Gar! Tired of the aggro pirate craze inundating the current Hearthstone competitive meta in Mean Streets of Gadgetzan?

So are we; that’s why we welcome this refreshing Reno Jackson/N’Zoth Mage meta-countering deck by MazeMangler with open arms.

“This [deck],” MazeMangler says, “is for everyone who wants to play the game with a major endgamegoal in sight to work towards to for the whole match, the tacticians among you and the few who want to take in the experience of an all out war in control matchups. If you’re tired playing pirate warrior, shaman, jade druid or renolock, consider joining me on this offmeta ride!”

maze-mangler-legend
Proof of MazeMangler hitting Legend with his Reno/N’Zoth Mage deck

Full Deck List courtesy of Reddit user MAXSR388.

Renomage in Standard

Why play Renomage and not Renopriest or the Overlord?

Renomage has 4 unique facets:

Plenty of unconditional removal: Iceblock, Burn and the Pingheropower. Especially the Mage Hero Power shouldn’t be underestimated; it’s often the difference between a dead Frothing Berserker and 7 damage to the face. In a Control Deck only second to Warlock Hero Power.

Renomage in general tries to prevent the game from snowballing out of control and then focuses on burning the enemy down. Problematic are the cases when you already used your burn and have difficulty feeding your Antonidas. That’s why Renomages run Alexstraza. This is often not enough to win vs. Druid and other Reno decks, the main reasons being that this requires 3 turns to work and you need specific cards at the right time for it and you might get outvalued before you can pull out that combo.

Renomage is fine at the moment, but i think we can approach the match with a few more win conditions:

Gameplan: Reno and the Unholy Trinity

nzoth-hearthstone

The beauty of Reno Jackson in this deck opposed to many other Reno decks is that he’s not only the protection from aggressive decks, but also an enabler for a specific deck tactic (think of a Renolock tapping the whole game because he can burst heal). In our case it’s the inclusion of 2 cards: Rhonin and N’Zoth. Rhonin is a 1 card value bomb that presents a threat and grants 3 Arcane Missiles; Antonidas converts those Missiles into Fireballs; if he isn’t able to lend you his assistance, you can still combo with Flamewaker or Spell Damage. N’Zoth brings back our Mage-Tirion and grants you another 3 missiles on top of the board.

Then there is Kazakus… but that’s a different story. Sorry Reynad but it’s nearly impossible to not use the term “win condition” regarding this deck:

  • Reno Jackson (vs aggro)
  • Burn Damage (especially vs control)
  • Kazakus Potions (vs everything)
  • N’Zoth board (especially vs Druid)

Weaknesses

No deck is without its weaknesses, but knowing one’s weaknesses and limitations can often lend itself to victory. Main weak spots of this deck are:

  • Decks that can flood and reflood the board
  • Dirty Rat grabbing Antonidas or N’Zoth
  • Transform effects/Entomb

Deck/Card analysis

I’ll talk a bit about the cards, you might learn something about their usage and place in this deck. Sorted by minions/spells and Mana cost:

MINIONS

Mistress of Mixtures

mistress-of-mixtures

I’m positively surprised by the performance of this card. When on the play, threatens tunnel trogg with heropower. 2/2 statline is very usefull and as a greedy deck i welcome the 4 heal tot he face (already worth 1 mana). Can also be resummoned by nzoth or kazakus, absolutely staple in this facemeta.

Paveling Book

babbling-book

It rarely happens that this card “draws dead,” so to speak. The ability to run more removal in a Reno deck is invaluable, and also sports Brann synergy. Babbling Book is a card that can win games you shouldn’t and is impossible for your opponent to play around.

Mandatory: Babbling Book is quickly becoming one of my favorite cards. It’s just so positive and…

Ooze

acidic-swamp-ooze

We are in a meta with Doomhammers and 7/3 Arcanite Reapers.

Thalnos

bloodmage-thalnos

If you haven’t crafted him yet, do so. He greatly increases the value of your damage spells and costs your opponent mana/an attack to remove. Also brings you closer to Reno.

