Our Budget Murloc Shaman deck list guide for the Descent of Dragons expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Murloc Shaman
Murlocs have been one of Hearthstone’s most prominent tribal synergy strategies since its introduction. Murlocs are typically designed to benefit from each other and begin to quickly snowball as each one is added to the board. This, along with the generally low mana-cost of the cards, pushes most Murloc strategies to be aggressive.
This build didn’t really change much compared to the last expansion. The reason is that no new Murlocs were introduced – or rather, no new Murlocs that would fit into this deck. I did some cosmetic changes based on experience, but that’s all. However, if you want to test something different, I’ve also built an Aggro Overload Shaman budget deck. Keep in mind that it’s WEAKER build as it is, but it offers a much greater upgradeability. If you own some of the Epics / Legends or you’re willing to spend some Dust on them, then it becomes a solid meta build. Find it at the bottom!
Budget Murloc Shaman Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Murloc Tidecaller, Murmy – Given that you play an aggressive deck, you always want to open with a 1-drop, and those are your two most consistent options. You can always drop them on T1 without worrying what the rest of your board looks like or what cards you have in your hand. Tidecaller is by far the best 1-drop, because it can easily snowball the game out of control. It doesn’t take long to turn it into a 1 mana 2/2, then 3/2 etc. Murmy is like a Murloc version of Mecharoo for Mech decks – it’s good, because it’s cheap, sticky, and has the right tribe for synergies.
- Underbelly Angler – While having 1-drops is great, the BEST card to get in your opening hand is definitely Angler. It has premium 2-drop stats (2/3) and an incredibly powerful effect on top of that. If not answered right away, it will generate lots and lots of value. One of the biggest problems of a Murloc deck is running out of steam, and Angler lets you cycle every Murloc you play, refilling your hand incredibly well.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Sludge Slurper – While Sludge Slurper is also a good 1-drop, you want to keep it only when you have another 1 mana play available for Turn 2 (like Murmy) and don’t have a 2-drop. If you drop it on T1, because of Overload, you can’t play a 2 mana minion on T2 (unless you Coin it out, but that’s not very efficient). While you do get a random Lackey, there’s no guarantee that you will want to use it on T2 (e.g. Witchy Lackey is not great to play on a 1-drop, and you might want to keep Kobold Lackey around to kill something instead of just dealing 2 damage to the opponent).
- Toxfin – Keep with Murmy. Giving that 1/1 Poisonous is amazing. Not only you will be able to trade up into ANYTHING (even killing a 3 health minion is well worth it), but you will still have a 1/1 on the board because of Reborn. Great tempo move.
- Coldlight Seer – Seer is MVP in the deck, because it lets you snowball the board really well. After you stick a few Murlocs, you drop it and they’re now much harder to kill. Seer lets you make trades while keeping your minions alive OR put them out of AoE range. However, keep him only with a smooth curve. If you have a T1 and T2 play already (T2 can be either a 2-drop or two 1-drops), then keep it to curve out into. If you don’t have clean curve, drop it for a chance of getting one.
Budget Murloc Shaman Play Strategy
Murloc decks were always some of the most simple and straightforward builds to play. The deck has no real deep strategy – you just want to play a lot of Murlocs, utilize their tribal synergies, and then punch your opponent in the face as hard as possible. Seems simple, right? Of course, there are still some strategy tips you might to follow, but honestly, there isn’t much.
First of all, mulligan is VERY important with the deck. You absolutely want to have a smooth curve. Wasting a turn Hero Powering instead of dropping synergistic minions will often lose you the game. Mulligan aggressively. Don’t keep “okay” cards like Murloc Tidehunter or Fishflinger. They’re only filler cards, if you had better Murlocs to run in your deck you wouldn’t even put them in your deck. But since you have to run them, you want to do your best to not have to play them and instead play only your best cards. Aim for a smooth curve – first three turns are most important when it comes to Murloc decks. If you can get a 1-2-3 opener, you can often blow your opponent out of water before they even realize.
Matchups vs other fast decks are actually way more difficult than matchups vs slower decks. The thing is that while Murlocs have amazing synergies with each other, they are usually very weak individually. If your opponent has a high tempo opener (and he might have) and the game is the usual, even back-and-forth, then you won’t have an opportunity to stack enough Murlocs at the same time to take advantage of cards like Coldlight Seer. Going first is also important – the player who goes first often has an opportunity to dictate trades, which is amazing, especially with cards like Toxfin. In general, against faster decks, you want to try to control the board. Don’t try to rush them down in the early game – damaging opposing Hero is irrelevant during the early turns. Don’t let you opponent be the one doing trades, because he will pick ones that are best to him. You can start going face after a swing turn – e.g. when you buff your entire board with Coldlight Seer or shut down your opponent’s bigger minion with Toxfin.
