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December 3, 2016

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Brewing Potions: Kabal Reno Decks – Mage, Priest, Warlock


With Mean Streets of Gadgetzan out for a couple of days now it is the best time to experiment and see which decks function and which don’t. I’ve been doing some experimenting with different decks such as pirate rogue and jade golem druid with moderate success (I may cover those in a different article) but for now as someone who enjoys playing different Reno decks I’ve took it upon myself to check out the Kabal, or more specifically, Reno decks. Reno decks were given a couple of nice tools for each class in the form of class legendary minions and powerful spells, but since the launch they have been struggling a bit to keep up with the crazy aggression that the pirate warrior deck is currently putting out. Nevertheless, with all these crazy new cards to support Reno decks it would be a shame not to give them a go and try to make them really work.

Today we will be looking at three different Reno decks, one for each Kabal class, and hopefully they will inspire you to give Reno decks a shot in this expansion.

Reno warlock

The first deck that we’re going to take a look at is the Reno Warlock. I’ve briefly mentioned that Reno decks are currently struggling against the insane aggression that pirate warrior decks are putting out at the moment and Reno Warlock is the one that has it the hardest. In the past, Reno warlock was the defining Reno deck because it had worked so well with the warlock’s hero power. However, since the introduction of Means Streets of Gadgetzan, this deck has become somewhat weaker because with all these pirate warriors running around it has become a bit unfavorable for you to use your hero power often and thus the thing that had made this deck work so good has become a weakness.

Reno Warlock
Class Cards (18)9340
Mortal Coil 1
Power Overwhelming 1
Soulfire 1
Voidwalker 1
Dark Peddler 2
Demonwrath 3
Imp Gang Boss 3
Kabal Courier 3
Shadow Bolt 3
Hellfire 4
Kabal Chemist 4
Kazakus 4
Shadowflame 4
Felfire Potion 6
Siphon Soul 6
Abyssal Enforcer 7
Twisting Nether 8
Lord Jaraxxus 9
Neutral Cards (12)
Mistress of Mixtures 1
Acidic Swamp Ooze 2
Brann Bronzebeard 3
Earthen Ring Farseer 3
Defender of Argus 4
Refreshment Vendor 4
Twilight Drake 4
Azure Drake 5
Harrison Jones 5
Reno Jackson 6
Sylvanas Windrunner 6
Ragnaros the Firelord 8

First and foremost thing that we’re trying to do here is survive the early aggression. Cards like Mistress of Mixtures, Earthen Ring Farseer, Refreshment Vendor are here to try to keep us on a healthy HP number until turn 6 and until we draw our reno-jackson. Surviving those first 6 turns is the key with this deck.

Other tools to stopping the aggression and keeping us alive are the huge number of AoE spells that this deck runs. DemonwrathShadowflame, Hellfire, Felfire Potion, Abyssal Enforcer and Twisting Nether are all here to do one obvious thing and that is to keep the board cleared and/or the board state in our favor. Another card that I was considering adding to this deck was Baron Geddon which is a bit of a risky because it will damage you as well but it can be a constant source of board clear and if you’re desperately looking for another one than I would advise you to give Baron Geddon a go.

Last but not least oddity is the inclusion of both Acidic Swamp Ooze and Harrison Jones. Under any other circumstance I would advise against running Harrison Jones in a Reno warlock deck because you’re already drawing a ton of cards but, against thanks to pirate warrior and the new warrior legendary minion, there are indeed a lot of weapons that can be buffed and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. That is the only reason why I would advise you to run Harrison Jones in this deck along with Acidic Swamp Ooze but once the meta slows down and, hopefully, pirate warrior goes away I would just keep the Acidic Swamp Ooze.

KazakusKabal Chemist and Kabal Courier are here to dig for answers. Kazakus provides you with insane versatility while Kabal Chemist is valuable because it can draw you an additional board clear (3 potions are board clears) or maybe even Greater Healing Potion to help you stabilize yourself.

Reno dragon priest

Class Cards (17)12460
Circle of Healing 0
Potion of Madness 1
Northshire Cleric 1
Power Word: Shield 1
Twilight Whelp 1
Shadow Word: Pain 2
Kabal Talonpriest 3
Shadow Word: Death 3
Auchenai Soulpriest 4
Kazakus 4
Priest of the Feast 4
Drakonid Operative 5
Excavated Evil 5
Holy Nova 5
Raza the Chained 5
Dragonfire Potion 6
Entomb 6
Neutral Cards (13)
Mistress of Mixtures 1
Netherspite Historian 2
Brann Bronzebeard 3
Twilight Guardian 4
Azure Drake 5
Blackwing Corruptor 5
Book Wyrm 6
Justicar Trueheart 6
Reno Jackson 6
Sylvanas Windrunner 6
Wrathion 6
Ragnaros the Firelord 8
Ysera 9

Next up is the Reno dragon priest deck. I’ve toyed a bit with the idea of a Reno priest deck but dragon synergy in priest is soooo good that I just couldn’t leave it out. It would be a shame not to capitalize on it. Thanks to Raza the Chained and the priest’s hero power we don’t need as much healing cards as we do in Reno warlock so we can focus more on card synergy.

