Guide: Midrank Shaman
Today we have a Shaman guide from Ploglo, who talks about a deck that brought him success in the mid range rank of the constructed ladder. Read on for more!
After seeing people only run a few Shaman decks that never differentiated wildly from each other, I decided it was time to make a Shaman deck that was fairly unique yet still viable in the current meta. With the pace of the game being so fast, most Shaman decks run nearly every Shaman removal and have fewer creatures or are rush decks designed for minion spam Bloodlust combos. The deck I made ended up being a fairly happy in between with enough removal to deal with all but the fastest of rushes but fast enough to give hard control decks a tough time.
I've tested this deck all the way up to Rank 9, while my friend has tested this deck at Rank 1 and 2, to pit it against other popular meta decks and have some good success with it!
This deck is designed to play a defensive start, with several taunts and small removals specifically designed to let you slowly dominate the board. Playing down early Feral Spirit, Unbound Elementalcombo-ed with Sunfury Protectors will allow you to start cultivating your larger creatures without fear of being mowed down by a rush.
If you are not facing a rush, try and save your Feral Spirits to combo with your Unbound Elementals or until you truly need them since their overload grinds your tempo to a halt. To stop any zoo rush decks, Abominationon turn 5 will often wipe the board but other than that, it is generally a pretty slow turn.
Be careful not to overload yourself, though, since turn 6 is when the best minions in the deck come out. Fire Elementalcan get rid of some medium target left over on the board and Cairne Bloodhoofis always available if you are ahead and want to keep it that way. The biggest problem with the deck is the slow card draw, but running out of cards should not be a huge problem since the tempo of the deck works out so only 1 card is typically played for the first 6 turns.
Class Specific Strategies
Rush warriors are the only rush deck that consistently give this deck trouble. Try to get your Abominationup in good positions and be very careful with your health. Your spells have the unhelpful habit of either being overkill or doing not quite enough and the warriors axes deal surprisingly well with most of your taunt.
Playing against Control Warriors is the only deck where racing their health down is the only good strategy. The typical legendary filled Warrior deck has a flat out better late game than this one, but their removal tends not to be enough. Make sure the Warrior's shields do not get too high, as to save your creatures from Shield Slam. The only exceptions are Execute, which is hard to play around if you do not get a healing totem out, and Brawl, which tends to make or break the Warrior's game. Try to save some of your creatures for the impending Brawl, but you can not hold back against these decks.
Most Shamans you will face will be hard control or Bloodlust/Windfury. The Control Shamans do not give the deck too much of a problem, simply do what the deck is designed to do and out control the board. For Windfury/Bloodlust shamans, take extra precaution to keep the board empty and keep your taunts up. Do not get cocky and let the shaman keep any minions up and you should be able to pull through a victory.
Against a control Shaman, try to bait out their removal with just enough but not too much that you cripple yourself.
Playing against a Rogue is a real mixed bag. A Miracle Rogue match up is going to be tough, but still very winnable. Aim to get your hexes for Questing Adventureror Edwin VanCleefand Fire Elementals for SI:7 Agents. Make sure you have a constant taunt wall up. Feral Spirit tends to work amazingly well, but it is easy for the rogue to deal with.
Keep your Lightning Storms and try to keep up a spell power totem for the Gadgetzan Auctioneerwith Conceal. Like with any Miracle Rogue, never leave your face open for the big combos around turn 8 and you should have a decent chance at pulling out a win.
Aggro rogues aren't too much of a problem for the deck, just play it like a typical aggro match and you should be fine.
Rush Paladins tend to not stand a chance since they have quite a bit of trouble against cards like Feral Spirit unless they get very specific buffs. Even if they do get such buffs, Shaman removal tends to be just enough to deal with whatever they get on the board.
Fire Elementalabsolutely destroys Paladins since they tend to run a lot of low health creatures, but just make sure you have ways to pop divine shields. If you do find that the divine shields are too much of an issue and you feel like every other deck you play is filled with them, a Blood Knightis a very viable replacement for an Unbound Elemental.
