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Homebrew guide: Ancestral Shaman

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 27 March 2014 18:30

Homebews, homebrews everywhere. This week's edition of this feature looks at an Ancestral Shaman which is all about extracting maximum value out of every card!



 

 

Table of contents

 

Introduction
The deck
The cards
The concept
Card substitutions
Match-ups

Pro-player feedback
 

A few words from the GosuCrew


Today, we launch another issue of our homebrew corner. This week's deck is submitted by Sheverash and is an Ancestral Healing/Ancestral Spirit Shaman, aimed to extract maximum value out of already good cards like Injured Blademaster and Cairne Bloodhoof.

Of course, we want to thank our friends and partners from DKMR for providing some much appreciated pro player feedback.

For future editions, if you have a cool deck idea and want it analyzed and maybe even improved by professional Hearthstone players please, share it with us! Create a deck and post it in the Homebrew dedicated thread, or mail it to radoslav@gosugamers.net. Every week, we'll select one cool submission, feature in on the website and promote it through all GosuGamers and DKMR social channels, giving the deck creator the exposure he or she deserves. 

We'll wait for you submission. Till next week!

- Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev
     Editor in Chief

 

Written by: Sheverash
 

Introduction

 

With all the classes available, why Shaman? Shaman allows for a playing style unlike any other due to its skill set and unique mechanics. The class offer more control than almost any other class and has answers for almost any situation. This class isn’t a “set it and forget it” play style like many aggro decks which have become popular. 

Each and every play requires forethought to upcoming plays.  The Overload mechanic is both a blessing to the best of players and a curse to the uninitiated.  While Shaman abilities don’t necessarily offer better efficiency than other classes, they can do almost everything faster when needed.  Totems add a bit of fun and RNG to the class which always keeps things interesting while savvy players can manipulate the odds that a particular totem will respawn through order of operations.

 

The deck

 

This deck, like most Shaman decks, is a control style deck. The idea of this archetype is to eliminate opposing board presence while increasing your own through favorable trades. The more efficiently you can remove threats the faster you will win. 

This deck has all the Shaman staple cards and has all the makings of great control.  Hex for large minions, Earth Shock for scary effects, Lightning Storm for AOE, and multiple taunts to keep the enemy at bay.  Remember, Shaman control decks are responsive decks, not proactive decks. 

The things that sets this particular build from the StrifeCro’s and Tide’s is the use of the Ancestry cards for cheap taunts and even more favorable trades, while exploiting deathrattles and other card effects such as Charge.  These cards add a ton of value to already great cards. 

The crafting cost of the deck is 8,820 so it isn’t the cheapest out there. There are a number of card substitutions that can work if a player doesn’t have access to all the cards listed which will be addressed later.  I would also like to recognize the guys over at Dontkickmyrobot.com specifically Poach, Sexistudder, and Imho whose input was invaluable to tuning this deck.  Head over to take a look at all the great stuff the team has to offer!

Lets start with some basic concepts on how to use this tool kit. 
 

Hero power

Totemic Call lets you summon one of four different totems for 2 mana:
 

  • Healing: 0/2, heals all friendly minions for +1 health at the end of turn
  • Searing: 1/1 minion
  • Wrath of Air: 0/2, +1 Spell Damage 
  • Stoneclaw: 0/2 Taunt
     

There can be only one of each totem in play at any given moment and each one is summoned randomly when the hero power is activated (a quick prayer to deity of your choice has been shown to work occasionally to get the one you want).

Earlier in the artlce it was mentioned that players can improve the odds for which totem will come out under certain conditions.  Here's how it works:

Let's say that you already have a Healing and Searing Totem in play.  You want to get a Wrath of Air to help buff your upcoming Lightning Storm to kill the 4 Murlocs on the opponent’s side.  If you attack with the Searing Totem to kill a Murloc, the totem will die.  Now you only have the one Healing Totem in play.  If you now cast your hero power to hope for a Wrath of Air totem it will randomly select between the 3 totems not in play.  You have a 33% chance to get the one you want.  Had you waited to attack with the Searing Totem until after casting Totemic Call the random generator would be selecting between the 2 remaining totems (Air and Stoneclaw).  You now would have had a 50% chance to get the totem of choice.
 

