How to play Evolve Shaman / Token Shaman (Top tier Hearthstone deck)

Evolve Shaman is a hugely popular Hearthstone deck right now, and no wonder – it combines the aggression of two copies of Bloodlust with the immense mid-game value of Doppelgangster and Evolve package.

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s dive in to the world of Evolve Shaman!

The deck

Deck code: AAECAaoIApG8ApS9Ag6BBOUH8AeTCfqqAvuqAqC2Aoe8AtG8Ava9Avm/ApHBApvCAuvCAgA=

This deck has so many ways to win. Any minions on the board are always a threat thanks to two copies of Bloodlust, and Doppelgangster+Evolve on turn six can just win the game on the spot. Add in Jade Golems, tempo swings from Things from Below, and powerful discoveries from Stonehill Defenders, and you have an immensely powerful deck.

It is a board-centric deck though: without a board you cannot do much of anything. Therefore, board control is the key here.

Mulligan

Getting on the board early is extremely important, as Maelstrom Portal is the only area-of-effect damage spell in the deck: combining Maelstrom Portal with Devolve can sometimes bring you back into the game even from an empty board, but for the most part you need to have a board at all times.

Bloodsail Corsair, Jade Claws, and Fire Fly are cards that you always want to keep in the mulligan, with the rest depending on the matchup and the rest of your hand:

  • Flametongue Totem is a good card if you have the minions to use it with: Bloodsail Corsair pulling out a Patches can give you a charger together with the Totem for three mana!
  • Primalfin Totem is great in most matchups, especially if you already have a one-drop. If the opponent misses the first turn, dropping a Primafin Totem is awesome.
  • Maelstrom Portal is good against Pirates, and can help a one-drop trade effectively against other decks.

How to win

You need to gain and maintain board control. As long as you do, Bloodlust is a constant threat. You have tools to help you fight for the board favorably in Flametongue Totem, Maelstrom Portal, and Devolve, but for the most part they are only effective if you have something on the board, even if it is just 1/1s and totems.

Mana Tide Totem can snowball your resources quite heavily: if you find an opportunity to play a Mana Tide Totem against an empty board, it is usually a good idea.

With two Bloodlusts available, you do not have to save the first one until the very end. You can use Bloodlust to solidify board control or to set the opponent to a low health total ready to be finished off with a Jade Lightning.

Devolve has many uses. It can weaken the opponent’s board to allow for favorable trades, it can remove the opponent’s synergies or buffs (Aggro Druid buffs, Pirate or Murloc synergies), or it can remove taunts to allow you to go for lethal. Even though it is mostly useless against a Quest Rogue, it can still help even in that matchup by removing taunts.

Evolve is likewise a useful card in many ways. Combining it with Doppelgangster is obviously ideal, but you can also use it to strengthen your own board – remember to attack with the existing minions first, as the evolved minions can only attack immediately if they have charge. You want to use Evolve early especially against Quest Rogue to keep the pressure up – you cannot wait until turn six in that matchup.

Gameplay

Here are some sample gameplay videos that showcase the deck in action!

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