Hello and welcome to episode two of Deck Dissection! This week we are taking a page right out of the ol’ Legends book and breaking down everything you need to know about Druid! With the ladder resetting for our first official season of Hearthstone it is important to prepare yourself the glory of being a top contender and a name to remember in season one! We will cover the extremely successful and popular Ancient Watcher Druid and explain everything on altering the deck to best suit your style of play and bolster your win rate against the decks you expect to face out in the vast abyss of the ladder. Don’t forget to comment with any questions or ideas you may have! We are always looking for suggestions on what to cover next! Thanks for watching!
Below are the lists for the three decks mentioned in the video. Notice how similar they are to one other. Also notice how just a few strategic changes to a deck can greatly alter a particular matchup in your favor. When you understand how to properly play against a specific class you can easily create something to break up its game plan and beat it!
Depending on the metagame, you may want to sub out some of the cards in the Watcher deck for alternatives better suited to that metagame.
Claw: Claw is a miniature version of Truesilver Champion, you get to deal two damage and gain two life at the cost of one mana. It’s a solid bargain for removing pesky two toughness or three toughness (with the addition of your Hero Power) creatures like Flame Imp, SI:7 Agent or Murloc Warleader before they become a big problem. The card also gives you the ability to finish off higher toughness creatures out of nowhere. This can be advantageous as your opponent might not play around the potential burst damage you can achieve with combinations like Wrath plus Claw, say goodbye Chillwind Yeti. In all it’s a solid early game removal card and reasonable to play if you expect a lot of aggressive decks.
Starfall: Let’s face it, while Swipe does its job and does it well sometimes we need to pack more of a punch and spread damage out among a couple of small creatures. Aggro decks shudder at the thought of this card being in a Druid deck as it is particularly dangerous to allow Druid players time to deploy large threats in the form of Druid of the Claw and Ancient of Lore or set up their walls of protection with Ancient Watcher and Defender of Argus. Even against more midrange and controlling decks Starfall can be effective as a five damage removal spell. Though a bit slow and clunky at five mana I can easily understand the inclusion of one of these in any Druid deck, especially if you have Blood Mage Thalnos or Azure Drake to beef up its damage.
Healing Touch: I touched on this during the video but I really think this card is underrated in aggressive metagames. Often times you can buy yourself crucial turns with Healing Touch that you wouldn’t get from any other card. While I do believe Earthen Ring Farseer can be great against aggressive decks it is more of a tempo card, where this bad boy just straight buys you extra turns. If you are playing against decks with limited reach this card can also be a backbreaker (decks such as Miracle Rogue or Face Warrior) and might sometimes just put you out of range of the damage they are capable of dealing in a given game. I think against real hyper aggression I would play one of these in my deck and never look back.
Sen’jin Shieldmasta: If we are looking to break up one turn kill combos or generally want more brick walls in our deck I’m looking at Sen’jin Shieldmasta as our next best option. While we already have some of the best Taunt combinations in our deck (in the form of Watcher + Taunt Giver) Sen’jin Sheildmasta allows us to apply some pressure and put a real clock on our opponents as he can actually attack. I would feel comfortable bring these guys in against Hunters, Miracle Rogues or any deck that really wants to oust you in one turn.
Argent Commander: One slight problem with this deck is that it is fairly defensive, not many cards attack well on their own and that can be a serious problem when trying to close out games against decks chalk full of 4/3 or 3/1 Charge creatures. When you want to leave your opponent on the business end of a good beating or aggressively keep a board clear to better deploy your late game threats like Savage Roar and Force of Nature Argent Commander is great and extremely flexible at what it does. Since its inclusion in early forms of Druid decks (think back to test season one and two) it has always been reasonable on offense and defense and is definitely a card that should be more deeply examined in the future, don’t be afraid to play this out of favor fellow.
Nourish: Yes I admit doing nothing on turn five can be really detrimental, but that is looking at Nourish the wrong way. Often times in a control meta neither player will curve out in the early game and with the Coin or Innervate the three cards you draw can give you the card advantage you need to take over the game. Not only can it set you ahead in the early game by drawing cards but ramping yourself into your large threats sooner can really break up the time Handlock and Control Warrior need to make cards like Siphon Soul and Sheild Slam effective. Also one of these off the top on turn ten when you are both out of cards is a caught Hail Mary, that means casting this and the Azure Drake or Druid of the Claw you inevitably draw in the same turn, talk about value.
Big Game Hunter: When Handlock or Ragnaros are on the loose someone has to corral them, that guy is another Big Game Hunter. With the nerf on Tinkmaster Overspark Druid is in serious trouble on how to answer high toughness threats as most of the popular removal Druid plays is limited in damage (think Wrath and Swipe), that means a Ragnaros, Molten Giant or Mountain Giant will often cost you a couple of cards and serious tempo to get rid of. The solution is to add in an additional Big Game Hunter when the meta calls for it, it will have the exact opposite effect of what was described above and set you in a position where you can easily takeover games you shouldn’t be winning.
Naturalize: Another reasonable answer in a meta full of control decks. With one in your list this card can really let you build and hedge against other threats and can be treated as the ultimate "catch all" for difficult to deal with creatures (Ysera) as it straight up destroys them for just one mana. Yes I realize your opponent draws two cards off this deal but that might not be as detrimental as you think. While allowing your opponents more cards can be intimidating, control decks are often threat light and will have a problem closing out games after you take out their ace in the hole. Not only are you destroying one of their few threats but the card is also a tempo powerhouse. For one mana you are setting your opponent far enough behind that with some pressure on their life total you can give yourself a chance to beat them down and win the game before they actually have a chance to make use of all their freshly drawn cards. A versatile answer and great one, but not for the feint of heart.
Ragnaros the Firelord: When everyone forgets about this card is when he is at his best. Ragnaros is the premier finisher in control style decks and allows you to completely shut down an opponent when played into an empty board. That being said the card requires a lot of setup to be effective and is extremely vulnerable to hate like Big Game Hunter or Hex and is not the best card to play when behind. However even with these glaring weaknesses unlike other legend cards Ragnaros does effect the board the same turn you play him and the damage you can deal if he is unanswered for just a couple of turns is often enough to win you the game and because of this I would not argue with swapping Cenarius for a copy once the new season begins.
Sylvanas Windrunner: Rather than remove durable threats from the board you can just take them! Sylvanas is perfect for dealing with cards like Ysera or Grommash Hellscream and can really help you win unexpectedly. Often times these cards are played because they are so durable and difficult to answer, so chances are your opponent will not have the cards to answer his own Molten Giant either! That being said Sylvanas is fairly costly at six mana and is a bit more fragile than we care to admit. Because she needs to be played preemptively and can be dealt with fairly easily she can often be a liability and not something worth risking using your whole turn on.