NOTE: This is not the most recent version of the deck. Since right now there are problems involving the deck builder's inability to add neutral cards, you can find the latest version on Hearthstone Top Decks or HearthPwn depending on your preference.
The guide will be adjusted to the most recent version as soon as the deck builder problems are fixed. Until then you may use this one as a reference including any skill you may have playing such a deck.
Malygos shaman, just like Freeze mage, is a very hard deck to play correctly. In this guide I will share my take on the deck and what you need to know to win with this particular list.
If you like playing control decks then this might be for you. The only weakness to this deck is warrior, more precisely - control warrior. This is because the deck has the same problem as in Freeze mage - it has limited damage.
You can think of this deck as a much better Freeze mage and rightfully so.
- You have a lot of healing when they have almost no real one.
- You have a 3 mana Flamestrike and more board clears than them.
- You have Hex to answer threats they can't, because they don't play Polymorph.
Wild version of the list coming ... soon.
The winrate of the deck will depend on two factors: Luck and Skill. In controvercy to popular belief, the reality is that luck is always the dominant part of the game. Even when you know how to play your deck perfectly and make the best possible plays you can be defeated by (nothing personal) a low ranked player. This is because the rank system in Hearthstone does not reflect your skill correctly. A rank 25 player could play many times better than a Legend one. Higher rank players can play just as bad despite their higher experience.
Anything can happen to decide the game. If your opponent is a Freeze mage (for example) and all goes well, however, he uses Alexstrasza and you have no healing in addition to the ability of removing her you won't be able to answer the mage's next turn and it will be your loss. The game is based on interactions, directly through minions or indirectly - through answers to your opponent's plays.
Now, despite all I have said so far, that doesn't mean your wins and losses are decided only by luck. If you are making bad plays and lack the experience to play the deck correctly each turn you will lose a lot. You can blame luck all you want and there is nothing wrong about that in this game, but more importantly - blame yourself even more when it is your fault for losing due to bad plays and lack of experience. As people say - practice makes perfect!
You need to be able to assess the situation you are in every turn in addition to how the game will progress in future ones until the very end and make plays accordingly. Predicting what cards your opponent might be holding based on his turns played so far goes a long way. Pay close attention to indicators like what cards he highlights, on what side of his hand are they and where the arrows point to. The smallest details give many answers.
Since I have explained what you should expect of your personal winrate, I would like to point out that going against another combo deck, whether it be Malygos or another version, you can expect a 50-50% winrate due to the fact that whoever gets and plays their combo first shall win. Any other decks shouldn't give you trouble if all goes well.
You can think of your cycle cards the same way as with Freeze mage to simplify what you want in a matchup. If you are familiar with how Freeze mage plays then you already know which ones to keep or not in certain matchups. I will go over specific cards you want that are not cycle in the next chapter of the guide. Beware of Overload!
General & Midrange -> Bloodmage Thalnos, Hex, Far Sight and Mana Tide Totem
Aggro -> Bloodmage Thalnos, Maelstrom Portal, Healing Wave, Lightning Storm, and Jinyu Waterspeaker
Control & Combo -> Ancestral Knowledge, Elemental Destruction, Far Sight, Mana Tide Totem, Azure Drake and Hex
Versus Aggro Shaman
The way to win this matchup lies in answering their early plays as if they get unanswered on turn 1 and 2 you will lose.
Most of the time the right play is to Coin it on the board if they get an early Small-Time Buccaneer, however, if they have played just a Tunnel Trog or Totem Golem you may consider to play it on turn 2 and get more value. It all depends how fast of a start they make.
The scary part in this matchup are the jade golems produced by the shamans as you have limited board clears and the golems can get enormous to a point when you can't kill them. You have a lot of healing and the right move is to wait for them to get a bigger board before clearing it, depending on your hand of course.
Just clearing the board is not enough to win this matchup and you should draw as fast as you can to your win condition, before the golems get out of control.
Versus Midrange Shaman
The midrange variant of Jade Shaman has the same troublesome opening turns as their aggro counterpart, while having less burst and no 4 mana 7/7s. Cycling should be easier in this matchup as they have a slower style of play. Other than that you may treat them the same way as an aggro shaman.
Versus Pirate Warrior
The warrior is the toughest aggro matchup, because you cannot really interact with their playstyle of weapons and buffs for them. You can clear their board very easily, but the huge weapons will take their toll on you. The way to win here is to save your healing until the right moment and heal for maximum value. That moment is generally around 15 life.
You are unfavored to win here, because this shaman list is made to counter decks that rely on board and the pirate warrior's strength is not the board, but rather the big weapons they buff constantly. Luck will definitely be the on e that decides the game as if they get a bad hand you have a chance to win.
