The same as with more archetypes, Beast Druid was introduced in an earlier expansion, but got more support with the release of The Grand Tournament, making the deck actually play-able on ladder. I personally really enjoy playing Druid, cards like innervate or the deadly combo of force-of-nature and savage-roar are really fun to play. The only downside is that Druid decks were never really that original. The only viable archetypes for a long time were Ramp Druid and Double Combo Druid. Of course, one could make silly decks themselves, but those decks would lack power compared to the two standard decks. This is no longer the case, with The Grand Tournament, not only is Beast Druid a viable and fun deck now, dragon decks and Malygos Druid are all possible.
The new cards that made Beast Druid possible are very good. druid-of-the-saber is a class-specific card that is very strong by itself, a 3/2 stealth that has the option of charging as a 2/1 is flexible, expecially in a deck that runs double combo. The fact that the transformed version of the card has the beast label on it makes it even stronger. When this card is played in stealth mode, it basically secures having a beast on board to activate the effect of druid-of-the-fang.
knight-of-the-wild is a really fun card to play with. Often you are able to play it for less than 3 mana, playing a 6/6 for so little mana can be game-winning. Even better if you can play two discounted Knights on the same turn. The body itself is really strong as a 6/6, dodging big-game-hunter while being threatening as both the body and the 6 attack in the force-of-nature and savage-roar combo.
This last card is so good that often you see Ramp and regular Combo Druids play it. Its value is insane, and it is even a beast! savage-combatant has a fair body for its mana cost, considering it’s a beast. Its true value lies in it’s inspire effect. If you use your hero ability, instead of gaining +1 attack and +1 armour you end up with +3 attack and +1 armour, if you have 2 Savage Combatants your heroes attack goes up to +5 for that turn. This card is great removal, while being a solid body and a beast at the same time.
The decklist I present you resembles Double Combo Druid a lot, but has quite some chances in it that make the deck play completely different. Not having any wild-growth in the deck makes for a more tempo-based line of play, instead of using ramp to gain more board control.
As mentioned above, this deck resembles Double Combo Druid a lot. The difference lies in two things.
- Instead of sticky or value minions, this deck runs beast type cards. For example: in most Double Combo lists, the 3-drop minion is shade-of-naxxramas, in this deck druid-of-the-flame is being used as a sticky body that can be used to trade efficiently, while also having that desired beast tag on both its transformations.
- There is no wild-growth being used in this deck. This card is normally used by druid to gain one mana ahead of the opponent, allowing more expensive cards to be played. This deck plays faster than that, by playing minions and getting discounts on big bodies in other ways.
The cards that get discounts on big bodies are druid-of-the-fang and knigth-of-the-wild. The first card can be played as a 5 mana 7/7 beast, and the Knight gets an increasingly discounted mana cost for each beast-type minion played while that card is in your hand. Note that this effect is not equal to frost-giants effect, where you get the discount for the amount of times a hero-ability was used over the course of a game. The discount on knight-of-the-wild activates only when you have the card in your hand while you play a beast. A notable play is using innervate to play druid-of-the-fang as a 7/7 on turn 3 when you have played a haunted-creeper or a druid-of-the-saber in stealth mode.
This deck features a very fast-paced playstyle. The way to win is by building up a board and going for that force-of-nature and savage-roar finisher. With enough strong minions you should be able to build up a board and keep control of it. Don’t let your opponent make efficient trades, but do try to keep getting face damage in. After all, if the opponent is at 14 health, not even a full board clear is going to save them from your combo. Don’t focus on this combo too much though, oftentimes you can get the burst damage in one turn up to over 20 points of face damage. Even if there is only one stealthed druid-of-the-saber the combo will deal 19 damage.
Most cards used in this deck are fairly standard. Some cards that aren’t normally seen a lot in Double Combo Druid are druid-of-the-flame and druid-of-the-sabre, while I consider both of them valid tech choices for a aggro-heavy meta. In the following section I will discuss my choices for each card that isn’t a very standard Druid card. Meaning cards like innervate and keeper-of-the-grove will not be discussed in this section, since they are such great cards that they’re seen in every single competitive druid decklist so far.druid-of-the-saber
A great card. Wether or not it’s used in a beast-themed deck, the card itself is very powerful. Most of the time it will be played as a 2 mana 3/2 stealth, but even that is great. The vanilla card: bloodfen-raptor, is a 2 mana 3/2 without any additional effects, but it has a beast tag. Druid of the Saber has a beast tag, and the option to play it as a 3/2 stealth or a 2/1 charge. Something to notice is that a 2/1 charge with an additional tag is also a vanilla card, bluegill-warrior. So you either get an 3/2 with stealth, so you can choose when to take it out of stealth to trade, or keep it in stealth for an additional 5 damage during the burst combo. Another option is to use druid-of-the-saber in charge before playing savage-roar for an additional 4 damage. Useful when bursting the opponent down without force-of-nature or when one has an innervate in hand. This way the full combo can be played alongside a charging druid-of-the-saber.haunted-creeper
Very solid early game minion, and while it provides no synergy with cards like knife-juggler or power-of-the-wild in this deck, it’s still a good minion. The fact that it is so annoying to remove makes it excellent against aggressive decks like the new Paladin or the older Hunter and Zoolock. Bonus effect: with the beast tag on it there now are three 2 mana beast minions in this deck. Another bonus factor is that once the 1/2 body dies, two 1/1s appear, making it more appealing for the opponent to leave it in its 1/2 state. What this means for you is that it’s easier to get druid-of-the-fangs effect while this card is on the board.
