Hello, my nickname is Kolento, I am a professional Hearthstone player and streamer. In this guide you can see my thoughts about shaman deck! It is one of my favourite classes, due to its wide variation of decision-making. Amount of options you have is huge, and one decision leads to victory, when another represents loss.
Hope this guide will deepen your understanding of moves and help you to become better!
To begin here are a couple of words about how Shaman works…
Usually it is not that hard in most of the decks just to follow your mana curve by putting minions between removals one after another, but it is not so simple when you play Shaman.
To be successful you need to keep in mind the mana you will have at turn after you will play an Overload spell and possible threats your opponent can play, so that you can react properly.
Value of Cards
Shaman’s removals are cheap, but sometimes it is simply not worth it to play them in particular situations.
Look at your hand before playing cheap removal, maybe there is a better (maybe more expensive in terms of mana) way to remove the threat.
Shaman Power – Totemic Calling
One of the best hero powers in Hearthstone, one of the reasons why any kind of 2 mana drop makes no sense in Shaman deck.
Zero attack minion seems not that strong, that’s why there is several activators for totems in deck, like flametongue-totem or defender-of-argus. But keep in mind that there is not a lot of sense of making a totem when opponent has 2-3 power minion on a board, the totem will only absorb damage by the cost of tempo.
Shaman masters are usually thinking about positioning before playing minion. Flametongue Totem and defender-of-argus can be better or worse depending on your minion placement.
Placement Tips: Try to leave space on the right side of Flametongue Totem when you have only one minion, try to play argent-squire in the middle of minions for better Defender of Argus value. Keep in mind that damaged-golem who pops from harvest-golem appears on same spot, so in the case of Flametongue Totem it is better to have Harvest Golem on the left side of a board.
earth-shock: Situational but really effective removal. Allows to remove most of 1 mana cost minions, which make this card number one removal against aggro decks. Silence applies before damage, so keep in mind that using this spell on minion affected by hunters mark or equality will result in healing rather than damaging.
lightning-bolt: Effective removal, but not a best choice for early game because of overload. Also, Lightning Bolt is affected by spell power, which makes this spell most suited for mid and late game.
rockbiter-weapon: Best removal in any stage of the game, can be casted on hero, synergies with alakir-the-windlord, but no reason to be greedy by holding or mulliganing it in early game.
argent-squire: The only one mana cost minion in deck, best opening against every class, synergies with Flametongue Totem and Defender of Argus. Shaman has no hero power which deals 1 damage, so having some sort of way to affect low life minion is a good idea.
bloodmage-thalnos: Deck is spell heavy, so spell power becomes pretty useful. Do not try to replace Bloodmage with kobold-geomancer, spell power is great, but it is not worth to lose a card in order to get it.
flametongue-totem: One of the activators for our hero power. To get use out of Flametongue Totem you need to have board presence, what makes this card not a best choice for early game, unless you have Argent Squire in opening hand.
feral-spirit: Strongest 3 mana cost play in-game. But be careful of using this spell, if you feel that AOE might come soon, sometimes it is better to play totem not to become Overloaded. It is also important to find right time to play Feral Spirit, 2-3 minion is hard to remove when there is no board presence on opponent’s side, but often there is situation when it is not worth to play the wolves because of limited options availability on the next turn (due to overload).
hex: Shaman’s bread and butter. The best hard removal in-game. Use it wisely against control decks since there’ll be a lot of cards that warrants a Hex. Use it whenever you feel it is correct to use it when you play against midrange or aggro.
lightning-storm: The only AOE in Shaman’s deck (unless you play wild-pyromancer, not recommended in current meta) and the only RNG related AOE spell in-game. Usage is simple, need an AOE – play it. Be careful about overload, similar as Feral Spirit, sometimes it is better not to play storm in order to have better options on next turn.
