(I made a decklist post in the site, here, but I also want to discuss it in the forums if possible. Thanks)
Hi, my name is Danteh and I’m a regular Legend player, although lately I had been a little disenchanted by the endless Control Warrior matchups and left Hearthstone for a bit. The new expansion seemed amazing though, so I gave it a shot. And I’m loving it.
Let me present you the (IMO) most optimized version of Battlecry Shaman!
This list carried me through 12 wins (proof below), and my only loses were due to a Mech Hunter who had the nuts (double galvanizer and way too much tempo) and a Control Warrior game in which my last card was... Shudderwock. Had it been even the 29th card, I would have easily won, but alas, on the 50/50 of my last turn I drew a Novice Engineer and he had exact lethal.
I did beat 5 warriors on the way (yes, many of them with Dr. Boom on curve), quite easily actually, and I think a great aspect of the deck is that, if played correctly, it has close to a 85% winrate against Control Warrior. Its worst matchup is probably Mech Hunter but it’s not that bad at all (around 45/55), you have to mulligan aggressively for Sandstorm Elemental and, as a plan B, for Sandbinder. With these cards it becomes very winnable.
So before I go through some of my specific card choices, I want to explain the “secret tactic” to beating Warrior. It’s actually quite specific, and you will NOT win if you just play the game “normally”, they have way too much value and board clears for us to keep pace, even if it seems strange.
The way you beat Warrior is with Mojomaster Zihi. This forgotten card was VERY used in the Even/Odd era, but for some reason people have forgotten him. Do not sleep on it, he’s extremely good against almost all Control matchups and specifically, Warrior. Without him, I’d say the matchup is around 25/75 or lower. With him, its around 85/15 or so. The strategy goes as follows:
Mull as usual for Sludge Slurper and EVIL Totem (play this one with the coin, before the quest, if you have it in the opening) as well as other cheap cycling cards. It may seem weird, but against Warrior DO NOT MULL AWAY Mojomaster Zihi nor Shudderwock, since they are the key to winning and they don’t pressure you at all, so it’s fine to keep them.
For the most part, at the beginning you should play the game as usual, and complete the quest as fast as possible. T4 or T5 is the average.
Go face as hard as you can and almost never make trades except against the 1/3 gain armor dude or if it’s a really favorable trade. Getting him at least in the 20 health range (something quite doable) is key, since the deck has a ton of reach.
Don’t overextend and always double battlecry the Former Champs. Also, try to accrue as much burn as possible with the discovery minions, and possibly a bloodlust.
Try to bait at least a Brawl (the best way is to evolve a Fleshshaper along with some other dudes and make a big board, or with several Former Champs, since otherwise they take too much damage). If you bait the two Brawls your chances of winning are almost 100%, if you bait 1, still very high, if neither have been baited, you are still favored but it will be more difficult.
Here comes the important part: HOLD ON THE MOJOMASTER ZIHI UNTIL TURN 9! That is, play it in the last turn before they would hit T10. This is because Control Warrior is merely a very good deck from Turns 1 to 9, but becomes a truly disgusting, broken deck when they hit T10 and all their “Mech Ancestral Recalls” and Devastators become active. T10 for Warrior is like hitting Super Sayan.
This will severely slow them down, and you can keep away chipping away damage. You will almost always catch them by surprise too, and they will be a bit confused about what to do since they had their T10 plays all planned up.
Now, the actual “secret” and the reason that Mojomaster Zihi is so important is not because of it initial battlecry (which is still very good at slowing them down), but because of its interaction with Shudderwock. After to have played several Lifedrinkers, tons of lackeys and as many Former Champs as possible (as well as, if possible, Ziamat and a few Defender of Argus), play.. THE SHUDDERWOCK. Mind you, you don’t have to rush it very much but don’t wait too much either, just make sure you will create a big board after it and that it will drain the opponent for a bit.
After doing the Shudderwock thing, you will have a very big board, a full hand of lackeys ready to machine gun your opponent, and some extra spells.
The opponent will be at 6 mana. They cannot clear your board except with brawl (and they’ll still leave a minion). They cannot Devastator you or 5-time Warpath you, or Warpath-Plague you, or really do much with 6 mana, since their usual sequences are quite mana intensive. They are super gimped.
