Portal Druid Guide: Enter the Moonglade

Hey guys, Abhimannu here to present you yet another Druid deck. It’s a mid range build that has lots of high value minions and enough sustain to get you to the lategame. It has been doing quite well for me on the EU ladder and I am using it right now for my grind to […]

Hey guys, Abhimannu here to present you yet another Druid deck. It’s a mid range build that has lots of high value minions and enough sustain to get you to the lategame. It has been doing quite well for me on the EU ladder and I am using it right now for my grind to legend. It’s a variation of Yogg Druid with plenty of lategame power and instead of going for the Token style build I decided to push in a bit more ramp and cycle to get to our explosive lategame instead while having all the defensive tools you need. You have Arcane Giant, medivh-the-guardian and yogg-saron-hopes-end for the lategame while cards like Druid of the Claw, Moonglade Portal and Ancient of War help you keep your health pool safe versus any aggressive deck.

Card Highlights

Here are some of the key cards that define the deck and set it apart from other Druid decks. We have all become accustomed to the bread and butter removals like Wrath, Swipe, Living Roots and classic Druid inclusions like Wild Growth and Innervate. Instead of going through them all I would like to talk about the notable inclusions and how they shape the deck.

Moonglade Portal

One of the best portal cards in One Night in Karazhan has to be Moonglade Portal. One of the biggest concerns Druid has as a class is that even though they do have some fringe methods of healing they are not efficient in terms of tempo gain or simply don’t do enough to keep you alive. Moonglade Portal fits right into both Miracle Druid and slower Yogg Druid decks like ours because you not only get that extra health but the average 6 drop is quite good. If we break down the current 6 drops that exist in Standard we come with the following information.

  • 53 possible outcomes in Standard
  • 5 minions have Taunt (e.g. Dark Arrakoa and Sunwalker). This also includes Hogger.
  • 6 minions have Deathrattle (e.g. Sylvanas Windrunner, Savannah Highmane)
  • 2 minions have Charge (Argent Commander and Reckless Rocketeer)
  • Average stat line: 4.92 Attack / 5.11 Health
  • Worst Outcome: Corrupted Seer
  • 26 minions have some sort of effect (e.g Emperor Thaurissan, Kodorider)

So on an average you will be paying 6 mana for a quick heal of 6 HP and a 5/5 body which is quite good and if you end up dropping a Sunwalker or even a Bolf Ramshield you can stay out of lethal range for a turn or 2 if you are too far behind. So why should you play Moonglade Portal? When I first saw the card, I thought it was a cool card but taunts just get the job done better in many cases and prevent you from  dying to minions. But what about classes that have burst? Taunts do not do much if your opponent just throws a Fireball or Kill Command at your face. Another reason why I wanted to extensively test the card is the dominance of Dragon Warrior. Being above 15 health is a big deal in the matchup because of Drakonid Crusher. The card has helped me avoid opponent Crushers from becoming 9/9s and leave me with no way to deal with them. Another thing that I’ve factored in is that it doesn’t have to be a reactive play, you can freely use the card whenever you want to heal up your hero or just keep something like an Ancient of War from dying since you are going to generate a 5/5 body on an average anyway. The best part is about half the time the minions have some sort of effect attached and even when they don’t you can drop things like Boulderfist Ogre which are great vanilla minions. There also isn’t much variation in the stats between the outcomes and there are plenty of high value minions so it doesn’t feel as random and the results from the portal are mostly consistent since a majority of the minions are concentrated in the 5/5 stat line range.

Medivh, The Guardian

The deck follows the Yogg Druid play style which we have all become accustomed too. This particular deck is highly anti-aggro and you also have the ability to churn out some high tempo late game plays against control decks as well. Medivh is exceptional in the deck and if you save your portals you can keep the pressure going against any deck. There are times when I just use my 4+ mana spells one after another in conjunction with Atiesh and opponents ger hard pressed due to the pressure he brings to the table. Medivh doesn’t feel slow at all since you easily deal with early game threats and ease into the mid game easily. Also, if there are high threat minions at 1-2 HP feel free to use one charge of the staff instead of waiting for value.

Arcane Giant

You have 17 spells in the deck that allow you to ramp up, draw cards or deal with threats. All of them can be used flexibly and they make your Arcane Giant become cheap quite fast. The card is a big threat on its own and if you manage to get hard removal used on it then your Ancient of Wars become a lot more effective since removals get expended on it. It is a really solid card and the fact that Raven Idol and Wild Growth (at 10 mana) manage to cycle themselves to get you even more spells, makes the inclusion of this card  a lot more relevant. You will be surprised to see how early your can drop them considering how many ramp tools you have as well as cheap spells that deal with aggressive minions.

