Deck analysis #1: Totems

02/04/2018

Hello Spellweavers!

I am Rinriet, a Spellweaver regular with three Masters Championship titles. I welcome you to my article series, where I will analyze a deck every week. So if you are interested in learning how to play, or just want to get inspired, you will have a good time.

For an extensive list of competitive decks, you can also check out my What is META? article.

Today I present you the Totems deck, which is maybe better known as Shamans.

  • Why should you try this deck?

- It is one of the cheapest decks. You can even get most of the cards with a Steam DLC!

- It is a lot of fun to play. The playstyle of the deck is unique.

- It has a lot of potential and is quite powerful if played properly.

  • What are the deck’s weaknesses?

- It doesn’t fare well against aggro decks. In the first turns you usually focus on playing totems, so you lack defenses.

- It needs a decent amount of luck. Having a good curve (basically, having good cards to play every turn) is crucial. If you have totems but no Shamans, or vice versa, you will struggle.

  • Deck List

Hero: 1x Zash the Annihilator

4x Offering Yard Priest
4x Rakhi Tribe Mystic
4x Death-Curse Shaman
3x Swamp God Emissary
4x Fireball
4x Fireblast
2x Dragonfire
4x Totem of Tortures
4x Totem of Swiftness
4x Totem of Legends
4x Lightning Totem
8x Rage Shrine
8x Corruption Shrine
2x Mountain Sanctuary
1x Mausoleum of the Damned
  • How to play the deck?

- For your starting hand, you want to have some cheap totems, and a Death-Curse Shaman or a OYP (Offering Yard Priest). If you lack them, you should Draw Again (mulligan).

- The standard level order is Rage or Corruption (depends on whether you have Totem of Tortures or Totem of Swiftness), then the other one. Get your last Rage level when you need to play Dragonfire or your hero skill.

- In the first turns, you want to focus on playing totems. Once you have played some of them, you can start playing your shamans for great value moves.

- Your main win conditions are swift VERY BIG OYPs to hit your opponent’s face.

- In the case your opponent is playing aggressively, you won’t be able to extend a lot with totems (if you want to live :P ). You will have to play your shamans and removal spells to deal with their threats. Don’t be too greedy!

- It is fine to spend one OYP in the first turns. For example, if you have a Totem of Swiftness and your opponent plays a Lizard Barbarian, you can play a swift 2/2 OYP and kill it. That way you get a lot of board pressure. If it gets killed, you can resurrect him later with a Swamp God Emissary.

- Another important advice: in most scenarios, you should leave your totems at 1 energy to avoid their destruction. By doing that you can make even bigger OYPs and get a lot more of value when playing a Rakhi Tribe Mystic. But sometimes using the last bit of energy is necessary (to deal lethal damage for example); everything is situational, so be thoughtful and plan before playing a shaman.

  • Alternative card choices

- Noxious Fumes: It can mean the difference between surviving or not against aggro decks.

- Totem of Rogn'okh: It is a little out of the curve (you usually don’t want to have 3 levels when you have 2 mana) but it is good for gaining board advantage. Comboes very well with Rakhi Tribe Mystic.

- Pandemonium of Darkness: It can help in dealing lethal damage, healing a little to put yourself out of Fireball range, or destroy Johrail's Silencer.

  • Budget version

If you lack some of the rare cards, you can try these changes:

- Cannonade instead of Fireblast.

- Reanimate instead of Swamp God Emissary.

  • What are the common matchups?

Totems is a balanced deck that, if you get the right cards, can win against almost anything. Nonetheless, it excels against control decks (like WD-Control or Corruption Control). Most of them lack a way to deal with big swift creatures and a decent amount of hero-targeted damage. When playing against them, focus on scaling with Totems until you have at least four, then hit with your OYP. Totem of Legends is a great card to keep the pressure going. Don’t let the opponent a too favorable position on the board and try to finish him off as soon as possible.

The unfavorable matchups are usually the most aggressive decks, because if you don’t get the right removal cards, you will lose before you can start comboing with Totems. When playing against Rage Rush, Demons, Zombies or Elves, prioritize starting hands with removal spells. If you manage to stabilize the board in the early game, you can still win.

There are other difficult matchups. Anything that runs Detonate, Dragonfire, or Bark Convoy can destroy your totems with ease. When playing against those decks, try to bait those cards by playing your less useful totems first.

 
I hope you liked the guide! If anyone has a suggestion or comment, feel free to send me a forum message, add me in-game, or talk on the game’s discord.