Even Shaman Deck List Guide – Post Nerf: Witchwood – July 2018

Even Shaman is one of the classes only viable options coming out of The Witchwood expansion. We go through the card choices, mulligans, strategies, and available card substitutions with our Even Shaman guide!

Introduction to Even Shaman

During Kobolds and Catacombs, Shaman was the worst-performing class in the game. Coming into The Witchwood, players had high expectations that Shaman would receive good new cards to bring the class back to relevance, but early The Witchwood data gave little reason for hope – Shaman didn’t look very powerful.

The dreaded Shudderwock OTK deck has not been abl/e to withstand aggro. Elemental Shaman has still not found the right mix. However, there is one card, one glimmer of hope for the hopeless class: Murkspark Eel.

Murkspark Eel is a great card. Would you like to destroy your opponent’s two-drop and develop a well-statted two-drop at the same time? Does that sound like a nice swing to get the game started? It does, it does. The power of Murkspark Eel comes at a cost, however, as you need to run a deck that consists of only even-cost cards (0, 2, 4, 6, and so on), and when you go there, you might as well include Genn Greymane for a cheaper Hero Power.

From these humble beginnings, Even Shaman was born. It is a board-centric midrange deck that uses buffs to make use of the Totem boards it is able to build, and also makes good use of Charge minions to get even more value from its buffs. It is ready to fight for the board against any other deck and can deliver a lot of damage quickly if left uncontested.

Update – Balance Patch 11.2:

Even Shaman looks promising in the early meta after the balance patch. It’s really hard to say how high it will place after the meta settles, but it might be a good time to play Thrall or Morgl right now, because Shaman hasn’t been working out so well for the last few months.

A slightly slower deck list emerged and it seems to be working best now. It leans more towards a mix of Midrange and Control.

Deck List

Deck Import

Card Choices

The entire deck revolves around Murkspark Eel and the cheap Hero Power from Genn Greymane. All the card choices are based on ways to build synergies around tokens and an early swing turn.

So, how are these synergies built?

First, the Totems are fairly useless as such, they need to be buffed. The buff package handles this:

  • Flametongue Totem – Vulnerable minion, but gives a strong buff to adjacent minions
  • Dire Wolf Alpha – Weaker buff to adjacent minions, but able to fight back
  • Earthen Might – It’s a single target buff and theoretically works better when played on Elementals, but turning your 0/2 Totem into a 2/4 minion on Turn 2 can win some games.

Flametongue Totem and Dire Wolf Alpha can help small tokens trade away big minions by running a chain of them into a big minion, getting the buff for each minion in turn.

With such a buff package available, it can be further enhanced with Charge and Rush minions, making even more use of the buffs to adjacent minions – for example, first attack with a minion already on the board, and then play a Charge minion next to the buff-giver to get more use of it. For this reason, the deck includes:

As this package comes with Lifesteal, Divine Shield, and Windfury, it is an easy step to add Corpsetaker to the deck – yet another synergy with many of the cards in the deck, including the buff cards.

The deck also runs a small Elemental package – Fire Plume PhoenixFire ElementalGrumble, WorldshakerAl'Akir the Windlord and Kalimos, Primal Lord. The package is there mostly to activate Kalimos, as well as take advantage of the secondary effect of Earthen Might.

After all the synergy cards, there are still a few spots left in the deck for tech cards and filling in any weaknesses in the mana curve, for example with:

  • Plated Beetle – A solid 2-drop, gives the deck some life gain.
  • Hex – Tech card. Better than Silence.
  • The Lich King – A power play at the top of the curve. Anti-Magic Shell is sweet with tokens, if you happen to find that.

Even Shaman Mulligan Strategy & Guide

You need to take board control early on, and your mulligan decisions need to reflect that. Against aggressive decks, you look for everything that gives you a board, whereas against slow decks you balance between early minions and major threats.

