Scholomance Academy Spellburst Decks Theorycrafting – Tempo Mage, Highlander Shaman, Malygos Druid

In Scholomance Academy, a college full of powerful teachers and students hungry for mystical knowledge, the Spellburst mechanic showcases the power of magic in Azeroth. The effect that activates after the first spell has been played in a turn opens up countless new design options for minions of Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion.

As far as gameplay goes, Spellburst looks to become a staple tool for building up tempo – something that not only classic tempo archetypes desperately need. In this Scholomance Academy theorycraft article, we put several Spellburst minions under the microscope and feature a total of three archetypes that will work wonders thanks to Spellburst: Tempo Mage, Highlander Shaman, and Malygos Druid.

Spellburst Tempo Mage

With the release of Scholomance Academy, the Mage class has definitely received the most life-saving support to regain traction in the aggro and tempo department. 

This particular list takes a rather aggressive approach, similar to “casino” style Mage iterations. With one half of the deck being 1-mana cards, our game plan is crystal-clear: Snowball the board as early as possible, control it through the early game, deal substantial damage, reload in the mid game, and try to finish things up before we run out of fuel.

In terms of early game disruption, both Lab Partner and Wand Thief represent what can safely be called Mage’s most powerful cheap minion solutions since pre-nerf Mana Wyrm. The king of early game nuisances will without a doubt be Trick Totem though. You don’t have to be a statistician to realize how incredibly powerful even the average outcome of Trick Totem’s active effect will be – especially against other aggro and tempo decks that rely on early board pressure.

In the past, the aforementioned “fuel” – or value acquisition – has been a problem with the majority of Hearthstone’s aggro archetypes. The list’s main card that tries to solve this particular problem is everybody’s favorite elemental: Mana Cyclone. A total of nine 1-mana spells combined with goold old Sorcerer's Apprentice should increase the average outcome of Mana Cyclone’s Battlecry effect by a quite substantial amount – and not only that: The Mage spell pool  got so, so much better with Scholomance Academy, which of course applies to spell creation through Evocation.

This list looks so strong already that talking about its Spellburst synergies just feels like the cherry on top – but in the end, Scholomance Academy’s new spell-focussed mechanic adds the threats needed to finish off our opponents.

First there is Firebrand – or as we should call it: Flamewaker’s younger and bit more balanced brother. Together with Wretched Tutor and card_link name=”Devolving Missiles”], this Mage list should be able to react to early game threats as well as mid game swing turns, while Wyrm Weaver is a sturdy mid game menaces which, if not removed right away, can represent lethal damage with the right amount of spells in the upcoming turn.

Last but not least, Mana Giant will cause serious trouble on very early turns depending on our “out of deck card” generation – which shouldn’t be too much of a problem on average for this list!

Spellburst Highlander Shaman

Ever since the inception of singleton decks in Hearthstone, Shaman has always been the class that felt suited best for creating a good Highlander deck, because it has so many valuable cards that could be included.

But maybe it is Scholomance Academy and the Spellburst mechanic that will transform Highlander Shaman from being a niche control deck into a top contender in a possible tempo-oriented early meta game.

The most anticipated Shaman without a doubt is Diligent Notetaker.  Highlander Shaman heavily depends on expensive high-value spells such as Earthquake and Hagatha's Scheme for board-clearing or Witch's Brew for that extra bit of survivability – and Diligent Notetaker basically annuls the one-of restriction of Highlander decks all by itself.

On the note of spell value, Instructor Fireheart’s Battlecry effect can create an insane swing turn full of high-value Shaman spells especially in later stages of the game. Final burn damage, much-needed healing, last-second board clear, you name it – the flexibility of this 3-drop perfectly fits the theme of Highlander Shaman.

Just like Fireheart, Speaker Gidra belongs to Scholomance’s faculty and will teach us one thing or another about the correct usage of the numerous Shaman spells in our deck. As a board-centric 3-drop minion, we as the control deck are looking for a solution that can create 2-for-1 situations, and similar to the much more expensive Siamat, Gidra should be able to do exactly that, especially in combination with everybody’s favorite board control tool, Devolving Missiles.

The third new 3-mana minion  Educated Elekk synergizes well with the general spell-centric playstyle of Highlander Shaman. Similar to Diligent Notetaker, it is able to copy important 1-of-cards that this deck would love to run multiple copies of.

In the control department, this new iteration of Highlander Shaman uses several new toys to take over the game. Sphere of Sapience introduces Magic’s Scry mechanic to Hearthstone, making it possible to manipulate your top decks. Lorekeeper Polkelt goes even further and sorts our deck from high to low mana cost, creating an incredibly unique effect and making Dragonqueen Alexstrasza draws much more frequent.

The other two late game highlights are Keymaster Alabaster and  Headmaster Kel'Thuzad. One directly counters Polkelt shenanigans and may be one of the best cards to top-deck in Highlander Shaman; the other combines headache-inducing board-clear scenarios with massive swing turn potential.

