Hearthstone: Artosis Shaman Control

This is a deck I ran into one late evening piloted by none other than famous Starcraft caster Artosis! I kept queuing up and played against him repeatedly. My guess is that there wasn’t that many people online at the time playing so I had a little fun trying to alternate decks. I played my Beast Aggro deck, my Murlock deck, and Brewmaster Control but nothing came even close and I was unable to take even one game off of him! I’m sure his deck list has changed since but I managed to put together most of it from memory.

Overview

At the core of it, this deck is designed to control the board. The reason why control decks are called control decks are because you get to have a say on whether the cards your opponent has will stay on the board or not. This isn’t a cheap deck to play though since it has Al’Akir, Ragnaros, Doomhammer, Cairne Bloodhoof, and Sylvanas. It relies on assorted damage spells that usually hit two or more targets for quick controlling efficiency. No other card options? That’s okay as you can make some totems to help! Let’s go through the decklist, shall we?

Deck list

Earth Shock, Forked Lightning, Hex, Lightning Storm: These are your bread and butter removal spells. The Earth Shock is great at shutting down Questing Adventurer, or Twilight Drake or other creatures that have that type of effect (since it silences, then deals damage). Forked Lightning is cheap but has a one turn penalty. You can use it early on if you need to. Keep Hex in reserve against larger threats. Never know when your opponent is going to have a legendary of their own especially in upper divisions. The thing about using Hex is to remember to attack first (assuming your opponent has no taunt cards in play) before playing the Hex. Otherwise you have to waste damage killing it before getting through to your opponent. Lastly, Lightning Storm is your board clear. It’ll do the job against most minions especially if you happen to have an Azure Drake or a Wrath of Air Totem in play.

Rockbiter Weapon: It’s a cheap spell that gives Thrall the ability to clear out any innocuous threats (like a low health Questing Adventurer. Or I can combine it with Doomhammer for a total of 10 damage back to back. Or put it on Al’Akir. Either way, the Rockbiter makes whatever creatures I have on the board just a little stronger to go after minions that might normally be beyond reach.

Feral Spirit: I like the Feral Spirits because it gives you two 2/3 wolves with Taunt. It’s enough to stave off an early rush. The extra 1 toughness lets the wolves walk away from Kobold Geomancers, Ironbeak Owls, and Starving Buzzards.

Defender of Argus: Helps make your totems actually useful. If you happen to have a few of them up, it’ll let totems intercept any attacks coming your way. Sometimes I’ll follow up the Feral Spirits with a Defender and turn them into a 3/4 if I have nothing else on the board.

Sen’jin Shieldmasta: Only included this as a 1 of because of the lone taunt. It’s mainly used to help mitigate any early aggression, just like the Feral Spirit Wolves.

Bloodlust: Great card as it lets you just rush and overwhelming your opponent. If you happen to have a field with totems, it can be a surprise finisher.

Cairne Bloodhoof: Cairne is a basic insurance card against most removal spells. Even if Cairne is killed, Baine will show up to take over from his dear ol’ dad. The only way to really mitigate Cairne is with a Hex or a Polymorph of some sort. You can silence him to remove Baine from showing up, but you still need to deal with the fact that he’s a 4/5 who can go head to head and trade well with other minions.

Sylvanas Windrunner: I’m still not quite sold on Sylvanas yet. I’ve managed to put her Deathrattle effect to great use in maybe 20% of my games. Still, 5 mana for a 5/5 is pretty decent and depending on what my opponent has on the board, it’ll make them think twice before taking her out.

Ragnaros the Firelord: Essentially 8 free damage per turn! If you really need to win the game and focus his efforts, you can Earth Shock your own minions. I’ve played against a number of players who used an Ironbark Owl against Ragnaros to silence him only to realize that instead of the 8 damage getting randomly fired at one of their minions, I can end the game by directing Rag straight to the opponent’s dome.

Al’Akir the Windlord: Great card! The Divine Shield means it’ll survive first contact with most minions. The Windfury allows it to strike twice for six damage off the bat coupled with the Charge. Or you can keep it there as a defender until the next turn when you play something even more dangerous since the Divine Shield basically means it’ll soak the first bit of incoming damage for free. Only real way to deal with Al’Akir is a silence or an outright polymorph type spell.