As mentioned before, this card is a very strong choice. Sometimes it’s used in regular Double Combo Druid instead of shade-of-naxxramas since the 2/5 body is an excellent choice in an aggro-heavy metagame. A 2/5 allows for very nice trades when played on turn 1 with innervate or on turn 2 or 3. Later on in the game, especially against slower decks or when the opponent is starting to run out of cards, the 5/2 mode can be a nice way to put a lot of pressure on the opponent, or force them to play removal. Another beast-type minion in the deck.
This card is so good, it’s being run in most Druid decks. Wether or not it’s actually a beast is not of matter of the value of its body and effect. The fact that it actually is a beast makes it that much better for this deck. A 5/4 is a great body to push for damage, but it’s effect allows you to play a solid minion and use your hero ability as removal or to push for face damage, which makes it valuable. Do keep in mind that the 4 health makes it easy to die to popular cards like flamecannon, piloted-shredder or truesilver-champion and deaths-bitedruid-of-the-fang
When this card was introduced in GvG I immediately tried to make a Beast Druid deck. It worked out okay, but not much better than regular Druid decks. And a sub par deck is really no fun to play after a while. Even then this card was insanely good, but the deck was very draw dependant. With more solid beasts added in TGT, this card is finally reliable in this deck. Especially strong is when a beast is played on turn one or two, and you can innervate to get this card on turn 3 in 7/7 mode. If the opponent does not have a good answer to this card it’s basically game over when it comes down on such an early turn in the game. Keep in mind that the 7/7 form is a beast, so it can activate another Druid of the Fang, and will give a discount to knight-of-the-wild.
This card is simply amazing. When you have it in your hand from early on in the game you can usualy play it on turn 4 or 5. If you get it later on in the game it’s still a 6/6 body that is hard to remove when you have played a lot of minions already, since that forces the opponent to trade and use removal, thus making it less likely to have an answer left for the 6/6 target, and if they do you will still have multiple small minions most of the time.
One very important thing to notice is that this deck does not run emperor-thaurissan. This card is normally seen in all Druid decks that run the double combo. The reason for this is that getting a discount on 2 cards from the combo allows one to play force-of-nature along with 2 savage-roars for 10 mana, giving you a 22 damage combo from an empty board. Emperor Thaurissan is not included in this list because despite this effect, the card is too slow for this deck. Without wild-growth and the only real late-game card being dr-boom your hand size is usually to small to get enough value out of its effect.
Another card that didn’t make the cut was wildwalker. Despite this card being very strong in theory, most beast ran in this deck don’t benefit that much from a 4 health buff. The 3/2 druid-of-the-saber is really strong with a buff, but the 7/7 druid-of-the-fang does not benefit that much from the buff, but is also tricky to give the buff to on curve. Since this deck has to play tempo-based to win, playing on curve is important. The final reasoning behind not playing Wildwalker is that the 4 mana slot in Druid is already highly contested. If there was room for another 4-drop minion in the deck, I would probably play piloted-shredder over Wildwalker since it’s more consistent.
Matchups and Mulligan Guide
General mulligans are fairly simple. If you draw into innervate, a 2 mana cost minion or druid-of-the-flame, it’s fine to keep them in your hand at any time. If you’re holding innervate, it can be a choice to keep druid-of-the-fang in your opening hand. Depending on the matchup it’s alright to keep one or sometimes even two knight-of-the-wilds in your opening hand, since getting the discounts early on means you can play the 6/6 on turn 4 or 5. Not throwing away keeper-of-the-grove or savage-combatant if you have a nice curving hand is fair game as well.
Statistically speaking, when facing a Paladin on ladder, the opponent will be using the new Secret Paladin. This deck is seen so often it has made midrange and the rare control Paladin even rarer on ladder. It’s a cheaper, stronger variant of Paladin deck. The way to beat this deck is to out-tempo the opponent. Take control of the board and try to get a big minion like knight-of-the-wild or druid-of-the-fang down to contest the inevitable mysterious-challenger. Keep in mind that most Secret Paladins play both noble-sacrifice and avenge when trying to trade up.
swipe is very good against Paladins, and i suggest even keeping it in your opening hand. wrath and keeper-of-the-grove are very good as well since they help with removing knife-jugglers and secretkeepers.
Shaman was seen quite a lot on ladder in the first couple weeks since TGT was released, but I haven’t seen any in the last 2 weeks. If you do run into a Shaman player, chances are high it will be a Totem Shaman deck with a thunder-bluff-valiant in the deck. This card is extremely dangerous when a Shaman has board control. Therefore it is wise to try to clear all totems off the board before turn 6, and every turn after that. I know this can be hard to do, especially against a fast deck, but it’s important. This matchup is a constant fight for board control, but you have the advantage of running a massive burst combo. Shamans almost never run bloodlust, so there’s really no need to worry about that too much.
