Sheng’s Budget TGT Totem Shaman

Editor’s Note: With the new Standard Format in 2016 for Hearthstone, we highly recommend going for cards in the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). Here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started! Budget Standard Standard C’Thun Druid Budget Standard Midrange Hunter Budget Standard C’Thun Mage Budget Standard  Aggro Paladin Budget Standard C’Thun Priest Budget Standard C’Thun […]

Editor’s Note: With the new Standard Format in 2016 for Hearthstone, we highly recommend going for cards in the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). Here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started!

Introduction

Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

If you’re new to Hearthstone, or just have a limited collection of cards—I feel your pain. It is often difficult to find cheap but viable decks that are competitive on the Hearthstone ladder.

When I first started playing Hearthstone, I would often go online to lookup the most popular decks played at Legend rank, and find that my limited card collection would not build them. While it was sometimes possible to substitute less important cards, there would often not be cheap substitutions for a crucial Epic or Legendary that completed a deck.

Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by providing budget ladder-viable decks for each class.

Requirements

  1. Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.
  2. Complete the Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain expansions.
  3. Have 1300 dust available for crafting.

Design Principles

Many readers have requested that I update my Budget deck series to include cards from The Grand Tournament. I have to apologize for the delay in getting these written, as I wanted to spend as much time as possible play-testing and tuning these.

Unlike last time, I didn’t set a particular dust limit to any of my decks, but rather limited myself to just cards from the single player adventures (Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain at the time this was written), and cards from the Basic, Common, and Rare cardsets. Many of these decks mirror the top decks played at the Legend level, with substitutions for some of the more expensive Epics and Legendaries. At the end of this guide, there is an additional section that provides substitutions for cards to make this deck even stronger.

Again, the overall goal is to provide a set of budget decks for newer players that can be viable to at least Rank 10, and even below.

Playstyle

  • Budget TGT Totem Shaman’s goal is to establish control of the board early and snowball that lead to a strong midgame. In the late game, the goal is to finish the opponent off with bloodlust or minions buffed by thunder-bluff-valiant.
  • Most of the cards in the deck are designed to synergize with each other. The inclusion of multiple deathrattle minions mean we’ll almost always have a minion stick on the board for flametongue-totem or defender-of-argus to buff.
  • While cards like totem-golem can be extremely strong when played on curve, the overload the following turn can make your turn 3 quite weak, especially if you’re forced to use your hero power.
  • It’s important to mulligan for your first four turns with this deck, taking overload into account.

Minions – 21

2x zombie-chow

  • A great minion for helping us contest the board early. The 1 mana cost makes it easier for us to fit this in during a turn when we are overloaded as well.

2x flametongue-totem

  • Flametongue Totem allows us to put our smaller token minions to work, by trading up for larger minions. You’ll generally want to play the Flametongue Totem in the middle of your board, while arranging your minions from largest to smallest. This gives allows you to maximize Flametongue Totem’s ability to buff minions adjacent to it.

2x haunted-creeper

  • This spider is our counter to aggressive decks that like to drop multitudes of 1 health minions. He’s a mini harvest-golem that spawns two 1/1 tokens instead of a single 2/1 token. The spawned tokens become nice targets for buffs.

2x totem-golem — New!

  • Totem Golem is a new card from The Grand Tournament, that makes Totem Shaman possible. He’s almost always the best Totem to get from tuskar-totemic and is stats-wise one of the strongest 2 mana minions in the game.
  • His downside is that the following turn, you will have 1 less mana to use. This can be frustrating because it may prevent you from playing on curve on turn 3 and 4, so you when you mulligan your opening hand, you should keep overload into account to ensure you’re not forced to use your hero power.

2x tuskarr-totemic — New!

  • Tuskarr Totemic is an easy way to put a totem on the board on turn 3 (if you’re not overloaded). You’ll want to play him between minions if you can, as it’s possible to spawn any Totem from the battlecry, including flametongue-totem.

2x defender-of-argus

  • Our deck will always have targest for defender-of-argus, even if it means using our hero power first. He’ll help us slow down the game against more aggressive decks.

2x piloted-shredder

  • An incredibly sticky minion whose purpose is to trade multiple times with our opponent’s minions. Positioning is an especially important consideration when playing with and against the Shredder as it’s possible for cards like dire-wolf-alpha and flametongue-totem to be spawned where the Shredder dies.
  • Unless you’re playing around a Hunter’s explosive-shot or a Rogue’s betrayal, I recommend playing the Piloted Shredder in the middle of your board to benefit from the small chance you’ll spawn something that will buff your other minions adjacent to it.

