With all the hype around a new meta and everything with the announcement of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, people thought Shaman would stop being king of the meta for a while but it seems like nothing is going to stop the Shaman train from chugging along! Aggro Shaman was in a very good spot right before the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and if anything’s changed at all, the deck has gotten a whole lot better.
With the pirates package featuring in most of the top decks in the game right now, games are getting decided as early as turn 2 and 3 and if you get a good start with the deck it’s game over for anyone. Shaman not only got some extra burn damage, but they also have more cheap minions to play that pack punches way beyond their mana cost and you also have new weapons and the Jade Golem mechanic to play with. If you happen to be a lover of aggro decks then you should definitely check the deck out that Spo used to hit high legend ranks with early in the season and it has been a blast trying out this deck and being able to win games as early as turn 5 and 6 very consistently.
The core of the deck has not changed much this expansion and some of the minions in the deck get a cut from older lists to make room for the pirate package and some Jade Golem synergy thrown in. To be fair, even though this is an aggro deck you simply do not run out of steam at all and the deck can go on and on in terms of putting out some firepower. Weapons and burn damage are two of the most non-interactive methods of dealing damage and you have plenty of both in the deck. Without any waiting, let’s break down the card choices and I will move on to talking about the deck’s functionality and how to play it in the later sections with insights on matchups and mulligans.
The deck has a ton of synergy and you start right off with your overload synergy through Tunnel Trogg and the pirate package that is featuring in a lot of classes due to the high levels of efficiency that they have in terms of dealing damage and also establishing early game board presence. Even though this new set has the least RNG among all of the set releases till date, the reliance on draw RNG has increased a lot and if you get the right sequence of draws with your pirates and weapons on turns 1 and 2, you are ahead by a long shot and can only lose if your enemy draws better or happens to answer all of your plays without losing too much HP.
Lightning Bolt: Lightning Bolt is a cheap spell that serves the dual purpose of burn damage and removal for maintaining early game board presence. The throwaway mana cost makes it an auto-include in the deck and since you have overload synergy with Tunnel Trogg and spell power synergies, you definitely want to include the card in your deck.
Spirit Claws: What is possibly one of the most busted cards in the game according to a lot of professional players and the player base as a whole, it is no surprise that Spirit Claws sees play in pretty much all the Shaman decks that are played right now. A 25% or more chance for making your weapon turn into a better Fiery War Axe using your hero power or simply to add value to your pirate synergies for just 1 mana makes Spirit Claws fit right into the deck for exceptional value.
Tunnel Trogg: One of the strongest 1 mana cards in the game ever released and it’s going to be really hard to beat what this little guy (sometimes not so little when you spam overload cards) has to offer. With plenty of cards to buff up this minion and cards like Feral Spirit that can keep him protected, you can get some severe chip damage in from him across multiple turns.
Flametongue Totem: With multiple charge minions and the ability to add 4 damage to an existing board for not only additional damage but also for trading up with high health minions, Flametongue Totem is a great pick in the deck. It is one of the cards that makes board positioning extremely relevant and you need to assume you have the card in hand at all times and place your minions in the most optimal order possible. A lot of people tend to randomly place their minions and then mess up their trades when they draw Flametongue, leading to inefficient trades and lost damage.
Jade Claws: One of the more interesting card choices in the deck is the absence of Doomhammer and the inclusion of Jade Claws to fit in as the second set of weapons. While there are various advantages and disadvantages of including Doomhammer in the current meta, the Jade Golem synergy is of severe relevance and you definitely want two copies of this card in your deck. Unlike some of the past builds of Aggro Shaman, this one is a little more board reliant than usual and offers a lot of flexibility in terms of adjusting your gameplan based on the decks you are facing.
Maelstrom Portal: With plenty of pirate heavy decks floating around Maelstrom Portal is as good as it gets for countering them. Being able to take out the entire early game of some decks and adding a minion on your side at the same times makes Maelstrom an extremely valuable card and its value can be boosted if you have active spell damage for better board clears.
Totem Golem: One of the more underused cards up until the arrival of Tunnel Trogg in 2015, Totem Golem is hailed as the strongest 2 drop in the current Standard set by many. Its ability to dominate the board in the early game and synergy with Tunnel Trogg makes it an easy pick for any Shaman deck. Its viability it unquestionable and the high health pool allows you to escape a lot of removal spells as well as trade with multiple small minions and out-value your opponent in the early game.
Feral Spirit: A card that not only synergizes and protects your board, it is also very good against other aggressive decks in the meta. With a ton of 2/1s being prevalent in the meta, you can expect multiple minions to be taken out by your Spirit Wolves and they will also protect your board state and allow you to keep pushing in a ton of damage over time.
Lava Burst: Another source of burst damage and you can find yourself often ending games with the spell. It can also help you preserve your board state by removing threats from the board. The high flexibility of Shaman cards makes them all the more appealing. When you look at most other minion removal spells, they perform a specific function while nearly all of the burn spells Shaman has access to can double up as both face damage as well as removal depending on how you want to use them.
Flamewreathed Faceless: The hallowed 4 mana 7/7 is back, but we run only one copy of the card to make sure we are able to include in all of the synergies we need. With plenty of high value cards to choose from making room for a second copy of the card feels a little difficult and if you do not happen to have Aya Blackpaw you can simply include a second copy of this card to fill in the deck.
