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Shaman Needs a Weakness

Shaman is pretty good right now. Between killer early game Murlocs, powerful evolve effects and massive Quest value, the class can go toe-to-toe with the best. Aggro Shaman dominates the early game, while Quest and Control Shaman deliver massive late-game value. But with all this power, it’s hard to remember what exactly Shaman’s weakness is or should be. According to Blizzard, Shaman’s weakness is card draw and generation. But currently, that is clearly not true. So what should Shaman’s weakness be?

Card generation, the weakness that isn’t

Shaman never runs out of cards

Shaman is supposed to be weak in card generation and draw. But Shaman arguably has the best card generation in the game, along with a decent card draw engine. Between Quest-powered Lackeys, Hagatha, Underbelly Angler and Spirit of the Frog, Shaman decks simply don’t run out of resources. But is this even a bad thing?

Card generation isn’t usually especially overpowered. It’s also more fun. More cards means more decisions, more things happening and more engaging gameplay. With so much value, should survival tools be limited instead?

Don’t cut Control

Blizzard could push Shaman down the Rogue route; powerful tempo and value tools, but little in the way of taunts, clears or heals. But this would unlikely be an effective direction.

While cards like Sandstorm Elemental and discovered removal from Ethereal Lackey are crucial to Quest Shaman’s late-game success, it’s not the most fundamental issue. And powerful AOE spells and strong taunt minions are a core part of Shaman’s identity and fantasy. Throwing elemental lightning power about needs to feel impressive. Instead, it might be worth looking at another new Shaman strength; early minions.

Look at the minions

When Shaman gets good early game, bad things happen

Shaman is meant to have a lot of strengths. Powerful spells, potent draw, healing, taunts and AOE clears. In return, Shaman absolutely needs a weakness. The best candidate is still early minions.

In the past, Shaman has always been problematic when its early game got too strong and pro-active. Tunnel Trogg, Spirit Claws, Jade Claws, Totem Golem and the like made Shaman oppressive in metas past. Now, the problem lies in Sludge Slurper, Underbelly Angler, Spirit of the Frog and Evil Totem. These cards provide efficient card generation or draw with competitive stats, allowing Shaman to easily snowball out of control from the early game onward. Instead, Shaman should rely on weapons and spells to control the early board and allow a more reactive early playstyle.

With this in mind it seems as though nerfing Shaman’s early game will hopefully be a route that Blizzard takes. They have recently shown the ability to make changes to cards at more necessary times than before. Players and fans alike can only hope that they will notice Shaman’s strength and do something about it sooner rather than later.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

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