Evolve Token Shaman Overview & Strategy
Let’s start with one question – why a deck that didn’t work before would suddenly become so much better that it’s worth to play it? There are actually two main reasons for that. First is simply the amount of new ways to summon tokens. This build alone runs Voltaic Burst, Microtech Controller, Thunderhead and Giggling Inventor, but there are actually even more cards you can pick from (you just can’t fit more). And the second reason are new win conditions. With the amount of Tokens, Bloodlust has became much more powerful option. If it’s easier to flood the board, then it’s also easier to burst your opponent down with it. We also got Electra Stormsurge, which can double Bloodlust on Turn 8. And the second new win condition is The Storm Bringer – a card rated rather poorly by most, but I believe in its potential.
Talking about your win conditions, I think like people are generally underplaying The Storm Bringer. It’s not an instant win card, but it can turn a board full of small minions into potentially some serious threats. Even though we have lots of small Legendaries, an average one still has solid stats (I think it was over 4/5 on average), not to mention all of the extra effects you can get. Sometimes you will low-roll, but other times you will high-roll and immediately win the game. Even a single high-roll such as The Lich King with a bunch of mediocre stuff will already be well worth it. And it won’t even be that hard to play, thanks to the new Voltaic Burst. Let’s even say that only a single Totem sticks onto the board, going into Turn 8 you might play Voltaic Burst + Storm Bringer for 3 random Legendaries. While it’s nowhere near a guaranteed win, a good roll can buy you a chance in a game you might not be able to win otherwise.
Thrall, Deathseer, while less powerful than Storm Bringer most of the time, can also swing the board nicely. Most of the small tokens you get on the board cost 1 mana, so while the upgrade will be significant (turning 1/1’s into random 3-drops isn’t bad), you won’t summon any big guys. But, there are some cards, which stand out when it comes to the mana cost. Main bodies of both Microtech Controller and Giggling Inventor, despite having 1-drop’s stats (2/1), cost 3 and 5 mana respectively, which means that Thrall would evolve them into a random 5-drop and 7-drop. That’s basically the biggest jump you can get, so you want to look out for the opportunities to do it. Saronite Chain Gang is also a good target – both bodies cost 4 mana, which means that you get two random 6-drops by evolving those.
As for your other win condition, Bloodlust, it can’t be overstated how powerful the card can be with even a few minions on the board. 4 minions with 5 attack in total (a rather normal scenario) would deal 12 extra damage with a single Bloodlust, for 17 in total. That’s a lot of burst, so if your opponent can’t clear the board every single turn, he might be in trouble. Even a small opening can be enough to burst him down. But it gets even better if you get 2x Bloodlust, which now will be much easier thanks to Electra Stormsurge. Imagine the same scenario on Turn 8, when you drop Electra + Bloodlust – instead of 17 damage, you deal 29, which should be enough to kill most of your opponents (unless they’re playing Druid). Great thing about both win conditions (Bloodlust and Evolves) is that it will be incredibly hard for your opponent to stop them. They can be good even with just 3 minions on the board, and your opponent might not be able to clear every single small board you put down.
Of course, Bloodlust or Evolves aren’t always necessary to win the game, there are other ways you can utilize your board floods. First and probably most importantly – Flametongue Totem. This is the card that makes all of the 1/1’s way more scary. While it’s not as powerful if you’re just going face (it simply adds 4 damage), it’s amazing card if you start trading. For example, a single Microtech Controller on the board is 4 damage in total if you want to do the trading. But if you play a Flametongue Totem, that damage goes up to 10. Add a single Hero Power totem and you can take down a Sleepy Dragon or something like that. Other than Flametongue, Knife Juggler does a great job when combined with board floods. Play him on the same turn you drop Microtech Controller, Giggling Inventor, or Thunderhead + Voltaic Burst and it can deal LOTS of extra damage. Then, you also have a Cult Master, which can be used to refill your hand when necessary. Even a simple play like Cult Master + Voltaic Burst can be really good, especially if you have something else on the board to trade off immediately.
A card I particularly like in this deck is Giggling Inventor. I think it might be one of the strongest cards in the entire set. 2/1 + 2x Annoy-o-Tron is worth 5 mana combined, but combining cards like that usually add one or two extra mana to the cost. This one doesn’t. The card is like a post-nerf Call to Arms, but it’s Neutral, so every class can use it. While post-nerf Call to Arms is not as broken as the pre-nerf version, the card is still quite good in the right deck, and many classes would love to play it. If I had to make one bold statement about the expansion, I feel like Giggling Inventor might be nerfed to 6 mana after a while. But of course, I might also be completely wrong.
The deck will obviously be weak to board clears, but not as much as you might think. The thing is, you reach this critical mass of ways to flood the board that your opponent might simply not have a way to answer it. That’s why despite Odd Paladin or Token Druid being weak to board clears, they can still win against slow decks quite often, because they might be able to flood the board more times than the opponent can clear it. It’s a similar story with this deck, in the mid/late game, you will put 3-4 minions on the board every turn. And the best thing is that your opponent can’t leave them most of the time, or else you might burst him down or Evolve them into something much better.
To be honest, I had a really hard time making this deck. Not because the concept is difficult or anything, but because there are many more cards I would like to fit, but there are only 30 card slots. The first one is Corridor Creeper – with the amount of tokens you’re producing, the card can get down to 0 mana quite easily. It’s not as good as in Odd Paladin, but still solid. It also has extra synergy with Thrall, Deathseer – since it has a base cost of 7 mana, it will Evolve into a random 9-drop, and it’s very easy to squeeze him into your Thrall turn. But if you add Corridor Creeper, you’d probably want to add Unstable Evolution too, since those two have great synergy. I was also thinking about another 1-drop (such as Mecharoo or Argent Squire), another 2-drop (possibly Upgradeable Framebot, since it’s pretty sticky), maybe more Overload cards for Thunderhead (such as Zap!, Stormforged Axe or Feral Spirit). Maybe even Storm Chaser to pull your Bloodlusts and The Storm Bringer? But the question is – what can you remove to put them in? I thought about getting rid of Lightning Storm, for example, but without it the deck will have no defense against other board floods, so once it falls behind, it will stay behind most of the time, and that’s not great. Earthen Might might also be a flex slot, but I feel like the card can add some nice early game tempo, as well as mid/late game value to the deck. Or maybe Microtech Controller is not really worth it? (but then you would probably want to add another 3-drop anyway) The deck will need some extensive playtesting, but I feel like it has some potential.
Evolve Token Shaman Mulligan Guide
Since it’s just a theorycrafting and there are no statistics to back it up, I’ll just post some general guidelines for early playtesting rather than a full mulligan guide.
- You absolutely want to keep your early game plays. Keep Fire Fly, Knife Juggler, Primalfin Totem and Flametongue Totem. Microtech Controller is also a good keep if you have either Juggler or Flametongue.
- Keep Earthen Might with Fire Fly.
- Despite Voltaic Burst costing 1 mana, it’s not really a great keep most of the time. You pay 2 mana in total for 2x 1/1 with Rush, you usually don’t have anything you want to Rush into so early in the game (especially when going first). The card gets much better later in the game, when you can combo it with Juggler, Flametongue, Cult Master, Thunderhead, Bloodlust, Evolve cards etc.