It has been a week since Karazhan was fully released, and a lot of things happened during this time period – New decks, new strategies, a completely chaotic metagame, a lot of nice things happening here and there and tons of other fun facts.
What we are going to do today is try to discuss everything that happened with two specific classes – Shaman and Mage – pointing out the facts and analyzing them with a critic eye.
Karazhan Impact and Changes on Shaman
So, Shaman got a lot of attention this week. A lot more than I initially thought it would get given how both spirit-claws and maelstrom-portal didn’t seem like much to begin with.
A lot of people have been messing around with Midrange versions of Shaman using both cards combined with extra Sweeping power (lightning-storm) and Spell Power minions such as azure-drake and bloodmage-thalnos. Some players even managed to hit high legend.
What got my attention was that mostly all the lists played were nearly the same – They changed a couple cards here and there, but the heart was nearly always the same.
While this version of Shaman could prove itself to be a viable option in the future, I can’t help but wonder if this version will hold as the true Karazhan face of Shaman, or if we’ll end up going back to what we were playing prior to Karazhan because of how powerful that list is.
I played Midrange Shaman’s new list quite a lot this week and I have to say that despite the good results it got, I have the feeling that the list is being quite overrated – It is good, but not as good as some are saying.
The reason behind this thought is that you actually force yourself to play cards that aren’t on par with your strategy, while only getting inconsistent (but good) cards in return for playing cards you don’t want to play. I hate being thrown into situations I can’t get out, and playing Midrange Shaman kind of makes me happy overall because there always seems to be a way of getting out of difficult situations, it’s just that it feels harder when playing the new version.
So after all the analysis I made my own changes to the lists I saw, instead of going into the popular approach of running lightning-storms and mana-tide-totem I went a lot closer to what the optimal builds were before Karazhan while still taking fully advantage of the new anti-Zoo Karazhan tools.
So this is the final list I came up with, you don’t want that many draws neither you need them because you’re still running Thalnos and Drakes combined with high-cost cards such as fire-elementals and alakir-the-windlord.
I believe this list to be ideal because you’re not moving away from Shaman’s strong points while fixing most of the problems it had prior to the expansion. I also believe that playing proactively is still the key to win as Shaman, and is why I prefer feral-spirit over lightning-storm.
I am currently trying to fit flamewreathed-faceless into this deck, but so far I couldn’t find a spot for it. The card is good, we all know that, but everyone seems to be playing good responses for it right now that I am not quite sure I want to have it in my deck, therefore its been cut out.
Karazhan Impact and Changes on Mage
Since the release of Karazhan Mage has been seeing quite a lot of play. The main reason was Tempo Mage getting a huge boost with firelands-portal and arcane-anomaly.
The Anomaly ultimately was replaced in Tempo Mage decks by babbling-book, as card that has proven itself to be a powerhouse in a lot of Mage Decks. The Tempo Mage list you guys can see is the one I would recommend you playing.
So people have been experimenting and playing with newly released cards here and there, finding other versions of Mage, creating new decks to test seemingly powerful cards such as medivhs-valet.
What I have noticed about all of these Control Mage lists that showed up in the wake of Medivh’s Valet release is how similar they are to Freeze Mage, but swapping the Combo/Burst potential of Freeze Mage for Legendary finishers and other proactive plays – This also allowed people to playtest medivh-the-guardian quite a lot.
As far as playtestings go, I still stand for my initial analysis of Medivh – it is a bad card, despite being playable it will eventually fade as other cards are just better. Sure we have seen people playing decks with Medivh and hitting high Legend, such as Thijs that got to #1 Legend playing Tempo Mage with it, but in the end it is just a weaker version of better Legends of the same cost, while the rest of the deck (the other 29 cards) were the actual reason the player had success with the deck to begin with.
But we are not here to discuss a single specific Legendary card but rather the class in General, and going back to it – the Control Mage decks failed. They do are fun, and you can indeed play them against super slow opponents, but in the end they’re just too bad.
So people are more and more moving away from medivhs-valet and going to test other cards and combination of cards, but I believe that people haven’t tested the actual obvious deck yet – Freeze Mage.
Medivh’s Valet is an obvious addition to Freeze Mage, yet people kind of abandon the idea of playing the deck simply because they fear Control Warrior too much, which isn’t even a highly played deck this week, completely disregarding how better Freeze Mage could have become with the new card.
Another point to bonify Freeze Mage right now is that the strongest and most played version of Warrior is still Dragon Warrior, which as far as Warrior decks go, is the best matchup Freeze Mage could hope for.
The Freeze list being featured in this article is Thijs’s list, and is also the list I am running. As far as Ladder results go, I have nothing to complain and not a single card to replace.
as a sidenote, and a nice information to have – I playtested quite a lot of Reno Mage, and the results were sadly dissapointing. With it, I also playtested tons of prince-malchezaar and the results were also dissapointing, probably one of the reasons why I lost so many games with the deck and how it didn’t played good enough. Prince Malchezaar makes your deck weaker because you can draw into useless Legendaries when you’re trying to respond your opponent’s plays, meanwhile you can get a couple of useless cards here and there too – Don’t play Prince Malchezaar!
Mages and Shamans got some cool tools this expansion, and while there already were a lot of changes to the classes and decks, I believe we still haven’t seen the last of them.
A lot of changes are still to come, but it is nice to be inside everything that is happening and given insights on those changes.
I hope this article was informative and that you guys enjoyed it! I will be making more of those very soon, as there is still a lot to talk about regarding other classes!
Love you guys, see you around later,