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Flametongue TotemDire Wolf Alpha – Activate your Totems into useful minions.
  • Murkspark Eel – The ultimate early board-control tool.
  • Primalfin Totem – Solid card to drop on the curve, since slower decks don’t have many early game minions, it might pump out a few 1/1’s before it gets removed.
  • Corpsetaker – The biggest early-game threat in the deck.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Hex – Keep against Warlock – Cube and Even Warlocks can drop very early Mountain Giant (or Twilight Drake in case of Even). Also keep against Druid if you suspect that you face a Taunt build.
  • Hagatha the Witch – If you know that you face a slow and grindy matchup. In those, it might be impossible to win through the pressure, and you need the extra value from Hagatha.

Even Shaman Win Rates

Winrates provided by Metastats

Play Strategy

Even Shaman is a board-centric midrange deck. It does not have a very aggressive start, but buffs and Corpsetaker allow it to ramp up damage very quickly a few turns into the game.

Your turn one is most of the time Hero Power, sometimes Coin two-drop if you have a good curve in hand, such as Primalfin Totem into Dire Wolf Alpha or Flametongue Totem.

This specific build runs no Overload cards, which means that you don’t have to plan your turns ahead around that. You can still get some Overload cards from Hagatha the Witch, but overload isn’t very problematic so late into the game anyway.

Most of the small stuff you have on the board can be sacrificed for trades whenever necessary: there is no Bloodlust anyway, the best buff you can use is Flametongue Totem, and your main reach comes from your Windfury and/or Charge minions: CorpsetakerAl'Akir the Windlord, and Argent Commander, each of which can be played next to a Flametongue Totem or Dire Wolf Alpha for a bit more damage.

With so many positional cards in the deck, positioning is crucial for Even Shaman, reminiscent of old Zoolock decks. Think carefully which minions you want to be affected by buffs, and where you can set up a chain of minions that can trade into a bigger minion with a buff, each one getting destroyed and next one getting the buff in turn. Play your big minions on the side, preferably on the left, because Hero Power totems appear on the right. Try to set the buff-givers near the middle so that there are usable minions on both sides of them.

VS Aggro Decks

Aggro decks are generally faster than you, as it takes you a couple of turns to get going and your damage is reliant on a couple of big minions and buff-givers – which can easily be destroyed if you try to go for a race. Therefore, you take on the control role in the matchup, remove their threats and gradually build up your own.

Since the deck runs no early or mid game AoE removals (both Lightning Storm and Volcano are odd-costed), you want to be as proactive as possible. Try to not fall behind and play for the tempo. Falling behind early is the easiest way to lose those matchups, so try to capitalize on your totems as well as you can – with cards such as Earthen Might or Flametongue Totem. Don’t worry about using Earthen Might on a non-Elemental minion, the buff part is much more important in fast matchups.

The deck runs multiple minions with single target damage on Battlecry – Murkspark EelFire Plume Phoenix (when you compare this one to Eel, you will understand why that 2-drop is so powerful) and Fire Elemental. Use those to clear key minions, such as Knife Juggler or Dire Wolf Alpha, so it will be easier to take back control. Similarly, utilize Rush and Charge minions to control the board. Vicious Scalehide is an amazing card vs Aggro if you can buff it. For example, Turn 4 Scalehide + Earthen Might creates a 3/5 minion with Rush and Lifesteal. Not only you can clear something immediately, but you will also be able to heal nicely.

You have two 4 mana Taunts, and each one of them is better in different scenario. Saronite Chain Gang is better against multiple small tokens, since it has 6 health in total and is spread over two bodies. Corpsetaker on the other hand is better against 2-drops and 3-drops, minions that are e.g. 2/3 or 3/3. If your opponent has no way to proc the Divine Shield (such as a small minion), you might get a nice two for one while healing at the same time.

If you get to the late game, both Hagatha the Witch and Kalimos, Primal Lord can help you stabilize with the 3 AoE damage. Both can also be used to gain some health – 5 Armor in case of Hagatha and 12 health in case of Kalimos. However, keep in mind that those cost 8 mana, so they come really late into the game – you’d be dead far before that point if you relied solely on them to get the board control back.

