Midrange Jade Shaman is the “new” Midrange Shaman. The archetype took over the classic Midrange’s place with Gadgetzan, because while having a similar early game strengths, it just performs better in the late game due to the powerful Jade snowball mechanics.
After the recent nerf of Aggro Shaman, Midrange Jade Shaman is the most popular and very likely the most powerful Shaman deck on the ladder.
UPDATE – MIDRANGE JADE SHAMAN IN MARCH 2017, SEASON 36
I’ve updated the deck to the list that fits the current meta most. Instead of the late game threats (like Ragnaros) the deck used to run ~2 months ago, it now runs only the Jade cards to snowball Jades into the late game (it can get to 10/10 or maybe even more with a good Brann timing). Most recent lists used to run the early Pirate package to make the deck’s first turns more powerful and be able to stand their ground against Aggro. However, with the recent nerf to Small-Time Buccaneer, it’s no longer possible to run the package – STB is too weak and Shaman doesn’t have access to any substitutes and you really want to run at least 3 Pirates to make Patches good enough. So the deck drops the Pirate package completely and adds Tunnel Trogg + Totem Golem package, which is also good in the early game.
The deck also drops Spirit Claws, because it’s just not good enough after the nerfs.
Midrange Jade Shaman Mulligan Strategy
I’ll divide the mulligan section into two – against fast decks and against slow decks. Fast decks are generally the Aggro decks (e.g. Aggro Shaman) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Dragon Warrior). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.
Vs Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Tunnel Trogg – The only 1-drop in the deck, so you obviously want to keep it. You can consistently turn it into a 1 mana 2/3 if you have a turn 2 Overload follow-up.
- Totem Golem – Best proactive turn 2 play, it is very likely to get 2 for 1 against Aggro, it’s hard to kill and that’s exactly what you want.
- Jade Claws – Your only weapon, lets you deal with multiple early game cards and starts the Jade snowball – you really want to start that fast against Aggro, because if you don’t, you will end up summoning 2/2 on turn 6 or so.
- Maelstrom Portal – One of the strongest cards in the game against Aggro, for 2 mana you deal 1 AoE damage AND summon a small minion, since a lot of Aggro decks run Pirates and a lot of 1-drop Pirates have 1 health, it will be great at removing the early boards.
- Lightning Storm – Some people do keep it, others don’t, but I really like to have a backup plan. If my early game fails (and it’s very likely, because it’s much weaker than Aggro’s) I can always try high rolling with Lightning Storm to comeback. I had tons of games where a turn 3-4 Lightning Storm could win me the game and I just didn’t draw it. That’s why I prefer just keeping it right away.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Flametongue Totem – With a Tunnel Trogg if you go first. It allows you to answer the early game 3 health threats – like the opponent’s Trogg in the mirrors, Voidwalker against Warlock or let’s say Coin + Bloodsail Raider against Pirate Warrior. If your opponent skips early game it can also be used to snowball the game in your favor.
- Jinyu Waterspeaker – With good early game. E.g. if you have Totem Golem and Jade Claws already, that should be enough to keep Jinyu too – the card is amazing against Aggro, giving you some healing + a body on the board, but it’s way too slow if you’re behind on the board.
- Thing from Below – With card totems like Totem Golem or Flametongue Totem. On the one hand, you really want a cheap Taunt. But on the other, you can’t afford to press Hero Power too often against Aggro. If you have some totems you will play anyway, though, you might want to keep it. Even if you get it down to 4 or 3 mana, it should be good enough.
Vs Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Tunnel Trogg & Totem Golem – You want to have the early game. Those cards are best if dropped on turn 1/2 and they don’t really get much better later. You prefer to drop them early to either contest the board or make an aggressive push than to topdeck them when you need something else.
- Jade Claws – Similarly, it’s your first Jade card and the earlier you start to snowball the Jades, the better it is, especially in the slow matchups.
- Mana Tide Totem – Great turn 3 play against slower decks. If they have no board, they might have no way to answer it. And if they do, they often have to use a card and whole turn – so you get +1 card advantage while not falling behind on the tempo. And if it sticks to the board, it can snowball the whole game. Drawing 3-4 cards over the opponent is great, because you don’t plan to take the game to fatigue anyway.
- Thing from Below – Since you’ll be using your Hero Power very often in slower matchups, you should be able to drop a very cheap Thing from Below quite early. For example, with Totem Golem on t2 and Hero Power on t3, you can drop it on the curve on t4. If you have other plays, you can keep reducing its cost and drop it for free later.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Hex – Against RenoLock. Turn 4 Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake can ruin your whole game plan so you really want to have a way to answer those.
