Mage Core Set and Future Design Wishlist 2022 – BrianOBryan

Hearthstone Mage

Hello there, BrianOBryan back with an article to share my wishes for Mage’s core set in 2022 along with future expansions! Being my favorite class in Hearthstone with over 4,000 wins, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts about the class while practicing game design (as an aspiring game designer). Thus I’ll be providing as much insights into my card choices for the core set (including cards I chose to remove). Then I’ll share my overall design hopes for Mage in the upcoming 2022 expansions. Please note this article is not as in depth as I’d like due to time constraints. Although if people are interested to read more about my thoughts on Mage or a particular topic, I’ll go into further detail through a follow up article.

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Core Set Wishlist

Design Considerations for Mage’s Core Set

My intentions are to provide the class with better options for future archetypes while keeping it around the same power level as the core set of other classes. Without knowing what’s planned in the future expansions, I avoided any drastic changes which means most of the current core set is still intact. Although I still wanted to pick a few cards which I believe can fit in the core set and its intended design. One of the main considerations for my card choices was to make sure it filled the role as simple, versatile, and functioned as good “workhorse” cards (not requiring much setup or synergy). I wanted to consider cards which filled this role, but still allow expansion cards to shine as the first and last things in a game tend to be the most memorable. 

Below are some brief insights into my thought process for every change.

Cards added or changed

  • Frostbolt
    • Provides a great tool to help against weapon decks
    • Flexible use (can either target face or minions)
    • Mozaki and Incanter’s Flow are rotating which means this card being less likely to be used as a cheap burst spell in an OTK combo
  • Arcane Keysmith
    • One of my favorite designed cards and feels balanced
    • Rarely does it feel oppressive
    • Makes Mage’s secrets less bad (Mage’s secrets in particular feel the weakest when played at full cost)
  • Ethereal Conjurer (added elemental tag)
    • Still maintains the simplicity of the card
    • Allows for future elemental support cards to bring this card into the spotlight if given the right synergies

Cards removed

  • Snap Freeze
    • Didn’t want to include this alongside Frost Bolt as they can both function as a cheap minion freeze
    • Shattering blast is also a spell to destroy frozen minions, even though it’s one of the worst spells in the pool
  • Coldarra Drake
    • Personally, I don’t believe it is healthy to have a card like Coldarra in core. Although the chances of other classes creating a Coldarra is not likely, it still results in a miserable experience for the player on the receiving end of a luckily generated Coldarra Drake either giving an absurd amount of damage in a single turn (if discounted) or providing infinite value through a 0 cost hero power like Scabbs.

Cards considered, but didn’t make the cut

  • Archmage Antonidas
  • Dragoncaller Allana
  • Unstable Portal

General Wishes for Mage in 2022

Aside from the core set, here’s my general wishes for Mage in 2022 and highlighting some problems I had with class’ design in the Year of the Gryphon (YOTG). Just some brief thoughts about what I’d like to see improved going into the next Standard year.

No more “spell only” mage decks

  • Mage has so many cool minions and I’d like to use them!
  • This archetype was heavily exhausted in the past year

Majority of Mage’s viable archetypes in the YOTG revolved around running only spells and the associated cards to synergize with them (e.g. Incanter’s Flow, Refreshing Spring Water, Siphon Mana). This resulted in the class’ strongest decks for most of the year being spell heavy since their synergies were too powerful to warrant running many minions. Even though minion-based Mage archetypes were pushed and later received buffs (i.e. Hero Power in Barrens, Big Spell in Alterac Valley), most of my time playing through the Barrens and especially Stormwind meta felt like the only option for climbing with a Mage deck was to run mostly spells.

Better core set and/or simpler synergies to execute

  • There needs to be more “workhorse” cards that can fit more archetypes than just one
  • In general, the class needs simpler synergies as some cards in the YOTG core set were only useful for a single archetype (i.e. Coldarra Drake and Fallen Hero)

New secrets in future expansions with better “overlapping” effects to existing ones

  • By “overlapping” I’m referring to secrets that can trigger from the same action in game (e.g. playing a spell, attacking, summoning a minion, etc.).
  • Hunter has overlapping secrets to benefit each other when ran in the same deck such as Pack Tactics and Snake Trap
  • No secrets that conflict with a card from the same set with intended synergies
    • Sayge was printed in the same expac as rigged faire (way too much card draw!)

For example, Mirror Entity/Explosive Runes/Potion of Polymorph all trigger when a minion is played which brings a level of risk in deciding how to trigger the secrets. When Explosive Runes was played in Secret Mage, there was a greater element of risk involved when deciding to either play a weak minion with low health/attack to avoid getting a bigger minion copied from Mirror Entity or play a large minion to soak up the damage caused by Runes. One could get punished by taking the risk of triggering Explosive Runes instead and taking more damage.


Overall, I’m optimistic for the future core set and direction with the game going into this upcoming Standard year. The Year of the Gryphon brought a lot of positive changes to outweigh the downsides. Excited to see what the devs have planned for Mage in 2022.

Thanks for reading!

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