Wild Shudderwock Shaman Deck List Guide - Rise of Shadows April 2019
"My jaws that bite, my claws that catch!"
If everything goes according to plan, expect to hear that voice line a lot. Shudderwock Shaman is a deck built around Shudderwock, a card from The Witchwood, who recycles the triggers of Saronite Chain Gang, Lifedrinker, and Grumble, Worldshaker to kill opponents in a single turn. The deck has plenty of room in it for board wipes, tech cards, and a healthy amount of card draw.
The December balance patch has greatly impacted Wild Shudderwock Shaman by making the combo used in its win condition no longer possible. The deck is therefore no longer viable in Constructed play.
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Disclaimer: this deck has been archived. It remains on the website for documentation purposes, but we no longer maintain it and no longer guarantee that it works well in the current meta-game.
Aim of Wild Shudderwock Shaman
Shudderwock Shaman is a pseudo-infinite combo deck which can deal 30 or more damage in a single turn. The combo works as follows:
- Play Saronite Chain Gang, Lifedrinker, and Grumble, Worldshaker at any point during the game to add their battlecries to the pool for Shudderwock.
- Play Shudderwock.
- If the battlecry for Saronite Chain Gang triggers before the battlecry for Grumble, Worldshaker, the Grumble trigger will return a 1-Mana copy of Shudderwock to your hand.
- On the following turn, continue replaying 1-Mana Shudderwocks until your opponent dies to Lifedrinker triggers.
Due to the random nature of Shudderwock's battlecry ordering, the combo is never actually guaranteed to succeed. With one Saronite Chain Gang battlecry trigger in the pool, the odds for failure are 1 in 2. With two triggers in the pool, the odds are 1 in 3; with three triggers the odds are 1 in 4, etc. The true difficulty and nuance of the deck comes from knowing when you should attempt to maximize the odds that the combo will succeed by finding ways to play as many Saronite Chain Gangs as possible, and knowing when it is correct to play your Shudderwock even though your odds of comboing off are low or even non-existent. There are a number of plays you can make to recycle Saronite Chain Gang triggers and buy additional copies of Shudderwock with Zola the Gorgon, but you will not always have time to go for these plays against faster decks. This makes Shudderwock Shaman one of the most difficult decks to play correctly in the entire game, and extremely deadly in the right hands.
Prince Keleseth and the first copy of Saronite Chain Gang are universal keeps. Outside of these two cards, the mulligans for Shudderwock Shaman are entirely dependent on the deck you are expecting to face:
Druid boasts more viable decks than any other class in Hearthstone, but none of these decks are hyper-aggressive (with the possible exception being Token Druid. Consequently, it is safe to keep the two key combo pieces (Shudderwock and Grumble, Worldshaker), as well as card draw (Mana Tide Totem and Acolyte of Pain). Given the popularity of Hadronox in the current meta, keeping a copy of Hex to interfere with Witching Hour and deal with pesky The Lich Kings is preferable.
Given the fact that Recruit Hunter is a much larger problem for Shudderwock Shaman than other Hunter decks (and is one of the most popular decks in the entire Witchwood meta), it is correct to mulligan as though you are facing a Recruit Hunter and not consider other versions of Hunter in your Mulligan decisions. This makes Hex and Volcano smart keeps against Hunters, as well as Earth Shock. Seeing as the only way to win against Recruit Hunter is to assemble your combo, you might also consider keeping a combo piece against Hunters.
Against Mage, look to keep your combo pieces and card draw. Big Spell Mage is perhaps the most favorable matchup in the entire Witchwood meta for Shudderwock Shaman, as they are rarely able to pressure us meaningfully before we can assemble our combo. One of the only ways for Shudderwock Shaman to lose against Mage is when Shudderwock is buried on the bottom of the deck, or a big Dragoncaller Alanna comes down before the deck can assemble its combo.
Seeing as the vast majority of Paladins on the ladder are Odd Paladin, you should always mulligan as though you are about to face one. Hard mulligan away any cards that are not Prince Keleseth, Saronite Chain Gang, Lightning Storm, Volcano, or Acolyte of Pain.
An unchecked Combo Priest is capable of comboing off far faster than Shudderwock Shaman ever can, which means we should hedge against fast Combo Priest starts in our mulligans. Look to keep Volcano and Earth Shock against Priest to interact with their early minions.
Both Miracle Rogue and Odd Rogue are very challenging matchups for Shudderwock Shaman, as Lightning Storm is frequently unable to interact with their board in a meaningful way. Volcano will typically clear away an early board against Odd Rogue, so keeping this card is recommended even though it is mostly a whiff against Quest Rogue. The rest of your hand should ideally contain card draw so you can dig for board clear, removal spells, and combo pieces.
Shudderwock Shaman and Even Shaman are equally popular but demand roughly opposite mulligan strategies. Seeing as Even Shaman is an unfavorable matchup, you should mulligan to win the the mirror match. Look to keep card draw and combo pieces against other Shamans, though you could also hedge against Even Shaman by keeping a Volcano.
