Welcome back for the 9th episode of Weekly Top Legend Decks! Click here if you want to check out the previous episodes.
The point of this series is to analyze the competitive Hearthstone decks both from the community (you!) and pro players. While all the decks are Legend-worthy, I don’t necessarily pick the BEST ones each week, but rather the most interesting ones. It means that a lot of my choices won’t be your standard meta decks.
Even though it’s called “weekly” series, the intervals between episodes might be slightly longer during the holidays or when there will be no new, fun decks worth writing about. After all, if the meta hasn’t changed, there is no point in writing about the same stuff over and over again.
[toc]Dog’s Frost Giant Warrior[/toc]
Even Control Warriors have started developing the “OTK” combos recently.
Control Warrior always had not that huge and pretty predictable burst from [card]Grommash Hellscream[/card] + Whirlwind effect or [card]Cruel Taskmaster[/card]. You usually knew when it was coming and it was actually often easy to play around. Not that it was bad or anything, no, just not enough in the current meta, right? Meta was getting more and more bursty, because if you can sacrifice 3-4 cards in the deck to play huge burst combo, why not? I have seen two different versions of the burst Control Warrior, first one being the [card]Alexstrasza[/card] + [card]Gorehowl[/card] one. You basically pre-equipped Gorehowl, got [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card] discounts on both Alex and [card]Charge[/card] and then played Alex, charged her and hit with the Gorehowl (5 damage from weapon was enough). Dog was trying another version for quite some time already. This one is even more interesting, because the previous one is, well, kinda “here we go again” thing, because the combo was rather popular before the changes to [card]Charge[/card] (it used to cost 0 mana and just give the Charge, not attack buff). The Frost Giant combo is pretty fresh. But what is exactly the combo?
In the long game, Control Warrior is one of the most likely classes to press the Hero Power button often. It’s their main source of survivability, especially after [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card] is already played. This means that – at some point – [card]Frost Giant[/card] is going to be free. Or almost free. Then you need to hit your combo with [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card]. And depending on how much damage you need, you may play Frost Giant + [card]Charge[/card] for 10 damage or Frost Giant + Charge + 1-2 [card]Faceless Manipulator[/card]s for 20-30 damage.
This is the deck’s main win condition in some matchups. You know, when you play against Aggro, you can just win by running them out of cards and then even one or two midrange minions on the board mean that you win the game. But in slower matchups it’s not always as easy. So, if you play a matchup where you can stall the game long enough and then kill them with 30 damage combo, go for it. But you can’t do that if enemy let’s say has Armor. It’s pretty much impossible to OTK the Control Warrior with the deck. Or you can’t do that if enemy won’t let you stall the game long enough – like Midrange decks. Then you’re not really going for this win condition, because you won’t have enough time to Armor up 10 times, collect all the combo pieces, play Emperor and then OTK enemy. That’s impossible. But what’s cool about the deck is that it gives you some flexibility of using the combo pieces outside the combo. Like, the most important one – [card]Frost Giant[/card]. It can be just played as an 8/8 on the board. Why not? Or you can play it + Charge to instantly remove something, like a 5/5. Charge can be used with any of your minions if you need a way to instantly kill something. [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card] + [card]Charge[/card] is for example perfect at killing 1-2 attack minions (like [card]Northshire Cleric[/card]), because not only you instantly get rid of it, but you also draw 2+ cards in total. And [card]Faceless Manipulator[/card] is most flexible one, because since you don’t play any big threats you can just copy the ones enemy plays. Depending on the situation and your needs, you might copy anything that’s 5+ mana and it’s going to be fine. Faceless is really strong card in the right scenario, but the downside is that you can’t play proactively. Yes, you can copy that 8/8 minion, but you can’t just play it whenever you want, let’s say after you clear the board with [card]Brawl[/card]. It’s still fine, because being reactive in Control mirror isn’t bad.
