Midrange Druid may very well be the strongest deck in Hearthstone. It has a ton of burst, incredible card draw, and one of the strongest curves in the game. However, there are still some decks that do very well against the tree-loving menace. One of those is Camel Hunter, a midrange list that focuses much more on board control than traditional Hunter builds. In this guide we will break down the deck and look at how its reliable board presence and quick damage help it overcome Malfurion’s combo-oriented ways.
When building Camel Hunter, you should understand that it is a different version of the classic midrange list. As a result, there are many cards you can put into the deck. You can run more burn, more minions, or focus on creating a secret package. Each style brings something new too the table, which will help in certain matchups. Whatever direction you choose to take the deck in, just play the style that you understand the most. To help you with this, the core deck has been linked below.
When facing Druid you want to look for your early game minions, including Desert Camel. They are a class that uses a lot of early turns setting up the later ones. As a result, you really want to get going right out of the gate. Unless you have the coin (and you can get some three and four drops) you want to aggressively look for your one and two drops.
Cards to KeepHunter’s Mark Webspinner Glaivezooka Flame Juggler Haunted Creeper Unleash the Hounds
Knife Juggler is a great keep if you have other solid opening minions.
Desert Camel should always be kept with the coin.
Animal Companion/card] is strong keep with the coin or an early curve.
[card]Houndmaster is a good keep with the coin and a solid beast opening.
How to Win
To win this matchup you need to have Druid beat before they can play their combo. That does not necessarily mean they need to be dead, you just need to have control of the game. Midrange Hunter is a deck built on board control, but so is Druid. If Druid is able to get one or two minions to stick you are most likely going to die to the combo. However, if you can ever get a threat or two on an empty board, you should run away with the game. A strong presence will lock Druid out of their combo, because they will have to answer the board instead of just playing minions.
The other important part of this is match is planning ahead. Druid is a deck of consistency, which means they do not run any real surprises. As such, you should be able to predict their plays, such as a Piloted Shredder on turn four, or an Azure Drake/Druid of the Claw on turn five. Guessing their turns will help you understand what minions to play in order to challenge their threats.
Early Game Strategy
The opening turns of the game are going to be a mix between you trying to get minions to stick and Druid setting up their middle game. You just want to play your minions as fast as you can to stop Darnassus Aspirant or grab the board while they play Wild Growth. Sometimes they will Innervate or Wrath, and you need to have minions to challenge those as well.
Flame Juggler is very strong in this matchup because of Living Roots. Two 1/1’s on turn one may seem low-impact, but it is a huge problem because of how well they can trade. However, taking away one of them with the jugglers ability is very strong. In addition, pinging a Darnassus Aspirant also enables the two drop to trade with it. Sometimes you will hit face, but you never want to hold this back because you are scared to roll the dice.
Run out Desert Camel as soon as you can. Druid runs no one drops, which means you are essentially getting two solid minions with absolutely no drawbacks. Two 2/4’s on turn three is a lot of pressure. While some decks can rebound from that, Druid (especially if they spent their early turns ramping) has no real answer. Even getting a Webspinner is worth it, because it forces Druid to react to you rather than you trying to play to them.
Animal Companion is a really strong early tempo play. While it does die to Swipe, if Druid doesn’t have a ready answer they are going to be in trouble. This whole matchup is about setting up Tempo plays, and a 4/4 or 2/4 on turn three is one of the best you have access to.
Controlling the middle turns is central to winning the game. The final turns are going to be spent with you pushing through for lethal and Druid setting up their combo. Both of those only come to fruition through strong turns 4-6. The name of this section is big minions. You have a lot of threats, and they all need to be used to clear to make sure the board never gets out of hand.
Houndmaster is one of your best cards, and something you should always be trying to set up. As noted, Druid has access to very little removal, and what they do have hits things with four or less health. If you can buff one of your beasts past that it is going to create problems for Malfurion. Anytime you have a beast on the board, no matter how small, you should do everything you can to protect it if you have Houndmaster in hand.
Just like Desert Camel, Savannah Highmane singlehandedly crushes Druid. If you have the beast in hand, then you want to play to turn six. This card is the definition of a tempo play. The reason is, even if your opponent has a Keeper of the Grove or Swipe/hero power ready, they spent their entire turn half-dealing with one minion. Even if they do manage to fully clear Scar, you will still have priority for turn seven.
Hunter’s Mark is always going to be good against Druid, but here is where it really shines. This game is largely about tempo, and putting down a threat while also removing one of Druid’s minions is going to usually lock up the board. While you may be tempted to save this for giant cards like Dr. Boom and Ancient of War, getting the board sooner is usually more important.
If you have Cult Master in hand you always want to think about the best way to use it. While you do not want to give up board presence for cards, being able to trade evenly or most of your board for three or four can be a very strong way to dig to your bigger threats.
Late Game Strategy
As stated, the final turns of this game are going to be a race. You are trying to leverage all the damage you can through your minions and hero power, while Druid is going to be putting together Force of Nature/Savage Roar. You want to try and push as hard as you can while also not exposing yourself to damage. Force Druid onto their back foot every chance you can get.
The biggest rule here is clear the board and watch your health. You have very few forms of taunt and almost no healing. That means if Druid has the combo, you have really no way to react to or prevent it. The best way to beat Druid’s final damage is by forcing them to use Force of Nature/Savage Roar on your board to clear. While that does set you back, it is less damage you have to worry about, and enables you to play something fresh since it is going to take up their whole turn.
Keep Azure Drake in mind. The five drop may not seem like a big threat, but it’s ability to double up on Swipe or Wrath can be absolutely deadly. If you have not seen the dragon early in the game, then you should make all of your plays expecting a possible five/two damage Swipe or a four/two damage Wrath.
Make use of Loatheb. The five drop is one of the best cards against Druid because, not only does it give you the opportunity to put down a 5/5 that they cannot respond to, but it also staves off the combo for a turn. You typically want to use the fungus-loving legendary as a trump card when you have a strong board. However, it can also buy you time if needed.