2x Zombie Chow
2x Wild Growth
2x Big Game Hunter
Mind Control Tech
2x Shade of Naxxramas
2x Keeper of the Grove
2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta
2x Druid of the Claw
2x Sludge Belcher
2x Ancient of Lore
2x Ancient of War
So do you think Combo Druid is the best kind of Druid right now? Oh I’m sorry I can’t hear you over this wall of Taunts. Wall Druid is the current alternative to Double Combo Druid and has also been seeing a good deal of success. And it wins the heads up matchup against Double Combo.
This deck is built to drain your opponent out of their resources as efficiently as possible. Druid is also one of the most consistent and viable classes right now on ladder. It does not have many bad matchups which is essential to have an above average win rate on ladder. Obviously variance affects win rates -- and you can get a lucky win streak going with an inconsistent class -- but it’s not as likely as playing a consistent class.
Mulligans and Matchups
Generally you need to mulligan for the strongest Druid cards and early game presence. Those cards are Innervate, Wild Growth, Zombie Chow & Shade of Naxxramas.
Different Matchups, however, will require some tweaking in our mulligan strategy.
There are a lot of variations to Mage at the moment. The most common being Mech Mage, Fatigue Mage, and Freeze Mage.
Normally I mulligan against Mage with the mind-set that the opponent is Mech Mage so I recommend keeping Wrath in addition to the regular keeps.
In order to win against Mech Mage, the most important thing is removing their mechs before turn four to play around Blastmage. The way I normally lose to Mech Mage is with an Antonidas and the Stealth Spare Part with which Druid's can't interact. You don’t need to be aggressive since you’re the control deck in this matchup. Don’t be afraid to just heal with your Lore if you already have a stable board and you’re at around 10 Health. Notice if they kept any cards for a prolonged duration, it’s probably a Frostbolt or Fireball.
Fatigue and Freeze Mage
Fatigue Mage is a different story. You need to be aggressive and play around Duplicate as much as possible. Never draw with Lore and Wrath unless absolutely necessary.
Freeze Mage plays out similarly. This deck doesn't care about board presence, and unless you are forced to trade into an Acolyte, just maintain pressure. Since we don't run the combo our only pressure is to flood minions. Don't be afraid to do this but try and stay out of Flamestrike range.
A fairly easy matchup overall. I would keep Wrath and Mindcontrol Tech since they punish an early board presence. Shaman is normally the more aggressive list so try to stabilize until turn six. You really need, however, to build a board presence before turn six since Fire Elemental is one of the best ways to win this matchup from the Shaman point of view. Play around Lightning Storm as best as you can: don’t throw double Shades on turn six because you have nothing else. Try to bait out Hexes on weaker minions so that Ancient of War and KT can get full value. A Kel'Thuzad which isn’t Hexed immediately wins you the game. Even if KT is Silenced, Shaman have a very hard time dealing with a 6/8 outside of Hex.
One of the easiest matchups. Mulligan as you normally would and look for the ramp spells. Since we play two Big Game Hunters the matchups is fairly easy. Some players think this can be a hard matchup because Warrior has cheap removal but you have more big guys than they have removal. Maintaining pressure is important in this matchup, but I don't mean Swipe face on turn four. If you’re aggressive in this matchup they can't really keep up and it will be harder for them to play their slower minions while trying remove your board. That being said, it's not advised to Charge Druid of the Claw because of Death's Bite. Play around Baron Geddon when possible even though he's not that popular. Don’t take the game into super late game because you can eventually run out of removal. Try to bait out Brawl early on so you can overextend as much as you like later.
The easiest matchup by far! Mulligan normally and keep Wrath just to remove their turn three drops. Play Taunt into Taunt and wear them out of Sabotages and Saps. In this matchup you sometimes find yourself in awkward spots where you either Swipe a drake or play your five drop. I always fine it better to try to develop the board over being reactive unless you have a perfect Swipe on a Violet Teacher.
This matchup can be tricky. Keep Mind Control Tech as it does insane work! Going first I would keep Wrath and Keeper to counter their Juggler or Minibot pressure early on. I'm not really sure about Swipe but I wouldn’t recommend keeping it. Your five drops normally consume all the 1/1 tokens the Paladin has built up. Some players say they would rather keep Swipe but it seems too slow in hand and I would rather mull for turn four or five Taunts and early game draws. Whenever I tried keeping Swipe it never paid off and now I feel confident without it. Try to not over extending into Equality: do this by never playing both Ancients of Wars at the same time. Keep a Keeper or try playing a preemptive Sylvanas on his turn eight to counter a potential Tirion.
This is normally an easy matchup. The two main ways to lose this matchup are either a Mind Control on Ancient of War or a good enemy Sylvanas roll. You need early game board presence in this matchup. Mulligan wise I would keep Wrath since they always play Northshire turn one. This is similar to the Warrior matchup, just play Taunt into Taunt and they eventually will run out of Shadow Words. Priest isn’t too common on ladder because it is too reactive so you don’t really need to worry about the matchup. On the bright side, Cabal only has two targets to hit and it’s not that relevant.
