Hi guys! While laddering lately, I’ve seen that Ramp Druid has became really popular. It’s one of the most-played decks around. It comes in many flavors and is one of the most consistent decks around. It has been there since closed beta, and it seems like it won’t change any time soon.
I’d like to take a closer look at the deck, talk about its strenghts and weaknesses, mulligan, advices against each class and general tips. I’ll also show different decklists, including fresh “Midrange Ramp” made to suit current meta and my version of Budget Ramp for those who don’t have much dust. I’ll talk about them briefly and explain how they work. I hope you’ll have a good read. Enjoy!
What is Ramp Druid?
Let’s start with the name of the deck itself. Many Hearthstone players don’t realize, but most of the terms and deck names in Hearthstone aren’t new and are borrowed from other card games, usually MTG.
In MTG, there was a card named Rampant Growth. For 2 mana, you could search your library and throw additional land (which gives you a mana point) into play tapped (so you couldn’t use it the turn you’ve played RG). Sounds familiar? Yeah, it’s pretty much the same as wild-growth.
And that’s the foundation of the Ramp deck. You accelerate growth of your mana pool, so you can play cards you couldn’t play otherwise that early. In Hearthstone, there are three Druid cards that help you with accomplishing this task: Innervate, wild-growth and nourish. Each of them is unique in its own way. First two are included in every Ramp Druid deck, while the third depends on the playstyle.
In Hearthstone, the Ramp Druid deck was present around since I’ve started playing back in the closed beta. It looked a little different, but the idea was the same. Later, it was displaced by the Watcher Druid and (to some extent) Token Druid, but many players were still loyal to good ol’ Ramp. It rapidly gained popularity when Gaara won Dreamhack with his approach to the deck in April. Since then, couple of new version came out, and I’ll talk briefly about each of them later.
Pros & Cons
Playing Ragnaros on turn 4 can seem like a strong play, but it’s not always so. The deck, while insanely strong in some situations, has also weak sides. Here are some pros and cons of playing Ramp Druid.
- You can play big threats early, when opponent usually can’t deal with them.
- Your cards are flexible – Wrath, keeper-of-the-grove, druid-of-the-claw and ancient-of-lore all have 2 options, so you can choose the one which is best in the current situation. ancient-of-war is also flexible, but you’ll put it Taunt mode 99% of times anyway. Some decklist include starfall, which also gives you an option between dealing with a single medium minion or couple of small ones.
- You run almost no small minions, so when you’re topdecking lategame, you can be almost sure that it will be useful.
- Ramp Druid has great draw mechanics, ancient-of-lore is one of the best card draws in the game, because not only it draws 2 cards, but also leaves a 5/5 body behind.
- About half of your creatures have taunt, so if you survived until turn 6-7 against aggro deck, you can feel pretty safe.
- You have much more big threats than opponent has removals. Even Shaman, which can get rid of each minion in 5 different ways, will eventually run out of removals and then cards like ragnaros shine.
- If a big threat stays on the board for one turn, you can then use faceless-manipulator for some flashy plays.
- If you run force-of-nature + savage-roar combo, you can catch enemy off-guard with the amount of burst you can deal in one turn. If you have 2 minions on the board by the time you use the combo, you can easily deal over 20 damage. If you have combo in your hand and some minions on the board, always check whether you have lethal – you will be surpsied how much damage you can sometimes deal.
- If you don’t get ramp cards, you’re often screwed. Without wild-growth or innervate, your minions are too expensive and for the first few turns you’re forced to Hero Power.
- innervate is one of the worst lategame topdecks. Sometimes you can use it to play two minions you otherwise couldn’t (e.g. double sunwalker), but that’s it. The only really good use of it ancient-of-war + innervate + Faceless Manipulator for the double 5/10 taunt on turn 10, but that’s really situational.
- wild-growth is worst around turn 6-7. It’s usually a waste to use it, unless you really want to play something next turn and you’ll be one mana short, but you probably won’t have spare mana to do it anyway (turns 5-7 are really clogged in this deck). So until turn 10 it will be a dead card in your hand.
- The deck is really vulnerable to removals (and to some extent – silence). Innervating big stuff against some classes can be risky. Shaman can hex it, Rogue can sap it, Warrior can execute it, Priest can shadow-word-death it (if it’s 5+ attack) etc.
