Guide: Midrange Shaman (DKMR)
Hey all! [DKMR]BorN is back again with another deck guide. Today we’ll be taking a look at Midrange Shaman and why it’s considered the strongest hero out there. Shaman is a hero that utilizes an array of superb removal spells and a plethora of minions with powerful effects.
The midrange build is the most widely used, as it is able to quickly and efficiently dispatch threats while packing powerful burst damage, utilizing the Windfurymechanic along with a Rockbiter Weaponbuff. Let’s take a look at the rest of what makes Shaman the formidable hero that he is.
Shaman’s Hero Power, Totemic Call, allows Shaman to summon one of four different totems at random, but you may only have one of each on the board at a time.
These four are: Healing Totem, Wrath of Air Totem, Stoneclaw Totem, and Searing Totem. Since only one of each totem may be summoned by the Hero Power at a time, if Searing, Healing, and Stoneclaw are already on the board, you know Wrath of Air will be summoned next.
You can use this knowledge to your advantage to try to control which totems will be summoned. If you have to sacrifice totems, be sure they are killed in an order in which you can Hero Power at a specific time to maximize your chance of getting the desired totem. Use these minions to help control the board; they each offer a different way to help secure a strong board presence.
If you take a look over at the deck list, you’ll notice something that’s a little odd compared to your average Midrange/Control deck. Midrange Shaman runs an absurd amount of three mana cards and just 1 four mana card. The reason for this is the Shaman's only set of cards contains quite powerful three mana cards: Unbound Elemental, Mana Tide Totem, Lightning Storm, Feral Spirit, and Hex.
However, Feral Spirit and Lightning Storm have the side effect "Overload", a Shaman mechanic that prevents you from using X mana on your next turn. This allows Shaman to use strong cards for their cost, paying for it later.
This is another reason why Shamans run so many 3-drops, since most turns their mana will be locked, making these unique three mana cards so appealing. Since a turn three Overload will lock mana, Shamans cannot play a turn four 4-drop, thus a lack of 4-drops in the deck.
Now let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy cards in this deck.
This totem works similar to Dire Wolf Alpha. Although it has no attack power of its own, it grants +2 attack to adjacent minions. This makes your zero attack totems more than just weak tokens.
If your opponent chooses to ignore your totems, make them pay by buffing them up and making them regret their decision.
Unbound Elemental has an active ability which allows him to grow by +1/+1 for each Overload card played. With several cards with such an effect at your disposal, if left unchecked, an Unbound Element will become quite a threat.
He can be coined out turn 2 to be followed up with a turn 3 Feral Spiritfor early strong board presence.
Stormforged Axeand Doomhammer
These weapons help you gain card advantage by taking out your opponent’s weak minions. In a meta filled Harrison Jonesand Acidic Swamp Ooze, Stormforged Axe helps bait out any weapon removal, as well as being an early threat to your opponent’s minions.
Also, both weapons have the Overload side effect, which synergizes with your Unbound Elemental. Doomhammer can be used as a bursty finisher when combined with a Rockbiter Weapon it can deal 10+ damage with Windfury.
Mana Tide Totem
With the nerf to Nat Pagle, Mana Tide Totem is your go-to draw power card for Shaman decks. Although costing one more mana and having one less health, Mana Tide Totem guarantees you card draw at the end of each of your turns.
Even if your opponent destroys it right away, it still cycles itself, which gives it value. Another reason to get excited about this card is that worse case scenario, your opponent has to burn a spell or silence to remove it.
Even if silenced, it can be buffed up by Flametongue Totemto squeeze out some additional use.
Hex is hands-down the best removal spell for Shaman. For three mana you can turn any threat into a harmless 0/1 Frog with Taunt.
The only downside to this is you will want to remove the Frog quickly against some decks, such as Hunters who can take advantage of the Beast archetype of Frog with buffs like Houndmasteror spells such as Kill Command.
Be sure to save this spell for the most dangerous cards in your opponent’s deck or you may lose control of the board. Lastly, this can be used on your own minons to prevent lethal, if a taunt is needed.
Al'Akir the Windlord
Not only can he be an amazing finisher when combined with Rockbiter Weapon, his Charge and Windfury, along with Divine Shield, can be used to regain board control by taking out up to two minions a turn.
When setting up lethal damage, try to have Flametongue Totem down a turn prior to placing Al’Akir, then you can play him AND a Rockbiter Weapon, dealing a total of 16 damage, or 22 damage with a second Rockbiter Weapon.
The goal of Midrange Shaman is to continually clear your opponent’s minions and create card advantage with cheap removal spells, then overwhelm your opponent in the late game with your tough minions, totems, and burst damage.
You should be carefully monitoring your use of Overload cards, planning how much mana you will have the following turn and what plays can be made.
When mulliganing against Aggro decks, you’ll want to keep cards which aid you in controlling the early game, such as Stormforged Axe, Lightning Bolt, Feral Spirit, Earth Shock, Lightning Storm, and Wild Pyromancer.
Against Midrange/Control decks, you’ll definitely want early minions such as Unbound Elemental, Feral Spirit, and Wild Pyromancer, as well as removal like Lightning Bolt.
Stabilizing and keeping control of the board can be an easy task for Midrange Shaman; it’s what makes this deck so powerful and gives it little to no weaknesses. It’s the type of deck that can win any matchup with the right cards, but be careful, it can fall prey to Aggro decks.
Shaman matches up very well against heroes like Druid, Paladin, Mage, and Warrior. Priest can sometimes be an issue when running Thoughtsteal, Cabal Shadow Priest, and Shadow Madness, they are able to take control of your cards, luckily you can solve this with a little burst damage.
In the Warlock matchup, it'll be a breeze against Handlock decks, but you’ll have a tough time against Warlock Aggro if you don’t get the right cards to deal with early threats. Going up against Rogue can be difficult; they match you in removal and burst damage. Stabilizing is the key to winning here.
Hunter is Shaman’s worst matchup. With no healing power in the deck, Hunter’s Hero Power puts you the clock to finish quickly or get pinged to death. Although Shaman really struggles against Hunter Aggro, Midrange Hunter is a different story. While you still have an expiration date, your chances of winning improve greatly.
Midrange Hunter is much slower than their Aggro counterpart, giving you a chance to burst them down faster than they can do to you. Doomhammer is a key card here, as it allows you to deal 16 damage alone, while also allows you to deal with the Hunter’s weak minions. Hex is also significant, being able to remove Savannah Highmanewith ease. No matter which version you are playing against, you should be focused on being as aggressive as possible and racing the Hunter down, while dealing with threats. Try to minimize the damage you take.
Midrange Shaman is an all-around powerful deck. Its consistency and ability to handle any matchup make it one of the strongest decks available. It can grind very well on the ladder and can be used as a hard-to-counter opener in tournaments, especially with the decline of Aggro Hunter. We at DKMR find Shaman to be an under appreciated Hero and hope to see others unlock the potential this class has to offer.
Decks to Watch Out For
In this week’s decks to watch out for on the ladder and in tournaments, we have seen a recent increase in the number of spell power Rogue decks. We’ve also been seeing a different type of Druid deck that uses Wild Growth, popularized by the streamer Massan.