Beginner Hearthstone Deck Tech: Basic Ramp Druid

A great starter guide to Ramp Druid. Sheng shares his 0 cost Ramp deck, mulligan/strategies and an upgrade guide!

Editor’s Note: You can find this deck guide updated over at our partner site – Disguised Toast.

If you’re looking to expand your collection, highly recommend going for the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). And here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started!

Introduction

Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

Today I’m here with a guide on a Basic Ramp Druid Hearthstone Deck. This deck costs 0 Dust, is completely free to play, and only uses the Basic cards you unlock after getting the Druid class to level 10.

Because it’s constructed with only Basic cards, it’s not meant to carry you past Rank 10 on the ladder. Instead, it’s something that a new player can start with and improve with Expert cards over time.

This deck’s goal is to utilize the excellent mana acceleration provided by Druid cards like innervate and wild-growth to bring out big late-game minions like boulderfist-ogre and ironbark-protector. To survive until late game, this deck includes cheap removal spells, board clearing combos, and a slew of efficient mid-game minions.

Decklist

Minions (19)

2x acidic-swamp-ooze

  • 2 mana for a 3/2 is good value, but it’s the weapon destroying battle cry that makes this the best 2 mana minion in the Basic set.

2x bloodfen-raptor

  • An Ooze without the battle cry. With the dearth of good 2 mana minions in the Basic set, we choose him for his stats alone. Another option would be river-crocolisk, but in general a 3/2 is better than a 2/3. This is because a 3/2 has the potential to kill most 3 mana minions.

1x kobold-geomancer

  • A situational card. The Kobold Geomancer is only a 2 mana for a 2/2, and not a minion we would choose for his stats alone. His inclusion into our deck is for his +1 Spell Power ability. The dream is to play Kobold Geomancer and swipe on the same turn together to deal 5 damage to one target, and 2 damage to all other enemy targets for 6 mana.

2x ironfur-grizzly

  • A plain 3 mana for a 3/3 with taunt. Fills our mana curve at the 3 slot.

2x shattered-sun-cleric

  • A great card to play whenever you have a minion on the board. The dream is to buff a smaller minion to kill a larger minion, or a minion to survive what would have been an equal trade.

2x chillwind-yeti

  • A plain 4 mana for a 4/5. He’s almost always going to be the largest minion on the board on turn 4. This is one of the best 4 mana minions in the game. With Druid you can potentially the-coin + innervate him on turn 1, which is amazing.

2x gnomish-inventor

  • In general, paying 1 additional mana on the cost of a card to draw another card is good value. In this light, Gnomish Inventor is really a 3 mana for a 2/4. This is good because a 2/4 will trade with two 3/2 minions.

2x senjin-shieldmasta

  • A great card against aggro. 4 mana for a 3/5 is already fair, but the taunt is what makes this card good.

2x boulderfist-ogre

  • A plain 6 mana for a 6/7. This card would actually be worse with 7 attack because of big-game-hunter. 7 health means it survives 6 attack minions and fireballs.

2x ironbark-protector

  • 8 mana for a 8/8 taunt. This is a card your opponent has to deal with when it comes into play. Only truly weak to cards like the-black-knight, big-game-hunter, and unconditional removal.

Spells (11)

2x innervate

  • Free mana? What a bargain! This is best used to get your 4 cost minions out on turn 2 going first, and turn 1 with the-coin). Alternatively, you can use this to get 6 cost minions out on turn 4. It is very difficult to deal with an early chillwind-yeti or boulderfist-ogre. A well timed early Innervate can snowball games.

2x claw

  • 1 mana for 2 damage and 2 armor. Cheap removal that can be used to clear your opponent’s 2 health minions.

1x mark-of-the-wild

  • A situational card. Considering that you can play a 3/2 for 2 mana, Mark of the Wild isn’t the most mana efficient card. Its value comes from buffing a minion so that it survives what would have been a 1 for 1 trade. (i.e. Your 3/2 minion being buffed to 5/4 to kill another 3/2 and surviving.) You never want to play this on a minion just to do 2 extra damage.

