Hello everyone! Deck Dissection will be a weekly series primarily focused on taking successful decks from the top tiers of the metagame and breaking them down for the general public to better use! I will also include variations of each deck and better teach you how to customize your deck for your specific rank and metagame! After the video, there will be a few notes about the decks mentioned in the sections below. Don’t forget to comment with any questions or ideas you have on the series or anything in general! Thanks for watching!
Below are the lists for the three decks mentioned in the video. Notice how similar they are to one other. Also notice how just a few strategic changes to a deck can greatly alter a particular matchup in your favor. When you understand how to properly play against a specific class you can easily create something to beat it!
Note: If you are running into a lot of Big Game Hunters try switching Ragnaros to Al'Akir! This will give them zero targets for their BGHs! Mitjdw, the creator of this deck, prefers Ali'kir in this slot.
There are a few choices in this deck that aren't found in many traditional Shaman decks. Although they're all covered in the video, here's a quick explanation of why each of these cards is there. All of the following cards are one-ofs.
Cards of Note
Argent Squire: While this card does enough to merit respect from just about every deck, we aren’t playing the full suite of pump effects, which decreases its value in the deck as a whole. In addition against Hunter, a card like Argent Squire is only really useful for sacrificing itself to Freezing Traps and Misdirection, it does not have enough of a body to make an impact while it make Unleash the Hounds better against the deck. In the mid or late game, it's a very dead draw against Hunters in particular.
Flametongue Totem: This card is quite powerful as I stated in the class overview, but it comes with the drawback of already requiring a board presence, which can make it a dead draw when behind. Flametongue Totem can be extremely difficult to play as it will often cause you to over-extend and play more creatures onto the board into your opponents’ potential mass removal. Additionally this card is poor when drawn in multiples.
Mana Tide Totem: This card suffers from the same fate as Flametongue Totem as it is bad in multiples. The card also requires a lot of work to setup a board state that is favorable enough for you to play it. In other words it is great when you are ahead and horrible when you are behind. The card is played on the occasion you will find yourself in a position to properly protect it for a couple of draws and cause your opponent to spend resources on a card that has already net you value.
Gnomish Inventor: This card is an excellent body against aggro, most creatures being 2/1’s and 3/2’s allow this card to take out up to two creatures at a time while netting you a draw. It is also included because most of the decks removal spells are in the form of one card for one card trades (ex. Lightning Bolt your Flame Imp) and can generate you further advantage and dig through your deck to keep finding answers while providing a reasonable amount of damage. In addition this card has good synergy with Defender of Argus making a Sen’jin Sheildmasta or Flametongue Totem making a 4/4 slightly worse Azure Drake.
Gadgetzan Auctioneer: Because all of the spells in the deck are between one and three mana it is easy to combo Gadgetzan Auctioneers ability to draw two cards the turn you play it thus making it perfect in a deck full of value. This reason would however make it seem as though you would want a second, but really at the cost of five mana the card is too slow to combo easily and is often killed the turn it is played as a result one seems like a fine number. Remember a good Auctioneer play for this deck is typically drawing two cards, three is living the dream.
Doomhammer: This card is at its best when coupled with Rockbiter, but is extremely solid against various decks as it allows you to deal sixteen damage at the cost of seven mana. The efficiency of this card allows you more flexibility each turn as you no longer have to focus on investing mana for removal on your opponents creatures and can further progress your board instead. This card is however difficult to use in its entirety as you typically won’t be attacking for four each turn and a single hammer can last anywhere from four to eight turns making additional copies poor draws. Not only this but at five mana the card is rather costly a death sentence when drawn in multiples versus hyper aggressive decks. Note that the ability to do ten damage out of nowhere (with just one Rockbiter) is enough to merit its inclusion; it allows you to burst your opponents down from very high life totals to win the game from out of nowhere.
In an effort to keep the episode at length reasonable, I chose to lightly skim over specific match ups in favor of explaining the meta-game as a whole. As such, this write-up is a supplement to the deck tech better explaining the Shaman versus Hunter matchup, what is generally considered Shaman's worst matchup.
As a Shaman you need to be conscious of Unleash the Hounds from turn one: your early game dictates the effectiveness of Unleash the Hounds. You should be asking yourself whether or not a totem is worth the risk of an additional Hound. An Unleashing for four or more Hounds -- with a Starving Buzzard in play -- is often game breaking. You should focus on primarily playing larger threats, such as Feral Spirit or any of your three mana or larger minion, and focus less on your Hero Power. The goal of the Shaman in this match-up is to take over the game around turn four or five and close it out by turn seven or eight.
The Hunter class Unleash the Hounds combo requires five mana to cast Unleash the Hounds, Starving Buzzard and Timber Wolf!
What do you generally mulligan against Hunter?. In your opening hand, you're looking for a good balance of early game pressure and removal. Lightning Bolt, Earthshock, or any spell which interacts with early minions are fine: I typically mulligan Rockbiter as it strains your life total. You always want to keep Feral Spirit and Sen’jin Shieldmasta as they are powerful ways to protect your life total while posing a reasonable threat.
Do not be afraid to play Defender of Argus on just one minion. While it is important to maximize abilities, if it means not progressing your board by holding your Defender you should just play it!
Finally, be wary when attacking into Secrets. Try to understand the best lines of play to play around potential secrets. Attacking with your weakest minion when you believe they have Misdirection is a good example. All in all, you should have a comfortable match up against Hunter as long as you are playing carefully, thinking ahead on Overload, and not over-committing to the board.
Until next time, thanks for reading and good luck on the field of battle!