Hello everyone! Stone here, this time with a new series about, well, New Old Gods Decks. Expansion was just released and it’s time to share my first thoughts and experiences.
Last night (EU got pretty screwed with the release time but one thing was great – servers didn’t lag that much since it was middle of the night!) after opening about 250 packs (funny story btw, most of my Legends came in pairs – out of 14 Legends, I’ve got 6 duplicates, lol) I’ve decided to build a few decks. And mind you – I wasn’t doing a lot of theorycrafting beforehand. I don’t like building exact decks before I can play them and really see all the options. So, with a bunch of fresh ideas and most of the cards I need I’ve started building decks. First one I’ve built and first one I want to write about is C’Thun Druid.
Last time, in TGT, I’ve made a huge mistake. I wasted time on writing full guides on each of the decks, and yet most of those guides were useless a few days later, because the meta changed, the decks changed, everything changed. So instead, I’ll write pretty short articles about Brews, more focusing on the deck building process than the strategies involved. I still invite you to play the decks I write about, because I’ve tested all of them – just have in mind that they are not completely optimized and it will take at least few days to do that, it’s impossible to make a perfect list after just a few hours of playing.
Oh, and of course – I’m playing in Standard, so every deck I’ll write about will be Standard-viable. Let’s get started!
First of all – the deck’s general theme. It’s a slower Midrange Deck with C’Thun as a finisher. A lot of the deck’s power lies within that card, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t do anything without it. In fact, most of the fast matchups are won without even seeing that card ever.
The most important thing when building a C’Thun deck is how all-in you want to go. The more Cultists you put into the deck, the better your C’Thun turn becomes and the bigger is a swing. But then again – Cultists are usually worse than other cards in the same mana slot. It means that you’re building up a disadvantage up to the moment you draw and play C’Thun. I’ve aimed at two things. First of all – to consistently hit 10 Attack on C’Thun before turn 7 (to activate Twin Emperor Vek’lor before turn 7 – that’s a big swing, especially against Aggro). And then, to be able to hit ~20 Attack in slower matchups. The maximum Attack you can realistically get in a long game is about 25 – you can get more if your Twilight Elder stays on the board for a few turns or you combo something with Brann Bronzebeard.
My choices for cultists are:
2x Disciple of C’Thun – I think it’s one of the strongest Cultists in the faster matchups. As Keeper of the Grove has proven in the past, dealing 2 damage and putting a body on the board is a pretty strong effect. Even if the body is just 2/1, it often gets 2 for 1 in faster matchups – you snipe first minion with the 2 damage Battlecry and then you trade 2/1 into something else. Even if it’s just killed by 1/1, it gained value. And +2/+2 for C’Thun is pretty big.
1x Twilight Elder – At first I ran two copies but I’ve decided to ditch one for Brann. It’s a filler for the 3 mana slot. You preferably want to play it on curve over Disciple of C’Thun if enemy has nothing on the board that’s good to hit. You just use it to fill your later turns if you have 3 mana to spend. +1/+1 per turn usually means just +1/+1, but sometimes if it sticks it can stack nicely.
2x C’Thun’s Chosen – A very important card, I feel that it’s a really solid 4-drop even if you discount the whole C’Thun thing. It kinda seems like the Shredder, in a way that you have to attack it twice to kill it and 4 attack hits back pretty hard. It’s better in slower matchups, where Divine Shield often tanks a big minion or a weapon hit, not a 1/1 like in Aggro. +2/+2 is sweet too.
2x Dark Arakkoa – Probably the reason why I’ve decided to play C’Thun in Druid. First of all – good stats – 5/7 Taunt for 6 mana is pretty much almost good enough to play even in other decks. It’s a Druid of the Claw with +1/+1/+1 stats (mana/attack/health) but with less flexibility. The main reason to play it, however, is +3/+3 to C’Thun – it’s HUGE. If you didn’t have your C’Thun at 10 before playing Dark Arakkoa, you pretty much always have it after.
1x Doomcaller – I’ve decided to run one copy because from my experience, in EU Legend I’ve played against a lot of other C’Thun decks. Which are pretty slow. Where C’thun is really huge card. Let’s say C’Thun Warrior – it’s a deck where you can easily afford to play C’Thun once, even on curve, then you play Doomcaller and shuffle it back to your deck. This card means that you can drop C’Thun as soon as he gets to like ~15 – now enemy has to deal with it. If he can’t – you’ve got a big swing turn and you win. If he can – you shuffle it back and it gets even bigger. It’s pretty weak in fast matchups, though, as it doesn’t do anything on the board instantly and it’s pretty much a vanilla 7/9 for 8 (shuffling C’Thun is useless – you probably won’t even play it once, certainly not twice). It means that it might get out if meta gets faster (or you already face a lot of Aggro Shaman let’s say).
