By Shevek18

Those of us that spend a lot of time playing and thinking about Hearthstone tend to gravitate towards winning, so most of what we write is about how to win more.


A lot of articles for the "Spikes" of the world, but not as much for the "Johnnys" — the players that would rather do something really cool that only works in a few games than push top Legend with Face Hunter or Zoo. Well, here is a deck for the Johnnies of the world. Nobody expects a Midrange Shaman to hit them in the face for 8 with Leeroy Jenkins and Flametongue Totem, and even less will they expect you to do it 4 times in one turn, for a total of 32 damage from hand! This deck is brought to you by crazy things made possible with Emperor Thaurissan.

Disclaimer: I haven't actually gotten the Thaurissan 10-mana 4x Leeroy + double Flametongue dream to happen. But I did set up this 40 potential damage over 2 turns (you can't see the first Al'Akir):


24 damage burst is commonplace with this deck. There's something satisfying about flooding the board with 3 copies of Al'Akir the Windlord.


Deck List

Core Combo Cards

Reincarnate is the card that makes this deck possible. When you Reincarnate a minion with Charge, it can attack a second time, so it functions like a Shadowstep. Leeroy Jenkins + 2x Reincarnate = 18 damage for 9 mana.

Ancestral Spirit is the card behind spectacular screenshots of 3 Al'Akirs. Combined with Reincarnate it gives you additional attacks with your Charge minions. Keep in mind, it only gives you additional burst damage when combined with Reincarnate, though!

Flametongue Totem gives you its damage again every time you attack with a minion it buffs, so with Reincarnate and Ancestral Spirit, especially on Al'Akir the Windlord, you can potentially get 6, 8, or even more damage from Flametongue Totem. Getting a Flametongue Totem to stick in the mid-game is often critical to setting up a lethal combo turn.

Emperor Thaurissan allows you to cheat the main limitation on burst damage. Without Emperor, the best you can do from hand is something like 21 damage (Leeroy + 2x Reincarnate + Rockbiter). With Emperor, you can play Reincarnate and Ancestral Spirit for 1 mana, opening the possibility of a 30 damage 5x Leeroy turn, and even crazier shenanigans.

Leeroy Jenkins hits your opponent's face. Repeatedly.

Al'Akir the Windlord hits your opponent's face even more repeatedly. In some games, you can also use it earlier for board control to set up lethal.


Core Survival Cards

Feral Spirit is possibly the most important card for the early game with this deck. By itself, it allows you to survive most matchups long enough to draw into and have the mana for a lethal combo. I would mulligan for it always.

Lightning Storm is make or break for a lot of matchups, especially when combined with Spell Damage.

Wild Pyromancer can function as Spell Damage in some situations, but can also help clear Paladin tokens or Imps when played with the many spells in this deck.

Bloodmage Thalnos not only gives Spell Damage, it also draws a card! What could be more perfect?

Hex requires some care to use in this deck, because you don't want to be overly stingy with it — after all, you're aiming to close the game sooner rather than later — but you also want to make sure the Taunt it creates won't delay your winning turn. Sometimes, it is fine to Hex a Mad Scientist if Explosive Trap would ruin your plans. Other times, it is better to leave an enemy Ysera un-Hexed in order to enable your Leeroy Jenkins to connect with face.

Rockbiter Weapon I consider more of a survival/removal card than a burst/combo card, because it doesn't multiply its damage with Reincarnate/Ancestral Spirit, and you rarely have enough mana to use every single damage card in your hand all at once. Sure, sometimes it will give you the last 3 damage you need for lethal, but it is a lower priority to save Rockbiter Weapon than Reincarnate or Ancestral Spirit.


Core Setup Cards

Loot Hoarder draws a card without surrendering early game tempo. Turn 2 Loot Hoarder, turn 3 Feral Spirit, turn 4 Loot Hoarder or Flametongue Totem is a common and strong sequence of plays.

Gnomish Inventor says "Draw a card" on it.

Azure Drake is like a reverse Bloodmage Thalnos: card draw and Spell Damage!

Earth Shock doesn't draw a card, unfortunately, but it does get through an enemy Taunt to set up lethal. It can be tough to know when to save Earth Shock and when to use it to silence a Nerubian Egg or (especially) a Voidcaller.


Final Ingredients

Crackle is an additional Hex-like removal spell that can double as burst damage in a pinch. You could consider running two, but one felt better to me.

Doomhammer helps deal with small tokens against Paladin, Warlock Imps, and similar. It also helps you chip down the opponent's life total to lethal range of your hand, and the potential to combo with Rockbiter Weapon gives you access to an alternate win condition.

Fire Elemental is removal and a solid threat rolled into one. In plenty of games, getting a Fire Elemental to stick on the board is what sets up the extra damage you need for your lethal burst turn.


Playing the Deck

Because Shaman lacks the ability to draw through the entire deck, like classic Miracle Rogue, this deck is packed with combo pieces and burst damage, which means you will almost never need all of it. The strategy, then, is deciding which cards to save, and which to use in the early and mid-game. Using one Ancestral Spirit to save the body of your Fire Elemental can often be strong, for instance.

This is not the most refined deck list ever published, and there are a lot of plausible cards that could be substituted. Sludge Belcher, Antique Healbot, and Kezan Mystic all crossed my mind as possibilities to try in place of the Doomhammer or second Gnomish Inventor.


Experiment, have fun, and make sure to tweet your craziest screenshots @ArchonHS!

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