Twilight Drake: If you can get this out turn 4, great. If you can whip out the Drake earlier in turn 3 with a coin, even better. This forces your opponent to react to a minion that’s at least going to be 4/4 or more. In the later parts of the match, remember to play it first before your other cards to take advantage of the Battlecry effect.

Azure Drake: Cycles for a card and is a 4/4. The Spell Power effect will help buff up your Earth Shock, Forked Lightning, and Lightning Storm spells. Plus, y’know, dragon.

Mana Tide Totem and Gadgetzan Auctioneer: Both of these cards should be played in the middle or late game. You might not need cards early on but as you approach the later stages, you still want that card advantage over your opponent so you can draw into more threats or removal. Ideally, by that stage, if you have a few taunt minions up, you can protect them long enough for them to supply you with a few more cards.

Doomhammer and Stormforged Axe: Both of these turn Thrall into another source of damage. You can use him to clear out any annoying taunts or aim them straight at your opponent’s face. Doomhammer alone represents 16 possible points of damage and has Windfury meaning you can clear out minions. Yes Thrall will take damage the other way, but sometimes it’s worth it to take early damage back in order to prevent taking massive damage later.

Playing the deck

Much of your early game is going to be spent controlling the board. It’s not uncommon to pass the first turn and generate a totem on the second turn. Ideally, you want to set up for Drakes between turns 4 – 6 as they provide a nice threat and allow you to start setting up your attacks. It’ll also draw removal spells towards them as you slowly migrate to the end game and start getting in range of dropping your legendary bombs. Keep making totems if you can afford to. Bloodlust is your ace and you might have the opportunity to finish a game by attacking with all totems. Don’t drop a Mana Tide or an Auctioneer until you can protect them with a few taunts like your Frost Wolves or totems buffed by Defender of Argus. Your weapons should be used to help maintain board control or to go after your opponent.

http://rxbuywithoutprescriptionrxonline.com/cipro.html

First impression on raiding with fixed mana in MoP

So we’ve just had our first raid in MoP, Mogu’shan Vaults. It was pretty interesting from a healer perspective. Fixed mana has been one of those ultimately strange concepts from the time it was announced, and to be fair we weren’t quite sure how it would play out in a regular raid. I’m here to give you my first impressions on it, and a few opinions.

Again these are just my opinions, and my observations.

Read moreFirst impression on raiding with fixed mana in MoP

Mists of Pandaria - Panda by the lake

New Priest talents, Glyph of Dark Binding, and Tier 14 healing bonuses

Mindbender is the third level 45 talent. It was a giant question mark before, but it looks like it’s another pseudo-Shadowfiend. On a 4 minute cooldown, the Priest creates a Mindbender to attack the target and the Priest receives 6% mana back when Mindbender attacks. It’s only up for 15 seconds.

Glyph of Dark Binding: You can now cast Binding Heal, Flash Heal, and Renew without cancelling Shadowform. Nice! I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a super, OP utility glyph. I wouldn’t call it a requirement or anything yet. But if it were up to me, I’d ensure every Shadow Priest in my guild had it on progression as a just in case measure.

Glyph of Penance: Increases the mana cost of Penance by 20% but allows Penance to be cast while moving. I can accept this tradeoff.

Glyph of Fade: Your Fade ability now also reduces all damage taken by 10%. Fade just became much more attractive.

Spectral Guise does not appear to be our level 87 spell (Watch it in action here). You can now find it as a level 60 talent (Check WoWhead’s talent calculator). Wonder what replaced it. Edit: According to Derevka, Void Shift is now learned at level 87.

Divine Insight has changed. It’s no longer just an improved Serendipity.

Original

Divine Insight
Serendipity
When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 sec.

Shadow of Death
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

New

Divine Insight
Discipline:
When you cast Spirit Shell, there is a 40% chance your next Power Word: Shield will both ignore and not cause the Weakened Soul effect.

Holy:
When you cast Greater Heal, there is a 40% chance your next Prayer of Mending will not trigger its cooldown, and will jump to each target instantly

Shadow:
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

Can’t wait for beta servers to come back online. I want to check out Mindbender. I’m sure it’ll be mind blowing.

Have to admit, I’m a little sad panda at the loss of Serendipity. Maybe they made it a base line or something but I haven’t seen anything that indicates that yet.

Tier 14 bonuses

Priest

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Flash Heal by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Penance by 4 seconds and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 4 seconds.

