Hello and welcome to yet another one of those detailed articles I make like twice an year!
Today I am going to be making a huge discussion around Malygos Druid, how to play it, why is it so strong, and some extra things I feel needed!
Malygos Druid is a deck that plays around with massive card draw, can respond everything that is played against it, has tons of proactive spells and a bunch of fair mechanics that become unfair when paired together the right way.
This deck is currently the only reason I have to play Hearthstone, despite being an Yogg deck it is still quite the skillful deck, and the fun you have playing it is such that I needed to make a guide such as this one – The deck is hard to play, but also tons of fun, you must play it too!
Let’s start off by discussing the card choices behind Malygos Druid – Let’s talk interactions!
Malygos Druid is a deck, as said before, that run tons of consistent proactive spells:
living-roots can be used in a great many ways, from generating board presence early in the game that allows you to stall while you gather up resources for bigger and stronger plays, can be used as one of those resources latter in the game as both a cycle tool for gadgetzan-auctioneer, a powerful burst with malygos and even double-value with fandral-staghelm, all of this while also generating spell count toward both yogg-saron-hopes-end and arcane-giant.
raven-idol, which should always look for spells have exactly the same uses, except that it won’t help your Malygos very much – Unless, of course, you need to pick more spells to burst with Malygos on board. The beauty behind Raven Idol is that it allows you to respond literally anything as Discovering a spell is a very consistent mechanism that can allow you to choose from a wide variety of choices.
From that point onwards we notice how all our cards are very similar to the point that makes Malygos Druid the strongest and most fun deck to play in the game – They’re all super proactive that can be played in a variety of different ways.
By looking at the cards, the first question that comes to mind is “How we win?”, because there isn’t a clear way of winning, bursting the opponent or anything like that as the Malygos combos seems inconsistent and requires set up, meanwhile the deck doesn’t seem to be able to compete for the fatigue wars with decks like Control Warrior. Fact is the deck generates so much value and can so easily manipulate tempo through the cards combined that it literally wins by being a better deck almost every time it wins. You usually defeat Control decks because you played more and better cards while always having cards in hand, you defeat Aggro decks because you responded everything they did while still maintaining a sizable hand and healthy total hit points.
However, winning by being better doesn’t necessarily means your deck will steamroll over the ladder – your plays matter, and you’ll only win if you played correctly. If you don’t play Malygos Druid correctly, you’ll end up losing to superior opponents and that’s what you’ll learn to do today!
So this is the “how to play” guide for Malygos Druid. Basically every deck that has required tons of skill to be played in the game ended up coming down to resource management, and with Malygos Druid this is not different. Managing your resources wisely is basically the reason why you’ll be winning so many games with the deck, let’s take a look at how it is done.
Your hero power matters. A thing that I have noticed about Malygos Druid lists I saw losing games was that the resources at their disposal weren’t being used appropriately.
Always note that your hero power is an extension of your spells, and saving bigger spells for bigger targets is generally a must here. For example if you could ping and Hero Power down a flame-imp instead of wrathing it, that would be the ideal play. You usually want to save wrath to kill something with 3 Health or maybe a beatdown minion behind a taunt, you could even use it with 4 mana to kill something with 4 health. Wasting a resource that you didn’t need to is crucial and will lose you the game if you don’t pay close attention to it.
Other important thing about the aggro matchup is that people tend to overvalue the Saplings from living-roots: Sometimes hero powering on turn 2 to kill a two health enemy minion while keeping the second 1/1 instead of developing the game by playing a wild-growth, or an innervated minion – Your 1/1s are there to delay and stall the game, don’t overvalue them, develop the game instead of saving them. You’ll be playing your living roots early in the game against Aggro to stall, because in a few turns your plays are going to be miles better than theirs.
A third problem that I saw was raven-idol utilization. Whenever the Malygos Druid has fandral-staghelm in hand he starts playing wrong, saving cards such as Raven Idol and Living Roots to combo with Staghelm instead of stopping the Tempo train from the opposing side – You don’t want to do that! Always pick up spells from your Raven Idol against Aggro decks. Value won’t win you games against Aggro – Tempo will.
The last discussed topic doesn’t apply to feral-rage if you have alternative ways of removal, even if worse value-wise. Saving Feral Rage to combo with fandral-staghelm (in case you have him on hand already) while still being able to respond appropriately the opposing threats should be the ideal play most of the times because of the health gain.
