This is the second time I've ever hit Legend, but it's the first time I've hit Legend with a homebrew deck, so it feels pretty satisfying!
I've been playing very little this month, barely hitting Rank 5 before Christmas Eve, until I had the realization Even Shaman could work really well in a meta without Spreading Plague or Mind Control Techs (since Odd Paladin isn't as dominant anymore). However, I wanted to add my own twist into it, and so this deck was born. I don't have any stats since I mostly played on mobile, but it took me about 8 hours of playing throughout Christmas to finally reach Legend.
Proof of Legend: https://imgur.com/a/ag37vTB
### Even Archivist Shaman
# Class: Shaman
# Format: Standard
# Year of the Raven
# 2x (2) Bluegill Warrior
# 2x (2) Brrrloc
# 2x (2) Dire Wolf Alpha
# 2x (2) Flametongue Totem
# 2x (2) Knife Juggler
# 2x (2) Murkspark Eel
# 2x (2) Primalfin Totem
# 2x (4) Corpsetaker
# 1x (4) Murloc Tastyfin
# 2x (4) Spellbreaker
# 2x (6) Argent Commander
# 1x (6) Genn Greymane
# 2x (6) Rain of Toads
# 1x (8) Al'Akir the Windlord
# 2x (8) Grand Archivist
# 1x (8) The Lich King
# 2x (10) Sea Giant
As you can see, this deck differs quite a lot from the traditional Even Shaman list.
The game plan isn't too different from the usual Even Shaman one, so I can't really say anything helpful here: just control the board, hit the face. However, this deck has the ability to ignore the board more often with the help of Brrrlocs and Rain of Toads. Also, in current meta, you can often go very wide with the board as you don't have to be afraid of Spreading Plague. Don't play around AoE all that much, especially if you have a Rain of Toads or an Archivist in hand as they allow for a nice reload even if your board gets cleared.
- 2x Grand Archivist
- 2x Rain of Toads
- (-2x Hex)
The namesake of this deck, Grand Archivist. It works really well as a reload after getting your board AoE'd, it can just simply seal out games by bringing out 10/19 worth of stats with 8 mana, the Toads it brings out can protect more valuable targets like Sea Giants. If you happen to have both Rain of Toads in your deck after you've played Archivist, it gets even more insane, and often just the fear of another Rain of Toads being pulled out means opponents will often use their hard removal on Archivist instead of Lich King or Sea Giants.
The Toads obviously have synergy with Dire Wolfs and Flametongues, and you can get a few knife juggles out of them sometimes as well. Even on its own, Rain of Toads is a really good card in Even Shaman: 4 health minions are pretty hard to remove in the current meta as Duskbreakers, the Wolfs from Emerald Spellstone, Flanking Strikes, Bloodmage + Consecration won't be able to remove them.
Because of this package, some sacrifices had to be made such as taking out the Hexes and the Earthen Mights usually ran in Even Shaman, but honestly, there's been very few moments when I could've used a Hex instead of a Brrrloc or a Spellbreaker, since this deck can often win games before a Hex would've even made a difference.
- 2x Bluegill Warrior
- 2x Brrrloc
- 1x Murloc Tastyfin
This package is a direct response to not having Hexes in the deck. The Bluegill Warriors provide more burst for a deck that wants to close games as soon as possible since there's really no way to remove targets like The Lich King or recruited Witchwood Grizzlies. They also often work as removal for smaller minions.
The Brrrlocs have definitely won games for me. Being able to freeze Hunters, Paladins or Warriors to get a few more attacks in before they start removing your Corpsetakers or Flametongues wins games and being able to ignore a Mountain Giant, a Twilight Drake or a big Zombeast for a turn wins games.
Both of these minions are so important in different matchups (especially against Evenlock) to me that I wanted to include Murloc Tastyfin as a tutor for them. I originally had two of them, but as they're Murlocs themselves, they often ended up tutoring each other instead of actually giving me the stuff I wanted.
- 2x Spellbreaker
These are pretty damn good in today's meta. Being able to silence Devilsaur Eggs, Twilight Drakes, Spikeridged Steeded minions, Zilliax, Lifesteal Zombeasts, and Taunts in general has been a godsend for an aggressive deck, especially for a Shaman deck that can't run Hex.
- 2x Menacing Nimbus
- 2x Earthen Might
- 2x Fire Elemental
Since we can't run Earthen Might, I didn't see much value in having Elementals in the deck, removing Nimbuses and Fire Elementals in favor of Knife Jugglers and Argent Commanders. That being said, including Fire Elementals instead of cards like Lich King or Sea Giants might make sense, since you're going to be overloaded for 3 around turn 9 or 10 anyway and won't be able to play more expensive cards. Didn't experiment with this, however, but it's a possible improvement for the deck.
- Hagatha the Witch
Honestly, I don't even have the card, but even if I did, it just wouldn't make sense in this deck. This deck is more aggressive than your typical Even Shaman and doesn't really want a slow value generating card as it goes against its game plan. Even The Lich King barely made the cut in this deck: at the very least it's a big taunt, and many of the DK cards (Death Grip against Mecha'thun Priest/Warlock, Doom Pact as a comeback card) work as an out.
