The Comprehensive Whizbang’s Workshop Preview

Data Reaper Report - Shaman

Pop-Up Book

An Arcane Shot that also summons two 0/1 taunts? And it’s a Nature spell? Book seems nice and versatile. Defensively, the ability to kill an early game minion while developing taunts that soak damage is valuable. On the other hand, this spell can still go face, when necessary, which is nice if you’re playing a more aggressive deck.

Hard not to get behind such a neat package for 1 mana.

Score: 3

Incredible Value

This card is an incredible meme, but that’s about it. While developing a 4-mana 7/7 seems almighty powerful, the issue is that we’re skipping turn 3 to do it. We’re not playing a 4-mana 7/7. We’re playing a 7-mana 7/7 and splitting the cost across two turns.

What usually makes big stats good is when they follow up existing pressure. It’s more likely that the opponent can deal with a 7/7 when we’ve done nothing the previous turn. Alternatively, a card such as Forge of Wills makes up for us skipping turn 3 because it produces overwhelming stats that immediately impact the board on turn 4.

We just can’t see this card being played. If it were 2-mana, then a turn 2 discover into coining out the 7/7 on turn 3 would have gotten interesting.

Score: 1

Sand Art Elemental

This Elemental provides our hero with a small attack boost and Windfury on the turn it’s played. Miniaturize means we get to do it again for 1-mana, which opens more freedom to use the buff in combination with other cards to deal burst damage to the opponent.

The problem is that Shaman doesn’t have access to a lot of attack buffs, which could help us leverage the Windfury ability. You’re only looking at Turn the Tides as the perfect card to use alongside a Sand Art Elemental Mini. We could have a weapon equipped, but that doesn’t add damage, just accelerates it.

If not used in conjunction with Turn the Tides, then this is just a 5/5 for 5 mana that deals 4 damage across two bodies. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t amazing either. Could see play in Elemental decks but doesn’t have much synergy with them either. A card that may get stronger once more attack buffs are added to Shaman’s toolkit.

Score: 2

Fairy Tale Forest

A two charge location that draws battlecry minions and discounts them by 1. This could be a very useful tutor in the class, which seems to be getting a lot of support focused on battlecry minions. The discount could also be impactful since it allows us to develop some minions a turn earlier. One turn could be the difference maker in some games, especially if the battlecry minions we’re drawing are our swing cards.

We expect a lot of players to be hyped for this one, but Fairy Tale Forest does have its issues. If we’re comparing it to Cathedral of Atonement, it draws one less card and doesn’t put more stats in play. Cathedral is obviously amazing, but that tells us that Forest might be a level below “busted”. You’re still skipping a turn to draw two cards across two turns.

For Forest to be powerful, it needs to abuse its tutoring capabilities. What makes it appealing is its ability to fish for Hagatha and Shudderblock, as well as whatever minions we’re trying to enable with Shudderblock. If Shudderblock sees play, then Forest sees play.

Score: 3

Baking Soda Volcano

Healing Rain mixed with Volcano, Baking Soda Volcano provides a very decisive answer to early aggression. 10 damage that is split amongst all minions is a versatile answer to either a bunch of small minions, a couple of mid-sized ones, or one big minion. This spell, much like the original Volcano, does hit our own minions too, so it fits a more passive deck that aims to stall rather than develop.

The added big bonus is that this spell has lifesteal, so if there’s enough health to target, Volcano will heal us for 10. That’s a lot of healing and removal wrapped into a 4-mana package.

Another cute utilization of Baking Soda Volcano is with Acolyte of Pain. Aftershocks has already made waves in Warrior thanks to its combo with Acolyte of Pain, but now Shaman has access to both Aftershocks and Baking Soda. This is a strong defensive and cycling package that the class may tap into.

We think this card should become a staple in late game Shaman strategies. A major boost in the class’ survivability. Incredibly versatile board clear with a huge healing output.

