Class cards: Arcane Explosion, Arcane Intellect, Arcane Missiles, Fireball, Flamestrike, Frost Nova, Frostbolt, Mirror Image, Polymorph and Water Elemental.
These are basic cards that are extremely useful in a wide variety of Mage decks and can be used with different strategies be it Freeze, tempo or Aggro-rush.
Mage is the best Class to learn and play as a new player. Excellent board control a variety of damage spells that can teach card economy and help build strategy.
Looking at the list, I will pick a few cards and explain their use:
Arcane Explosion: Cost 2, deals 1 damage to all enemy Minions. This card has limited success and use unless played with spell damage Minions. However a single Spell damage Minion can double the AOE of Arcane Explosion and push it toward a strong choice to remove creature of 3 health or less. In combo with the hero power (Pay 2: Deal 1 damage to any target) it can help kill larger Minions. Again consider using Spell power Minions if you include this card. Otherwise without Spell power and use of the Hero power too this card is at best fair and is weak against Control and Midrange decks. This won’t do much against Warriors or Druids running Heavy Taunt Minons.
Arcane Intellect: Cost 3, Draw 2 cards. Two cards for three mana is a fair deal but you should not hold this card in opening hand. Playing card draw before turn five, or at five Mana, is usually a bad idea and actually puts you behind against your opponent even though you may have more cards in hand. Raw card drawing is not the same as card advantage, more on this later.
Frostbolt: A perfect Control and Aggro card for only 2 Mana. It deals 3 damage and freezes any enemy for a turn. Used with the Hero power it can kill a 4 health Minion. Hands down the best card to use in your Tempo deck and is picked about 92% of the time when given as a choice in Arena drafts. One of the best direct damage spells a Mage has in arsenal. Always play two of these, I consider this card an auto-include.
Water Elemental: Obtained as a reward for reaching level 8 as a Mage. This Minion cost only 4 and is 3/6. Six health is phenomenal for four cost and whatever it damages it Freezes in place for a turn. All around a very strong play against many other Heroes and it holds up pretty well in mirror matches with other Mages.
Here is a deck to get you started: 2X Arcane Missiles, Frostbolt, Arcane Intellect, Fireball, Polymorph, Water Elemental and 1X Blizzard, 1X Flamestrike.
2X Elven Archer, Acidic Swamp Ooze, Novice Engineer, Shattered Sun Cleric, Chillwind Yeti, Gnomish Inventor, Gurubashi Berserker, 2X Archmage.
Understand this is a basic deck so I suggest you hook up with some friends that also want to learn to play via fireside chat and play a few games. The deck has a fair amount of card draw with Engineer and Inventor. Once you start playing and leveling your Mage it will become apparent to you the kind of play style you like most and your card selection will change and your deck building skills will evolve and get much better over time.
Card draw versus card advantage: Simply drawing cards into your hand is not an outright advantage. In fact since Hearthstone allows only 30 cards in a Deck you can easily draw too many cards before a strategy or path to victory can open up. Suddenly you just have eight or nine cards in hand that don’t work together. Build combos into your deck so that cards you draw make Minions or Spells better. For example Shattered Sun Cleric adds +1/+1 to a Minion in play as a Battlecry. The Chillwind Yeti cost only 4 and is 4/5. With Shattered Sun Cleric it suddenly becomes 5/6. Remember how good I said 6 health was for a Minion? Another example: Archmage adds +1 to your Spell power. Now your Blizzard AOE (Area of Effect spell) deal 3 damage to all enemy Minions instead of 2. In addition Frostbolt is dealing 4 damage! These cards work together when you use card drawing to fuel your strategy and tactics of playing a Mage.
Never play AOE spells too early, they help create card advantage and having more options to deal with threats is a path to victory. Don’t be afraid to take damage so that you can punish an opponent when they over commit, trying to beat you quickly. Remember the goal is to get the enemy Hero down to zero life, not kill then in four turns or five. If you can kill them this fast–good for you but beware throwing your hand onto the battlefield only to have it, your win conditions, swept away by one Blizzard, it freezes and damages and a follow up Flamestrike or combination of a Spell and Minion attacks.
Here is a deck that is much more evolved, taking both skill and finesse to make it work well against any opponent. The payoff is worth it. With effort and play time, completing quest for gold and doing some of the Adventures…you can build this deck: