[Wild Meta Guide] Even Shaman
Hello and welcome to the first edition of Hearthstone-Decks.net’s Wild Meta Guide. This article is classified as a “Meta Guide,” rather than the usual “Meta Report”. We feel typical Meta Reports are too simplistic and are insufficient in explaining why a deck is well-positioned in the meta.
They focus mainly on explaining the surface of the deck and its general gameplan, rather than producing quality and in-depth article that highlights the deck’s advantages/disadvantages, nuances, deck theory, and much more. There is room to improve with regard to writing Meta Reports, and therefore we decided to classify what we produce as Meta Guides, which is a Meta Report containing several articles, each pertaining to a certain class/deck.
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Deck archetypes are ordered by strength with the strongest variant of a deck in mind. Most decks contain multiple variants, which may differ in viability or may be intended to counter different metas. Understand that the 4th most viable variant of, for example, Shudderwock Shaman, may not be better than the strongest variant of a weaker archetype.
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Even Shaman - Decklists
A short introduction
Since the release of Baku/Genn in Witchwood, Even Shaman has been one of the best decks in both Standard and Wild. It was thought that a 1-mana Hero Power and Murkspark Eel would not be strong enough incentives to justify restricting the deck to only even cards, giving up classic powerful Midrange Shaman cards such as Tunnel Trogg and Bloodlust. However, Even Shaman has time and time again proven itself to be a format mainstay due to the synergistic nature of Totem cards, as well as how efficiently Murkspark Eel controls the early game boards.
This has made cards like Draenei Totemcarver not only playable, but massive early threat worth building around. In the latter half of 2019, it was thought that Even Shaman was declining due to the prevalence of Secret Mage and the printing of Plague of Flames. However, recent experimentation featuring neglected Saviors of Uldum cards like Splitting Axe and Totemic Surge has completely reinvigorated Even Shaman, cementing its place among the most powerful decks in the game. These newly discovered additions helped make a Totem focused version of Even Shaman one of the best decks in the format.
Even Shaman has a very straightforward gameplan. Lock up the board on turns 1-3 then start playing the massive swing cards on turn 4. The 1-mana Hero Power combined with Murkspark Eel, Totem Golem, Totemic Surge, and Totemic Might present an uphill battle for opponents looking to fight for the board in the early turns. Utilizing your board of Totems, you can start making strong plays like Splitting Axe, Flamewreath Faceless, and Draenei Totemcarver going into turn 4 to present either multiple mid-sized threats or an additional giant-sized threat. Once board control has been established, the Even Shaman can then start to close out the game with a rapid clock.
» Deck Versions
There are currently two versions of Even Shaman on ladder right now: the Overload variant and the Totem variant. While they are both Even Shaman at their core, the lists vary by roughly ten cards. For the mulligan both want to keep the same cards most of the time: Totem Golem, Thing from Below, Totemic Surge, and in the Totem variant Totemic Might could be kept as well. Splitting Axe is only worth keeping if you have Totem Golem or other ways to protect your totems.
Totem Even Shaman
Turns out, Splitting Axe making copies of Totem Golem, EVIL Totem ,and the Basic Totems turn Even Shaman into a deck that can go wide very fast, while still dealing lots of damage thanks to the addition of Totemic Surge. This seemingly innocuous spell can be thought of as a 0-mana permanent Savage Roar for the Even Shamans Totems. Totemic Might has also proven to be very powerful after years of dormancy, with the +2 health on all Totems allowing for efficient value trades and board clear resistance. This sets up back-breaking turn 4 plays because of how hard the Totems are to trade into or remove with board clears.
Even without Totemic Surge and Splitting Axe, the Even Shaman can still use the age-old gameplan of playing overstated 4 drops on curve alongside 0 mana 5/5s and Sea Giants to overwhelm the opponent. Descent of Dragons gave Even Shaman Squallhunter, which is very strong when paired with spells – so much so that some lists are cutting Flamewreath Faceless to make space for it. Flamewreath Faceless competing at the 4-mana slot while also Overloading for 2 makes playing two copies of Flamewreath Faceless and Squallhunter susceptible to clunky hands, and so most lists opt against 2 copies of both.
Overload Even Shaman
This archetype is the weaker of the two Even Shaman variants: That’s because it is less explosive than the Totem variant. What it does better than the Totem Even Shaman is controlling the board. Thunderhead, Likkim, and Sandstorm Elemental do a much better job at maintaining board control in the very early turns. This means that the Overload variant is better into other Aggro decks, but worse into Control/Combo decks.
Similarly to the Totem Even Shaman, this deck also plays the same overstated minions, such as Flamewreath Faceless and Sea Giant, while additionally running Fireguard Destroyers. Overload Even Shaman can pressure much more heavily in the Midgame and close out games with Vessina and Crackles. It is worth noting that Overload Even Shaman is the best variant to support Vessina because there are more Overload cards in it compared to the Totem version. Vessina’s Bloodlust-like effect can be activated much more consistently in Overload Even Shaman than with Totem Even Shaman.
Players have experimented with a variety of tech options in Even Shamans. The most notable are Golakka Crawler, Windfury, Vessina, Eater of Secrets, Kezan Mystic, Storm Bringer, and Octosari. These cards have swung bad matchups into good matchups at the cost of making non targeted matchups worse. Some tech cards are more general than others targeting specific archetypes, while others are much more narrow targeting specific matchups.
The most general of the tech cards are those that target control and combo decks. These cards are Windfury, Stormbringer, and Octosari. The more specific tech cards are Golakka Crawler and Eater of Secrets. Since they are so specific it is generally bad to include these unless you are playing against an unusually large amount of Pirates or Secret Mages. Even with the inclusion of these tech cards, do not expect them to single-handedly win you the game.
