Deck of the Week 20 – Shaman Ladder Deck

A look at an old standard deck, the Shaman Ladder deck, and how it can be updated to be useful and competitive in the new Goblins vs Gnomes meta. Better yet, it is a relatively cheap deck to make, meaning it is good for new players to use.

Welcome to the Messiah's series of articles that examine popular, powerful, or just plain different Hearthstone deck builds.  This week's entry is the second that looks at the decks that are being made with the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion set.  This first full expansion to Hearthstone has really shaken up the meta with many great new cards and combinations.

Shaman - Ladder Deck

The deck I am looking at is a deck made specifically to get through the ladder and into the higher levels including all the way to Legendary status.  While it is an old standard that has been around for a while, I have seen a lot of updated decks in the ladder based on this deck over the last week, and as a result have recently started running one of my own as well.

This deck is an awesome deck for new players getting into the game because it is both extremely powerful and cheap to build. While it can be made on the cheap, there are several ways to upgrade it once you have collected some more powerful cards. 

Here is the version of the deck that I am correctly using, and one that is heavily based on Tsafy’s original version of the deck.

Deck List:

  • Shaman Cards:
    • 2x Earth Shock
    • 2x Crackle
    • 2x Rockbiter Weapon
    • 2x Flametongue Totem
    • 2x Feral Spirit
    • 2x Hex
    • 2x Lightning Storm
    • 1x Mana Totem
    • 2x Fire Elemental
    • 1x Al’Akir the Windlord
    • (Use a second Argent Commander if you do not have Al’Akir)
  • Neutral Cards
    • 1x Acidic Swamp Ooze
    • 2x Annoy-o-Tron
    • 2x Harvest Golem
    • 1x Big Game Hunter
    • 2x Defender of Argus
    • 1x Antique Healbot
    • 2x Azure Drake
    • 1x Argent Commander


This deck is all about getting the most out of each card that you draw.  Each one is strong all on it’s own, but put together they are even stronger. 

Crackle and Lightning Storm – Both of these cards help you remove enemy minions and are therefore very strong at any point in the game.

Annoy-o-Tron – This minion is fast becoming a staple early defense card in many decks.  For only 2 mana you get a minion that is 1/2 with both taunt and divine shield.  This makes it very hard to deal with in the early game.

Feral Spirit – This has been a go to card for Shaman decks for a long time, and continues to be one.  At 3 mana for two 2/3 minions with taunt there is little to complain about.  Sure, it’s really 5 mana due to the overcharge(2), but being able to get those 2 minions out on turn 3 can swing the early game massively in your favour.

Hex – This is an amazing removal card and should be saved for the late game for especially powerful enemy minions.  Do not be tempted to use it too early as that will leave you short later in the game.

Antique Healbot – This card provides a lot of recovery for very little mana.  When you end up facing off against an agro deck that gets a few good draws at the beginning of the game, you will be extremely happy to draw this card.

Azure Drake – While this is an original Hearthstone card, it still retains its value and power.  After all what is there to complain about with a 4/4 minion with spell power and a card draw for 5 mana.

Fire Elemental and Al’Akir – Both of these cards are late game cards meant to help you win the game at the end.  Fire Elemental will help clear out enemy minions on the turn it comes into play and can then slam into your opponent for some big damage on the next turn.  Al’Akir the Windlord can deal out a lot of damage, especially when teamed up with a Rockbiter weapon on the turn he enters play.


This deck is short on turn one cards but has several amazing turn two and three cards.  This means that there are several strong cards you should look at getting for your turn two and later.

Ideally you would like to get Annoy-o-Tron, Harvest Golem, and Feral Spirit.


This deck is all about getting value trades and keeping control of the game by clearing the board and then hitting your opponent when you can.  The deck has many options for doing this so it should play out fairly easily at the basic levels.

How to play this deck well though, really depends on who you are playing against.  For example when you face off against classes with big minions make sure you slow play a little and hold onto Hex for that big minion.  When playing against an agro deck you will want to keep cards like Lightning Storm around and hold onto them until they will get huge value by clearing 3 or more minions. Against other decks that have significant amounts of AOE such as Priest, Mage, or Warlock you should slow play and make them use their AOE against only 1 or 2 minions at a time.

Overall, the deck is fairly simple to play and win games.  The better you get at understanding what is likely to come at you from your opponent the better it gets due to the options that it has available to it.


This deck type is quickly evolving online as it is still very new.  There are many options out there that are still being explored by players, here are just a few of them:

Zombie Chow – This card is used in many of the variants of this deck.  However, I have found lately in the meta that it sticks around too long and grants back too much health to your opponent.  It does however provide a solid turn 1 option, so may be a good substitution.

Doomhammer – A great weapon and one that can provide a lot of late game power.  However, there are too many weapon removal cards floating around, and I have been burned by Harrison Jones too many times to count, hence I only occasionally use it.

Harrison Jones – As mentioned above, this card can really turn the tables on someone using weapons.  Therefore if you are seeing a lot of decks with weapons, then it may be time to add one of your own in.

Loatheb – An amazing card, and one that I strongly suggest using, but not until you are above rank 5.  Before that there are too many agro decks and I find that he doesn’t do enough to justify the deck space.


This deck, while basic, is a lot of fun to play.  It stands a decent chance against pretty much everything out there.  That makes it a great deck for anyone getting into Hearthstone, and therefore one that I recommend new players creating and playing with for a while.

If you have comments on this deck, how you would change it, how you have been doing with it, make your thoughts known in the comment section below.

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About The Author

Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.

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