Comprehensive Combo Druid Guide

How exactly do you deal 14 damage in the most skillful way? WindUpRabbit is here to show you exactly how!

Introduction

Hello! My name is WindUpRabbit, I’m a Druid player that has reached legend and has peaked top 100 legend. I have beaten players like RDU in ranked, so I personally think I’m decent at the game.

This is my guide to playing combo Druid, my absolute favorite class that I have used to rank from 18 to Legend.

My main deck. Decklist (to the right) is what I’m currently using and have used to ladder from rank 5 –> Legend.

Blizzard has bestowed upon us an incredibly good card in Blackrock Mountain, giving us Emperor-Thaurissan. Making Midrange/Combo/Fast Druid a contender for tier one again.

General Strategy

This deck is all about establishing board control and then quickly bursting the opponent down with the loved and hated combo force-of-nature + savage-roar that deals 14 damage plus your already established board. This combo has become infamous for stealing many games that have been otherwise unwinnable and is sometimes considered worse than old miracle rogue’s leeroy-jenkins combo.

So, why play Druid you ask? Well, except for it being a very effective decks with almost no auto-lose match-up (looking at you Freeze Mage) it is a very effective way of climbing the ladder in a very quick way and still not feeling dirty for playing Hunter or Zoo! It’s very easy to learn and can still be very tricky to master, today I’m here to do exactly that.

Card Choices

innervate x2: Gives you 2 mana this turn only. Amazing card in the early game and midgame, bad during late. Probably the last card you want to topdeck. Innervate allows for an early shade-of-naxxramas, Double combo (force-of-nature + savage-roar + savage-roar) and getting huge tempo swings by i.e. using Keeper-Of-The-Grove to clear a Turn 2 Knife-Juggler. Can be used to get out early ancient-of-lore for draws, Turn 1 Piloted-Shredder etc.

Zombie-Chow x1: 2/3 for 1, amazing stats for 1 drop, can contest board control early against minions like flame-imp, knife-juggler, leper-gnome and more. The heal is not relevant in the early game as you want to get board control anyways.

Wild-Growth x2: Now this is one of the biggest keycards in the deck since it allows for early Piloted-Shredder, azure-drake and other high drops. WARNING: DO NOT COIN THIS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SHADE-OF-NAXXRAMAS OR ANOTHER TURN 3 PLAY!

Wrath x2: Deal 3 damage or 1 damage and draw a card, the versatility is amazing, can be used to enable trades that would otherwise not be possible. Scenario not to use it: Let’s say a Zoo player plays Flame-Imp turn 1 and you have The-Coin + Wrath, I personally always save it against higher value targets like i.e. Knife-juggler or Dire-Wolf-Alpha. The Flame-Imp is usually lower priority.

Savage-Roar x2: Amazing card, +2 to all characters on your board, can be used for trades or finishing the opponent with the combo, 2 is used for the possible 22 damage combo (Force-of-nature + Savage-Roar + innervate + Savage-Roar). 2 of this card is a must, it has become even better after the release of Emperor-Thaurissan since it allows for a 9 mana super combo.

Big-Game-Hunter x1: I love this card, maybe it’s because it was my first golden epic or just because of the sheer amount of possible value you can get from the card. This card is really good since Dr-Boom is prevalent in the meta and because of that it’s just a must in a deck like this, where you hardly have any hard removal against big creature.

Shade-of-Naxxramas x2: Good early card AND late, this allows a higher combo damage since the stealthed target is usually harder to remove and can allow a 19 damage combo if it’s only been stealthed 1 turn, 1 turn equals 1 damage more to the combo. This is also used to control early, you can also keep it stealthed for several turns to get incredible value and sometimes killing i.e. a  Ragnaros-The-Firelord from a Turn 1 Shade-Of-Naxxramas.

