In-Depth Ramp Druid Guide (Top 25 Legend EU)

Hello everyone. First things first, I want to thank you a lot for all the views & comments & likes & everything on my last (Midrange Shaman) guide. You guys are the reason I want to write more articles! I hope you’re going to like this one too. Midrange Shaman was a clear pick for one […]

Introduction

Hello everyone. First things first, I want to thank you a lot for all the views & comments & likes & everything on my last (Midrange Shaman) guide. You guys are the reason I want to write more articles! I hope you’re going to like this one too.

Midrange Shaman was a clear pick for one of the strongest decks right now. But this one might come as a surprise for some, yet I think that depending on the meta it might also be top tier deck in WoG. Ramp Druid. I was theorycrafting about Ramp already pre-Standard, but that theorycrafting was pretty bad if I look at it now. Keeper of the Grove got nerfed, Ancient of Lore got nerfed, while some new fun cards got released, so the deck doesn’t really look like I thought it would be.

The version I’ll write about is my own creation, although some of the card choices were inspired by the opponents I met on the ladder and pro players like StrifeCro & Dog.  I’m very happy with the results. Although I have fallen down in ranks recently and now I’m hanging around top 200 (which is still perfectly fine at this point in the season), the peak rank I’ve achieved with this deck after a bigger win streak was 25 on EU:

Deck Overview

Every time I write about Ramp Druid, I start with the definition of ramp. The term – “ramp” – comes from MTG. The Rampant Growth card was basically very similar to our Wild Growth. To ramp up means to accelerate the mana’s growth. Normal mana growth is 1 mana crystal per turn, but there are some cards that you can speed it up with. In some games you’re going to be 3-4 mana ahead of your enemy. And as it turns out, answering opponent’s 3-drop with your 7-drop is quite strong. And that’s the base of the deck.

Ideally, you want to use first two or three turns to ramp up and then start dropping big bombs when enemy doesn’t have efficient ways to answer them yet. In that case, the games are really straightforward and probably wouldn’t even require a guide. The “ideal” game plan rarely works out, though, and you often have to improvise. You might not draw your ramp, it might come too late, enemy might put too much early game pressure and you won’t be able to spend 2 turns doing nothing etc. It doesn’t mean that you automatically lose the game, but it gets much harder at that point.

Ramp comes with a price. You have to sacrifice the card advantage and initial tempo in order to gain future advantages. Ramping up is incredibly strong, but sometimes it turns out to be pointless. Sometimes it happens that you ramp up to 7 mana, having nothing meaningful in your hand to play and then you topdeck an Innervate. Or you get a perfect ramp, but enemy plays Aggro and already has 4 minions on the board at that point and you can’t keep up with their tempo. Sometimes it’s correct to actually skip the ramp and play the normal curve, but more about that in the Strategy & Tips section.

One common misconception is that Ramp Druid is a control deck. It is NOT a control deck. I’d even dare to say that it’s closer to Aggro than to Control. Yes, it slow. Yes, it has a high curve. But it has almost no removal, no reactive plays and wants to put pressure on the enemy and kill him as fast as it can. Yes, it can afford to play a slower game and it does that against decks like Control Warrior/Priest/Paladin. But throughout the whole game, it assumes the role of aggressor, tries to kill the enemy and they try to defend themselves. It plays threats – enemy plays answers (for the most part). Yes, obviously, when you encounter another deck that wants to play proactively and is faster, like Zoo Warlock or Aggro Shaman, Ramp Druid is forced to play the role of defender. Just because as long as you keep the board clear and stay at the reasonable health amount, you win the game in those matchups.

“But Stone, with so many Taunts, the deck is very defensive!” – Yes and no. Yes, the Taunts are great defensive tool against Aggro, but that’s only one of the reasons why they’re here. Another reason is that when you play your Taunts in a smart way, you can go face instead of trading more often than not. Normally, you would want to protect your minions from dying by doing the good trades. But if you put a 5/10 Wall of China on the board, that’s usually enough to protect your other minions and you can just go face. Since enemy is forced to attack into your minions – you can much more often just go face (it’s not always right, obviously, but it’s often your tactic).

It also means that it shares the same problem as other Aggro decks. Once Ramp Druid’s board gets wiped and enemy takes the board control, it’s incredibly hard to come back. The deck has no real AoE clear and no comeback mechanics. Swipe, Wrath and Living Roots are all good against small minions, but not against big threats. The only way to remove a big body is Mulch, but that’s only 1 card in the whole deck. Yes, sometimes playing back to back big Taunt after big Taunt saves you, but sometimes even that might be too slow if enemy already has big board.

Sometimes you’ll just win the game, because you play a turn 3 Ragnaros the Firelord and enemy has no answer. Sometimes you’ll have a long, drawn-out game. And sometimes you’ll lose the game, because you end up with 7+ mana cards and no ramp at all. Even though variance might be high, I’ve found out the deck to be rather consistent in a way that it’s pretty easy to find the ways to accelerate the mana. With 2x Wild Growth, 2x Innervate, 2x Mire Keeper and 1x Nourish (the last two are best good when combined with Innervate), there is a lot of Ramp in the deck and not drawing any at all can be seen as a bad luck. So if you try the deck & just don’t ramp up, don’t worry and try again – it doesn’t happen that often.

Card Choices

2x Innervate – Mana acceleration, but different than the others. It’s not permanent, but it GIVES you tempo instead of taking it away. Very simple, you get +2 mana for 0 mana and a card. It helps you with getting out the big threats early, getting into Nourish’s Ramp faster (Turn 3 Innervate + Nourish is a pretty strong move if you have follow-up next turn) or just winning the tempo game. Sometimes you want to use Innervate just to use your Hero Power or Wrath in addition to playing something. Innervate is best in fast matchups, where the early game tempo is very important.

