Deck of the Week 6 - Druid Mid-Game Deck
Welcome again to the Messiah's series of weekly articles that looks at some of the popular, powerful, or just plain interesting deck builds that are out there for the Hearthstone Constructed Deck format.
Druid - Mid-Game Deck
This weeks deck comes to you from my attempts to find a solid Druid deck that I enjoy playing. I found one a little while ago when watching the Dreamhack Hearthstone championships and following Amaz's progression through the field and in to the finals. While he didn't win the finals his Druid deck was extremely strong and I have picked it up to play with it over the last few weeks.
The deck can cope with and deal with most other high level decks out there very well though the use of multiple different cards. It has direct damage, silence, taunt, straight out destruction, card draw, and minions to beat your opponent down.
If you are looking for a strong Druid deck to play, give this one a shot. All credit for creating this decklist goes to Amaz.
- Druid Cards:
- 2x Innervate
- 1x Mark of the Wild
- 2x Wild Growth
- 2x Wrath
- 1x Savage Roar
- 2x Keeper of the Grove
- 2x Swipe
- 2x Druid of the Claw
- 1x Force of Nature
- 2x Ancient of Lore
- Neutral Cards
- 1x Bloodmage Thalnos
- 1x Big Game Hunter
- 1x Earthen Ring Farseer
- 1x Harvest Golem
- 2x Chillwind Yeti
- 2x Azure Drake
- 1x Faceless Manipulator
- 1x Argent Commander
- 1x Cairne Bloodhoof
- 1x The Black Knight
- 1x Ragnaros the Firelord
The deck works by having a strong balance of general purpose solid cards. It does not focus on any one thing, instead it aims to generally control the board and beat down your opponent over time. It does have some rush and some burst though, which gives it a lot of power.
Innervate and Wild Growth - Both of these cards let you pull ahead in a game quickly. Innervate lets you get a big spell off or a big minion out 2 turns earlier than you normally could which can be huge. Think of Innervate as a Ring on steroids, and in fact combine it with the Ring and it is even better yet! Wild Growth is also a strong card for getting ahead, but not immediately. It lets you trade 2 mana now, to add 1 mana crystal to you bar, meaning that you essentially get a turn ahead in resources. This long term advantage often leads to victory if you have it early on in the game.
Wrath and Swipe - Two solid druid direct damage cards that help keep the board clear in the early to mid game. Wrath should almost always be used as a 1 damage spell so that you get a card back from it as well, but sometimes you just need to kill something and then the 3 damage option is there (try not to use it though). Swipe is an amazing card against many different aggro decks including Shockadin, Zoo, and Murloc.
Keeper of the Grove - A simply amazing minion for the Druid class. Sure it's only a 2/4 for 4 mana, but the 2 abilities it poses almost always guarantees a 2-1 trade. Early on it can be used to deal 2 damage to an enemy minion and help keep the board clear, later on it can silence instead and remove a big threat. It is a go to utility minion in almost all Druid decks.
Druid of the Claw - Another solid Druid minion. Either a 4/4 with charge or a 4/6 with taunt. This minion can either help you remove a threat quickly with charge, finish off the enemy with charge, or keep you alive and protected with taunt. Most of the time taunt is the option used in the early game, but late game he has the potential to be another finisher.
Force of Nature and Savage Roar - This 2 card combo is one of the big finish methods in the deck. Force of Nature gives 3 2/2 charge minions, and Savage roar gives all friendly characters +2 attack, meaning that on turn 9 (or earlier with Innervate, Wild Growth, or the Ring) you can charge out for 14 damage as burst. Timed correctly and with a few extra minions on the board this combo can deal significantly more damage and is a common win method in the deck.
Azure Drake - One of the best cards out there for any deck, and in this deck with some direct damage like Wrath and Swipe it is a solid choice. In addition to a 4/4 minion you get a card and a spell damage boost.
Harvest Golem and Chillwind Yeti- Both of these minions are solid cards and while not Druid specific are in the deck for value. The both almost always trade 2-1 and help keep the board clear and to gain a card advantage.
Ancient of Lore- A strong Druid minion that has multiple uses. If you are ahead in the game and not really damaged you can use the card draw to gain an even bigger advantage. If you have been hit hard in the early game and just need some more time to put together a win, you can use the heal to keep you alive.
Ideal Opening Hand Cards
This deck can come out strong with a very large number off different cards in its opening hand. A lot of what you are looking for depends on what you are playing against, but some draws are pure win no matter who you are playing against.
If you are playing against an aggressive deck then you should be looking to get cards help you control the board against them until you can get to the mid to late game and take over. This means value cards like Harvest Golem, Chillwind Yeti are good, as well as minions with damage abilities or taunt like Keeper of the Grove of Druid of the Claw. Also damage cards like Wrath and Swipe can help out early. Wild Growth is also a strong card as it lets you get to that mid to late game faster.
If you are playing anything other than aggro decks then you can look to get cards out that help you advance the game to your strength faster with less fear of being killed before you reach the later game. This means looking for cards like Innervate, Wild Growth, Azure Drake, and Bloodmage Thalnos. Value cards like Keeper of the Grove, Harvest Golem and Chillwind Yeti are still solid choices too.