» Windfury and Vessina
Windfury and Vessina offer additional reach, which allows fewer minions to do more damage. This is particularly advantageous in matchups where your board is constantly at the risk of getting cleared. When these cards are timed correctly, they can win the game on the spot. Windfury, in particular, is a risky tech because it is terrible in the Aggro mirror. It does nothing in the early turns and if the Even Shaman falls behind in the mid-game, the card becomes a brick in hand because the Even Shaman will never be able to attack with a minion worth putting windfury on. Vessina, on the other hand, is much easier to play into Aggro because it is a minion. This alone puts it way above Windfury.
» Octosari and The Storm Bringer
Octosari and Stormbringer also target Control and Combo decks but in different ways. These cards allow the Even Shaman to get back into a game that it is losing. This is usually what you want in a tech card. Storm Bringer, in particular, excels at this because it can also be used to get back into the game in Aggro mirrors as well. When the Even Shamans Lackeys and Totems becoming random legendaries, they are no longer a measly token to be ignored. Octosari is not as good in the Aggro mirror but is especially potent against Contro/Combo.
Specific Tech Options
Golakka Crawler, Eater of Secrets, and Kezan Mystic are narrow tech cards. They have very limited use and unless there is a large amount of the specific matchups you are targeting they are not worth actively tanking your winrate.
» Golakka Crawler
Golakka Crawler against a Pirate deck puts the Even Shaman significantly ahead if played correctly. When used on a pirate it becomes a kill spell attached to a 3/4 body for two mana. On turn two this usually almost always puts the Even Shaman ahead on board and allows for the Even Shaman to set up a powerful turn four which usually wins them the game. If you do not hit the targeted matchup it’s still a decent minion which means that you are not hurting yourself too much.
» Eater of Secret and Kezan Mystic
Eater of Secrets and Kezan Mystic, are terrible tech cards – you should never play them! They are only good against one matchup in particular, which is Secret Mage, and usually, it’s not even enough to bring you back into the game, let alone win it. In theory, Eater of Secrets and Kezan Mystic should do well against Secret Mage, but in practice, they rarely work out.
The purpose of the Secrets in Secret Mage are to protect the minions. Targeting the Secrets usually means you are still behind on board, meaning the Secrets ultimately did their job and protected the Mage’s board. Additionally, outside the matchup, the cards’ weaknesses become even clearer, since they both have bad base stats and occupy that crucial four mana spot. Four mana is where you want cards like Splitting Axe, Flamewreath Faceless, and Thunderhead. Being forced to play either of these tech cards on turn four usually means the Even Shaman is not going to win because of how weak the turn was. If you are playing against a lot of Secret Mages, we strongly recommend changing decklists because neither the Overload or the Totem variant of Even Shaman have favorable matchups against Secret Mage.
How you beat Even Shaman consistently
Even Shaman is very strong but it does have its flaws. Some of its shortcomings are that it is weak to board clears, has no healing, has limited card draw, and has limited reach with cards like Jade Lightning falling out of favor to make room for the Totem package. Once the Even Shaman loses board it is almost impossible to get it back as the deck needs the board to operate. Some of the best decks you want to use to beat Even Shaman are Secret Mage, Odd Warrior, Odd Rogue, Mecha’thun Warlock, and Reno Priest.
Even Shaman relies on Totems in the early game in order to enable their turn four power plays. If you remove the Totems before turn four, their strongest turn can be hamstrung. Forcing an Even Shaman to use their turn four to comeback into the game usually means that they will be unable to close out the game before turn 10. With the game lasting that long, the cards that Even Shaman use become less impactful as the power level scales up. When this happens, the Even Shaman usually loses.
All the decks listed excel at destroying Even Shaman’s early game as well as being able to ignore or easily deal with the large minions that Even Shaman plays in the midgame. Reno Priest is possibly the strongest counter out of all the control decks. Huge healing combined with large amounts of board clears and strong single target removal, in addition to Shadowreaper Anduin, make it so that Even Shaman has a hard time doing anything past turn five.
The takeaway here is that any deck that can semi-reliably fend off early game aggression while subsequently dealing effectively with overstated minions in the midgame should thrive against Even Shaman.
Even Shaman going forward
Explosive evolution might push even shaman to be even stronger than it was previously. The main weakness of even shaman is falling behind in the early game. This might be remedied by the new 2 mana spell Explosive Evolution. Explosive evolution turns your basic totem into a random 4 drop on turn 2. The 4 drops that you can get range from being The Darkness to Nozdormu the Timeless.
This could win or lose you the game on the spot. The average though according to our Explosive Evolution Calculator (you can use the tool to see what minions are best to target) is a 3 power, 4 health minion. Compared to earthen might, this is on average better. It does, however, lose the totem synergies which could make it worse overall. This card feels strong enough to test and it would not be surprising if the card made it into both lists.
All Even Shaman Decklists
We just featured 2 versions in a total of a lot of versions of Even Shaman, but there are a lot more. For this reason, we feature the newest lists we posted on this website below.
- [Theorycraft] Even Shaman – DuncanSmith_hs August 3, 2020
- [Theorycraft] Even Shaman – Photon_HS August 3, 2020
- [Theorycraft] Even Shaman – SAM17HS August 2, 2020
- Even Big Shaman #471 Legend – hermit999 July 30, 2020
- Even Shaman #8 Legend – MemnarchHs July 30, 2020
- Even Shaman #16 Legend – DanilJS July 30, 2020
- Even Shaman #413 Legend – DuncanSmith_hs July 26, 2020
- Even Shaman #15 Legend – MemnarchHs July 16, 2020
- Even Shaman #200 Legend – 你多少沾点彩云 July 14, 2020
- Even Shaman #13 Legend – bebop4th July 10, 2020
Our other Wild Meta Guides
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