1x Living Roots – Early game removal, potential turn 1 play. Although I don’t like the two 1/1’s in this meta that much. They’re weak against most of the classes – Rogue will just Hero Power them down, Priest has Northshire Cleric, Warrior has Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain (+tons of Whirlwind effects like the Ravaging Ghoul), Zoo has Voidwalker, Control Paladin also plays Acolyte Of Pain etc. etc. I prefer to keep it for the early game removal or as a way to trade up. Mid game you can weave it in when you have spare mana to kill something or just get two 1/1’s if they might be useful next turn.

1x Raven Idol – Another turn 1 play. If you didn’t get ramp in your starting hand, Raven Idol might get you some (the chances of getting Wild Growth or Innervate are decent). Then, you pick depending on the matchup. Usually it’s a spell – Swipe is good against Aggro, Feral Rage/Healing Touch are good when you’re dying, Mulch, Nourish or Starfire are good in Control matchups etc. If you’re out of big minions in your hand you can go for the minion option, but that’s generally worse – you really want to get the big guys out of your Raven Idol, but as it turns out there are a lot more small minions in the game, so you’ll often end up with something like 2-drop, 2-drop and 3-drop choice. More about Raven Idol in Tips section.

2x Wild Growth – Bread and butter of the deck, your main way to ramp up. You mulligan heavily for Wild Growth, because it’s best when played in the early game – in the mid game it gets nearly useless and in the late game it’s just a 2 mana cycle (which isn’t terrible, but that’s not really what you want).

2x Wrath – Most of the time it’s an early game removal and late game cycle. You might sometimes Wrath a 2/1 or 1/1 minion instead of Hero Powering it down in the early game if your hand is bad and you need to cycle. Then, in the late game it might serve as a tempo boost – if enemy drops a 3 health minion like Justicar Trueheart or Ethereal Conjurer, Wrathing it down is a nice tempo boost (it can be 4 health minion with Azure Drake on the board).

1x Feral Rage – I really like playing one copy of that card, because of the flexibility. If you didn’t ramp up well, it might serve as a turn 3 removal – there are quite a lot of 4 health 3-drops you can kill, like Imp Gang Boss, Brann Bronzebeard or Frothing Berserker (that one usually requires instant removal or it can get out of control). Then, for 5 mana you can combo it with Hero Power to deal 5 damage (there are a lot of minions in that range). And then, you can heal up for 8 if you need to – it’s great once you’ve stabilized against Aggro/combo decks, but you can still get killed. 4 damage is also another way to burn your enemy from the hand – alongside Swipe and Druid of the Claw. It gave me lethal many times.

1x Mulch – I’ll be honest, this card is bad. It’s only really usable on big drops like Ragnaros the Firelord or Ysera. Then it is very unlikely that enemy gets something as good and it’s kinda a high tempo removal. You can’t really use it on small minions (I mean you can, but it’s terrible), because you pay 3 mana to remove something small AND enemy gets something back, which might screw you over. It kinda tries to combine the “value” of removals like Hex with “tempo” of removals like Sap, but in the end it’s worse in both categories. So why do we play that card at all? Because there are no other options. Druid really struggles with big minions. One Ragnaros can completely win the game for the opponent if you have no immediate way to kill it. So we play a bad card, just like Warlocks are forced to play Siphon Soul even though it sucks (because they have no other options). Besides removal, it might be used as a tempo move – if you’re close to lethal and enemy plays a Taunt or just a minion that can interfere with your board, you just Mulch it and go face. Hopefully enemy won’t get a Deathwing or something like that.

2x Earthen Ring Farseer – This pick might be weird for some. At first, I was playing 2x Mind Control Tech, but damn, they were really underwhelming. When I was winning the game, they did nothing, because enemy never had more than 3 minions on the board. In a lot of slow matchups like Druid mirror, Control Warrior, Priest, Rogue etc. – enemy also never had more than 3 minions on the board. And if he had, the chances were that MCT didn’t change a lot. I found it only really useful against Zoo (because they flooded the board so fast that sometimes they already had 4 minions by turn 3) and Shaman. But Zoo is already a good matchup for the deck and against Shaman not only you were often stealing the Totems (nearly useless), but Shaman doesn’t have too many great targets to steal – the deck mostly plays a lot of quite small minions, so stealing one of them wasn’t even a game-winning swing. Instead of trying to patch up the deck’s weaknesses (falling behind = losing the game) through RNG rolls, I’ve decided to play into deck’s strengths. Farseer can also be dropped as a 3/3 for 3, but this one gets extra value when you’re ahead. This deck is extremely board-centric – you want to keep your minions alive. And healing them is a great way to keep them alive. You have a 5/5 Ancient of War and enemy drops a 5/5 minion into it? You heal it up, trade and still end up with a 5/3 on the board. Since most of your minions have a lot of health, it’s very easy to find a good Farseer target. And then, if enemy is rushing you down it’s always 3 extra health. It might not seem like much, but it saved my skin a few times already against for example Aggro Shaman, when I was already Taunted up, but at very low health and enemy would just burn me.

2x Swipe – Mostly there for the fast matchups like Zoo Warlock. It can get insane value against decks that flood the board with small minions. Pretty bad in slower matchups, mostly used as a single target removal against mid game minions or way to burn down the enemy. Great synergy with Spell Damage.