Score: 4

Wish Upon a Star

A smaller version of Survival of the Fittest that costs 7 mana instead of 10. This card could be a powerful win condition for a minion-dense Shaman deck, or one that specifically looks to abuse buffs with cards such as Shining Sentinel.

The main issue with the card is how weak it is to play without a board and the absence of “enablers”. Survival of the Fittest was playable much earlier than turn 10 thanks to the availability of ramp. It had Strongman as a 0 mana 10/10 that it could played on the Survival turn, and it had Carnival Clown, which was a very dramatic win condition as a follow-up.

Wish Upon the Star seems to greatly rely on Hagatha as its primary enabler, which is a 1-off legendary. The possibility of playing the spell in slime form alongside a Shudderblock is intriguing but might be a bit clunky. It’s an interesting card, but one we could get behind more if it was playable on an empty board without us skipping the entire turn. Pop-Up Book is the only card that comes to mind that would alleviate this to some degree.

Score: 2

Once Upon a Time…

A rule of thumb for us, that’s not always accurate, is that summoning a random minion of an (x) cost is worth (x-1). So, summoning a random 3-cost minion is worth about 2 mana. This is because most minions have battlecries, which makes their stats worse than the average vanilla minion. Of course, this does have an element of variance we can’t account for.

When we look at this spell, we see about 8 mana’s worth of stats in a 6-mana package. That’s not bad, but when we compare this to Pack the House, a card that has struggled to see play, we don’t see a superior spell for the cost. On average, Pack the House develops a much bigger board and can be played on turn 7. Once Upon a Time comes down one turn earlier, has no overload, but develops a board that’s about 6 mana smaller.

The only argument for the spell is that it offers a direct follow up to Hagatha. A turn 5 Hagatha into a turn 6 Slime doesn’t seem terrible, but we suspect that we’ll have better things to do with the legendary.

Score: 1

Shining Sentinel

This elemental offers a lot of health in taunt. You’re looking at 14 health across two bodies, on top of being elusive, so your opponent cannot clear it with targeted spells. How much would a single 3/7 taunt with elusive be worth? At 4-mana, you’re getting a good deal, so two of them on turn 7 seems okay, but not something you’re willing to play as a standalone card.

But there’s more to Shining Sentinel than its strength as a standalone card. This is an incredible follow up to a turn 6 Shudderblock. Summoning 4 3/7 elusive taunts on turn 7 probably ends the game against any faster deck that doesn’t have a mass board clear.

Shining Sentinel is also a good follow up to Wish Upon a Star. It’s an Elemental, so it’s safe to assume it’ll be included in Elemental decks. Most Elementals have a battlecry attached to them, so Shudderblock is a likely inclusion in them.

If you play Shudderblock in your deck, running Shining Sentinel makes sense. The only problem is, what happens if you don’t draw Shudderblock? Sentinel becomes a lot worse, especially if we’re not playing an Elemental deck. That makes us a bit hesitant to fully get behind.

Score: 2

Hagatha the Fabled

Hagatha is a 5-mana 4/4 that draws two spells and turns them into slimes that cast the spell with a battlecry. The slime will have their mana cost, attack, and health set to the cost of the spell. For example, if you draw a 6-mana spell, the slime will be a 6/6 and cost 6-mana.

Hagatha seems like a very powerful card. Not only can she tutor 2 high impact cards, but she bakes a high number of stats into them. If you draw a couple of 6 mana spells, you’re looking at “free” 12/12 stats gained from playing them. That should make up for the fact you’ve played a 5 mana 4/4 earlier.

In addition, Hagatha has great synergy with Shudderblock. Since Slime is a battlecry minion, you can amplify it with Shudderblock. You can play Shudderblock on turn 6, then play a Slime that casts Wish Upon a Star three times on turn 7. That buffs Slime and all your minions by +6/+9. Nice!

Of course, this example does require a lot of setups, in which you’re playing undersized minions that don’t impact the board, but it does offer a powerful win condition in slower matchups.

Regardless of how she’s utilized, Hagatha seems like an easy card to include in multiple, different decks. A Hagatha package doesn’t require a lot of support, so she’s very splash-able.

