I recently posted to Hearthpwn.com a low-budget – but still very effective – deck I’m running with excellent results in EU ladders. If you’re looking for a very affordable mage deck to ramp up your local ladder you’ll probably want to give it a try.
If you can’t afford the two Legendary beasts you can easily replace them with another Sludge Belcher + Stormwind Champion, Feugen + Stalagg, Archmage + Loatheb or any other heavy hitter combo you might have.
Also feel free to replace any single 2-crystal drop (except Knife Juggler, which is the key card of the deck) with a Nerubian Egg, which is an excellent choice here.
The deck is quite versatile so you can run different strats depending on your first pick: a turn-1 or turn-2 Knife Juggler followed by many deathrattle drops will force your enemy to spend a sub-optimal removal spell instead than playing 1 or 2-health creatures (which you could easily dispatch with a cheap drop + hero power). You’ll also be fine by opening with a Mana Wyrm or an Undertaker , which you can easily level up to deal some decent damage / sealing up some good creature trades until they die – often to a much more expensive and tempo-crippling removal spell.
If you manage to force your enemy to a defensive role you will probably lose the card advantage, while you can keep up some by using your 2 Arcane Intellect spells and the Loot Hoarder. Keep in mind, tho, that your real goal with this deck is to try and have a constant creature and health advantage thanks to the deathrattle spawning dudes and to the secrets you have to prevent removal damage, copy your opponent drops and put two more copies of a dead minion back to your hands – which can be devastating if the dead one is a Knife Juggler or any other 4+ creature you play.
If you manage to keeep yourself (and your creatures OR hand size) alive and well up to the late game, you will have the two legendary creatures which, coupled with the fair amount of removal / AE removal / fireball spells you’re equipped with, will greatly help you to seal the deal.
Just remember to keep the Counterspell for the enemy AE removal (depending on class you’re playing against) and you’ll be fine against most opponents. Also don’t forget some few easy and nasty combos you can pull out by abusing the Khel’Thuzad mechanic coupled with a Knife Juggler or an Undertaker.
The deck is publicly available on hearthpwn.com: click here to see the full card listing.