Hey everyone! I’m lulnenko, and in the past two months I have hit #23 and #3 legend in wild using Quest Shaman. My current build features two copies of Coldlight Oracle, giving the deck the somewhat misleading name of “Quest Mill Shaman.” This guide will focus on my current build, which has been featured in multiple major meta reports and deck aggregators.
Quest Shaman is a difficult archetype to play due to the extreme diversity of possible game plans and the high amount of random card generation. Quest Shaman offers value, aggression, and mill, requiring players to constantly assess their situation to maximize their chances of winning. In this guide, I will highlight card choices, mulligans, and a few of my own game replays.
In this section, I’ll write the bulk of my guide, as I think it makes more sense to explain the intended synergies between cards and the strategies created by my card inclusions than it does to try explaining every possible matchup and game state.
Corrupt the Waters is the main build around card for Quest Shaman, for obvious reasons. This quest is fairly easy to complete without making many sacrifices in the early game (excluding, notably, a card in the mulligan). Compared to a deck like Evolve Shaman, Quest Shaman has less explosive starts, but matches up considerably better against control decks due to the value generated by the completed quest in combination with cards like Sludge Slurper, Zola the Gorgon, and Barista Lynchen.
Evolve is a great tempo bomb tool. In combination with Doppelgangster or Mogu Fleshshaper, Evolve provides a way to end games quickly in many matchups. Using Evolve in a less optimal situation, like with an EVIL Cable Rat and one lackey on board, is often also very strong tempo in situations where you may have otherwise fallen behind.
Glacial Shard allows you to freeze an opponent’s big minions until you can close out the game. Glacial Shard’s low cost, in combination with the abundant methods of bouncing and copying minions, allows players to easily freeze out their opponents while furthering their own game plan.
Sludge Slurper is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and Slurper’s own battlecries are all doubled. Additionally, Sludge Slurper provides draw targets for Ice Fishing.
Devolve is a blatantly overpowered card in a wide variety of matchups. Most notably, magnetized mechs will lose all buffs when devolved, allowing this card to single handedly destroy Mech Paladins and Mech Hunters. Devolve is also strong against deathrattles, taunts, Odd Paladin’s silver hand recruits (to prevent them from being buffed), and any overstatted minions such as Flamewreathed Faceless. However, Devolve should not be considered a counter to SN1P-SN4P Warlock (at least not by itself), as Target Dummy allows Warlock players to create large mechs that cannot be devolved.
EVIL Cable Rat is a key tool for completing the quest, and provides quadruple value after quest completion because lackey battlecries and EVIL Cable Rat’s own battlecries are all doubled.
Ice Fishing: 2 mana draw 2 cards. If you are not already sold, note that it will usually draw at least one Sludge Slurper, which is a strong card in every matchup and at any point in the game.
Novice Engineer is a decent way to draw 2 cards cheaply after quest completion, and can be played before quest completion if necessary. Its low stats make it a suboptimal play in many situations, which is why I only run a single copy.
Questing Explorer is a fantastic card before quest completion and a pretty terrible one after. Regardless, this card is definitely worth running due to its strength in the early game and because you will often have enough value in your hand that drawing this late will not significantly hinder you.
Sandstorm Elemental is a strong tempo play against aggressive decks (and sometimes others). It pairs nicely with Devolve.
Bog Slosher can be used to help complete the quest early or make a variety of strong plays. When the quest is complete, Slosher gives huge stat buffs, which is particularly useful in combination with cheap minions like Lackeys, Glacial Shard, and Mogu Fleshshaper.
Coldlight Oracle is in this deck to make the copy of Ice Fishing look less silly. In all seriousness, this card is by far the hardest inclusion to explain and almost certainly the one that most readers skipped to. It is worth noting that this deck DOES NOT run any cards that allow for an anti-fatigue gameplan, meaning that playing Coldlight Oracle to kill an opponent in fatigue will only work if the opponent has drawn more cards than you have. It is also worth pointing out that hero power + 2 copies of Coldlight Oracle will make both players draw 8 cards, meaning that this “combo” is nearly guaranteed to destroy many cards in the opponent’s deck. The primary purposes for Coldlight Oracle are milling opponents’ combo pieces, milling cards against any warlock deck (because warlocks will generally draw faster than shamans), milling cards against priests who have already played Psychic Scream (because this will allow you to fatigue the priest), killing mages who have played Aluneth (which is hilarious), and desperately drawing in situations where doing so is deemed necessary.
