This is the sixteenth part of the Free to Play Journeyman hearthstone Guide Series. Be sure to check out the other articles in the series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9,Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14 and Part 15.
“They looked out from the fortress on the hill
There came a single warrior returning from the kill
The spoils of war hung from his horses mane
The bloody heads of enemies that he had freshly slain
They saw the face, the eyes so sullen
Could only be the young Cuchullain
Thunder rising, thunder rising
Thunder rising early in the morning
Cities burning, the world keeps turning
Thunder rising early in the morning”
— Thunder Rising : Gary Moore
A Season’s Tale
I have basically focussed on 3 heroes this season on my FTP account; Shaman, Warlock, Druid and Shaman. As highlighted in Part 13, I began with with a Shaman deck playing an overload theme with both Epic shaman weapons (Doomhammer
Once this season got going in earnest I diverged at rank 16 to play Druid as I built and played a C'Thun
The only decks that had performed well for me and didn’t rely on any of these 1600 dust tricks were my Warlock and Shaman. In an environment where there was so much change, so much originality in deck design, playing a basic aggro deck like Zoolock simply didn’t appeal to me. I definitely play to win, don’t get me wrong, but the “throw away” nature of winning with decks that largely play themselves isn’t something that appeals to me for weeks on end. I can do it for a while but I need a little crumpet. So Shaman it was. I crafted 2 Totem Golems (I’m treating TGT the same way I treated Goblins vs Gnomes (GvG) – don’t buy packs, just craft the handful of cards I need). I switched out Bilefin Tidehunter
What had become blatantly obvious was that the other Shaman players I had faced were not playing the same cards as I. During the period I had focussed on Druid, the Shaman specialists had refined the strategies that my early deck had hinted at being viable. Foremost among the differences were Argent Squire
Out went 160 dust on playsets of Flame Juggler and Tuskarr Totemic
The deck is something of a hybrid of the various Shaman builds that were doing the rounds at the time. Some forewent Tuskarr to go full aggro with Flame Burst
As is normal with this kind of deck, control of the board is paramount. Against the aggro player, especially Zoolock, Shaman has an unusual advantage; they can’t let you keep a totem on the board. So they are forced to waste their early face damage on your minions in an effort to keep the board themselves. They are also forced to trade against the deck’s early plays, all of which have at least 3 health, except Argent Squire which is generally a two-for-one unless immediately killed by larger minions (which in taking a point of damage usually put themselves within reach of being out-valued in a later trade). Once the aggro player loses the board it’s only a matter of time before one can wrap the game up, usually with the Valiant creating an increasingly powerful board each turn.
Against control the early minions contain significant threat in their own right and although one must always attempt to keep control of the board by not leaving enemy minions lying around, situations can arise where one forces the opponent to trade minions by going to face instead. The only question that really needs answering then is: “Can my opponent recover if I use a non-lethal Bloodlust now, while I have enough minions to make it count?” Generally it is unwise to go all in without lethal damage, but a board wipe the following turn can make Bloodlust equally useless… I feel you should go for it if you believe your opponent will wipe the board next turn and does not have ways of getting back large doses of health on a subsequent turn (eg Twilight Darkmender
I started at rank 12 with 2 losses in the first 4 games as I tried to establish the deck’s modus operandi as well as discover weaknesses in the card or quantity choices. In hearthstone it is also vital to take the time to understand the role of each card in the deck: for instance Hex
Surely, your Honour, with an 11 game win streak we can conclude that the deck fundamentally works?
It is interesting that the deck built is, but for the aforementioned Fire Elementals, card for card the same as what the dominant midrange Shaman build would later become. Well done, team! Of course, the lucrative target of a golden Epic card in the Rank 5 end of season reward beckons, but I’m not entirely convinced I can get there just yet.
For a while it had seemed my luck at opening Legendary minions had run out with this account, but cracking 2 in the 23 packs opened between this article and the last has put me back on par with expectation since TOG’s release (3 Legendaries in 55 total packs opened [50 TOG, 5 Classic]). And what Legendaries they were! Ragnaros, Lightlord
And yet, that’s not how I like to roll. Good as the deck apparently is, an FTPer playing a Wallet Paladin seems … I dunno, wrong somehow. Or perhaps this is the pinnacle of success – spending no cash but (almost) being able to build a legend-rank deck costing around 12,000 dust to craft? My calm is disturbed, brothers. Give me your thoughts on this matter in the comments, please!
Until I decide what to do with all that expect some weirdness instead, because ol’ Yoggie and I are going to make my ladder opponents cry. Whether they will be crying tears of pain or laughter remains to be seen…