Midrange Druid is one of the strongest decks in the current Hearthstone meta. It is has a lot of solid damage options, sticky minions, and one of the best combos in the game. As a result, anytime you are going to the ladder you want to have a deck that can beat it. One such option is Oil Rogue, a list that has enough tempo, burst and strong threats to slowly wear Druid down. In this guide we will breakdown that matchup to show how to use those advantages as best you can.
While there are many cards you have to run in a combo deck like Oil Rogue, not every list is built in the same way. Some versions of Oil are much more spell focused, while some have more minions, and others pack more removal. Each version is good against different ladder decks, and you always want to gravitate towards the one that best suits your style or best fights the decks at your current rank. To help you figure out the best choice for you, three different decks have been linked below.
When playing against Druid you want to find cheap spells and minions. They are not a class that does well dealing with strong boards, which means you need to find early presence as best you can. You do need to play tempo with your midgame minions in this match, but do not forget that Druid loves to power out big minions. You need to have an early answer for those, be it your own threats or removal.
Cards to KeepBackstab Deadly Poison SI:7 Agent Fan of Knives
Bloodmage Thalnos can be kept with early spells like Backstab but it is too weak to keep on its own.
Eviscerate should be kept if you have no other removal.
Sap is very strong with a minion-heavy opening.
Blade Flurry is a strong keep if you have no other AOE options at your disposal.
Tomb Pillager (if you run it) is very strong if you keep it with a early curve.
Piloted Shredder can be kept with a strong early curve and the coin.
Violet Teacher follows the same rules as Piloted Shredder.
How to Win
The number one rule of beating Druid is board presence. They are a class that has very little removal and largely depends on big minions to take over a game. As a result, if you can “out midrange” them through a mix of average sized minions and strong removal they will fall behind. Just play your threats and force Druid to answer them as they come down. Your entire goal in this game is to force Druid to be defensive because as soon as they can execute their game plan you won’t be able to climb back without exceptional amounts of burst.
The other part of this matchup is watching your health and taking care of your life total. As a combo deck, it is very easy to forget about. Even when you are pushing for damage or looking to get ahead in life, you need to try and clear everything. Force of Nature/Savage Roar is the way Druids win almost all of their games, and that gets a lot harder for them to do if they don’t have a board. You often aren’t going to die from fourteen, you’re going to die from twenty.
Early Game Strategy
The opening turns of the game are where you want to get any type of board presence you can. This means running out your minions, whether you are able to trigger their ability or not. It can be very tempting to get “value” from something like an SI:7 Agent, but a 3/3 body does just as much as the battlecry because it forces Druid to react. Remember, anytime they are clearing they aren’t putting minions onto the board.
In that same vein, do not be afraid to play Bloodmage Thalnos to smooth our your hand and get some extra card draw. The two drop is very strong during the middle turns of the game, but you never want to sacrifice the “now” for what might happen. Yes, he might give you a strong clear on turn six. However, if you’re dead on turn six that won’t matter. If you have a strong hand you should save him, but if you have no action, run the skeleton out.
Deadly Poison is your best early game card because it deals with the few minions Druid plays. Most versions of midrange spend their first turns ramping, but some have Darnassus Aspirant. In addition, the one mana spells also lets you cleanly kill the first half of a Piloted Shredder (one of your biggest problem cards), which have an annoying habit of coming out turn one or two.
The middle turns of the game are going to be built in two phases: tempo and removal. Building your own board and protecting your own minions is very important. You need to do what you can to make sure you are the only one with minions in play. Your burst as a Rogue is very scary, and Druid will use a lot of their resources to clear your minions. Even something as simple as an Azure Drake or Piloted Shredder can make Druid hesitate and clear rather than playing down their Emperor Thaurissan.
The other key to these turns is clearing. Druid builds off of their own board extremely well (especially with Innervate), and you never want to let anything stick around for more than one turn if you can help it. While sometimes you can play your own threats to challenge your opponent, if they can clear effectively you are going to be on the back foot for most of the game.
When clearing do not be afraid to burn multiple spells at once. Preparation is usually going to be saved for your “big” turns, but never forget it is such a good tempo play when you have other minions out. Adding an Azure Drake to the board and then Prep/Eviscerating something can instantly turn the game in your favor.
Your most important minion is going to be Violet Teacher. The 3/5 instantly commands a Swipe (once again Druid not playing minions) and will just take over the game if your opponent doesn’t have an immediate answer. If your opponent has a board you only want to get her down when you have spells, but don’t hesitate to drop her onto an empty board.
Always make sure to watch for lethal. This may seem very obvious, but it is easy to overlook when you are concerned about your own life and figuring out how to control the board. Rogues have a lot of burst at their disposal, and there are many ways you can get kills. If you have a full grip you should start every turn by checking your hand to see what damage you can do.
Late Game Strategy
At the end of the game you simply need to kill your opponent before they kill you. Druid is going to do everything they can to get you in combo range, and you need to do everything to stay out of it. Unlike some decks that try to mask their burst, everyone knows what Druid can do. They are just going to get aggressive when they have the combo in hand. Once they start hitting you in the face, you need to get aggressive to not die.
Pressure is the most important part of the end game. While you know your opponent needs to get you into range of fourteen plus whatever they have on board, Druid is not going to be sure of just how much damage you have. If you can bluff as if you have a lot of damage saved up (or even if you do have a lot of damage saved up) it forces Druid into some really awkward positions. If you are not in immediate danger of falling to the combo you should not be afraid to hit face and put your opponent on their back foot.
Also try and figure out the way you are going to kill Druid’s various late game threats. Dr. Boom is the biggest issue, but you also want to make sure you have five or six damage (in hand or on board) to kill off Druid of the Claw, Emperor Thaurissan and Ancient of Lore. Those are the cards that Druid sets up lethal with, and you need to have a plan to clear them all.
Always try to utilize Sap at all stages of the game. There are two modes for this card, which is as tempo and as a way to keep you alive. Almost all of Druid’s minions are static, meaning they need a turn to get ready. Sap is incredible against things like Piloted Shredder and a taunted Druid of the Claw, so it can be a great way to push damage during the middle turns of the game. However, if you are in danger of dying, you should use this as a pseudo removal spell instead.