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March 13, 2017

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Control Shaman Update: Goya Control

Hey guys! It’s getting close to the release of Un’Goro and the meta is going to change a ton when it comes out but I saw a post on Reddit and had to make an update after I tested out this new method of Control Shaman using Madam Goya. Reddit user SerasVilgaudas claims a 62% win rate and reached Top 5 Legend on EU with this deck! He also credits user NowanIlfideme with helping him construct it so I’ll throw his name out there too. For those that don’t follow me, I wrote an article called “Let’s Build Control Shaman” a few weeks ago and it highlighted a few of the options that Control Shaman can make when deck constructing. This Madam Goya version is kind of like the Barnes skin that I mentioned and abuses that “Get a minion from your deck” mechanic really well with both of the legendaries. Let’s take a quick look at what this version has to offer.

Why Madam Goya?

Madam Goya fits really well with this type of shaman deck because it relies on a lot of powerful shaman spells to control the game while abusing Barnes and Madam Goya to get huge overpowered minions that can win a game easily if they come out early enough. While Barnes is only useful with things that have abilities it can also be combined with Ancestral Spirit to get a full copy of the minion for example, if Ysera comes into play you can Ancestral Spirit that way when it dies it will come back as the full 4/12 minion. Madam Goya however is much better since you get the full copy right away, which is deadly for things like Ysera and Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound but also really good for the big taunt minions like Earth Elemental and even Thing From Below since they provide a wall for you to attack through.

One major benefit from using Madam Goya in shaman is that you always have a minion you can shuffle into your deck (same with paladin) because of our awesome hero power. While you’re using your early turns spamming totems to cheapen Thing From Below, you’re also filling up your board with a minion or two that will survive until Madam Goya can come in and basically upgrade that totem into a better minion.

Another benefit from the Barnes/Madam Goya package is that Healing Wave becomes extra powerful when your minion costs are 4/5/5/5/6/6/6/7/8/10. You have a really high chance of winning most of your clashes and that extra 7 health goes a long way against any of the current aggro decks.

Another thing I like about this package is streamlining your minions. All of your minions are super powerful and used precisely for Barnes/Madam Goya so it frees up a lot of minion slots where you’d have things like Mana Tide Totem or Flametongue Totem and can instead put all of the fun control shaman spells like Devolve, Ancestral Spirit and Healing Wave without having to cut other cards. This build gives you a lot of freedom to mess around with different spell combinations to find what works best for you.

Lastly, Far Sight. This deck really knows how to abuse Far Sight by either getting into Madam Goya with it or even into one of the bigger minions. The first time I got Ragnaros the Firelord off of a Turn 3 Far Sight for 5 mana, I thought it was kind of stupid but once you play a Ragnaros the Firelord on Turn 5 you kind of see how powerful it can be. Don’t sleep on Far Sight, that card is a lot of fun already in control shaman and in this build it gets pretty crazy. 2 mana White Eyes and 6 mana Ysera are also quite dangerous.

Madam Goya Skin

For those that haven’t checked out my full control shaman article, I would advise you to go find it and check it out before you go over this section but even if you don’t want to, you should be able to get the general idea of this “theme”. Basically in my guide I went over the “bones” of control shaman, spells such as Lightning Bolt, Maelstrom Portal, Lightning Storm, Earth Elemental, etc. which are used in pretty much every control shaman build. One correction I do want to make, for this build you’ll have to take out Mana Tide Totem since it kind of messes with the high mana cost minion abusiveness. It’s still not bad to get out with Barnes but I would advise taking it out and focusing on the really powerful minions.

+1 Madam Goya: The queen herself. I’ll admit I had to craft a Madam Goya just to try this build out and I was not disappointed. She seems expensive to use normally and most decks have overlooked this card but I’m not ashamed to admit that she works REALLY well in shaman. With the ability to target your hero power totems, she’s almost always usable unlike in other decks where if your minions get controlled you’re forced to drop something small just so you can Madam Goya it into your deck. Worst case scenario, you’re playing her on Turn 8 after you hero power and then target your totem, and even then she is still pretty effective since you’ll get a 4/3 as well as something big. She is definitely a better Barnes that works REALLY well with control shaman’s big taunt minions.