1x Fandral Staghelm – This deck runs 13 “Choose one” cards in total. It would be really silly to not include Fandral, since it’s a very strong card in such a deck. Once Fandral is on the board, you REALLY want to protect him as best as you can, because it’s one of the only 4-drops in the game that might snowball so hard. Half of your deck becomes supercharged when he’s on the board. For those who aren’t familiar with how the card works – here is a quick list of possible synergies in that deck: Living Roots – 1 mana 2 damage + 2x 1/1. Wrath – 2 mana 4 damage + card draw. Feral Rage – 3 mana 8 Armor + 4 Attack. Mire Keeper  – 4 mana 3/3 + 2/2 + Wild Growth. Nourish – 5 mana draw 3 cards + gain 2 mana (so basically 3 mana for 3 cards if you have enough mana to cast it). Druid of the Claw – 5 mana 4/6 Taunt + Charge. Ancient of War – 7 mana 10/10 Taunt. Cenarius – Spawn two 4/4 Taunts AND give +2/+2 to the rest of your board. It’s very rare that you don’t have any Choose One cards in your hand after you drop him. Turn 4 Fandral won me a lot of games if enemy couldn’t kill it. Just following him by Nourish + Wrath next turn means that you’ve just ramped to 8 mana, drew 4 cards and dealt 4 damage IN ONE TURN. And in the worst case scenario it’s a 3/5 for 4 with quasi-Taunt – enemy just has to kill if if he can.

2x Mire Keeper – At first I wasn’t sure about that card. I mean, I knew that Innervating it out on turn 2 would be strong (because that’s basically like playing Wild Growth and turning your Innervate into a 0 mana 3/3 minion – amazing tempo). But then, playing it on turn 4 for the Ramp is pretty weak. It’s very slow, you just drop a 3/3 for 4 mana and that’s all. And that’s true – you often can’t do that in the fast matchups. But what’s good about this card is that you always have option to summon a 2/2 instead. 3/3 + 2/2 for 4 is suddenly a much better play in fast matchups, because with 2 bodies to trade, it can easily get 2 for 1. And in the slow matchups, you should be able to afford the tempo loss in order to ramp up + the additional 2/2 isn’t that impactful anyway. While there are stronger 4-drops, more consistent ramp and the flexibility is why the card is in our deck.

1x Nourish – Ramp tool if you can get it out early. You rarely want to waste whole turn 5 just ramping with Nourish (unless your hand is really high cost), but Innervating it out on t2/3 or even playing T2 WG into T3 Coin + Nourish if you go second might be okay depending on the matchup. I really like to Innervate Nourish, as it puts you quite ahead of the opponent. But if you already ramp up another way (e.g. t2 WG into t3 Mire Keeper) and you don’t really need it, you keep it for a card draw. It’s good card to get in the late game when you’re running out of cards – drawing 3 should give you some options – not to mention that you should be able to play the 5-drop right away or even the 7-drop with Innervate (you usually have some leftovers if you didn’t draw them in the early game). I think running two might be a little too much, although I have seen some people doing it.

1x Azure Drake – I used to run 2 copies, but I’ve switched one out to put Harrison Jones in (after facing too many Rogues & Warriors). Azure Drake is your mid game draw engine. Such a slow deck doesn’t require a lot of card draw, because you often play one minion per turn anyway, but there are quite of low impactful and/or dead cards you can draw in the late game, so having extra juice is never a bad thing! Spell Damage is also very strong in this deck, with 5 spells that can really take advantage of it (+potentially one more from Raven Idol). The 4/4 body is pretty small in the context of this deck, but it’s still something on the board.

2x Druid of the Claw – One of the most staple Druid cards in the game. 4/6 Taunt for 5 OR 4/4 Charge for 5 – that flexibility is the main reason why the card is so good. The usual mode is the Taunt one, because of the 2 extra health. But Charge comes very handy a lot of times. Against Shaman you can immediately remove Flametongue Totem so he won’t snowball the board. You can Charge it and hit the opponent’s Doomsayer when you haven’t got enough damage on the board (a lot better than Swiping it, because you also get the body on the board). You can also Charge if you just want to put pressure on the enemy. I often Charge it in the late game, especially if I have another Taunt on the board. It’s 4 extra damage at the expense of 2 health on your minion – it’s a good trade-off, especially if you’re in the lead.

1x Harrison Jones – Tech card against weapon classes. I was playing against Warrior & Rogue pretty often and it’s amazing in those matchups. Against Warrior, even getting rid of the Fiery War Axe against Midrange/Tempo Warrior is okay, but the biggest value is destroying Gorehowl against Control. Control Warrior is generally a good matchup, but a well-timed Gorehowl can get A LOT of value and swing the odds in Warrior’s favor. Get rid of it. Against Rogue, it always finds the value. You don’t have to wait for the weapon buffs – Rogue equipped a fresh 1/2 Dagger? Just play Harrison, remove 2 mana tempo from your opponent, put a 5/4 body on the board and draw 2 cards – it’s way more than enough. It’s also a game changer against Shamans – Doomhammer can really hurt you if you have no Taunts (or opponent has a way to get through the Taunts), so destroying it + drawing tons of cards usually wins you the game (because now you can be sure that you will have Taunts & most likely some ways to regain the health too). I feel that Harrison is a great tech in the current meta, but if you find yourself playing against non-weapon classes all the time, you can switch it back for the 2nd Drake.

1x Dark Arakkoa – Even though we don’t run C’Thun, it’s still a 5/7 Taunt. And that’s the point of playing this card – it’s a curve filler (since the only other 6-drop is Emperor Thaurissan, it’s good to have something else too). Not much to say about it, just a big body with the Taunt, it can be really strong if played early.

