Control Shaman is a Hearthstone deck that has gone through a number of changes throughout the history of the game without ever truly cracking the top tier of the meta. Where it does excel, however, is against aggro. It just so happens that aggro has been king recently.
If you want to capitalise on this advantage while you can, then have a browse through our recently updated Control Shaman guide for one of the best deck lists seeing play on the ranked ladder right now. Be warned: this is a fairly expensive deck that will likely struggle a fair bit against Control Warriors due to Dr. Boom: Mad Genius’ huge late game value generation.
We also have some strategy advice for you further down the page so you can pilot the deck as intended. Finally, be sure to take a glance at the Mulligan tips and card combo breakdown so you stand the best chance possible of seeing success with Control Shaman.
UPDATE - AUGUST 2019 #1
Control Shaman's going to be changed up a lot in the early days of Saviors of Uldum. We even anticipate the potential for a Control Shaman that includes Corrupt the Waters, so keep your eyes peeled and we’ll be updating you! We’ve updated our deck list but will update our guide once the meta has settled a bit. Here’s our favourite deck list for Control Shaman at the moment:
|1 x Earth Shock||2 x Firetree Witchdoctor|
|2 x Sludge Slurper||1 x Brightwing|
|2 x Underbelly Angler||2 x Nightmare Amalgam|
|2 x Witch's Brew||2 x Twilight Drake|
|2 x Plague of Murlocs||1 x Barista Lynchen|
|2 x Hex||1 x Zilliax|
|2 x Hagatha's Scheme||2 x Giggling Inventor|
|1 x Swampqueen Hagatha||1 x Archivist Elysiana|
|1 x Hagatha the Witch|
|2 x Walking Fountain|
|1 x Shudderwock|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAaoICP8Fp+4C7/cCoIADuZkDvZkDhp0Dt6wDC/4FjQji+ALeggPoiQOtkQOKlAOMlAPFmQPGmQPhpQMA
This article contains additional reporting by James Pickard.
If the name didn’t give it away, the objective with Control Shaman is to hold back the opponent's development of the board while simultaneously empowering your own mid to late-game threats. You have so many removal tools across all phases of the game in the form of Plague of Murlocs, Hex, Hagatha's Scheme and so on, that can all stop your opponent from establishing a board.
Eventually you can turn the corner in the game and start slamming some huge threats onto the board. Your poor opponent, starved of resources by this point, is left with no choice but to concede or watch as you smash away their life total with your biggest minions.
Early game: Your sole focus is on control in this phase of the game. Handily, you have a wide variety of options for dealing with anything your opponent does to try and establish a board. You can obliterate their minions with spells, and even weaken boards of Mountain Giants from Mage decks with Plague of Murlocs. Whatever the case, simply react to what your opponent does with the best cards you have in order to negate all of their actions.
Mid game: Continue with your heavy control approach, picking off whatever your opponent decides to play with more of your spells and removal. Also, if Hagatha's Scheme has been in your hand for some time, then it might have reached such a significant power level that it can work as a full board clear.
Late game: At this point you should be ready to fully switch up your approach from control to aggression. The deck currently lacks an obvious win condition, but big minions such as Walking Fountain are the most imposing threats and will require an immediate response from your opponent - if left unchecked, they can easily win you the game.
Archivist Elysiana also offers a potentially interesting path to victory if you can Discover the right group of cards through it. If you get yourself more minions or more direct damage spells you can hope to finish off your opponent that way too! Lastly, the terrifying monstrosity that is Shudderwock is also on hand to repeat a lot of your all-important Battlecry effects for an even crazier finish. You can even repeat Archivist Elysiana’s Battlecry for an extra anti-fatigue push!
These tips should help you best aggro opponents on ladder:
- 1. Try to keep their board clear at all times. With all the removal options available to you that shouldn’t be too tough!
- 2. Encourage your opponent to be greedy and let them play extra minions if you have a board clear ready to go in a turn or two.
- 3. If you are hit pretty hard in the early game, remember you do have some healing in the form of Witch’s Brew to top you back up.
- 4. Hex is usually best saved against large late game minions, though you can consider casting it early if you need to remove a bothersome minion earlier.
Here are some important things to consider when facing other control decks:
- 1. Expect a slower paced start as you both build up to your more powerful late game plays.
- 2. Save Hex for their powerful late game cards, as it’s the only hard removal you have in the deck.