Followers + C’Thun
Then, we have a second category – cards that benefit from C’Thun buffs, including C’Thun himself:
2x Klaxxi Amber-Weaver – I absolutely adore this card. When you get a card that you can easily play on the curve without screwing yourself, but then in certain scenarios it gets much, much better it’s already good. But here, getting C’Thun to 10 Attack is actually very simple – Sometimes I even play Klaxxi on the curve as 4/10 (Innervate Twilight Elder or C’Thun’s Chosen, then play Disciple of C’Thun and you have it) – it’s really insane. It’s a better Twilight Drake, because not only you don’t have to pass your first turns to make it big, but it’s also resilient to silence – it only reverts it to 4/5, which is still fine. Do NOT be greedy with this card – if you can play it as a 4/5 and that’s the best move, do it. I’d only keep it if I had another good move and a way to activate it in my hand.
1x Twin Emperor Vek’lor – It’s kinda a new Dr. 7, but only for C’Thun decks. It’s insane at everything it does – it puts two bodies on the board, so it can’t get taken down by one removal, the bodies are pretty big (4/6 is pretty good statline), they have Taunts (so it’s kinda an instant impact on the board) and it’s not overpriced + it’s pretty easy to activate by turn 7. That’s 8/12 of stats in 7-drop. Insanely good, I can’t see playing C’Thun decks without this card. Oh, and it COMPLETELY DESTROYS Aggro. One big body, they can Silence, maybe get through with the burn. Two? It’s almost impossible.
1x C’Thun – Cherry on the top. I didn’t realize how strong this card is until I’ve played it. When you can consistently get it to let’s say 20 Attack in slower matchups, you can use it in many different ways. If enemy has a few minions on the board – it’s pretty much a board clear. If enemy has no minions on the board, it’s a big finisher. Play it on the empty board and you push for 20 face damage. FoN + SR Combo got nerfed, we have a new “combo”. And then if enemy doesn’t die, he still has to deal with a huge body on the board. If he can’t – one hit usually means death (unless you play against 50 Armor CW, but that’s a whole different story).
1x Brann Bronzebeard – At the start I was running second Twilight Elder in that spot, but I’ve decided to try out Brann and it worked out really well. There are quite a few Brann synergies in the deck. First of all – all cultists that give stats to your C’Thun on Battlecry double it with Brann. It might not seem like a big deal, but it might help with getting to 10 Attack or making a really big C’Thun. Then, there are a few cool synergies. It has very nice combo with Disciple of C’Thun – 4 damage instead of 2 is a big deal. Klaxxi Amber-Weaver becomes 4/15 (yeah… good luck killing it without hard removal) after the Battlecry. Azure Drake draws 2 cards instead of 1. Twin Emperor Vek’lor summons another 4/6 (that’s a very good turn 10 play – you get 2/4 and 3x 4/6 on the board). It’s crazy good with Doomcaller in slower matchups, because it shuffles TWO COPIES of C’Thun into your deck. Not sure if that’s intended interaction or not, but that’s how it works. Then, the C’Thun himself. If it manages to stay alive when you have C’Thun in the hand and mana to play it next turn, well, that’s probably game over. 20 damage C’Thun means it deals a total of 40 damage with the Battlecry.
1x Keeper of the Grove – I keep one copy as a tech card. It’s kinda like a 1 more mana Disciple of C’Thun or 1 more mana Ironbeak Owl, but it gains +1 Health AND the flexibility. I didn’t put it at first, but I was sometimes missing Silence. Some Deathrattles are gone, but let’s say Sylvanas Windrunner is still a thing and some people are playing Deathrattle Rogue, where Silence is great. Then the 2 damage is still good against fast decks.
2x Azure Drake – Your main source of card draw. It’s one of the most solid neutral cards in the Classic set, okay body, card draw, spell damage – there is a lot of stuff packed into that one minion. It works really well with the Swipe, making it actually a good AoE spell in matchups other than Aggro. Synergy with Living Roots and Wrath is also something you can’t forget about, as it comes handy very often.
