This is the “Mulligan, Alternate & Tech Cards” part of the guide. If you’re interested in Card Choices, Tips & Tricks, check out the General part of the guide. For other Token Druid guides, check out the Token Druid section.
Mulligan with the deck is pretty easy. The most important thing you need to worry about is the curve. You don’t want dead turns (Hero Power + pass) in the early game. Mulligan is actually much easier when going second, because not only you have 4 cards to choose from, but also a Coin to fix the curve. Still, no matter whether you go first or second, there are a couple of cards you always want to keep. Since the deck has a rather low curve, it’s pretty easy to get the early drops, so you don’t need to keep all of them. Having a 2-drop into 3-drop into 4-drop is probably the best start you can have (not including Innervate starts).
Innervate – This card is always a keep. It helps with your curve and you’re always gonna find a use for it. Either getting out something earlier, having a good tempo play (e.g. you can play your minion and Innervate out Wrath to kill their) or to combo it with Violet Teacher. One Innervate is enough, though, so if you get two, throw one away. The only situation I’d consider keeping 2x Innervate in is when you’re going second and you have Ancient of Lore in your hand – you can get it out on turn 2, which is a rather strong play (and you nullify the card disadvantage you get from using Innervates by two draws).
Living Roots – I’d keep this in most of the matchups. The only one I don’t like it in is Warrior – 2x 1/1 lose to Cruel Taskmaster, Armorsmith, Unstable Ghoul and Acolyte of Pain. 2 damage is pretty useless too. In all other popular matchups, I think it’s a keep – either for two 1/1’s or for the 2 damage.
Power of the Wild – Keep if you don’t have other 2-drops (or you have other 2-drop with Coin). With smooth curve and other 2-drops in my hand, I’d toss it away. Unlike your other 2-drops, it can get a lot of value later in the game because of the buff. But if you have no other turn 2 play, the 3/2 for 2 is not bad.
Wrath – Keep in the faster matchups, throw away in slower ones. In fast matchups, you can play a little more reactive and having a way to deal with Knife Juggler is always nice. In slower, however, you prefer minions. If you already have a minion 2-drop, you can also keep the Wrath, because even in slower matchups it sometimes gets the value. But you definitely don’t want to skip the turn 2.
Darnassus Aspirant – Keep against any deck. Actually it’s probably the card you mulligan for. Not only it’s an early drop, but if enemy finds no answer, it allows you to ramp up. A great 2 in 1 – against fast decks mainly played for the body, whereas against slow decks for the ramp portion.
Haunted Creeper – If it’s your only 2-drop – keep it no matter what. But you generally prefer the Darnassus Aspirant. Haunted Creeper is 100% keep against fast decks, however. You can throw it away against Warrior and Priest – not only it doesn’t trade well, it can feed them cards thanks to the Northshire Cleric (Priest) and Acolyte of Pain (Warrior).
Harvest Golem – Keep. It’s your only real 3-drop (unless you draw Innervate + 5-drop) and it’s so much better to play it on curve instead of playing the 2-drop and floating 1 mana. Sometimes you skip turn 3 by having Darnassus Aspirant on the board, but even then you can’t bank on Aspirant always surviving. Harvest Golem is decent against both faster and slower decks.
Swipe – Keep against Paladin and maybe Hunter if you have good curve. Throw against all others. Against Paladin, it’s your best bet to counter the 2-drop into Muster for Battle. It gets a lot of value in the matchup. In other matchup it might get some value later, but sometimes you don’t have a good opportunity to use it until late game, so you don’t want a dead card in your hand.
Keeper of the Grove – Keep in the matchups where you need early 2 damage / Silence. It means it’s a keep in every fast matchup (Hunter, Paladin, Zoo Warlock) and in certain slow matchups (Handlock, possibly Priest if you have a good curve). If your hand really sucks and you desperately look for early drops, you can throw it away even in faster matchups. Having a 2-drop is more important than Keeper of the Grove UNLESS you have an Innervate – then you can use it as a 2-drop.
Violet Teacher – Keep with Darnassus Aspirant (going first) or Innervate (going first/second). Also a keep if you get a smooth curve – e.g. 2-drop into 3-drop into Violet Teacher. If your curve is bad and you don’t have ramp, don’t risk and throw it away.
