Aggro Shaman is a type of Shaman aggro deck, aiming to burst the opponent down in the early game through aggressive minions before finishing them off with damaging spells and weapons. Aggro Shaman makes use of Overload synergy such as Tunnel Trogg and Eternal Sentinel due to the amount of Overload in their damage cards.
Regular Aggro Shaman became a wild deck with the Year of the Mammoth and the rotation of Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem. In Standard, Token Shaman is the current evolution of Aggro Shaman, focusing more on board-flood for a Bloodlust lethal than Overload and Burn spells.
Aggro Shaman relies on the Shaman's large range of high-damage spells to overrun the opponent in the early game. Aggressive minions like Abusive Sergeant, Argent Horserider, Flame Juggler and Totem Golem aim to seize control of the board and soften the opponent up. Ancestral Knowledge is key for card draw, due to the low cost of most of the cards. Tunnel Trogg is best played with a stack of Overload cards in hand, allowing it to deal massive damage. As the only key synergy minion in the deck, and given its terrifying potential, the likelihood of the Trogg being removed is strong, but playing it very early can sometimes pay off if the opponent doesn't have the right options, allowing the Shaman to deal free damage while the opponent rushes to trade their own minions into it.
The first half of the game is about getting the opponent within range of lethal. Like most aggro decks, it is designed to "go face", ignoring the opponent's board except to respond to exceptional threats, or prevent especially advantageous trades by the opponent. The onus is on the opponent to remove the Shaman's board, or risk being quickly defeated by their aggressive minions. This works largely due to the amount of reach granted by the Shaman's burst cards, allowing it to close out the game even if the opponent successfully gains control of the board.
Aggro Shaman lethal can include attacks by minions, but mainly comprises damage from spells, and where available Doomhammer. Doomhammer is the key finisher for this deck, especially when combined with one or two Rockbiter Weapons for 10-16 damage in a single turn. Combine this with a Lava Burst or two and even the hardiest opponent will be hard-pressed to survive. Doomhammer should usually be played as early as possible, due to its long Durability and ability to put sustained pressure on the opponent; to reach its full potential it needs to have a few turns to deal its damage. However, beware of removal through Harrison Jones or Acidic Swamp Ooze, depending on the current meta's attitude toward weapons.
Overload is something that must always be borne in mind when playing Aggro Shaman, due to the impact on tempo. Aggro Shaman should be putting good pressure out each turn, although a turn can be sacrificed to Overload if the play secures a solid board position. Flamewreathed Faceless and Totem Golem are examples of this, providing sufficiently large amounts of pressure to justify an Overloaded following turn, potentially before the opponent is ready to deal with the minion. When searching for an upcoming lethal, keep a sharp eye on the Overload generated by the current turn's cards, to ensure you still have enough mana to play the cards you need next turn.
Spell damage comes from Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst and in Wild format, Crackle. Spending mana on Totemic Call is generally discouraged when playing Aggro Shaman due to the cost to your tempo, but can sometimes be worth trying, such as when reaching for lethal, or when out of useful cards to play, with Wrath of Air Totem always the best result. Sir Finley Mrrgglton occupies a unique position in the Aggro Shaman deck, turning the fairly useless Totemic Call into something more appropriate to the deck's aggression. Steady Shot is a very strong pick, often spelling inescapable defeat for the opponent even once the Shaman's hand has been exhausted; as is Shapeshift, given its potential for combination with Doomhammer, the weapon's Windfury doubling the output of the Hero Power's bonus Attack. Life Tap can also be very useful for maintaining the Shaman's output as their supply of cards dwindles, although this is a slightly slower strategy. Fireblast can be useful for trading, getting more damage out of the Shaman's minions before they are destroyed. Finley is best drawn early in the game, but even in the best of cases a balance must still be struck between playing cards and using the Hero Power.
Burst is key to winning with Aggro Shaman. Keep a finishing combo of damaging spells in hand, allowing the opponent to underestimate the threat from the board or their own dwindling Health total.
Aggro Shaman does include a few utility cards. Lightning Storm or Elemental Destruction can be used to clear the board or remove enemy Taunts; Earth Shock serves a similar purpose. This is most useful when the Shaman has a well-developed board or a Doomhammer in hand, especially given the weapon's low Attack without Rockbiter Weapon, which can make removing high Attack Taunts a pain.
As with most aggro decks, the weakness of Aggro Shaman lies in its aggressive playstyle. If the opponent can trade efficiently and prevent the Shaman from landing early damage, their supply of cards will dwindle and the spells in their hand will be insufficient to finish the opponent. This is best achieved through efficient board trading or removal.
The main threat in spite of board control is Doomhammer. This can be countered with repeated Taunts, especially those with high Attack and/or Health, although the Shaman's removal or Earth Shock can usually counter a few of these. Harrison Jones is by far the best counter to Doomhammer, but may not be drawn in time given the Aggro Shaman's urgency.
As with any aggro deck, Aggro Shaman can also be countered through beating it at its own game.
The following cards are usually in the deck.
The following cards are played in most or all versions of the deck:
The following cards are played more than occasionally, but not always:
- Fr0zen Aggro Shaman (Dreamhack Austin 2016)
|Common deck types|