1x Emperor Thaurissan – Ramp Druid’s hands tend to be quite costly. Emperor Thaurissan, while not really a ramp tool, because of how late it comes, can make your life much easier. It boosts your tempo a lot, because instead of dropping only 1 big minion per turn you can sometimes drop 2 or even 3 with Innervate. For example – maybe you’d like to play Ancient of War and Druid of the Claw on the same turn. Emperor allows you to do that, and much more. Discounting your spell + Azure Drake is another good move, because then you can tempo out with Spell Damage followed by a bunch of spells next turn. Also, if your opening hand is 2x Innervate + Emperor, you might go for it and snowball the game from there. It happened to me a few times and unless enemy can answer it right away (which is very uncommon), you should get at least two procs – getting 2-3 mana discount on your big guys means that you don’t even need the ramp and you’ll be able to play them very soon anyway.

2x Ancient of War – A huge wall. 5/10 minion with Taunt is very strong for how hard it is to kill through normal ways (=without hard removal). And it’s not like enemy can just ignore it – he has to get through it. It’s amazing against Aggro, because they usually have to kill it with their minions. And all the minions will most likely die in the process. But it’s also strong against slower decks, because if they have no hard removal, it will still most likely get 2 or even 3 for 1. It’s also very good if you have some smaller minions on the board already and you don’t really want them to die – you just drop War and go face. The Uproot mode (+5 Attack, Core Hound mode) is… questionable. The only time I did it in a non-BM manner recently was to set up lethal against Control Priest who had no cards in the hand – I’ve assumed that anything that will kill it at 5 health will also kill it at 10 health (Entomb, Death) so I’ve decided to set-up lethal. If The Black Knight becomes a common tech, I can see playing it as a 10/5 SLIGHTLY more often.

1x Ragnaros the Firelord – Quasi-removal. First of all, getting it out early often seals the game. If enemy can’t kill it – it’s insane. You don’t care if it goes face, if it kills some minion every turn, whatever – it just gets you some value every turn it sticks to the board. Then, in the late game it can be played as a quasi-removal. Enemy plays a big threat you can’t deal with – you play Rag and pray to hit 50/50. It’s pretty sad play, but sometimes you have to do that. Winning that 50/50 often straight up wins the game, because not only you’ve cleared the board, but enemy also needs to deal with your Rag now. Sometimes you also want to drop it on the empty board – while it might not get any real value (as in killing a big minion), 8 face damage is also pretty good.

1x Cenarius – I would probably drop it, but it has insane synergy with Fandral Staghelm and I just couldn’t do it. You usually summon two 2/2 Taunts, meaning the card is a total of 9/12 stats for 9 mana, spread among 3 bodies. Not that bad. The 2 Taunts are pretty useful to buy you some time, but they usually aren’t very meaningful in the late game. Then, you can play him in the buff mode – it’s often better if you have 2+ minions on the board, even better if you can play Living Roots beforehand and/or have some immediate good trade on the board (e.g. buffing your own 4/6 to trade with opponent’s 4/6). Then again, it’s one of the most insane plays with Fandral Staghelm. Because it FIRST summons two 2/2 Taunts, and then buffs your whole board. Meaning you always end up with two 4/4 Taunts and a buff on Fandral. Even if that’s your only minion on the board, it’s already worth it.

1x Soggoth the Slitherer – Well… A big body. Why would you play it when you already play the 2x Ancient of War? Yes, Ancient of War costs 2 mana less and has 1 more health. But the fact that Soggoth can’t be targetted by spells is pretty important. I mean, sometimes it’s just a 5/9 for 9, which is really weak. But other times it saves your ass. Ancient of War is a huge tempo loss if it gets removed with something like Execute or Hex. Enemy can snowball the game from there. So sometimes, just to be safe, you prefer to drop Soggoth and BE SURE that enemy has to use minions, weapons or AoE spells (and the last one is very inefficient) to get rid of it. It’s not really good against decks like Zoo Warlock, where they use their minions to trade anyway, but it might be insane against Warrior. Control Warrior with a very reactive hand might have no way to kill it and you just get 5 face damage very turn.

1x Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End – Okay, guys. I hate this card. And I mean it – I hate heavy RNG cards. But after losing like 5 times to a perfect Yogg-Saron from my opponent, I have decided to play it too. Obviously I got terrible RNG the first few times I’ve dropped it, just like I’ve predicted, but the card fits the deck anyway and I had some nice Yogg moments too. It’s like the “oh shit” button. You’re losing the game, enemy has the board control, you have no way out – you play Yogg-Saron. Yes, it might screw you, but at that point you don’t even care. Yet it has quite a high chance to save you. I’ve played against enemies that were losing next turn with really no way to come back, played Yogg and got Lay on Hands on their face + Call of the Wild + Flamestrike + Avenging Wrath + Blessing of Kings on their 4/4 Taunt + drew some more cards + got some more small/pointless spells. And at this point, the game I was winning next turn became nearly unwinnable for me. In the overview I’ve said that Druid has no comeback mechanics. This is your comeback mechanic, although it’s very unreliable. Oh, and the spells. The deck runs 13 spells + possibly 1 more if you discover a spell with Raven Idol + possibly 2 more if you cycle Wild Growths at 10 mana. Meaning you have up to 16 spells.  Realistically, by the time you play Yogg you will play between 5 and 10 spells, which is enough to shake the things up. At first I’ve played Ysera, but I found out that another slow value card won’t win you as many games as the YOLO Yogg when you’re out of other options.

Alternate/Tech Cards

To be honest, there are A LOT of cards that I can see fitting this deck. Ramp Druid is a pretty flexible archetype, especially when it comes to big threats. There are quite a lot of ones that might fit into the deck just fine. I have tested only some of those cards, but I have seen others being played in successful, high Legend decks, so I’ve decided to write about them too. I’ll try to describe each one shortly.