To keep BGH or not to keep BGH? Personally I would keep it since majority of the players play Handlock over Zoo at the moment. That said if you’re currently at a low rank, aggro decks are more common so I wouldn’t keep BGH. Always keep Wrath and Keeper, they are good against both matchups and obviously insane against Zoo. Try to keep the board clean before Zoo's turn four since it is normally an Argus. Doomguard can also be problematic because Druid has no hard removal. Both matchups are pretty favorable overall. If you want to cut one BGH -- or another tech card like Black Knight -- for Harrison Jones, the Handlock matchup will be significantly harder.
Hunter is a very good matchup! Obviously there are some obnoxious Undertaker opens we can't handle, but on the whole the matchup is positive. I would keep Wraths as well as the standard keeps. With the Coin I would also keep Keeper which is a huge tempo swing when they have a Huffer or Juggler on board. Sometimes you need to throw board control out the window in this matchup and force him to trade. That being said, you still need to play around potential Kill Command or Bow to avoid lethal. The game plan is the same as always, play Taunt into Taunt and eventually they won’t have a Kill Command and owl. One of the most problematic cards is Savannah Highmane: you're going to need something left on the board by turn six to counter this.
Mulligan as mentioned above. Nothing less, nothing more. A lot of Druids still play the Force-combo and this deck matches up against that very well. Always try to bait out a Black Knight going into their turn six. Don't just slam your Ancient of War and hope that it survives. Big Games are measly 4/2s in these matchups except for the Druids that run Boom: always keep one in hand just to be safe. This matchup is where Kel'Thuzad shines the most. The tempo swings he brings are huge. Even if you drop it naked on turn eight, KT is pretty good. Silence? He's still a 6/8 body that trades everything except Ancient of War. The mirror matchup may be difficult. Most Taunt Druid decks are running Black Knight and while there are advantages but it mostly comes down to variance and draws.
Here is your ideal starting hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I swap Ancient of War with?
Sunwalker is a pretty good earlier drop which is very good against weapon classes!
Q: I don’t have Cenarius. Is he that needed?
Before I had Cenarius in the list I was playing Dr. Boom and they fill a similar role: they are both big guys with friends to fight off smaller minions. The only downsides Dr. Boom has is that he is worse against aggro and it’s the only BGH target in the deck.
Q: What do you think of a substitute for Sylvanas?
Sylvanas is essential in my opinion! Her synergy with Kel'Thuzad and its value in control matchups is insane. If you don’t have her though I would play Harrison Jones since you can expect Warrior and Paladins on ladder since there are two of the best classes at the moment. If you’re facing too many mill decks, however, you should definitely play Black Knight.
Q: Why do you play two Big Game Hunters?
BGH is a tech card that I included because there are a huge number of Handlocks and Warriors on ladder. If you’re finding a lot of Warrior and Paladins I would cut one BGH for Harrison Jones but if you find more mirrors you should run Black Knight. It will most likely have a target even against not so favorable matchups.
Q: How frequently are you attacking with Shade? Do you attack right away or leave it until it becomes an OTK card?
There is no hard and fast rule on when to unstealth the Shade: sometimes when it’s a 5/5 you can attack because it can’t die to Swipe and force a Keeper; sometimes you need to alleviate pressure from the board; sometimes you play around brawl and put some damage in.
Essentially you just need to play around the class specific removal.
Q: Why do you play Shade over other three drops? He doesn't seem to fit without the combo.
I love Shade over other three drops mostly because you can’t really interact with it from the opponent’s side. Also the popularity of Warriors, Druids, and Hunters on ladder makes this card very strong in the meta. Against Warrior it acts as a third hard removal spell -- after the both BGHs -- or extra reach. It can also potentially eat an execute of shield slam from the 5/10 Taunts or Kel Thuzad.
Q: What about Black Knight, doesn't he wreck this deck?
Black Knight will probably be included in more decks now that Taunt Druid is more common. You should aim at baiting out the Black Knight early on their curve. That can be achieved by playing a weaker Taunt to eat Black Knight’s effect and not let them get a huge tempo swing with an execution on the Ancient of War.
Is this game?
Q: Why aren't you playing Dr. Boom? He is clearly OP.
Calm down, I’m not playing Dr. Boom for many reasons. First reason is that this deck is completely BGH-proof making it a silly 4/2 for three. Second reason is that you don’t need another seven drop and Cenarius already gives you a play on turn nine instead of Hero Power-seven drop. Third reason is that I prefer Cenarius over Boom because it gives you better matchups against the mirror and greedy Handlock lists on ladder that play double BGH and no Siphon.
Q: Why do you run Mind Control Tech? It doesn’t seem to be very effective.
Well given that Dr.Boom is in every deck this cards almost always gets value. He also punishes aggro decks for over extending. Druids have no way to punish over extension on the board so this tech helps out. It’s also pretty good since Paladin and Mech Mage decks are very popular. Not to mention the casual Highmane steals in a Midrange Hunter matchup.