Besides the combo, deck is incredibly reactive and defensive. It plays only a few minions – [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card], [card]Sludge Belcher[/card], [card]Shieldmaiden[/card] and [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card]. That’s only 7 minions outside of the combo ones. Rest of the deck are mostly removals – weapons, [card]Brawl[/card], [card]Revenge[/card], single target removals like [card]Execute[/card] and [card]Shield Slam[/card]. So the play style is even more similar to the Fatigue Warrior than to the standard Control Warrior – it plays even more reactive with even more incentive to go for the long game.
This is the deck for all of you that like this kind of play style. It’s not something a lot of people enjoy, because the games are really long (meaning the defeats are even more crushing). But if you like slow, grindy games and the possibility to OTK the enemy… well.. 20 turns into the game or something, check the deck out!
- In faster matchup, so most of the Aggro and Midrange decks, you can imagine that your combo doesn’t exist. If you can play the [card]Frost Giant[/card], go for it. You might play [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card] without having all the combo pieces. You can copy whatever you want with [card]Faceless Manipulator[/card]. Obviously you’re still going to win some games with the combo, but that’s just not what you look at. You look at stabilizing on the board, surviving, running them out of cards and sticking one or two minions to the board to kill them.
- Hero Powering is important in each slower Warrior list, but even more in this one. You really want to cut the price of that [card]Frost Giant[/card], so try to Hero Power every turn if you can. You have almost no incentive to play for the tempo, so instead of I don’t know, pre-equipping that [card]Fiery War Axe[/card] you might as well Hero Power.
- 3 damage [card]Revenge[/card] is what you need to win a lot of the games. You need to balance your health total really well to achieve that. Sometimes you want to keep your Armor gain to get down to 12 or less health, then Revenge and only then again the Armor again. You might also set-up yourself at 12 with a weapon hit. Let’s say you’re at 15, you can equip the weapon and hit enemy 3 attack minion and you can now cast the bigger Revenge. Staying at or below 12 health for the rest of the game is also good, because it will pay off once you draw the second Revenge and you can still be at safe amount of health thanks to the Armor.
- In Control Warrior mirror, you most likely don’t want to draw the cards. It means that in a lot of games you don’t want to play your [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card] and [card]Shield Block[/card] at all and you want to use your [card]Slam[/card] to finish the minions instead of opening with it. In perfect world you want to stay 2 or 3 draws behind your enemy to get guaranteed win in fatigue, so you should draw more only if he also does.
- [card]Alexstrasza[/card] – It’s much easier to pull off the combo if you can get enemy down to 15 health, right? Alex is a pretty cool card, because in a lot of the slower matchups the Battlecry might as well read “deal 15 damage”. You don’t put any early game pressure with your minions and your mid game minions are mostly used to trade, not to hit the face. This leads to enemy quite often having full (or nearly full) health in the late game. Alex means that it’s much easier to pull off the combo, because you either need only one Faceless (=2 charging Giants) or only Giant + Charge if you also manage to get enemy down to 15 (which shouldn’t be that hard with weapons). In fast matchups it might be also used to heal yourself – if enemy gets you down to I don’t know, 5 health, Alex is 10 points of healing + a big body that will most likely win you the game in a few turns (or baits a lot of burn for that to not happen).
- [card]Dr. Boom[/card] – To make the deck slightly less combo-based. Dr. Boom is a big win condition in most of the matchups and also a thing you can faceless from your own deck, if it survives one turn. A 5 mana 7/7 ain’t that bad after all.
[toc]Crusher’s Silent Druid[/toc]
This kind of deck was a thing since I remember. Even in Beta people were playing something called “Watcher Druid”, with Druid having quite easy way to activate the Watchers – [card]Keeper of the Grove[/card]. Most of the Silence cards aren’t flexible at all. However Keeper can be also used to deal damage, which makes it much better than something like [card]Spellbreaker[/card]. Another pretty common combo back then was [card]Ancient Watcher[/card] + [card]Mark of the Wild[/card], which created a 6/7 Taunt early in the game. Pretty huge.