2x wild-growth

  • A great card to play early from your opening hand. Playing Wild Growth on turn 1 with the-coin is like having an extra coin every turn. This card has the most value the earlier it is played. The weakness of this card is that during mid-game (turns 4-6), playing Wild Growth might prevent you from playing a bigger minion, making it a dead card. However, if you hold onto Wild Growth long enough, or top-deck one late in the game with 10 mana crystals, playing Wild Growth will allow you to draw another card through excess-mana.

2x swipe

  • Pretty much the best Basic Druid card, and Druid’s only board clear spell. By itself, its ability to clear your opponent’s board is fairly weak, but with a kobold-geomancer in play, this is better than a holy-nova or consecration.

2x starfire

  • This can be used to take out 5 health minions or finish a game. As a bonus, it draws you a card. Starfire isn’t cheap removal, but it’s reasonable for its cost, and the Basic card set doesn’t have any better options.

Mulligan Guide

The general guideline is to look for an opening hand that will let you play a card on turn 2, 3, and 4. Here are the cards you’ll want to keep:

Minions

  • 2 Mana: acidic-swamp-ooze, bloodfen-raptor
  • 3 Mana: ironfur-grizzly, shattered-sun-cleric
  • 4 Mana: chillwind-yeti, senjin-shieldmasta
  • Minions to Mulligan

    • kobold-geomancer should be thrown away, because its value comes from being played on the same turn as swipe.
    • While gnomish-inventor is a 4 mana minion, it is a weak play on turn 4 due to its 2 attack, and should also be thrown away. Her value comes later in the game when you need to replenish your hand.
    • Any minions with a mana cost over 4 should be thrown away as well. You want to keep cards that are playable early.

Spells

  • wild-growth

    • wild-growth is strongest played early. When going second, being able to coin out a wild-growth on turn 1 means you can play a 3 mana minion on turn 2, and a 4 mana minion on turn 3. It’s like getting a free coin every turn!
  • innervate

    • A very strong turn 1 play going second with this deck is to coin + innervate to play chillwind-yeti or senjin-shieldmasta. This will guarantee that your opponent will have to spend his second and third turns trying to eliminate your 4 mana minion, giving you a large advantage.
    • innervate is strongest when coining out 4 mana minions (chillwind-yeti, senjin-shieldmasta) or 6 mana minions (boulderfist-ogre) in this deck. This is because turn 4 and turn 6 are the turns with the greatest power spikes for minions. Being able to play these minions earlier is a huge advantage.
  • Spells to Mulligan

    • Your other spells should be thrown away because they don’t help put a minion on the board. In the beginning of the game, board presence is the most important thing.

How to Play

This deck’s strength is the ability to bring out mid and game minions out early through the mana acceleration granted by wild-growth and innervate. The idea is to force your opponent to trade two or more smaller minions (or spells) to remove your larger ones until they run out of cards, leaving your late game boulderfist-ogre and ironbark-protector finishers uncontested. Cards like claw, swipe, and starfire will help you clear the board if you’re behind after early game, and do double duty as spells that can attack your opponent for an unexpected lethal. An early advantage can often snowball to victory, so I’ve outlined some of the best possible plays on the first few turns.

Going First

Turn 1 Without innervate:

  • Skip the turn. The only potential play here is an early claw to your opponents face. You should never play claw to damage your opponent’s face unless you have lethal.

Turn 1 with innervate:

  • Skip the turn. You’ll want to save your innervate for next turn when it can potentially bring out a 4 mana minion. The only 3 mana minions in this deck are shattered-sun-cleric and ironfur-grizzly which trade evenly with many 2 mana minions.