2x azure-drake

  • The Azure Drake provides us with both Card Draw and a Spell Power bonus, both of which are incredibly useful for our deck.

1x loatheb

  • A mana-efficient minion that allows us to shut down our opponent’s spells the next turn. You generally want to play Loatheb when you’re a turn before lethal, or to shut down a board clear spell on the following turn.

2x thunder-bluff-valiant — New!

  • Thunder Bluff Valiant isn’t quite the quartermaster of Shaman, but he’s as close as you can get. Part of the problem is that in order to gain value out of Thunder Bluff Valiant, you’ll need a board of Totems. However, with the popularity of Totem Shaman, more and more players will prioritize killing off Totems than to have an extra bit of damage to our hero.
  • If you have other options, it’s sometimes best to play him on turn 7 when you can use your hero power on the same turn to guarantee a buffed Totem.

2x fire-elemental

  • 6 mana for a 6/5 isn’t great stats-wise, but he gives us a free lightning-bolt ability when he comes into play which can swing the tempo in our favor. We’ll gladly trade the two extra health that we’d get with boulderfist-ogre for 3 damage to any target we choose.

Spells – 9

2x earth-shock

  • Great for bypassing taunts so we can do face damage, or to delete minions like loot-hoarder and leper-gnome without triggering their Deathrattle.

2x rockbiter-weapon

  • A flexible removal spell that can target our minions or own own hero. This card is generally best utilized on weapon or minion that has windfury. al-akir and doomhammer are common targets that synergize very well with rockbiter-weapon in more expensive Shaman decks.

2x hex

  • Awesome unconditional removal. It’ll get rid of that pesky sylvanas-windrunner or cairne-bloodhoof and won’t trigger any deathrattles. A key card.

2x lightning-storm

  • Our answer to decks faster than us. The only problem is the massive cost of overload and the variable damage to each minion. If you can, you should try to use your hero power to see if you can spawn a wrath-of-air-totem.

1x bloodlust

  • Our primary form of burst in our deck outside of thunder-bluff-valiant, which is slower and only affects totems. This substitutes for cards like al-akir or doomhammer in more expensive versions of Totem Shaman.

Mulligan Guide

In general, you want to mulligan to setup your first three or four turns. Please note that there is a distinction between going first and going second in Hearthstone, and this should factor into your mulligan choices.

When going first, your advantage is the ability to play first. In addition, you gain mana crystals before your opponent. To take advantage of this, you want to be aggressive in your mulligan to put minions on the board.

When going second, your advantage is mainly the-coin, which gives you tempo over your opponent for a single turn, and also an extra card. Depending on the nature of your deck, whether it’s Aggro, Midrange, or Control, you’ll be looking for different things.

  • When playing an aggro deck, you’ll be looking for the same cards going second as you would going first. The objective is to quickly populate the board and bring down your opponent’s life total.
  • When playing a midrange deck, you’ll also be looking to get onto the board early, with the caveat that you can keep a single copy of a situational minion or spell that you think may be useful to counter an opponent. This spell might be something like a kezan-mystic to counter classes with Secrets or removal like frostbolt.
  • When playing a control deck, you’re looking to save the coin until much later in the game, generally when you can bring out a large late-game threat earlier than usual.

While I won’t make an exhaustive list, these are some of the cards you should consider keeping in your opening hand when playing this deck.

Minions

  • 1 Mana: zombie-chow
  • 2 Mana: haunted-creeper, totem-golem
  • 3 Mana: tuskarr-totemic

Spells

  • 1 Mana: earth-shock (against Aggro), rockbiter-weapon

Gameplay Video

Upgrades

Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.

  • 1x hex ? 1x dr-boom
  • 1x hex ? 1x alakir-the-windlord
  • 1x bloodlust ? 1x doomhammer

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Budget TGT Totem Shaman. For more advanced Shaman decks that aren’t constrained by a limited dust budget, check out the Shaman meta decks on our sidebar. As always, I’d be happy to answer questions from you in the comments section.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the New Players section, other Beginner and Budget Decks, and our most popular section – Monthly Top Meta Decks.

Coaching Lessons

If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

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