Yogg Saron, Hope’s End

It is one of the key cards in this deck but it is not a finisher. The card fits perfectly into Druid decks because of the number of cheap spells that you have. It is not a win condition by itself but it can do some really crazy things if you are behind and need something desperate from him to win you the game. People might love it or hate it (I am not a fan of Yogg myself) but I cannot deny that the card does its job more often than not and it has won me games I had no job winning.

Fandral Staghelm

You have 14 cards that work with Fandral Staghelm in the game and there are times it just wins you the game if you manage to pull off something crazy. It feels overpowered at times when it gets going and sometimes he’s just a 4 mana 3/5. Dropping him on 4 versus aggressive decks is almost never incorrect because they will deal with it no matter what and it’s also worth taking a few risks sometimes hoping he does not get removed because hoarding it in your hand in faster matchups only gets you behind. In matchups like Control Warrior or Priest it is advisable to get the most value out of the card since you are starved for cards in these matchups due to the high number of removals Warrior and Priest have to deal with most of your threats.

Card replacements

Bloodmage Thalnos: If you do not have a Bloodmage Thalnos I recommend you add a second Azure Drake. Thalnos works wonders in the deck because the early game Living Roots, Wrath or  a turn 6 Swipe with the boosted damage means a lot compared to what a Drake provides you. You also get to cycle the card if you drop it because people deal with it to avoid the card from snowballing and helping you clear all their threats with the extra spell damage.

Mulch: You can add a second Feral Rage over Mulch for the health gain and removal options.

Ancient of War: Bog Creeper is a fine replacement for the card and it is also a Common, making it a true budget replacement.

Fandral Staghelm: You can sub in Fandral for Violet Teacher or a Doomsayer if you are facing too many aggro decks while in a slower meta you are better off running a high threat minion like Sylvanas Windrunner or Emperor Thaurissan.

Yogg Saron, Hope’s End: Any lategame threat works if you do not have Yogg. A card like ragnaros-the-firelord or Cenarius works fine. If you have League of Explorers you can also add Elise Starseeker which is a viable option versus control matchups where you have lots of dead cards in hand.

Mulligans and Tips

  • You always want to keep Wild Growth, Wrath, Living Roots and Innervate (if you see potential plays).
  • If you have Wild Growth into Mire Keeper into a big drop for turn 6, keep the hand.
  • Do not coin out Wild Growth unless you have a strong turn 3 play.
  • Do not get greedy with Medivh when you play him. If you need to play cheap spells, play cheap spells to remove threats instead of waiting to get big combos out.
  • Uproot your Ancient of War versus Priest if they do not have board control. If it is going to be removed with their hard removal it doesn’t matter what the stat line is. It is also advisable to go for the Uproot if your opponent is starved for cards and you are dominating on board.
  • Be careful with Innervate turns, if you know you can drop down something big early on but you do not have the cards to follow up your turns then I advise planning your turns better. You do not want to drop a turn 4 Ancient of War and then hero power for 3 turns with a dead hand.
  • Do not play Living Roots as saplings versus Tempo Mage because of the number of 2 HP threats they have.
  • Use Moonglade Portal for tempo if you need to, do not wait for getting the full heal effect if you do not have any other efficient play.
  • Feel free to pressure your opponent if they are behind by charging Druid of the Claw to their face.
  • Do not play Yogg if you are ahead on board, and it’s better to trade off minions as much as possible to reduce the number of minions on the board on your opponent’s side first before dropping him.
  • If you do not see any outs in games you are behind feel free to use cards like Mire Keeper and Nourish to get to Yogg Saron if he is in your hand. Ramping on turn 7 or 8 is fine if you know you have to play him to get out of trouble.

Playing the deck

You mostly want to get ahead of the mana curve by using your ramp tools while using your early game removal spells. You can curve perfectly sometimes through Wild Growth and Mire Keeper and drop one threat after another. You can also take a defensive approach and keep removing threats until you have exhausted them. You have enough health gain possibilities through Feral Rage and Moonglade Portal and also have enough minion pressure to keep chipping at your opponent’s health pool. Understanding your win condition is essential because it varies from game to game. Against decks like Tempo Mage you can just be defensive and exhaust them of their resources and put them into topdeck mode while in matchups like Aggro Shaman you want to remove early threats and ramp into your taunts instead of constantly using your removals because they have enough threats push you back. Make changes when necessary and consider teching your deck based on your matchups.

Ladder experience and Closing thoughts

This is just like any other Yogg Druid deck except you do not run Violet Teachers and go in for a more Ramp style build and have lots of heals and taunts and push out late game threats to close out the games. I used the deck to get to Rank 4 on EU so far and I will be using it for the grind to Legend this season. There are no replacements I want to make in the immediate future. If you want to add any tech cards then Doomsayer, Harrison Jones and Baron Geddon are decent choices depending on what your matchups are.

If you need to know anything else let me know in the comments below and I will help you out. Hope you have fun with the deck and climb those ranks easily!