Azure Drake / Druid of the Claw – If you go first, keep with a 2-drop and Innervate. This way you can play 2-drop on turn 2 and then follow it up with Innervate + 5-drop. If you go second, you can keep them with just an Innervate, so you can get it out on turn 2 thanks to the Coin.
Savage Roar and Force of Nature are your combo pieces so you want to draw into them a little later. Don’t keep them in your opening hand.
Ancient of Lore and Dr. Boom are too big to keep them. Only if you go second and draw 2x Innervate alongside them, you can keep them to get them out on turn 2. Dr. Boom is however really risky and if enemy plays Big Game Hunter that play can throw away the game as early as turn 3. If it works, however, you can usually win the game around turn 5. High risk, high reward play.
Alternate & Tech Cards
The current build was tested a lot this season and I can assure you that it works. But! Maybe you don’t have certain cards? Maybe you want to try a different strategy? Maybe you want to tech against some meta decks? Here is the answer, a list of cards you can put into your deck:
Argent Squire is probably the best 1-drop you can throw into the deck. First, it’s awesome when it comes to controlling the board early. It trades favorably with the aggressive 1-drops (Leper Gnome, Southsea Deckhand, Abusive Sergeant), making it a great choice in Aggro-heavy meta. It’s sticky – enemy often has to use a lot of resources to get rid of it. Since it sticks into the board, it’s great when doing the Power of the Wild and Savage Roar combos. Divine Shield is also important – buffing minions with Divine Shields “doubles” the buff’s effect – thanks to the Power of the Wild you can change it to the Shielded Minibot, which is one of the best 2-drops in the game.
The only problem with Argent Squire is that it’s hard to fit more 1-drops into the deck, so unless the meta is really Aggro-heavy, you choose between this and the Living Roots. And while Argent Squire has some advantages over the spell, I honestly think that Living Roots is just better in most of scenarios. You don’t want too many 1-drops because even though you play aggressive style, you often get into the late-game scenarios, and topdecking a 1-drop in the late game is really soul crushing.
The thing is – you don’t want too much ramp in this deck – you simply don’t need it. So it’s a choice between Wild Growth and Darnassus Aspirant.
Wild Growth is a safe option. You cast it – you have +1 mana. Enemy can’t take it away from you. Also, in the late-game scenario, when you’re already at 10 mana and you’re looking for lethal or a way out of certain situation, Darnassus Aspirant is a rather bad topdeck. Wild Growth, on the other hand, can just cycle and get you closer to what you need.
Darnassus Aspirant’s main strength is that it has a body. 2/3 for 2 is average, but still you get something on the board. It’s much better against Aggro decks (because it can trade with something and serve as vanilla 2-drop) or if enemy has no way to remove it (then it’s basically the Wild Growth + body).
I think that Darnassus Aspirant is a better choice in this deck. If you think Wild Growth is better, go for it. You can also try including one of each or 2+1 if you want to ramp up more consistently. But I advise against going 2 of each, especially in Token Druid.
Druid of the Saber
Druid of the Saber is a rather interesting minion. What’s great about it is the flexibility, like with a lot of other Druid cards.
When you need a Bluegill Warrior – you can use it as another early game removal (alongside Living Roots and Wrath). Let’s say enemy plays Knife Juggler and you have no answer – you can just get 1 for 1 trade. The Charge option also combos nicely with Savage Roar. As an alternative to the standard Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo you can go for let’s say 2x Druid of the Saber + Savage Roar for 7 mana – 10 damage. You can also fit him into the Druid of the Claw + Savage Roar turn, for a total of 12 damage for 10 mana. It’s not your main condition, obviously, but the 4 instant damage can make the difference.
The second option is putting it in Stealth. A 3/2 minion in Stealth is a rather good one. First of all, you can play it on turn 2 (or turn 1 with Coin) and enemy can’t remove it (besides niche spells like Flamecannon). If played in the early game, it has one guaranteed attack. Later in the game, enemy also has hard time dealing with it besides the AoE (and normal 3/2 would also die this way, so no difference). You can set it up before the Savage Roar turn for an additional minion = 5 damage. For example, setting it up before FoN + Savage Roar combo means that you get a total of 19 damage instead of 14. Something every deck has to respect.
