to clear your whole board through Twisting Nether. The ability to either clear the board or get killed from 30 health removes any way out for Reno Mage.
Raza Priest is one of the easier matchups for Quest Mage. However, I think it deserves mention due to a card they got last expansion, Mindrender Illucia. Illucia can be detrimental to your gameplan if you don’t correctly play around it.
The most important tip I have is don’t wait too long with your combo; saving coins and spells in hand is not a great idea because a good Raza Priest player will notice that, play Illucia, and effectively discard your whole hand.
Another great way to play around Illucia is to intentionally not complete the quest, keep it at seven spells so that if they play their Illucia, they can’t steal it. Ideally, though, I’d try to keep the quest completion at six to allow yourself to play one of your generated spells in the direst of situations. Always make sure to keep a low cost generated spell in hand so you can complete and play quest the same turn. It’s also often correct to ping your Spellwing if you have another minion on board to play around Potion of Madness.
Quest Mage is likely to see a rise on the Wild ladder due to the extinction of Darkglare Warlock and the continued success of Raza Priest. And thanks to Tauntischeat’s great experience and information, you too can play one of Wild’s most notorious decks.
While the deck can be weak against aggressive, some key strategies can make the matchups better. As long as slower control/combo decks are popular, Quest Mage will have a place in the meta. If you like the article, feel free to share, and we look forward to more content from Tauntischeat soon on the website or follow Tauntischeat on Twitter for more of his thoughts & ideas.
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