HearthStone

Reaching Legend with Dane’s Budget Debt Collector Shaman (feat. Meat Wagon)

Introduction

Do you like wagonfuls of frogs? Do you want to dump those wagons all over your opponent in spectacular ways? Do you want pirate warriors to wake up in cold sweats screaming about meaty frogs? Then oh, boy, is this deck for you.


will get you up to speed, or read on for the basics. Spirit of the Frog and Overdraft are hilariously broken, and this deck abuses them like none other. It also costs next to nothing, so it's a good way for people like me with smaller collections to take a tour around Wild.

Let's start with a decklist, shall we?

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On with the show.

Detailed Deck Overview

Your basic gameplan is the same every match:

Hard mulligan for frog or meat wagon and lightning bloom. If you have those, look for zero-mana spells and diligent notetaker. Play passively while digging for a meat wagon or frog the first few turns. As soon as you can stick a frog to the board, play out unholy amounts of overload cards, burn your opponent down with Overdraft and the traditional Shaman burn spells, cheat out expensive minions with Charged Call, and end the game by turn 6.

You'll have plenty of games where you clear the opponent's board, deal 20 damage to face, and summon an 8-drop, all on turn 5. Occasionally you'll snag an OTK. As long as a frog gets out there, anything can happen.

Let's go through the card choices.

Engine

  • Spirit of the Frog x2
  • Meat Wagon x2

This deck absolutely does not function without these. Hard mulligan for them. Dig for them. You will lose if you do not find them. You will lose if your opponent disrupts them. Protect them. Unless your opponent is putting heavy pressure on, try not to drop Spirit of the Frog on turn 3. Things go much more smoothly when you pull it out of a Meat Wagon or drop it alongside a Diligent Notetaker and Lightning Bloom on 5. You'll often need to pop your own Meat Wagon, which is fine. Keep a Lightning Bolt or Zap on hand for the occasion.

Other core

  • Lightning Bloom x2
  • Lightning Bolt x2
  • Overdraft x2
  • Crackle x2
  • Diligent Notetaker x2
  • Perpetual Flame x2
  • Lava Burst x2
  • Charged Call x2

These are the cards you really want to cycle into. When frog sticks with full mana, you should cast as many lightning blooms as possible, clear your opponent's board, send a few spells to face, and finish with an overdraft to face and a charged call if you're short on burn. I ended up pairing Diligent Notetaker with Lightning Bloom around 80% of the time. Other good pairings: Overdraft, Charged Call, other burn if you're closing the game out. Charged Call is a nice luxury if the opponent doesn't have healing, since you'll usually just burn them down without it, but becomes core against Reno decks in particular.

Extra juice

  • Beakered Lightning x2
  • Zap x2
  • Ancestral Knowledge x2

You run Beakered Lightning and Zap as tutors and Overdraft enablers more than for their core effects. Throw them at anything, including your own minions, when you have a frog up. Ancestral Knowledge is a solid play on turn 2 if you're digging for a frog or later if you have a bit of extra mana or want to find cards Frog can't pull out. You need to cast three zero-mana spells for a guaranteed Overdraft pull, so keep an eye on how many you have if you need one.

Flex slots

  • Far Sight x2
  • Haunting Visions x1
  • Rune Dagger x1

Far Sight whiffs a lot and is a dead draw much of the time, but it's a solid turn 3 play and landing it on a frog, notetaker, or expensive burn leads to spectacular swing turns. It will almost always reduce cards to zero mana, so if you're short on cheap spells it can give you more tutors to start frog chains and guarantee Overdrafts. Haunting Visions is a luxury that rarely mattered for me, but can be used as a poor man's Far Sight for cards in your hand. Rune Dagger is fantastic if you can find the mana/time to play it, but can't be tutored out and doesn't fit smoothly in turns other than turn 2. If you're happy with your other starting cards, consider keeping it as a luxury in the mulligan.

Counters

The deck folds to spell disruption. Cult Neophytes are enough to ruin frog turns. Loatheb ruins your whole day. Extreme armour gain, as with Lost in the Park Druid, is difficult. Early pressure can let players sneak past you, but mostly only when combined with spell disruption or if you whiff your draws badly. Decks that kill stealthed frogs can be bad news if you can't get the frog down on a turn you can get value out of it.

Winrate and Matchups

I played the deck exclusively from Bronze 10 to Legend. Here are my overall stats, and here are my stats from Diamond on. Hard to say how much the jump from ~50% pre-Diamond to 75% in Diamond reflects improved comfort with the deck versus luck, but there you have it. Let's dive into specifics:

Pirate Warrior: Strongly favored

This deck feasts on pirate warriors, which is great since they're around a third of the ladder right now. Makes them miserable. You only really lose when you whiff hard on draws. Kill big threats like cannons and southsea captains early, but otherwise don't sweat the board too much. Your goal is to get a massive perpetual flame swing turn after you've landed a frog. As long as you're above around 10hp at that point, you should be comfortable and able to burst them down and/or summon a massive charged call minion before they can properly respond. You'll lose more-or-less only with extraordinary early pressure (usually with cannons), if you're careless with frogs and get them popped by "Deal 2 damage to random enemies" effects, or if you can't find your frogs or tutor out your perpetual flames.

Evenlock: Even

This one can go either way. Watch out for: Cult Neophyte, Battleground Battlemaster, Soul Rend, Spice Bread Baker, Reno, Nerubian Unraveler. Be careful with your frogs. The large minions are usually manageable on their own, not in combination with the above. You may need to spend more direct damage than usual on minions and lean on getting value out of Charged Call to finish this one off, particularly Reno variants. Otherwise, business as usual.

Odd Hunter: Slightly favored

This is a pure face race. They'll start out in the lead, but you should leapfrog them at some point. Turn 5 is usually your swing turn. Notetaker + Lightning Bloom is particularly important for extra damage and mana here. Aim to arrange a turn 5 where you get at least 20 face damage with a way to finish them off the next turn. Games are typically very close.

Handbuff Paladin: Unfavored

Lots of cheap burst damage, heavy spell disruption, and early pressure make this a rough but not unwinnable matchup. You're really relying on no Loatheb coming down, though. If he does, you mostly just lose.

Big Priest: Favored

Slow and you can usually out-burst their healing. By the time they get their machine rolling, you should be wrapping things up.

Druid: Unfavored

Druids are a wildcard. I picked up losses to Celestial Alignment, Lost in the Park, and Even Embiggen Druids. All you can do against Alignment is go fast and try to get frog value before they ruin everything. Quest gains too much armour. Others don't have anything too notable.

Others: Not enough data

There's just not much going on in wild outside of pirates, odd hunter, and evenlock. Against combo decks like Ignite Mage and Pillager Rogue, it's just a question of who can play Solitaire faster. Slow decks don't stand a chance without massive health gain. Other aggro decks mostly feel like weaker pirate warriors. Your gameplan stays pretty much the same in most cases.

Final Thoughts

In all honesty, I think this deck is probably pretty bad for the game. Pyroblast-and-a-half for negative mana is hilarious but very broken, you know the frog is bad news when it's broken enough to make meat wagon viable, and the overall gameplan of "do nothing for three turns followed by inevitable impending doom" isn't great for opponents. But the deck is a ton of fun, definitely viable as long as the meta isn't teched too much against it, and a brilliant piece of work by Dane.

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