- the-black-knight is your worst enemy. It’s pretty popular in some decks, and it’s the one card that can spell your quick demise. Even if it’s thrown on your weakest taunt – druid-of-the-claw – it still destroys a 5 mana minion for free and leaves a 4/5 minion on the board for the enemy. It can swing a tempo in your opponent’s favor so much that you often don’t regain it and eventually lose.
- Your minions are expensive, so you generally can’t play more than one bigger or two smaller each turn. Even if you play something big and scary, if enemy can reactively deal with your threats and still play something you lose tempo and it’s hard for you to comeback.
- You lack AoE. swipe is great against Aggro decks, but really lacking against Control. Some people run starfall, but 5 mana for 2 damage AoE that does nothing else feels bad compared to kinds of consecration or holy-nova.
So, as you can see, the deck has both strengths and weaknesses. Playing the deck sometimes feels really rewarding, but other times frustrating. But that’s how building the deck around couple of cards works – you get them, you’re in a good spot, you don’t get them… well, you can always pray that enemy has as bad draws as yours.
If you’ve already played Ramp Druid for a while, you’ll probably know everything I’ll write below. Those tips are directed at players who started playing Ramp Druid recently, or haven’t played it yet. All those things come with experience, so you’ll probably see some obvious advices. Still, I think that this section will be useful to some people. Here they are:
- Coining out wild-growth generally isn’t good idea. The only time when it’s good is when you have really smooth curve – for example turn 3, 4 and 5 play. Even if you have harvest-golem in your hand it’s usually better to wait. Coin is pretty valuable in this deck, because it helps with your ramp.
- Don’t put all eggs in one basket. Double innervate into ancient-of-war or ragnaros is tempting, but most of times bad idea. If enemy can deal with it, you’re screwed, because you’ve lost the whole turn, you’ve lost so many cards AND you’ve lost the big threat. The only card I consider double Innervating is ancient-of-lore, because it draws you two cards anyway, and if somehow enemy won’t be able to deal with it, you have 5/5 body, which is also fine. But I only do that if my hand is pretty bad and I need to cycle those Innervates.
- Be patient. You often don’t get any ramp card and you really start playing the game on turn 4 or 5. But it doesn’t mean that you’ve lost. I’ve came back from many games that seemed to be lost since the first draws.
- Keep track of enemy removals. When you’re thinking about what to play each turn, think about what enemy has already burned, how many cards they’ve drawn, what are the chances that they have another removal in their hand, can they deal with the threat etc. Sometimes when the chances that your minion will be removed are high, it’s better to play smaller one, so enemy would have to waste their removals on it first.
- Remember that you can play druid-of-the-claw in charge mode. Many people forget about it and always play it as a taunt, unless they have lethal. Playing it as a taunt is good in certain situations, but in many others it’s really good as a charge. For example, if shaman plays unbound-elemental on turn 3, and you have 5 mana because you’ve ramped already, there is no point in playing him with a taunt. You should charge and kill the minion. Shaman will still have to kill your 4/2, and if you didn’t do that, he would probably play some overload card and put him out of 4 damage range.
- Even though you’re a control deck, against kinds of Miracle Rogue or Freeze Mage you need to play as an aggro deck. You throw as many threats as possible on the board and try to kill them as fast as you can. I know that it may seem strange, but even throwing a swipe into their face on turn 4 if you don’t have any other turn 4 play can sometimes be fine.
- Try to play on the curve. In this deck, your mana is really precious. Your cards cost much, so it’s really important to use all your mana every turn and don’t get it wasted. Plan your turns ahead. Obviously sometimes it won’t work and you’ll have to do some plays that will be off curve, but you can’t help that.
- Keep board control. You have minions that can trade in your favor, but you need to dictate those trades. You need to be in control of what happens on the board. This way most of your minions can at least 2 for 1. If you have an option between playing bigger minion or playing smaller one and killing their stuff – you usually should go for second option. This deck is really slow, so every bit of tempo really matters.