+1 Barnes: If Madam Goya is the queen, then Barnes is the king. This guy is used in a ton of decks because of his ability to abuse triggers such as Ragnaros the Firelord, Ysera and most importantly Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound. Although he doesn’t work with EVERY minion in this deck like Madam Goya does, since he makes Earth Elementals into 1/1 Taunts, he’s still really powerful and for 4 mana, worst case scenario you’re getting a 3/4 and a 1/1. Like I mentioned earlier, he also works really well with Ancestral Spirit. Say on Turn 6 you play Barnes and get White Eyes. It’s only a 1/1 Taunt and sure you’ll get the Deathrattle ability, but why not put Ancestral Spirit on it that way it’ll die, give you the 10/10 Taunt into your deck, then return as a 5/5 Taunt which will give you ANOTHER 10/10 Taunt. Watch out for Polymorph type effects like Hex or cards like Entomb but if you can play around them, like against Druid which has no real way of getting around Ancestral Spirit, you can definitely abuse Ancestral Spirit.

+1 White Eyes: One of my favorite control shaman cards, I recommend this anyways in control shaman decks but in Barnes/Madam Goya this card can be abused so much and you end up getting tons of 10/10 Taunts into your deck. It’s good enough to get it into play and just get it killed to trigger the Deathrattle but combine it with Ancestral Spirit and you’ll have so many 10/10 Taunts to deal with, your opponent is going to run into an impenetrable wall.

+1 Ragnaros the Firelord: A classic card to abuse with Barnes for the 8 damage trigger but also not bad to get off of Madam Goya. Not much to say other than it’s a free 8 damage the turn you get him out and the longer you can keep him alive, the more he’ll destroy your opponent. Great target for Ancestral Spirit if you don’t think they are running Polymorph/Hex effects since if they try to Silence him somehow, he turns into a 8/8 beatstick.

+1 Ysera: 2nd best target for Madam Goya or Barnes to hit. Barnes basically gives you a free Dream card and Madam Goya gives you a hard to kill 4/12 and a Dream card. Ysera just gives you amazing card advantage with the free cards you can get and the longer you can keep her alive, the more cards you receive and the more control you have over the match.

+1 Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound: My FAVORITE Barnes target. Basically if you can get Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound off of Barnes or Madam Goya there’s a good chance you’re going to get the upper hand unless your opponent has a board removal such as Twisting Nether. His ability trigger is so nasty and as long as you can get one of the major minions in your deck, either Ysera, Ragnaros the Firelord, Earth Elemental or White Eyes, you’re in control. Your number of minions is very limited so it’s actually pretty easy to get him to Barnes into him, and then trigger into himself, giving you a 10/10 that is dropping free dudes every turn. Even just a 1/1 from Barnes has been able to flip over Earth Elemental which ended up keeping him alive for another turn and got me White Eyes, which died and then shuffled a 10/10 Taunt which got pulled into play the next turn. He is a game winner in a Barnes deck, craft him if you must.


Well that’s all I had for this update! I just wanted to throw out something really quick to give you guys more ideas for your control shaman decks if you’re messing around with deckbuilding one of them right now. If you read my other article, you’ll see I’m a big fan of Jade Control but this new skin totally changed my mind. I loved playing with Barnes and Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound back when Karazhan first came out in a Hunter combo deck and I’ve enjoyed playing with him again in this new deck.

I am fully moved into my new house now so I will be streaming again this week! Catch me on Twitter @HS_Fireflyer for when I update my schedule or if you want to see my funny Arena screenshots and follow my streaming on Twitch at for a lot of Arena madness.

Leave me some comments below, let me know if you’ve messed around with any Madam Goya decks and tell me if this deck works out for you! Also catch my other article today, “Fireflyer’s Best of Reddit Clips Vol. 4” which has a ton of Youtube clips from Reddit with commentary about what’s going on. A great article for a quick laugh. :)

I will see you all soon and thanks for reading!

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  1. Bozonik says:

    Cool deck. I was playing a N’Zoth/Jade Shaman a bit so tried this instead with -Devolve x2 -Ancestral x1, +Sylv, Cairne, N’Zoth. I think I’d have been better off keeping a devolve and one less elemental destruction but it worked surprisingly well despite the greed. The extra value/win condition can really help in slower matchups but hurts the aggro matchups, been doing better today just using the original list though. Been wondering about trying to fit in feral spirits, might help sometimes to be able to play early minions without hurting the Barnes/Goya pulls.

    • Tyran Van Zyl says:

      How is your win rate with this deck? I’ve found it a bit 50/50 if you don’t get the right draw against pirate warrior, it’s over (so close, but not close enough)

      • Bozonik says:

        With the normal version (no N’Zoth) I’d say it’s very favoured against pirate warrior. Mulligan for removal/AoE against aggro, maybe keep a heal if you have some AoE too. Occasionally you can’t hold them off but it should be better than 50/50. I’ve not tracked my win rate, but climbed from rank 5 to rank 3 with it so far.

