It feels like lately its been easier to get to the Legend rank. I don’t know if it’s because of my experience in the game, every season I play the percentage of wins I get are always higher, it’s the second season in a roll I get to Legend and I’m already in the top 100 due to a very high winrate during the grind.
This season, however, I did get to legend with a very different and unique Shaman Build. The fact is that I was not actually planning on playing Shaman to Legend because although it is one of my favorite classes, I was finding shaman to be lacking in the ladder grind, due to multiple reasons one of them being Shaman was not benefiting too much from the Naxxramas cards.
Three days ago I had a quest: 5 wins with Shaman or Mage, and I decided to play some shaman on the ladder, back then I was rank 5 and wasnt playing too much, I don’t play the ladder very much nowadays because I don’t feel rewarded to do so, but since I still had to get to legend, why not play Shaman? Then I remembered I was checking Blizzcon’s lists and found out this guy, that I have never seen before, called RenieHouR: I loved his builds, all of them were so good to a point I have no idea why he brought those to the tournament.
Yap, his builds were very strong ladder builds, but rather not tournament ones and the lists used in the ladder are very much different from the ones used in the Tournaments, biggest reason being Hunter being banned over 60% of the times while in the ladder you’ll be facing Hunter over 60% of the times.
I analyzed his lists, I didn’t just blindly picked them, I went thru card by card and noticed how he tuned every list to be the strongest against the Hunter menace.
So, I picked the guy’s Shaman build, because I thought it to be too strong and reliable, and even tho it was Shaman (meaning I was not really trusting it would get good results) I played it on the ladder. And boy!! 5 wins in a roll instantly got me the quest I wanted. Then I decided to play that list until I found a wall, and I found none until I reach the Legend rank. The win streak was so good that I got to Legend already in the NA Top 30.
I then decided it would be nice to share my thoughts about the deck with you all, talking a little about the card choices, the playstyle, and I will try to answer as much the questions you guy post on the comments.
Keep in mind this was the first time, in 11 Legendary Ranks I got, that I played a list that is not mine to legend.
The standard Shaman build didn’t get much from Naxxramas, which always bugged me a lot: Naxxramas is too strong, its much better than Classic cards, but then why weren’t people adding those to Shaman? RenieHouR introduced us to the most rounded build up to date for the meta, adding cards like undertaker, nerubian-egg, harvest-golem and 1 copy of sludge-belcher in exchange for the standard cards: zombie-chow, lightning-bolt, unbound-elemental and 1 copy of azure-drake. Making it so meant that the deck had more ways to fight for the board as well as more persistent minions, the deck also got a new bonus from that which is the snowballing strength of undertaker.
This, however, is not a standard Undertaker deck*, shamans have many different playstyle and can never play the same way, it will always depend on a big number of factors, some of them include: having or not the-coin, the opponent’s class or deck strategy, the opponent’s starting hand, your starting hand, your total life and the state of the board.
*Example of how Standard Undertaker Decks are usually played:
This deck also contains only 1 copy of lightning-storm, the reason behind this choice is that usually the decks you’ll want to throw these against are decks that will have ways of dealing direct damage to you if it comes to a point you really need the second one, and in Control or Midrange matches even the solo Lightning Storm can be overkill sometimes, meaning using only 1 is enough for this decks core. Another interesting point about this is that you have different ways of Controlling the board with the newly added Naxxramas cards which means the situations where you’ll need that Lightning Storm are diminished.
I think the meta justifies the use of harrison-jones in this deck as well as any other deck you can dream on making with “Midrange” or “Control” written on it. Everyone plays hunter in the meta, if you’re not playing Hunter the chances you’re playing Warrior are big, which means this card will most likely always have a target, and whenever it does, it means the matchup you’re facing is generally good.
Oh, but Nuba! But how about the Priests! With the rise of Hunters, so Did the priests, hunting them down and getting easy legend titles all around, meaning you’ll most likely be facing a lot of priests! Yes, that is true. I only played 5 priests during my grind to Legend, but 4 of those priests were within the top 100 NA and only 1 wasnt. Regardless, I managed to win most of my games. This deck seems to have stronger tools to maintain Control of the board over priests than any other shaman deck out there.
Numbers! You all love numbers, so I’ll add some for you right now! Here are my games results for the past 3 days:
How about now we talk a little about how to play this deck?
Gameplay Tips and Strategies
Firstly I would like to say this is the kind of deck that requires an Extensive Deck Guide to be properly taught, but unfortunately I decided not to, reason being that the GvG expansion is just around the corner so the use of such guide is limited and unnecessary.
I then decided to make a small list with some gameplay tips I would want to pass to you while playing this deck, keep in mind this list will have random tips on random matchups in a random order:
- Always watch out of the Overload, make the math! Use a calculator if you have to, but never let the overload ruin your next turn.
- Having Early game minions makes it so you can mulligan out feral-spirit.
- feral-spirit isn’t always a good turn 3 play, always keep in mind the overload for it may or may not play against you.
- doomhammer is an excellent game winner against decks that require you (and are required) to be constantly interacting with the board, such as Hunter and Miracle. Use the Doomhammer to smash face setting up for the big finisher strike.
- Always try to keep control of the board against Control decks, but never overextend unless they already played their big sweeper (brawl for warrior and auchenai-soulpriest+circle-of-healing for priests).
- Oh, you do can overextend against Warrior Control decks if the cards you’re putting into play are Persistent Deathrattle Minions!
- Do overextend Against Zoo.
- Only overextend against Hunters if you have some taunt. Try to calculate a possible unleash-the-hounds. Remember: they’re once again using 2 copies of it in their decks.
- Always remember to pop hunter Traps being Jones-ing their weapons!
- Hunters are back to using explosive-trap, so remember to drop those nerubian-eggs before going face to check for a trap!
- Against Hunters you will eventually have to go offensive or you’ll lose. Try to judge the turn you are able to do so.
- feral-spirit is a good way of saying “I won” against Hunters whenever you stabilished control of the board, but is not a good way of getting that board control!
- When playing against Druids you are allowed to Hex anything they put down with 5 or more Health. Never ever let them have control of the board, even if slightly.
- Later in the game, if you are allowed to, save that rockbiter-weapon for that big finisher combo.
- alakir-the-windlord should be usually used as the big Finisher, but if you have to, use him to control the board!
Mulligan for Undertaker and Deathrattle minions.
- Against Warriors keep an Earth Shock.
- Against Warlocks keep any number of earth-shocks you get. If you are sure the opponent is a Handlock, then also keep a copy of hex.
- Against Druids Keep a Hex.
- Against Hunters Keep Lightning Storm only if you already have early game Deathrattle minions.
- Against Priests keep a copy of rockbiter-weapon.
- Against Rogues if you already have a decent hand, keep that doomhammer.
Well I guess these are the small tips I can give you guys without having to make a huge guide about the deck, I hope it helped!
This deck gave, at least to me, a huge boost to the Shaman Fun. I am a huge Shaman lover, it’s still my favorite class and I love the playstyle. I hope I was able to give you guys another option to ladder with that is not Hunter, Priest or Warrior.
Dont forget GvG is just around the corner! Save your gold, maybe save a little cash too, because the release will be crazy and the meta will for sure be totally different from it currently is! I hope you all enjoyed my guide, and I hope to see you all on the next guide I write! If you have any questions regarding this deck, feel free to ask me in the comments!
All credits on this deck’s creation goes to RenieHouR, whoever that guy might be, thank you!