February 20, 2015

Mage Theory Crafting for Ulduar WOW TCG

With Ulduar 2.0 nearing halfway completion, I began looking at cards to see how I wanted the raid boss to deal with certain lock downs and other issues. It got me to thinking about creating a legacy deck to run through Ulduar. In Ulduar there are two deck formats: Standard and Legacy. Standard can use any card from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, and Legacy restricts the cards you can put into the deck from Set 1 to Icecrown, and anything in between that time. The raid deck was designed to fight versus legacy decks.

So how about a mage? Fun times.

Right off the bat, [The More, the Scarier] scores value. There are times where bosses will have multiple minions out. It can happen during Ignis, XT-002 or Auriaya for example. Having this nifty card can wipe away some of the issues. Plus- the dang thing is utilitarian and handy as hell. Every mage should try to incorporate this card. During the active days of the card game this card went for a decent chunk of change, even in Classic format- but now that the game is over, feel free to proxy this sum' bitch away!

[Arcane Burst] is another AOE attack to keep in mind, especially because of the cheap play cost. Remember though- the more cheaper cost cards you play, the more card draw power you will need before your hand is empty. That is why I like taking a progressive cost approach to deck buiding.

You wouldn't think it by looking at it, but I have found that [Blistering Fire] has helped a ton, especially in the early game if the raid isn't getting up to speed with damage. For 1 cost, you can fling 3 damage at the boss. Great cost/damage ratio for that card. [Frost Ward] is a great card to use during the Hodir encounter, when he begins throwing around tons of frost damage. [Living Bomb], if you are lucky enough to draw it on turn 1, and you don't die before it goes off, can certainly help in a raid, but it is up to the end user to decide whether the risk is worth it.[Sear] may also have some use against allies with high health values that were damaged, especially during the Thorim and Ignis encounters. It is a lot easier to pull off because the card is instant- and I recommend considering this card.

For fights where massive damage is coming down, "as the raid leader chooses", you pop [Shield Of Distortion] as a Death Knight or a Mage and laugh out loud all the way to the bank. I would be one to use this strategy during fights like that, especially against the Assembly of Iron.  For the cost of ONE resource, you can prevent a massive amount of damage from taking place by having the raid leader pile it all on your intended target. Assuming the damage isn't melee. [Arcane Warding] is worth a look if someone is attempting to protect a big ticket ally dealing a lot of damage. For fights like XT-002 Deconstructor, where he is swinging 15 damage per hit, a card like [Blink] might just save your rear end.

Now using [Blizzard] will get interesting. If you can get your hand size to have no maximum, you can play this and, for the rest of the game, assuming the boss will not get to the ability- keep the field locked down. The below image will create a lockdown, especially if you are playing a classic deck. If you are running just legacy, you will have to play [Blizzard] and ["Gigantique" Bag] to initiate the combo.

[Counterspell] will be a bread and butter ability, however during the Ulduar raid, interrupts are governed by a mechanic called diminishing returns. The first interrupt goes off 100% of the time, the next 75%, the next 50%, 25%, and then the chance halves from there. [Mystic Denial] will also be bread and butter, but it counts for two ticks of diminishing returns.

Mages inherently have lower ability costs, and this can lead to running dry very early on in the game, sometimes before turn 6. This is why card draw in mage decks is useful- but you have to balance card draw, interrupts and damage to make an effective deck.

When we played Naxxramas, we built decks in a rigid format where one player was responsible for all heals, another for all tanking, and so on. We figured out quick that Naxxramas was able to lock down and isolate the healer, wiping the raid. When we switched to a distribution model, meaning that damage/dps/heals was distributed among the ally pool in the game, it was a lot easier to win raids.

With a solid raid team that wants to win, the ally pool can be built together as a team. You will want equal parts DPS, PROTECTOR and MEND allies (or allies that heal). Allies that do a bit of any combo of roles are excellent. For alliance, [Woodsie Leafsong] is almost a required staple. For horde, you want to play [Blood Knight Kyria].  If you are playing either faction, these allies are essentially crucial to a raid build.

The quest lineup is up to you, but I recommend packing some card draw. As for equipment- it's a good idea to include around 5-8 pieces (cards) of armor. Not having to take the full brunt of attacks is a sweet, sweet thing indeed.

It will be a fun experience in Ulduar, and a mage may provide critical to the success of the raid.

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