Mulligan in this matchup for a strong early game curve. Try to play a minion every turn if possible, and play a druid-of-the-fang as soon as possible, the big body will do a lot of good if it doesn’t get hexed. The way to avoid it getting hexed is by playing it as early on in the game as possible, making the likeliness of the Shaman having drawn it much smaller.
Handlock isn’t very strong at the moment due to Control Warriors and Face Hunters, so it’s quite unlikely you will see one. If you do, try to keep their health too high for them to play their molten-giant, and go for lethal when you can burst them down in a single turn. Don’t overextend on the board too much though since a shadowflame combo can ruin the entire game for you.
Zoo is strong but has fallen out of favour, The new archetype, Dreadsteed Warlock, is pretty good but hardly ever seen. Facing a warlock means it’s a mystery what you’re up against. Follow the same mulligan rules as against Shaman to be sure you don’t instantly lose the game with a bad draw against Zoo Warlock.
The fight of beasts versus beasts. Against Hunters you have quite a favourable matchup. Midrange Hunter can remove single target threats pretty well with freezing-trap, so try to keep a board filled with minions to some extent, in order to defend knight-of-the-wild and druid-of-the-fang. The Force of Nature combo is very good in this matchup, since it helps you win before you have to fight to stay out of lethal range. A hunter can keep pushing face damage, so trying to win fast is very good. Keep in mind that explosive-trap completely ruins your force-of-nature combo, since the 2 health Treants die to the trap.
Mulligan for early drops. Toss every card that costs more than 4 mana unless you already have an innervate in hand.
The Mage matchup is for almost every Druid deck the same. Freeze Mage is 50/50, it depends on whether or not the Druid has played aggressive enough to win, or if the Freeze Mage has drawn enough stall and boardclears to extent the game long enough. If the game takes to long, try to keep big-game-hunter and a single ancient-of-lore in hand. This way you can kill the alextrasza that will set your health to 15, and heal for 5 points in the same turn.
Flamewaker mage is fairly doable. They can get really aggressive starts, making it hard to win, but usually the games should go in your favour. Especially when you can drop a cheap knight-of-the-wild or another big minion relatively early in the game. Flamewaker Mage doesn’t have any proper answers to big threats, except for fireball. That card is not even always being run in Flamewaker Mage though.
Mech Mage is a story apart. I don’t know if I’m just terrible in playing against it or if the matchups are always so horrific, but I usually end up with a massive lose-rate against Mech Mage. It’s not just this deck, but every Druid deck I made has a horrible win-rates against Mech Mage, and so do most of my other decks. The matchup feels really hard to beat though. The way to win is to not let the Mage swarm the board. Clear as much minions as possible, and always focus the mechwarper as soon as it comes down.
In Mulligan, try to go for wrath and keeper-of-the-grove in order to be able to remove important minions. Wrath destroys Mechwarpers, Keeper of the Grove silences Flamewaker or Mad Scientist. Other early game cards are still very good.
The new Dragon Priest deck is pretty strong, but fortunately, the matchup against Double Combo Druid is very favoured for us. If you keep playing minions and take control of the board you should be able to win most games. Mulligans are straightforward as well, there are no super valuable minions that need to be prioritized to remove, so any early game cards are fine in the opening hand. General mulligan rules apply.
Warrior is in most cases a deck that is too slow to deal with all the pressure you can put on the opponent. They have plenty of removal to get rid of the bodies from Knight of the Wild and Druid of the Fang, but lack the tempo to contest the board like you do. Just keep building up a board and try to win with a burst combo as soon as possible. grim-patron Warrior is harder to beat then Control Warrior, but still favoured for the Druid.
Mulligan rules are the same as against Priest, but keep in mind that Wrath is very valuable in removing full health grim-patrons from the board, and keeper-of-the-grove helps a lot with silencing or destroying them by dealing 2 damage to one weakened from a whirlwind effect.
What I’ve seen on ladder with this deck is that people don’t expect Beast Druid, and once they figure out what you’re playing, they often don’t expect the consistency of running double combo. What I mean with that last part is that since 2 copies of Force of Nature and Savage Roar each are being run, it’s highly likely that you have drawn a combo in the first 15 cards. Where the opponent focusses on clearing all your beasts, they tend to not play around a burst combo as much. When facing regular Double Combo Druid there are many signs one has to watch out for. In this new and original list, people don’t really know what cards to expect. Another thing to notice is that most decks don’t have an answer to a 7/7 druid-of-the-fang on turn 3. Big Game Hunter is usually tossed in the mulligan.
The fun in this deck is playing massive minions way before you’re supposed to, by using beasts and the obnoxious and infamous Druid card: Innervate. And of course killing your opponent with an over 20 damage burst combo.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, and I hope you’ll enjoy Beast Druid just as much as I do. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to post them in the comments below.