Sometimes you can get bored grinding ladder for gold in Hearthstone with the latest netdeck version of Face Hunter. What I want to do with the series is to showcase some lesser known or played decks that are really fun to play. While these decks may be weaker on the whole, they make up for lack of power with strength of fun.
This post will focus on the Zeus or Spell Power Shaman burst deck. While a Malygos-based Shaman deck has had iterations in the past, with the arrival of Elemental Destruction, Healing Wave, and Ancestral Knowledge the deck has been given new life. Here is Savjz’s list he has been using to ladder with recently:
Basic Game Plan
The deck attempts to survive the early and mid game in order to combo out with Malygos and direct damage spells to win in one or two turns. The deck must manage its many overload cards to maximum effectiveness as it contains no low cost minions to contest the board. The combo either hard casts Malygos or uses Ancestor’s Call to play it for a reduced cost and save the remaining mana for the burn spells.
#1 Sweepers (Elemental Destruction, Lightning Storm): without any low cost minions to contest the board, its vital that the deck draw into one of its big sweepers. Normally these spells are augmented by a spell power totem or Azure Drake, to make sure they can clear pesky 5 power minions or the ever present Piloted Shredder. Timing of the sweepers is critical to making it to the late game, so holding a sweeper until the opponent overextends is the optimal play.
#2 Burn (Crackle, Lightning Bolt, Lava Shock, Lava Burst): using the burn is where experience and skill come in. Again, as the sweepers help clear the board, burn must be used in conjunction to clear single minions or augment the sweeper damage to take down high toughness minions. While clearing minions, some burn will need to sit in hand in order to actually win the game. The Lava Shocks are typically the first to be used on minions due to unlocking the heavy overload from Knowledge or Destruction, so prioritize and plan its use. Lava Burst is used in some lists due to its high damage potential, but it can potentially be clunky when used on a minion, and without a cost reduction via Far Sight, can potentially interrupt the combo.
#3 Card Draw (Ancestral Knowledge, Far Sight): these spells fuel the ability to quickly get Malygos and fill the hand with burn. Far Sight is only a cantrip, but the cost reduction facilitates the combo when it hits a burn spell (best on Lava Burst). Ancestral Knowledge has a tricky overload, but a Knowledge+Destruction+Shock play can be brutal for opponents with a big board. Alternative versions (Dog’s Shaman) run cheap cantrip minions like Novice Engineer, Thalnos, and Loot Hoarder. This really hurts synergy with Healing Wave but allows an earlier board presence to trade with smaller minions.
#4 Minions With the exception of Malygos, the minion package is really up to the users preference. The key is that all minions have a high cost in order to win the Jousts (although note Dog’s preference above). Azure Drake is certainly helpful for its card draw, body, and spell power buff. Fire Elemental can trade and burn mid-toughness minions, and Emperor is a classic combo-inducing card. Savjz has been using Auctioneer to create a draw engine (its nerf actually a buff here), but this slot could be Emperor.
Healing Wave: with the healthy dose of aggro (Hunter, Zoolock, Paladin) on ladder, Healing Wave is vital to staying alive and drawing into a sweeper. Its also vital that the Shaman win the Joust, hence the need for the low amount of high cost minions. If the deck includes many smaller minions to contest the board early, Wave’s value goes way down, and perhaps could be cut.
Charged Hammer: this is an underrated piece of the deck. First, the hammer is critical to keeping the board clear, and has a healthy amount of durability to keep the minion count at bay. Second, the hero power change is extremely helpful. It can clear minions and also add incremental damage to facilitate the combo. While running alongside Doomhammer can be clunky due to the high amount of charges on both, its synergy is so high its nearly always a good draw.
In sum, the basic Zeus Shaman deck attempts to survive until a Malygos-infused lightning barrage to the opponents face. Whats more fun than that? The deck really relies on its new TGT cards; which thankfully require no legendaries so crafting is not too dust intensive (although there are quite a bit of epics). The deck can really struggle against certain warrior builds (armor and high cost minions that survive sweeps), but in general can contest most popular decks with the added spice of the surprise factor. If you are looking for something a little different, and you are already sick of your totem shaman build, give this deck a try.