Even Warlock can completely run us over if we are unable to answer an early Mountain Giant, but struggles to assemble enough pressure if we are able to clear away their board with a Volcano or two. Look to keep Glacial Shard, Volcano, and Hex against Warlocks to answer their early Mountain Giants, and Earth Shock as a cheap answer for Twilight Drake. Though it may be tempting to keep a Gluttonous Ooze for Cubelock, you are much more likely to be punished for keeping this card than rewarded.
The vast majority of Warriors on the ladder are Quest Warriors, which are an easy matchup for Shudderwock Shaman. Look to keep card draw and combo pieces against Warriors to speed up your combo as much as possible.
Wild Shudderwock Shaman Early Turns
The first few turns of the game are very straightforward. Most of your 1 drops do not want to be played on turn one, and the only two drop in your deck is Prince Keleseth (which is arguably the strongest turn 2 play in all of Hearthstone). The first true decisions come on turn three, as Shudderwock Shaman runs a healthy number of playable 3 drops.
Against empty boards, you should run out a Mana Tide Totem before other three drops. If it ever draws more than one card, it can threaten to take over the game on its own, but the card can also be used against you to overdraw key combo pieces and force you to play cards you would have otherwise liked to hold on to. For this reason, it is rarely correct to play two Mana Tide Totems at once.
Acolyte of Pain is a card which takes a bit more setup to draw multiple cards from than Mana Tide Totem. Look to play him early against decks which like to flood the board, such as Odd Paladin or Zoolock, where he can make a bigger difference on board than a Mana Tide Totem can. If it ever appears as though Acolyte of Pain will be able to attack into multiple minions, you should probably play him before playing other 3 drops.
Far Sight is the weakest 3 drop to play on curve, but it can become your best option when your other 3 drops would be gobbled up on board. Lightning Storm may need to come down on curve to slow down early aggression if there is no Volcano in hand. If you are in a matchup where hand size really matters (such as the mirror match) where you will never lose to your opponent's board pressure, Healing Rain is sometimes the correct play on turn three for no value.
Wild Shudderwock Shaman Midgame and Later Turns
The cards you can play on turns 4 through 8 are either used to assemble your combo, to defend yourself against aggression, or both. Our plan against aggressive decks is often quite simple: survive! We do not have the luxury of time on our side against aggressive decks, and must deploy our resources as defensively as possible. Though it might be tempting to save our cards to build up as strong of a combo as possible, we often do not need our "full" combo to beat aggro. A Shudderwock with one Hagatha the Witch, one Glacial Shard, and one Saronite Chain Gang trigger in the pool is often more than enough to close out a game against a top-decking aggro opponent.
When playing against control or combo, our gameplan becomes much more complicated. Against these decks, we will need to find creative ways to make our non-guaranteed combo as guaranteed as possible. There are two primary ways to accomplish this:
- Create as many Saronite Chain Gang triggers as possible with Grumble, Worldshaker and Zola the Gorgon.
- Use Grumble, Worldshaker to make a one-mana Zola the Gorgon. This allows you to copy your Shudderwock after the combo fails to give yourself a second try at it.
Against decks which fail to apply pressure to you on the board, you can afford to save your Saronite Chain Gangs until turn ten, when you can play it in combination with Grumble, Worldshaker. Shudderwock Combo is favored against slow and controlling decks, but only if you are patient and take time to construct the best combo possible. There is no need to jam a Shudderwock on turn 10 with a mere 50% or 66% chance of the combo succeeding if you can afford to wait and build yourself a better chance of combo success. Whenever possible, you should aim to have at least three Saronite Chain Gang triggers and a Zola the Gorgon before attempting to combo off against slower decks.
When Should You Go For The Combo?
The best time to go for the combo is the last possible second. This is true for most combo decks in Hearthstone, and is certainly true for Shudderwock Shaman as well. The ultimate goal is to maximize the chances that your combo goes off, but you can not wait so long that your opponent can assemble their own win condition. This makes meta-knowledge an important skill with this deck, because you must understand your opponent's win condition in order to know when to "go for it".
In the mirror match, it will often be correct to go for lower percentage Shudderwock plays just so you can be the first player to create a 1 Mana Shudderwock. Whoever creates a 1 Mana Shudderwock first is virtually guaranteed to win, which makes a turn 10 Shudderwock with a 66% chance of succeeding a much stronger play than a turn 15 Shudderwock with a 90% chance of succeeding. You can afford to hold on to your combo until every combo piece has been played by your opponent, but you should not wait much longer than that.
Single Card Strategies
You will not always have a clean answer to an early Mountain Giant. In these games, Glacial Shard will have to do his best impression of a removal spell. Look to set up sequences where you can replay as many Glacial Shards as you can, turn after turn, until you can find an answer to a nasty threat.
