Our Shudderwock Combo Shaman deck list guide for The Witchwood expansion features one of the top lists for this archetype. This Shudderwock Combo Shaman guide includes Mulligan Strategy, Gameplay Tips, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Battlecry Shudderwock Combo Shaman
Shudderwock Shaman is by far the most controversial deck from The Witchwood so far. While lots of people comment that it’s too powerful (I don’t really agree with that part), it’s true that the Shudderwock himself tends to be broken. With enough Battlecries, and if you replay him a few times, the combo can last for at least a few minutes. I really hope this part of the card will be fixed, because otherwise it’s really fun to play with.
Blizzard is already looking into the card – it’s hard to say whether they will undertake any actions, but if you want to play the deck, you should do it quickly, because they might decide to do something with it!
Oh, and before I proceed to the guide, let me quickly explain how the combo works. Since Shudderwock replays every Battlecry you’ve played, dropping Murmuring Elemental + Shudderwock on Turn 10 after you’ve already played Saronite Chain Gang, Lifedrinker and Grumble, Worldshaker means that you get AT LEAST a single (but probably even more) 1 mana Shudderwock in your hand (as well as another 1 or 0 mana Murmuring Elemental) after it copies itself with Chain Gang’s Battlecry and then bounces the copies back with Grumble’s Battlecry. Then you again drop those two next turn, but now you have 8 more mana to work with – once Grumble bounces them back again, you can drop more and more. While you’re doing it, Lifedrinker’s Battlecry is constantly proccing, dealing 3 damage to your opponent and healing you for 3.
Shudderwock Combo Shaman Mulligan Guide and Strategy
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Doomsayer – Great stall tool, Aggro decks rarely have a way to deal with it on the curve, so when you drop it on Turn 2 it should not only clear whatever they’ve already played, but also force them to skip their next turn.
- Loot Hoarder – Not necessarily amazing against Aggro, but it gives you something to drop on Turn 2 – you can trade with it and cycle through your deck to find the right tools.
- Lightning Storm – Aggro decks tend to flood the board in the early game, if you don’t keep the Storm, they will run over you.
- Tar Creeper – Anti-Aggro 3-drop, should save you some health and trade into a minion or two.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Healing Rain – Against Hunter. While it’s not a great way to fight for the board, you NEED this card to win the matchup, so you prefer to keep it (otherwise you might not draw it in time).
- Saronite Chain Gang – Technically a part of your combo, but against Aggro you play it for the 2/3 Taunts. Similarly to Tar Creeper, they can get some on-board trades and save you some life.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Doomsayer – While it might seem weird to keep it against slower decks, it’s still good. It will let you stall an extra turn, and if you set it up on Turn 2, you can follow-up with a Mana Tide on the empty board and hope that it will draw more than one.
- Loot Hoarder / Bloodmage Thalnos – Card draw – you want to cycle through your deck as quickly as possible.
- Mana Tide Totem – At the very least, it cycles itself. If your opponent has no answer and you hide it behind the Taunts, it might even stay on the board for a few turns and cycle a lot.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Hex – In certain matchups, like Cube Warlock. Them dropping a Giant on T4 or a big Demon on T5/T6 can lose you the game if you have no way to answer it.
- Saronite Chain Gang – Since it’s a combo piece, you need to play it anyway, so why not do that on Turn 4? It creates some board presence and can be used to protect your Mana Tide too. Keep it if you already have some early game plays, especially Mana Tide.
Shudderwock Combo Shaman General Playstyle and Strategy
When you play against Aggro, you want to stall the game as long as possible while trying to survive. One of the advantages of Shudderwock combo deck is that most of your combo pieces can be played BEFORE the actual combo turn. And so, for example, you can drop that Saronite Chain Gang on Turn 4 without worrying that it will ruin your combo.
I’d say that the most important consideration against Aggro is – do you need your combo at all? And I have to say that it heavily depends on the matchup. When you play against a deck like Odd Face Hunter, which is hyper Aggro, if you survive you win. You drop some 2/3 Taunts, 3/3’s etc. on the board and as long as they don’t kill you with Hero Power and burn damage, you should be able to deal enough chip damage to win. Shudderwock is not important – in fact, most of the games end before you can even drop him.
On the other hand, when you play against an Aggro deck like Odd Aggro Paladin, they can have steam for DAYS. It’s not like they run out of cards after 4-5 turns and just dealing with it is enough. You won’t have enough removals to handle all of the pressure they have. It doesn’t mean that the matchup is unwinnable – no. It just means that you need to think about your combo instead of just ignoring it.
Use your board clears smartly. Doomsayer is great way to stall. Try to not drop it on the empty board (unless you want to set up your next turn somehow), but playing it even against a board with e.g. 2x 1/1 is good enough. Besides Doomsayers, you run one Lightning Storm and two Volcanoes – try to be a bit greedy with those. Sometimes you prefer to take one more turn of face damage and set up a better Volcano, then to play Volcano and then have no way to clear future boards.