Spellburst Malygos Druid

A Spellburst deck with only one Spellburst card? That’s right, we’re that ruthless!

The deck called Spellburst Malygos Druid unites two very popular and powerful archetypes: Spell Druid and Malygos Druid. In fact, the singular card that weds the two could revolutionize the Druid class as a whole: Forest Warden Omu.

Refreshing mana crystals? Is that you, Kun the Forgotten King?

Well, not exactly – but thanks to a niche Ashes of Outland spell called Germination, we can cheat our way into refreshing all mana crystals on turn 10 not only once but twice! The play order should go as follows:

  • We play Forest Warden Omu.
  • We play Germination on Omu. Now the first Spellburst activates.
  • We now have 10 mana, one Omu without and one Omu with Spellburst active on the board.
  • We play Malygos and then Moonfire.
  • The second Omu’s Spellburst activates, which leaves us with another 10 mana.
  • We play the second Moonfire and two Swipes for a total of 6 + 6 + 9 + 9 = 30 damage.

Other than that new combo, we play Spell Druid just like in Ashes of Outland. Ramp, remove, survive, increase hand size. Two new toys called Lightning Bloom and Nature Studies should increase general consistency as well as lethal damage potential – not to speak of Ysera, Unleashed on turn 5.

Looking at past Malygos Druid lists, we may need more cards for the lethal combo then before, but this combo is guaranteed – and together with two insanely versatile spells, this combo could be enough to make Spellburst Malygos Druid a serious contender in the first weeks of a chaotic meta.


Julian "Tharid" Bischoff, a dinosaur in the fast-changing world of esports and self-proclaimed Warcraft expert, already created Hearthstone-related content for Red Bull, ESL and Hearthhead.

Check out Tharid on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. DrNoOne86
    August 2, 2020 at 2:58 am

    I don’t think Trick Totem belongs in a tempo deck. Most spells costing 3 or less are removal, and there’s going to be only so many times you pay 2 mana for a 0/3 that Wraths itself or another of your minions before you replace it with something better.

  2. Sotospeak
    August 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I already have most of the cards from the previous expansion of this OTK Druida, but Ysera, Unleashed. Since I will have to craft Omu, até there any possible replacements for Ysera, like Big O Whelp (card draw, Breath of Dragons sinergy, reasonable body)?

    • Trollguy119
      August 1, 2020 at 7:07 pm

      I don’t have Ysera either so I’m probably gonna replace her with Alextrasza until I can craft her.

      • Sotospeak
        August 1, 2020 at 8:49 pm

        But Alexstraza would not help much in the OTK? Maybe you could survive some time more against aggro with her Battlecry on yourself but besides that I don’t se much point in including her.

        • Trollguy119
          August 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm

          You could Alex your opp to put them to less health so you don’t have to have all the combo pieces to pull off the combo. Also could be good against armour stacking warriors. It’s a big body and has dragon synergy. Seems like a decent replacement?

          • Sotospeak
            August 3, 2020 at 7:25 pm

            I feel you have a point. i don’t have Alexs (yet) so I will either play Big O Whelp or Twilight Drake or craft Emerald Explorer…

    • Kuskie
      August 2, 2020 at 1:59 am

      I’ve been playing spell druid for most of the expansion (Ysera included). I would say there’s no true substitute for that card’s effect. I’ve won many games I shouldn’t have because of the free dragons. But honestly, exotic mount seller should substitute it pretty well.

  3. Ginnel
    August 1, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    So for diligent notetaker you list that he is great with Hagatha’s Scheme and Earthquake, well that’s wrong because he will die before the spellburst effect takes place also with Headmaster Kel’thuzad, there’s not enough damaging spells to make him worth while and he die’s to earthquake as well.

    • Tharid - Author
      August 1, 2020 at 3:42 pm

      Your point is absolutely valid! I’ll try to rephrase that part – one still has to say that Notetaker definitely has its place in the deck though. 🙂

  4. Goblinta
    August 1, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Note that Educated Elekk is a bad choice for a Highlander Deck.

    If you shuffle any spell into your deck that you already have,

    Goodbye Highlander.

    Zephrys and Dragonqueen Alexstraza’s effects are much more powerful than that of the Elekk.

    • Kuskie
      August 2, 2020 at 2:02 am

      As highlander you would never (theoretically) shuffle duplicate spells in your deck. I think the concern would mainly be the opponent trolling and doubling up on a spell. Still a valid point, tho.

  5. Sonriks6
    August 1, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Hello. IMO in the Malygos list you should cut Fungal Fortunes because if you discard Malygos/Omu you ruin your win condition…

    • Sonriks6
      August 1, 2020 at 8:39 am

      A second Germination could also work in the mana refresh of Omu you can copy Maly and increase the dmg of the 2nd Moonfire.

    • Sotospeak
      August 1, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      Well spotted.

    • Tharid - Author
      August 1, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      I’m pretty confident that this list has to “take the risk”, just like Spell Druid hat to in terms of Kael.