With these two new options, will Control Shaman become viable at last?
Shaman players received an unexpected windfall yesterday, when Blizzard unveiled two great upcoming cards for the traditionally struggling totemslingers. Although they were announced on April 1st, these cards are no joke; instead, they might be the missing pieces to the Control Shaman puzzle players have been trying to solve since the pre-Naxxramas days.
The first card announced is Thing from Below, a 5/5 taunt for 6 mana which gets cheaper with every totem you summon. The word “summon” is key here, since it includes not only minions such as Totem Golem and Flametongue Totem, but also the Shaman’s Hero Power as well as the totems spawned by Tuskarr Totemic. In a control deck, this allows for playing Tunnel Trogg on one mana, Totem Golem on two, Flametongue Totem on three and finally dropping Thing from Below on curve at four mana, which is as scary of a curve as you can get. Meanwhile, Aggro Shamans (the only ladder and tournament viable deck the Shaman class sports these days) could feasibly play the same curve, although they would most likely be looking for extra damage from hand instead of “only” a five attack minion with a taunt effect.
While Thing from Below seems to fit both control and aggro decks, Master of Evolution, the second Shaman card announced by Blizzard yesterday, is not only amazing value, but allows control decks to turn certain cards which are prone to underperform into great on-curve plays. The Master of Evolution, a 4/5 for four mana, transforms any friendly minion into a random minion which costs one mana more than the original card. Not only does a 4/5 body for four mana pass the vanilla test, Master of Evolution’s battlecry is basically Recombobulator on steroids and allows for value plays such as turning a Jeweled Scarab into a 3-drop, a Tuskarr Totemic into a 4-drop or the totem summoned by the Shaman’s Hero Power (or Tuskarr Totemic!) into a 2-drop; all of that for free. Combined with the still standard-legal Fireguard Destroyer, the Shaman class has two of the strongest remaining 4-drops at its disposal.
Especially in combination with typically overpriced draw engines such as Cult Master, Master of Evolution could be the solution to the card starvation which has kept Control Shaman decks out of the meta for so long. Thing from Below, meanwhile, strengthens the midgame and allows Shamans some breathing room against aggressive decks (the heals from the upcoming Shaman legendary, Hallazeal the Ascended, certainly won’t hurt, either) and lets them curve into their lategame threats much smoother than currently. And who knows, with the standard metagame looking slower and slower with each newly announced card, maybe The Mistcaller will finally manage to sneak his way into a legend-viable deck?
What are your impressions of these new cards and do you think Control Shaman will make it back into the meta? Comment below and let us know your assessment of the new tools Whispers of the Old Gods will offer to the Shaman class in the quickpoll!
You can follow the reveal of the new expansion with our Whispers of the Old Gods full card list here.