Right now having only those two combos wouldn’t really cut it, but we’ve been getting more and more interesting cards with each expansion. The first one is [card]Wailing Soul[/card] – that’s the auto-include into a deck like that. Silencing all your minions on a rather good body (3/5 for 4 is almost as good as it gets) is awesome if you have some minions with negative effects on the board. Those minions might be “can’t attack” ones – [card]Ancient Watcher[/card] and the new [card]Eerie Statue[/card] or they might just have some other negative effects. There are many examples, but this particular deck runs [card]Zombie Chow[/card] (Silence = not healing the enemy), [card]Darnassus Aspirant[/card] (Silencing off the Deathrattle means free [card]Wild Growth[/card]) and [card]Fel Reaver[/card] (prevents burning cards). All the cards are very efficient/have strong effects for their mana cost, but have some downside which you can remove with Silence.
Another way to abuse the big bodies of “Can’t attack” minions is Taunting them up. This deck uses [card]Sunfury Protector[/card] to do that – affects two minions, leaves a 2/3 body behind and is much cheaper than [card]Defender of Argus[/card]. If you Taunt up big minions, Sunfury is usually better. Giving a small minion +1/+1 is much more noticeable. It doesn’t matter that much whether Eerie Statue is 7/7 or 8/8 – if enemy wants to remove it with minions he still wants to commit a lot and it still dies to same removals / [card]Big Game Hunter[/card].
Besides that, the deck runs a rather standard Midrange Druid shell. It obviously uses the [card]Force of Nature[/card] + [card]Savage Roar[/card] combo, because well, it’s just too strong. I think that it doesn’t fully fit this kind of the deck, but hey, if it works, it works.
The last really interesting choice is [card]King Mukla[/card]. It doesn’t really synergize with Silence, maybe outside Silencing off the Bananas once enemy buffs his minion, but that’s not even very good. I guess it’s just a big minion you can drop on 3 to punch enemy face with, and it has rather good synergy with [card]Sunfury Protector[/card] if you want to create a nice Taunt in the mid game.
It’s a cool variance of the standard Midrange Druid and I enjoyed playing it. I think it could use some optimization and it’s not the deck’s “final form” yet, but it would require a lot more playtesting to really check that out.
- Just like with the standard Midrange Druid, you curve is really important. Try to abuse the ramp effects ([card]Innervate[/card] and [card]Darnassus Aspirant[/card] in this case) and plan your turns ahead. For example, you don’t really want to Innervate out [card]King Mukla[/card] on turn 1 if you have no follow-up. On the other hand, Innervating out a 4-drop on turn 3 if you already have King Mukla in your hand is much better – this way you have this and next turn covered, with a pretty good chance of drawing another turn 4 play.
- Dropping [card]Sunfury Protector[/card] as a vanilla 2/3 isn’t bad. With this kind of deck it’s important to have the board control and initiative. Especially against Aggro decks – while having a way to Taunt up your minions is cool, having something to kill that early [card]Knife Juggler[/card] is even better (because otherwise it will push for a lot of damage).
- The deck is much more aggressive than the standard Midrange. Every point of face damage is important, because the deck runs out of steam much faster. Yes, it runs two [card]Ancient of Lores[/card], but also uses a lot of small drops and no other card draw (not even [card]Wrath[/card] to cycle it in the late game). It means that face is often the place and you need to prioritize Hero damage over the trades. Since you drop really big minions, once you start punching with them after Silencing, it’s usually an incentive for the opponent to clear them. He can’t afford to initiate a race against turn 2 4/5 or turn 4 7/7. This also means that it’s often correct to play [card]Druid of the Claw[/card] in Charge mode to put enemy closer into the combo range.
- [card]Wailing Soul[/card], or rather the Silence effects in general, can also be used to get rid of the debuffs on your minions. For example, it can get rid of the [card]Aldor Peacekeeper[/card]’s effect or the [card]Corruption[/card] (it’s seen from time to time since [card]Dark Peddler[/card] is very popular).