And last, but not least, is innervated nourish ramping up instead of drawing cards early in the game – By ramping up Nourish you guarantee that you’ll always be ahead on curve, playing bigger minions than your opponent and therefore winning the game in a couple of turns. I used to be against innervating Nourish versus Aggro instead of, let’s say, playing an Azure Drake, but it was ultimately deemed the correct play as You’ll be able to alleviate the pressure much easily the next turns. This also means early game mire-keeper should always be ramping up, because it always broadens the number of plays you can do the following turn.
In the Control Matchup things are quite different – You’re not playing for Tempo, but rather for Value. Your value-generating cards are often going to generate so much Tempo that it’ll make up for it, simply because you are given room to work with your cards.
There are just too many ways to defeat a Control deck, from baiting removal into big Giants turn, to sheer value generation with fandral-staghelm turns to big malygos turns, sometimes even following up emperor-thaurissan (but ultimately not needed, as you’re still able to living-roots + 2x moonfire for tons of damage even without Thaurissan).
Let’s discuss a couple of those things here:
First is Raven Idol and Fandral Staghelm – You usually want to save the Idol for the Staghelm turn, but only if you actually have Staghelm in hand or other plays that don’t involve Raven Idol. However, even in a situation like this, not playing Raven Idol is wrong if you have the spare mana to do so.
Another important thing to note about Fandral is that your Controlish Opponent usually won’t have minions on board on your Staghelm turns for you to hit with living-roots, however unless you’re setting up a malygos combo in the next turns, you should likely deal the two damage to his face and make a pair of 1/1s. This happens because the 1/1s are likely to deal as much damage as Living Roots would with Malygos, while they still force the opponent to respond them somehow.
Other cool plays are trading with the arcane-giants and healing them back up with moonglade-portal as your total health isn’t important.
Bait removal and never stop applying pressure and making proactive plays. I won games already against Control Warriors simply because I played an arcane-giant that got executed and followed it up with a dry malygos that went unresponded (I analyzed the possibilities and the numbers were highly in my favor the times I did this) into a torrent of damage the following turn. Always try to pay close attention to the cards the opponent is playing and their hand size.
gadgetzan-auctioneer is another good topic to discuss – You don’t worry about Fatigue very much, you always end up winning (or losing) the game before fatigue becomes a factor. Meaning it is a lot more important to set up for big Malygos turns than worrying too much about the number of cards left in your deck. If you weren’t able to beat your opponent with a big Malygos turn after you drew your entire deck, you were already too far behind and was going to lose the game anyway. Another factor is yogg-saron-hopes-end that should give you one last try at winning against Control Decks if you’re out of alternative hopes.
But what about Midrange?
Nowadays Midrange decks are either Aggro-oriented or Control-oriented, so the playstyle given in this article also fits the Midrange matchups, you should just try and take note of which kind of opponent you’re facing.
Different from piloting it, the mulligan of this deck is quite simple and won’t change very much from opponent to opponent:
- You’re always looking for these cards: innervate, living-roots, raven-idol, wild-growth and wrath. I usually don’t like keeping Wrath against other Druids if I don’t have Innervate, Wild Growth or Raven Idol, so you can throw it out in Druid mirrors.
- You can keep mire-keeper against any opponent if you already have at least two of the cards mentioned above, but you can also keep it against Warriors, Priests and Paladin decks if you have at least one of the cards mentioned above and The Coin.
- You can also keep feral-rage against Shamans if you have one or two of the cards mentioned in the first topic, depending on curve analysis. You’ll be able to pre-establish a series of plays that can curve into Feral Rage against Shamans, mostly because it can easily trade 1-for-1 with totem-golem.
- Additionally, moonfire should be kept against every Aggro deck.
And this pretty much covers everything you need to know to start playing Malygos Druid correctly and win games.
Note that the deck will still require a lot of training in order to be perfected, as the majority of the plays aren’t obvious or straightforward, but with this guide you should be able to get things rolling smoothly.
Note that I didn’t mentioned yogg-saron-hopes-end very much in this article, and is because that button has already been bashed quite a lot lately – It is a 10-mana card that can win you the game when there seems to be no out. The card should be used as a board clear whenever you’re not able to do so in different ways or believe your opponent will lethal you anyway.
Yogg Saron is nearly the reason why I am so disappointed with Hearthstone lately, as so many games in the high legend are being decided by the Yogg outcome, especially in Malygos Druid mirrors, but I am positive Blizzard will do something about it before Blizzcon hits, which should be very soon.
I hope you guys enjoyed this article, it was fun playing a lot of games with this deck despite of the randomness implied in Yogg simply because my skill mattered in a lot of matches, and while it doesn’t feel rewarding to win with Yogg-Saron, not playing him would be a mistake because of how it can win you otherwise unwinnable games.
Love you guys, see you around in the next article!