Hearthstone: Totem Shaman decklist and guide
Hearthstone's Grand Tournament has opened up a lot of new deck archetypes for play, some of which manage to be competitive and interesting, even in a meta dominated by Face Hunters and Patron Warriors. One new type of deck that is seeing some play and proving itself competitive on the ladder is the Totem Shaman, which makes use of several new cards that improve the power and performance of Shaman totems, and by extension, the Shaman Hero Lower. Here's what you need to know:
The Totem Shaman is a variation on the standard Midrange Shaman deck that has been popular and viable since Hearthstone's release, but it gains a little bit of extra oomph and synergy by making use of some of TGTs new offerings. The deck relies on strong early minions to gain control of the board and tries to maintain that control through good tempo and a solid curve. The deck relies mostly on keeping control and on strong minions for its win conditions, but there are a couple of surprises in there as well.
Like most Shaman decks, the Totem Shaman also has excellent removal in the form of Hex, Lightning Storm, Earth Shock, and Rockbiter Weapon, which will help you maintain control of the board. The spells, combined with high-value minions, are the key to staying ahead of your opponent.
Flametongue Totem is also a key element of your strategy, which means that positioning is important. Make sure that wherever you're placing your minions that you'll always have a spot where Flametongue will affect two (and ideally the minions further out). Flametongue Totem can allow even your weakest minions and totems to trade way up, and is hard for your opponent to play around. Using this intelligently is one of the key elements of your strategy.
Ideally, you'll want to consolidate your board position in time to play your Thunderbluff Valiants, who can easily snowball you to victory by pumping your totems up. Barring that, a well-timed Bloodlust or Al'Akir paired with a Flametongue Totem or Rockbiter Weapon can provide some surprising burst damage.
One of the great things about this deck is how much flexibility it offers. Because it relies on general efficiency and board control, there aren't any essential combos that you need to preserve, giving you room to experiment. Depending on your needs and playstyle, Bloodlust, Mana Tide Totem, Al'Akir, and one Lightning Storm can be swapped out to help you with matchups you're struggling with.
Healing Wave is a great choice for aggro -- since you're almost certain to win a joust, you're looking at a 14 health swing, which is too much for most aggro decks to deal with. You might also consider a second Defender of Argus to work with your Haunted Creepers and totems, or even something like The Mistcaller.
Elemental Destruction might even have a spot in your deck if you're finding that you need to clear the board more often and more reliably than you have been. Experiment with different cards and see what works for your deck!
Low Budget Substitutions
The decklist includes a couple of legendary cards, but even if you don't have Al'Akir or Dr. Boom, this deck is more than viable. If you're looking for something to fill Al'Akir's spot, you might try out Argent Commander or Sunwalker, or just cut that minion slot altogether and include a second Bloodlust.
For Dr. Boom, any chunky minion will do -- if you have an Earth Elemental, that's not a bad choice, but anything big and sticky will help you maintain control of the board, which is the purpose of Dr. Boom in this deck.
Mulligans and Matchups
No matter what kind of deck you're facing, you want to make sure that you have a 1- or 2-drop minion in your opening hand. This is what will enable you to seize control of the board and maintain control.
Against aggro decks, you want to hang on to your Zombie Chows and Haunted Creepers -- these are going to help you clear the board and set you up for your more substantial minions. Removal like Earth Shock, Lightning Storm, and Rockbiter Weapon are important too, so don't throw them out unless you're completely lacking in minions. Flametongue Totem is important in this matchup too -- ideally you'll have some combination of low-cost minions, removal, and buffs.
When going up against control decks, your Totem Golem is even more powerful than Zombie Chow or Haunted Creeper, though ideally you'll be able to play more than one of those minions. Focus on getting through your curve faster -- you want to put the hurt on your enemy as fast as possible, which means building a strong board that can't be shut down with taunts or removal.