Hearthstone at its core is a game that people should have fun with, but that can get bogged down in the pursuit of competitive meta strategies. Thus, I humbly present Memes and Dreams, a series on Out of Cards looking to bring some good ol' memey fun into people's Hearthstone experiences. Each week we will do a deep dive on a different 'for fun' deck, discussing the basic ideas of the deck, what makes it tick, and roughly how to pilot it. This week we showcase Aggro Shaman with a shocking twist.
Consecutive Cheap Spells
Evolve Shaman is on the decline after the nerf to Boggspine Knuckles, but many of the other synergistic cards remain powerful and can be used in other, more memey, contexts. This deck takes a rough skeleton from Evolve Shaman to make an exceptionally cheap and fast deck, especially compared to other meme decks. Most other memes tend to rely on tedious setup or late game strategies. By contrast, this deck caps out its mana cost at 4 and is filled to the brim with 1-cost spells and minions. This deck stands out from other Aggro Shaman strategies though with The Fist of Ra-den as the centerpiece. Fist has always been ripe for meme material by supplying up to 4 random Legendaries, typically in the context of a Control deck to get big drops from spells like Eye of the Storm and Earthquake. This deck instead rigs the 'random' aspect of Fist by focusing on 1-cost spells, thereby only generating Reliquary of Souls.
The Meme - Commence typical Aggro Shaman shenanigans and use the value from Fist to run the opponent down before they have a chance to come back. "Pain and suffering await you..." - Reliquary of Souls
The Dream - Get the opponent to burn their removal on your aggro strategy, luring them into a false sense of security. Proceed to overwhelm them with wave after wave of Reliquary Prime, laughing at their hubris in believing you were some just another aggro deck. "Beware, I live!" - Reliquary Prime
Fist is the entire build-around of the deck and is definitely the most fun part of the deck. Fist is what separates this deck from other Aggro Shaman decks. Well, Fist and the notable lack of burn spells or Bloodlust. Fist printing Reliquaries also helps a lot against other aggressive strategies by providing a handy amount of healing. Fun Fact: 0-cost spells like Lightning Bloom and The Coin don't summon anything with Fist active and don't use up any durability.
It's been said by many before, but Cagematch Custodian is a crazy good card. It almost single-handedly raised modern Evolve Shaman from meme to meta nightmare and is integral to any Shaman deck that relies on weapons. While Custodian helps overcome the lack of consistency Fist used to have, it does become a dead draw very quickly since Fist is the only weapon in the deck.
Hoard Pillager is great at overcoming another of Fist's weaknesses, limited usage. Pillager allows the value train to keep going by providing another four uses of Fist's ability, netting another four 'random' Legendaries. It also allows you to ping off weak units with Fist without the worry of wasting charges.
Wrath and Broomstick are a large part of what makes The Fist of Ra-den work in an Aggro context. Wrath bumps all the Reliquaries you generate to much more reasonable statlines and Broomstick lets them take care of small boards while keeping your health afloat. Wrath is also an excellent target for Diligent Notetaker and can make for some fearsome boards.
Not a Shaman card and not in the deck, but Reliquary is the key to making this deck work. It has amazing stats for its cost and effect and is guaranteed to be summoned whenever you play a 1-cost spell with Fist out. It's an honorary Shaman card in this deck the same way Grave Horror was an honorary Mage card when Conjurer's Calling was big.
Budget / Alternate Options
Not a ton to say in the budget department for this week's deck since the vast majority of the cards are Rare or Common. Devolving Missiles is an amazing card for dealing with the likes of Paladin or Priest's buffed minions but can be replaced with Hex or Torrent. Hex takes care of large threats a little better than Devolving or Torrent, but sticks you with a 4-cost legendary, which are not great on average but have high rolls such as Nozdormu the Timeless and High Priest Amet. Torrent becomes a 1-cost spell and can deal with large threats as well while still allowing you to spam Reliquaries. Serpentshrine Portal is also a fantastic card that works very well at helping swarm the board and occasionally pushing face damage.