1x Big Game Hunter – Second nerfed card I play. Why? Because of C’Thun, mainly. I face A LOT of C’Thun decks lately. And the thing is – Druid has no way to deal with it. I mean, you can play Mulch, but it’s a card that can screw you over. I found out that even at 5 mana BGH still does it job. Yes, it’s less of a tempo swing, but that’s not a problem – if you use it on a 20/20 minion you can still say that it got enough value. It’s also good against Shaman – you counter their Flamewreathed Faceless (a really broken card if you don’t play any hard removal, btw). And it finds some other targets even outside C’Thun decks, people will probably play more 7+ Attack minions since BGH is nerfed and it can work in your favor.
2x Druid of the Claw – Pretty standard stuff in Druid. Taunt when you need it, Charge when you need it. I play it over the Crazed Worshipper, because I feel like the +1 Attack and flexibility is better and I don’t really need more C’Thun buffs.
1x The Black Knight – As I have thought, it’s a pretty cute tech card right now. And once again – C’Thun decks are big reason to play it. Druid is a popular choice for C’Thun deck and you know how good Black Knight is against it. Then, other classes often use the Crazed Worshipper and pretty much always run the Twin Emperor Vek’lor. Black Knight gets value in like half of my games and the swing is usually huge.
2x Innervate + 2x Wild Growth – Standard Druid stuff, since it wasn’t touched and it’s a pretty slow deck, there is literally zero reason to not play ramp.
1x Living Roots – Usually something to play on turn 1, a curve filler or a small removal later in the game. Running a lot of 4 Attack minions has one big disadvantage – they trade pretty poorly into 6 health ones (at 5 you can Hero Power after, but at 6 you can’t) and Living Roots is there to help with that when you need.
2x Wrath – Small removal. I considered using 2nd copy of Living Roots and only 1 Wrath, but I especially like the cycle part – Living Roots gets pretty weak in the late game, while Wrath can still be easily cycled for another card.
2x Swipe – Another standard card. It’s insane against board flood decks. Not that good in slower matchups, but it’s still the only good AoE druid has access too + it works quite well to push the last points of damage, as a single target removal or even better if you have Spell Damage on the board.
1x Nourish – One copy of Nourish to not run out of steam. Even though the deck is pretty slow and doesn’t require a lot of card draw by itself, sometimes getting a heavy ramp hand, or all your small drops and nothing big to play means that you just run out of steam. With Ancient of Lore nerfed, I’ve realized that Nourish might be a good way to go. I am still not sure, because it seems too slow sometimes, but it’s still better than Lore in my opinion. Oh, and it’s pretty cool as a ramp card with Innervate. I really like to play Coin + Innervate + Nourish on turn 2 to ramp up into turn 5 when my hand is quite expensive. You can do the same on turn 3 without Coin and Ramp into turn 6, which is also pretty cool if you lack other plays.
Summary & Alternate Cards
The deck is definitely not fully optimized yet – I’ve played only about 50 games with it so far (with 65% win rate in Legend, which is very nice) and I’ve already did some changes compared to starting list. But you are free to change whatever you want – there are a few questionable/flex cards in this deck. Let’s say Big Game Hunter – if you feel that you don’t need a way to deal with C’Thun and other big drops, you can drop it. You can also play Mulch for a higher tempo and more flexibility, at the expense of giving enemy a random minion back. Nourish can also be switched out for other card draw – the problem is that with Lore gone, Druid hasn’t got access to a lot of other good card draw outside Azure Drake. Doomcaller can also be switched out for a faster card – if you mostly face fast matchups, a second Living Roots or Twilight Elder would most likely be good.
One thing I’m also missing is healing. The truth is that the deck doesn’t really require that much healing because of all the Taunts. 2x Druid of the Claw, 2x Dark Arakkoa and Twin Emperor are usually enough to stop the aggression, but they’re 5+ drops. I’ve found out that decks like Aggro Shaman or Hunter can get you down low enough before you start to Taunt up and then finish you with burn. But with Antique Healbot gone, the only real option is Ancient of Lore, which is at best questionable pick (I’d only consider it alongside Fandral Staghelm).
Come to think about it, with a few small changes you can even put Fandral Staghelm into the deck. You already run Living Roots, Wrath, Keeper of the Grove and Druid of the Claw. Maybe 2 more “choose ones” and it should be enough to justify Fandral. Come to think about it, playing Fandral could also make the lack of healing problem go away, as you would be able to play either Lore or the new Feral Rage, both of which restore health. If I start facing more Aggro decks, I’ll definitely try it out.
That’s all folks! There are still a lot of things to test out – both in this decks and outside of it. Talking about it – what would YOU like to read about next? I’ll consider every suggestion and if I don’t get any, I’ll just brew something myself.
I hope that you’ve liked it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the section below!