Overload

            This mechanic allows Shamans to play cards earlier than the other classes through the Overload mechanic which essentially splits the mana cost over two turns.

Let's look at Earth Elemental as an example.  No other class can put out a 7/8 Taunt on T5 and even though the combined cost is 8, having it that early on the field is a hug advantage. Lightning Storm is one fastest AOEs at a mere 3 mana to cast and one of the best damaging at 2-3 for its cost. Feral Spirit gives us two 2/3 taunts as early as turn 3. 

Smart players will not overextend and overload too much mana the following turn.  Trial and error will teach you when to play these cards and when to wait since the play the following turn is more important. For example: Playing a Lightning Bolt on turn 5 will overload you one mana on turn 6.  In this case you could not play your Fire Elemental which would have had a 3 Damage battle cry to accomplish the same result on turn 6 with the added benefit of a 6/5 minion in play.

 

The cards

 

Direct Damage: Lightning Bolt and Lightning Storm are both minion removal tools. Rockbiter Weapon can be used in a pinch but has much more value in the late game on your finishers like Al’Akir.

Removal: Hex and Earth Shock have similar uses.  Hex gets rid of any creature without the need to damage it.  Earth Shock silences minions to get rid of scary effects or taunt with the added benefit of 1 damage.  This is great vs those pesky drakes Handlocks love to run, 1 mana drake killers!

Card Draw:

Mana Tide gives one card at the end of every turn and is now better than Nat Pagle since the nerf.

Gadgetzan Auctioneer gives you a card whenever you play a spell.  Shamans love this since this deck is half spells and they are all low cost.  This can allow for multiple cards per turn depending on the number of spells cast.  Don’t forget, if you saved the Coin it counts as a spell!

Taunts (early game):

Feral Spirit and Defender of Argus offer plenty of value during their defense in the early game, along with Injured Blademasters which I will discuss below.

Elementals (mid game)

Unbound Elementals work off of Overload.  They are a healthy 2/4 before getting buffed.  Many times you will play this and immediately play an overload card to bring it to a 3/5 for only 3 mana.  Very efficient and can win games if left unchecked by your opponent.  They draw aggro and many opponents will blow early game removal on them. That's perfect for you because now they can’t use it on your finishers.

Fire Elementals are a staple in every Shaman deck and offer great tempo swings with their 3 damage battle cry.

Finishers (end game)

These need no introduction.  Leeroy for his 6 damage charge. Al’Akir for his Windfury, Charge, and Shield. Ragnaros for his huge fiery damage.

 

The concept

 

Ancestry cards, previously overlooked, offer hidden value in certain combinations.  Since less than 20% of Shaman decks are using these cards they come as quite a shock to your opponent who would otherwise not have accounted for them.
 

Ancestral Healing

Ancestral Healing is not a great card but it is free, after all. Pair it with an Injured Blademaster for 3 mana, however, and it becomes amazing.  As early as turn 2 with a coin you could have a 4 / 7 with taunt!

A quick note about Blademaster.  Even without AH to combo he is a 4 / 3  for three mana which beats the “vanilla” test.  Paired with an existing Healing totem and he hits the ground as a 4 / 4.You can also use Ancestral Healing to give your opponent’s minion Taunt.  This followed by playing The Black Knight will assassinate his minion. This means for just one more mana than a Rogue's Assassinate you get a 4 / 5 minion as a bonus.

 



Ancestral Spirit

Again, not a great card when looked at by itselfbut one that shines when paired with certain minions.  My favorite is Cairne Bloodhoof who on deathrattle summons another 4/5 minion . If you cast Spirit on him before he dies he comes back to life with another full Deathrattle plus Baine.  So that means Cairne + Spirit = four 4/5 creatures for only 8 mana. 

When used on Al’Akir it provides quite a bit of damage and Al’Akir could basically attack four times for 3 damage per attack. This could clear 4 smaller minions or maybe one or two large ones.  This is assuming he isn’t buffed with Rockbiter when he gets exponentially more powerful!