- Don’t throw cards if you don’t have reason to. For example, big-game-hunter. I’ve seen many Druids playing it against me on turn 3 just because they don’t have another play. Then I know that I can use ragnaros without worrynig about anything. In other words, that’s bad and you shouldn’t do so. Do it only if you’re SURE that enemy won’t have any target that you can kill it with. Same with keeper-of-the-grove. It can be temtping to deal 2 damage to their face if you don’t have any other turn 4 play, but it can often backfire. 2/4 on the board isn’t threatening anyway, and 2 damage to the face usually doesn’t matter. You’ll regret it when enemy plays a cairne-bloodhoof next turn and you won’t have silence.
- Card draw mechanic of ancient-of-lore is really strong, but don’t overvalue it. In many matchups, 5 health is much more important than 2 cards. Especially if you’re playing against aggro decks. Those matches don’t last long enough for your card advantage to really change anything. Unless you NEED to dig for a certain card, healing for 5 is usually the way you should go. The card draw is however really great in slower matchups, when you’re playing against another control deck. ancient-of-lore is, in my opinion, the strongest Druid card.
- If you run force-of-nature + savage-roar combo, playing some sticky minions like harvest-golem, cairne-bloodhoof or sunwalker turn before you intend to use it can be good idea. There is a good chance that opponent won’t be able to deal with them, and you’ll have additional minion for the combo, which can often mean lethal.
- When you’re late into game, count if you have lethal every turn. I’m ashamed to admit that, but I’ve missed lethal dozens of times, just to realize it the turn after – and it feels really bad. Remember that savage-roar can often do some serious damage even without the second part of the combo. With just 2 minions on the board, it’s 6 damage for 3 mana. And remember that you can use if even without any minions on the board. I’ve often killed enemy with savage-roar + Hero Power when he was at 3 HP.
- Remember that the goal of the game is to kill enemy, not to survive as long as you can. Sometimes, when you’re in bad spot, doing a risky play that gives you a chance to get back into game is the right thing. Even if the play revolves around topdecking something next turn or getting a lucky ragnaros snipe. Stalling the game for the next turn usually won’t matter. Ramp Druid has really hard way to get back into game after he completly lost board control. It’s better to put everything on one play that can win you the game than stall it for couple more turns and still lose.
Mulligan Table & Class Advices
For mulligan table versus 11 popular archtypes, click here.
While there are many decklists that run different cards, mulligan is pretty much the same in every of them. Your goal is to ramp up as fast as you can and start putting threats on the board.
That’s why you pretty much always want to keep innervate and wild-growth – those are your main ways to ramp. Don’t be greedy, however, and don’t keep more than one of each. If you do, you can find yourself in a situation that you have ramp, but you don’t have any minions to play.
On the other hand, you never want to keep the big minions in your starting hand. Even if you have Innervate – you don’t want to wait until turn 5 to innervate Lore, doing nothing for the first 4 turns.
If you have wild-growth and chillwind-yeti in your starting hand, you want to keep them, no matter who you play against. That’s almost the best start you can get.
If you run a deck with a nourish and you get it along innervate in your starting hand – you should also consider keeping them. If you Innervate Nourish on turn 3, you get a free Innervate every turn from now on (since you can use 2 more mana than you normally could). The only downside of the play is that it’s pretty slow, because you waste whole turn doing nothing, but most of times you should go for it.
And that’s the overview of the Ramp Druid’s mulligan. Things explained above apply to every matchup, so I won’t repeat them over and over again. Now I’ll explain the mulligan against each class and give couple of advices in the following sections.
When you see Rogue, you can be almost sure that it’s Miracle Rogue, so you probably should mulligan for it. Against Miracle, you want to be as aggressive as you can. You usually need to kill him before turn 8-9 (=before he draws his whole decks and OTKs you). The most important thing is that you need minions. That’s the key to victory – you need to pressure him and put something every turn. harvest-golem is really good in this matchup.
Without deadly-poison and shiv in his starting hand, Rogue has no obvious way to deal with it. chillwind-yeti is another great card you want to keep, especially if you can ramp. druid-of-the-claw can be fine, but against Miracle you should play it in Charge mode and hit his face (remember, against Miracle, you’re aggro deck). Wrath is fine, but only if you have some minions to play. It can kill their si7-agent and earthen-ring-farseer without using your precious minions (which you need to hit his face with every turn). keeper-of-the-grove is also fine, because if they decide to put a big edwin-vancleef early, you can silence it.