Jade Lightning: Crackle was one of the cards that defined Aggro Shaman last year and early this year up until the Standard rotation happened for the first time. It was one of the cheapest methods of bursting your opponent using a chain of spells and all you needed to do was cut down their HP into your burst range and spam some cheap spells until they died. While Jade Lightning isn’t ‘cheap’, it is still a viable card you should consider running in your deck for added burst damage. The cost to damage isn’t very high but if you chain your Jade Golem cards properly you can get good value out of the card and it allows you to develop board and deal face damage or remove a minion at the same time.
Patches the Pirate: It’s funny how when people start off playing Hearthstone, they want big and shiny legendaries but the most impactful ones turn out to be ones that are small in size. Patches the Pirate has been the most impactful legendary in the expansion and for very good reason. Along with another 1/1 legendary Bloodmage Thalnos, it seems like these little guys are making quite the impact and going into a ton of decks. Patches is essentially a free 1/1 with Charge and it also removes a card from your deck and adds it to the board making your other draws just a little more consistent, even if they are by the smallest of percentages.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton: A card that was taken out of the Aggro Shaman lists in the recent past makes a comeback because you do not run Thing From Below and getting a Hunter or Warlock hero power can boost your winrate big time. You should look for the above mentioned hero powers and if you do not get them Druid and Mage are fine choices too. Other options are generally worse but can be good in certain situations.
Small-Time Buccaneer: Another devastating one drop that got added to the game and people have been crying for nerfs due to how consistent the pirate package has become. Pirates were never in contention for viability in the past and they slowly got better and better to the point you see the same cards across 3 or 4 decks in the meta right now and just having Patches, Southsea Deckhand and Small-Time Buccanner is good enough in the deck to squeeze out a ton of value in the early game.
Southsea Deckhand: With 4 weapons in the deck, you are almost always assured to get Charge value out of the minion and an instant 2 damage for 1 mana as well as a 2/1 body is never bad. There aren’t Pirate synergies in the deck for other benefits that other Pirate heavy decks might have but the inclusion of some direct damage and cheap board presence makes Southsea Deckhand a valuable addition.
Bloodmage Thalnos: A cheap cycle card that also buffs up your Spirit Claws and the spell damage can be benefited from using your burn spells for additional damage when bursting your opponent down. With 6 burn spells at your disposal Bloodmage Thalnos is a great card to include in your deck.
Leeroy Jenkins: A classic card that just refuses to go out of meta. His value is just too good as a finisher and the burst damage and the synergy with Flametongue Totem is quite good for squeezing in some burst damage to end the game. He is mostly a finisher and has the potential to be a dead card if you draw him early and you’d need to clear the whelps on the same turn to have a chance at making him stick for a second strike next turn.
Aya Blackpaw: A great pick in the deck since you already have 4 other Jade Golem cards in the deck and if you want to draw your board presence to the lategame while you accumulate your burst damage then this is a great pick. However, if you did not pull Aya from your packs or don’t own her you can just add another Flamewreathed Faceless in the deck and it’s still going to be fine. She shines in games that draw out for a while but feels slow in games you are steamrolling your opponent in the early game.
- Spirit Claws
- Tunnel Trogg
- Totem Golem
- Small-Time Buccaneer
- Sir Finley Mrrgglton
- Jade Claws (With Tunnel Trogg or Small-Time Buccaneer)
- Feral Spirit (With Coin and Tunnel Trogg)
- Lightning Bolt
- Maelstrom Portal (versus Pirate Warrior)
Here are the matchups for some of the most popular decks in the meta right now that you can expect to face right now.
Jade Druid: This is a highly favored matchup and unless they do something really crazy with their ramp tools and cheat their way to victory by manipulating the mana curve you are almost assured to win since the Jade Golem mechanic takes quite a bit of time to make an impact and you can snowball to victory quite easily.
Aggro Shaman: The mirror matchup is very reliant on draws and skill and you need to play it very smartly and play around the cards that can turn the tides in your opponent’s favor. You also need to identify which flavor of Aggro Shaman they are playing because there are two variants at the moment – one with the old Doomhammer shenanigans and they make a cut when it comes to the Jade Golem mechanics and the other one being this very list for the most part.
Renolock: You are favored a lot in this matchup as long as you don’t play too hard into their removals and there are times you will be able to finish the game before they can even play Reno to heal themselves up. Even if they do manage to get their health pool stabilized you should be able to seal the game due to how much firepower you have and you should plan your turns very carefully. You should never go all in on this matchup and have some backup available for board control and burst damage at all times. Simple things like baiting their removals and spells instead of allowing them to gain tempo goes a long way in the matchup.
Pirate Warrior: It is another favored matchup for you due to Maelstrom Portal and Feral Spirit being able to shut you down quite easily without any issues. As long as you manage your health pool smartly you are good to go.
Dragon Priest: It is an unfavorable matchup if they curve out well due to the high HP minions they have and the taunts definitely hurt your case of going aggressive. Unless you are able to deal with their board and establish a dominating presence you are going nowhere in this matchup.
Hope you guys enjoy the deck and please leave your feedback in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you on how the deck performs for you on ladder. With the year coming to a close it’s been a great year for Hearthstone and some big events happened as well in the community and the pro scene. Hope we have a great year ahead as well. Happy Holidays and wishing you a Merry Christmas in advance, hope you have a great time with your family and friends!