As I said, if they didn’t have any Brawls left, you instawin. If they did, you have a full hand of lackeys and spells to burn them down, and some board. Even if they survive the next turn, they still have 4 turns left to get to T10 and do their broken stuff, so you are extremely favored to win. Just keep creating small boards and chipping them down if the burn wasn’t enough, which usually is.
Voila! Enjoy your victory.
Now, as for the other card choices and omissions, I’ll go through the most relevant ones:
Questing Explorer: I see some discussion saying this card is not good. Don’t listen to them. This card is AMAZING. This card has one of the highest drawn-to-winrate percentage according to HSreplay, and with good reason, since it cycles, gives you a good body, gives you tempo and smoothes your draw a ton. The fact that it’s bad after the quest is not that relevant, since at that point you are already doing pretty broken stuff. Play 2 of these for sure.
Sandbinder: I love this dude as a 1-of. You REALLY need the Sandstorm Elementals against aggro and this guy gives you a lot of consistency, plus it has a nice body. It also gets Siamat, which is a catch-all card in all matchups.
Defender of Argus: these guys have been very good against aggro and midrange and mediocre against control. They can sometimes really swing the game by allowing you to value trade and even protect yourself or other minions, and they become really powerful after the quest and with the rush Lackey. Against some Control decks it’s difficult to keep a board to buff though, so this is probably the only flex spot which I’d consider. Right now, for the sake of testing, I’m trying a -1 Defender, +1 Fire Elemental list, but that may be worse than the original, 12-win configuration. I like optimizing and trying everything though. As a side note, they are really good with Shudderwock too, since they will significantly beef up your board
Siamat: this guy is nuts in general, and moreso in Battlecry Shaman, and I don’t know why some lists are not playing him. At 7, it’s a catch-all solution that can kill 2 big creatures, or protect you, or even present a difficult to kill Windfury minion. With the hero power though, it’s a superpowered Divine Shield, Windfury, Rush, Taunt minion that is absolutely disgusting. Plus, Shudderwock ALSO usually gets some combination of Divine Shield, Windfury or Rush for the big turn.
Mojomaster Zihi: I’ve already written an essay about how good he is against Control Warrior, but he is also good against Highlander Mage, other control strategies and top-heavy decks in general. I would advise you to play him on curve or at T7-8 against most non-Warrior decks though, since it also slows you down and its true power comes when using him with Shudderwock.
Vulpera Scoundrel: although she (?) is pretty stock, some people are also questioning the slot. I think the card is great, offers you some nice options early one, fits your curve perfectly with a decent body, and advances the quest. I really like Vulpera overall in this kind of deck.
Mutate: I really don’t like gimmicky cards that do nothing except in some specific situations. Sure, its great with Fleshshaper and Former Champ, but so is the evolve lackey, and its still not a game-winning play since they can usually remove the dude. In all other occasions, it’s a card which will rot in your hand without advancing the quest and do nothing most of the time.
Swampqueen Hagatha: I think this is a pretty good card in general, but a bit too slow in many matchups. Plus, the shaman spells are quite crappy at the moment so the result is usually not worth it. If Shaman had mage-like level spells, this card would be broken, obviously. For now, though, I wouldn’t think it’s bad if you put it in the deck, but I also don’t think it’s worth it. If you have it, you can try it in the Defender of Argus/Fire Elemental slot, if not, don’t waste your dust on it.
Bog Slosher: I did play this card in my early builds, since it has amazing synergy with Fleshshaper and can speed your quest completion a bit. However, I started losing games because its interaction with Shudderwock is not good, and you can end up destroying your precious board because of him, as well as clogging your hand with useless Hotshots. I do NOT recommend him.
Barista Lynchen: I think Barista is way too much of a win-more card, and will usually get you a few random 1/1 minions and not much else. I think you are much better off using some of the other tempo-oriented cards from my list and ignore the Starbucks lady.
Hagatha (Hero card): I didn’t think I’d have to explain this card here, but since I’ve seen SEVERAL quest shaman opponents play it: FFS, do NOT play this card in this deck, lol. The Heart of Vir’nal Hero Power is broken, Hagatha is not, especially here. Stay away from her!
Hope you liked the Deck Tech and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.