The release of Hearthstone’s newest expansion, The Grand Tournament, means that a ton of new decks are now possible. We’ve already seen several Dragon variants pick up steam, while Hunters now have more options than just deciding exactly how hard they should go for the face. Of course, not everyone simply wants to find a popular deck and copy it. A lot of players take pride in crafting their own decks, and trying to fine-tune them to climb the ladder in their own way. Now is the perfect time to do just that, with the meta not completely established. Anything is possible!

So, you’d like to craft your very own deck, but creating something from scratch can be a daunting task. Let’s go over a few of the important steps, with examples along the way.

Theory-crafting a new deck: MalyShaman!


What is the deck’s goal?

The most important first step to take is to ask ourselves, what do we want our deck to do? Essentially, what is our win condition? In this example, we’ll be attempting to craft a MalyShaman deck. This looks to take advantage of the Shaman’s potent burn spells, combined with the Spell power offered by Malygos, to burst our opponent down. There’s more to it than that, but for this first step, just keep things simple.


How do we get to that goal?

For the second step, it’s important to identify how our deck plays. Are we aggro, control, or combo based? For MalyShaman, we’re definitely not aggro. We’re looking to control the board state through the early and mid-game, pushing through a bit of damage here and there, before bursting our opponent down in the late game. So, we’re going to need cards that allow us to keep board control, as well as stay healthy enough to make it to the late game.


What are the absolutely essential cards for this deck?

In other words, what are the key cards that define our deck type? In this case, we obviously need Malygos, as well as our biggest burn Spells. So, let’s add in Lightning Bolt, Crackle, and Lava Burst, as they’re the most damaging forms of direct damage we have. The last essential card here will be Emperor Thaurissan, as reducing the cost of Malygos plus even a single burn spell can give us huge burst at turn 9 or 10. So, this is the foundation around which we'll build the rest of the deck:


What cards best complement our basic strategy?

Here, we move the past bare essentials, and take a look at what options we have to make sure our basic strategy can work. In this case, we need cards that fight for board control and allow us to safely get to our late game. Zombie Chow is a classic anti-aggro card, and will serve us well here. While this deck doesn’t focus on Totems, Totem Golem is a fantastic new minion that will allow us to continue to maintain our board presence in the early stages of the game.

Rockbiter Weapon is extremely flexible in allowing us to remove early threats, even if we don’t have a minion. Healing Wave is another new card that’s absolutely amazing for us in this deck. While it can benefit from Spell power, it’s excellent on its own. Even if you don’t get the full effect, restoring 7 Health for only 3 mana can help slow the game down for us just enough. Azure Drake gives us card draw and Spell power, all while being somewhat threatening as a 4/4. Sludge Belcher is a classic stalling tool, and will serve us well here. Here is our deck so far, with our core cards and supporting cast:


How can our opponents threaten our win condition?

Essentially, we need to ask ourselves what deck types or strategies will be most likely to prevent us from getting to the game state we’re looking for. For MalyShaman, there’s two main things we need to be wary of.

The first is extremely aggressive decks that will flood the board with minions, so we’ll add a couple copies of Lightning Storm to attempt to deal with that problem. The second issue that can arise is big minions with scary effects that need to be dealt with, otherwise they’ll crush us. We’ll include two possible answers to that scenario: two copies of Hex, and a Big Game Hunter. Due to its flexibility, we’ll also throw in a single Earth Shock, as both an answer to 1 health minions, and an important Silence effect. With our tech cards in place, the deck is almost finished:


How do we make sure we win the game?

Things have gone as planned. We controlled the board in the early game, stalled out the mid game, and now we’ve arrived in the late game with a high life total. Now that we’ve done all that, how do we actually go about winning the game?

In the late game, we need big minions to help seal the deal, along with our burn Spells. Shaman has access to an incredibly powerful 6-drop in Fire Elemental, so 2 of those will make the cut. Dr. Boom is still extremely strong, and fits the requirement for a powerful late-game drop, so he’ll be included as well. Loatheb is both a big minion and an excellent control card for the mid to late game, so that will also make it in. Now, we have control, we have some big minions, and we have our late game win condition. It looks like we have a complete deck!


What other cards may have been worth considering?

Once you’ve completed the deck list, don’t just stop there. Our next step is to create a short list of cards that we didn’t originally include, but might have been worth thinking about. For this deck, we can look at things like Piloted Shredder, which gives us a solid 4 drop while also maintaining board presence. Or, perhaps we’d want something like Ragnaros, which gives us another big minion for Healing Wave’s effect, while also being a threatening source of board control or direct damage (depending on how he’s feeling on any given day.) Antique Healbot is often a staple of decks like these, though we chose to forego the bot due to the lower cost of Healing Wave, and also having multiple 5-cost minions already. If we’re looking for more card draw, we could consider things like Mana Tide Totem, or Ancestral Knowledge. We’ll get to why we’re making this list in the final step.


Test, and experiment!

Now that we have our deck, it’s time to test it out! You can start on Casual, but I strongly encourage testing in Ranked play. You may lose a rank or two, but you’ll get a much more accurate read on the strengths and weaknesses of the deck you’ve created. If you lose a few in the beginning, don’t get discouraged! This is a brand new deck, and chances are you won’t be playing it perfectly right from the get-go. Keep at it, record your results, and learn from your games. Pay attention to what cards seem to be helping you win, and which cards aren’t performing the way you hoped. Then, look back at the list of alternate cards (from the last step) that you considered, and decide if any of those might help shore up some of the weaknesses you’ve noticed. Chances are very good that the first draft of the deck won’t be perfect, so don’t be afraid to try out different cards and see which ones work best.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2016

About The Author

A longtime fan of competitive gaming, Jeremy got his first chance to work in the field as a writer for eSportsMax. Now eSports Editor for TenTonHammer, he looks to keep readers aware of all of the biggest events and happenings in the eSports world, while also welcoming new fans who aren't yet sure where to go to get the most relevant information. Jeremy always looks to provide content for new fans and veterans alike, believing that helping as many people as possible enjoy all the scene has to offer is key to its growth.


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