Malygos Shaman Overview
An important question lots of you might want to ask – why play this over Shudderwock Shaman? There are some reasons, actually. First of all, the combo can’t fail. With Shudderwock deck, Grumble, Worldshaker and/or Zola the Gorgon can trigger first, before Saronite Chain Gang. Because of that, in order to maximize the chance of combo triggering, Shudderwock Shaman needs to do A LOT of work. Not only play all the combo pieces, but try to play Saronite Chain Gang as many times as possible. This is more straightforward – once you get the necessary cards, you just go for it and hopefully win the game. Another reason is that Shudderwock Shaman is more like a Two Turns Kill than a real OTK. Your first Shudderwock turns is often not that strong, it’s the next turn that really hurts your opponent. If you’re behind on the board, playing Shudderwock might not be an option, because you will just die to the pressure. You might be forced to clear over and over again, delaying the combo. Malygos combo isn’t like that – you just go for it and that’s all.
Now, onto the downsides. First of all, the full combo deals either 26 or 28 damage (I’ll talk about it later), which is enough to win most of the matchups, but not each one of them. This is especially bad against Druid – Shudderwock can win, because the combo is “infinite”, but Malygos version just can’t really win. But the same thing can be said about any ~30 damage combo, Druid is just broken against the classic combo decks right now. Same goes for Warrior – if you end up playing against a slow Warrior deck (which are much less common), you might not be able to win. You might also have to delay it by turn if you end up drawing a minion when you were supposed to play your combo. The deck is relatively light on minions, but it still has a chance of happening. Another advantage of Shudderwock Shaman is that the combo pieces can be played much more liberally. While you sometimes want to keep Chain Gang to copy it with Zola or Grumble, Lifedrinkers can be dropped any time, and even the first copy of Chain Gang is often your best Turn 4 play.
But what is the combo, exactly? There are two of them, actually. First one is very simple – Malygos is the only minion in your hand, you play Eureka!, 2x Lightning Bolt and 2x Frost Shock. 28 damage combo. But there’s also a second combo. First you need to discount Electra Stormsurge with Fire Plume Harbinger, then play 2 mana Electra -> Eureka with Malygos as the only minion in hand. This will summon 2x Malygos, and now you can play 2x Lightning Bolt for 26 damage (or 2x Frost Shock for 22 damage, or a mix of those for 24 damage). This is made to make the combo more consistent. First one requires drawing ALL of the 1 mana burn spells, the second one means that you can draw Harbinger/Electra instead too and it will still work. Another advantage of the second combo is actually putting a powerful board – 3/3 + 2x Malygos. It might be hard to answer by most of the decks, so even if you can’t kill your opponent, you might still go for it.
In a perfect world, you can also deal more damage, but you need to hit either Electra or Eureka with your Far Sight. If it happens, then you can play Electra + Eureka + all 4 of the spells, for 48 damage in total, which should be more than enough to kill most of the opponents. Maybe even those pesky Druids if they didn’t get enough Armor gain by that point.
My favorite thing about this deck is that you can use one Eureka, summoning Malygos, without ruining your combo. If you drop Malygos in Malygos Druid, and it dies, that’s it – you can no longer combo. But in this deck, you can e.g. play Eureka for Maly + Lightning Storm for a massive board clear, and even if he gets killed/Silenced, you can still win the game. While you will need to find a second Eureka, it’s better than losing the game on the spot. Electra Stormsurge is a part of one of the combos, but you can also drop her if necessary. Doubling Lightning Storm, Far Sight or Healing Rain can be absolutely powerful. And that’s what you will often use her for when you need – especially for the Healing Rain vs Aggro, extra 12 points of healing can win lots of games.
Fire Plume Harbinger is pretty clunky and used only for the combo, so I’d like to find some alternative. If you’re going second, you can actually use Coin and it will work the same way, but you get it only 50% of the time, which isn’t reliable. If there was some other way to discount one of your other combo pieces, the entire deck would get much better. If you want to run it in Wild, Emperor Thaurissan is an obvious option, but so far Harbinger is the only way to do it in Standard. On top of that, to make the combo stronger, another cheap burn spell (ideally 0-1 mana, but 2 might be okay too) would go a long way. It would add some redundancy to the deck, as well as make it possible for multiple combo turns. For example, if Crackle was still in Standard, you could do your combo one turn, and then play another Eureka later (after your Overload goes down) with 2x Crackle for 16-22 damage, so you should be able to finish the job if you didn’t manage to kill your opponent immediately.
When it comes to the new cards, another one that fits in perfectly is Storm Chaser. It’s like Sandbinder in Shudderwock Shaman, just better – 3/4 stats are significantly stronger than 2/4, because so many early-mid game minions have 3 health right now. You run two spells costing 5 or more – Volcano and Eureka!, and both of them are very important. Volcano is your best board clear / stall tool, while Eureka is the way you activate combo, which also makes it necessary. With Storm Chaser, the chance that one of the Eurekas will be stuck at the bottom of your deck is incredibly low. With 4 copies of 5+ mana spells in total, it’s unlikely that you will draw all of them before drawing your Storm Chasers too, not to mention that the deck has no other cards it really wants to drop on Turn 4, so they will play an important role in this archetype.
The most important part of playing this deck would be managing your hand. Despite this deck not running many minions, Malygos has to be the ONLY card in your hand once you play Eureka!. Because of that you want to stay with as little minions in your hand as possible, in case you draw Malygos and can perform the combo. While Hagatha the Witch might not make much sense in a deck with only a handful of minions that aren’t part of the combo, I think that she’s still pretty necessary even if just for the extra AoE / 5 Armor. If another AoE, even a small one like Maelstrom Portal, was still in Standard, it wouldn’t be that important.
I don’t believe that Malygos Shaman will take over the meta in this expansion, but this deck list is just an early shell. There are lots of cards Shaman can still get that will improve the deck – this expansion or in the upcoming ones.