How to play Kranich’s Jade Elemental Token Shaman (Top tier Hearthstone deck)

Kranich brought a bit of a different take on Token Shaman to the Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Spring Playoffs, and piloted it all the way to the top four!

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 see what makes Kranich’s deck so different from the rest!

The deck

Deck code: AAECAaoIBOUHkbwClL0C88ICDb0BgQTUBfAHkwn7qgL+qgKgtgKHvALRvAKRwQLrwgLKwwIA

There are very limited Elemental synergies in the deck: Kalimos is the only card that requires Elemental activation, whereas the other Elemental cards are simply strong cards: Fire Fly for early board presence and tokens, Tar Creeper for defense, and Fire Elemental as a generally powerful card with a damage battlecry.

There are two copies of Bloodlust in the deck, and Fire Fly, Primalfin Totem and a Pirate package to build a board presence to take advantage of that Bloodlust. The deck includes two copies of Southsea Deckhand in its Pirate package, so at six mana it is possible to get up to two charge minions on the board (Deckhand + Patches) in addition to Bloodlust for some nice surprise lethals.

There are also two copies of Hammer of Twilight for even more minion generation as well as to ensure activation of Southsea Deckhand’s Charge ability.

Overall, the deck plays like a hybrid between Token Shaman and Elemental Shaman – capable of more aggression than just about any other Elemental Shaman build while being more defensive than your regular Token Shaman build. Kranich himself described his lineup as anti-aggro aggro decks – being aggressive while able to defend against other aggro decks.


Getting on the board early is extremely important, as Maelstrom Portal is the only area-of-effect damage spell in the deck and there is no Devolve to help with the trades.

Bloodsail Corsair, Jade Claws, Southsea Deckhand, 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: Southsea Deckhand pulling out a Patches can give you two chargers 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.

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, Fire Elemental, or Kalimos. You also have the Southsea Deckhand and Patches combo to get two additional chargers on the board to go with a Bloodlust.

Tar Creeper is a key defensive card that helps against aggro decks and can protect your own token to set up for a Bloodlust.

Compared to a regular Evolve Shaman that runs Doppelgangsters, you do not have as much value or tricks in the deck. Therefore, you need to be faster, and between the additional pirates and Hammer of Twilight to help protect your minions, you have the tools to set up an earlier Bloodlust board than the Evolve Shaman.


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