- Scarab Eggs
Many newer Even Shaman lists have experimented with them, and so did I, but I didn't really find them useful. Sure, they synergize well with Dire Wolfs and Flametongues, but the pay-off isn't worth that much: three 1/1s can easily be cleared and sometimes they even take too much space on the board. I have been experimenting with another token-heavier Even Shaman list with Sneaky Devils and the Eggs in it, but it hasn't worked out that well for me.
Match-up specific advice:
I'm only going to cover the decks I mostly played against during my climb to Legend.
Most Hunter decks right now work the same way, even if it's Spell Hunter, Deathrattle Hunter or Recruit Hunter.
Overall, I'd say the Hunter matchup is slightly favored, since you can get a pretty crazy board in the early game while Hunters typically don't play many minions early. Don't pop any secrets unless you absolutely have to, and when you do, Bluegills (and Argent Commanders I guess) are very good for testing for secrets. Saving a Spellbreaker in the mulligan is a good idea, but I wouldn't actively mulligan for one as I didn't face that many Deathrattle Hunters during my climb. Play against Deathstalker Rexxar's 2 damage AoE by playing 3 health minions over 2 health ones in the early game: it's important to have something stick after the Rexxar battlecry to keep the pressure going.
During my climb, I mostly faced OTK Paladin, with some Even and Odd Paladins.
OTK Paladin is very much a favored matchup: they don't really do much in the early game besides hope to draw some AoE and even then you're able to get a decent reload most of the time. Keep in mind that Lifesteal doesn't work against Divine Shielded minions: I won a game by denying heal from OTK Paladin by making trades in a way that allowed me to keep Corpsetaker's or Al'Akir's Divine Shield up, denying the Paladin from getting healed by Zilliax or the 5/3 Lifesteal weapon.
Even and Odd Paladins are also a favored matchup for this deck as our early game is just too strong compared to theirs. Knife Juggler also really shines against these decks.
The worst matchup for this deck is Big Spell Mage: they have way too much AoE and they can gain way too much Health and Armor for this deck to compete. However, Big Spell Mage doesn't seem to be that popular right now as I only played against one during my climb.
Odd Mage is also an unfavorable matchup: the best chance of winning is a turn 4 Corpsetaker and getting lucky with the mulligan since you're going to need 3-health minions for something to live the 2 damage Hero Power. The game is pretty much over if they manage to play Frost Lich Jaina.
Clone/Big Priest is very much a favorable matchup as they can't deal with the early game aggression. Also, our boards are often pretty resistant against Mass Hysteria with the multiple 0-attack minions.
Quest (Mecha'thun) Priest is an even matchup. We lose if they get to play Amara and they lose if they don't. What you can do is denying draw and Twilight's Call summons from the Priest by freezing their Deathrattle minions, silencing their Loot Hoarders/Thalnos and getting your 0/2 Taunt totem up.
Odd Rogue is the only Rogue archetype I played against a few times during my climb. The matchup is unfavored, as we have many 2-health minions and the Hero Power together with SI-7 Agent can efficiently clear them, and we don't have a good way to deal with Hench-Clan Thugg (Bluegill + Flametongue works, Spellbreaker weakens it but they can just trade into it with the silenced Thugg). Again, as with Odd Mage, try to mulligan for 3-health minions (or Brrrloc in this case).
I only played against Evenlock during my climb. The matchup is pretty even, maybe very slightly favored for us. Mulligan for Brrrlocks and Spellbreakers. If you can afford playing against Defile, do it. For example, don't play Primalfin Totem if you don't have to because it often sets up for a Defile, and don't use Hero Power if the 1/1 totem can set you up for a devastating Defile. Don't care about the 15 health "barrier" for Hooked Reaver, it's not really worth it and sometimes you can trick your opponent into thinking you have a Hex/Spellbreaker by not playing around it.
Completely forgot about this class for some reason when working on this guide. I did run into some Odd Warriors, and the matchup is unfavored but definitely not unwinnable. You definitely have to play around AoE in this matchup. Try to bait Brawls before the big Archivist combo turn. Trade Primalfin murlocs in to play against Brawl. Try to mulligan for a really aggressive start with Murkspark Eels, Bluegills and such to keep his armor down to not get Reckless Flurry'd on Turn 3-4.
In conclusion, I think the Archivist/Rain of Toads package is something more Even Shaman players should explore as I had great results with it. I do not have an opinion on whether this list is for sure better than the traditional one, but I'd argue it definitely works better in this specific meta. If anyone wants to experiment with the list, I'd look at replacing the Lich King and the Sea Giants with some 6-drops to have something big to play during the Overloaded turns.
Also, this was my first time doing a deck write-up, so the formatting might suck and I might've forgotten something, so if you have any questions, ask away!
I've had very good results with swapping 1 Argent Commander for a Fire Elemental, so I've changed the decklist accordingly.