- Jade Spirit – With good early game. If you have nothing to do between t1 and t3, I wouldn’t keep it, because it’s just too slow. But if you already have t1 and t2 for example, then keeping it is fine – it helps with the Jade snowball.
- Jade Lightning – In the matchups where you might find a target. For example, against Dragon/Reno Priest you might want to keep it, because they have some early/mid game targets you can kill with it.
Midrange Jade Shaman Matchup Win Percentages
Here’s a look at how Midrange Shaman stacks up against other decks in the meta. Thanks to Metastats for allowing us to provide these statistics!
Midrange Jade Shaman Play Strategy
Your general strategy is to survive through the weak early game and defeat the opponent with snowballing Jade mechanic. Against Aggro decks, you generally just need to survive – after stabilizing on the board you can play Taunt (Thing from Below or Jade Chieftain), heal yourself up (Jinyu Waterspeaker) and pretty much win the game. Try your best to not take any unnecessary damage – you prefer to trade your 2/2 into a 4/2 instead of hitting it with Jade Claws most of the time. After a certain point, against Aggro the board is not a concern – the biggest concern is your health.
Slower matchups are more complicated. You want to maintain the right balance between the tempo and value. The games vs Control will be long and you’re actually a favorite in a long game most of the time. Two things are important – 1) to not fall behind on the board heavily and 2) to not run out of cards. Those are two ways for a slower deck to win against you. And when playing around one, you usually play into the other one. That’s why you need to – most importantly – do enough to not fall behind on the board, but at the same time don’t drop your whole hand onto the potential AoE clear. You want to have enough to contest whatever your opponent might play, but not much more than that.
At some point, usually when you start summoning 5/5’s or 6/6’s, you can assume the aggressive role. How much you want to push depends on the matchup and how well they can clear your board. E.g. against RenoLock you don’t want to play multiple big minions (Twisting Nether) and you prefer to have 1-2 threats at the same time (They only have 1 or 2 big single target removals). When playing against Mages, you can have multiple big minions as long as they’re out of range of Flamestrike. Against Druid, you can go all-in, as they have no way to clear big boards.
If you play your cards right and not play into AoEs, they should run out of removal at some point. But you still should have 2-3 Jade cards left, which you want to seal the game with. After they’re already out of ways to kill your Jades, you can drop Brann + Jade Claws/Spirit (or both) to reflood the board. At this point you should win the game if they don’t have ways to deal with your huge Jades.
Devolve is an interesting tech. You want to use it when your opponent has a) minions with powerful effects that you can’t deal with otherwise (e.g. Sylvanas Windrunner, Tirion Fordring, Ysera) b) buffed/overstatted minions. You CAN use Devolve on a single target if necessary, but it’s usually best in the second scenario. For example, against Dragon Priest. The deck often runs minions that have stats higher than their mana cost and the Priest buffs them even further with cards like Kabal Talonpriest, Defender of Argus or Power Word: Shield. If they have a 3/11 Twilight Guardian, devolving it into a random 3-drop will most likely make it significantly worse (probably around 3/3 on average) – in that case Devolve should deal around 8 damage for 2 mana. You can Devolve minions in Stealth (Finja, the Flying Star or Rogue’s Concealed board) and counter Rogue completely – it works wonders against buffed Edwin VanCleef and Questing Adventurers. Also, if your opponent plays Taunts and you have lethal through them, you can test your luck and Devolve them – maybe they won’t get another Taunt instead and you will have lethal. Sometimes it’s a dead card, but there are multiple cases where it’s very powerful.
Midrange Jade Shaman Card Substitutions
When it comes to Aya Blackpaw, the deck’s performance would drop significantly without the card, because it’s 2 extra Jades (reducing your total number of Jades from 10 to 8, without Brann). There is no direct replacement to the card and there are no more Jade generating cards. So if you don’t have Aya and still want to play this deck, you can either go for an early game card like Lightning Bolt (to improve your faster matchups) or a mid/late game card like Thunder Bluff Valiant – it’s pretty powerful on the right board and people don’t really expect it from the Jade version, so you might catch them by surprise (and bait one big removal that would kill your huge Jade instead). And if you’re still having lots of problems against Aggro decks, you can try using the Feral Spirit or Healing Wave instead. But basically, no matter what card you put into the deck instead of Aya, it will have worse performance.
The second Legendary, Bloodmage Thalnos, is much easier to replace. Without Spirit Claws the deck no longer needs it. It’s still useful for the AoE synergies, but that’s pretty much it. You can do just fine without running it. I’d probably replace it with a second Mana Tide Totem to have a little more cycle, but the replacements that I’ve mentioned for Aya are also good.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!