Added Value in Token Shaman
Token Shaman has been a solid tier two deck and staple Last Hero Standing tournament choice for a while now. The deck saw a brief increase in numbers after the recent nerfs due to a surge in Hunter. The matchup is generally favorable versus Hunter, and that is what caused me to end up experimenting with the deck. However, the rise of tempo Rogue was an unfavorable turn of events for the deck, as the matchup felt a little too even for my taste. I have made recent changes to the Token Shaman list that are designed to help the Rogue matchup, and I will discuss them below.
First off, the general game plan of the Shaman matchup is to go wide on the board by flooding it with low-costed, small-bodied minions. Primalfin Totem and Fire Fly are example minions for this game-plan. Following these early minions, the deck controls the opponents early board with Maelstrom Portals. If an opponent plays minions that are too tough to trade with, Flametongue Totem does an excellent job of upgrading our early 1/2s and 1/1s, allowing them to trade up. Jade Claws and Jade Lightning function in the same way, and when combined with Aya Blackpaw, give the deck some late game resiliency and power it might otherwise lack. In racing situations (ie: before a Priest casts Dragonfire Potion), Bloodlust is a complete all-star. That said, most players will try and minimize the damage of a potential Bloodlust by keeping the board clear.
The real draw of the deck, however, is the enormous advantage the deck is capable of producing through the Dopplegangster + Evolve combo. Obviously RNG can punish the deck and you end up with a Big-Time Racketeer, which always feels bad, but sometimes you end up with board states like this:
Just a regular turn six...
If the deck is forced to go late, which often happens in the current meta, Thrall, Deathseer can help the deck grind. The tougher matchups for the deck are generally control decks (Taunt Warrior, Control Mage, Control Warlock), as well as Zoo. Against the control decks it can be correct to wait until you are able to play a Dopplegangster + Deathseer on turn 10. They are generally very eager to kill all minions on sight, thereby rendering Bloodlust a dead draw.
Zoo is a tough matchup mostly because they are capable of playing to the board as efficiently, but simply draw more action from their deck as a result of their hero power. Tempo Rogue is, generally, a close matchup, but I found myself to be on the losing end more often than not. In an attempt to simultaneously fix the Zoo matchup, which has seen an uptick in popularity, as well as the Rogue decks, I've experimented with a few changes in the deck.
I began by cutting 1 Bloodlust, Patches, 2 Bloodsail Corsair, and 1 Saronite Chain Gang. This gave me room to add 2 Lightning Storm, Thalnos, and 2 Flamewreath Faceless. My logic was that drawing double Bloodlust against the control decks was an auto-loss late-game, and it was often poor vs Zoo. I don't mind having one copy as a way to pressure or threaten control decks, but drawing the second was a nightmare in a lot of cases. More importantly, Lightning Storm and Thalnos let us keep tempo Rogue's board clear of minions. They are, after all, a tempo deck vulnerable to clears. My goal was to shut off the power of their Southsea Captains, but future Cobalt Scalebane's and Bloodmare's as well. My win-rate versus Rogue with this build has gone way up as a result.
The Flamewreath Faceless was mostly added as a way to pressure Highlander Priest and Control decks who don't have early, easy answers to a giant minion. Sure, they have Shadow Word Death, but they often mull it away versus the token deck in favor of other cards, occasionally leaving them taking 14 or more from the 7/7. And, let me tell you, I've missed putting that card into play and watching opponents scramble to stem the bleeding. For now it's a solid choice, and one that can surprise a lot of players. I think these changes are positive for the deck overall, and one I've played to a much better win rate than most of the stock lists available. Best of luck!
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