Also, with this deck, after you turn into Hagatha, no game is really lost. You can always get some great mix of random spells that will help you come back. I won some games by getting 2x Healing Rain in a row vs a Tempo Mage that was just about to kill me, so it can happen.

VS Control Decks

Against Control decks, there are two basic approaches you can take. Or rather, you always try to take the first one, and if it fails, take the second one.

The first approach is obviously aggression. No, this deck is not an Aggro build, but it’s still faster than lots of the Control decks you will be facing. In that case, first you try to develop the board and rush your opponent down. Even if not rush, then at least put some pressure on him. If he will have to focus on clearing your board and surviving, his own game plan will suffer instead. Flametongue Totem and Corpsetaker are your best bets to win slow matchups aggressively. Flametongue Totem adds +4 damage to the board all the time, making your small totems put actual pressure. If it remains unanswered for a few turns, you might deal enough damage to then push the final points with direct damage or charge minions.

However, Corpsetaker is the best card to take down slow decks in the early game, as long as you don’t draw Al’akir early. The perfect Corpsetaker will have all of the tags – Taunt, Lifesteal, Divine Shield and Windfury. The Divine Shield and Windfury Part is most useful in slow matchups. Thanks to the Divine Shield, it might be tricky to remove – a single small removal won’t do it. And because of Windfury, it will push twice as much damage every turn. If you buff it with Flametongue or Earthen Might, that’s 10 damage per turn, which can seal the game very quickly.

If you managed to deal some early game damage, try to continue the aggression throughout the mid game. Argent Commander into face is 4 immediate damage and a minion that’s pretty difficult to remove efficiently. Fire Elemental is 3 damage + a big, 6/5 body. Eels & Phoenix can deal extra 2 damage each, and Kalimos, Primal Lord can be used for 6 damage. If you get to the late game, you can also combine Al’akir with either Flametongue or Earthen Might for immediate 10 damage. Al’akir + Dire Wolf isn’t that bad too, with 8 damage. You obviously don’t have as much burn as Tempo Mage or Mind Blast Priest, but the damage can still add up quite nicely, and dealing ~20 damage even when your opponent removes your board constantly is within the realm of possibility.

However, as we all know, aggressive game plans don’t always work. Your opponent might have the right removals, Taunt up, heal etc. Generally, when he stabilizes at a solid life total, there isn’t much you can do. Instead, you have to switch to the value game plan. In this case, Hagatha the Witch is absolutely necessary, without her, you can’t outvalue your opponent. So if you don’t draw her, try to continue with the pressure, at least until you get her.

Even though this deck doesn’t pack that much value, Hagatha makes up for it. Since the deck is minion-heavy, it’s very easy to get for example 10 extra spells from her throughout the game, maybe even more if you get her on the curve. While the quality of random Shaman spells is not very consistent (there are great ones and terrible ones), it should still be possible to contest your opponent in the value war. Depending on the matchup, you might want extra removal, extra healing etc. Just play your minions and try to pressure with them, while you get all kinds of extra spells to protect them. In the best case scenario, you might even get enough burn to just close out the game – e.g. 2x Lava Burst is 10 damage out of nowhere.

Card Substitutions

This specific version of Even Shaman has very costly, at almost 12k Dust. It is possible to reduce that cost by a fair bit, but keep in mind that it’s impossible to build a really budget version of this deck. Because of the deck building limitations, basically half of the “potential replacements” are gone, and some of the cards in the list already aren’t optimal – substituting them even further might lead to the deck being unplayable. However, here is a list of Epic & Legendary cards, and I’ll post some potential, budget replacements below.

