The Shaman class in Hearthstone is a class just like it is in World of Warcraft, a bit of a hybrid. It is capable of attacking with physical or magical attacks. The shaman is even a bit of a burst class, being able to put out huge amounts of damage very quickly. There are many ways you can chose to play the Shaman, and they can all work well.
The Shaman class also two unique abilities. The first is it's own minion type called totems and the second is a mechanic called Overload. Totems will be discussed in the next section as they are the Shamans Hero Power ability.
The Overload mechanic is found on many of the Shamans class cards and helps to enforce the burst damage ability of the class. The Overload mechanic essentially allows you to use mana from your next turn. While it does not let you use more mana than you have this turn, the cards than have it are far cheaper mana wise than they should be, but have an Overload (x) cost as well. A prime example of the overload mechanic is the Earth Elemental minion who is only 5 mana for a huge 7/8 minion with taunt. A minion like this would cost everyone else at least 8 mana, and in fact he costs the Shaman class that as well, but 5 the turn you cast him and 3 the following turn thanks to his Overload (3) cost on the card. This allows you to do more than you should be able to on a turn, but then less the following turn. Overload is just one of the ways that Shamans can but out huge burst damage.
As a Shaman in Hearthstone you will be represented by Thrall, who really needs no introduction.
As a Shaman your hero power is a really good one, for 2 mana you get to summon a random totem. The random part is what keeps it as a good ability and not a completely over the top ability. If you could chose which totem you wanted to summon, it would be way to good compared to everyone else's ability as it would provide exactly what you needed each turn.
When you summon a totem, the available totems that you could get are as follows:
|Shaman Totems (from Hero Power)|
|Healing Totem||2||0||2||At the end of your turn heal all damaged friendly minions for 1 health.|
|Wrath of Air Totem||2||0||2||+1 Spell Power|
These are just a few of the many burst type cards that a Shaman has to choose from.
When you first start a Shaman deck you will be granted many of the basic cards. In addition as you level up your Shaman deck you will gain the remainder of the basic class cards by the time you reach level 10.
|Basic Shaman Spells|
|Ancestral Healing||0||Restore a minion to full health and give it Taunt.|
|Frost Shock||1||Deal 1 damage to an enemy character and Freeze it.|
|Hex||3||Transform a minion into a 0/1 Frog with Taunt.|
|Rockbitter Weapon||1||Give a friendly character +3 attack this turn.|
|Windfury||2||Give a minion Windfury.|
|Bloodlust||5||Give your minions +3 attack this turn. [This card is gained at level 2]|
|Totemic Might||0||Give your Totems +2 health. [This card is gained at level 6]|
|Basic Shaman Minions|
|Flametongue Totem||2||0||3||(Totem) Adjacent minions have +2 Attack. [This card is gained at level 4]|
|Windspeaker||4||3||3||Battlecry: Give a friendly minion Windfury. [This card is gained at level 8]|
|Fire Elemental||6||6||5||Battlecry: Deal 3 damage.|
There are many additional Shaman cards than those listed above in the basic card section. These are the Expert cards and can be gained through the purchase or winning of expert card packs. Many of these cards are key to how the class plays and will be required to do well as a Shaman.
|Expert Shaman Spells|
|Ancestral Spirit||Rare||2||Choose a minion. When that minion is destroyed return it to the battlefield.|
|Earth Shock||Common||1||Silence a minion, then deal 1 damage to it.|
|Far Sight||Rare||3||Draw a card. That card costs (3) less.|
|Feral Spirit||Rare||3||Summon two 2/3 Spirit Wolves with Taunt. Overload (2).|
|Forked Lightning||Common||1||Deal 2 damage to 2 random enemy minions. Overload (2).|
|Lava Burst||Rare||3||Deal 5 damage. Overload (2).|
|Lightning Bolt||Common||1||Deal 3 damage. Overload (1).|
|Lightning Storm||Rare||3||Deal 2-3 damage to all enemy minions. Overload (2).|
|Expert Shaman Minions|
|Al'Akir the Windlord||Legendary||8||3||5||Windfury, Charge, Divine Shield, Taunt.|
|Dust Devil||Common||1||3||1||Windfury. Overload (2).|
|Earth Elemental||Epic||5||7||8||Taunt. Overload (3)|
|Mana Tide Totem||Rare||3||0||3||(Totem) At the end of your turn, draw a card.|
|Unbound Elemental||Common||3||2||4||Whenever you play a card with Overload, gain +1/+1.|
|Expert Shaman Equipment|
|Doomhammer||Epic||5||2||8||Windfury, Overload (2)|
|Stormforged Axe||Common||2||2||3||Overload (1)|
Combos are what can win most card games, and the Shaman class has some excellent combos available for it. First though let's look at some basic tips to get the most out of the class.
- Cards with Overload must be considered carefully before use. Sure they can provide a huge boost on the turn you use them, but they leave you vulnerable the following turn. Make sure you consider this fact, and plan accordingly.
- Shamans have many direct damage cards and can therefore generally keep pretty good board control. Use these direct damage spells, especially the cheaper ones, early in the game to keep the board clear for your minions.
- Totems can really boose your overall power level, by either providing taunt, healing, spell power or more. Make sure you try to summon totems as often as you can, because they get even better as you have more of them out.
Next up let's look at a few simple combos with the Shaman basic and expert cards.
- Timing is a key aspect for many of your cards and combos, make sure you don't use cards too early or at the wrong time. For example your Dust Devil minion can put out huge damage as it has 3 attack and windfury, however with its lowly 1 health you need to ensure you time its use for when the opponent has no minions on the board or when you have at least as many minions with taunt as they have minions.