Fist of Ra-Den is technically the most expensive card in the deck as a Legendary, but it also comes from Galakrond's Awakening, which contains many cards useable outside of this deck. Fist can't really be replaced since the entire deck revolves around its meme value, but you could retool this deck into a vastly less meme-y swarm Shaman utilizing cards like Bloodlust or Vessina. Intrepid Initiate and Blazing Battlemage are also great for pushing aggressive takes on the deck. If you decide to pursue full aggro and drop fist, definitely take out the more niche cards like Earth Shock and Wand Maker since they are there to provide more Reliquary fuel. An additional Voracious Reader and fewer Hoard Pillagers also might be advisable. Wriggling Horror is also a decent consideration since Fist provides ample powerful buff targets.
You could also take this deck in a more mid-range-y direction with cards like Cobalt Spellkin or Marshspawn. If you want to try to push for larger Fist procs, Tidal Wave is Shaman's only way to access those juicy 8-cost Legendaries, which is a bit tricky since 3 damage AoE won't always clear the board. Eye of the Storm seems like a no-brainer since it's the most expensive spell in Shaman's arsenal and comes with Fist, but the pool of 10-cost Legendaries was made substantially worse with the Old God's return. Instructor Fireheart isn't a cheap option, but it can make for some powerful late-game turns where you generate a lot of random Legendaries while going on Fireheart's Hot Streak.
This deck can actually beat out aggro pretty handily. Mulligan hard for cheap minions or Lightning Storm and only keep Fist if you have Lightning Bloom to get it online fast. Rushing Reliquaries with Animated Broomstick does a massive amount of work at controlling the board and staying alive. The issue is typically one of getting Fist online in time to begin printing Reliquaries to rush. If they have too explosive of an opener, it may be safer to forgo the Fist plan and instead just try to keep board presence and stabilize. Lightning Storm is included in the deck almost exclusively to help with the aggro matchup since it is one of Shaman's only non-symmetrical AoE tools and will help greatly in maintaining board control.
A spooky matchup since most control decks are designed primarily to beat out aggro decks. Mulligan for an aggressive start to put pressure on them early, but keep Fist or Custodian if you can to get value online ASAP. Try your best to save Fist procs to summon Reliquaries only since Reliquary Prime is the backup plan to close drawn-out games. Control decks typically rely on spells to remove single target threats, so Reliquary Prime can be quite a nuisance for some decks to deal with. Save Devolving Missiles and Earth Shock for anticipated deathrattle or taunt threats such as Convincing Infiltrator or Rattlegore since getting rid of them will help reduce their win condition options, especially in the case of Priest where you can muck up their resurrection pool.
You are generally favored in this matchup since you can rush down the opponent before they can assemble their combo pieces. Where things get tricky is that a lot of this deck's threat level is reliant on Storm's Wrath spamming with Diligent Notetaker to create very powerful boards early on. There are no other ways to buff the many minions this deck pumps out and many of the minions are not very threatening on their own. Mulligan hard for Storm's Wrath and Wandmaker to help ensure you can create a threatening board state. Reliquary Prime unfortunately probably doesn't end up making an appearance in this matchup, but might be nifty against combo Demon Hunters since they can't target Reliquary Prime with any of their lifesteal spells.
This deck took the most iterations of all the meme decks I've showcased so far (all 3 of them) before I felt confident enough to share it. It was an ugly process, pulling this deck's guts out and rearranging until it finally clicked and worked. It's a pretty simple plan compared to the explosive variety of other meme decks, but this deck does its job better than any other deck. Priest wishes it could spam as many Reliquary of Souls as this deck can. There is a total potential of 12 Reliquaries, and by extension Reliquary Primes, that can be generated with this deck. It feels pretty nice having an aggressive strategy that can reasonably transition into the late-game. It isn't often that an Aggro deck is made into a meme, but Fist of Ra-Den shows that random Legendaries are a sure-fire way to make anything memeable...even if they're not entirely random.
What is your meme deck of choice? Do you try different ones for each expansion or do you try to evolve old ones with new cards? Do you have any meme dream stories? Tell us in the comments below!