We had considerable changes after the release of the new expansion. Festival of Legends not only brought 145 new cards, it also opened the Year of the Wolf (2023) in Hearthstone.
With that, the Forged in the Barrens, United in Stormwind, and Fractured in Alterac Valley cards (released in 2021) have been removed from the Standard format, bringing even more changes to the meta.
The Shaman class was one of the most affected by the updates, and the Totem Shaman deck took center stage when it comes to aggressive decks.
Totem Shaman Overview
Basically, like most Aggro decks, we want to fill the board with minions, and buff them with some buffs that our deck offers.
As the name suggests, the main thing in the deck is the totems. Many of them manage to perform good combos and interactions, such as Gigantotem, which costs one less whenever we summon a Totem.
Let's understand the function of each card in the deck, and the best way to use them in matches!
The Tour Guide, despite not being a Totem, grants you a free Hero Power, which in the case of the Shaman class, is a power that summons a random Basic Totem.
Regardless of your choice on turn 1, you will already have a totem on the board, which will help you with some synergies in the future.
A good start to the game is to use the Tour Guide in the first turn, but save your free Hero Power. On turn 2, you can use Anchored Totem followed by Hero Power. Basic Totems are considered 1-Cost minions, so they will be buffed by Anchored Totem.
Flametongue Totem is another 2-cost Totem, but I recommend you use it later on, when you have already established your board.
From the third turn, we have several paths to follow. Party Favor Totem is great for building a strong board, even more so if it has its Infuse effect activated, or with an Anchored Totem in play, to automatically strengthen the summoned Totems.
If you don't understand that it's the best time to create a board (perhaps due to lack of buffs), but you imagine that the opponent doesn't have good removals, you can play Grand Totem Eys'or.
It will grant +1/+1 to all your Totems each turn, and will definitely give you plenty of wins if you can keep it for a few turns.
If you have the famous hand without options, consider using Murloc Clownfish, it will give discounts for the next Murlocs to be played, and if you have Gorloc Ravager in your hand, you can use it for cheap, drawing up to 3 cards!
Let's talk a little more about buffs now.
The Stonewright grants +2 attack to all your Totems until the end of the game, needless to say, how strong that is in a deck called Totem Shaman.
Rotgill works differently: the minion grants a Deathrattle to all troops present on your board, giving +1/+1 to all minions whenever one of them dies, combining well with this deck who wants to fill the table.
Finally, we have two great minions that are even expensive, they are Thing from Below and Gigantotem. But even though they're expensive, we're able to play them for 1 or 0 mana most of the time, as both minions have the same text: "Costs (1) less for each Totem you've summoned this game."
The Totem Shaman has few spells.
Totemic Evidence (with the Infuse effect) and Schooling are great tools to summon even more minions and pressure the opponent. It is worth remembering that both the Totems and the Piranhas summoned by these spells cost 1, being strengthened by Anchored Totem.
Finally, JIVE, INSECT! turns any minion into a Ragnaros the Firelord. As your deck is aggressive, it will often have some low-cost minion that won't be missed at the end of the game, and turning it into a Ragnaros will be a huge headache to the opponent.
We only have one weapon for our deck, which can be used right from the first turn: Carving Chisel will summon a Totem whenever you land a hit.
Matchups and Posture
We've learned what each card does in addition to the interactions between them, now we're going to study the best game posture to maintain against the most popular deck types, as well as how to manage to finish the opponent to win the match.
We have to be careful against other aggressive decks. Even filling the board, we are fragile until buff our totems, so if you spend all the resources without strengthening them, you will risk losing trades to your opponent and being pressured.
I recommend that you keep minions like Grand Totem Eys'or and The Stonewright in your starting hand, once your totems are strong enough, it will be easy to defeat. Thing from Below's taunt can also help a lot in these encounters, preventing opposing pressure.
Control decks are slow and open up a good opportunity for us to win before they have any reaction, but be careful. There are two types of control, those that invest in removals and healing, or the famous bigs, which work with large minions and are very heavy decks.
Against a deck full of removals, I advise you to play the same way I indicated against the aggro, focusing initially on strengthening the minions, as it will be much more difficult to remove your minions if they have more health.
If the opponent's list focuses more on waiting to play big minions, start by playing as many minions as possible, press and finish when you get to the boosts.
Surely, you will win even before the opponent has any reaction!
Totem Shaman Gameplay
Check out several games I recorded using this same deck:
That's all for today, I hope you enjoyed today's article, good luck.