What Is Shaman’s Class Identity?6 months ago
Shaman's Class Identity
What is Shaman's Class Identity?
In Hearthstone, class identity is integral to the game, as without it, the many different classes would feel all the same. This problem is very prevalent when powerful neutral cards are introduced, making nearly every deck feel the same. A prominent example was when the neutral tempo package of Pirates, Prince Keleseth, and Bonemare, were thrown into decks where they did not belong, yet still succeeded due to its sheer power. When the lines between the classes are unclear, it overall leads to a stale and boring experience.
A class that had once been the most powerful class in the game, Shaman, is now left in shambles, as it lacks any serious competitive decks. The only exception to this is currently one of its only surviving decks, Evolution Shaman. This is a deck based around generating tokens, then evolving them to get powerful minions that will often simply end the game right then and there. Due to the Jade mechanic, Jade Shaman is recently finding success since it has enough control options to counter Control Warlock with cards like Devolve, Hex, and counters to Aggro Paladin with Maelstrom Portal.
Going back to the year of 2015, we can see the peak of Shaman, with Aggro Paladin and Midrange dominating the field. During this period, powerful cards such as Tunnel Trogg, Totem Golem, and the infamous Flamewreathed Faceless were able to secure the early game and simply snowball into victories before turn ten most of the time. Along with this, if your opponent was stabilized you were able to burn them out with cards such as Lava Burst, Lightning Bolt, and Crackle. These powerful cards simply established Tempo Shaman as the prominent deck for Shaman.
Now, why is this? Taking a look at the classic set for Shaman, it is very weak due to it having powerful tools for every archetype. It is one of those situations in which it is good at everything, but not great at anything, except one, Burn, and Tempo. With the overload mechanic and the cost of losing some mana next turn, you could gain massive tempo swigs with cards like Lightning Storm or Earth Elemental, along with the infamous Totem Golem. When the Tunnel Trogg was in standard, it was able to turn these downsides into upsides, boosting its attack, and allowing it to snowball into something powerful.
What is with these new archetypes? During Knights of the Frozen Throne blizzard attempted to push Freeze Shaman, a deck built around the freezing of your own minions for tempo, and value by freezing enemy minions for value due to Moorabi. This ended up to be a failure due to the whole mechanic not being able to effectively complete either of those tasks. The Death Knight also helped the Evolve package in the form of Thrall, Deathseer, which was a plus due to the failure of the freeze mechanic, meaning at the very least, Evolve Shaman had a boost. Kobolds and Catacombs, The Runespear helped push more of a Control Shaman, with heavy RNG themes.
Well, to answer the question, the identity is tempo and burn. As Token Shaman has always been viable, just due to cards such as the burn package, with bloodlust.
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