The Grand Tournament is in full swing and we are now finally starting to see which cards stand out and which ones are duds. A new deck archetype is seemingly created every day and everyone has an “x” to legend deck archetype that they want to loquaciously write about. Loyan, aka 11point5ft’s midrange Shaman deck is not an “x” to legend deck; it is legit, getting him a top-100 legend rank on the ladder. Shaman class cards are some of Hearthstones strongest cards and this deck takes advantage of them with two class legendary’s and 20 out 30 of the cards being Shaman based.
How to Play:
Like all midrange archetypes, the main premise of the deck is to out-tempo the opponent by dropping an unremitting stream of strong minions on the board, to subsequently overwhelm the opponent. Controlling the board early is a must and cards like Totem Golem, Zombie Chow, Haunted Creeper,Feral Spirit, and removal help obtain this. Interestingly, Loyan decided to eventually drop the once highly praised, Tuskarr Totemic, claiming that the “rng at turn3 is just awful” losing him more games than it was worth. Feral Spirit ended up being a better pick, providing more consistency and more protection against aggressive decks.
Against Aggro: It is crucial to control the board early and with 18 of the cards being 3-mana or less, it shouldn’t be a problem. Totem Golem, Feral Spirt, and Zombie Chow are the three premium cards you should especially be looking for; providing you with a solid tempo-push and board control. Lightning Storm provides a nice board wipe and Sludge Belcher helps stymie the opponent’s aggression. If you’re going up against Face Hunter, Healing Wave is an amazing card, often refunding you for half of your total life points!
Against Control: This deck excels against Control, often times overwhelming the opponent by midway through the game. Controlling the tempo of the game is easy; try to overwhelm the opponent early so that they are forced to waste valuable removal on less than desirable minions. Cards like HexandNeptulon are huge tempo-shifters, usually winning you the game through a huge Hex turn or card refill with Neptulon. Most importantly, make sure you don’t frivolously waste important cards likeFlametongue Totem and your removal. Even though this deck has a plethora of removal, wasting it on lower-tier minions could be detrimental because the lack of card draw this deck provides.
Against Aggro: Keep all 1-3 mana cards except Big Game Hunter and Mana Tide Totem. 1-3 mana minions are primo and Lighting Storm is right behind them for priority. Don’t be afraid to drop a Flametongue Totem early if going up against Face Hunter, you’ll want to deter as much damage away from your life points as possible.
Against Midrange: 1-3 mana minions, Hex, and removal are crucial. Hex is a great card to use onPiloted Shredders in a midrange matchup, stymieing their board presence while allowing you to set up for a stronger mid-late game than the average midrange archetype.
Against Control: 1-4 mana minions are must, establishing early board presence is essential to bursting down control. Hex is ok against Priests; you can use it on a Velen’s Chosen minion or the new albatross of hearthstone: the Twilight Guardian.
Loyan isn’t crazy about this card, claiming that it gets countered to easily by the Shielded Minibot. Yes, it loses to the minibot, but who cares? In what world is 3-4 worth of stats for 2-mana bad? This is one of the few cards that have helped ameliorate the Shaman class into relevancy once again by providing a quality early-game minion to help control the board with.
Healing Wave: Another ameliorating card for the Shamans! Face Hunters are no longer a class killing problem anymore, allowing you to essentially out heal the Face Hunter’s damage without having to place a morose card like the Antique Healbot in your deck.
Thunder Bluff Valiant: The value on this card is immeasurable, often winning you the game if dropped on an empty board. Loyan only has one in the deck which I don’t think is enough, replace one Sludge Belcher with an additional Valiant and I think you’ll garner a higher win percentage.
Shamans have always been one of my favorite classes because of how fun their cards are to play. No longer will one have to play the lurid Mech Shaman, as they watch card after card get burned out of their hand! Midrange Shaman is a real thing now thanks to TGT and cards like Totem Golem and Healing Wave. If you want to help support Loyan or check out more of his stuff, head on over to his Twitch channel at: http://www.twitch.tv/11point5ft and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, make sure to leave them below!