Our Token Evolve Shaman deck guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this popular deck from The Boomsday Project expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!
Introduction to Evolve Token Shaman
The Boomsday Project has hit the stores, and the meta is all over the place. All players are testing out what’s working and what isn’t, and a lot of them try to make old archetypes work.
One of these archetypes is Evolve Shaman, a list that teared through the ladder after the release of Journey to Un’Goro. After it hit rock bottom due to the rotation of Evolve and Doppelgangster, it seems to make a strong comeback on Boomsday.
The ability to refill the board over and over again has been one of Shaman’s core strengths since forever, and new cards like Microtech Controller and Giggling Inventor only support this asset. Combine that with the classic board buff package and other new Shaman star cards like Thunderhead, and you’ll have yourself a complex and exciting aggro archetype for the upcoming meta game!
Boomsday Project Evolve Token Shaman Deck List
Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Token Shaman archetype page!
Evolve Token Shaman General Strategy
As it always has been, the main recipe for a token-focused Shaman deck is plain and simple: Try to flood the board and to soften up the opponent’s face to deliver the final lethal attack with Bloodlust. Sounds easy, right?
In terms of token decks, this seems to be a common misconception. Yes, board flooding is very important, but the key to success was and always will be timing combined with matchup knowledge. But before we delve into specifics, let’s take a look at the cards in use:
Starting off with the early board pressure package we have two Shaman classics at hand: Both Fire Fly and Primalfin Totem make sure that we begin the game on the right foot; these minions already require our opponent to clear the board as early as possible. Why you ask?
Because the board buff package is right around the corner! Flametongue Totem and Dire Wolf Alpha may be the most versatile cards in the list, because they can be used for both early pressure and enormous board swings in the mid and late stages of the game. As already said, timing is key to get the most out of your board without overplaying it.
Two cards that get a lot out of those buff effects are Saronite Chain Gang and Microtech Controller. While these two primarily serve to refill the board or to bait out ineffective board clear, they can also turn into great Bloodlust finisher targets as well.
Now to the new core of the deck, the overload package. The star in many new Shaman lists is Thunderhead, a card that finally rewards players after playing overload cards. The permanent effect of giving two 1/1 rushing elementals incentivizes both aggro- and tempo-oriented decks alike to include overload cards with that special kind of mana drawback.
One of these cards is Voltaic Burst, allegedly one of the most underrated cards in the set. As it is with Thunderhead, rushing elementals are a token decks’ dream come true, especially combined with the most synergetic card in this list: Knife Juggler. Using it together with the overload package as a whole can deal devastating damage and create the craziest swing turns. A Flametongue Totem on the board only multiplies that threat and can crack even the sturdiest taunt walls. The synergy goes so far that it’s even worth to play two copies of Lightning Storm in a Shaman aggro deck, something that perfectly showcases the power level of Thunderhead.
A minion that has an even higher power level is Giggling Inventor. This ridiculously strong card has been finding its way into almost every deck list in the first week of the meta; some may even experience the so called “Corridor Creeper déjà-vu”, but that discussion is for another day. Either way, the versatility of Giggling Inventor is very welcome, especially against aggro opponents like Heal Zoolock or Odd Rogue.
At first, many theorycrafters have included Giggling Inventor into Shaman not due to power level but a whole other reason: Thrall, Deathseer. It may be a lot weaker compared to the old Doppelgangster combo, but Thrall is still a great addition to the deck to turn around board states.
Talking about turnarounds, there’s one particular card that may deliver the craziest board swings in Hearthstone history: The Storm Bringer. From a personal standpoint, I can safely say that it feels incredible to evolve four 1/1 sparks into Ysera, Gruul, Harrison Jones and Deathwing for a mere 7 mana! When it comes to the real value of the card, you have to consider your current board state. The above-mentioned scenario makes it definitely worthwhile, even when you only get four 4/4s on average, but we will talk more about in in the tech card section.
The last card we want to take a look at is Electra Stormsurge. This minion fits the category “you have to play that, right?!”, especially when looking at the sheer power level of single spells in the Shaman toolkit. The ability to double down on Lightning Storm or Voltaic Burst can create crazy board swings, while a double Lightning Bolt can give you that small portion of additional burst range as well, let alone a double Bloodlust on turn 8 or 9.
As already said, making smart use of your resources may have the biggest impact on your win rate with this particular deck. Quickly identify the matchup you’re playing, and try to plan ahead as best as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of board refill with this deck! Opponents may sweep the board two, three or even four times during the early and mid game, but a lot of times you will get through some damage eventually, only to finish them with everybody’s favorite Bloodlust.
Evolve Token Shaman Matchup and Mulligan Guides
The current meta game doesn’t allow specific matchup and mulligan guides yet, but we can already offer general advice in terms of general matchups:
This deck may perform better against aggro than any anti-aggro deck. Two copies of Lightning Storm single-handedly carry you through the mid game, and if you don’t draw those, Knife Juggler and Voltaic Burst will do the job when it comes to low-health enemy minions. The matchup against Heal Zoolock, one of the strongest archetypes right now, is heavily favored for example. Odd Rogue should be favored as well, while Mech Odd Paladin should be about even.
vs. Mid Range
With good draws you should be able to outpace mid range decks before the mid game. Decks like Bomb Hunter or Deathrattle Rogue need more ramp-up time than other mid range decks in the past, so make sure to go in aggressively. You can overplay the board as well because you shouldn’t be afraid of too many board clears, with Token Druid being the clear exception here.
Remember when you laughed about those pros that say that playing aggro is hard? Well, they were right in the end.
Playing this deck against hyper-control lists like Quest Priest or Control Warlock can be complicated and a real pain. Sometimes you have to play the board even if you know that at least board clear is in the enemy’s hand, only to be able to play your second wave of board refill afterwards.
But do not fear those matchups! If you have learned some of the more prominent matchups, you will be able to beat them regularly, because there will be games with bad draws on the opponent’s side as well. Accept the board clear, try to get in early damage, but don’t overplay the board.
Evolve Token Shaman Tech Cards and Replacements
Cult Master: Card draw is a tough one in this list. Cult Master is one of the very few options we have, and we should use it. Its synergy with Voltaic Burst is incredible, but we often need those earlier to combo with Flametongue Totem or Knife Juggler. Playing Cult Master requires you to take a more value-oriented approach, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Earthen Might: Another limited source of card draw. Fire Fly into Earthen Might almost always seals the early game in our favor (if you have one of those in your mulligan, try to get the other one!), and it synergizes with our beloved sparks as well.
The Storm Bringer: As already said, this can and most likely will turn many, many, many games around. At first you could say that this is a win-more card, but we certainly think it’s more. However, it is definitely not needed as a core card. An interesting replacement could be Storm Chaser or another big swing minion like Grumble, Worldshaker.
Electra Stormsurge: Theorycrafters all around are still on the fence about Electra, and it may eventually get cut from the list. The fact that overload effects double as well is a big sacrifice in some situations. Good replacements could be Dire Wolf Alpha, a second copy of Cult Master or something crazy like Al'Akir the Windlord.
Corridor Creeper: We think that Creeper, after the nerfs, is still a very strong card. However, you’d need to have more reliable buffs by, for example, Defender of Argus or Fungalmancer. It’s definitely a valid tech inclusion, especially in a more aggressive meta game.