Leeroy gets to come back from the dead and Charge back in for another 6 damage.

The Ragnaros combo is a bit more complex.  If he lasts the first turn, you could Earth Shock him to attack him into a minion and the resurrect him, using AS, to do his RNG attack at the end of the turn.  This effectively would double his damage that turn.

 

 
Substitutiouns

 

Many of these cards are Legendary and many people will not have access to all the cards.  Also as the Meta changes there may be needs to change a card.

The The Black Knight is a great card for this deck but if you don’t have him you can substitute him with a couple of things. Big Game Hunter helps kill big things, Earth Elemental to counter aggro decks decks, Lava Burst for some more direct damage or against mid game decks.  Harrison Jones or Acidic Swamp Ooze to counter weapon metas like Warrior, Paladin, Hunter, or even Rogue.

Al'Akir and Leeroy become Argent Commanders.

Sylvanas Windrunner has a spot in the deck with Ancestral Spirit.  When she dies and takes a minion back to your side she resurrects to do it all over for a second time.

Windfury would have a home in the deck if there was space.  Nothing says ”At least I got chicken” more than a double Rockbitten and Windfury'ed Leeroy going to the face for 24 damage on turn 8.

 

Match-ups

 

 

Mid game and token decks have been popular.  Hex and Earth shock as needed to stop tokens from being generated and Lightning Storm to clear. Shaman’s cards offer better scaling and trade well with Druids.  Just be careful of Roar as the game gets longer.

 

This is the hardest matchup for Shamans right now.  Shamans by nature have a lot of minions in play from totems and wolves.  Be careful of Unleash the Hounds.  Also a note about the Blademaster combo.  If you draw into this early do not play it without at least one other minion or totem in play or expect a Deadly Shot.
 
 
Take note of Polymorphs and do not over commit the board for Flamestrikes.   As you near turn 7+  have a removal tool ready for Archmage.  If you can’t address him in one turn you might as well concede.
 

Paladin aggro has been a fairly popular ladder deck.  Much like Murlock or Zoo matchups try to mulligan for early taunt, removal, and AOE damage.  If possible keep a smaller hand so Divine Favor doesn't draw a ton of cards.  This will allow you to out-pace the aggro deck.  Make sure to not overcommit the board to prevent losing to Equality + Consecration combo.

 

Nothing challenging really here.  Just be aware of Mind Controls and tricks with Inner Fire and Divine Spirit.  Earth Shocks and Hexs love those minions.

 

Miracle rogue is really the only style you will encounter much of for now.  Get rid of Auctioneers asap to prevent snowballing.  Also Bladefury could ruin your life if you over commit.

Be cautious of the same shocks and hex that you use.  These will make all your Ancestral fun turn fowl quickly if you don’t keep track of what your opponent could have.
 

Murlock and Zoo are not hard to take care of but you do need a strong early hand to control them.  Mulligan everything for Feral Spirit, Lightning Storm, or Blademaster combo.  If you can hold on through turn 6-7 you will win.  Handlock is actually an easy matchup for this deck. Drakes die to Earth Shock and Hexs / Black Knight combo eliminate most of the big threats.

Control Well Paid Warrior decks are all the rage right now... Get it?  See what I did there?  Just like Handlock this is a good match up due to all the removal the Shaman deck has.

 

 

Pro player feedback

 

Hello, Alan! This deck that you sent in is very interesting, and I have tried a deck pretty similar to it in the past. Although some of the cards in the deck, such as the Ancestral Healing/Injured Blademaster combo, are very hit and miss, if you pull these combos off they can be game winning. I understand the concept of the deck and the way it plays, and I have a few suggestions that might help even further the success of it.

 

-1 Leeroy Jenkins -  I understand the reasoning why this card is in the deck; to combo it with Ancestral Spirit and get double use out of his charge effect in one turn. I personally only use Leeroy in really bursty decks or rush decks, and I don't feel like this deck falls in either of those categories. I would only use Leeroy in a Shaman deck with Windfury, and I wouldn't recommend adding it to this deck because it already has too many situational cards going for it.