Swipe x2: This card is bloody amazing, used to clear boards, finish the game and used with Azure-Drake to make an incredible Swipe, dealing 5 damage to one target and 2 to the rest. This card can NOT be substituted for Starfall, even though some may think it will be able to. Starfall is just not good enough and the 5 slot is quite contested.

Keeper-of-the-grovex2: Oh shit, this is ONE of the best druid card, if not the best. Can be used to i.e. silence Sylvanas-Windrunner, Sludge-Belcher and other high value effects. The 2 damage can be used to kill Knife-Juggler, allow for better trades and swing board control in your favor.

Piloted-Shredder x2: Replaced Chillwind-Yeti a while back, sticky creature that trades well, can be played on T1/T2/T3 for amazing trades, trade wells with (imp-gang-boss and other 4 health creatures).

Azure-Drake x1: Draw, Wrath trades better and Swipe is amazing, most people run 2 and 1 Sludge-Belcher, I do reverse just to improve the hunter match-up and it’s currently working out very well.

Druid-of-the-claw x2: V E R S A T I L I T Y. Charge to combo well with Savage-Roar to deal 8 damage. The taunt is amazing to trade with Zoo fields, Hunter Fields or just a nice Turn 5 drop. A big decision to make when playing Druid, I charge against i.e. Acolyte-of-pain and when I can 100% set up for lethal.

Sludge-Belcher x2: My baby, I love this card. It stops lethals, it sometimes forces silences to allow for more value Sylvanas etc. Amazing against Hunter since it absorbs 7 damage or a silence.

Force-Of-Nature x1: I used to run 2, but I cut one since you never really needed to use 2 combos in the same game and if you did, one of them were usually for clears and then it would usually be better with an early game creature. You can of course still run 2, I just ahve never found the need of 2. Very important for the combo, of course.

Emperor-Thaurissan x1: Thanks Blackrock Mountain for this incredibly amazing card in this amazing deck. This allows for a MUCH cheaper combo, a smooth curve and can be innervated and can be brought out as around turn 3-4, also. 22 damage combo for 9.

Sylvanas-Windrunner x1: Forces silences, forces an immediate answer and if not answered it will allow some amazing steals and it has sometimes won me entire games.

ancient-of-lore x2: Best druid card, maybe tied with Keeper of the Grove. Again, VERSATILITY is KEY in this deck, it allows this deck to protect HP to stall until late game or be fast enough to rush down very slow decks. Ancient-of-lore is the best card, it can heal you against i.e. hunters, it can add to the card advantage that you might not have. I USE THE DRAW OPTION 90% OF THE TIME, THINK ABOUT THAT IF YOU ARE NEW. 5/5 for 7 + Draw 2 cards is good. It’s basically a 5/5 for 4, since Arcane-Intellect is draw 2 for 2.

Dr-Boom x1: Been thinking about removing him, but he is just so good. Unfortunately he is the only Big-Game-Hunter target in the deck and can therefore be sometimes bad to play. Though, he’s just too good to pass. You can even get him out as early as turn 3, and unless they have an answer (Big-Game-Hunter, Hex, Polymorph etc.) the game is usually won. Playing this on turn 6 (with Wild-Growth) can often win you the game.

Cenarius x1: I. Love. This. Card. He summones 2 2/2s, he’s the almost best card you can topdeck in a topdecking scenario. One of my favorite cards just because of the, again, VERSATILITY IS KEY. This can be used to buff a board up to immense strength and best of all, it dodges Big-Game-Hunter.

So there’s my explanations of my cards.

There are of course couple of budget replacements that has its own sections down below

Substitutions

“But, I don’t have all these fancy legendaries! What should I do?” Well worry not Jimmy! There are replacements that can be inserted in the deck to still be able to have lots of fun! Unfortunately some of the cards are replaceable, such as Force-of-nature and ancient-of-lore since they fill a very unique and irreplaceable role. Stuff like Cenarius can easily be replaced for stuff like force-tank-max or for an even cheaper version, boulderfist-ogre. Most commons in the deck should be fairly easy to gather and most rares are very important anyways. Do you not own Curse of Naxxramas? Don’t worry! You can switch out shade-of-naxxramas for stuff like Harvest-Golem or other solid 3-drops, do you not have Blackrock Mountain? No problem that either, just get yourself something like a sunwalker in the 6-slot instead of that Thaurissan! Most late game legendaries can be switched out for any late game creature of your choice, such as cenarius for boulderfist-ogre.