If you know you’re matched against aggro Rogue (e.g. you’ve played against him before), you should definetly keep swipe. Most of the minions they put for the first 2-3 turns have 1 HP, so it can work wonders. Also, I’d definetly keep Wrath. Against aggro Rogue you need to control the board until turns 5+ when you can put taunts and get back into game.
Here is the thing: you never know if you’re against Zoo or Handlock. Luckily, some of the cards you want to mulligan for are the same, but there are others that you want only in one of those matchups. Against Warlock, you always keep keeper-of-the-grove. Against Zoo it’s at least 2 for 1, and usually 3 for 1. I really love to Innervate it on turn 2 after they’ve coined out kinds of knife-juggler. It gives you huge tempo swing, which is important against Zoo. Against Handlock, it’s your only good way to deal with twilight-drakes. After you silence them, they become 4/1. It’s even better if you already have 6 mana, so you can finish them off with Hero Power.
Another card you want to keep against both is harvest-golem. Against Zoo, it’s sticky and usually trades 2 for 1, unless they run mortal-coil and use it on the second half of the Golem. Against Handlock it’s good because you can usually deal at least 4-6 damage with it. It’s too small for them to waste soulfire (and if it will, you’re still happy), but big enough to be a threat. It’s also good for finishing 4/1 Drake after you silence it if you can’t Hero Power. Next card that’s ok is Swipe. It’s great against Zoo, in best case scenario you can even get something like 4 for 1 on turn 4. Against Handlock it’s not THAT great, but has it’s uses. It can help you with killing Giants or finish him after he taunts up at low HP.
If you’re sure you’re matched against Zoo, keeping Wrath can be good idea. It’s not ideal, because it’s only 1 for 1, but it can kill someting behind voidwalker. You generally shouldn’t use it for 1 damage + draw, unless you really need to cycle, because your Hero Power and swipe also deal with 1 HP minions, but Wrath is the only way to kill those 2 and 3 HP minions early (besides Keeper, but he can’t deal 3 damage and you can’t always Innervate him out).
If you’re sure that your opponent is Handlock, you keep big-game-hunter. Always. There are no expections. It’s the best card you can have against Handlock. You kill his mountain-giant AND have 4/2 minion on the board for 3 mana. That just screams “value”.
the-black-knight is also great in Handlock matchup, but I don’t think you should keep it in the starting hand.
Sweet mirror matchup. Here the ramp is even more important than anywhere else. If your enemy ramps and you don’t, you’re in really bad spot. Druid has no way to deal with turn 2 chillwind yeti. That’s why you should always keep it in starting hand. Next card that I always keep is the-black-knight. Even if I won’t use it until turn 7-8, the card is just too good in this matchup to throw it away. You should also assume that enemy has one – that’s why it’s often worth to play druid-of-the-claw in charge mode instead of taunt. 3-drops are pretty bad, because harvest-golem gets crushed by Yeti + Hero Power, and you’re forced to use Wrath on Yeti, resulting in 2 for 1 trade in enemy’s favor.
If you know that you’re against Token, keeper-of-the-grove is your best friend, as it can take power-of-the-wild or faerie-dragon (which is often run by Token Druid) for free. Also, the-black-knight hasn’t got so high priority against Token, as it often plays druid-of-the-claw in Charge Mode and doesn’t run more taunts.
90% of time it’s control Warrior, so you generally should mulligan for him. First, I’ll start with the card that you should definetly NOT keep. harvest-golem is the worst card in this matchup. It’s sticky, yes, but it’s really bad against both armorsmith and acolyte-of-pain. It also can get killed by fiery-war-axe + cruel-taskmaster. So if you get it, throw it back. swipe is another card that you should definetly NOT keep, unless you want to give enemy free cards & armor (because of the pair of minions listed above). Wrath can ok because more and more Control Warriors run korkron-elite, but it’s not high priority. Ramp is again really necessary in this matchup. chillwind-yeti is your friend.
Another card I usually keep is keeper-of-the-grove to silence Acolyte. Most of Control Warrior decks haven’t got many good silence targets anyway. It may seem bad, but in the decks that run cairne-bloodhoof I keep him against Control Warrior in a starting hand, even though it’s a 6 drop. It’s the BEST minion in your whole deck against Control Warrior. He has no easy way to deal with it. In best case scenario, he uses 3 or 4 cards to kill it. Cairne Innervated on turn 4 and Facelessed on turn 5 can win you a game. But remember that some Control Warriors also run faceless-manipulator, so in worst case scenario they’ll also have their own copy. If you, for any reason, run acidic-swamp-ooze (some decklists do), definetly keep him.