- [card]Deathlord[/card] – An interesting choice in fast meta. 2/8 Taunt is good in a lot of matchups and you don’t even need to Silence it. And if you play in slow matchup and there is a chance to get screwed by the Deathrattle, you just play Deathlord and Silence it. Profit!
- [card]Ogre Brute[/card] – Played for the stats – 4/4 for 3 is pretty good statline. The 50% chance to miss can be Silenced off, but often it doesn’t even have to. A lot of time if you play it on turn 3, no matter which target it hits – it’s a good target. I mean, let’s say you play it into opponent’s 2-drop. If it kills it – that’s fine. If it pushes for 4 face damage – that’s also fine most of the time. It only gets tricky if there are targets you don’t really want to hit, like let’s say [card]Nerubian Egg[/card]. If you play in slower matchup, enemy is also pretty likely to kill it himself, because 4/4 minion might be a little threatening. And it’s outside of the range of the “small removals” like [card]Darkbomb[/card], [card]Frostbolt[/card] or [card]Fiery War Axe[/card].
- [card]Ironbeak Owl[/card]/[card]Spellbreaker[/card]. If you run a lot of minions that need to be Silenced, sometimes you might run out of ways to actually Silence it. Especially since Silence is also very strong on opponent’s minions in a lot of scenarios. Let’s say enemy buffs his minion or I don’t know, plays strong Deathrattle minion and you need to Silence it too. 1-2 Silences often go for enemy minions, so if you have more ways to Silence, you can throw them away without worrying that you won’t have a way to deal with that [card]Tirion Fordring[/card] or [card]Sylvanas Windrunner[/card].
[toc]proasfuk’s Reno Control Mage[/toc]
Control Mage is one of those archetypes that I’ve always found interesting. It was never really overpowered, but it was always viable. I actually think that those kind of decks might be the most balanced ones in the game. Even so the Reno Mage decks, because they are really, really balanced. The deck has basically everything – early game drops, single target removals, AoE removals, card draw/value cards, high drops, healing, tech cards like weapon destruction and [card]Mind Control Tech[/card], Secrets…
The deck is much more control style than the RenoLock, which is more Midrange/Combo deck (depending on the exact list). This Mage list excels at going into the long, value games. It’s strong in Control mirrors, because of how much value it can get. Cards like [card]Duplicate[/card] and [card]Echo of Medivh[/card] have so much potential. Having 3 [card]Ysera[/card]s when playing the value game really helps. Not to mention that with 10 mana and possibly some [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card] discounts you can easily copy 3-4 minions with [card]Echo of Medivh[/card].
Then, the combo decks. Here the deck also works quite well. [card]Ice Block[/card] has great synergy with [card]Reno Jackson[/card]. It means that they can’t one-shot you, because Ice Block stops that. And then after the Ice Block is popped you can just heal back to full with Reno.
The Aggro decks are also quite easy pray. The deck has good game board control, not to mention that Mage’s Hero Power works quite well in Aggro matchups. Dropping a naked [card]Doomsayer[/card] usually stalls the game for one turn. [card]Deathlord[/card] is also huge, especially if you [card]Duplicate[/card] it. It’s Aggro decks nightmare. Then again, Duplicate also works well with [card]Sludge Belcher[/card] and [card]Antique Healbot[/card] – healing for 24 or putting 3 Belchers on the board usually wins you the game against Aggro. Then again, you have Reno as the last resort card – if they still manage to get you down low, you can heal back to full. And if you Duplicate or Echo the Reno… it’s impossible to lose.