Versus Miracle Rogue
Just as every weapon class, rogues can be treated the same way as the shamans and warriors. Your wins and losses will depend on you having answers for their stealth turns and big creatures.
If you are facing many rogues compared to other classes you may want to swap either Maelstrom Portal or Doomsayer for Stormcrack as a way to deal with Azure Drake and Tomb Pillager.
Versus Dragon Priest
This type of priest can be difficult to beat if they get too many creatures with high health, but other than that you should win easily. This matchup usually goes the same way as in Freeze Mage vs priests. They will most likely get the biggest dragons from the Netherspite Historians so don't be in a rush to Hex their minions.
Versus Control Priest
Reno Priests are easier to beat than their dragon counterpart and the most threat you can expect will come from Kazakus reviving their board or gaining them armor.
Versus Reno Warlock
They have a slow playstyle, which gives you all the time you need to assemble your win condition. Again, beware of Kazakus and more importantly the possibility of them having a Leeroy Jenkins combo. Most of the Reno locks don't run it due to it being bad against all the aggressive decks in the meta, but better safe than sorry, so do play around it when you can.
The most devastating way to lose to this deck is if they manage to get your Malygos with Dirty Rat so as a way to play around it you shouldn't play too many of your minions, especially Doomsayer, and hope they miss the mark.
Versus Reno Mage
Against this deck there is only one thing to do - CONCEDE. You can never win here due to them having Ice Block. your only hope is if that card is on the bottom of their deck, otherwise just don't waste your time.
Versus Ramp Druid
Jade Druid can be treated the same way as Midrange Shaman. They have a slow start and give you time to draw cards and to your win condition, but if you can't deal with their big jade golems you will lose. Draw as fast as possible and kill them before that happens.
Key Cards To Note:
A valuable card in aggressive matchups. You can never have enough healing and since you almost always win against the other decks this card will guarantee that you survive against the aggressive ones.
Far Sight is an amazing card , because it has many possibilities. You can play the drawn card immediately if you wish and so it smooths the draw in your deck.
The card also allows you to reduce your drawn card to 0 mana and when you have 25 out of 30 cards that cost 3 or less you can tell how many possibilities it holds.
He is a card that should always be kept in your opening hand when you have Maelstrom Portal to go with it. This tactic varies depending on the matchup though. In aggressive ones you will want to do this, in others you may not.
You may want to save him in order to make a stronger combo if you have played most of your burst needed to go with Malygos and need a bit more to finish the job. Most of the time though you will use him alongside a board clear.
The totem is a very nice inclusion in all non-aggressive shaman decks, however, its mechanic gives you a card at the end of your turn. This can be problematic when managing your resources and hand.
You are not the player who is in control of how many cards the totem gives you and might fall into an opponent's trap to make you waste cards in order to not overdraw. Note that if you manage your hand well you won't have any problems. All players that are not idiots will kill the totem on their turn so the chances of it causing such problems are slim to none.
Maelstrom Portal is a useful clear in all stages of the game, which makes it a great choice. Despite it being a better choice in a midrange style of decks, because you have minions that can do damage alongside it and the card becomes an extension of them when dealing with the board, it is still a valuable inclusion.
Your condition will be to kill your opponent in one turn. To do this you will need Malygos, Lava Shock and Lightning Bolt before going all in with Emperor Thaurissan. When doing the combo you have to be mindful of the mana you will need and whether you have overloaded mana crystals.
It is crucial that you never use Lava Shock and Lightning Bolt copies. The only exception to that rule is when you plan to use Bloodmage Thalnos alongside Frost Shock and Lightning Bolt, making the 28 damage combo into over 30.
- Never use your Lightning Bolt and Frost Shock unless you also have Bloodmage Thalnos to go with the 28 damage combo and make it over 30 damage. If you can't save him for the combo then make sure you can kill your opponent with 28 damage before going in with Malygos.
If you can't kill your opponent with 28 damage then you will have to save the 2x Lightning Bolt and 2x Lava Shock for a guaranteed lethal opportunity so pay close attention how the game is progressing and whether you can afford to spend a Lava Shock for other purposes.
- You should play Emperor Thaurissan only when you have the needed damage to win next turn in your hand, otherwise you will lose. This is not a deck that plays him for the tempo.
- Pay very close attention for how much you will be overloaded.
- Always watch out for the possibility of overdrawing.
I hope this guide helped you and you are having success with the deck. If you have any questions or want me to add a matchup guide I have not included feel free to leave a comment.