If you know you’re facing an Aggro Warrior, both Wrath and swipe are great. You also NEED taunts, so if you have innervate, I’d definetly keep druid-of-the-claw to stop their aggression. Otherwise they’ll just plunder your face and win by turn 5-6.
Here the things are pretty difficult. Again, you don’t know if you’re put against Freeze Mage, Aggro Mage or even Freeze + Giant Mage. That’s why Mulligan is really difficult.
That’s why I’d say that you shouldn’t go for any fancy things and try to start as safe as you can. harvest-golem and chillwind-yeti are safe. keeper-of-the-grove is also good against any of those decks. swipe and Wrath are good against aggro, but not best against the rest.
If you’re sure that enemy has Giants, I’d keep big-game-hunter, because you probably won’t have any other way to deal with early mountain-giant.
Also, if you’re playing against Freeze Mage, I’d recommend playing as aggresively as you can, because if he stalls the game until turn 9-10, he kills you. Decks including force-of-nature + savage-roar combo generally have better chance against Freeze Mage. Another card that is good against him is healing-touch. Remember however to NOT heal before he uses Alexstrasza, because all your heals will be wasted.
There are not many midrange Hunters around. Most of Hunters are Aggro Hunters AKA Face Hunters AKA I don’t care about anything you do and just hit your face with everything I have. To interrupt their tactic, you need early presence and taunts. Wrath is really important, because if they roll a Huffler (they always do), you’ll have a way to deal with it. harvest-golem is another good card. It doesn’t die off explosive-trap, misdirection also doesn’t matter (2 damage to the face is not that big deal), and if he bounces it back to your hand with freezing-trap it’s even better for you, because he won’t do it with bigger minions. I’d also keep druid-of-the-claw because he has no good way to deal with it besides deadly-shot. chillwind-yeti comes handy, because you need to start doing damage to him as soon as you can. But it’s generally good if you also have Golem on the board to check the traps (getting Innervated Yeti freezed can feel bad).
Also, a friendly advice – use ancient-of-lore to heal, not to draw cards. Card advantage is not that important in this match, because it usually doesn’t last longer than 8-9 turns anyway. You should try to preserve as much health as you can, because it’s really important.
If it’s Midrange Hunter, I’d say that keeper-of-the-grove is really nice. To deal with both scavenging-hyenas and targets of the houndmaster.
P.S. Remember that you can check traps with Hero Power. explosive-trap always triggers when you hit him, and misdirection is triggered when there is at least one another target. Hitting minion also activates snake-trap, but no one is really using it.
Shaman is one of the hardest matchups for Ramp Druid. He has the most ways to remove your minions and they’re usually really efficient.
I think Shaman is the only case when innervate is not that strong. If I get wild-growth in my starting hand, I dump Innervate. Why? Because of hex. When you Innervate out chillwind-yeti or druid-of-the-claw and it gets Hexed, that’s pretty bad. That’s 2 for 1 and you don’t want that.
You definetly want Wrath. It’s great against early flametongue-totem. Next thing you want is keeper-of-the-grove. In this matchup it’s usually a totem killer, but that’s completly fine. You NEED to clear totems. If you lose board control against Shaman, you won’t take it back easily. swipe is fine to kill unbound-elemental before it gets out of control.
chillwind-yeti is good target to bait hex (if you play it on curve, not with help of innervate). You need to get rid of them as soon as you can so you can play bigger threats.
If you run a single copy of starfall I’d definetly keep it against Shaman. Otherwise you have no good way of dealing with totems and fire-elemental. Another way is Spell Damage + swipe, but that’s more situational (you need to have some spell damage on the board). Also, Spell Damage + starfall is the best thing you can get against Shaman. feral-spirit, flametongue-totem, mana-tide-totem, defender-of-argus are all at 3 health. Unless he has something bigger on the board, it usually wipes it completly.