Against Control Paladins, play slow and steady and never over commit to the board. Make sure to save your Hexfor Tirion Fordringand and slowly bait out the Paladin's solutions to your own creatures. Do not try to rush down since most Control Paladins run too much healing for this deck to keep up with, you simply have to outlast them.
This deck is extremely well suited for dealing with the typical beast master control hunter, mostly due to the hunter's removal is almost always sub-par for the situation this deck presents. The large number of 3 or more health minions makes Explosive Trapand Arcane Shotineffective, while RNG removal like Deadly Shotand Multi-Shotare weakened by your totems.
The largest thing to keep in mind while playing against a control hunter is that you should not worry as much about Unleash the Houndssince the decks don't tend to be built around huge UTC combos. Don't put yourself in an obvious trap, but take more risks than you would against an aggro hunter. Try and save your Hexand Faceless Manipulatorfor the Savannah Highmaneor even the occasional Core Houndor The Beastand you should not have too much of a problem.
UTC Hunters do put up more of a fight, however. As with all rush decks, getting your Feral Spiritout is the key to survival. Unlike all rush decks; though, you can't spam out taunts like you normally would due to the leverage it would give the hound combos. Keep Sunfury Protectors ready, but be conservative with them. Play it slow and steady, the little reservation goes a long way.
The archetype Druid deck hardly has a chance against this deck. The large number of taunts, specifically Abomination, shut down the Force of Nature/Savage Roar rush combo while the Hexes and direct removal spells give you plenty of options to deal with any especially large minions the druid can throw out.
The biggest problem this deck has against druids is it has trouble keeping up with how many cards are in hand, so you have to put extra focus towards keeping the board clear and getting extra value with your minion trades. So long as you get a slight advantage in the early game and make decent trades, you will be fine.
Since UTH Hunters have been dominating the rush scene, Warlock Murlocks haven't seen much spotlight. Still, I have run into several warlock rush decks, and it can be quite a battle. Getting a Feral Spirit or Sunfury Protector in your early hand is key to staying alive long enough to win.
Warlocks tend to have problems finishing you off with last minute desperation rushes due to the other big taunts so as long as you stay out of double Soulfirerange, late game should be a walk in the park. Try and save your Stormforged Axe/Lightning Boltto take out key targets, like Knife Jugglerand it should all work out.
As great as this deck is against all other control decks, warlock giants still give it a super hard time. If you don't get your Hexes and heavy taunts, you will lose. Try not to bring the warlock down too early so he can't get easy Molten Giants.
If you seem to be running into a lot of Handlocks, replace some cards with silences, like Earth Shock. Big Game Huntercould also be a viable replacement if you are really at your wits end, but in the end you just have to realize you can't dominate every match.
A non-spell rush mage should not give you too much of a problem, but their Polymorphand Fireballcan still be quite tricky. Luckily, this deck tends to have too many good Polymorph/Fireball options at once for a mage to take control. Watch out for enraged Amani Berserker, as they can often get great value and set you quite a ways back in terms of board control.
Although not super common, a spell rush mage is this decks biggest nemesis. To defeat to the spell power mage, make sure you keep the board clear of spell damage since your only healing is a single Earthen Ring Farseer. Make sure the mulligan fairly aggressively because you will die fast without good early game minions. This is actually a fairly scary match up for this deck so be very cautious with how much damage you take.
Beating most priest decks is fairly simple. Play smart, trade effectively, and you should be fine. The only thing that can really mess you up is an unlucky Mindgames/Thoughtsteal/Mind Vision[/card], to which there is no real counter.
Acidic Swamp Oozeis very situational but the deck needed more 2 drops. You can replace it with whatever 2 drop you think works best.
Defender of Arguscould be exchanged for a Sen'jin Shieldmastaand Abominationcould be swapped out for a Sunwalker, but it does leave your deck weaker against zoo rushes.
Many people might be wondering why the deck lacks a Earth Elemental. It is a great card, but it destroys the tempo of this deck. Since turn 6 is so important, a 3 mana overload on turn 5 is very counterproductive.
Hope you guys enjoyed the article! As usual, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below!
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