        • Tyran Van Zyl says:

          I’ve just been losing to my opponents having the right answers. Either entombs (WHO PLAYS ENTOMB NOW?!) and devolves

          • Bozonik says:

            Well, if opponent gets all the answers sometimes there’s nothing you can do, regardless of what you’re playing. Midrange jade Shaman can be tough because of devolves and hex but it seems fairly equal to me. Don’t play ancestral spirit until you’re sure they have no hex in hand or you’re so desperate you have to risk it anyway. With devolve at least they’re generally devolving it into something else that’s big. Entomb I guess is Reno priest, not seen it yet with this deck, but yeah priest is a tough match because they can steal your hexes or big stuff. Winnable though, they have very little reach so you can be patient with board clears and heals.

          • Bozonik says:

            I made a new version that completely wrecks pirate warrior, and is better imo against anything else vaguely fast. From the original list linked below, -2 Far Sight +2 Feral Spirits (having an active turn 3 play just feels better, and they’re great against pirate warrior when you’ve cleared the board and he just has arcanite reaper equipped), -2 Thing From Below +Sylvannas +Cairne (massively improving the probability of hitting something good with Turn 4 Barnes), -ED +N’Zoth (or storm/devolve if you want both ED but I find one is enough. Occasionally you’ll pull N’Zoth with Goya or Yshaarj but you’re normally in a pretty good situation by then anyway).

            Against Priest btw, I find mulliganing hard for hex and devolve to be a good approach. The more of those you have the less likely they can nick them, and so they struggle to answer your big stuff/deathrattles, and they likely nick you big stuff which you can answer with your hexes.

          • Bozonik says:

            Reached Legend today with it on EU, first time I’ve made it with a non-aggro deck. Climbed to 2200th so far, gonna try break my record of 850th!

      • Tyran Van Zyl says:

        @Bozonik, which version did you use? I’m just running into so many Pirate Warriors at Rank 10

        • Bozonik says:

          The one from my 18th March post.

          • Bozonik says:

            If you’re struggling against pirate warrior, I’d say the Feral Spirit instead of Far Sight switch definitely helps. The deathrattle stuff less relevant, helps Barnes but the taunts I took out are useful too.

            Thing is pirate warrior is pretty much this deck’s best matchup. I’d say it’s close to 75% win. What’s your game plan/mulligan strat? I’d say for warrior you want to mulligan for AoE and heal. Maelstrom is great for clearing their start. Lava Shock and storm or destruction is nice for turn 5 board clear. Devolve/Hex handy for Frothing Berserker. Devolve also useful to remove pirate synergies. If you have devolve, often worth holding back on maelstrom until you can play both. I’d throw all minions back in mulligan except for Barnes/feral, and only keep those if the rest of the hand is good removal. Feral is better after you’ve cleared than on turn 3 anyway.

            Since pirate warriors are pretty predictable you can plan ahead and keep answers for their next threats ready. Early turns are mainly damage limitation, ideally clearing their board around turn 5 with AoE, then walling them out with taunts and healing up. Turn 7 Earth Elemental+Ancestral is pretty much game over unless you’re in mortal strike range. If you stabilise at health where the mortal strike bonus if they drop to 12 health could make a difference, be patient and set up lethal before letting them below 13 HP, bearing in mind they can lower their own health by hitting into your minions.

            Don’t be afraid to do desperate stuff like hexing your own totem to block out their arcanite reaper or putting an ancestral on your taunt totem. Sometimes you just have to stay alive and pray to draw into heal or big taunts.

  2. Courtney Pewitt says:

    Should you wait for Barnes to be in your hand before playing Goya? Goya pulling Barnes is counter productive, correct? The way my luck runs, I can guarantee you Barnes will get pulled every single time I play Goya without Barnes in my hand 😝 Or do you get the battle cry with the minon Goya swaps?

    • Fireflyer says:

      Glad you like the article! Having Barnes in hand would definitely be the best way to use Madam Goya but part of the luck of this deck is just rolling the dice with her and seeing what you get, whether it wants to slap you in the face with a Barnes or reward you with a Y’Shaarj into an Earth Elemental 😛 You don’t get the battlecry sadly, just like Barnes, which is why the deck focuses on non-battlecry abilities.

      • Courtney Pewitt says:

        Thanks!!! Gotcha, it’s ideal but not a must. I’m having a hard time drawing Barnes or Goya but it’s all about the luck of the draw & mulligans 😝

  3. Courtney Pewitt says:

    That’s awesome! I had your old article pulled up from a few weeks ago, I’m awful about closing out pages, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t just treated to an extension, thanks and I personally like the queen and use her in a few decks.

  4. Tyran Van Zyl says:

    Where can we find the actual deck list? would love to try this one