Turn 2 without innervate:

  • Play wild-growth if you have a 4 mana minion in hand. You’ll be able to play it next turn.
  • Play bloodfen-raptor.
  • Play acidic-swamp-ooze. Note that you should play bloodfen-raptor first if you have both of these cards in your hand against classes with weapons (Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior).
  • Use your Hero Power (+1 Attack this turn. +1 Armor). This is the weakest play unless you’re using it to kill a 1 health minion your opponent played on his first turn.

Turn 2 with innervate:

  • Use innervate to play a 4 mana minion if you have it. Otherwise your options are the same as without innervate.

Going Second

Turn 1 without innervate:

  • If you have wild-growth, its usage depends on the rest of the cards you have in hand.
  • If you have a 2 mana minion, play it first, and then wild-growth on turn 2. This will get a minion out on the board early, and let you play a 4 mana minion on turn 3.
  • If you don’t have a 2 mana minion, go ahead and play wild-growth.
  • If your hand has a mana curve of 2, 2, 3, 4, use the-coin and play a 2 mana minion.

Turn 1 with innervate:

  • If you have senjin-shieldmasta or chillwind-yeti, you can the-coin + innervate to bring it out. Otherwise save your innervate. In general, it’s not worth it to use both the-coin and innervate to bring out a gnomish-inventor
  • If you don’t have anything to innervate out, and don’t have a 2, 2, 3, 4 mana curve, you’ll want to save the-coin and skip this turn.

Turn 2

  • Your plays will be the same as turn 2 going first. Save the-coin unless you need to use claw to kill an enemy minion.

General Tips

  • Always check to see if the combination of your minions, hero power, and spells will add up to lethal. Don’t forget to account for kobold-geomancer‘s spell power bonus if you have him!
  • Play your cards that draw you a card first before attacking or playing other cards. If you’re going to play gnomish-inventor or starfire anyway on this turn, it’s always better to play them first. You might just draw into the card you need to win the game.
  • Favor clearing your opponent’s board whenever possible. This prevents your opponent from buffing smaller minions to kill your more expensive ones.
  • Be aware of possible board clears. If you are ahead, it’s often wise to hold back from playing a weaker minion or two in case your opponent can flamestrike them away.
  • Keep your kobold-geomancer in your hand unless you can utilize its spell power bonus on the same turn. It dies too easily.

Deck Weaknesses

This deck is primarily weak to unconditional removal cards like hex, polymorph, and assassinate, and tempo swinging minions with removal battle cries like big-game-hunter and the-black-knight. Unfortunately, there is sometimes not much you can do if your ironbark-protector gets eliminated this way. The best you can do is to try to bait out the removal on your other minions before bringing out your big guys.

Combos

This deck has a lot of unexpected damage from spells that you can use to close out a game. Below are a few combos I’ve used while playing:

  • kobold-geomancer + swipe: 5 damage to 1 target, and 2 damage to all other enemy targets. This is a starfire and consecration that leaves behinds a 2/2 for 6 mana.
  • kobold-geomancer + swipe + swipe: 10 damage to 1 target, and 4 damage to all other enemy targets. This is a pyroblast and flamestrike that leaves behind a 2/2 for 10 mana.
  • mark-of-the-wild + Minion: Allows a smaller minion to trade up to kill a larger one, or allows a minion to survive what would be an even trade. You only want to play this card on a minion if you can trade on the same turn. This mitigates the risk of removal.
  • shattered-sun-cleric + Minion: Like mark-of-the-wild this is ideally used to buff a smaller minion to kill a larger minion, or a minion to survive what would have been an equal trade.
  • claw  + Hero Power: 3 attack and 3 armor.
  • claw + claw + Hero Power: 5 attack and 5 armor.
  • starfire + swipe: 9 damage.

Gameplay Videos

To solidify these strategies, I’m including gameplay videos to demonstrate how this deck should be played. In the interest of time, I didn’t commentate them (as I wanted to be able to cover all 9 class matchups), but feel free to ask me questions in the comments sections about specifics and I will be happy to answer them.