Against slower decks, things are much simpler. You don’t have to worry about trading so much – of course, you still want to trade their early game minions to protect your stuff, but in general, you will go face much more often. Your strategy in those matches is to play as much stuff as possible to deal as much damage as possible. Exactly – your early/mid game is all about dishing out damage. Knowing your opponent’s deck is pretty important – ideally you want to know when they can drop their AoEs. E.g. the difference between T4 and T5 AoE is quite big for this deck. You also want to know whether their AoEs deal damage or can destroy minions right away. The latter is very strong against this deck, since even if you buff your minions’ health, you can still get e.g. Brawled. You can also stop AoEs with Soul of the Murloc. Or rather, not stop, but guarantee that you will still have some board vs AoE (unless it’s Warpath… Warrior having the best AoEs against your deck makes the matchup pretty bad, but luckily they aren’t very popular right now). Your opponent will still have to do it, but then you will end up with a bunch of 1/1’s. Seemingly harmless, at least until we get to our next point.
Your deck runs one finisher – Bloodlust. Of course, you don’t always need it – you will often just win with regular minion damage. However, Bloodlust adds SO MUCH reach. Given that your board is usually full of small-ish minions, T5 Bloodlust lethals will be common. With just 4 minions on the board (which is pretty common), it adds 12 damage. TWELVE damage for 5 mana – that’s absolutely crazy. If you have Bloodlust in your hand already, try to set it up. Play enough that you will have lethal next turn. And here’s where Soul of the Murloc comes handy. Most of your opponents will recognize what you’re doing and try to interrupt you by clearing as much as possible. But if you can cast Soul of the Murloc on at least 3-4 minions, it makes your board way more resistant and there’s a chance that at least a few of them will survive. And even 4x 1/1 become 16 damage with Bloodlust. Of course, Bloodlust does not have to be used for lethal. If you can just deal a lot of damage to your opponent and you know that he might clear a bunch of your minions next turn, cash it in immediately. Similarly, especially against faster or Midrange decks, you can use Bloodlust as a board clear mechanic. If your opponent plays some minions and you have a bunch of small Murlocs, you can use Bloodlust to trade them up (and then deal whatever remaining damage you have). Just calculate for lethal before doing that – it’s very easy to miss if you focus on board control too much!
Future Card Replacements for Murloc Shaman
Murloc Shaman is a pretty cheap deck in general, given how well it can work in many matchups. There are, however, two Epics that you really, REALLY want to have. Two copies of Murloc Warleader are basically a must-have, without them the deck gets significantly worse. After you put them into your deck, you end up with basically a full meta Murloc Shaman. There are also some other slight changes you might want to make, but it’s not a big deal:
- 2x Beaming Sidekick -> 2x Murloc Warleader – Warleader often works like a better Bloodlust. While it’s only 2 damage per minion, it’s 2 mana cheaper and adds a 3/3 body too. It’s great during the early/mid game board control phase, since it lets your small minions trade up. Then, alter, it can be used just like Bloodlust – to get lethal. On Turn 8, you can even play both and add a whooping +5 damage to every Murloc on board (so, very often, every minion on board).
- 2x Ghost Light Angler -> 1x Nightmare Amalgam + 1x Scargil – Amalgam is not special, it’s just a 3 mana vanilla 3/4 Murloc (and Beast, and Mech, and Totem etc. – but in this case only Murloc tribe is relevant). It is, however, much better than Ghostlight Angler. Angler has nice late game scaling, but it’s pretty bad in the early/mid game. And since this deck does not aim at the late game, you’d rather play something that’s strong on curve. Scargil, on the other hand, is definitely not necessary, but from my experience it improves your win rate a bit. What’s great about it is its synergy with Underbelly Angler. Normally it’s pretty easy to “brick” with an Angler by pulling out a more expensive Murloc or two in a row, but with Scargil on the board no matter what it gives you, you will be able to drop it for 1 mana.
Alternatively, there’s an Aggro Overload Shaman I’ve mentioned. The deck is WEAKER than this Murloc Shaman build on a budget, but it has a much better upgradeability – it can be turned into a solid meta build after you craft all the Epics / Legendaries, while Murloc build is not that far off from the original, but even original is maybe low T2 / high T3.
Here’s the deck. However, in order to make it better, you would need to spend a lot of Dust on the Epics/Legendaries. 2x Thunderhead is an absolute minimum – the deck is really bad without those. Then, 2x Cumulo-Maximus is a very nice addition, 5/5/5 that deals 5 damage is really sick, although not as necessary as Thunderhead. Vessina is another must-have – given that you’re Overloaded most of the time, her effect basically gives your entire board +2 Attack, and who wouldn’t like that on a 4 mana 2/6. And finally – Electra Stormsurge is a solid addition, although this one is not a staple like the other three.
If you want to, you could also go for a Galakrond/Overload build by adding the entire Galakrond package – but you really need Kronx Dragonhoof and 2x Dragon's Pack for this (as well as some of the cards above), making it even more expensive.