Totemic Call Needs to be Nerfed

hearthstone 9 - Totemic Call Needs to be Nerfed

Although many people have been complaining about the shaman class' overpowered cards for a long time including its classic board clears but especially the minions it has gained from expansions during the year of the Kraken, I believe the second biggest problem with this class' balance is its hero power. Let's take a look at the 4 possible results:

Stoneclaw Totem: In my opinion this is the strongest totem. Especially in this meta of pirate warriors, this is most often effectively, "Heal your hero for 3 or 4. Block potential advantageous trades for your opponent."

Healing Totem: Although more situational than the other totems as it is the worst by itself, this totem has the highest potential of them all. Sometimes this totem alone requires a full board clear answer that previously was not necessary. The shaman class is already extremely too strong in terms of the board state; healing up to 6 minions who often have 3-6 attack out of hero power or board clear range is game defining. Let me restate that: a single use of a hero power is game defining.

Wrath of Air Totem: Subjectively, I would rate this the second best totem behind the Stoneclaw Totem. This totem's power level used to be even more off the charts before the nerfs to spirit claws and small-time buccaneer, but is still absurd. Spirit claws is although not good enough for tier 1 constructed decks, not a bad card. Many people who were too lazy to take the card out of their netdecks after the nerf did only slightly worse than the new decks that cut the card. The Wrath of Air Totem is, of course, almost the entire reason why the card was so broken. Now, the Wrath of Air Totem is now still above the power level of other hero powers because of the shaman class' ridiculously efficient board clears: maelstrom portal and lightning storm. Lightning storm has been used in almost all shaman decks in the history of Hearthstone. It is able to kill all relevant 2 drops in constructed and most 3 drops. With the Wrath of Air Totem, lightning storm is able to kill most 3 and even 4 drops in the game, with a little luck. One extra damage to all enemy minions is very often a game defining swing (that phrase, "game defining" comes up far too often when discussing a single use of Totemic Call). Maelstrom portal is the current worst offender in terms of broken synergy with the Wrath of Air Totem, along with the card being overpowered by itself, as it is direct powercreep to arcane explosion, which has actually seen play recently in some Mage decks including Reno and tempo mage to counter the extremely fast metas in recent Hearthstone history. The Wrath of Air totem literally doubles the effect of the card, besides the random 1 drop summoned. Excuse my lack of professionalism, but that is just bonkers.

Searing Totem: Unless this is summoned on turn 1 or 2, this is usually the worst totem result. Humorously enough, this is literally a powercreeped paladin hero power. I will dive further into this point later in this post.


Not only is Totemic Call on far too high of a general power level, it is also by nature heavily RNG based. As I'm sure you all know, each totem has an uncontrollable 1 in 4, or 25% chance to be summoned when Totemic Call is used. This effect makes the average shaman game drastically less skill based, and since shaman has been in a disproportionally high percent of games for many expansions, this essentially makes the whole game of Hearthstone a little less skill based, which is not something I, or many others, think the game needs.

As I previously mentioned while talking about the Searing Totem, totem synergy is egregiously too strong right now.

The cards that have synergy with the "totem" tribal tag include, but are not limited to:

  1. Thing from Below – This card, infamously known as "the 0 mana 5/5 taunt" is included in most shaman decks besides the most aggressive ones of recent times. Totemic Call is most of the source of this card's extremely high power level and without it, this card would be very bad.
  2. Thunder Bluff Valiant – This card is not in most constructed shaman decks in this patch, but in most of them in the last few patches where Midrange Shaman thrived. In my opinion, this card is still overpowered, but just barely too slow for this meta.

I only listed the most broken totem synergistic cards here. There are a few more, noticeably Draenei Totemcarver, which is quite strong in arena, but not overpowered.

Totemic Call is also unanswerable by any other hero power in the game 3/4th of the time. Anyone else get annoyed when they have to waste 8 damage sinking a 5/5 into a taunt totem then a 3/4 into a spell damage totem so that they can feel safer about not dying the next turn? I do.

Lastly, I would like to explain why I think Totemic Call is too strong by comparing it to the Paladin hero power, "Reinforce". Take everything I said about Searing Totem and compare it to Reinforce. The usual worst result from Totemic Call is the only result from Reinforce. Silver Hand Recruit synergy is an absolute joke right now, while totem synergy is in almost every single shaman deck. The only decent silver hand recruit synergistic card in the history of Hearthstone is Quartermaster, which is not even allowed in standard play anymore.

I do plead guilty to complaining without offering a solution, but would just like to see if we can get the word going about the imbalance of Totemic Call. If you've read this far, thank you, and I hope this has given some insight into how the shaman class can be fixed.

PS: I won't be surprised if people point out any grammar or syntax errors, please forgive me for those if you find them.

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