MUA: Midrange Druid Vs Druid

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Druid. We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing. Cards To Keep Situational Keep and – if you know that you’re facing Aggro Druid or  – […]

Introduction

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Druid.

Sample Decklist

We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing.

Mulligan

Cards To Keep

Innervate Living Roots Darnassus Aspirant Wild Growth Wrath Shade of Naxxramas Piloted Shredder

Situational Keep

Swipe and Keeper of the Grove – if you know that you’re facing Aggro Druid

Druid of the Claw or Azure Drake – with ramp

Druid Meta Decks

Two most popular Druid decks right now are the Midrange Druid and Aggro Druid. From time to time, you might also face the Ramp Druid and Token Druid, but those are much more rare. Out of my last ~200 games on the ladder, I’ve met one Token Druid and no Ramp Druids.

Vs Midrange Druid

General Strategy

Mirror matchup relies heavily on the tempo. Midrange Druid has hard time coming back on the board, so the player who gets a good start and pushes his advantage usually wins. Good ramp is very important, staying ahead of the enemy means that you will be putting big threats into the board first. The main win condition in this matchup is the combo. Druid lacks board clears, so if you take the board control you should be easily able to finish enemy with the combo. Since it’s a mirror, if you don’t count tech cards, the matchup is 50/50.

Early Strategy

  • Mulligan heavily for the ramp cards. Wild Growth or Darnassus Aspirant are important, but Innervate might be the best one. If you get out big threat on the board first, you dictate how the game goes.
  • Living Roots for tempo on turn 1 is a good play. Not only it’s pretty annoying for enemy to deal with until the Swipe turn, but it also gives you a way to contest the Darnassus Aspirant if you don’t draw into Wrath (hit with 2x 1/1 and Hero Power).
  • Darnassus Aspirant can snowball the whole game one way or the other. The only clean Druid has is the Wrath. Wrath wasn’t a good keep against the Druid, but now you should keep it every time as a way to kill the Aspirant. Unanswered Aspirant is the easiest way to win the game.
  • If you get both Aspirant and Wild Growth, you should generally play the Aspirant first. If enemy doesn’t find an answer – you’re ahead. And if enemy does – he needs to spend his turn on using the Wrath anyway and can’t ramp up, meaning you’re equal.
  • Once you drop the Shade of Naxxramas – don’t reveal it right away. Wait until it grows so you can get a good trade. Getting it out as a 3/3 or 4/4 without getting a good trade makes it vulnerable to removals and Keeper of the Grove.
  • Play the Big Game Hunter on turn 3 for tempo only if you really have nothing else to do. E.g. you’ve passed turn 2 and you don’t have any ramp. Every Druid list runs the Dr. Boom and sniping it is often a key to win the late game fight for board, but you can’t afford to lose so much early tempo. Sometimes you have to just do it and hope that enemy doesn’t draw Boom or you’ll have another answer by then.

Mid Game Strategy

  • Keeper of the Grove is rarely a good play in Druid Mirror. The 2 damage doesn’t kill anything and it dies for free to Piloted Shredder and 5-drops.
  • The best thing you can drop on turn 4 is Piloted Shredder. It pushes for 4 damage per turn, it’s hard to take down completely and it’s likely going to get 1 for 1 even with bigger drops.
  • This is the matchup where you want to go face as much as you can. The games are explosive and often last only until turn 9 – combo turn. That’s why getting out threats first means that you can punch face and enemy is forced to answer them.
  • Your turn 5 plays are both strong, but you generally want to play the Druid of the Claw first. Play Azure Drake first only if your hand is very weak and you need more options. Druid of the Claw is better at contesting enemy board and the Spell Damage from Azure Drake gets more useful later. Most of the time you want to play it in the Taunt Mode, because Charge mode is vulnerable to Swipe clear. Play Druid of the Claw in charge only if you have some other minions on the board that don’t die to Swipe or you have the combo in your hand already and you want to put pressure.
  • Don’t mind dropping Emperor Thaurissan on turn 6 even if you don’t have combo in your hand. In this matchup you rarely need a double combo to win, Emperor forces enemy to have an answer (e.g. Swipe + Hero Power), which usually takes the whole turn and it makes your next turns be stronger tempo-wise.

