JulpaFTW’s Ramp Druid Deck Guide

Today, I want to show you guys my own version of the pretty popular (and powerful!) ramp druid that you see everywhere in the current meta.

Introduction

Hey everyone! Today, I want to show you guys my own version of the pretty popular (and powerful!) ramp druid that you see everywhere in the current meta. The idea behind it is to place lots of powerful taunts to protect your life total while you gain control of the board, and finish off your opponent with the overpowered force-of-nature+savage-roar combo. There’s some pretty unusual picks in here, such as mark-of-the-wild which will make the deck harder to play around for your opponents. With that being said, let’s get straight into it!

Card Choices

mark-of-the-wild is a very interesting addition, since it sees barely any play (competitively or on the ladder), but it fits the theme of this deck really well: for 2 mana, you can taunt up a minion and give it +2/+2, possibly giving utility to a keeper-of-the-grove. However, this isn’t the idea behind adding this card to the deck. Buffing your minions is something you’ll do probably 25% of the time, the real power behind it is using it to buff enemy minions into big-game-hunter range or giving them taunt so you can the-black-knight them. I decided to include this in order to counter decks that had cards like tirion-fordring or kelthuzad to avoid big-game-hunter and found it pretty much always gets value.

wild-growth allows us to run a pretty high curve with 4 ancients and cenarius, and lets us start playing our taunts a bit earlier than usual. It’s one of the most powerful cards in the game in my opinion.

bloodmage-thalnos is an often overlooked powerhouse. Look to combo him with swipe or wrath for spell power that will cycle itself. If he gets silenced, then that’s 2-mana silence bait (better than bolvar-fordragon huh?) that will prevent them from silencing your ancient-of-war. I’m still testing if this is better than an azure-drake, personally I think spell power swipes on turn 6 are too good to pass up, but it’s a reasonable trade-off that’s ultimately up to you.

savage-roar is in here for the combo, but you can use it for board clears in certain situations. We run two because it opens up the possibility of closing out the game when you have a solid board position without the need for force-of-nature.

big-game-hunter is in there to completely demolish control warriors and handlocks, but also to synergise with our mark-of-the-wild. If you face a match-up that isn’t likely to run more than one big creature, play one without the effect and save the other one for a big minion that you can mark-of-the-wild to get value out of it.

shade-of-naxxramas is amazing if you innervate it out on turn 1, but if not, it adds power to your combo and can pretty much always trade up. Worst case scenario is a paladin burning consecrate just to get rid of this.

senjin-shieldmasta provides us with an early taunt that we can wild-growth into on turn 3, and it does a pretty good job of slowing down aggro. I found I didn’t really need an aggressive 4-drop such as piloted-shredder because the damage I need to close the game out comes from our combo.

druid-of-the-claw is amazing, and the fact that you can charge to combo with savage-roar makes it even more appealing. I don’t see myself not running this in druid at the moment.

harrison-jones can send the extremely popular paladins to the museum, and also has incredible utility against hunters, warriors and rogues. Against paladin, I like being greedy and saving it for either an ashbringer or a lights-justice with at least three charges. While sometimes it is acceptable to use it on a 1 charge truesilver-champion, you really want to punish paladins and warriors for the amount of weapons they run and get lots of draws out of it.

force-of-nature was originally included twice, but I decided to swap one out for a bloodmage-thalnos in order to have access to spell power swipe and some extra card draw.Having a single copy still gives you access to your combo and helps keep your hand unclogged.

ancient-of-war is your ultimate taunt, if you suspect your opponent runs the-black-knight, don’t allow him to hit this guy or it’ll be game over for you. Against aggro, if they have no answer it wins you the game.

cenarius establishes board presence, can greatly enhance you combo with tokens or even give you lethal with his buff. I like him more than kelthuzad because he’s actually playable on an empty board and can even act as a finisher if you already have a board presence.

Mulligan Strategy

Your general mindset should be all or nothing for a ramp start, with a few exceptions:

Always keep: wild-growth, innervate, shade-of-naxxramas if you have innervate or if you have the coin and wild-growth.

Against aggro, keep: wrath, keeper-of-the-grove if you have innervate or wild-growth or if you’re up against warlock, senjin-shieldmasta if you have innervate or wild-growth. I like keeping swipe against hunters when I have the-coin or innervate.

Against control, also keep: shade-of-naxxramas and if it’s a weapons class, harrison-jones.

Game Plan

During the first few turns, you want to establish a board presence by playing wild-growth into a 4-drop or using innervate to cheat out a large creature (optimally, you’re looking for your shade-of-naxxramas). If you manage to do that, then you can focus on playing the value game from that point onwards.

You have the tools to stall out the game for as long as you need, you’ll want to get value out of your cards to gain card advantage as well as board control, and when your opponent least expects it, use your combo to catch them offguard. Remember to always count for lethal when you have savage-roar.

Against control decks, keep in mind that they’re likely to run the-black-knight and focus on baiting it out before you play an ancient-of-war. If you can also bait out silences before playing it, you’ll have a pretty resilient creature available to clear their board.

Always plan out your next couple of turns and work on establishing a plan to get lethal damage. Your combo with one savage-roar will deal 14 damage without any other minions, and 22 damage if you include innervate and the second savage-roar. This last combo is incredibly deadly, since no one sees it coming, but you shouldn’t actively aim to close the game out like this, since it requires too many cards to be reliable.

Against aggro, you should play defensively, using your taunts to protect your life total and clear their board before you combo them down.

Against control, you want to play a faster style, trying to rush them down as quickly as possible and aiming to end the game as soon as you have the mana to combo.

Generally, your best bet is to always play on curve, but keep in mind both board states, how creatures will combat, and your opponent’s most likely plays in order to determine what to play first.

Conclusion

I can’t tell you how satisfying it feels to put so many taunts in front of a face hunter, and when they finally break through (that’s IF they have a great draw), it’s too late since you’ll have your combo ready to take them down. I’ve been tweaking this deck ever since I got bored with spamming hunter on the ladder, and am pretty happy with how it plays in its current iteration. This is a fairly standard decklist with my own twist, and I hope you’ll enjoy playing it! Best of luck on the ladder, and as always, thank you all for reading and please leave any questions or suggestions in the comments below!