The latest card revealed for Shaman form Saviors of Uldum looks incredibly powerful. Plague of Murlocs is a 3 mana spell that transforms every minion in play into a random Murloc. This is, in two words, ludicrously powerful. The power of Plague of Murlocs speaks to a broader problem, one that could lead to Shamanstone’s return. But why is the card so good? And will it leave to a return of the bad old days where Thrall ruled ladder nearly uncontested?
Power of a Plague
Polymorph is a fair card. For 4 mana, you turn a big threat into a 1/1. Plague of Murlocs is cheaper than Polymorph, but in return the minion you create is on average around a 2/2 or so. This seems fair; except when you remember that this affects not one minion, but all minions.
At 3 mana, Plague of Murlocs is ludicrously strong. Not only does it massively reduce enemy minions stats, it also transforms them, bypassing deathrattles and resurrection effects. Not only that, but it will often buff or leave intact your own board of small minions. When Shaman already has massive Murloc synergies, this can be game-winning with the likes of Thunderhead filling the board with synergistic murlocs. Finally, it can often combo with Lightning Storm to devastate the opponent’s board while leaving yours full (if fishy).
We saw a similar but less powerful effect in Devolve, and it was still incredibly strong. Plague of Murlocs could lead to a new era of Shaman dominance.
Historically, Shaman’s power depends on its early board presence. After Tunnel Trogg and Totem Golem rotated, it was mediocre for a long time. But now with powerful early minions like Sludge Slurper and Underbelly Angler forming the basis of a solid early package, this weakness is long gone.
What’s more, new minions look to further increase this power. More lackey synergy in EVIL Totem and Weaponized Wasp looks extremely potent in an aggressive early package. Combined with Shaman’s existing Murloc synergies, this could be terrifyingly strong.
A Lack of Weaknesses?
There is a danger Shaman will do everything well. The class may end up with great removal, good lifegain, strong minions, devastating buffs, and deadly burn. Supposedly, the class’s weakness is meant to be ‘card generation and card draw’. But this doesn’t seem to be the case.
With access to Underbelly Agatha, Hagatha, Mana Tide Totem, Spirit of the Frog, Far Sight and all manner of Lackey synergies, Shaman rarely struggles for cards. In fact, its card draw and generation exceeds many other classes. With no real weaknesses, it’s going to be exceedingly hard to counter a strong Shaman presence on ladder. And Plague of Murlocs will make it that much harder.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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