-1 Ragnaros the Firelord/Al'Akir the Windlord - I feel like having both a Ragnaros and an Al'Akir in the deck is a bit too much. I feel like Al'Akir has better synergy with this deck because on turn 10, Al'Akir/Ancestral Spirit can be devastating for your opponent because you can use it's charge effect with divine shield twice in the same turn.

-1 Gadgetzan Auctioneer - This card is great in Shaman, but I think having 2 of them in the deck is a bit too many. I understand that cards like Ancestral Healing need to be cycled when they become dead cards but there are 3 cards that allow you to put them to good use, 2 Injured Blademasters and 1 Gadgetzan; I believe this is enough.

-1 Defender of Argus - I feel like there isn't enough minions in this deck to be put to good enough use. Sure, there are totems that you could play each turn, but I feel like they are going to be cleared fairly easily by your opponent because this deck has such a slow opening unless you pull off the Injured Blademaster combo off on turn 3. Even doing this, most of the time there wouldn't be two minions to Argus on turn 4. Also, ancestral healing automatically gives taunt to the Injured Blademaster and any other card you play it on, so I feel like a stand alone card like Sen'jin Shieldmasta is much more efficient. The Shieldmasta can also be Ancestral Spirited for a solid amount of value.

-1 Lightning Storm - I feel like two of these with no spell damage in the deck, except the spell totems, is too much. A lot of the time I feel that spell damage is needed to get off a good lightning storm. If you're forced to take the 25% chance to get the spell damage totem to be able to play it efficiently, it's not going to be efficient enough. Also, this card does not do very well in the hunter matchup, which is the matchup you say you struggle most against.

 

+1 Earth Elemental - This card has very good synergy with Ancestral Spirit and is extremely powerful. Also, this card could help a lot in the Hunter matchup as well. If you play this minion on an empty board against Hunter, there isn't much they can do about it except Hunter's Mark and play another card, such as Unleash the Hound or Arcane Shot, to kill it. In my experience, most rush Hunters do not play Deadly Shot, so this usually isn't something you need to worry about. Even if they silence it, they are going to have an extremely hard time keeping up with the 7 damage this minion is dishing out every turn and can always be re-taunted up by Ancestral Healing.

+1 Ancestral Spirit - I feel like this deck is asking for another one of these. If you put one of these Ancestral Spirits on a Cairne, it is absolutely disguisting. As if 1 Cairne was hard enough to deal with, for only 2 mana more they have to deal with another.

+1 Faceless Manipulator - I think this is a staple in a deck with Ancestral Spirit. If you ancestral spirit a minion, then faceless it, the Ancestral Spirit effect also gets carried onto the new Manipulated minion. For instance, if you Ancestral Spirit a Cairne, then Faceless Manipulator it, you're essentially getting 8 Yetis out of it.

+1 Mana Tide Totem/Nat Pagle - With so many combos in this deck, card draw is pretty crucial to have. If you are stuck with combo pieces in hand, and nothing to combo them with, it can lose you the game. I personally prefer having a second Manatide Totem, but others prefer to have Nat Pagle to help smooth out the curve a bit better. I'm not a big fan of this card after the nerf, with the 50/50 card drawing being at the beginning of the turn instead of the end, it automatically counts for one less chance to draw a card.

+1 Sen'jin Shieldmasta - I feel this is a good replacement for Defender of Argus because it can be played on T4 without any regrets. I personally find it hard to have a good turn to play Argus, even in classes that have hero power that makes tokens. I usually just end up using the Argus on 1 minion, which isn't enough value for its cost. Senj'in is just better in most cases and as I mentioned earlier, can be Ancestral Spirited for a good amount of value.

 

I hope these suggestions I mentioned help you out! I enjoyed taking a look at a deck that's not so common and trying to put my own twist and thought into it. If you ever want to talk about this deck more indepth or a new deck that you've come up with, you can find me in the dontkickmyrobot.com forums. Also, thank you to anybody who took their time to read this article, I hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

 

Thanks to Team DKMR for their feedback. Make sure to follow them at their channels:
 

 


 

 
   

 

 

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