And one trick I am using from time to time – when situation looks desperate, do not use Storm even when you do not have any other way to remove board. Most likely opponent will invest more minions into board , and Lightning Storm will give you some time to draw into high value minions to compete.
harvest-golem: Usually Shaman starts with totem turn 2 against midrange-control decks, so it is not so important to have 2 mana cost drops. But it is easy to underestimate the importance of 3 mana cost drops, you can play 2 of them in a row with coin or just one to have something on the board.
Harvest golem is a best non class bounded 3 mana cost drop, it is really hard to remove it in early stage, no overload unlike Feral Spirit. Play it whenever you have some mana to do it, even in case of hard AOE removal like brawl or equality + AOE you will still have a 2-1 minion, which is really good for Shaman (synergy with board Shaman has is huge).
unbound-elemental: When you can play it with overload spell – Unbound is a best 3 mana cost drop you can have, but in early game it is more important to have some solid, something opponent can’t remove with only one spell or one minion hit, like Harvest Golem.
violet-teacher: Solid 4 mana cost drop, something you can play whenever you can, not require board presence to be effective. I feel like something hand can be clutched with spells, so Teacher is a best non situational play you can have in minion-less situation. Shaman deck has a lot of cheap spells and synergy with tokens is high even without bloodlust, so this card is better than chillwind-yeti most of the times.
defender-of-argus: This minion is almost always good when you have 2 or more minions on a board. Be careful to not overextend into AOE. Helps to hold aggro decks because of taunt giving ability. Sometimes it is fine to buff only one minion.
azure-drake: The only draw card in this deck. Must have in any shaman deck, not only because mana curve is pretty cheap, but also because deck is spell heavy. Play it similar to Violet Teacher, whenever you have free turn to do it, or when you have nothing to play. Also consider its spell power when you have spell heavy deck, sometimes it is also fine to hold drake in hand in order to get soma value out of spell power.
argent-commander: This minion is not a best card for shaman deck, but I found that it is important to have more valuable cards which deals with threats as soon as they are played. Often 4 toughness minion is out of range of Shamans spells, situation when Argent Commander becomes stronger. Has great synergy with Flametongue Totem.
doomhammer: Don’t like weapon much, because harrison-jones or acidic-swamp-ooze can just completely ruin your game sometimes. But I found that in current meta win rate is higher with Doomhammer. Best card against Freeze Mage and Miracle Rogue, at least 16 and potentially more damage for 7 mana, making it the cheapest damage source in-game.
Try to use this card in matchup when board presence doesn’t mean much or you board is already fitted.
fire-elemental: This minion is a beast! 6-5 with awesome battlecry which deals 3 damage, isn’t it a dream? Play it whenever you have some target for battlecry or you have nothing else to play. The only advise I can give – sometimes it is important to hold Fire Elemental in hand when your hand is exhausted and there is no target for battlecry.
alakir-the-windlord: I like this legendary a lot. It is the most flexible minion in-game. Synergies with Rockbiter Weapon and Flametongue Totem. Strategy of using this card depends on matchup, against control deck try to save it for lethal when it is important to finish opponent in one burst, or use it as a value card for trade with minions when your opponent is at high life. Against aggro taunt helps to stay alive, play it as soon as you have 8 mana.
mana-tide-totem: Really slow card, can be extremely good against control deck, forces a removal to kill it, but since the meta is hostile for control decks, almost everyone is playing midrange or aggro decks. Against midrange, Manatide rarely get its value, often you will find yourself in situation when you just need to play it when opponent has board control just to cycle for more valuable cards.
lava-burst: 5 mana cost spell, damage is lower than fireball, not a fan of this spell at all.
earth-elemental: Vulnerable to big-game-hunter and the-black-knight, but if you like to take risk, this card suits you.
If you have spell damage card in hand and an azure-drake probably it is better to keep drake and play something else in order to get some extra spell value.
Hope these tips and strategies will improve your Shaman play. It is definitely one of my favorite deck/class after the Miracle Rogue. I will continue this in the next part where I will go into match up analysis against popular deck types and mulligan strategies.
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