Zola the Gorgon is one of the best value generators available to shaman due to its cheap cost and strong synergy with quest completion. Compared to Bog Slosher, Zola is often a bit weaker before completing the quest, but after quest completion she gives double copies of minions allowing for freeze gameplans in combination with Glacial Shard, board swings in combination with Mogu Fleshshaper, and many other strong plays.
Lifedrinker benefits greatly from quest completion and offers both healing and burst in the form of a fairly cheap minion that also buffs Shudderwock.
Barista Lynchen is a “greedy card” in the sense that she is a bit slower than most of the inclusions in this deck. She is a passable tempo play in the early game and a phenomenal amount or resource generation in the late game if needed. In slow matchups, pairing Barista with EVIL Cable Rat, Sludge Slurper, or multiple copies of Kobold Lackey is often ideal.
Doppelgangster pairs well with Evolve and/or Mogu Fleshshaper as a huge tempo play and has fantastic synergy with Shudderwock. Returning one Doppelgangster to hand with Bog Slosher lets you create a board full of buffed Doppelgangsters. Playing Doppelgangster early, when possible, is also often a good play even without Evolve, as it’s a decent tempo play and makes your future Shudderwock into a huge tempo bomb.
Mogu Fleshshaper, even without any synergies, is one of the strongest cards in Hearthstone. Seriously. Mogu allows for massive board swings vs aggressive decks and massively boosts Evolve turns. Mogu also has strong synergies with Doppelgangster, Bog Slosher (cheap 7/8 rush, anyone?), and Zola the Gorgon (2 cheap 3/4 rushes that can be Evolved into 8 mana minions), making it a no-brainer inclusion.
Shudderwock does all sorts of cool nonsense. He’ll often be played as a big tempo bomb, due to the Doppelgangster, Glacial Shard, Lifedrinker, and lackey battlecries he will replay. Additionally, Zola, Barista, and Bog Slosher battlecries will often add followup Shudderwocks to hand, and the battlecries of both lackey generators and lackeys will fill your hand with (mostly) useful cards. In some situations, Shudderwock can use Coldlight Oracle’s battlecry to kill the opponent (or you, if I am being honest) in fatigue.
Card Exclusions (and Possible Substitutions)
Earth Shock, Hex, or Plague of Murlocs can be used to significantly improve the SN1P-SN4P Warlock matchup. Devolve would be fine alone, except that strong Warlock players know to stack their magnetized threats onto Target Dummy, which is a 0 mana minion and thus cannot be devolved. Earth Shock and Hex can be used on the same turn as Devolve as a way to deal with Target Dummy (so, in a sense, they are anti-tech card tech cards). Plague of Murlocs can be used against a full board, but will often need followup such as Sandstorm Elemental to deal with the resulting murlocs. Strongly consider running these cards in some combination if you plan to play at high legend.
Eater of Secrets is a passable, but totally unnecessary mage hate card. My September decklist, which hit #23 Legend, ran two copies of Eater of Secrets, but my winrate against mage actually improved significantly after removing Eater of Secrets in favor of the Coldlight Oracle package. Only run this card if you REALLY hate Secret Mage.
Baleful Banker, Archivist Elysiana, Body Wrapper etc. could be added if you specifically want to go all in on the “mill” part of this decks game plan and win in fatigue. In my experience, these seem unnecessary.
Loatheb is just a generally strong card and should be a decent inclusion if you can find space to run a 5 mana 5/5.
Jade Cards can be used to build a different Quest Shaman list, but don’t fit in this one without removing too many strong cards.
Mind Control Tech is a reasonable choice if you want to gain a lot of points in various Shaman matchups, but is unlikely to be particularly helpful elsewhere.
Other cards can certainly be experimented with as well! Quest Shaman excels at several different game plans, so you could probably fit a wide variety of cards into this deck if you would like.