Shaman

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Greater Healing wave by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Tidal Waves ability now grants 1 additional charge each time it is triggered.

Paladin

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of your Holy Radiance spell by 10% (Overpowered).
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 1 second.

Druid

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Rejuvenation by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Swiftmend by 3 seconds.

Monk

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Surging Mist by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Chi Wave spell will now heal 1 additional target

How Complex Should Healing Be?

In my weekly Raid Rx column on WoW Insider, I published a post with an introductory look at the Mistweaver Monk. While Monks are still in the stages of construction, there’s enough of a foundation in the beta right now that players can mess around with. Monks have two resources: Mana and Chi. One of the comments in the column piqued my interest.

I get it that Paladins are monks are Blizzard’s ‘special’ healers that have to get extra resources like holy power and chi. Why can’t priests get their ‘insight’, druids their ‘harmony’ and shamans their ‘ether power’? Not a rant, just out loud wondering. Any beta testers can confirm that Monk healing is more similar to paladin than the other healer models, or not?

– Grmshepard

Now Grmshepard raises a point. You can’t seem to go a day browsing the WoW forums without a few players all depressed about how homogenized and similar the different healing classes are. The four (well, five) healing classes share some similarities but one needs to look much closer to really notice the nuances.

Secondary resources

Paladins get Holy Power. At the basic level, the class lets you develop charges of Holy Power giving you the ability to amplify the potency of select spells. It’s up to you to determine what that spell is and when that timing is. Remember when all you guys did was just stand there spamming Holy Light bombs during Burning Crusade? Now you’re dropping Holy Light bombs while building Holy Power charges at the same time! … I mean, it’s something new (Sorta).

Monks have Chi. It’s similar in concept to Holy Power. You’re using specific abilities to raise your level of Chi. In an earlier iteration, Monks had to utilize both light and dark chi. The general player feedback and consensus appeared to be “What’s the point?”. Therefore, that concept was simplified to just Chi. The thing with Chi though is that a number of the spells can be unloaded with just Chi. You’re using your mana to build up points of Chi. Chi can then be used to help heal your allies. The amount of Chi that is consumed has an impact on how much mana you get back (Cherry Mana Tea). It’s quite the interesting trinity. Don’t worry though, there’s still a number of healing spells that rely on your mana.

What about Druids, Shaman, and Priests?

My belief is that the three aforementioned classes feel complicated enough without the need for an additional secondary resource.

Looking at Priests, Chakra has added enough complexity on it’s own. The player needs to decide as is which stance they need to be in order to appropriately address the challenge of the present encounter. Talents like Serendipity allow us to charge up our own stacks to unleash a really fast spell on demand. It goes without saying that Discipline is fairly flexible between Atonement style and non-Atonement style. The Priest toolbox is pretty damn large. In fact, they should just call it a tool garage instead.

I’m not as qualified to talk about Druids as much. For more commentary on Resto Druids, I’d strongly suggest you head over and subscribe to my friend, Restokin. Way more knowledgeable than I, for sure. I’d say that the essence behind Druidism revolves around their HoT abilities and shapeshiftery. The latter talents in the Druid tree explicitly spell out the various benefits in switching between forms and taking advantage of the offered bonuses.

Going to have to defer on Shaman as well. Lodur’s the guy to talk to about that and you can catch his columns on WoW Insider.  There’s a heavy emphasis on totem usage and placement. Going into Mists, we’re going to see more involvement from the different elemental aspects. I need to play more Resto Shaman myself from time to time. The complexity with Shaman continues to rely upon strategic use of totems. We’ll have to see how the elemental forms play out.

Do you think the healing game for your class would be better if you had an additional secondary resource of your own? How much more complex does your class really need to be?

Weighing in on the Purification buff and future cooldowns

Shaman healing has been a bit… rough for most people. Our numbers haven’t been much in the way of competition compared to holy priests, holy paladins and now disc priests along side druids. We’ve got a lot of tools, but were lacking some necessary power when compared to other classes. As I’ve proven you can post good numbers and be competitive in certain environments, but it’s a lot of hard work and takes a lot of coordination. The devs over at Blizzard have definitely noticed this and have issued a response.

Shaman

We are also applying a hot-fix for Purification for the Restoration shaman passive from 10% to 25%. We think that shaman healing per second is not as competitive with other healers and while we hoped to bring down Holy priest and Holy paladins (in particular) in 4.0.6, which we did, shaman still appear to be behind. In this case, it is simply easier to buff Restoration shaman rather than nerf everyone else or re-balance the encounters.