Honestly, the only problematic archetype I’ve found was the Midrange. The reason is that they have pretty high tempo, just like Aggro decks, but you can’t run them out of cards so easy. Aggro decks, you just Taunt up/heal/try to survive and you win the game. Against Midrange you not only need to survive, but you also need to deal with each threat they play and the threats get bigger and bigger each turn. If they hit perfect curve it’s really hard to win against them, because the value moves like Duplicate/Echo might be too slow and you might just run out of answers for their threats. Still, it doesn’t mean that those are unwinnable – they’re just harder.
Since it’s a Reno deck, it’s very hard to write about all the interactions here – you need to test them yourself. But honestly, if you’re used to playing Control decks, you should have quite easy time piloting this one. And a lot of fun, that is!
- One of the first advice I need to give is to NOT overdraw. It’s very hard and doesn’t matter that much in fast matchups (unless you burn Reno), but in slow matchups it’s very easy to overdraw. Both [card]Duplicate[/card] and [card]Echo of Medivh[/card] require a lot of space in your hand to be used. [card]Ysera[/card] also constantly generates new cards if she’s on the board. So for example duplicating the Ysera is an incredibly high value play, but you might run out of space in your hand very fast. To fight against that you might throw some cards on the board without really getting value (like [card]Mind Control Tech[/card] as just a 3/3), you might want to pick cheaper cards from [card]Ethereal Conjurer[/card] and duplicating/Echoing the [card]Emperor Thaurissan[/card] is also a good idea – if you discount your hand by a lot, you are able to go for the higher tempo moves and dump your hand much more easily.
- Setting up a good [card]Duplicate[/card] is important. For example, if you have Duplicate up, you don’t want to play minions that are useless in the given matchup. So for example, if you set-up Duplicate against the Control, you don’t want to play [card]Zombie Chow[/card]. And if you set-up duplicate against Aggro, you don’t want to play [card]Ethereal Conjurer[/card], because it’s just too slow. You also never want to Duplicate your [card]Mad Scientist[/card] with only 2 Secrets in the deck. Another thing I wouldn’t do is to play Duplicate before [card]Dr. Boom[/card]. While getting 2 more Dr. Booms is great, enemy is very likely to kill the Boom Bot first if he can. And 2 more Boom Bots aren’t impressing.
- [card]Explosive Sheep[/card] can be played into opponent’s 2-drop. Enemy is forced to trade into it, because he can’t really play another minion and go face or they will both get damaged. Later in the game, however, you can play the Sheep and instantly ping it – it’s a 4 mana 2 damage AoE.
- Both [card]Doomsayer[/card] and [card]Explosive Sheep[/card] are great minions to play into [card]Mirror’s Entity[/card]. Doomsayer blows up the whole board on opponent’s turn and Explosive Sheep deals 4 AoE damage after pinging it (most likely clearing the big part of the board too).
- If you have the [card]Ice Block[/card] up, you can be greedy with your Reno. No need to heal at 15 when enemy can’t kill you anyway. If opponent goes all-in and tries to kill you, pops the Block and then you Reno, it’s usually game over. By staying low with Ice Block up you bait enemy to overcommit into trying to kill you.
- Remember that picking a second [card]Forgotten Torch[/card] from Ethereal Conjurer might backfire. It shuffles [card]Roaring Torch[/card] into your deck, so if you shuffle two of those (after playing both Forgotten Torches), your Reno effect no longer works. So pick it only after you’ve already played Reno, if you don’t need the Reno, if you already drew the Roaring torch etc. Just pick it at your own risk!
- [card]Jeweled Scarab[/card] – I’ve seen a lot of Control Mage lists running it, especially the Reno ones. I am a big fan of Discover mechanic in general and Jeweled Scarab is one of the better designed cards. It allows you to not skip turn 2 if you have nothing else to play, the 1/1 body is small, but it will often bait a ping or allow you to kill a 1-drop (or maybe 3/2 2-drop with help of the ping too). If played on turn 2 it might provide you a turn 3 play if you lack one. On the other hand, played in the late game you might pick whatever fits the situation most. There are some good 3 mana cards in Mage, [card]Ice Barrier[/card] against Aggro, another [card]Duplicate[/card] against Control, [card]Forgotten Torch[/card] as a general removal etc.
