Hearthstone

How Viper Broke the Mold with Peanut Shaman

How Viper Broke the Mold with Peanut Shaman

Torben "Viper" Wahl was one of just four players who did not bring a Hunter or Paladin deck to the HCT Winter Playoffs–Europe. As it happens, he also was one of just four players who qualified for the HCT Winter Championship by the end of the tournament. 

This was thanks in part to a homebrew Shaman deck he cooked up with Felix "kolmari" Baum. “It's essentially control Shaman,” Viper said. “I think you can compare it the most to Odd Warrior. Odd Warrior doesn't die and just removes everything the other guy plays and at some point the Odd Warrior has cards and the other guy doesn't have cards anymore. This Shaman kind of comes down to the same thing.”

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There are some wild interactions and synergies available in Peanut Shaman. You can Haunting Visions into Kragwa, the Frog. You can Zola the Gorgon your Elise the Trailblazer to shuffle more cards into your deck, before playing Shudderwock to shuffle even more—or use Zola the Gorgon on the Kragwa before Shudderwock-ing for massive frog value.

With a total of nine legendary minions (at least one from each set in Standard currently), Peanut Shaman is not a budget deck. According to Viper, there are some alternative cards that substitute well. “All of the Shaman legendaries are very unique cards, so you can’t play many second options for them,” Viper said. “You could replace Zola, Elise, Kelseth, and Ziliax with two Firetree Witchdoctors and two Twilight Drakes. That is likely the best option.”

Peanut Shaman will likely lose to decks that kill you in one turn such as Mecha’thun, OTK Paladin, APM Priest, and so on. Against aggro decks, things become much easier, as your enemy will run out of cards before you will. Against aggro, Viper would agree that the most defensive play with a deck like Peanut Shaman is often the best play on nearly every turn.

Piloting this deck successfully requires a bit of pre-mulligan meditation. “You should make up your mind at the start going into matchups with these fatigue or control decks versus these other non-aggro decks,” Viper said. “Like, ‘I think I should use this card on this card’ or ‘I should use Volcano for that, I should save Hex for this.’ Sometimes you have to deviate, but thinking about it from the beginning helps, because sometimes 70 seconds is not enough time to think through a turn.”

The success of Peanut Shaman during the HCT Winter Playoffs just goes to show, play what you think is good and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. “I’m always very nervous, but it’s been getting better,” Viper said. “Especially if I’m bringing decks like this Shaman where everyone is going to look at it and say it’s a bad deck. I think I’m just OK with myself if I bring whatever I think is the best and I’m not afraid of people calling me out. If I have success with it, I don't really mind what people think at first.”

Three players brought versions of Viper’s Peanut Shaman deck to the Americas Playoffs last weekend, but failed to find success. Only Jihwan “DacMalza” Hwang is championing it at the APAC Playoffs this weekend. Will it come through for him as it did for Viper? Find out when the broadcast goes live at twitch.tv/playhearthstone this Friday, January 25, at 5:45 p.m. PST.

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