Zola the Gorgon
You typically want to use your Zola the Gorgon on a Saronite Chain Gang to increase your chances of succeeding at the combo, but there are several other smart targets for Zola, such as Prince Keleseth or Lifedrinker. Against Kingsbane decks, making multiple copies of Gluttonous Ooze is often the smartest play.
Zola can also be played before Grumble, Worldshaker to reduce her cost to 1 Mana, allowing you to copy a Shudderwock after a potentially failed combo attempt. You should look to set this up against slower decks whenever possible.
Be careful with her trigger while comboing off, as it can add a 9 Mana copy of Shudderwock to your hand before a 1 Mana copy of Shudderwock is made by Grumble, which could potentially fill your hand up and block you from being able to OTK on the following turn.
Following the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion, the deck has access to Bog Slosher to provide a similar role to Zola and add more consistency to the deck.
A well-placed Hex can win a game on its own in the current meta. The 0/1 frog created by Hex is both a Beast and a Taunt minion, which is especially strong against Hadronox-based Taunt Druid decks. Try to determine if there are any cards your opponent is playing which are best answered by a Hex (such as a Seeping Oozeling) and try to save your Hex for only these cards.
Volcano is the closest thing we have to a Twisting Nether, but it is far from a "true" board wipe. There are many boards which Volcano does not clear, and the best way to beat these boards is to prevent them from ever getting created in the first place. Fight aggressively for control of the board against decks which can pump out too many minions in one turn for Volcano to handle (such as multi-Spider turns from Fal'dorei Strider or a board full of demons from Bloodreaver Gul'dan). Also keep an eye out for situations where you can play a Acolyte of Pain before a Volcano to draw extra cards.
Hagatha the Witch
The marquee Legendary from The Witchwood, Hagatha the Witch, plays a very important role in Shudderwock Shaman. The most important benefit she provides is her Battlecry, which is a necessary tool for beating a variety of aggressive decks. Her Battlecry gets added to the pool for Shudderwock, creating an additional board clear for drawn-out games against aggro. Her passive hero power will occasionally win a game or two by hitting a key Volcano, Healing Rain, or Hex when you need it most, but it can also fill up your hand at crucial moments with unplayable spells. You need hand space to go for the combo, which can make her a liability in the mirror match or against other control decks. Play Hagatha the Witch at your own risk in the mirror!
Key Cards and Swaps
The deck does not function at all without Shudderwock and Grumble, Worldshaker, and is significantly weaker without Hagatha the Witch and Zola the Gorgon. The Black Knight can be replaced by another tech card (such as Skulking Geist), while Prince Keleseth can be replaced by a number of useful 2 drops, including Wild Pyromancer and Murmuring Elemental.
Do not be afraid to adjust the 1 cost removal spells for the meta you are currently facing. Lightning Bolt is excellent at picking off Vicious Fledgling, while Earth Shock is great at killing Twilight Drakes.
One of the biggest points of contention in the design of Shudderwock Shaman is Prince Keleseth. "Prince Two" provides a substantial boost to win percentage when played on turn 2, but it prevents the deck from including two powerful cards, Wild Pyromancer and Murmuring Elemental. Wild Pyromancer swings an unfavorable matchup against Odd Paladin in Shudderwock's favor, while Murmuring Elemental provides the deck with the ability to have guaranteed combos (a 1 Mana Murmuring Elemental created by a Grumble, Worldshaker can be played before Shudderwock to guarantee the combo). If you are struggling against token decks on the ladder, you should consider running the Wild Pyromancer, Ancestral Healing, and Bogshaper package over Prince Keleseth and Far Sight.
Some players have started shaving a copy of Lifedrinker to make room for more removal or tech cards. If you are looking for an extra card slot, the second Lifedrinker is not a mandatory inclusion in the deck.
Quick Tips and Tricks
- Acolyte of Pain can combine with Volcano to draw 3 cards.
- There will be many turns where it is correct to not use your Hero Power, even though you have extra Mana to play it. Having extra minions on board can interfere Shudderwock triggers, such as Zola the Gorgon's and Grumble, Worldshaker's, which can lose a game with a bit of bad luck or poor planning.
- Hand size management is much more important than it may appear at first glance. Try to look for opportunities to empty cards from your hand when playing against slower decks.
- 08 Apr. 2019: Deck has been moved to Wild for the year of the Dragon.
- 23 Dec. 2018: Deck has been retired following December balance patch.
- 04 Dec. 2018: Deck updated for the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion. Removed 1x Sandbinder, 1x Mind Control Tech for 1x Electra Stormsurge, 1x Bog Slosher.
- 26 Oct. 2018: Swapped a Lightning Bolt for a second copy of Mind Control Tech.
- 02 Sep. 2018: No updates for September.
- 10 Jul. 2018: Budget and Wild versions of the deck added.
- 05 Jul. 2018: Deck Added
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