No matter who you are playing against though sometimes you just get cards that work. In one match when I was going second and therefore had the coin, my draw was Innervate, Innervate, Ragnaros, Wrath, Ring. Even though in theory I should have chucked Ragnaros back and re-drawn I looked at it and went.... hmmm, turn 3 Rag? Hell Yes! Many games going second you can draw something like Innervate, Druid of the Claw, Ring and it is a crazy strong opening to have a 4/6 taunt out on turn 2, heck at that point a 4/4 charge may be worth the risk depending on what you are facing. The Innervates and Wild Growth gives you the potential for so much out of the gate speed that it allows you to take some chances and get a jump on the opponent.
This deck is actually fairly simple to play compared to many other competitive decks and that is because a lot of the cards play themselves. It is always pretty easy to decide to bring out a Druid of the Claw with taunt when your opponent has a few minions out and ready to attack, or to use a Keeper of the Grove to silence your opponents Cairne Bloodhoof. However, just because sometimes the cards are easy to pick and to use it does not mean that the deck will win all by itself, there are always going to be choices that need to be made and making the wrong ones will severely hurt your chances at winning a match.
The deck plays very strongly when you play to get to the late mid to late game and smash your opponent at that point in time. The early game should be played to control the board and your enemy until such a point as you can attack them directly.
The early game control element revolves around keeping enemy minions in check or destroyed. You also should focus on using as many card drawing abilities as you can so that you can store up cards for the late game. Control cards that you should use are Wrath, Swipe, Keeper of the Grove, and Druid of the Claw. Teaming these up with cards like Bloodmage Thalnos and Azure Drake for card drawing abilities. Wild Growth is always a really strong early game card that lets you setup for the late game win by being ahead on resources as well.
Once you are into the mid or late game you can start to use your minions to kill your opponent to win the game. While the deck has no real single win condition or single minion that will win a game, it does have several different minions that are powerful in their own right. The deck has 14 minions with power 4 or higher which means it has a lot of hitting power. Top that off with Mark of the Wild to give a minion an extra +2/+2 and Savage Roar which gives all minions +2 attack for a turn. The best use for Savage Roar though is to team it up with Force of Nature to bring out 3 4/2 minions with charge and hit your opponent for 12 to finish them off.
Optional Cards / Alternate Deck
There are many other cards available that you can substitute into the deck if you either don't have all of the cards required or if you feel like making a change in the decks playstyle.
Power of the Wild - This card finds its way into many different Druid decks as it provides even more options. This card boosts all minions by +1/+1 or provides an early game 3/2 minion. With all the other big minions in this deck the best option is using the card as a +1/+1 to all minions as it will make all your other minions that much stronger.
Violet Teacher - This card provides even more token creatures that will allow you to force the issue against your opponent. It has the potential to make another end game attack if you use a few spells to get some 1/1 token minions out and then use Savage Roar to make them big enough to kill off enemy minions or the enemy themselves.
Cenarius - This Druid only minion is another fantastic minion for a token based attack deck. Being able to give all of your minions +2/+2 as well as having a 5/8 minion is a strong minion even though he costs 9 mana.
Ancient of War - This is another solid minion that can provide some stall tactics against other late game decks. With 10 health it allows you to hold off for a turn or two against other very powerful minions.
Stampeding Kodo - This is another solid really good control minion that can be added to the deck to help against rush aggro decks. At 5 mana you can kill off one minion instantly, and likely take 2 more with you during attacks, providing you a 3-1 trade. You can not ask for much better than that. Against non-aggro decks especially late game decks this card has limited use.
Sylvanas Windrunner - This is an extremely powerful minion in many decks, and in this deck it can do extremely well. Behind a minion with taunt this minion can then trade against a minion of your choice and then you can gain control over one of the remaining minions your opponent has.
Alexstrasza - Another very solid legendary minion that can help this deck. Alexstraza can provide a massive hit to your opponent by changing their health to 15 health. The turn after the health drop you can use your Force of Nature / Savage Roar combo to finish off your opponent.
How To Play Against It
Playing against this deck tends to be more about playing your own game rather than playing against it directly. The problem is that so many of the decks cards are meant to slow down or control you that it makes it hard to deal with it. The trick is getting your attacks in while you can against the Druid player.
To be able to get your attacks in means that you will really need to look at minions with charge or spells that deal direct damage as your best options. Early game attacks can also really help since many times it can take a few turns for the druid to get their defences in place. Past the first few turns cards that can silence the druids minions with taunt or abilities can be really powerful. Silencing a Druid of the Claw to be able to attack past it is extremely helpful. Silencing abilities with Deathrattle such as Cairne Bloodhoof can be even more powerful.
Direct damage abilities can do extremely well against this deck since dealing damage to the druid can be trick with minions due to all the removal and stalling that the Druid deck possesses. Mage decks especially can do some damage straight to the Druids face with many different spells like fireball and pyroblast.
In short there is not much that you can do to specifically deal with the deck other than playing your own game and dealing with the Druids cards as they show up. One important thing you can plan for though is the Druids burst damage with Savage Roar and Force of Nature. Try to stay above the burst point that the Druid can put out and you will have your best chance.
Give the deck a try, play around with some options, and let me know what you think. How does it work for you, how would you change it to match your play style. As mentioned the deck is difficult to learn to play correctly, so you need to give it some time. Let me know your experiences with it in the comment section below.