Late Game Strategy

  • When it comes to the late game, strategy really depends on whether you have the tempo or not. Player who holds the tempo is usually down on the value. If you’re up on tempo you want to push your advantage and finish enemy with combo on turn 9. You might want to keep the Keeper of the Grove in case enemy Taunts up. Something like Ancient of War might completely stop you even though you were in charge for the whole game. If you’re the second player, you want to answer enemy threats, Taunt up and don’t let them use the combo. Try to get rid of all enemy threats and develop the board. The one with board control in the late game usually wins the game. Even if enemy is holding the combo and you’re in range, if they have nothing on the board to contest your Taunts, they might not be able to do anything.
  • You want to keep one Keeper of the Grove for enemy Ancient of War. The 5/10 Taunt is massive and is going to get 2 or 3 for 1. Turning it into a plain 5/5 minion makes it easier to kill and it might allow you to go through with the combo.
  • Ancient of Lore is a crucial card if the game goes for longer. Not only it puts a rather big threat on the board (and Druid generally has a hard time killing 5 health minion from his hand without using Hero Power), but it gives you bigger chance to draw into the combo. Use it for heal only to get out of combo range if you’re desperate, drawing cards is better 90% of time.
  • Always keep Big Game Hunter for Dr. Boom if you draw it later in the game. It might be tempting to drop it as a vanilla minion, but do that ONLY if you plan to finish the game next turn and you’re making a big tempo push (then you don’t care if enemy drops Dr. Boom). Even though Boom Bots will still do some job, destroying a 7/7 for free is a huge tempo swing.
  • If you can afford to, play around enemy combo. Remember that it’s 14 damage from empty board and +2 damage for each minion that enemy has (+the minion’s attack, obviously). Don’t play risky game for no reason. If you’re already ahead, go for the safer route. For example, if you can choose between using the Azure Drake and taunting up with Druid of the Claw, go for the second option. If you have the board control, the only way you’re losing the game is combo most of the time.
  • If you’re far behind, however, you can play assuming that enemy doesn’t have the combo. Even though most of the decks run 2 copies, it’s possible that opponent didn’t draw it. Playing risky might give you the highest chance to win. For example, using the Swipe[/card+ [/card+ card]Wrath to kill the 5/5 might save you against the combo, but if you don’t develop anything this turn, enemy takes the initiative and you’re in the same spot. Instead, you may play 2x Piloted Shredder, put yourself in the combo range, but if enemy doesn’t have it, it’s a higher tempo play and might get you back on the board.

Tips

  • Play on the curve and don’t float the mana. Being the guy with biggest minion on the board is very important.
  • You can use Swipe on enemy face if you’re close to the combo range. Swipe doesn’t get a lot of value in this matchup anyway.
  • If you’re the one threatening combo and you have the Living Roots in your hand, you might want to keep it. Enemy is playing around 14 damage combo and you might surprise him with the 16 damage one on turn 10. If you play those before the combo turn as 2x 1/1, you give away your advantage and enemy will probably just clear those.
  • Azure Drake is a great card not only because it cycles itself, but also because of the +1 Spell Damage. For example, 4 damage Swipe is rather mediocre, but 5 damage one is suddenly a lot better (it can kill Ancient of Lore and Emperor Thaurissan in one shot). Same goes for the 4 damage Wrath – it might kill enemy Keeper of the Grove and Azure Drake in one hit.

Vs Aggro Druid

Strategy

Aggro Druid is much more tempo-oriented matchup than the Midrange One. Enemy is going to have a smooth curve from turn 1 most of time, and you’re playing on the backfoot. It’s a really hard matchup, because the deck combines a very strong early game with a possible combo finisher in the later stages. You absolutely need to answer every threat they play. In this matchup most important cards are the removals and early minions – Living Roots, Wrath, Darnassus Aspirant, Swipe. Keeper of the Grove is phenomenal, because not only it answers their small drops with 2 damage ping, but also leaves a 2/4 body on the board that can usually get good trades. You can’t afford to give up the board completely, because they run two copies of Savage Roar. It means that with a strong board presence they might just finish the game around turn 4-5. Even though you should be able to fight with their early game pressure, there is one thing that just destroys you – Fel Reaver. Thanks to the Innervate, they might get it out as soon as turn 3 (2 with Coin). Your only possible answer is the Big Game Hunter. If you have it – it swings the game in your favor. But if you don’t – you probably lost it. You can take one Fel Reaver hit, but second one means that you’re in combo range and third one means that enemy just needs a few chargers (e.g. Force of Nature alone) or small minions to kill you. It’s a hard matchup that is usually decided in the first 3-4 turns, if you survive past that you should have the stronger mid game and late game.

Resources