One of the things that you really want to do with this deck is to get your Raza the Chained going as soon as possible. A free hero power each turn is a huge deal, especially if you get to power it up with  quickly. Playing Raza the Chained early on, preferably turn 5, is going to keep you alive against all kinds of aggressive decks and help you quite a lot in the long run.

The other big thing that we have going on here is the dragon synergy. You both want and need to have dragons in your hand to keep the synergy going. Wrathion is a good card here because not only does it draw you cards but it can also fetch you a dragon to keep reactivate the many synergy effects in case that you run out of dragon minions in your hand. Some might like The Curator more than Wrathion because it will draw you a dragon 100% of the time but I wouldn’t play it in a deck where I can capitalize on only 1/3 of the minions ability. However, if you don’t have Wrathion but want a guarantee dragon card draw later on in the game than The Curator might be a good option for you. However, if you take that route than I would try to squeeze in at least a Stampeding Kodo.

Powerful board clears are always necessary in a Reno deck and this one is no different. For board clears we rely on Holy NovaExcavated EvilAuchenai SoulpriestCircle of Healing and, most importantly, Dragonfire Potion. I’ve said this a million times before and I’ll say it a million times more, Dragonfire Potion is hands down one of the best board clears in the entire game. Next to none non dragon minions can survive a hit from this thing on turn 6 and, most importantly, you get to keep something on your board.

Last but not the least there are the late game minions, especially Ysera and Ragnaros the Firelord. Both of them are very good cards but I wouldn’t call them irreplaceable. If you feel that one of them isn’t doing enough in this deck or you don’t feel like you have enough late game dragons than I suppose that you could replace it with a different big dragon. I’ve personally went for Ysera because she is my favorite big dragon minion and she fits this deck more than Malygos or Nozdormu. Some might not agree with me and try something different like Deathwing, Dragonlord or Nefarian. I don’t think that those are the best options but Reno decks sometimes have the luxury of being flexible with their late game legendary minions.

Reno mage

Eternal's Reno Mage
Class Cards (23)12020
Forbidden Flame 0
Babbling Book 1
Arcane Blast 1
Frostbolt 2
Sorcerer’s Apprentice 2
Arcane Intellect 3
Forgotten Torch 3
Ice Block 3
Volcanic Potion 3
Fireball 4
Kabal Chemist 4
Kazakus 4
Polymorph 4
Water Elemental 4
Cabalist’s Tome 5
Ethereal Conjurer 5
Blizzard 6
Faceless Summoner 6
Archmage Antonidas 7
Firelands Portal 7
Flamestrike 7
Inkmaster Solia 7
Pyroblast 10
Neutral Cards (7)
Acidic Swamp Ooze 2
Bloodmage Thalnos 2
Azure Drake 5
Emperor Thaurissan 6
Reno Jackson 6
Sylvanas Windrunner 6
Alexstrasza 9

Last but not the least is the Reno mage. Now, I will be honest with you, I don’t have a lot of experience with Reno mage in general. I have played it before but out of all the Reno decks that I’ve played, and I’ve made one for each class, Reno mage is my least played deck. Mage is my least played class in general and it being the only hero that is still not level 60 is a testament to that. After checking all the available cards this is what I’ve come up with.

With mage being the definitive spell casting class that is what we’re going to focus on the most. Casting spell and getting more stuff out of them. To help us do that we have Babbling BookKabal ChemistKazakusCabalist's TomeEthereal ConjurerFaceless Summoner and Firelands Portal. The ability to get more cards out of cards that we already have is amazing because it allows us to be more flexible when creating our deck and we don’t need to worry about fitting every single thing in our deck. Yes, it is still random most of the time, but a random card draw, or in some cases multiple random card draw or random minion summon, is definitely not something to shy away from.

Best case scenario is to have our opponent pop our Ice Block and then play our Reno Jackson and just watch them concede (sometimes). It is a pretty funny combo that is unfortunately less viable in standard than in wild because of the lack of ways to get your Ice Block out in time, mainly Mad Scientist. If you can afford to get this combo running then you should aim for making it happen most of the time.

As mentioned in the previous decks board clears are extremely necessary in Reno decks which is why we’re running three of them. Volcanic PotionBlizzard and Flamestrike are all good board clears, but the best thing about Reno mage is that we can get multiple of them through some other cards like Ethereal ConjurerBabbling Book and Cabalist's Tome.

