Giants are fun, aren’t they? Hearthstone has some pretty amazing giants, and what is better than dropping four giants in a single turn? You’re probably thinking “a handlock guide, eh?” NOPE! This here is an Echo Mage guide.
You may or may not know what an Echo Mage deck is all about. Let me tell you. Echo Mage is a deck that loses board control early, takes a lot of damage to the face, and then, out of nowhere, wins the game with a ton of face damage. “Sounds like Freeze Mage” you say? Well, you’re not entirely wrong! Freeze Mage and Echo Mage have very similar playstyles. Wipe the board, play very slowly, then out of nowhere pull a ton of damage out. There are some key differences though. For one, echo mage has more board clear. It has less pieces needed for its combo, which allows more survival to be teched in. One important thing to note is that in Freeze Mage, you can’t simply use your damage as removal, if you use all of your Frostbolts and Fireballs to clear minions, you have no damage left to kill your opponent with. This isn’t a problem that Echo Mage encounters, all damage in the deck is designed to kill things and keep you alive until you can drop your giants.
Before I explain further, here is my deck list:
As you can see, there’s a lot of board removal, some draw, some sustainability, and a bunch of giants. So how do you get to the point of playing the giants? Well, the board clear certainly helps!
In most matchups, your goal is to clear everything your opponent plays, while still managing to ping as often as possible. If they play a 3/2 on turn two, pinging it twice is decent, unless he has something else that is relevant. If you play an Acolyte of Pain, ping your own Acolyte for one more ping and to draw an extra card. The goal is to be able to live to a point where you can play multiple giants in one turn, taunt them up using a Sunfury Protector, and use Echo of Medivh to replicate them all, ideally all while having an Ice Block in play to prevent you from dying the next turn from direct damage (this would have been from a previous turn). This combo becomes much easier when you have played an Emperor on some of the relevant cards, making it an auto include in this (and most) combo deck.
The ideal situation for this deck is getting to a point where both Molten Giants cost zero, and you are past turn six so you have enough mana to combo, with an Ice Block in play, then simply overpower them. But the odds of that happening so simply is very rare. Which is where the Frost Giants come in. You tap every turn in order to get to a point where playing Frost Giants is just as effective as Moltens. Obviously this takes a long time, which is why starting to use your hero power as early as turn two is ideal for this deck.
The hardest decision for this deck is knowing when to go off, or when to sacrifice a giant to stay alive. If they have board full of damage, you don’t have any board removal, and you have all the combo pieces except Echo, you don’t wait. You have to take some risks with the deck, and if it means staying alive or preventing an Ice Block from going off, it’s usually the right play. Another one is that in many cases you will have to play a single giant and taunt it up. This certainly isn’t ideal, but remember that 8/8s are extremely strong, particularly against aggressive decks, which is where you’d encounter this situation most often. 8/8s with taunt are even stronger, and 8/8s with taunt that also have a copy of themselves in your hand can be simply unbeatable for many aggressive decks.
Another situation that’s important is Alexstrasza. Typically when you see this card it is being used to set their opponent’s life low and followed up with a big combo. Not here. Here what you’re using it for is a follow up to Ice Block, usually. Your life total is low, you use your combo. You have two giants in play with a Sunfury Protector between them, creating a 16 health wall. You pass the turn. Your opponent uses a spell on your face and your Ice Block goes off, saving your life. Next turn, you have enough mana and an Alexstrasza in your hand. You can either use it on your opponent if you have lethal damage with your 16 power, or you can simply use it on yourself. Now your life total is a daunting 15, they have used most of their direct damage, you have a 16 health wall, and you JUST played another 8/8 minion. Using Alexstrasza defensively is incredibly powerful, often giving you a 10 or more life boost.
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Which brings us to another point regarding your life total. Molten Giants cost less the lower your life total. But you also have a lot of things that bolster your life. So how do you properly mitigate damage without putting yourself in danger of dying? Well, a great way is using cards like Ice Barrier and Antique Healbot. Both of those give you an effective eight extra health, but using them intelligently is the key to making this deck work. If you use them without thinking, you’ll put yourself out of Molten Giant casting range, allowing your opponent to build a larger board and simply overrun you. The goal is to get down to around ten health, drop your Molten Giants, and then heal back up. Obviously you can’t do this in every instance, if you simply haven’t drawn Moltens or are being bursted too hard to avoid playing them, but using them correctly is the key to winning.
This deck isn’t considered the best in the current meta, but if you’re looking for a fun deck with a fairly high success rate, one that isn’t your average Grim Patron or Secret Paladin, and one that casts a whole lot of flippin Giants, this is the deck for you!