Again, two decks which are completly different. Control Paladin – there are not much of them now, but I still encounter them from time to time. And more popular and more annoying – Aggro Paladin (Shockadin). Draws are pretty different, but I recommend drawing heavily for Aggro Paladin. When you play against Control, you can survive with bad draws. Even if you Hero Power for the first turns, it can be fine. But against Shockadin, you need to play as fast as you can. And the most important thing – you need to get rid of cards from your hand. You need to draw your early game and play it. If you hold 5-6 cards in your hand, you’ll get beaten by divine-favor. The best thing you can get is innervate + druid-of-the-claw. It stops aggression and gets rid of cards in your hand. Another crucial card is swipe. That one card can win you a game. It usually wipes his board on turn 4, because he plays almost solely 1 hp minions. The matchup is pretty easy if you don’t get really bad draws.
The other matchup (Control one) is however really hard. Your early threats usually need to follow the rules (aldor-peacekeeper) or get killed by truesilver-champion and later in the game you get crushed by equality + consecration or avenging-wrath combo. Control Paladin can also heal for about 20-30 HP (depending on decklist). So if you count both of those things, you probably won’t kill him. But! You need to count on early aggression. Early chillwind-yeti is really good, because he’s out of range of truesilver-champion if you kill off Recruits with your Hero Power. keeper-of-the-grove is also great, because if your minion’s attack gets reduced to 1, you can restore it with silence. On the other hand, you need at least one keeper-of-the-grove against tirion-fordring, so using one early is risky. I think that there are no really good draws against Control Paladin. You don’t really care about your early draws besides ramp, as enemy usually plays Recruits for the first turns anyway. If you manage to ramp fast and play big threat every turn, that’s the way you can win.
This matchup is revolves around the number 4. Priest hates 4 attack minions. You have 4 attack minions. You play 4 attack minions. You win the game. chillwind-yeti is one of the best cards in the game against Priest and definetly best 4-drop against him. Then you have druid-of-the-claw, or azure-drake great 5-drops against Priest. And then, if that’s not enough, you have either cairne-bloodhoof, sunwalker or argent-commander on turn 6. Oh. All of those minions are also out of range of auchenai-soulpriest + circle-of-healing. Priest can now throw his shadow words at his own minions, then go and cry in the corner.
Okay, I’m just kidding. But the truth is that games vs Priest are pretty straightforward. Your only real chance to lose is their is turn 2 Coin + injured-blademaster + circle-of-healing. Or really bad draws. That’s why you should usually keep the Wrath in your starting hand. northshire-cleric is priority target, you need to kill him as soon as possible. If you get bad draws and he gets a northshire-cleric + wild-pyromancer out, you can be sure that he will draw many cards soon. Then from turn 4 onwards, you proceed to put big threats on the board every turn and eventually kill him. And actually, your midrange minions are best here, because your bigger threats can be killed with shadow-word-death.
You usually don’t want to start with harvest-golem. It’s bad against northshire-cleric, especially if he’s buffed with power-word-shield. Also, dealing 2 damage to Priest early doesn’t really matter. swipe is also pretty bad, as you won’t get much targets for it, maybe with expection of azure-drake. But by turn 5 you should have some minions on the board anyway to trade with it.
Decklists & Variations
While there are really, REALLY many different decklists, I’ve tried to pick couple of more popular ones and also share mine. I’ll briefly explain card choices in each one and how is it different from others. Click the names of the decks to get the example lists of cards.
Gaara’s Dreamhack Ramp – 8,360 dust
This is the exact decklist of Gaara’s Ramp Druid. To remind you – he won Dreamhack Bucharest in April, playing this deck through the tournament. It really boosted popularity of Ramp Druid on the ladder.
The deck is interesting because it doesn’t run ragnaros, Ysera or cairne-bloodhoof, which were seen in almost any Ramp Druid deck earlier. He runs sylvanas-windrunner instead, which combos really great with mark-of-the-wild (also produces ultimate outrage if it gets silenced) and faceless-manipulator.
mark-of-the-wild has another interesting usage here. Since the deck is running the-black-knight, you can buff enemy minion with your Mark and kill it with Black Knight. While it’s not the most efficient way, Druid has no good way to deal with big minions, so in Druid deck this combo is actually pretty amazing.
healing-touch is another card that’s not commonly used now. Dreamhack was before the unleash-the-hounds nerf, when it still costed 2 mana. Hunters were the most popular class, so heal was often necessary to survive. Against most of classes taunts are doing the same job, but Hunter could both deal with taunts easily (hunters-mark) and damage you through taunts with Hero Power, kill-command or arcane-shot. In the current meta, I don’t think that healing is that important, but it’s still good against certain decks, so running one copy of healing-touch is definetly not a mistake.