- [card]Brann Bronzebeard[/card] – It doesn’t fit the current list that much, but it fits Control Mage in general. If you play Brann, you want to play more Battlecry minions like the Jeweled Scarab, Tomb Spider or Azure Drake. Brann is really strong in those slow lists, because you have enough time to gather the cards you need for him to work. For example, in the late game scenario, depending on the situation you might play the value Brann (e.g. Brann + Jeweled Scarab + Ethereal Conjurer) or the defensive Brann (e.g. Brann + Loatheb/Healbot). There are also other situational Brann uses like playing it before [card]Mind Control Tech[/card] when enemy has 5 minions on the board or playing it with [card]Dr. Boom[/card] for the 10 mana power turn.
- [card]Water Elemental[/card] – It’s usually my 4-drop of choice in Mage. I prefer it over the Shredder in less aggressive lists, because it just trades down much better. You don’t really care about rushing enemy down, so the 4 attack/stickiness to removals don’t matter that much. Having 6 health, however, it might usually take 2 or even 3 trades before dying. It’s also awesome against weapon classes, blocking them completely. It might also be used to stall a minion for one more turn. E.g. you might hit a 5/5 with your Water Elemental and ping it, making it unable to attack next turn and then ping it off. In most of the scenarios Water Elemental also trades 1 for 1 with the Shredder.
[toc]MrYagut’s Bloodlust Shaman[/toc]
Anyone who’s reading a lot of my articles probably knows by one that I hate Shaman. It’s just the class I never liked, because of the randomness of Hero Power + the terrible Overload mechanic. But I did it for you guys and tested this one. One thing I want to note is that it might not be the current list. I took that one from his stream couple of days ago, but he was constantly making some changes (and I can’t really follow all the changes and rewrite this), so if you want to look for the most recent list, check out his stream!
Most of the Shamans you meet on the ladder are Aggro ones. So facing/playing a Midrange from time to time is a nice change. But I’d probably say that this one is also much more aggressive than the Midrange Shaman lists I know of. The deck runs a lot of small drops, not that many mid/late game and a board-based finisher – [card]Bloodlust[/card].
The first thing that I find interesting is the amount of low mana cards – over 2/3 of the deck are 3 mana or less. It would seem that it’s too much – cutting 5 of them would mean that you won’t miss your curve anyway. Right? Not exactly. A lot of the low cost Shaman cards are situational. Like, the only real 1-drop in the deck is [card]Zombie Chow[/card]. You don’t want to drop [card]Abusive Sergeant[/card] without any target and [card]Rockbiter Weapon[/card] is an option only if you go second and enemy plays a 1-drop. Or let’s say in the 3 mana slot – the only real 3-drop is [card]Feral Spirit[/card], because [card]Hex[/card], [card]Lightning Storm[/card], [card]Big Game Hunter[/card], [card]Mana Tide Totem[/card] and [card]Brann Bronzebeard[/card] are all situational. It means that even though the curve is really low, it’s still very possible to miss it.
The deck wants to aggressively fight for the board control. In the early game it plays sticky minions and attack buffs to trade up. In the mid game it wants to refill the hand and drop some big bombs. Then finish the game with Bloodlust. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s much harder to pull off.
The important point is surprise factor. Bloodlust is a very niche card and opponents rarely get to play against it. Even the Midrange Shaman decks rarely run it. This means that if you get to stick your board in the late game for just one turn, you’re very likely to win out of nowhere. For example, with just 4 minions on the board that have 8 power in total (let’s say [card]Fire Elemental[/card], 2x 1/1 Spiders and some 0 attack totem) thanks to the Bloodlust you can deal 20 damage. With double Bloodlust, that’s 32 damage. The damage scales so hard with every minion you have on the board. The problem with the card is that it’s completely useless if you have no board. If enemy keeps removing whatever you play, too bad, you have dead card in your hand. I was in some situations where even two or three minions on the board would be lethal thanks to the 2x Bloodlust, but I just couldn’t get them to stick.