Versus Druid


Versus Hunter


Versus Mage


Versus Paladin


Versus Priest


Versus Rogue


Versus Shaman


Versus Warlock


Versus Warrior

How to Upgrade Your Deck

Over time, you’ll collect more and more cards from opening Hearthstone packs. Please follow the guide below before reading the upgrade card list to understand how to incorporate new cards successfully into your deck.

Which Cards Should I Upgrade?

  • Before you start, go through your deck and look at each card and understand its role and function.
  • The easiest cards to upgrade are minions that have counterparts that are complete upgrades. I define a complete upgrade as a card with the same or better stat distribution and a better ability for the same mana cost. A knife-juggler would be a complete upgrade over a bloodfen-raptor. A spider-tank would not be.
  • Replace situational minions or spells that will often stay glued in your hand until the right moment arises with more verstile minions or spells. You can easily replace kobold-geomancer and gnomish-inventor in your deck with azure-drake instead. While azure-drake isn’t a complete upgrade over either card, the fact that it has a better stat distribution, draws a card, and gives you spell-power makes it a card that isn’t situational.
  • After making a list of cards that are potentially upgradeable from the list above, you can move on to the next section!

How Do I Actually Upgrade My Deck?

  • Don’t rush the process! Deckbuilding takes time. Each and every card in this Basic deck was chosen for a purpose, and fills an important function in this deck. You would be surprised how much time it took me to think of each of these decks, and how long the process of tuning them took.
  • Generally, you don’t want to make more than one or two changes to your deck at a time. Swap out cards one or two at a time, and play your deck with the changes. Each time you draw into your “upgraded” card, ask yourself whether or not you wish it was the card you had previously in your deck. If you consistently say yes to this question over several games, then the “upgraded” card belongs.
  • Repeat the testing process with more upgrades until you’re fully satisfied you have the best deck you can make with the cards you have.

Respect Your Mana Curve!

  • While it’s tempting to throw a bunch of late game minions into your deck, it’s a bad idea because you’ll find that without an early game, you’ll never get to late game before your opponent kills you. You want to be able to play on curve, and not have to skip a turn without having something to play.
  • While this isn’t a golden rule for all decks, this is what a general mana curve should look like for a midrange deck. Please keep this in mind as you swap in your shiny new cards.

    • 0-2 One Mana Minions
    • 4-6 Two Mana Minions
    • 4-5 Three Mana Minions
    • 4-6 Four Mana Minions
    • 2-4 Five Mana Minions
    • 2-4 Six+ Mana Minions

Potential Upgrades List — November 2015

Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.

Minions

  • 2x bloodfen-raptor ? 2x darnassus-aspirant
  • 2x ironfur-grizzly ? 2x shade-of-naxxramas
  • 2x shattered-sun-cleric ? 2x keeper-of-the-grove
  • 2x gnomish-inventor ? 2x azure-drake
  • 2x senjin-shieldmasta ? 2x druid-of-the-claw
  • 2x boulderfist-ogre ? 2x ancient-of-lore
  • 2x ironbark-protector ? 1x emperor-thaurissan + 1x dr-boom

Spells

  • 2x claw ? 2x wrath
  • 2x starfire ? 2x force-of-nature

    • Doing this, you can replace 1x kobold-geomancer and 1x mark-of-the-wild ? 2x savage-roar

Conclusion

Overall, this deck is very fun to play, and a great entry point if you’re just starting to learn the Druid class. Over time, as you grow your card collection, you may end up substituting most of the Basic cards in this deck with Expert ones. At that point, I’d recommend checking out the other Druid Guides we have on this site for more in depth analysis into the many competitive Druid decks that can take you to Legend rank. As always, feel free to leave any questions you may have, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the New Players section, other Beginner Decks, and our most popular section – Monthly Top Meta Decks.

Coaching Lessons

If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

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