Recently a Reddit user by the name of Miendiesen featured a guide for a new creation, Murloc Dragon Shaman, on the competitiveHS subreddit. The deck is a unique creation and we wanted to feature it on the platform here. All information in the guide is provided by the original post of /u/Miendiesen, with some editing and formatting help from us. The following is Miendiesen’s guide to this unique deck for the Standard format of Hearthstone.
Deck code: AAECAaoIApybA/CtAw7FA9sD0AenCIyUA7WYA8aZA8edA6+nA8qrA+ewA/6wA4GxA8m4AwA=
An introduction to Murloc Dragon Shaman
This month is my first time getting to legend with a home-brewed deck that’s significantly different from other decks in the meta. The concept that drove me to try this was that Scargil could shine due to Blizzard printing bigger, bulkier murloc’s. In particular, I suspected Scargil + Skyfin turn five might win games. And it does indeed do some damage. I tried it pretty early in Ashes of Outland, but it was getting shredded by prevalent Demon Hunter decks until the July 14 update.
Note that the loss of Murloc Tastyfin hurt Murloc Shaman build that was tier 1 during the Rise of Shadows and Saviours of Uldum meta. Murloc Tastyfin was vital for sustaining the aggression and drawing high-value murlocs (in particular, your 5-star Underbelly Anglers).
I figured I might be able to bridge that gap using card draw and resource generating dragons (Big Ol’ Whelps and Cobalt Spellkins). It worked better than expected honestly, in particular, because the Shaman 1-mana spell pool is reliable.
Individual card discussion of this Murloc deck
Murloc Tidecaller: Strong early game card that can snowball. Always keep. I often will coin into a Coldlight Seer on turn two if one of these sticks. Weaker against Rouge due to Backstab (still hold).
Murmy: Strong early game card, almost always keep (unless I had a Tidecaller and two murmies. Then I may be worried about burning resources too quick and put one back).
Sludge Slurper: Strong card. Thanks, Blizzard, for un-nerfing it. Keep usually, but note that it’s generally not ideal to use Sludge Slurper on turn one. The overload hurts on turn two. You could get a witchy or goblin lackey, then have your slurper removed, which makes for a weak turn two. Draconic lackey is critical for resource generation and enabling Skyfins.
Toxfin: Dope card. Not as dope as in the past since the meta isn’t favoring big minions, but honestly, getting any value at all from the poison sometimes is all you need to win the board. Even giving a murmy poison, so it clears a 1/2 is enough value, and you’ll often do much better than that.
Usually, keep, but redraw if you have nothing to drop first and give poisonous. You may also keep it even if it’s your cheapest Murloc when playing a slow deck, like most mage decks, and you have a hand that can snowball (e.g., Toxfin into Tidehunter into Coldlight Seer could work so that you may keep all three). Edit: I’d say that “usually keep” is misleading here. It’s probably 50/50 if you keep or redraw here.
Fishflinger: You often want to keep Fishflinger due to its resource generation. The main exception for this is when you do not have access to a 1-mana card. The priority often should be on finding a play for the early turns, rather than ensuring your access to resources later on.
There are other considerations for when to play Fishflinger. The primary example is against the common Quest Warlock deck due to the card Dark Skies. Dark Skies deals one damage for each card in your hand. The extra point of damage may mean the difference between having your board cleared or having it survive to deal lethal damage to your opponent.
Hench-clan Hogsteed: Just a great, consistent card for contesting the board. Adding these instead of Grimscale Oracle was the last change I made (I was sad to see Grimscale Oracle go). Almost always keep these.
Murloc Tidehunter: Decent. Needed to get the maximum value out of Murloc Tidecallers and your buff murlocs (such as Coldlight Seer and Felfin Navigator). Keep (unless you need to redraw for a turn-1 play).
Underbelly Angler: What a god damn stud. This card is so freaking nuts. Always keep. You have to think about how to play this. I try to delay playing until I get guaranteed value out of it—dropping it + at least two more murlocs to generate resources. The one notable exception is playing against Hunter.