An interesting choice is running only A SINGLE 4-drop – [card]Defender of Argus[/card]. While it’s a good 4-drop, I’m not sure whether it’s right. I get the idea behind it – you usually overload on turn 3. If you play Feral Spirit or Lightning Storm (and you often have to against let’s say Paladin) on turn 3, you can’t follow-up with a 4-drop and you end up at 5 mana when you can do something again. But then again, if you don’t overload on turn 3, you often have to completely skip turn 4 or just play a 2-drop + Hero Power. It gets a little more flexible because of attack buffs, because let’s say playing Flametongue + Abusive might be a pretty good turn 4 if you (for example) can kill 2 vital targets and pop the Egg. But I still miss something like [card]Piloted Shredder[/card].
The deck also runs out of steam quite fast. That was always the Shaman’s problem – lack of really good ways to refill your hand. Yes, if [card]Mana Tide Totem[/card] sticks for a few turns, you’ve pretty much won the game. But that’s very unlikely and even more unlikely in the late game scenario where you desperately need stuff to play – topdecking a Mana Tide is terrible in this kind of scenario. 2x [card]Azure Drake[/card] might be not enough to keep your hand full considering how many low drops the deck runs.
Yes, the deck is pretty cheesy. I can’t deny that. But it works quite well – opponents rarely play around Bloodlust, because playing around it often means that their turn becomes much weaker. For example, if enemy Druid has an option to play around Bloodlust by dealing 2 damage with [card]Keeper of the Grove[/card] to a 0/2 Totem or they can just play the [card]Piloted Shredder[/card], they’ll very likely go for the second option. And I don’t blame them, it’s better to develop a stronger minion than play around the card that’s rarely used. But when facing this deck, they will learn the hard way that Bloodlust is a thing.
- Board is the most important thing when playing this deck. You lose the board – you lose your main win condition. If you want to kill your enemy, you need to do this with minions, as the deck runs no burn. The only damage you can do from the hand is 3 dmg with [card]Fire Elemental[/card]. A lot of the cards also require you to already have something on the board – [card]Abusive Sergeant[/card], [card]Flametongue Totem[/card] and [card]Defender of Argus[/card] are pretty much useless if you have no board control.
- Try to manage the overload. Don’t overload yourself before key turns unless you have to. For example, overloading on turn 5 if you already have [card]Fire Elemental[/card] (probably the best turn 6 play in the deck) is rather bad move. Same goes for overloading before [card]Dr. Boom[/card] turn.
- [card]Brann Bronzebeard[/card] has a few interesting combos in the deck. You prefer to play it in the late game so you can get as much as you can, but it’s also fine to drop it on turn 3 if you have nothing else to play. The most important moves are Brann + [card]Abusive Sergeant[/card] (+4 attack buff allows even a 1/1 minion to trade into something big), [card]Defender of Argus[/card] (you create two big Taunts and give a total of +4/+4 to two minions), [card]Azure Drake[/card] (drawing 2 cards might help to not run out of steam), [card]Fire Elemental[/card] (a free [card]Fireball[/card]). Brann + [card]Loatheb[/card] is also a great way to set up the Bloodlust turn – enemy cannot cast any spells, so your board is much more likely to stick. If you already have 2-3 minions on the board and throw Brann + Loatheb, it’s usually game over. Brann + [card]Dr. Boom[/card] is also insane, because it forces enemy to have an AoE spell or else you pretty much kill them with Bloodlust next turn (because you flood the board really hard).
- [card]Nerubian Egg[/card]s are important for the early game tempo. Playing it on turn 2 is a tempo loss, but then you run so many attack buffs that you should easily have a move where you trade your Egg into something and you get a 4/4 back. Keep Eggs in the Mulligan if you also have a way to activate them.
