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Totem Shaman Standard Deck

Last updated Yesterday at 10:15 by Sottle 36 comments

Table of Contents

The following guide contains instruction on how to play Totem Shaman. Players have often toyed with making a deck that relied purely on Totem synergy to be successful, but the deck has always fallen slightly short of being strong enough. Due to the addition of Wicked Witchdoctor however, the deck is finally showing some success and can be played effectively.

This particular strategy was pioneered by a group of primarily German players including Wirer and Europe Championship top 8 finisher Casie.

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. Totem Shaman Standard Deck

Our deck costs 4,300 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Shaman Cards Neutral Cards

2.1. Mana Curve


3. Strategy

Totem Shaman is a deck that tries to engineer a board state full of annoying Totems and then snowball them to a winning position. Although Totems might seem like an innocuous board presence, this deck has a huge amount of tools to turn them into a major attacking threat, as well as the new Wicked Witchdoctor card to help generate them more consistently.

This deck lives and dies by its ability to gain a foothold on the board and keep it. As such, hitting your early minions like Argent Squire and Totem Golem is incredibly important, and you should mulligan heavily for these minions at all costs. The deck is all about snowballing your board position for an advantage, and if you fail to get a grip on the board early, then you will find it difficult to recover.

Spirit Claws is a card that is of huge value in this deck due to how often you can spawn a Spell Damage Totem. It can be paired excellently with Argent Squire in the early-game to control the board efficiently, as well as being able to push through huge damage later on in the game when you start to flood the board with Totems.

With that in mind, cards like Maelstrom Portal and Lightning Storm are of the utmost importance. In most decks you will be tempted to hold these cards for maximum value, but in this deck it is often correct to use them earlier than you normally would in order to ensure that you do not fall behind. Maelstrom Portal is particularly effective for this use, and can be played as a 2-drop in many situations if it help you to trade effectively with your opponent's opening minions. The 1-drop that is generated from Maelstrom Portal will often seem weak, but keep in mind that it is yet another target that can be used to great effect with Flametongue Totem and Bloodlust.

Once you have navigated the opening turns, your goal should be to start generating a Totem presence on the board. The real power card in your deck in terms of generating Totems is Wicked Witchdoctor. It is rarely correct to simply drop the Witchdoctor on turn 4, and you should generally wait until you can get immediate value from it by casting spells in the same turn. It is worth noting that if you cast a spell like Maelstrom Portal and get a Spell Damage Totem summoned from the Witchdoctor effect, you will immediately get the benefit of the Spell Damage effect.

Barnes is included in the deck due to its ability to summon excellent effects like Mana Tide Totem, Thunder Bluff Valiant, and Wicked Witchdoctor. Since the latter two are often the most powerful outcomes and they rely on you having Mana to spare to activate their effects, it is usually not correct to simply drop Barnes on curve on turn 4 unless you are desperate for the board presence. Also pay attention to the positioning of Barnes, as if a Flametongue Totem is spawned, it will appear directly to the right of Barnes.

Totemic Might is a card that has often been maligned as one of the weakest cards in the entire game, but in this deck it finally finds a natural home. The ability to generate a Totem with a 0 Mana spell in combination with Wicked Witchdoctor and immediately buff it to a reasonable size makes it a very playable card. On top of this, it can be fantastic to protect your special totems like Mana Tide Totem and Flametongue Totem from removal in order to get persistent value from them.

The goal in the late-game is to start to turn your irritating board states into a powerful attacking force using Primal Fusion, Thunder Bluff Valiant, and Bloodlust. The great part of this strategy is that Control decks have to respect that your board can explode in power at any point if they leave your Totems in play, which means they will be forced to commit actual resources to clearing your Hero Power, leaving you free to win a long-term attrition battle after they have run themselves out of key AoE cards.

3.1. Synergies & Combinations.

The deck is built almost entirely around Totem synergy and plays numerous cards like Bloodlust and Thunder Bluff Valiant to turn your Totems into genuine attacking threats.

The Totem based strategy of the deck also fits perfectly with Thing from Below.

Primal Fusion is an incredibly strong card in the deck due to how many Totems you can reliably summon.

3.2. Mulligans & Matchup Specific Strategies

You will mulligan aggressively for Argent Squire and Totem Golem in every matchup as these minions are key for taking a grip on the board early. If you have Argent Squire in your hand already, then you can keep Flametongue Totem to try and gain value immediately. Maelstrom Portal is also not an unreasonable keep if you also have Argent Squire since those two cards in combination will trade up effectively into most of your opponent's openings.

Against Aggro decks you can keep removal cards like Lightning Storm in your opening hand in order to not fall behind to their fast openings. Your goal against Aggro is to mitigate their fast openings and then start to build a board of Totems in the mid-game. It can be very difficult to get minions to stick to to the board against these types of decks due to how quickly they can seize the board themselves, so often you will need to wait for a swing turn with a card like Maelstrom Portal or Lightning Storm and then use that turn as a platform to build from.

Against Control decks your goal is simply to do as little as possible for as long as possible. Although sometimes you can get a very aggressive start and rush them down very quickly, more commonly you will slowly grind out their resources by flooding the board with Totems and small minions and prey on the respect that they have to give your Totems in order to diminish their resources before playing your higher value threats.

3.3. Card Swaps

Draenei Totemcarver can be included in the deck in place of Barnes or a Maelstrom Portal.

Barnes can be removed from the deck for Bloodmage Thalnos in order to make Spirit Claws more consistent.

4. ChangeLog

  • 22 Oct. 2016: -1 Argent Squire, +1 Ragnaros the Firelord
  • 05 Oct. 2016: -2 Tuskarr Totemic, -1 Rockbiter Weapon, +2 Azure Drake, +1 Bloodmage Thalnos
  • 08 Sep. 2016: -1 Al'Akir the Windlord, -1 Rockbiter Weapon, +2 Spirit Claws
  • 25 Aug. 2016: Deck added.
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