MUA: Reno Paladin vs Aggro Druid

Hi! I’m Asmodeus, Hearthstone coach and author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Welcome to another episode of Reno Paladin matchup analysis. Today we’re taking on Aggro Druid. Druid is a very popular class due to it’s versatility and ability to climb the ladder fast, especially with the aggro variant, so understanding this matchup […]

Introduction

Hi! I’m Asmodeus, Hearthstone coach and author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Welcome to another episode of Reno Paladin matchup analysis. Today we’re taking on Aggro Druid.

Druid is a very popular class due to it’s versatility and ability to climb the ladder fast, especially with the aggro variant, so understanding this matchup will be very helpful. You’re bound to encounter some aggro druids and I’m here to teach you the way to beat them.

Decklist

We’re using the standard ladder decklist from previous guides, so lets identify some crucial cards that will play a large role in this matchup.

First of all, we have defensive tools like the aldor-peacekeeper which can stop a big threat played early through the power of innervate. Preventing that early damage as soon as possible is very important because otherwise you might have a hard time getting on the board and fighting enemy threats with your own minions.

deathlord and consecration will take care of the small minions which druid is likely to summon at the start of the game. The damage from saplings and druid-of-the-saber adds up very quickly if you don’t deal with them.

As with any aggro matchup, if you keep the enemy board under control and manage to play reno-jackson they will need something incredible to steal that win from you. Healing for around 20 health while developing a good minion is going to be the nail in the coffin for your opponent fairly often. If not, then at least it buys you a lot of time to use your superior cards and gain the advantage during turns where you actually have enough mana to play them.

Matchup Overview

Reno Paladin vs Aggro Druid can be a very explosive matchup. Sometimes you will get blown up in few turns if druid gets his tempo cards and threats aligned together and you don’t draw the appropriate response. The other end of the spectrum is you stopping all and any efforts of the druid player to deal damage to you and anything he managed to squeeze through you just heal up with a big reno-jackson that forces your enemy to start all over again… except this time he has only 1 card in his hand.

Playing against any druid deck these days requires you to also watch out for force-of-nature+savage-roar. The games against an aggro druid tend to be so fast that he’ll start running out of cards way before turn 9, he also has a good chance to bring you down to 14 or less health very early in the game. Remember that he needs a two card combo to cast it on turn 9 and a three card combo, if we include innervate, to cast it on turn 7. Before those turns you’re actually pretty safe and can focus more on reclaiming the board control and heal right before your opponent can actually push for lethal.

Mulligan

Choosing your cards against an aggro druid is all about getting the tools to control the board early. You will want something to deal with darnassus-aspirant as quickly as you can and the only expensive card you can consider saving is reno-jackson.

  • Cards to keep: zombie-chowshielded-minibotflame-jugglerhaunted-creeperknife-jugglerdeathlordaldor-peacekeepermuster-for-battle, mind-control-techconsecration
  • If you already have at least one minion for turns 1-3: reno-jacksonbig-game-hunterkeeper-of-uldaman
  • If you already have a 2-drop or a 3-drop with the-coin: coghammer
  • If you have at least 2 cards for turns 1-4: truesilver-championantique-healbot

Early game strategy

Early game is when druid has the biggest advantage. The combination of cheap and aggressive minions, such as leper-gnome or knife-juggler with added tempo from innervate and darnassus-aspirant means that the druid player will be able to build his board very quickly. How soon you can deal with it, can be the determining factor for the outcome of the match.

Your priority should be trying to remove darnassus-aspirant and affect the board state as much as you can. For example, if you have nothing to play on turn 3 but you could coin out a spellbreaker then go for it. Putting 4/3 stats on the board is better than just using hero power and creating a 1/1, regardless if you silence something useful or not. You need every little bit of power to deal with the early game. Don’t be afraid to “waste” your cards in the early game, you can’t lose this match in terms of card disadvantage or not having enough value. All that matters is surviving the rush.

Mid game strategy

Mid game is where you can start gaining some ground in terms of board control. Druid will still be contesting it but most of his work has been done in the early game and now he’s just waiting until he can use force-of-nature+savage-roar combo.

Don’t be afraid to use weapons to fight for the board control, as long as you still have time to heal up before his combo turn you will be fine. If you’re above 14 hp and the druid used at least one innervate you should be safe if you just keep his side of the board empty. If you don’t have any way to heal yourself above that threshold or put a Taunt on the board you should see if you can kill your enemy soon, since that will also give him less time to try and draw his finishing combo.

Late game strategy

Late game in this matchup is nearly nonexistent because you’ll be either dead or the druid will simply concede when he realizes he will not be able to burst you down. Sometimes however, the druid player will stick around and try to draw a lucky combination of cards to try and steal the game. In this situation you need to be very mindful of your defensive tools. Keep yourself high on HP, clear enemy board to stay safe while planning for your own lethal in the future and save additional taunts for the right time.

If you have no more Taunt in your deck you should try to save your consecration. Druid player might attempt to set up a couple of Stealth minions like shade-of-naxxramas and if you can’t deal with them or heal to full with reno-jackson you might find yourself in a desperate situation with no answers, so be mindful of that.

Try to keep track of enemy cards which have already been used. Combo pieces, charge minions and innervate are the most important cards to remember.

Additional tips

  • Prioritize killing darnassus-aspirant
  • Keep track of enemy cards, especially force-of-naturesavage-roar and innervate
  • If you’re killing a fel-reaver, make sure to play other cards you’d play this turn, before you kill him, to burn more cards from your opponent’s deck
  • If you can use something else instead then try to keep consecration and baron-geddon in your hand to deal with Stealth minions

Good luck in your games and see you next time!


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