Tech Choices

So, we’ve all been in this scenario. You’re playing Hearthstone and you’re laddering up, trying to hit legend with your hearthstone account. But suddenly you’re only against aggro decks, “How do I counter them?” Well worry not! I have an entire section on how to counter what you hate the most.

Warrior, Rogue and Paladin:

Don’t you hate those pesky weapon classes? I do too! That is why I sometimes add harrison-jones to be able to keep up with their board controlling weapons. If you want to put harrison-jones in your deck as a way to counter weapons and to give yourself the card draw and that extra little edge against weapon classes you can remove cards like azure-drake since they both fill the purpose of drawing cards and establishing some kind of board (azure-drake through spell power Swipe and Harrison-jones to counter fiery-war-axe, truesilver-champion, Rogue’s hero power and deaths-bite to stop them from getting favorable trades).

Hunter:

So the Hunter match-up is usually in your favor, but are you against more than 50% hunters it can be wise to add in an antique-healbot to get yourself out of hero power range. Other than that my deck is optimized for aggro, running 2 Sludge Belchers to stop the opponent from going all face. If you really want the extra edge you can substitute  piloted-shredder for a healbot (this isn’t 100% recommended though, this is mostly in extreme cases when you REALLY want to win the game against Hunter).

Zoo:

Zoo is gaining popularity, not fun for us Druids. In the druid matchup Swipe isn’t very good, since it’s often dead and because of the high health of Zoo cards. To counter that you can remove 1 sludge-belcher for another azure-drake to gain more value from wrath and swipe. Other than that you can just pray to RNGesus that the opponent does not draw good cards, because if he gets a better curve than you it is VERY hard to make a comeback.

Grim Patron Warrior:

Well, what can you do here? The solution is basically the same thing here and for the Zoo match-up. In this match-up swipe is almost always dead when he puts down the grim-patron since it can not be used as an effective clear. With azure-drake you can actually remove most of the Patrons and come out on top. In this match-up you just need to try to finish him and don’t keep cards with less than 3 attack on the board as they will snowball out of control.

Matchups and Mulligan

Mulligan is key in this deck, you need to keep the right card to have a chance to outpace your opponent.

General “must-keeps” are Innervate, for those early creatures and often Wrath to keep the board clear of threats.

Decks:

Hunter: 

Hunter is the most common match-up, according to my Track-O-Bot stats to play against, and most people usually play decks that straight out only counter the deck because people find it so annoying to play against. Against Hunter Zombie-Chow is a godsend, you will learn to cherish this card and to pray to draw it in every hand. Zombie-Chow allows to trade against stuff like Leper-Gnome and effectively make it an easy 2 for 1. It also discourages Hunters to put down that early Knife-Juggler as Zombie-Chow wrecks it. Other cards you want to keep include: Wrath to keep the threats away from your face. If you can innervate out an early Druid-Of-The-Clawyou can absolutely keep the combo in your hand. Be careful to not dump too many resources in a taunt, because you might get Ironbeak-owl‘d and immediately regret your decision.

The Hunter match-up is generally OK. You have taunts to negate damage and you have heals to survive that pesky hero power. Stuff like Savannah-Highmane is incredibely annoying and I can almost only recommend trying to get Sylvanas-Windrunner to steal it. Saving your Keeper-of-the-grove to at least have one silence in your hand is often good. As Savannah-Highmane can easily 3 for 1 you need to have tools to keep it from getting high value.