Score: 3


Shudderblock can easily be considered the centerpiece of the Shaman set. A 6-mana 5/5 that triples your next battlecry, with the caveat that it cannot damage the enemy hero. This is to avoid this card being used as a cheesy (and broken) nuke. Shudderblock also has Miniaturize, so you get another little 1-mana Shudderblock to combo with a battlecry. Note that Shudderblock’s effect is not limited to the turn it’s played. It impacts the “next” battlecry, whenever it is played. A turn 6 Shudderblock into a turn 7 Shining Sentinel works.

One note on the damaging the enemy hero limitation: there’s a loophole! Shudderblock is specifically coded to not deal damage to the enemy hero with battlecries that contain “damage” in the text. Kalimos’ battlecry is “cast an Elemental Invocation”, so even though one of those Invocations deals 6 damage to the enemy hero, the damage will be applied. This means that tripling Kalimos’ battlecry allows you to deal 18 damage to the enemy hero.

Battlecries are often the most powerful effects in the game, so even if they don’t damage the enemy hero directly, they can often win the game in other ways. It is impossible to list every possible utilization of the card, but the potential seems endless. There might be no Shaman deck that’s going to pass on the opportunity. This is the definition of a late game powerhouse.

Score: 4

Final Thoughts

Whizbang’s Workshop Set Rank: 5th

Overall Power Ranking: 10th

Shaman’s situation is a bit strange. We like the set it got, but when building Shaman decks, we couldn’t help but feel they were watered down versions of things that other classes do better. It might be the case that Shaman needed an all-star set to compete with other classes in the late game post-rotation. Instead, it only got a “good” set.

This feeling makes sense, considering the current late game Shaman strategies are terrible, besides the OTK Nature Shaman deck that’s losing its OTK in Bioluminescence. We have doubts Nature Shaman can maintain its lethality in the absence of Bio.

And while Shudderblock is a fantastic card, a Reno Shaman deck running it might become a poor imitation of Reno Warrior. It’s entirely possible that this is a case where we just couldn’t figure out the secret sauce that will be discovered once millions of players start playing the new expansion. Perhaps, Fairy Tale Forest is the kind of consistency booster that makes Shudderblock more effective on average.

We are intrigued by the Hagatha/Shudderblock/Wish Upon a Star curve, which buffs our entire deck to the point where all our minions become massive threats. The issue with this curve is that it’s very slow and has no impact on the opponent’s board, meaning we can get rushed down.

Another direction is to try and amplify Chaotic Tendrils in a battlecry-focused deck. If we scale up Tendrils and triple cast them with Shudderblock, we can overwhelm the opponent. Note that we can use Zola to copy Mini Shudderblock three times. That represents a lot of value.

Elemental Shaman is another potential direction since the tribe is very heavy on battlecry minions, making it a good fit for Shudderblock in theory. However, playing Shudderblock on turn 6 means we are breaking the Elemental chain that fuels Skarr and Azerite Giants. Aggressive decks, in general, don’t look great in Shaman in the upcoming format.

The class has a lot of question marks surrounding its ability to compete. We will be hoping that this is a case of a class being hard to figure out, rather than the class just being hard to win with. On a positive note, if Shudderblock pans out, Shaman will not have visibility issues. This is the kind of card players want to play.

1 Comment

  1. Good read overall, but the write up on Timewinder Zarimi is a bit over the top. It just screams, “Blizz, if you’re reading our article nerf this card now!”, and I think it’s way too early to jump to that conclusion. Time Warp effects are strong, but it’s no more strong than OTK card strategies; one could argue it’s actually weaker cause you need two turns in a row to win when other decks can OTK.

    A weakness with Timewinder Zarimi that shouldn’t be ignored is its reliance on dragon tribe. Can’t just put in any deck, must devote enough other cards to get to 5 dragons.

    TLDR – Let’s try not to put a target on cards to nerf before they’re actually a problem.

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