  • Corpsetaker – Very strong in this build. Since you can get all of its effects, or at least 3 of them quite consistently, the card is great. But it CAN get replaced if you don’t want to craft it.
  • Sea Giant – Replaceable, but if you’re going for a slightly more token strategy, it’s very useful.
  • Genn Greymane – The deck is built around it, so there is obviously no way to replace it.
  • Al'Akir the Windlord – Irreplaceable if you want to run Corpsetakers, replaceable if you drop them too.
  • Hagatha the Witch – In a slower build like that, impossible to replace. But alternatively, you can build the deck faster with more 2-drops and go for the aggressive win condition vs Control instead of having a backup plan in form of Hagatha.
  • Kalimos, Primal Lord – In this specific build, I’d say that it’s necessary. But if you build a faster one, you can replace it.
  • The Lich King – It doesn’t play a big role in the deck, it’s just a solid, high value late game card. But everyone should have it by now, since it’s been a part of the meta for the last ~9 months already.

And here is the list of potential replacements for the cards above:

  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – Good tech card, even though weapons aren’t as popular in the meta as they were before the nerfs, there are still some of them in the meta.
  • Plated Beetle – Okay 2-drop, 2/3 body is nice and extra healing comes handy vs Aggro decks.
  • Stormforged Axe – It’s not an amazing card, but it can help with the early board control, as well as give some extra reach against slower decks later in the game.
  • Defender of Argus – Another way to capitalize on the board floods. You can turn that 0/2 Totems into 1/3 Taunts, which can be quite annoying for some decks to get through.
  • Spellbreaker – I don’t feel that Silence is as useful in this meta, but it can still be good at times.
  • Second copies of Fire Plume Phoenix and Argent Commander – Those cards are good enough to make into the deck, so just adding second copies of those can be good enough in certain cases.
  • Bonemare – I wouldn’t go as far as putting two copies in, but a single one can come handy. Turning that Totem into a 4/6 minion with Taunt, on top of putting another 5/5 body on the board, can be pretty useful.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

40 Comments

Discuss This Deck
  1. P_Ang
    July 4, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Can I replace Hagatha with Thrall?

    Reply
    • P_Ang
      July 4, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Oh doh, nm, just tried playing it and screwed my hero power.

      Reply
  2. MilesTegF
    June 25, 2018 at 7:41 am

    I’m currently playing this decks but with
    -1 Fire Elemental
    +1 Skulking Geist

    The downside is that i have one less card to help activate Kalimos (and lose that 3dmg that is always nice), but the upside is that in the current meta, there are many decks running some very important 1mana spells, so disrupting that can even win you some games.

    Reply
    • MilesTegF
      June 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      From 10 to 5 this decks is awesome. i don’t play that much (between 3-8 games a day) and got an amazing winning streak using this decks a few days ago from 2 stars rank 8 to 3 stars rank 5 (i probably lost like two matches). After that I’ve only played 4 matches at this rank (2 wins 2 losses). Maybe i’m wrong but it seems to me that there is a lot more control decks in these ranks, so I don’t think that this deck is going to perform that well. Hope i’m wrong 😛

      Reply
  3. alikungman3
    June 20, 2018 at 3:18 am

    yo guys i dont have 1 earthern might and no alakir and missing 1 sea giant and missing 1 merk spark eel

    Reply
    • alikungman3
      June 20, 2018 at 3:20 am

      also do u think grumble would fit into the deck ?

      Reply
    • MilesTegF
      June 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      I would recomend you to craft at least the earthen might and the spark eel (both are really really good in this deck, and i believe EM will only be better in following expansions.
      if you dont have al akir, i would remove the 2 corpsetakers cos, without al akir they lose their windfury and are less likely to have Divine Shield (now they could only get it from argent commander) and taunt (could still get it from saronite and LK). In this scenario i would add Leeroy if you have it and a 2nd Argent Commander. I think the giants are a nice bonus, but definetly not mandatory in this deck.

      Reply
      • Alduin
        June 24, 2018 at 9:04 am

        Bro Leeroy doesn’t costs 4 mana anymore lmao

        Reply
        • MilesTegF
          June 25, 2018 at 6:44 am

          hahaha, you are right, noob mistake, for some reason i totally forgot about its mana cost when commenting that

          Reply
          • alikungman3
            June 27, 2018 at 2:40 am

            no card draw man it sucks !

