Back in April 2018, with the release of the Witchwood, Even Shaman quickly became one of my all-time favorite decks in Hearthstone. A few days ago, Mentalistic tweeted about a new Even Shaman deck that gained popularity on the Chinese Hearthstone server. Right away, I spend all the dust I had to craft the new cards I needed and started playing it. The new decklist is quite a different playstyle, but I enjoy it a lot.
I considered using this list to climb to Legend to make an article about it early on in August, however, with the overwhelming support on the previous guide, I wanted to fit in one more piece in July. To prepare for this guide, I played 43 games in Legend (28-15), from rank 4200 to 2800. And an additional 50 (37/13) on my American account in preparation for next season. I ended the preparation with a 73% winrate over 93 games. So here we go, this is what you need to know to play Even Shaman in the current Wild meta.
The CN Even Shaman deck
The new Even Shaman deck is very different than when I first played the deck two years ago. The main reason for the change is not just the inclusion of new cards. More critical is the nerf of Flametongue Totem back in February 2019. The loss of Flametongue Totem was quite a hit to the deck. However, throughout the past few expansions, Even Shaman is consistently gaining more tools again. Recently the deck has stabilized around tier-1 to tier-2 places on most of the famous Wild Hearthstone tier lists.
The CN list plays several tools not frequently seen in Even Shaman. Some of the notable inclusions are Transfer Student, Cryostasis, and Maiev Shadowsong. Both Cryostasis and Maiev Shadowsong, I believe, should become a part of the best Even Shaman list we can currently build. On the other hand, Transfer Student is probably not good enough to make it in the Wild format. The reasoning for this is the importance of a turn two play for the deck. The difference in winrate without a playable two mana card compared to having something like a Totem Golem is (in my small sample size <100 games) nearly 20%.
Maiev Shadowsong is an interesting tech that works incredibly well in many matchups. Whether it is simply removing a minion of your opponent temporarily, or using Maiev to set up lethal, it just works well with the deck.
Learning to use Cryostasis
Cryostasis is probably the card with the biggest learning curve of the deck. In the first 20-something games I played with the card, it seemed underwhelming. However, once you understand what this card does, and how it can work in your favor, it becomes one of the best cards of the deck. There are so many matchups where you simply auto-win the game when you use Cryostasis on your hero power from turn one. Making a 3/5 with an effect early in the game is nearly impossible to interact with for most decks.
The other option for Cryostasis is to delay your opponent’s large minions. The ability to delay your opponent’s large minions, while you build up a board to deal with it is invaluable. One common situation is when dealing with opponents like Big Shaman or the resurrect priest deck. Having the option to set up damage ahead of getting through a taunt with a card like Maiev Shadowsong helps you gain those extra %’s in win rate.
There is also a lot of downside to a card like Cryostasis that I should mention. The card has a large period within the game where it’s simply not as efficient as other tools may be. Cryostasis shines on turns two & at the end of the game, but in between, it’s probably one of the worse cards within the deck, in my opinion.
The mulligan for Even Shaman
There is currently not enough information on Hsreplay about the specific CN Even Shaman list, so I’m using the closest comparison as the mulligan guide. As with my previous guide for Discard Warlock, I disagree with several cards compared to the average Hearthstone player playing the deck. Since this was a question I got on the last guide, the stats I use are from diamond through Legend to use the highest quality sample size. However, since there aren’t many Legend rank players using Even Shaman, it’s needed to include Diamond to make sure the samples are large enough.
The main card I want to look at is Cryostasis. At this time, Cryostasis sits at a 58.4% win rate when kept in your opening hand. Players keep Cryostasis more than 65.5% of the time, which is much higher than it should be. In my eyes, the card shines as a turn-two play. However, when you have access to better tools, such as Totem Golem in any matchup, or Murkspark Eel against other minion-based decks, that is simply going to work out better for you. In addition to this, you just never keep two Cryostasis, ever. The second copy of it just hurts your hand in the vast majority of matchups.
The one exception to this, I would argue, is against Druid, in particular, against which making a 6/8 totem over two turns is a valid gameplan.
Thing from Below & Splitting Axe
Thing from Below is another card my opinion is vastly different about compared to other players. In my experience, Thing from Below is simply the best card in this entire deck. I cannot think of situations where you don’t want just to hold two of them whenever given the chance. At the very least, you should keep one if you believe you need something aggressive against a deck like Zoo Warlock or Pirate Warrior, in particular.
The final card I’m unsure about is Splitting Axe. The card is crazy powerful within this deck, but I believe this isn’t a card you can keep without other tools. For example, if you have a Totem Golem or Cryostasis in your starting hand, it makes sense to keep Splitting Axe. However, in other situations, the card is simply not strong enough on turn four to be held so frequently. As with Cryostasis, it’s highly unlikely you ever want to keep two copies of Splitting Axe.
A budget version of Even Shaman
There are dozens of entirely viable options for Even Shaman. Most of the cards you can replace from the CN, or any of the other popular Even Shaman deck. Here is my take on a budget version of the deck, including only Genn Greymane as a legendary card.
Budget Even Shaman: AAEBAaoIAveqAs30Ag7TAb4GiA7WD7IUtRT7qgKgtgL2vQKU7wKdowPapQP5pQOsrQMA
If you are planning on upgrading from there, my priority would be on including The Storm Bringer. The card allows you to get out of situations where you have no other option to win, and sometimes just ends games on the spot.
That is all for this guide. I’ll be playing a lot more of this deck in August, and I’m looking forward to sharing a more in-depth guide in the future once I have more access to stats. When that is ready, we’ll discuss all types of tech-cards, half a dozen decklists, and compare them in various matchups. I hope you are all looking forward to that; it’s something I’m looking forward to working on!
For those who haven’t read it, please take a look at my latest Hearthstone guide about Wild Discard Warlock.