Loot Hoarder

loot-hoarder

While Loot Hoarder in particular isn’t very interesting, he actually is in this case because he is the 30th strongest card in this deck. Upsides are the cycle, N’zoth synergy and his low mana cost as well as Barnes synergy. He also doesn’t clump your hand in slow matchups like another low cost card would. I value the cycle quite high here because this is a deck which often searches for specific cards and doesn’t do well with a filler cards of some sort. However, he doesn’t line up well vs Claws and Hooks; I feel like a Dirty Rat could/should be in his place….

Doomsayer

doomsayer

We’re playing a slow deck, we’re playing Doomsayer. Doomsayer got a bit more skill-intensive with the introduction of Kazakus and Dirty Rat. He’s interesting with Kazakus. You dont want to resurrect him at 10 mana but if you’re crafting a 5 mana potion, consider taking the Resurrection vs aggro to get a 2nd Doomsayer. Tip: Coin this vs aggro when they played a 1 drop or they will get rid of it.

Flamewaker

flamewaker

Somewhat of an outcast in Renomagedecks because they don run a lot of cheap spells. We on the other hand can start an Arcane Missile clownfiesta. Flamewaker is a backup plan when Antonidas is busy. The deck is also short on taunts.

Brann Bronzebeard

brann-bronzebeard

Brann is a beast when he hits. But in this deck he has only 4 targets: BB, Barnes, Kazakus and Azure Drake. I play Brann mostly because he is a cheap proactive play that demands removal. And I don’t run many taunts.

Kazakus, the hero we deserve

kazakus

Insane. Below is a bit about his potions.

Water Elemental

water-elemental

I can’t remember a meta in which this was stronger, just play it.

Infested Tauren

infested-tauren

One of those cards you play for the greater good. Note that mage might be the best class to run Infested Tauren because it synergizes so well with low att. minions (ping). This card is here to increase Deathrattle density and prevent turn 5 lethal.

Tonight! A tale of truuue terror…

barnes

From a fun point of view, i absolutely love this card. His voice acting, the lights, the theme of an actor playing a card in my deck, the drama. From a competitive view, this card should have never been printed. Pulling something like Rhonin or Ragnaros instantly wins the game. Every Deathrattle you pull gets resummoned by N’Zoth.

Barnes in this deck:

  • Bad pulls: 7 (BB, doomsayer, N’Zoth, reno, azure drake, ooze, water elemental)
  • Good pulls: 5 (Loot hoarder, flamewaker, thalnos, brann, mistress of mixtures)
  • Insane pulls: 5 (sylvanas, rhonin, antonidas, infested tauren, thaurissan)

Azure Drake

azure-drake

It’s card draw that doesn’t suck and costs 5 mana.

Sylvanas

sylvanas

A way to beat Druid. Gets resummoned by N’Zoth, not many alternatives here if you want to play N’Zoth mage. Just remember how dangerous it is to drop Rhonin when the enemy hasn’t played their Sylvanas yet.

Thaurissan

emperor-thaurissan

Too good not to include. Produces more Fireballs and makes the enemy play inefficiently next turn. What you already know: It’s a high priority to drop Thaurissan on an empty board so your opponent will waste his hardremoval.

Antonidas

archmage-antonidas

Should at least get 2 Fireballs. Can close games fast when dropped against aggressive decks to prevent them from topdecking lethal. Nothing else you don’t know already.

Rhonin (8 mana Wargolem)

rhonin

Unplayable in an aggro matchup. So much revolving around this dying on your side of the board. Missiles provide massive swingturns. Rhonin is a rather elegant solution to win control matchups by including only 1 (2 with N’zoth) deckslots.

Note: If you play Rhonin with more than 6 cards in hand you will burn a card!

N’Zoth, greatest of the 4

nzoth

With Control Warrior out of the meta, only Warlock can completely clear the board, Priest coming at least close. I appreciate N’Zoth’s speed once he drops: Unlike Ysera, your opponent has an answer or dies. 6 N’Zoth targets total in the deck, 2 backbreaking when resummoned. N’Zoth timing is key: You usually want to drop N’Zoth when your enemy’s AOE is gone but games don’t go like you want sometimes. Sometimes you just play him to resummon Thalnos and Hoarder to get more fuel.