  4. GreatLakester
    June 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    This deck is very iffy sometimes. I don’t really see it as a meta defining deck, it’s a good deck when it wants to be lol.

    Reply
  5. Hapmeister
    June 5, 2018 at 5:40 am

    -2 Sea Giant
    -1 Argent Commander
    -2 Dire Wolf Alpha/Knife Juggler (not sure yet)
    -2 Fire Elemental
    -2 Earthen Might

    +2 Avalanche
    +1 Moorabi
    +2 Brrloc
    +2 Frost Elemental
    +2 Cryostatis

    Too much fun lol

    Reply
  6. Bruno Sports
    June 1, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I would really like to know how this Deck can be on the Top of the META Deck … 10900 dust to the trash frankly … do not come to me talking about not knowing how to use the deck or whatever, because it has nothing to do with that!
    Simply this deck is too overrated for what it really is worth!

    Reply
    • Kevin Christie
      June 2, 2018 at 5:16 am

      You’re just bad at the game it seems…71% win rate for me and i can show u stats to prove it.

      Reply
      • Bruno Sports
        June 3, 2018 at 6:28 am

        Mate the better way you get to prove that i’m bad is just play against me… by the way… i made some changes on this deck, and now it works muche better…

        Changes:

        remove
        2 knight juggler
        2 sea giants
        1 Primalfin Totem

        Add:
        2 lifedrinker
        1 master of cult
        1 acidic swamp ooze
        1 vicious schalehide

        With these changes i get:
        61% – 32/22 – LvL 10

        You must stop blame the people when you dont know really where is the server,
        how the people play in that or if anything wrong its working…
        Never mind… have a nice day!

        Reply
        • Andy
          June 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

          Decklist is solid, I reached rank 3 on eu with it and I don’t play much anymore after rank 5 cuz it’s a grindfest.

          No offence but rank 10 is a joke.

          Reply
      • Taho
        June 5, 2018 at 8:48 am

        At what rank?

        Reply
    • Austin
      June 11, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      I am currently 30-4 in total and 12-0 with the best WR deck available to even shaman atm. I have an 88% WR with averaging it all. Keep in mind that I do play a lot of troll decks which makes me descend on the ladder, but I just climbed from rank 18 to 13 and I am 12-0 atm with the newest decklist.

      Reply
  7. Thrombin
    May 30, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I’ve been playing Meati’s version with the Knife Jugglers ever since the Nerfs and it’s been doing really well. My first few games went 7 / 1 and I’m still 65% after about 40 games now. I find the Knife Jugglers can be really good against Odd Paladins to ping their guys. With the Primal Fins, cheap minions and 1 mana totems you can get quite a lot of knives pretty quickly.

    Reply
  8. MilesTegF
    May 25, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Yesterday i played from 12 to 9 with this deck and i really liked how it plays, Generally speaking it doesnt “feel” very powerful, but it allows you to be on control of the board almost always. As a fan of the Shaman class i’m really happy to have a competitive deck to play with the class. In my short experience with the deck, its great against aggro decks and is competitive against control. The only game (out of 8 i think?) i lost yesterday was against a spell hunter, but it was a mix of good luck in his draw and a few misplays on my part (didnt think well enough the positioning of some of my minions). it was very close tho. its an expensive deck tho, in my case, i had the luck of already having most of the cards, i only needed to craft 1 corpsetaker and i’m not using Grumble.