Making the proper mulligans in Wild can be difficult, because there is a wide variety of deck archetypes available to every class. For the purpose of this guide, I will assume that the most common matchups are the matchups I most commonly experienced from ranks 4 to Legend #3 in October and from ranks 7 to Legend #23 in September. For skilled players, it may be more beneficial to know my reasoning behind certain mulligan decisions than to know exactly what choice I would make. Here are the general mulligan principles I would suggest, although there is room to experiment.
Always keep Corrupt the Waters. You could make a case for throwing it back against Paladin in an attempt to draw Devolve, but I would not recommend doing so.
General Mulligan: Keep Sludge Slurper, EVIL Cable Rat, Ice Fishing, and Questing Explorer almost all the time. Keep 2 copies of any of these. Don’t keep Ice Fishing if you also keep 2 Sludge Slurpers because Coldlight Oracle is usually weak in the early game.
vs Druid: Assume Star Aligner Druid, use General Mulligan.
vs Hunter: Assume Mech Hunter, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve.
vs Mage: Assume Secret Mage or Reno Mage, use General Mulligan either way.
vs Paladin: Assume Mech Paladin or Odd Paladin, use General Mulligan but also keep Devolve and Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Mech Paladin, don’t keep Sandstorm Elemental. If you are certain it is Odd Paladin, also keep Mogu Fleshshaper. If keeping Mogu Fleshshaper, consider keeping Evolve.
vs Priest: Assume Reno Priest, use General Mulligan.
vs Rogue: Assume Odd Rogue, use General Mulligan but also keep Sandstorm Elemental. The main purpose of Sandstorm Elemental in this matchup is to kill the common Rogue opener of any 1 mana pirate which pulls Patches the Pirate.
vs Shaman: Assume Even Shaman or Questless Evolve Shaman, use General Mulligan but also keep Mogu Fleshshaper and Evolve if you have both. If you are certain it is some Control Shaman (any deck as slow or slower than the one you are currently reading a guide for), do not keep Mogu Fleshshaper or Evolve.
vs Warlock: Assume SN1P-SN4P Warlock or Reno Warlock. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve. If you are certain it is SN1P-SN4P Warlock, keep Bog Slosher if you already have any of the minions mentioned in the General Mulligan.
vs Warrior: Assume (Taunt) Quest Warrior. Use General Mulligan, but also keep Devolve.
A common mistake is keeping Novice Engineer. While she isn’t a totally horrible turn 2, there are always several cards you would rather have.
vs Secret Mage
In this game, my opponent does not have a particularly explosive opening hand, opting to keep Aluneth in an attempt to kill me with burn damage. However, this allows me to take control of the early board using lackeys and kill my opponent using fatigue damage.
This very straight-forward game demonstrates the power of Evolve.
vs Reno Mage
This game shows how Shaman is able to simultaneously out-tempo and out-value control decks like Reno Mage. The tempo gained by lackeys and Evolve allows me to play Barista Lynchen, setting me significantly ahead of my opponent in resources even if my board is cleared.
In this game I am able to repeatedly stall, push chip damage, and answer any threats played by a Reno Mage who has an early Frost Lich Jaina. Pushing chip damage allows me to set up a surprise lethal using Coldlight Oracle to draw my opponent into fatigue.
vs Reno Priest
Here, Archbishop Benedictus denies me any game plan using Coldlight Oracle to kill my opponent in fatigue. Additionally, my Shudderwock board is easily dealt with and my Shudderwock makes no extra copies of himself in my hand. Regardless, I am still able to continually pressure Reno Priest with near endless threats.
vs Mecha’thun Warlock
Huh, I guess this IS a real mill deck! (Opponent concedes after Mecha’thun is milled)
vs Mech Paladin
Devolve wins this matchup by itself, and there is nothing the Paladin can really do about that.
vs SN1P-SN4P Warlock
While Devolve is not able to answer Target Dummy, Glacial Shard can stall the Dummy for a very long time. Here I use Glacial Shard to stall until I am able to kill my opponent using fatigue from Coldlight Oracle.
Thank you for reading my Quest Mill Shaman guide! It’s probably a bit too wordy, huh? If you’ve made it this far, you may be interested in seeing my future decklists at https://twitter.com/lulnenko or future gameplay at https://www.twitch.tv/lulnenko. :>