I can’t really talk about strong and weak sides of the deck, because I haven’t tested it by myself, but according to Gaara, his winrate with this deck is over 80%.
Standard Ramp Druid Deck – 10,000 dust
This is the deck I’ve been laddering with this season. It is pretty standard Ramp Druid deck.
The deck’s main idea is to put big (chillwind-yeti, ancient-of-war, cenarius) or sticky (harvest-golem, cairne-bloodhoof, sunwalker) minions every turn. Eventually, enemy will run out of ways to remove them and you will overhelm him.
The deck doesn’t run mark-of-the-wild, because the amount of taunts is high already, and if you get it at the start of the game, it’s usually dead card until later turns. The deck still however contains the-black-knight, because of the amount of Druids and Handlocks on the ladder.
nourish is usually used as the card draw, not ramp. I use it as a ramp only if I can Innervate it early (turn 2 with Coin, turn 3 without) or I don’t have any other turn 5 play. The advantage of using it as a ramp on turn 5 is that you can play ragnaros next turn, which can be amazing against, for example, Miracle Rogue.
Midrange Ramp – 4,700 dust
This is the decklist used by Kolento to get to rank #1 on NA couple of days ago. However, many similar decks started to emerge lately. The deck is different from standard Ramp because it sacrifices much of lategame power in order to make it much faster.
The deck runs double force-of-nature + savage-roar combo, but there are also the ones running only a single copy. Before, the combo was almost exclusively used by Token Druids, and it was their main power. Why is it so powerful? In the current meta, burst is really important. Burst decks usually evolve around leeroy-jenkins. Both Rogue and Warlock can do over 20 damage in one turn with emtpy board. Druid’s combo is however another interesting way to burst the enemy. By itself, it deals 14 damage from the empty board. The maxium amount of damage Druid can deal is 22 if he is at 10 mana and Innervates second Savage Roar. But in Druid’s case, the more minions you have on the board, the more powerful it gets. With just 2-3 minions on the board and the combo, you can kill your enemy in one turn. I’ve won many games on turn 7 because I had innervate + combo while already having some board presence. It is really strong because you have element of surprise. When enemy is at 20+ hp, he feels safe. He doesn’t desperately clear the board, he won’t necessarly try to heal or put taunts. Running double combo may seem like an overkill, but both spells can be also used to clear the board or squeeze some additional damage on the enemy.
Other changes that the deck has made is running double argent-commander. Standard Ramp Druid deck is really slow. Most of the cards have no instant impact on the board. If your minions get reactively removed, you’re left with empty board and can’t do anything. Charge mechanic helps with that. argent-commander usually trades 2 for 1, but in this case the card advantage isn’t most important thing (you usually don’t run out of cards as Ramp Druid). What is important is tempo. You remove enemy minion and you still have your own minion on the board. Even if it’s 4/2, enemy has to do something about it.
All these changes scream “anti-Miracle”. Standard Ramp Druid has really hard time against Miracle. Unless you get a perfect ramp, the deck is too slow. Those changes make the deck much faster and actually really good against Miracle.
Combo is also great against Handlock. You generally don’t want to get him below 20 hp, so he can’t play molten-giants. The worst thing that can happen is when you get him below 10 HP, hoping to finish him next turn, just to get blocked by two or three molten-giants with taunt. Getting 20 damage burst with only minions, however, is really hard. That’s why combo comes in handy. You can burst him all the way through Molten phase to zero in one turn.
The last thing that’s interesting is addition of sunfury-protector. It’s good because it’s useful for the whole game. You can use it as a 2-drop, which is a solid 2/3 (another anti-Rogue thing, he can’t kill it only with backstab) and lategame, if you need some kind of defense (especially against aggro decks) you can use it to give your minions taunt. And what’s even better, you choose which minions you want to taunt up, so you can protect low HP minions behind high HP taunts to force enemy into unfavorable trades.