    Reply
    • CD001
      May 29, 2018 at 4:41 am

      I’m not the only person that’s forgotten about Crushing Walls then? 😀

      Reply
      • MilesTegF
        May 29, 2018 at 9:36 am

        That has happened to me, but no, in this case it was just placing a minion on the right when i should have put him in the left, this lead to waste half a flametonge totem for two turns. Considering i left the hunter at 1hp, those 4 points of damage made the difference bettween wining and losing. =(

        Reply
  9. Illuriel
    May 25, 2018 at 2:16 am

    This deck is not even close of being tier 2, don’t get the hype, it autolosses against most control and hunter/ face decks…

    Reply
  10. Taho
    May 24, 2018 at 6:56 am

    You are way overestimating this deck. It sounds like you have some experience with it, but how much? This deck should be back in second tier somewhere. It loses to aggro and control. I spent some time with the Sea Giants version before the patch and it is much more effective. This morning (rank 5) I’ve lost to 2 Cubelocks, 1 Handlock (Hagatha was at bottom of deck), a Spiteful Druid, and an Odd Pally. This deck seems to sit in some nebulous middle ground. As one of my 2 remaining non-golden classes, I have spent alot of time with Shaman the past 2 months. I will be going back to the more aggressive version with Sea Giants. Everyone saying Even Shaman is a Tier 1 deck has gotten way ahead of themselves.

    Reply
  11. Brian Jackson
    May 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    I’m sorry but this deck is not in the ” best decks ” category. It is a fringe deck at best. Loses to almost every aggro deck

    Reply
  12. Alexei
    May 23, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Wrong decklist?

    Reply
    • Taco Tuesdays
      May 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Looks like it.

      Reply
    • Scott
      May 23, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      It’s an old guide with an updated list

      Reply
      • Evident - Site Admin
        May 23, 2018 at 3:50 pm

        This! We’ll be working on updating these guides as quickly as possible!

        Reply
  13. Taco Tuesdays
    May 23, 2018 at 11:00 am

    It looks like your deck list is different from the guide. There’s no storm-forge axe, defender of argus, sea giants, acidic swamp ooze, or primal fin totem in the deck list but the guide is talking about having them.

    Reply
  14. Jonny
    May 23, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I’ve been playing a slightly different version of this deck post nerfs. I went from rank 10 to rank 5 in about 5 hours of game play. just one change that seems to make a huge difference.

    -1 Dire Wolf Alpha
    +1 Fire Plume Harbinger

    Alpha’s are okay, but you def dont need 2. The Harbinger allows earlier plays for Kalimos, Fire Elementals or Grumble. Also the elemental synergy late if you need to proc Kalimos.

    This deck is the real deal.

    Reply
    • Giovanni
      May 23, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I agree 100% that this is deck is extremely potent^^

      Reply
    • Szes
      June 1, 2018 at 9:01 am

      I can confirm this, I went from rank 8 to rank 5 with a similar list (I used zaps for early tempo). It took around 2 hours.

      Reply
  15. Red
    May 20, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Just kidding lol. I somehow forgot how his mechanic worked

    Reply
  16. Red
    May 20, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Why doesn’t the deck try to play prince? Does he remove from the synergy?

    Reply
    • Penedorio
      May 23, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Keleseth cant be played, since you will need to cut eels and flametonges and those are pretty core to the deck,
      Valanar cant be played since you will need to cut Hex and corpsetakers and saronites and those are pretty necesary to beat aggro/the only decent removal from the deck.
      You cant play prince 3 for obvious reasons.

      Reply
  17. NotOptimal
    May 10, 2018 at 11:32 am

    What, no totem cruncher?

    Reply
  18. Boom
    May 10, 2018 at 7:20 am

    Always keep corpse taker played a lot of games in top 100 legend and I;ve found my win rate to be the highest when playing that on 4. I feel this deck has the potential to be as strong as even paladin if it gets something like consecration next expansion at the moment I would say its slightly strong that spell hunter and nothing else.

    Reply
  19. Rok
    May 4, 2018 at 12:11 am

    Corpsetaker doesn’t have charge.

    Reply
  20. Melfice
    April 25, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Awesome guide like always, Old Guardian! I enjoyed your YouTube video featuring the Even Shaman, and I look forward to your future guides going forward 🙂

    Reply

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