  • Forbidden Ancient – A flex card, very strong thing about Forbidden Ancient is that it’s okay no matter when you draw it – you can play it on turn 3 as a 3/3, on turn 5 as a 5/5 and in the late game as 10/10 if you have nothing else to do. But that’s also the weak thing – it’s always okay, but never great. If you play it – you trade the power for flexibility. It’s rarely a dead draw, but it’s also rarely a welcome sight. 
  • Doomsayer – I mean… People try to play Doomsayers in everything now. And it kinda works. It was normal in Freeze Mage, but now you see it in RenoLock, Control Paladin, even Midrange Hunter. Doomsayer in Ramp Druid makes sense in a way that if you miss your early game ramp, your turn 2 Wild Growth, you’re often screwed against fast decks. Doomsayer helps with curving out and dealing with their early game threats. Doomsayer is amazing against Aggro, because (assuming they can’t kill it) not only you kill their minion, but you also prevent them from developing stronger board. I can see playing t2 Doomsayer even if you have Wild Growth in your hand. You can play it on t3 and then curve out into your 5-drops, for example. The bad thing about Doomsayer is that besides early game, it’s a pretty dead draw – just like in Midrange Hunter. You want to play big minions in the board, you want to build board advantage. When you have the minions on board, Doomsayer is a pretty bad play, because enemy can just pass his turn instead of dealing with your board. You can still buy some tempo in the late game if you play it after e.g. clearing opponent’s board, but those situations are more rare.
  • Keeper of the Grove/Spellbreaker – Keeper would be an obvious choice in such a deck, if only it wasn’t nerfed. With tons and tons of Deathrattles gone and Silence cards getting nerfed, people have stopped playing them. But then, in response to that, they have also started playing cards that require Silence. Sylvanas Windrunner or Cairne Bloodhoof are VERY common, nearly every deck runs some targets that are okay/good to be Silenced. Silence is also amazing against any N’Zoth, the Corruptor deck. So playing one in the current meta would be a good tech. But, which one? Spellbreaker has better body, while Keeper of the Grove is more flexible and has extra synergy with Fandral Staghelm. I think both are okay choices. 
  • Mind Control Tech – I’ve played those little guys instead of Earthen Ring Farseer. I still think that Farseer is better, but in case you face a lot of Zoo & Shaman, MCT might be more useful. The thing I don’t like about MCT is that if you have the empty board and enemy has 4 minions on the board, you usually lose the game. Unless those are all small minions, but then again – stealing a 1/1 or something like that won’t really swing the game. Against 4 mid game/big minions – you steal one and nothing really happens. Enemy still is in the lead. Sometimes MCT might win you the game, like against Shaman who has three totems and a 7/7 on the board – 1/4 of times you just win the game. But those situations aren’t that common and I found it to be very inconsistent (like any heavy RNG card, well).
  • Faceless Manipulator – So, if you play Faceless on a 5 mana minion – you break even. If you play it on a higher cost minion – it starts to be good. This deck runs like 7-8 good Faceless targets, so it might be already worth to play it. For example, Ancient of War + Innervate + Faceless is a very cool turn 10 play. Then, Facelessing the Ragnaros if enemy has no way to kill it and decided to ignore it is also amazing. It’s also flexible in a way that you can copy opponent’s big minions. Faceless + Mulch is a really good way to deal with their big threats, because not only you get a nice tempo move (e.g. Ysera for 4 mana less), but you also deal with the threat. Sometimes you can also sneak the lethal by facelessing Charge minions. It was with another deck (Reno ComboLock), but I did win two games by Facelessing enraged Grommash Hellscream and buffed Leeroy Jenkins (from Miracle Rogue) respectively. 
  • Stampeding Kodo – Like I’ve said, Doomsayer is a very common tech right now. And Kodo is the perfect answer for Doomsayers. Besides them, there are A LOT of great targets you can hit. Bloodhoof Brave, Frothing Berserker, Brann Bronzebeard, Imp Gang Boss, Flame Juggler – those are only a few of the common minions that are in the range of Kodo. Kodo can get you value in nearly every matchup. It’s also great at dealing with Acolyte of Pain – since you don’t damage it, enemy won’t draw a card!
  • Cairne Bloodhoof – Slow mid game threat. It’s great in slow matchups, because it can usually get at least 2 for 1, it’s sticky and hard to remove + it survives the AoE clears. On the other hand, it’s bad in fast matchups, because it has no Taunt and it’s too slow. To get real value out of your Cairne in fast matchup it needs to stick for like 2-3 turns, and that might already be too late. Playing anything big that has no instant effect is very risky in fast matchups. 
  • Sylvanas Windrunner – I was running Sylvanas, but then I’ve decided to tech in Emperor instead. I’ve found out that curving out into the late game more consistently is worth more than a strong Deathrattle. The problem with Sylvanas in Druid is that she’s only great when you’re kinda behind. If you’re ahead or you even drop her on the empty board, enemy can usually remove her BEFORE playing something. Or just plays a minion that trades 1 for 1 with Sylvanas and you don’t steal anything. But then again, you don’t want to be behind, so Sylvanas will very often be just a 5/5 for 6. I still think the card is pretty good in Ramp Druid, though.
  • North Sea Kraken – A card I caught on the Dog’s stream. He plays it in his version of Ramp Druid. And I kinda like it – it’s a big bro of Fire Elemental. The problem with Druid is that he lacks removals. Yes, Swipe does better job (most of the time) than Kraken, but when you Swipe you sometimes can’t follow it up with a big body. I had a lot of late game turns when I just had to remove something from the board, but then I had no minion to play with leftover mana (e.g. I had Swipe + Ancient of War in my hand). Kraken removes something and puts a big body at the same time. It’s pretty nice tempo play and that’s what Ramp Druid often struggles with in the late game – it’s very slow. 
  • Ysera – A big value card. I’ve played it before Yogg. Ysera is much better if you play in slow, value-oriented matchups like Control Warrior or Paladin. If you can afford to drop her and she sticks to the board – that’s great. Even if you have time to play it and enemy instantly removes it, you still got +1 card (possibly Awakens, which is amazing). But then again, it’s nearly useless against fast decks. You just don’t have time to drop her. You want your late game cards to have Taunt or instant effect if you want to play them in Aggro matchups. And I’ve found out that I’m playing against too many fast decks and too little Control to play her.
  • Deathwing – Oh, a sub for Yogg. If you aren’t feeling lucky that the random spells are going to save you, you can play Deathwing instead. I actually lost twice to a Druid playing a Deathwing when I didn’t expect it. I had board control and a lead, but no removals in my hand (I’ve assumed that I will be able to remove anything he plays with my minions). And then bam, Deathwing. It’s kinda the ultimate comeback mechanic. You clear the board, you get a big body on the board – but you dump your whole hand. So if enemy can remove the 12/12 and you won’t get perfect topdecks, you probably still lost. But that’s fine – you would lose that game anyway, so why not take your chances. I find Yogg better for that role, because Yogg can also be played as a way to refill your hand when you run out of steam – it almost always draws you some cards, so that’s pretty cool. But then again, I think that both can fulfill the (potential) comeback role quite well. 
  • Y’Shaarj, Rage Unbound – Amazing in some matchup, sucks in others. If you can get it out pretty early and enemy has no immediate answer, you most likely win the game. Enemy just can’t defend himself against so much tempo. But then again – in Aggro it might be auto-win or auto-lose. If you still have a lot of health to work with and you play it, you most likely win the game. But then, if you are pretty low you need to play taunts – relying on Y’Shaarj to draw out the Dark Arakkoa or Soggoth The Slitherer is kinda too RNG (because they’re the only natural Taunts – others are “Choose One”, so won’t have Taunt when they hit the board). In slow matchups – it really depends on whether enemy can immediately kill it. If he can – it might be still okay. But it’s pretty weak against Control Warrior and Control Paladin, because it naturally makes you play into the board clears + pulling threats out of your deck might be weak in the late game when fatigue is also a big deal (that’s pretty rare, though). One thing I don’t like is that you’re losing the “Choose one” value. For example, Ancient of War is just 5/5, so that’s pretty weak if you play in the slow matchup where every threat in your deck matters. Overall, I had very mixed results with the card so I’ve decided to remove it, but I still see some people playing it, so it can’t be that bad.