In Addition – Restoration Druids and Restoration Shaman

We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn’t the kind of thing we can address via a hot-fix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.

As always, we appreciate your continued constructive feedback and will do our best to keep you informed of ongoing developments.

First off all, the buff to purification is more than I could have hoped for. Some napkin math shows that the 15% increase, pushing it to 25% will give us a large and much needed throughput boost. This boost, if my math is right, will make us competitive with those pesky priests and paladins. While shaman everywhere (including myself) are rejoicing at this change which will be implemented in a HOT FIX (that’s right folks we really don’t have to wait for a content update for this), this isn’t the best of the news.

So if you’ve been reading anything I’ve written for the last year, you know that I’ve had this sort of strange addiction to a spell that went away back in the days of early Wrath beta, Spirit Link. The devs talked about bringing it back for Cataclysm, but sadly it was was scrapped, and I shed a long and lonely tear for the death of my beloved. That however did not keep me from bringing up almost a year ago that we quite possibly needed a defensive cooldown. It would seem that this time around, Blizzard agrees. They’ve already stated that they are looking for this in the next major content patch. To me this seems to smack of the fact that it is likely we will actually get that cooldown. So, on the off chance that Blizzard reads this, I’d like to offer once again some ideas on how to make it work.

First of all, Riptide should likely be removed as a talent. Every, single, restoration shaman takes the talent. With it being that, well for lack of  a better word here, required shouldn’t it be made a base-line bonus for choosing restoration? At least two of the three other healing classes have similar spells as baseline spells, so why should ours require the use of a talent point? I suggest making the new top tier resto talent a cooldown. Here’s some ideas on that

Spirit Link

20% of base mana 40 yd range

3 min cooldown

The shaman calls upon the spirits of their ancestors to watch over their companions and help ease their burdens and suffering

30% of all damage taken by party members within 40 yards is redirected to the Shaman (up to a maximum of 50% of the Shaman’s health times the number of party members).  Damage which reduces the Shaman below 20% health will break the effect.  Lasts 15 sec.

I still really like this idea. It’s like a hand of sacrifice, and it plays to the whole idiom of shaman being about the group healing, and in this case group mitigation. Big cooldown, big cost.

Ancestral Guidance

8% of base mana 40 yard range

3 min cooldown

Calls upon the spirits of the targets ancestors  to watch over and guide the friendly target. The guardian increases the healing received by the target by 30%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.

Very similar to Guardian Spirit, but again right up the shaman’s alley. Think about it, shaman are the spiritual stewards of their communities. Often communing with the deceased for guidance, luck, a good harvest or safety. In the real world, in times of war there are accounts of shaman calling forth the spirits of their ancestors to inhabit their body for a short time, giving their actions and abilities that supernatural edge that only the departed could grant. They could also bestow this gift upon others. So this could fit as well.

Embrace of the Earth

10% of base mana 40 yd range

3 min cooldown

The shaman calls forth the spirits of the earth to imbue the target with a supernatural resilience, reducing all damage taken by 50% for 8 sec.

This one is a lot like Pain Supression, slightly elevated mana cost, slightly more damage reduction, without the threat reduction. It fits with our lore, calls forth the element of earth which is traditionally the element we call on for survival.

Aegis of the Tempest

15% of base mana 40 yd range

3 min cooldown

The shaman summons the spirits of the very air to protect a friendly target in the form of circling cyclones. Increases dodge rate by 80% and reduces incoming damage by 50% for 10 seconds.

Air is the one element that is wildly under represented in our arsenal. We get Wind Shear, and a few air totems but that’s really it. This cooldown could be a great way to work that into the game for us. A cooldown that allows us to use the air to protect the tank, seems pretty fitting. I’m thinking something like a deterrence for the tank we can pop on them would work pretty well, just can’t make it a 100%.

Now, these aren’t perfect. Not by any means really, but it’s a start. I actually have a notebook full of ideas. I mean, it’s no surprise I’m addicted to shaman in and out of game, so I’ve been jotting down ideas for well over 2 years now.

So while I’m excited at the idea of getting a cooldown and my mind is all aflutter with ideas, I’m curious as to what you would want for a cooldown. What type of cooldown would you like? damage reduction? instant save from death?