Anytime you play a popular deck on ladder, you are going to run into mirror matches. Understanding those matches is very important because it helps you understand your own deck. By playing against your list you get to see which cards are powerful, which cards are weak, as well as the your own strengths and weaknesses. This will then help you plan for other matchups and help you recognize any vulnerabilities. In this guide, we will break down the mirror match for Yogg Druid.
When playing Yogg Druid there are many small tweaks that you can make to the core list. Yes, the deck has to have the usual range of token cards and ramp spells but there is a lot of variation on the fringes. For example, some versions run more finishers, while others play more removal and card draw. Some decks lower the curve to deal with aggro and some depend on midrange threats to fight control. Each versions has its strengths and weaknesses, and you always want to tune yours to fit the decks you play against the most. To help you get started, the stock list has been put up on the side.
When mulliganing against Druid, ramp is by far the most important factor. Look for all of your ramp early and try your best to build off of it as quickly as you can. For example, keeping a Wild Growth and Mire Keeper to get two extra crystals on turn three. Those type of explosive starts are how you get out front. Beyond that, small early game removal can be kept alongside ramp.
Cards to KeepInnervate Living Roots Raven Idol Wrath Wild Growth
Mulch is solid if you have other good starting cards.
Mire Keeper can be kept with early ramp.
Nourish is a strong keep if you have the ramp to play it early.
How to Win
Though this game is Yogg Druid vs. Yogg Druid, you really want to treat it as ramp vs. ramp. Each deck runs a full six ramp cards, and those cards build to some of the best starts in the game. In that way, all that matters is getting to your extra mana crystals and playing your threats before your opponent does. Druid has never been good at dealing with full boards or gigantic minions, and Yogg is no exception. You need to do your best in this game to take board first. This will force your opponent to be reactive and keep you in control.
The other way to win this game is through a large board. Druid has little to no AOE, and the only good mass clear your opponent is going to have is Azure Drake/Swipe (which doesn’t come down until turn nine). You should spend this game doing your best to set up a big turn on an empty board. That means something like Cenarius, Onyxia or going all-in with Violet Teacher. Those type of plays usually put you so far ahead your opponent will have no chance to comeback.
Early Game Strategy
You want to do two things during the early stages of this game, which are ramp and play minions. Your opponent is going to be on the same plan so this is all going to come down who can use their mana crystals to get some type of board presence first. Once you get ahead on your board your opponent is going to spend most of their time clearing instead of playing their more threats. You can then build that presence each turn.
Do no hesitate to Innervate out an early body. Even if you cannot get immediate value from Violet Teacher or Fandral Staghelm, it often is important to put something of value on the board. As noted, Druid has a very hard time dealing with any threat. Though they may have something like Wrath/Living Roots ready, those type of plays run your opponent low on cards.
Always prioritize ramp over everything else. Though removal can help you take out early pushes, you need to get your mana crystals as soon as you can. Killing your opponent’s Living Roots or playing your own Living Roots is never worth getting extra man in the bank. This also goes for Raven Idol, which counts as early ramp.
If you have no good turn two play, playing Power of the Wild as a 3/2 Panther is almost always better than using your hero power. The only exception to that is when facing down Living Roots.
Note: Raven Idol early on should be used for a spell to get ramp or removal.
The middle turns are going to set up the all-important late game, but they can also be the late game. The reason for that is two fold. One, you and your opponent have access to ramp cards, and two, the games can often just end during these turns. As Druid cannot do much against a full board you never want to hesitate to go all-in on all of your best combo cards and play as many tokens as possible.
Violet Teacher is the strongest card in this match. Always count your opponent’s removal and see if you have a window to play her. Any chance you can put her down, whether you have an immediate combo or not, you should. If she lives, the game is going to rapidly fall into your favor. In the same vein, commit any resources you need to clear your opponent’s teacher.
If you do not have a buff spell in your hand, you should always try to play around Swipe[/card]. The four mana removal can really set back any token build you get. The way to play around it is to test for it as best you can. This usually means just making one or two tokens and then seeing how your opponent reacts. If they don’t bite, you are usually safe to further your presence.
Play to your Innervates as best as you can. This continues on theme of big minions, but you need to be the one to get to your later game before your opponent does. If you have an Innervate in hand, try and see how big you can use it. This will help you move quickly and push faster than your opponent does.
Understand the best way to play Nourish. Some games you want to build to your mana crystals, while in others the card advantage is much more important. The overall rule with the five cost spell is to only use the ramp if you get there much earlier than your opponent or if you are ramping towards something. Just gaining mana crystals to gain them is often worse than cards, especially if you have a weak card. However, a turn six Cenarius is worth the ramp.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is going to be about damage and big minions. Both players have some very heavy finishers, and you need to try to set yours up before your opponent can. Now, reading what exact minion your opponent has is tricky. Every Yogg Druid runs some big finishers, but they differ from list to list. Onyxia and Cenarius compete for the ninth spot, and some lists pack Ragnaros the Firelord or double Ancient of War.
Play to your Yogg, but also be careful to watch out for your opponent’s. The 7/5 is usually going to draw cards and clear the board. That can be very good for whoever plays the Old God, and a disaster for your opponent. You only want to go all in on the ten drop when you’re behind, but don’t pull the trigger once you lose the board.
If you ever get ahead during these turns you want to push as hard as you can. Controlling the board is important for most of the game, but Druid has little to no AOE options. Flood when you can and try to force your opponent on the back foot since there are very little catch-up mechanisms between these two decks.
Always watch out for your opponent’s Savage Roar. Though it is just a one of, the card can rapidly end a lot of games. It is easy to get caught up the ramp nature o the match, but you never want to get caught off guard.