Highlander hunter has limited early-game removal tools to remove Underbelly Angler (Corrosive Shot or Coin + Storm Hammer if you are going second). I generally bet against hunters having removal and drop Underbelly Anglers ASAP. You also may be better off playing right away against Druid and Zoolock (If you control the board).
Coldlight Seer: Great core Murloc card. Try and only keep Coldlight Seer if you already have smaller murlocs.
Murloc Warleader: Key card considering this list does not run any other damage boosters. No Grimscales. No Bloodlust, which was a key win condition of the Murloc Shaman ROS build. Usually, don’t keep. Only keep if you have an excellent earlier setup. (e.g., first position Murmy, Tidehunter, and Warleader would be a keep all cards situation).
Felfin Navigator: Big body Murloc. Great synergy with Scargil. Rarely keep (There may be situations where it makes sense. E.g., against a Druid (limited removal), if I got a murmy, Tidecaller, Hench-Clan Hogsteed, and a Felfin going second, I’d likely send back only the Hench-Clan Hogstead and plan to coin into the Felfin Navigator on turn 3).
Scargil: Scargil is the star of this deck. Think about how silly a turn 6 Scargil + Skyfin + Felfin Navigator is. That said, you don’t want to get greedy and wait for turn six instead of turn 5 (or turn 4 + coin). If you can cheat out a Skyfin or a Felfin Navigator, you often want to do so immediately. Lots of classes have impressive later game removal (think Soul Mirror, Twisting Nether, Plague of Death, Earthquake), thus delaying your resources usually doesn’t make sense. I will often try to keep Scargil, but sometimes you can’t—if you have no early game cards and are playing an aggressive opponent (e.g., DH), you have to redraw for cards that can help contest the first turns.
Big Ol’ Whelp: Decent. Big Ol’Whelp is essential for resource generation and Skyfin synergy. Despite this, you never keep the card in your starting hand.
Cobalt Spellkin: This card is reliable in this deck. The shaman 1-mana spell pool is excellent. Storm’s Wrath is often the high roll—if you can immediately buff four murlocs and a dragon, that’s silly value. I usually don’t like to play Cobalt Spellkin until turn six since I want to be able to use at least one spell.
Skyfin: Skyfin is incredible whenever you get the chance to use him. Often game-winning when enabled with Scargil. Even without Scargil, when enabled, it’s generally solid value played for five mana. You do sometimes lose games because you draw these without dragons. Rarely keep. I will keep these if I also draw Scargil and have turn 1 and 2 taken care of (so only second position).
Nithogg: Nithogg is an awesome card in an aggressive deck. If you don’t have board control, the value isn’t quite there since your opponent can remove the eggs with minions (although you could argue soaking up six damage is still decent).
Played when ahead, Nithogg’s value is nuts. If the eggs hatch, we’re talking 13/13 total stats for six mana. But even if your opponent works hard to remove the eggs, that can be a big resource drain for them. In particular, Nithogg plays great against rogue (finite number of removal tools, often already used removing murlocs).
Notable exclusions from the main decklist
Grimscale Oracle: Great card with Underbelly Angler synergy. I decided to swap it out for Hench-Clan Hogsteed. R.I.P. my beloved grimscales.
Bloodlust: Honestly, Bloodlust might be worth a slot in the deck. If you can find the space, I’d recommend at least using one copy of in your build of the deck. When building this deck, it was before the recent DH nerfs, and I wasn’t often sticking enough murlocs to use Bloodlust as a finisher. So I removed it. Sticking is much easier now.
Tasty Flyfish: The card was too weak when I didn’t have a dragon in hand. I found, in general, Tide Hunter was better.
Alright! Mrgrgllllgrrrgll! That’s it for cards; let’s talk matchups.
Warrior: Let’s start by ripping off the bandaid. Warriors are going to smash your little murlocs until there’s nothing left but scales and blood. This matchup is below a 30% win rate (estimated) across all Warrior decks for our deck. I still try to play as aggressively as possible, but maybe there’s a better way.
Hunter: This deck smashes both Face Hunter (which I’m starting to see again) and Highlander Hunter. Very high win rates, probably north of 65%. Hunters just don’t have the early removal they need to prevent Murloc snowball.