Last but not the least, lets talk about Inkmaster Solia and KazakusInkmaster Solia is now a staple card for all Reno mage decks. It is not a must have card, you can do fine without it, but it can give you crazy amounts of value if played correctly. My personal favorite combo is Inkmaster Solia and Kazakus. You play Kazakus and brew yourself a customized potion that costs 10 mana which you then play for free with Inkmaster Solia. One thing to keep in mind is to know when to play your Inkmaster Solia. She has a really powerful effect so try to get the most out of it. In other words, don’t play her in combination with super cheap spells like Frostbolt or Arcane Intellect. Play her with something big like PyroblastFlamestrikeFirelands PortalCabalist's Tome or the Kazakus potion.

How do these decks compare to one another?

After going through each of the three Reno decks it is time to see how do they compare to one another. Keeping in mind the current state of the game, one which is likely to change in the following weeks, the weakest Reno deck to play right now is the warlock one. I’m not saying that what I’ve provided is a bad list but that the Reno warlock itself is currently in a very tough position. In my opinion the current best Reno deck is the dragon priest Reno deck. It has all the necessary recovery that a Reno deck needs, it has powerful card synergy and it has amazing board clears. Reno mage is somewhere in the middle. It is the Reno deck that I’m least experienced with so I’m a bit biased on that one but I can say for certain that it is more powerful than a Reno warlock deck. Maybe Reno mage ends up being the dominant Reno deck but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.


With all the being said I’m going to bring this article to an end. There isn’t much left to say other than I’m very glad that the developers have decided to further support the Reno decks with all these new cards and that I’m afraid of what awaits us when Reno rotates out in April. I saw someone say that they might make a new card which would function like a mini Reno just do give the decks more survivability but as someone who mainly plays the wild format I really don’t want that to happen because that would mess up wild quite a bit. Hey, who knows, maybe the ”reprint” Reno or move it to classic set which probably won’t ever happen but maybe they will surprise us.

What are you currently playing? Have you given the new Reno decks a try? Do you have some other lists that you wish to share? What is your experience with a Reno mage? Let me know in the comments below, it is always fun to talk with you and see your opinions on these articles. As always  if you’ve liked this article do consider following me on twitter There you can ask me all sorts of Hearthstone questions (unrelated to this article) and I’ll gladly answer them as best as I can.

Enjoyed this article?

Communications expert and an aspiring community manager with a deep passion for card games and a writing. TCG veteran with competitive experience in almost every card game. Hearhtstone experimenter, researcher, wild format enthusiast and theory crafter.

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  1. kruul27 says:

    I’ve been trying a somewhat similar Dragon Reno Priest with very little luck on the ladder. I’ve been playing Hearthstone non-stop since Beta, started about 5 months before release. I personally have always loved Control type decks, but with all the aggression on the ladder right now it makes it very hard to run Control. Its interesting though because it would seem that Blizzard is trying to push Control more on the ladder with all the new cards that encourage the use of Highlander style gameplay, but its like they still don’t get that control decks, especially Highlander Control, need a little bit more if there is this much aggression on the ladder. I’m not saying good control decks aren’t possible, I’m just saying that with the rise of MidRange Shaman, and now Pirate Warrior it is a whole lot harder to run Control efficiently because if you tech heavily against aggro you tend to lose against other control matchups. I guess we’ll just have to keep experimenting and see if we can find the balance! 😉

    One question and I’m curious what you think here, what are your thoughts on all these Highlander style cards being added to this xpac with Reno going out of standard in a few months?

    I guess they have something else planned so you can continue to use a lot of these new Highlander style cards, but as we’ve seen since the start of Standard Blizz doesn’t seem to want to “copy” cards into a new xpac if they are going out. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, and hope that someday we’ll see the rise again of control decks that stand a could chance against all this aggression. I do so miss Handlock with old school Molten Giant and Healbot, and Giant mage with those Molten Giants too. That was good fun back in the day.

    Thanks for a great article, and hope to see more like this!!

    • EternalHS says:

      Hey there! Thanks for the feedback.

      I’m also a control player and my two favorite decks are Reno warlock and the, now wild format exclusive, old control warrior (wallet warrior, as some would say). I’m being optimistic regarding the state of the control in the current meta because we’ve seen a scenario like this multiple times before. A new expansion comes out, a new aggro deck pops out and nobody can play what they want because of that one deck, but people later figure out what cards decks are actually good and that one annoying deck just fades away.

      It does seem like Blizzard is trying to make control a thing because people have been demanding for that to happen for a very long time and I’m glad that it sees like they are starting to listen. They are certainly on a good track and I’m looking forward to what new control cards we will see in the future, but then all of this effort might just go away once the set rotation hits. We will see :)

      To answer you question, I genuinely think that these new Highlander cards were added in hopes of keeping the deck archetype alive once Reno Jackson rotates out. If Reno rotated out and there was no additional support to highlander decks than the archetype would die out so they’ve probably made several new cards to try to avoid that situation while in the same time enabling more Highlander decks. It is clear that they are digging for answers on what to do with these decks and they are heading in the right direction. I wouldn’t be surprised if they give us a card similar to Reno with a lesser effect once the real deal rotates out.

      I don’t think that any of these new cards will be enough to keep the archetype alive.

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed this article :)