The community definitely agrees on the fact that in the Scholomance Academy meta, Shaman got the short end of the stick. Ever since the debacle of Galakrond Shaman, the class wasn’t able to catch a break – but Madness at the Darkmoon Faire wants to end Thrall’s streak of bad luck.
We created a total of four different Shaman archetypes that could shake up the early meta of the upcoming expansion!
C’Thun Quest Shaman
Our first theorycraft list looks into the Shaman way of worshipping the battlecry-focussed gameplay around C'thun, the Shattered.
As Shaman experts can see, C’Thun Quest Shaman relies on the usual Quest Shaman core list. Heavy card draw and Lackey generation is used to get over the line of playing six Battlecry cards, and from there on we rely on cards like Instructor Fireheart or Wandmaker to create the right tools for the game situation at hand.
In the past, Quest Shaman had a heavy emphasis on turn 5 plays, and that only gets more important after including C’Thun in the form of his five parts that we have to play so that it gets shuffled into our deck: Eye of C'Thun, Heart of C'Thun, Body of C'Thun and Maw of C'Thun can serve as versatile solutions for different board states – but in the end, it is C'thun, the Shattered that makes or breaks our game plan. Together with Tour Guide and a 0-mana Quest hero power that doubles the first Battlecry effect up until the next turn, a 60-damage C’Thun can overcome even the sturdiest boards while posing a guaranteed lethal threat.
In terms of targeted draw, Lorekeeper Polkelt is a must-have in any C’Thun deck, as it controls your own game-time clock in terms of drawing into your indirect win condition. The inclusion of Circus Medic is highly experimental – it certainly ain’t no Lifedrinker, but damage is damage, and Quest Shaman more often than not can dig up sufficient self-healing.
If the meta turns out to become greedier and greedier, an iteration of this archetype could dominate other control decks just like it did during Whispers of the Old Gods.
Team 5 has been trying to push the fantasy-heavy Totem Shaman archetype over the meta edge for several expansions now, and while we feel like a kid waiting for a knowingly fictional Santa Claus on Christmas eve, this time it could become reality after all!
The key to victory in most of our upcoming Totem Shaman games will definitely be Grand Totem Eys'or. For cheap 3 mana, we can buff our deck with a total of 20 stats for our 10 totems in hand or deck, which not only results in raw power level increase, but also helps Totem Shaman in the “0-attack totem dilemma” department that made the archetype very vulnerable against aggro archetypes.
In terms of playstyle, Totem Shaman gains a whole lot of combo potential thanks to its new Legendary totem; and while we still have to maintain tempo and board control especially in the early- and mid-game, we definitely see much more comeback potential thanks to Grand Totem Eys'or combined with copy cards like Splitting Axe and Totemic Reflection.
The addition of Circus Amalgam rounds out the Totem Shaman curve and adds a ton of mid-game flexibility, while Cagematch Custodian adds targeted weapon draw in need for a nasty Grand Totem Eys'or into Splitting Axe swing turn.
Depending on the meta development, a tempo-focussed and relentless Totem Shaman archetype could see a ton of play especially in the first weeks of Madness at the Darkmoon Faire.
Another archetype that is always good for an early meta shake-up is Aggro Shaman – and it gets a whole bunch of new toys with the upcoming expansion.
We have been talking non-stop about Team 5’s ongoing quest to add more Warcraft flavor to Hearthstone’s existing class concepts – and it looks like it is Shaman’s turn this time around! Both Stormstrike and Inara Stormcrash fully embrace the Enhancement Shaman fantasy of World of Warcraft, a melee fighter that relies on the raw powers of the elements – and that beautifully translates into Aggro Shaman’s playstyle.
Cagematch Custodian as well as Deathmatch Pavilion add more flexibility to Aggro Shaman’s problematic mid-game, while Whack-A-Gnoll Hammer looks to bolster the otherwise limited board presence of the archetype.
Damage reach, on the other side, has always been Aggro Shaman’s strong suit, and it becomes even stronger with Madness at the Darkmoon Faire. With either Inara Stormcrash or Doomhammer already in play, a massive combo play on turn 10 with the respective other of the mentioned cards played with Rockbiter Weapon or Stormstrike together with Diligent Notetaker would result in a massive 20 damage double-swing.
With the limited amount of healing across all classes in the current Standard format, any iteration of Aggro Shaman could definitely snag away a ton of quick wins in the first weeks of the new meta-game.
Yes, you heard right: One of the most ridiculous Shaman archetypes is back on the menu, and Evolve Shaman is definitely coming in hot thanks to yet another card interpretation of the archetype fantasy: Revolve.
We’re sure that Revolve is much more balanced, especially compared to its bigger brother Evolve, but it’s the rest of Evolve Shaman’s new toolkit that makes this card almost equally as strong. Two new token cards called Pit Master and Carnival Clown showcase the new Corrupt keyword and pose a threat even in their uncorrupted form in combination with one of the many Evolve synergy cards. May it be Bogstrok Clacker, Boggspine Knuckles or Mutate – on average, you should almost always stick a decently sized board in the earlier stages of the game.
The late-game potential thanks to Carnival Clown is actually insane and only topped by the RNG fiesta provided by N'Zoth, God of the Deep that can result in another full board state that your opponent has to deal with yet again.
In addition to that, Evolve Shaman’s tech potential is surprisingly high; cards like Rustsworn Cultist increase value potential for the archetype that struggled with trading the minions you want to evolve – especially while looking at the new card called Derailed Coaster -, while cards like Cagematch Custodian or Lightning Bloom get you closer towards your general win condition of hitting that early evolved board.
We’re convinced that Evolve Shaman will be one of the strongest Shaman archetypes busting into the upcoming meta of Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, and we sure hope that you won’t evolve into Doomsayer too often, because that is definitely not part of the otherwise easy-to-achieve win condition of this deck!