- 3. Many control decks love to run weapons, so hold on to your Acidic Swamp Ooze until they’ve got one equipped to really disrupt their game plan.
- 4. When playing Archivist Elysiana, ensure you focus on discovering more late game cards as you’ll need the extra reach when playing against control.
More Shaman guides:
- 1. Best Budget Decks - Hearthstone: Best Budget Decks for Ashes of Outland
- 2. Tier List - Hearthstone deck tier list (Ashes of Outland)
- 3. Galakrond Shaman - Galakrond Shaman deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 4. Murloc Shaman - Murloc Shaman deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 5. Big Shaman - Big Shaman deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 6. Aggro Overload Shaman - Aggro Overload Shaman deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 7. Quest Shaman - Quest Shaman deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
Control Shaman Mulligan guide
During the Mulligan phase you’ll want to try and draw these cards into your opening hand:
- 1. Firetree Witchdoctor: A great early-game play that continues to add fuel to your hand.
- 2. Sludge Slurper: Good value one-drop that will also give you a strong Lackey to play on the following turn.
- 3. Hagatha's Scheme: You won’t want to play this early but having it in your starting hand ensures it has the most amount of time to grow in power.
Control Shaman tips, combos and synergies
Chances are you've not played around with Control Shaman for a while, so we'll run you through all of the most critical card combos that exist in this particular version of the deck:
- Consider the impact of your spell damage totem in combination with Lightning Storm in particular. Anything you can do to boost the strength of that AOE spell is well worth attempting.
- When Sludge Slurper enters play you’ll be able to add a 1/1 Lackey for 1 mana with a powerful Battlecry effect to your hand. These include:
- Ethereal Lackey - Discover a Spell
- Faceless Lackey - Summon a random 2-cost minion
- Goblin Lackey - Give a friendly minion +1 Attack and Rush
- Kobold Lackey - Deal 2 damage
- Witchy Lackey - Transform a friendly minion into one that costs (1) more
- Titanic Lackey - Give a friendly minion +2 Health and Taunt
- A number of your minions and spells with Overload your Mana for the next turn. Keep this in mind so you don’t mess up your maths on the following turn.
- Twilight Drake gains a point of Health for each card you're holding in your hand when it's played.
- Archivist Elysiana can really help out your late game if you’re stuck for something to play. Getting two copies of five specific cards in your deck can be a huge help, just remember that they replace whatever remains in your deck.
- You’ll want to keep a record of all the Battlecry cards you’ve played during a match so you know what to expect when you drop Shudderwock. With the right pool of effects, you can orchestrate a huge swing turn that sets you up in a dominant position.
Card choices and substitutions
We are still seeing some tweaks here and there to Control Shaman, but there is now a core selection of cards that form the deck, as well as potential cards you might want to add in if they take your fancy:
- Lightning Bolt: Solid removal that can also be used as direct damage should you be missing the final burst to finish off your opponent.
- Likkim: An incredibly valuable weapon that can beat up most minions at or sometimes even above its own cost if you have Overloaded Mana crystals.
- Witch's Brew: You’ll need some healing to survive into the late game and this is a solid option. It helps that it’s repeatable too!
- Haunting Visions: Allows you to find a spell that you may be lacking to make a big play, or offer a nice discount on whichever spell you choose to cast next.
- Spirit of the Frog: Excellent draw engine for Control Shaman. It can help you get through your deck very quickly to find answers or thin it out to reach your other cards sooner.
- Plague of Murlocs: Whilst not being full on removal, it can severely weaken enemy boards. Be careful though - there’s always a chance that they benefit from Murloc synergies too!
- Krag’wa, the Frog: Returns all of the spells you’ve cast on the previous turn back to your hand, which is extremely handy if you think you’re going to need more removal options for later in the game.
- Swampqueen Hagatha: A strong and unique late game threat and the Horror it grants you can have a big impact on the board.
- Archivist Elysiana: An interesting way to refine your deck for the late game and set up the exact cards you think you’ll need to win.
- Hagatha the Witch: Offers big area of effect damage when it enters play and an excellent new hero power that can fill your hand with more Shaman spells.
- Walking Fountain: An unpretentious, big, beefy minion that you’ll want to play in the late game to start damaging your opponent’s life total. Also excellent at trading and giving you some Health back.
- Shudderwock: Another way the deck can find a finisher as it will repeat a lot of the very powerful Battlecry effects you have in the deck.