Zoo: 

Zoo is annoying, it’s solely based around getting good trades off and establishing board control. If you lose board control you can struggle to get it back, as your only board clear is Swipe and since it only deals 1 damage it can struggle to clear cards like Knife-Juggler, Flame-Imp, Dire-Wolf-Alpha and even though it’s incredibly efficient at clearing Imp and Imp-Gang-Boss it’s not something you want to keep in your opening hand.

So what do you actually want to keep in your hand? Well, there’s always the obvious ones. Innervate and Wrath should be kept to clear early. If you have something like Piloted-Shredder in your hand you can keep it and get it on what’s effectively turn 3.

The match-up is hard as Doomguard is a gigantic threat that is very hard to deal with. Your best bet is try to set up some Combo lethal without him noticing or try to get board control which is incredibly hard against an efficient deck like Zoo. Save the Big-Game-Hunter against Mal’Ganis or Dr-Boom. You can use it on turn 3 for a bit of a smooth curve and it’s definitely not the worst play, but it instantly dies to Implosionand is because of that not optimal.

Handlock:

You want that Wild-Growth and Innervate to set up a board before they can, one VERY important thing is to NOT put them down into Molten-Giantrange until you can either kill them or you feel like you can remove 8/8s or you don’t have a board that can be Molten-Giant[/card + [/card + card]Shadowflame‘d. Save the Keeper-of-the-groves for Twilight-Drakes since you have no good removal for them otherwise.

In mulligan stuff like Zombie-Chow, Piloted-Shredder, Shade-Of-Naxxramasis good since it allows to control the board early and get some sticky minions for Handlock to cry about.

? º??º ?º??º ?º??º ? ???????????? ?? ???? ? º??º? º??º? º??º ? Warrior: 

This deck is interesting, your match-up against Control Warrior is usually VERY good and you should often have a 70% winrate against Control Warrior. Your winrate against grim-patron warrior is way lower. Why you ask? Because swipe is effectively useless as a board clear when they have gotten their board to be full of 3/2s or 3/1s.

Your mulligan should be the same against Grim-Patron and Control Warrior. Keep the innervate, keep the 3 drops and 4 drops. Keep Wild-Growth and Wrath. Use Wrath to keep clear of Acolyte-of-pain. Using Keeper-of-the-grove to silence Acolytes is ok, deny them as MUCH card draw as you possibly can to not get outpaces. Use Shade-of-naxxramas to trade with Acolytes and to deny them more draws is often a good idea since it’s often what snowballs the warrior deck out of control.

Climbing the Ladder

I’ve used this deck everywhere, started at rank 20 in season 4 and have not stopped playing it ever since. It has gotten me through the Hunter-infested early ranks and has kept a very high winrate. Even after, from climbing rank 5 to Legend it kept a high winrate against almost every class and does not have any auto-lose match-ups, which makes the deck absolutely wonderful to play since you often do not feel hopeless in match-ups! It’s by far one of the most effective decks to rank with, as you can often cheese wins you would not be able to get with any other deck. Also it’s incredibly fun and rewarding to burst someone down because they left up a single minion!

Closing

And that’s it for my Combo Druid deck guide, I hope it has given you a bit of insight on how to play the best class in the game! Please leave a comment and since this is my first game I’d love constructive criticism, did I screw up one part of the guide? Is there more I should add? Feel free to tell me! Anyways, have a very good time and good luck climbing the ladder! Do you want to follow what I do and keep track when I’m going to release new guides? No problem! My Twitter is @winduprabbit_hs and my (soon set up) Twitch account is WindUpRabbitHS. I’ll be starting to stream when I get my internet finished so it can be a great resource if you want to learn more what I would do in specific situations.

Now go out there and infest the meta game with a bunch of Combo Druids! Do you want to add me on Hearthstone? Sure! Just send me a PM with your name and I’ll try to add you asap. If you want to check out my Youtube channel where I try to explain the moves I make in a couple of Druid games? Sure!