Hello everyone! Sempok here, bringing you yet another deck guide, this time featuring Beast Druid. I’ve been playing Beast Druid for a really long time. I always felt that the deck had untapped potential. In fact, I hit legend with Beast Druid a few seasons ago, when ONiK had not even been released. After a painstaking amount of testing cards and comparing winrates, I have finally found and settled on a list that I am content with. I hit top 50 Legend with this list in a short time period of just 8 days and think that it is definitely really strong.
Legend proof can be found here.
Beast Druid is an archetype that has been floating around for a really long time now. Since Blackrock Mountain, there has not been a single expansion where Blizzard has not included some form of the Beast archetype synergy cards.
One Night in Karazhan was the expansion where the deck finally reached the tipping point. Enchanted Raven and Menagerie Warden were two cards that were extremely strong and helped in shaping the Beast Druid.
However, the problem now became finding a consistent deck. Most players tried to play around with a list that included Azure Drakes and The Curator, so as to be able to attain lategame that Druid often misses out on due to pure Tempo cards such as Innervate. All this did, however, was build a deck that was neither Aggro, nor Midrange, but an inefficient combination of both.
Some people also tried to make a Hybrid list, that relied on Violet Teacher and Power of the Wild synergy to combo along with Savage Roar. While a good idea, the problem then became that the deck shifted too much from the Beast Archetype with it’s inclusion of cards like Raven Idol, Wrath, and Fandral Staghelm.
After a lot of testing, I felt that the Curator/Azure Drake package was holding the deck down. The sheer amount of 5 drops along with another Value card that came out on 7 made the decks early game extremely inconsistent.
The Violet Teacher package on the other hand, made the deck’s Beast tag inconsistent, making strong cards like Mark of Y’Shaarj and Menagerie Warden seem weak.
Finally, I settled on a list that had consistent early game and used the Beast tag to its maximum potential. This list runs almost all cards that have synergy with the Beast tag (*cough* Knight of the Wild *cough*) and uses blatantly strong cards such as Innervate and Menagerie Warden to gain an advantage.
In this section, I’ll talk about some curious cards that I chose to include in this deck, whilst also brushing over the notable cards that are missing from this deck which are present in most other builds.
Wildwalker: When I show people this deck, they seem to be most surprised about this card over any other. I think that this is one of the most underrated cards in the game right now. The problem with Wildwalker was that when it was released in The Grand Tournament, there weren’t enough Beast synergy cards to make it work. People tested this card out, concluded it was bad, and left it to rust. Nevertheless, it has since become extremely powerful. The most common comparison to this ward is Houndmaster. However, I think that often, this card is better that Houndmaster in this deck. The difference between Hunter and Druid is that Hunter has sticky minions, hence taunting them up and giving them more attack is good. What is often overlooked by people is that Druid has high attack/low health minions, such as Druid of the Saber and Savage Combatant, which is why buffing their health is often better. Moreover, the 4 health on Wildwalker is extremely relevant, especially in this metagame. It plays around cards like Quickshot, Wrath, and Lightning Bolt while also being able to trade and survive with the plethora of 3-attack minions present in the game.
Darnassus Aspirant: While some people are still uncertain about this card, I think it is an absolute gem in this deck. Gaining tempo early on with this deck is really powerful, since we have a lot of cards that capitalize on being on board. What this card does is help that process immensely. While it is weak to most early spot removal, the thing people often forget is that nobody mulligans for that against Druid. Since slower Flood and Malygos versions have been populating the ladder recently, people try to mulligan for minions rather than situational spells, which makes this card really good. The sheer snowball potential that this card possesses is amazing.
Fandral Staghelm: One of the most notable cards missing from this deck. I tested out Fandral Staghelm extensively, and came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t good enough. The only really strong synergy that this deck has is Druid of the Flame. While Druid of the Saber and Druid of the Claw are strong, they are simply not strong enough to justify having Fandral in the list. Furthermore, since we don’t have conditionally good cards such as Ravel Idol, Wrath, and Power of the Wild, Fandral’s value becomes worse.
Wrath: While Wrath is definitely a good card, I found that it simply did not fit in this deck. The idea of this deck is to gain board early on. Wrath is simply not good enough at helping in doing that. I would definitely play Wrath if it could deal damage to the opponent Hero as well, but since it only hits minions, spending 2 crucial mana on such a conditional play is simply not consistent enough.
Power of the Wild: As I stated earlier, Power of the Wild is again another conditionally good card. While it is true that you can simply summon a 3/2 beast when it doesn’t work as a buff, that is not strong enough to cut it in today’s fast meta. The card’s power level is also only exacerbated by the face the Violet Teacher and Fandral Staghelm are not run in this deck. Many people compare that the 3/2 body is similar to that of Druid of the Saber, but the main advantage that Druid of the Saber has over this card is that it has Stealth, which is crucial due to Wildwalker and Menagerie Warden, and can also be used as burst.