SPELLS

Forbidden Flame

forbidden-flame

Flexible removal that removes a Southsea Deckhand just as well as an Abyssal Enforcer. Also gets converted to a fireball for 0 mana.

Arcane Blast

arcane-blast

The spell damage requirement will seldom be met, but those Small-Time-Buccaneers have to die.

Mirror Image

mirror-image

A card that is seldom seen in Renomage. I see this card as a better Flash Heal: 2 0/2 taunts should block at least 5 face damage. They protect Flamewaker and grant a fireball from Toni. Solid, but can be replaced.

Frostbolt

frostbolt

The freezing effect is actually relevant for once, 4 mana 7/7 and frothing are nice targets.

Forgotten Torch

forgotten-torch

Early game removal, run it.

Fireball

fireball

Just play it.

Polymorph

polymorph

With Priest and the 4 mana 7/7 back in the meta and this deck’s weakness to Sylvanas, this card is most welcome.

Volcanic Potion

volcanic-potion

Pirates don’t like this card.

Iceblock

ice-block

Back when I was a noob I thought this card was nowhere close to good. Turns out it’s insane. It lets you play much more comfortably instead of using your mana inefficiently to prevent a surprise lethal. Also allows to set up counterlethal. I try to hold it in control matchups for as long as possible because it can turn into a fireball with Thaurissan help.

Flamestrike

flamestrike

To get a feeling of old Arenadays in constructed.

Cards that can be replaced easily: Loot hoarder, mirror images, brann, barnes

Cards to include: Dirty rat, mc tech, flamelance, blizzard, kabal courier.

KAZAKUS POTIONS

1) When to take which mana cost

When dropped on curve, you often just take the 5 mana potion to curve into. However, the 1 manacost potion is tempo par excellance (especially the 1 mana demonwrath). The sheep potion is not available, so you have a 58% chance to get a specific effect, 53% when taking other manaoptions. Almost always take the 10 mana pot in slow matchups. If you brann, consider taking 2 separate manacosts and effects tob e able to respond smoother to the future boardstate.

2) What to take when at 5/10 mana

Not going in-depth here, but this priority line should help:

5 mana: AoE > Resurrect > Damage > Armor > Summon demon > draw> sheep > healthbuff > freeze > draw demons

10 mana: Resurrect > AoE > Sheep > Summon demon > Healthbuff >Damage >Draw >Armor > Draw demons > Freeze

Especially the resurrect combo with healthbuff is devestating vs control. However, a dead doomsayer or babbling book should influence your decision here.

Mulligans

Aggressive Class (Shaman, rogue, warrior, paladin, hunter):

Everything below 3 mana – mirror image, torch and volcanic potion, kazakus and reno.

Slow Matchup (priest, warlock, mage):

Hold onto Arcane Intellect and polymorph in addtion to your low cost removal/minions+ kazakus. I’d mulligan Kazakus away vs renolock because that’s the least tempointensive matchup.

VS druid:

You want earlyminions and arcane intellect to buid up pressure. Keep kazakus as well.

MATCHUPS

Now, here I want to apologize. Despite having the best winrate i ever had to legend i suffered from ladder anxiety and not tracking my stats helped me tremendously to focus more on the fun part of the game. So take this with a grain of salt:

Good matchups:

Renolock (combo), Pirate warrior, pirate rogue, renomage, control warrior

Even matchups:

Renolock (ragnaros+blastfire potion), miracle rogue, aggro shaman, renopriest, dragon priest, Tempomage

Bad matchups:

Midrange shaman, Midrange hunter, Zoo, Jade druid, Malygos druid, divine favor paladin.

Conclusion:

Holy moly that was intense but helped me wash away the pressure from laddering. If there are any questions, feel free to ask. I wish you good fortune, a happy feast of winterveil and epic battles vs renolock. Show your enemies who is in charrge now!

And always remember: We’re gonna be rich!