In faster matchups, you need to play a good mix of defensive tools and cycle. After all, you need that Shudderwock, so you need to set it up.
Talking about the Shudderwock, you don’t need a FULL combo to drop against Aggro. For example, if you haven’t played Grumble yet, but you’ve played 2x Saronite Chain Gang and a bunch of other stuff, it’s still good. You will get a bunch of 6/6’s on the board and your Aggro opponent will have no way to clear that. Mind you that it only works against decks that can’t reliably clear or neutralize your entire board – e.g. when playing against Even Paladin, they might be holding Equality clear, and in that case you need to have a full combo.
Control matchups are easier, and unlike Aggro, where you MIGHT win some games by simply surviving, against Control you have one and only one win condition – Shudderwock combo. Which means that you need to set it up and play it as quickly as possible.
Defensive tools aren’t that important in those matchups – it’s unlikely that your opponent will be able to put lots of pressure on you in the early game. That’s why you want to mulligan for and play as much cycle as quickly as possible. By Turn 10, you want to dig through most of your deck and have the combo prepared. For a combo to work, you need to have already played at least a single Saronite Chain Gang, at least a single Lifedrinker and Grumble, Worldshaker. Then, the second step is reducing the cost of Murmuring Elemental to 1. It’s a very important step, you NEED to keep that 1 mana copy and not play it until you drop it before Shudderwock. It’s important, because if you drop Shudderwock by himself, the combo might whiff – if Grumble procs before Saronite Chain Gang, you don’t get extra copies into your hand and your combo failed.
There are two ways to discount the Murmuring Elemental. First one is simple – you drop Fire Plume Harbinger while you have Murmuring in your hand. Second one is a bit more expensive – you need to drop Murmuring, then Grumble it on the same turn (it costs 8 mana). You need to do either of those before you get your full combo ready.
Then, you need to remember that your first Shudderwock turn is NOT killing your opponent yet, unless he’s really low. It’s the second turn when you can drop him multiple times – that’s the real combo turn. It’s important to remember, because if e.g. you’re staring at a big board that will kill you (even through the healing from Lifedrinker), you might want to e.g. drop Volcano first to deal with it + heal yourself with Healing Rain and postpone the combo. Yes, it’s not optimal, but it’s better than just dying.
One important thing to remember when playing vs Control is that Hex is your only hard single target removal, and lots of Control decks are playing multiple good targets. You generally want to Hex the most aggressive minions. For example, against Cube Warlock, you want to Hex (if you can’t deal with them otherwise) Mountain Giant and/or Doomguard. Normally, Hexing Voidlord might be a good idea, but I wouldn’t do it here unless you’re also holding a second one.
When it comes to other general tips, I’d say that unless you want to drop him as a 6 mana 7/7, you can really wait with Grumble until you can bounce something back. Good targets include Chain Gang, Lifedrinker and Sandbinder – you can replay them for just 1 mana and get their Battlecry again. You can also use it to “heal up” your minions after making trades, although your minions generally have low health, so it might not be very useful.
Shudderwock Combo Shaman Card Replacements
Shudderwock Shaman runs a bunch of Epics and Legendaries – some of them necessary and some not. I’ll go through all of them, explain their role in the deck and offer a replacement – if possible.
- Doomsayer – Very good stall tool, most useful versus Aggro, but you can often utilize it in slower matchups too. The card is not necessary, as its not a part of the combo, but it greatly increases the chance of surviving until the combo. And it’s one of the best Epics in the entire game, being played in multiple decks in the past few metas, so if you don’t have it, I would just recommend crafting it. But if you don’t have it and don’t want to craft it, play another Lightning Storm and have one tech slot free, where you can put e.g. weapon destruction (Acidic Swamp Ooze or Gluttonous Ooze)
- Far Sight – Solid cycle tool. It’s biggest potential is the fact that you can play some more expensive minions earlier than you should. E.g. if you get a Primordial Drake vs Aggro, playing it on Turn 5 can be game-winning. Also, if you hit Shudderwock, your entire combo is going to get much easier. However, the card is not necessary – play another card draw instead, e.g. Acolyte of Pain, Witchwood Piper or Gnomish Inventor.
- Sandbinder – Not necessary. The fact that it draws an Elemental makes your combo a bit easier to complete (e.g. you can target Murmuring Elemental or Grumble, Worldshaker if you need one of them to finish the combo. Play another cycle card instead – the ones I’ve listed above (when talking about Far Sight) are fine.
- Primordial Drake – Not necessary, but makes your Aggro matchup a bit better. Can be replaced by Lightning Storm.
- Bloodmage Thalnos – It’s mostly a cycle card – while it makes your Lightning Storm a bit better, that about it. Replace it with any other cycle card listed above.
- Grumble, Worldshaker – It’s a part of your combo, you can’t replace it with anything else.
- Shudderwock – The deck’s named “Shudderwock Shaman” for a reason.