Mulligan

The basic principle is that you want to curve out the best you can when playing Druid. But since like half of the deck is 5+ mana, it’s impossible without ramp. That’s the reason why ramp cards are crucial and you want to mulligan for them as your first priority.

Innervate, Raven Idol, Wild Growth and Wrath are always keeps. Innervate is your main tempo tool. It can fix your curve, e.g. if you have 5-drop and 6-drop in your hand, instead of passing turn 4 you can Innervate out the 6-drop and then follow-up with 5-drop. Raven Idol is a turn 1 play that might actually give you a way to ramp up. On turn 1 you always pick spell – if you don’t get ramp try to get one that fits the matchup most, e.g. Swipe or Starfall against Warlock (assuming it’s Zoo), Starfire in slower matchups etc. If you don’t know what are you facing, pick the most flexible one, like Wrath, Feral Rage or even another Raven Idol. Wild Growth is always a keep, because it’s usually the best turn 2 play you can make. Then Wrath is a keep, because it’s a tool to deal with opponent’s early game if you don’t ramp up or you can cycle it on turn 2 instead of Hero Powering something down if your hand quality is really poor.

But then, we also have a lot of cards that are situational keeps – depending on the matchup or the rest of your hand:

Living Roots is a keep in fast matchups – like Shaman, Zoo Warlock, Hunter, Aggro decks in general. But it’s weak on turn 1 against a lot of slower decks like Control Warrior/Priest/Paladin. Since you don’t really need two 1/1’s on the board in slower matchups, neither you need a very quick 2 damage removal, you prefer to throw it away and hope that you’ll draw your ramp.

Feral Rage is a keep in matchups that require you to answer some early threat that Wrath can’t. For example – it’s good against Zoo, where you can kill Imp Gang Boss. It’s also great against the Midrange/Tempo Warrior because it one-shots Fierce Monkey and Frothing Berserker.

Earthen Ring Farseer is a keep in fast matchups, similarly to Living Roots. But you might also keep it in slower ones in case you don’t get your ramp. If you ramp up – you don’t need early game Farseer and it will be more useful later in the game where you can heal up your high health minions (dropping it as a vanilla 3/3 on 3 isn’t that good).

Mire Keeper is always a keep if you have Innervate or Wild Growth in your opening hand too. With Innervate, you have a great turn 2 move – you both ramp up and leave something on the board. With Wild Growth you have turn 3 play – in slow matchups you most likely ramp up again, in fast matchups you might even summon the 2/2 Slime if you have turn 5 follow-up.

