The Horde Rebellion against Garrosh Hellscream continues to heat up in Kalimdor, and since we discussed the Warrior Deck and Garrosh Hellscream last week, what better way is there to continue our Hearthstone previews than by looking at the class represented by the orc that put him in charge? That’s right, the mystically empowered Thrall will take to the battlefield in Hearthstone to represent the Shaman class, bringing with him all the fury of the elements, alongside a plethora of totems and some other powerful tricks.
Totemic Call is an interesting ability, as hero powers go. For two energy, Thrall can summon a totem from his deck at random. We’ll touch on just what those totems do in the next article, but based on whichever one is summoned, this could be a great boon. None of the totems feature negative effects, so those playing the Shaman deck will always get some kind of positive for their energy. Given how much the Shaman deck relies on careful mana management and the overload mechanic, two mana could be all there is to work with on some turns. This ensures the Thrall will almost never be without an option. Similar to Armor Up!, it’s a nice energy sink if you are at the end of your turn and have two extra energy and no plans for it.
The Shaman deck is a lot less linear than the Warrior deck, and for some that’ll absolutely be an upside. A number of the better cards in the deck feature the overload mechanic, something players will have to get used to in order to succeed. Overload restricts the amount of energy the player will have access to on the following turn. For example, if a player casts a spell that has an overload cost of two, the following turn, he’ll be down two energy. This is generally offset by a cheaper cost for spells and minions, as well as some increased power. It means that the Shaman can jump out to an early advantage and then play more defensively on the following turn, rinse and repeat. There are some combos in the deck that can help a thrifty player manage overload better and we’ll discuss those in this article.
Direct Damage Spells
Generally speaking, in most card games, direct damage spells are absolutely essential. Considering that the Shaman lacks the minion slaughtering prowess other decks possess, you’ll want to consider running most if not all of the following damage spells: Frost Shock, Earth Shock, Forked Lightning, Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst and Lightning Storm. A lot of these abilities have their own unique quirks, ranging from silencing, freezing, to just straight up hitting two random enemies, similar to the Warrior Cleave spell, and even outright damaging all enemy minions. The Shaman deck has the potential to be incredibly spell heavy, so it’s important to figure out just how far down that road you want to go. Just remember that, a card that deals three damage can hit enemy hero and minion alike, making it incredibly versatile.
When it comes to crowd control, Hex is a fairly terrifying spell. The three energy price tag might seem a bit too high, but for what it does, it’s amazing. It does not outright slay a minion, but that can be advantageous because it goes through defenses such as Divine Shield, potentially rendering your opponent’s 8/8 butt kicking minion into something far more tolerable. This is another card that can probably be run without giving it much thought. It’s worth noting that Hex does award the creature taunt, meaning that the next time you swing with a hero or minion, it will be on the target of Hex.
Ancestral Spirit has been discussed before by both the Hearthstone blog and BlizzPro, in relation to the Earth Elemental. The idea was that, attaching Ancestral Spirit to a large, expensive creature like Earth Elemental would ensure that your foes would be enduring the hellacious rock beast, or some other large creature, for many turns to come. That holds true, and absolutely justifies running Ancestral Spirit. At two energy, it’s a steal and ensures that Thrall will be protected while he continues shooting lightning everywhere.
There’s nothing too tricky about this spell, save for the inclusion of overload. For three mana, the Shaman is awarded two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with taunt. At three energy, this is an ideal turn three spell. The overload cost of two will ensure that on turn four, you’ll only have access to two energy, but at that point you’ll likely be sitting on two decent sized creatures, assuming your enemy hasn’t destroyed them, that can protect you while you bring out totems, damage spells and prepare for a possible big turn five.
Care to learn more about this complex deck? Be sure to tune in on Thursday when our look at Shaman Minions and Strategy goes live. If you’ve had the misfortune of missing out on our other Heartstone previews, check out our looks at Warrior spells and abilities, as well as our look at minions and overall strategy.