The exception is, of course, Zephyr in Highlander decks. Hungry crabs can be bad news and tough to bounce back from, but otherwise, you will be ruining hunters. No magic, just play as aggressively as possible (which is pretty much the simple strategy against all classes with this deck). One notable thing is that you can drop your Underbelly Anglers right away against hunters since they lack removal. In contrast, with other classes, I often try to delay until I can guarantee a bit of resource generation.
Galakrond Rogue: Decent match up. I’d say I feel like I have a very slight edge, but it’s close. Like always against rogue, you want sticky minions (e.g., I’d say Murmy plays better than Tidecaller on turn 1) and minions that help establish a wide board (Tidehunter). If they’ve used their removal tools, Skyfins and Nithogg can be tough to deal with for the Galakrond rogues.
Demon Hunter: Before the last nerf, I was struggling against Demon Hunter. That’s an understatement. Demon Hunters were responsible for the slaughter of so many murlocs that it single-handedly prevented this deck from being viable.
Demon Hunter is really tough to stick murlocs against, so the class often controls the early board no matter what. However, you can pull ahead in the mid-game with Skyfins (especially with Scagil). In the past, you would finally pull ahead and then get smacked back into submission by Warglaves of Azzinoth. Not the case anymore. Demon Hunter is now a winning matchup, though quite close.
Mage: Tough matchup. Certainly a low win rate, maybe even south of 40%. Against Highlander Mage, the card Imprisoned Observer hurts murlocs’ chances a lot. Flame Ward can be devastating and tough to play against—Coldlight Seer isn’t enough to get your murlocs out of trouble. Both Renos, Reno Jackson, and Reno the Relicologist are devastating for us.
Zephyr means even more trouble. Just a bad time overall. Then in the late game, you can run into trouble with getting frozen. Often I will try to leave an empty slot on the board (6 minions max) so that I can still play something when I get frozen. In general, just play as aggressively as possible and pray they don’t have the removal tools to squash you precious murlocs.
Priest: This deck plays well against Galakrond Highlander Priest, certainly a favorable matchup. I generally avoid dropping too many small murlocs early. You don’t want to let them take out too many resources with board clears. I also always delay Underbelly Angler here—priests are running Penance now (unlike a month or so ago).
Also, be mindful of Soul Mirror. Sometimes it makes sense not to drop a Warleader to prevent a Soul Mirror clear. Other than that, your murlocs should often spiral out of control early and kill priests before they get started. I’ve played three Tempo Priests too and won all three. Nothing special there, just as aggressive as possible.
Shaman: Shamans are pretty rare and varied honestly. Not seeing any consistency really, so it’s tough to speak to any particular deck. I’ve certainly had a positive win rate against the class. In general, just go pure aggression.
Paladin: We have a tough matchup against Murloc Paladin, probably a very slightly losing match up (but close!). Sungills and Underlight Angling rods are just slightly more helpful for early game board control when compared to Sludge Slurpers and Underbelly Anglers (which you risk a lot by playing since removal by Underlight Angling Rod hurts). Still, your late game is stronger, especially if you can get those Skyfins firing. You just have to stay aggressive and claw at board control, not much different here.
Pure Paladin is an easy match up. Stay aggressive, no real concerns here. Can play Underbelly Anglers right away here too.
Druid: Crazy high win rate against the Druid class. Our win rate is above 65% for sure. No rocket science here either. I sometimes am ok with dropping Underbelly Anglers early here too—I believe they only run two copies of Wrath for early removal.
Warlock: whether Quest Warlock or Zoo Warlock, you’re playing the same—as aggressively as possible. Against Zoo, you can drop Underbelly Anglers right away if you have board control. Quest Warlock is a great matchup. Zoo Warlock, however, is tougher—If that deck draws well enough, there isn’t much you can do.
That’s it, folks! I hope some other players give it a try and find some fun tweaks. I’m not sure how high this deck can climb. I just got to legend and got excited to share and wrote this up. Thanks for reading.
For more strategy guides for Hearthstone be sure to read all about Discard Warlock in our recent guide for the Wild format.
Written & content by Miendiesen
Editing & formatting by Arend