- The Unbound Elemental card is an amazing minion that boosts in power as you use Overload cards. Make sure you save him until you have at least one such card in your hand and preferably more. Also, hold of casting him until you have enough mana to cast that card the same turn so that he is not as easy to kill off.
- Flametongue Totem grants a huge boost in attack power, however many players cast it too early. Wait until you can teal it up with something like Windspeaker to grant a minion windfury and then the bonus 2 attack. This will provide huge burst damage.
Once you get into more advanced play and combos, you can look at some general cards rather than just sticking with Shaman only cards. Since Shamans use so many direct damage spells. going to the general cards for some minions with spell power or card drawing ability is your best move. Here are just a few examples of good card choices:
- Azure Drake is an amazing minion at 5 mana. It provides a solid 4/4 minion as well as +1 Spell Power and a card. It provides both things you are looking for in one card, perfect.
- Kobold Geomancer and Ogre Magi are both good choices for spell power as they are both common cards and are either a 2/2 for two mana or a 4/4 for four mana respectively.
- If you have access to legendary cards both Bloodmage Thalnos and Malygos are good options. The first is cheap and provides spell power and card draw early in the game, and the later provides a huge spell damage boost in the late game.
- Novice Engineer is another good early game card that provides a cheap minion (a 1/1 for two mana) along with a card draw.
As a Shaman one of the best kinds of decks you can play is a deck that is balanced around minions and direct damage. You should aim to use the direct damage to clear the enemy minions while saving your minions to deal damage to your opponent turn after turn.
Here is one such generalist Shaman deck that tries to balance direct damage with minion power. It also focuses on Overload to boost the popular Unbound Elemental minion.
- Minions (14)
- 2x Azure Drake
- 2x Defender of Argus
- 2x Earth Elemental
- 2x Fire Elemental
- 2x Flametongue Weapon
- 2x Mana Tide Totem
- 2x Unbound Elemental
- Spells (14)
- 2x Earth Shock
- 2x Feral Spirit
- 2x Forked Lightning
- 2x Hex
- 2x Lightning Bolt
- 2x Lava Burst
- 2x Lightning Storm
- Weapons (2)
- 2x Stormforged Axe
The Shaman class is a solid arena class and one that should not be under rated, despite not being considered one of the top few classes by the experts. Drafted correctly the Shaman and his extremely aggressive cards can do very well in the arena. In fact the class has access to some of the best cards in the game for the Arena.
Something to keep in mind when drafting with the Shaman is to make sure you do not over draft cards with the Overload ability. Most Overload cards are extremely good for their initial mana cost and even sometimes better than average counting the Overload cost. However, if you have too many cards with Overload you can run into a situation where you actually miss out on several turns or the ability to cast things at key times. It is a balancing act, and I am not saying that you shouldn't get as many Earth Elementals as show up in your draft simply because you have 2 already and they have Overload on them, they are so good that if 5 show up, draft 5.
As a Shaman, your best bet is to play aggressively throughout the match, especially early on. There are many really aggressive early game cards that you have access to that can keep you solidly ahead in board control. Cards like Feral Spirit for 3 mana on turn two with the coin can be amazing, even though you will be giving up your 3rd turn. The same goes for cards like Forked Lightning and Lightning Storm. Sure they have an Overload of 2 and kill your next turn, but if you are playing against an opponent that summons up several weak minions on turn 2 or 3, you can kill them all off in one fell swoop, at the cost of your next turn.
The Shaman class has a lot of control options with their class cards as well as having aggressive cards. Cards such as lighting come into this area, even though they are also aggressive and can be used for damage, they also provide control over the board. Add in huge minions with taunt like the Earth Elemental or minions with damage like the Fire Elemental. Lastly, you have Hex which can get rid of any big troublesome minion that you have no other way of dealing with.
While the actual game play remains the same between constructed format play and arena play, the actual value and strength of specific cards can change drastically. This is due to the limited pool of cards that each player will have available to them. It is therefore important to understand which cards are of the most value in the Arena when drafting.
When playing in the Arena and drafting your deck, some of the best cards to draft for the Shaman class are as outlined below along with some reasoning. They are listed in alphabetical order.
- Doomhammer - Sure this weapon doesn't do a lot of damage, but it allows you to attack twice each turn, effectively keeping the board clear of low cost minions.
- Earth Elemental - A huge blocking and beat down minion. At 5 mana for his attack, health, and taunt, you should grab as many as appear in your draft.
- Feral Spirit - One of the games best early game cards. 3 mana, and 2 Overload for a pair of 2/3 minions with taunt is amazing in a limited format. If you go second and have the coin you could have these out on turn 2 and cause real issues for your opponent.
- Fire Elemental - Another wonderful Shaman only minion. He has huge hitting power and an initial 3 damage to whatever you choose. Grab as many as you can!
- Hex - A great removal spell, just make sure you save them for later in the game when you opponent summons a game winning minion.
- Lightning Bolt, Lightning Storm, and Forked Lightning - All of these spells help you keep the board clear of enemy minions and since you have access to totems that can boost your spell damage, you should get a few of these, especially Lightning Storm if they appear for you as choices.
- Rockbiter Weapon - A good utility spell, since it allows either you or one of your minions to become stronger for one turn. Thie helps clear of a big minion with a small minion, thereby gaining board advantage.
You can also find a listing of the general non-class specific cards that are the best to draft in the arena format in these two guides:
Comments on Shamans in Hearthstone
As with any of the classes in Hearthstone there are many different winning strategies. The ideas and decks above are just the start. If you have alternate ideas on decks or methods to use the basic or expert cards for the Shaman class in Hearthstone, please feel free to share them in our comment section below.