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Tempo Shaman Karazhan Standard Deck

Last updated on Oct 22, 2016 at 11:47 by Sottle 9 comments

Table of Contents

The following guide contains instruction on playing Hybrid Shaman. This is an aggressive deck that plays additional tools for board development such as Thing from Below. It was created by Na'vi's Xixo who has used it to great success on ladder.

The Karazhan Adventure introduced Maelstrom Portal to the deck, which may seem like a strange inclusion in an aggressive deck but can go a long way to help break early board struggles in your favour. On top of this, Spirit Claws can easily represent 9 damage for 1 Mana in this deck due to the addition of multiple Spell Damage minions.

1. About the Author

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player who plays for compLexity Gaming. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Tempo Shaman Karazhan Standard Deck

Our deck costs 3,100 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Shaman Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

Tempo Shaman is a deck that takes the shell of aggressive Shaman decks and makes a few tweaks to allow them a bit more longevity in a long game, whilst still packing a huge punch of aggressive damage. It moves away from all-in cards such as Flamewreathed Faceless and instead plays a more solid and consistent curve of minions and removal, whilst still maintaining aggression.

You should mulligan extremely hard for Tunnel Trogg in every matchup, since the platform it provides the deck to build on is very valuable. If you do have access to a Tunnel Trogg on turn 1, you can then begin to use Overload cards to snowball your board position and push a huge amount of damage through to the opponent. Following a Tunnel Trogg with Totem Golem, or with Feral Spirit using The Coin will create a great deal of pressure on your opponent.

Maelstrom Portal is introduced to the deck due partly to how effective it is against common meta cards like Onyxia, Forbidden Ritual, and Violet Teacher. On top of this however, it is just an excellent tool for winning early struggles for the board that you will encounter when facing off against other aggressive decks such as Zoo Warlock. Particularly when combined with the Spell Damage Totem or Spell Damage minions it can be devastating in these matchups, but even without it, it can help you to make much more favourable trades, while still gaining the extra Tempo of a free small minion.

Spirit Claws is an addition to the deck that is flexible in different matchups. In matchups where the fight for early board is crucial, you should keep this card in your opening hand and use the small sources of damage to help you break the early struggle with your opponent's minions. Against Control decks however, Spirit Claws is better used in the mid- or late-game to push through huge damage in conjunction with Spell Damage minions. The extra damage from Spirit Claws is the reason why Doomhammer is restricted to a single copy in this deck, since there are a huge number of total turns of weapon usage in the deck already.

Since this deck relies on board presence to get maximum value out of cards such as Flametongue Totem and Abusive Sergeant, you will need to seek favourable trades when you can in order to build a more oppressive board. Although attacking the Hero directly gets you damage immediately, it can present more favourable trades for your opponent, which will reduce the amount of damage you gain over several turns. In some situations it is better to take favourable trades on the board that keep your minions alive, since this will create more damage for you in total over the next few turns. This is a particularly strong consideration if trading protects your valuable minions like Tunnel Trogg or if your board can be leveraged on a following turn with the aforementioned minions.

The perfect scenario to solve this dilemma is to get 1 or 2 minions consolidated on the board, and then use your removal spells like Lightning Bolt and Rockbiter Weapon to remove your opponent's minions. This is particularly potent if you have a Tunnel Trogg in play, since all of your Overload removal cards will increase its damage.

Managing your Overload in this deck is crucial. Although the Overload cards are excellent for buffing your Tunnel Trogg they can also disrupt your followup turns. Generally, there are certain turns where you do not want to Overload, such as turn 4 if you have a Doomhammer in hand. Playing a Doomhammer on turn 5 is crucial for this deck as it represents 16 damage over the following turns. This turn is so powerful against certain classes like Rogue or Freeze Mage, that you will often need to deliberately make a suboptimal turn on turn 4 in order to avoid overloading.

In the mid-game, Doomhammer will enable you to create repetitive damage over the course of several turns, and create a lot of pressure on your opponent's life total. Alternatively, you can use Doomhammer as a clearing tool if your own life is high enough in order to clear the path for your minions. This is a hugely important card since it allows you to keep pace with Control classes like Priest and Warrior who are able to mitigate some of your damage with their Hero Power. Doomhammer is also particularly powerful in this deck because it will apply a buff to any Tunnel Troggs you have in play.

As mentioned before, the deck does have more tools for longevity than previous builds of aggressive Shaman since Bloodmage Thalnos and Azure Drake provide you with additional card draw, and the addition of Hex can help you to deal with late-game minions that would often represent too big a threat if the game went long. Due to this fact, it is sometimes correct to play persistently for board Control and grind your opponent out of the game. This is most often true against other Midrange decks that will run themselves out of resources if you get consistent value from your weapons and Totems to grind them down. Come turn 6-7, evaluate the state of the game and decide how aggressive you need to be based on your opponent's hand size, your own hand, and the state of the board.

When you are looking to make the final push for damage, the deck plays a large amount of options to create burst damage from the hand. Rockbiter Weapon allows you to do 10 damage with an equipped Doomhammer, while cards like Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst can be combined to create a huge amount of damage. It is not uncommon with this deck to burst your opponent down from 20+ health in a single turn if you have minions on board.

When looking to set up these final pushes over the last couple of turns, it is important to consider all your opponent's defensive options and work out the most likely method for sealing the win. If you expect your opponent to Taunt, you should look to invest damage from Weapons, Rockbiter Weapon and Minions first, then follow up with the Spells once they play their Taunt. This is particularly powerful now that Loatheb, which could have punished you for dealing damage in this order, has left the format. This practice of maximising damage over time against your opponent's expected options is one of the key skills in playing Aggro and will take practice to perfect.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations

Doomhammer + Rockbiter Weapon is 10 points of damage in a single turn, or 16 if you use both Rockbiter Weapons.

Tunnel Trogg can be buffed by the numerous Overload cards in your deck.

Totem Golem, and Flametongue Totem can both decrease the cost of Thing from Below.

Spirit Claws can be buffed by Bloodmage Thalnos, Azure Drake and the Spell Damage Totem.

These sources of Spell Damage also make Maelstrom Portal incredibly effective.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

Your Mulligan will involve looking for the fastest possible start. The key cards to facilitate this are Totem Golem and Tunnel Trogg. Tunnel Trogg is particularly important and should be mulliganed for as hard as possible in every matchup. Outside of this, your other strong early game cards are Argent Squire and Feral Spirit with The Coin. If you have Tunnel Trogg already, you can keep Overload cards like Lightning Bolt in order to clear the way for your Trogg to do repetitive damage.

Against Aggro you should favour keeping a Rockbiter Weapon or Lightning Bolt alongside your early minions in order to fight back against the fast starts of your opponent, especially if you are going second. It is important however, not to keep too reactive a hand since you do still want to be playing the aggressor against every deck. Spirit Claws and Maelstrom Portal are also hugely important in these matchups as the source of 1 damage that does not slow you down to play can make a huge difference in the early minion exchanges.

Against Control you should just push for the fastest possible start to consolidate yourself as the aggressor in the matchup.

3.3. Card Swaps

Hex, Lava Burst, and Doomhammer are the flexible cards in this deck and you should adjust the numbers of each to react to what you are playing against.

4. ChangeLog

  • 22 Oct. 2016: -2 Tuskarr Totemic, +2 Argent Horserider
  • 03 Sep. 2016: Deck added.
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