Fandral Staghelm is a keep with Ramp. So for example, if you keep it if you have Innervate and Wrath, so you can Innervate him out on turn 1/2, but only if you can follow-up with Wrath/Living Roots/Feral Rage on whatever enemy plays. You can also keep him with Wild Growth and then follow-up with a 5-drop, Nourish or even Mire Keeper (it’s good even on turn 5 if you can get both effects) – it’s very likely that you’ll get one of those.

Nourish is a keep in slower matchups with Innervate (so you can play it on turn 2/3 and ramp up). In faster matchup I would only recommend keeping it if you also had Wrath or Living Roots or something like that in your opening hand, so besides ramping you could immediately answer their first threats. If you’re feeling lucky, you can go all in and keep 2x Innervate + Nourish. If you play it on turn 1, you’ll immediately jump to 4 mana on turn 2. It might be okay in fast matchups, where you really want to start dropping threats as soon as you can. But in slow matchup it’s kinda a waste of resources. The risk is that instead of drawing something meaningful you can play after ramping you might draw your biggest drops or let’s say Wild Growth/Living Roots/other weak plays. So I usually wouldn’t recommend it.

Azure Drake / Druid of the Claw – Those might be keeps if you already have your Ramp. For example, Wild Growth, Fandral/Mire Keeper and then 5-drop is one of the most perfect hands. They might also be keeps with Innervate, so you can get them out on turn 3 to contest the board + possibly draw some turn 4 play with Azure Drake.

Harrison Jones is a keep in weapon matchups. I always keep it against Warrior, Rogue & Paladin, since it’s a really big swing and you want to have it when enemy plays his weapon. Then, against Shaman it’s kinda a hard choice. It really depends on the rest of your hand. If you also have a ramp or other plays, I would keep it – but otherwise mulligan for the early game curve. Destroying Doomhammer is one of the biggest swings, but it won’t help you if you’re nearly dying from minions pressure already – and you will without ramp.

Emperor Thaurissan is sometimes a keep. I would keep Thaurissan if I had both Wild Growth & Innervate in my opening hand. It means you can play Thaurissan on turn 3 – it’s a really big move, because it discounts the rest of your hand and makes your big threats accessible much quicker. A lot of times it will proc twice, which is even better. A kinda YOLO play is keeping Thaurissan with 2x Innervate. I usually do that, but that’s also a very risky play. It can really win you the game right away, but then if enemy can kill it right away or you get a few blank draws puts you in a really bad spot (because reducing the cost of Wild Growth or Wrath or Living Roots etc. is okay, but you really want to hit your big minions with the discount).  The truth is that enemy is VERY unlikely to have an answer to turn 2 (or even 1 with Coin) Thaurissan and you get at least 2 procs 90%+ of time, so it’s mostly worth it, but if you’re unlucky that play might lose you a game. Good thing is that if you for example draw Wild Growth or Mire Keeper by turn 2, you aren’t forced to play Thaurissan and you can change your play.

Strategy Tips

Instead of writing a long strategy section like the last time, I’ll stick to the tips only this time. The reason is that there isn’t really much to write in the general strategy, because it’s very straightforward. Those small things, uncommon situations and specific strategies are more important, so I’ll focus on them.