Watcher Ramp – 6,650 dust
The deck is mix between Watcher Druid and Ramp Druid. Pretty straightforward. It combines early presence of Watcher Druid with late power of Ramp Druid. Because of that, however, the number of big threats is limited. The deck also runs a single copy of force-of-nature + savage-roar combo, which strengths I’ve already explained in Midrange section.
So, how does it exactly work? The main early power of the deck is ancient-watcher. 4/5 for 2 mana is really strong. The only downside is that it can’t attack. The deck has two ways to eliminate that downside. First one is taunt. If you taunt it up with sunfury-protector, it still can’t attack, but what you get is 4/5 taunt for 2 mana, which at this stage of the game usually trades 2 for 1. The second (and a stronger) way to activate it is keeper-of-the-grove. When you silence it, you can now attack with it as much as you want. In other words, it becomes 2 mana chillwind-yeti. In the best possible scenario, you can have 4/5 and 2/4 minions on the board on turn 2 (turn 1 Coin + Watcher, turn 2 Innervate + Keeper).
Besides that, we have Ramp Druid lategame with heavy minions like ancient-of-war and cenarius. It was however crippled heavily to include ancient-watchers, sunfury-protectors AND the combo.
The problem of the deck is lack of consistency. If you have ancient-watcher, but no way to activate it, it’s basicly a dead card. If you topdeck ancient-watcher lategame, when you’ve already used sunfury-protector and/or keeper-of-the-grove, it’s also dead card in your hand. Another problem is that you can’t ramp and play ancient-wathcher at the same time. The card is strongest on the first turns, when enemy has no obvious way to deal with it. But if you use your first turns to ramp, you can’t play ancient-watcher and vice versa.
That’s why I personally don’t like this deck. But of course it has its strong sides and it can definetly work.
Demolisher Ramp – 6,300 dust
The deck was created by Rushino, Legendary player from NA and has seen some play lately. I’ve faced it 3 or 4 times on the ladder, and decided to include it to this list because it’s fun.
What’s interesting about the deck is that it uses demolisher which hasn’t been seen in any popular, competitive deck.
The main idea of using demolisher is that it draws a lot of attention. By itself, it’s not that strong. 1/4 minion for 3 mana. What makes it really good is that it’s like a mini-Ragnaros. If it stays on the board for too long, it can get insane value. It can kill 1 or 2 health minion for free every turn (Zoo Warlock’s nightmare), it can kill Shaman’s totems, it can help with chunking health of bigger minions so you can finish them easily, or it can just deal 2 damage to enemy’s face. It’s a priority target for enemy to remove. It can often eat soulfire, hex, swipe etc. And if a 3-mana minions eats those removals, that’s pretty good for you, because they won’t be used on a bigger threats you play later.
I can’t talk much about this deck, because I haven’t played it by myself, but if you want to know more, the best idea would be to google “Rushino’s Demolisher Druid”.
Budget Ramp – 2,300 dust
Ramp Druid is pretty expensive deck. It requires couple of legendaries, including Cenarius, which is a class legendary, and thus doesn’t have a big crafting priority for many people. That’s why I’ve tinkered a budget Ramp Druid deck. It’s obviously weaker than the standard version, but it has no legendaries.
The first version costed 2,000 dust, but I’ve decided to include combo for the reasons already explained above. increasing the price. There are also another two epics – ancient-of-lores – but I think that if you want to play Ramp Druid, or pretty much any Druid deck, you need to have them. If I had to pick a card you should craft first for Druid deck, it would certainly be ancient-of-lore. If you however don’t own them and don’t have enough dust, you can substitute them with azure-drakes, because you need to have some draw power. azure-drake are weaker in that aspect (1 card, not 2), but you still should be fine if you also use Nourish for a draw.
If you have 200 more dust to spare and you want the deck to be faster (to beat those Miracle Rogues), you can switch bouldefrist-ogres or sunwalkers for argent-commanders. Stat-wise, boulderfist-ogres and sunwalkers are really great, but they’re pretty slow. So in the end, it depends on the playstyle.
So, I think that’s it. If you read through all of it, I’m glad that you did. I’ve put some effort into writing this and I hope that you’ve liked it and learned something. Everything here was just my opinion, so you obviously can disagree with it. I’ve based it on my experience with Ramp Druid and Hearthstone in general.
If you enjoyed it, please leave the comment! If you have any questions, also leave a comment and I’ll try to respond.