- Bloodlust might be used not only for the lethal turn, but just as a board clear. If you have a lot o small minions on the board and you can’t kill the enemy with Bloodlust, you might just use the totems and 1/1’s to clear opponent’s board. It’s just like using [card]Savage Roar[/card] for a board clear in Druid. Even if it’s your second copy, it’s better to use your main win condition this way and hope that you can still win the board game instead of just losing the board and making the card completely useless for the rest of the game.
- Since you don’t aim to play the really long game, you might use your [card]Hex[/card]es on mid game targets. Hexing a [card]Sludge Belcher[/card] if fine if your other move is to run your whole board into it. Or let’s say hexing a [card]Piloted Shredder[/card] if it has great trades into your board (e.g. you have a lot of 2 attack minions). In certain matchups you might keep the second Hex for specific targets – like [card]Tirion Fordring[/card] or [card]Sylvanas Windrunner[/card]. But in most of the Midrange matchups you can just use both of them, because you still have [card]Big Game Hunter[/card] for Dr. Boom.
- [card]Tuskarr Totemic[/card] – The card is good, because even the worst case scenario is okay-ish. Getting one of the 4 Hero Power totems is not great, but not terrible. You get two bodies for the Flametongue, Taunt totem might prevent a good trade from the enemy, Spell Power might boost your next turn Lightning Storm etc. And getting the other totems is awesome – [card]Vitality Totem[/card] is great against Aggro, because they can’t ignore it – not only it instantly heals you for 4, but it also tanks 3 more damage, the [card]Flametongue Totem[/card] is great if you already have something on the board, it might give you a good trade and it’s also something enemy needs to remove. Then you have two probably best ones – [card]Mana Tide Totem[/card] instantly cycles AND requires attention from the enemy. Outside of the early game removals it might be hard to deal with it – if enemy has no way to kill it, you sometimes just win the game, because you can play a very high tempo game without worrying about card advantage. And the last outcome might be the most broken one – [card]Totem Golem[/card]. For 3 mana you get a 3/2 and a 3/4 in one card, it’s high tempo, high value and completely overpowered. So overall, the Tuskarr Totemic doesn’t lose you the game if it rolls poorly, but might win you the game if it rolls one of the best Totems.
- [card]Piloted Shredder[/card] – I’ve already talked about it, I think the deck lacks the good 4-drop. Yes, you often miss the turn 4 anyway, but sometimes you don’t (you don’t ALWAYS overload on turn 3) + Piloted Shredder is a good way to fill another turns. Let’s say you overload for 2 on turn 5, now you’re left with only 4 mana next turn. That’s perfect to drop the Shredder. It’s also a good thing to drop in the late game and works well with the overall game plan – it’s aggressive, it can push for quite a lot of damage and it sticks to the board, making it good thing to play in a Bloodlust deck.
- [card]Doomhammer[/card] – I really like the Doomhammer in Shaman. The card is just so much value packed into one card. For 5 (+2) mana you get 16 damage in total. And you can distribute it however you want – you might clear opponent’s small drops, tokens, whatever. You might help with the trades so you don’t have to always sacrifice your minions. And it has insane synergy with the [card]Rockbiter Weapon[/card], giving you another win condition. I had some games where I was really close to winning, but couldn’t, because I didn’t have the last bit of damage. And the deck has literally no burn. With Doomhammer I’d win a lot more games, because a lot of the opponents were at ~10 health when they’ve stabilized the board. Meaning Doomhammer + Rockbiter or even Doomhammer itself over a few turns would be enough.
If you want to submit your own decklist – send it to me at email@example.com with a proof of Legend, matchups statistics (it’s best to use some sort of tracker for that), your own thoughts and stuff like that. Or if you’ve already described the deck somewhere, you can just send me the link to your Reddit/Hearthpwn/etc. post! I’ll definitely try to put at least one deck submitted by you guys every week.
If you have any other suggestions or comments, leave them in the section below!