  • I’d say that Ramp Druid is one of the easiest decks to play. I mean, you still have to play around certain cards, you still have to decide whether pushing face damage or trading is better, you still need to know when you need to save certain cards like removal etc. But most of the “which card should I play” kind of decision making is driven by the curve. Curve is most important – you want to play your ramp and then play threat after threat each turn (or Taunt after Taunt vs Aggro). So for example, if you have a hand of Innervate, Mire Keeper, Fandral Staghelm and Druid of the Claw – it just plays itself. Pretty much no matter what enemy drops, what he does, you Innervate out the Mire Keeper on t2, then play Fandral on t4 and Druid of the Claw on t5. You really have no hard choices. There are some games where you can really auto-pilot and just follow the curve to the win.
  • Do you coin out the Wild Growth? I’ve seen a lot of people doing it and the answer is – rarely. Usually it’s wrong. As a base line, don’t coin out the WG on turn 1 if you have no good follow-up. Playing Coin + WG and then passing t3 is really dumb move. All it really does is trading your Coin (which is important to fix the curve) for one additional Hero Power on turn 2 (it’s even worse if that Hero Power goes face because you have nothing to kill with it). Coining out WG is good only if you can follow it up with a few things: second Wild Growth (this way you curve out nicely into 5 mana), Innervate + Nourish (ultimate ramp move, puts you at 6 mana crystals on turn 3), maybe Innervate + 5-drop, but only in fast matchups (you can afford to just wait one more turn in slow matchup and save Innervate this way). Also, if you have a smooth curve (like t1 Coin + WG, t2 Farseer/Feral Rage, T3 Mire Keeper/Fandral) you can do that, but only in fast matchups, where you really need the early game tempo – like in Zoo or Aggro Shaman.
  • Another dilemma is – which 5-drop you want to play first? Harrison Jones is obviously easy choice – enemy has weapon, you play it, enemy doesn’t have weapon or you want to keep it for a specific one, you don’t play it. But then – Druid of the Claw vs Azure Drake is a harder choice. There are few pros and cons of both moves. First of all – do you play in a fast or slow matchup? In slow matchups, you want to play your slow cards first if you can afford to. Azure Drake is the slower card of the two, because Druid of the Claw has Taunt (which adds some speed to the card) and it can be played as the Charge. It also cycles through your deck and possibly gives you more option next turn. So generally, Azure Drake is better to be played first in slow matchup (assuming enemy has nothing on the board). Then – board state. How does each minion trade with opponent’s board and cards he might possibly have? For example, if enemy Zoo Warlock has Flame Imp on the board, you prefer to play Druid of the Claw over Azure Drake. Even though both of those would kill Flame Imp for free, Warlock can kill your Azure Drake with Dire Wolf Alpha or Abusive Sergeant or Defender of Argus or Power Overwhelming. When it comes to Druid of the Claw, only Power Overwhelming kills it (or a combination of two, like Dire Wolf + Abusive). It means that it’s more likely to survive, and having stuff that sticks onto the board is better against Zoo. But then again – if you play against Priest that only has Northshire Cleric on the board, you can as well play the Azure Drake, because there shouldn’t be any punish for choosing Drake over Druid of the Claw. Another thing is your hand quality. Do you need to cycle? If you don’t have a clear follow-up for the next turn, Azure Drake gains extra points, because it might give you a card you can play next. The next thing is how important is spell damage. If you feel that you will need spell damage next turn to deal with whatever they play, Azure Drake might be a good move. For example – Innervating out the Azure Drake against Shaman is pretty strong if you have Wrath and/or Living Roots in your hand – the first one can kill Totem Golem clearly and the second one can deal with Tunnel Trogg, Feral Spirit and Flame Juggler. So overall, there is no clear answer for that question – it really depends on the situation and the deck you play against.
  • Raven Idol is a great curve filler or a way to fish for certain removal when you really need it. First of all – you want to play it whenever you would float mana instead. Because you might not have time to play it otherwise – sometimes you have really clear curve every turn. You want to pick the spell probably 95% of times. No matter whether you’re looking for the ramp, for a way to remove something or a way to survive – spells are better. You pick minion only if you have no other good plays in your hand. You can still pick spell and hope that you will get a Wild Growth you can cycle, or the Nourish, but minion is also fine. You most likely just pick the biggest/strongest one and play it. That might be the play in slow matchups like Control Warrior – every big minion is valuable, because enemy will remove A LOT of threats from your deck. Having him waste a removal on something like Boulderfist Ogre you got from Raven Idol is quite nice extra value.
  • Fandral Staghelm is one of those cards that can just win you the game. Half of your deck becomes pumped up and it’s really good feeling to play insanely op cards all the time. But then again, if you don’t get any value out of it – it’s just 3/5 for 4, so not really spectacular. There are two lines you can go with your Fandral. First one is guaranteed value – you don’t play Fandral until you can immediately combo him with something. E.g. Fandral + Wrath on turn 6 or Fandral + Nourish on turn 9 (possibly into Raven Idol/Living Roots/Wrath, since you get 2 extra mana). Then again, you can go for a more risky move and just drop him on the board. If enemy can’t kill it – it’s great, you start getting value right away. But if he can – it’s also not terrible. It’s a very high priority target, so opponents will often be forced to play off curve or waste their precious removals to deal with it. And I mean – it’s a good play from their side, because you might get too much value otherwise, but then again it’s also not that bad for you. After all, them using removals on your 4-drop means that your big drops will be more safe.
  • Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End, besides being a comeback mechanic, is also great thing to drop on the empty board when you’re running out of steam. I mean, there is a high chance that he will just kill himself, but it is also very likely that you will draw few cards and spawn some stuff on the board – cards like Force of Nature, Call of the Wild, Ball of Spiders, Stand Against Darkness are great from Yogg, even better if followed by something like Infest, Soul of the Forest or buffs. Dropping Yogg-Saron on the empty board, while has some chance to backfire, it will more likely be good. Not to mention that the biggest backfire is usually getting no value and wasting the card – which is big, but if you had no other play not playing it would most likely lead to a dead turn.
  • Try to drop Ragnaros the Firelord as soon as you can if you know enemy has no way to efficiently remove it – for example in Aggro matchups. This way he’ll get a lot of value over the next few turns. Even hitting a small minion every turn saves you a lot of health and other resources. In that case it’s much better than a plain 8/8, because it kills stuff without getting damaged back. Normal 8/8 would probably be like 8/3 after two turns and enemy would be able to easily remove it. If enemy wants to kill Rag, he needs to commit full 8 damage.
  • I’ve mentioned it already, but Earthen Ring Farseer should be used to heal your minions. This way you get extra value out of them. Farseer is insane with Soggoth the Slitherer – enemy already has a hard time killing it and if you can heal it back up it’s even better. One of my Soggoths got like 4 for 1 value thanks to the heals from Farseers. In Aggro matchups, healing Taunts is correct, but if you’re low and enemy might have spell burn (=Taunts don’t matter) you should heal your Hero instead. Back in the day you could even sometimes heal up the enemy to play around Molten Giants but that’s not really the case anymore.
  • Mulch should be kept for the biggest threats that you won’t be able to deal with and the ones that you can’t ignore. Ragnaros the Firelord is a good example – it’s very hard to kill it, you often have to go for something like 2 trades + a spell and you can’t just ignore it. Then again, Mulch can also be used as a tempo move. If you’re putting a lot of pressure on the enemy and he plays something, you can Mulch it to protect your board and just push for face damage, even if you could kill it with e.g. Swipe (but you want to save that to burn the enemy). There is a slight chance that enemy will get something that can deal with your board, but RANDOM minion should be – on average – pretty weak. It can also be used to pass through the Taunts if you’re close to lethal. Also, a pretty cool move is Mulching something when enemy has 9 cards in the hand (it’s pretty common against RenoLock or Freeze Mage) – new minion will be 10th card and the next draw will be burnt. Sometimes it might make a difference.

Closing

So that’s it guys. Thanks for reading! This one is extra long, but I still might have missed some things. So if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section and I’ll try to answer them the best I can.

You can also follow me on Twitter if you want to be up to date, I’ll post everything I write there. Thanks again and until next time 🙂