With One Night in Karazhan finally complete, the landscape of Hearthstone Standard is rapidly changing. To help ease you into it, let us guide you through some of the top decks. Here we'll show you the ins and outs of Aggro Shaman newest build featuring Spirit Claws, which player Xixo recently took to Rank 1 Legend.
What is it?
Aggro Shaman is an incredibly aggressive deck that utilizes efficiently costed minions and burn spells to do as much damage to your opponent as soon as possible. Aggro Shaman's game plan is to finish your opponent before they have the chance to play their bigger late-game threats. It's also an ideal starting deck for those wanting to get into competitive Hearthstone since the game plan is straightforward and the individual cards won't set you back a ton of dust.
How does it play?
Your early game is absolutely critical, so your mulligans will set the tone for how aggressive you can be. One mana cards like Tunnel Trogg and Abusive Sergeant are what you want here, complimented with removal or strong follow-ups like Totem Golem or Feral Spirit. Also, remember to take into account Overload costs when evaluating your opening hand's first few plays. If you don't have The Coin, you can't follow up Totem Golem with Feral Spirit since one of your crystals will be locked.
The shining centerpiece of Aggro Shaman is Tunnel Trogg, which increases its attack every time an Overload effect locks your crystals. It will more often than not turn into a 3 Attack minion and threaten to get even bigger if it's not dealt with. Almost all of your removal has an Overload cost tacked on, so Tunnel Trogg lets your board snowball as you kill theirs.
That's the key with this deck: Keeping your minions on the board as much as possible by dispatching your opponents' minions and attacking your opponent as much as you can afford to. Burn spells like Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst deal damage at an incredibly efficient cost, sparing your minions from getting their hands dirty and letting them keep attacking your opponent. Some of the minions themselves also fill this role, with Taunt minions like Thing From Below and Spirit Wolves made with Feral Spirit providing cover for the rest of the gang to continue on the offensive. And Divine Shield minions like Argent Squire used in concert with Abusive Sargent and Rockbiter Weapon let you directly attack troublesome minions in a pinch without losing yours. You close out the game with big life total swings in the form of Flametongue Totem and Doomhammer paired with Rockbiter Weapon.
What should I watch out for?
Warrior builds of all stripes are troublesome for Aggro Shaman for the simple reason that they can start stockpiling a ton of Armor early, so you really needs to turn up the heat early and fast, or else they're going to quickly get outpaced with superior minions and a giant armor cushion.
Tempo Mage is also not a great matchup for Aggro Shaman because of how much removal is packed into the deck, making it hard to keep things on the board. Mage also has access to one of the best board wipes in the game in Flamestrike, so be careful not to commit too many minions to the board when they're about to have access to seven mana.
What's new from One Night in Karazhan?
Maelstrom Portal gives Aggro Shaman something that Lightning Storm didn't: a board wipe with momentum. While doing one damage to enemy minions seems paltry, you'd be surprised how often gyour opponent's board is left with 1 health minions, and you can increase the damage with Spell Damage minions such as a Wrath of Air Totem from your Hero Power. But the big reason to run Maelstrom Portal is the fact that it leaves behind a 1-mana minion, letting you build momentum while you clear their board.
Speaking of Spell Damage, the last wing of Karazhan brought its most impactful card, Spirit Claws, which brings an extra nine damage spread across three turns for the low price of one mana. The catch is that you need a minion with Spell Damage on the field, or else it only does one per turn. The upside is so great, though, that the most recent decks have been making significant changes to the stock Aggro Shaman list so as to take full advantage, adding value Spell Damage minions like Bloodmage Thalnos and Azure Drake.