Playstyle and Tips
While at face value this deck might look like a simple curve deck, there are a multitude of intricacies that need to be learned.
The single most important thing to learn about this deck is managing your Mana and Ramp efficiently, patiently, and wisely. Often, inexperienced players jump the gun with Innervate without having a strong follow-up and hence end up with a sub-optimal curve. You want to be able to curve out as smoothly as possible, so holding on to your Innervate and The Coin is the most crucial thing about this deck.
There is also a large amount of thought that goes into deciding when to play as a more Midrange list and when to play as a more Aggro list. The easiest answer is: Look at your hand. If you have a more aggressive hands, you should probably use your Druid of the Claws in the 4/4 Charge mode, while if you have a value hand that has Ragnaros and Menagerie’s, you should play more board centric.
Another really important thing to learn about this deck is when to attack and when not to attack. For example, if you play a Druid of the Saber in stealth mode on turn two and intend to play a Wildwalker on turn 4, it is definitely correct to simply sustain the Stealth of the Druid of the Saber so as to guarantee being able to get Wildwalker’s battlecry off.
It’s really curious how the playstyle and ideology of this deck doesn’t really change based on the matchups. In most matchups, your goal is to simply establish early board control and go from there. There are, however, a few idiosyncrasies attached to each opponent and I’ll cover the major meta decks right now. I won’t be going into the analysis of off-meta decks such as Priest or Paladin, since they are a rare sight on the ladder these days anyway.
- Zoo: This is one of the hardest matchups for this deck, especially due to the recent rise in popularity of discard zoo. You need to understand that you are not winning this game without either really solid board clears a la Swipe, or ramp. I find that gaining mana and tempo really fast using cards like Innervate and Darnassus Aspirant are the two most efficient ways of winning against zoo. Also keep in mind to play around Soulfire since it is really strong against Savage Combatant and Wildwalker. Another thing to note is that Druid of the Flame is really good in this matchup due to its high health and low attack not being much of a concern.
- Renolock: Favored matchup. The idea remains the same as it is against all control decks. Play around their board clears and spot removals while consistently putting out threats. It should not but too complicated of a matchup to play, but do try to manage your threats and not overextend too much.
- Midrange: Now that Aggro has completely vanished, Midrange remains the only viable archetype. The important thing in this matchup again is to be able to ramp up fast. Try to stagger your threats so as to not get blown out by Hex but also play around Lightning Storm to the best of your abilities.
- Definitely one of the easier matchups. Remember that against Rogue, you are the aggressor. Hence, try to play fast and deal as much damage as possible, since Rogue does not have notable taunts or removal. Don’t hesitate to use Savage Roar early on since they don’t have many comeback mechanics.
- Face Hunter: One of the easiest matchups. Simply use your effective early game to counter their early game and then taunt up later to protect your face. While the Secret variant of this deck can get annoying sometimes, the general strategy remains the same. Try to take as less face damage as possible and make them run out of steam.
- The easiest matchup by far. Both Flood and Malygos Druid are bad against this deck. This deck is extremely fast for Druids while also having consistently strong threats, something that Druid as a class struggles to deal with. It will be easy to maintain board control, so dealing face damage consistently is the general strategy. Don’t trade more than necessary and you should be good.
- Dragon: Easy matchup. The thing about Dragon Warrior is that they rely heavily on their early game and then follow up with their midgame. Druid does the same thing but better. Their minions line up awkwardly against our minions, which makes it easy to gain board control and snowball from there.
- Control: One of the more difficult matchups. It is crucial to be able to deal damage as fast as possible while still keeping enough steam in your hand to play around the inevitable turn 5 Brawl. Ragnaros and Menagerie Warden are MVP in this matchup and need to be milked for as much damage as possible.
- Even matchup. Mages often end up throwing their cheap removal away in the mulligan against Druids due to them anticipating a slow deck, which helps us gain early game control. Again, try to obtain efficient trade. Druid of the Flame again lines up really well against their early minions and is preferred over Mounted Raptor.
The mulligan of this deck is extremely straightforwards. In every single matchup you only want to keep 1-drops, 2-drops, and Innervate. Throw everything else, unless you already have an established curve in hand, such as an Innervate along with a Mounted Raptor into Mark of Y’Shaarj.
I definitely feel that this is the best Beast Druid build out there. It further strengthens the aggressive strategy of most lists while also minimizing the decks weaknesses, that is often drawing a clunky hand. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or over at @Sempok_HS on Twitter. Nature will rise against you!