It’s basically a strictly better version of the Panther (from Power of the Wild), but obviously Power of the Wild is mainly used as a buff in this deck.
The only buff you run in this deck is Power of the Wild, so Echoing Ooze‘s purpose aren’t the buff shenanigans (you don’t run Mark of the Wild for example). While, obviously, the fact that it can be buffed to 2x 2/3 with Power of the Wild on the later turns is a nice bonus, the most important thing about this card is that it comes with 2 bodies.
First let’s think what we should throw out to put it in. That would probably be a Haunted Creeper – they both serve similar purposes. The difference is that Haunted Creeper has more overall value (3 bodies vs 2 bodies) but it needs to die in order to get it (and can get Silenced). Echoing Ooze gets the value instantly, but is slightly worse. Both of those make sense in the deck and it’s up to you to decide which one is better.
When it comes to Echoing Ooze in general, playing 1/2 + 1/2 instead of let’s say 2/3 is good because it has nice synergy with the Savage Roar. It’s also harder to deal with and more annoying most of time – enemy has to attack into it two times. It’s also phenomenal against Aggro decks – against it can kill two small drops or one 2-drop.
The biggest disadvantage of this card is that it sucks against 2/3’s. Enemy plays Mechwarper or Darnassus Aspirant and you have to run both bodies in + Hero Power it. It also doesn’t trade too well with the Shielded Minibot. Comparing it to Haunted Creeper, it’s less resistant against AoE’s. When Haunted Creeper’s first body gets AoE’d, you still get two 1/1’s. Here you are left with nothing.
I prefer the Creepers, but I can see a reason why someone would run Echoing Oozes instead.
If you have a more aggressive approach to the deck, you can include the Knife Juggler. That minion’s effect can be REALLY strong in this deck. Since you flood the board and summon a lot of stuff, having Knife Juggler on the board can be really beneficial.
Living Roots can summon 2x 1/1 AND be like a mini-Arcane Missiles (2 instead of 3 hits) while you have the Juggler on the board.
Running Haunted Creeper into something while you have Knife Juggler means two more random points of damage. It’s awesome when doing early trades, some lucky knives can win you the game. Harvest Golem is similar, but in this case it’s only 1 dagger – still better than nothing.
Violet Teacher combos can turn Knife Juggler into a machine gun. Summoning 3-4 tokens is really common when you have Violet Teacher on the board.
There are also some more expensive combos you’re not gonna use that often, but they exist. You can combo Knife Juggler with Force of Nature for 3 knives (something like Knife Juggler + Muster for Battle on steroids). On the empty board it means you push for 3 more damage, which is another way to gain additional points of damage in late game. When you play Dr. Boom with Knife Juggler on the board, you also throw 3 knives and 3 random damage is not bad.
Overall, if you want to take a more aggressive approach – Knife Juggler is a great include.
Even though you already have 4 card draws, if you get a really fast start you can often run out of steam too early. Thanks to the Loot Hoarders, you might get another way to cycle through your deck.
Good thing about Loot Hoarder is that it doesn’t even have to get a lot of value to be okay – it cycles itself, and cycling is pretty beneficial for you even if it dies “for free” (e.g. enemy Hero Powers it). And against classes that can’t ping with Hero Power, it’s often gonna trade with something, which is even better. Against Warrior it can bait a Fiery War Axe‘s charge and still deal 2 damage. Against Hunter or Zoo Warlock it can kill small drop and draw you a card.
Generally a pretty strong option if you want to make the deck more cycle-heavy. If you find yourself running out of cards too often, you can add Loot Hoarders to have more consistent draws. The problem with Loot Hoarder vs other card draws in your deck is that Loot Hoarder’s effect is a Deathrattle. You usually won’t get the card sooner than next turn (unless you let’s say kill it with Wrath to cycle 2 cards) and the effect can be Silenced, unlike the other two. So it’s a really underwhelming if you topdeck it in the late game when you need the cards right now and can’t wait another turn.
Big Game Hunter
Big Game Hunter is probably the most common tech card in the game. It’s an awesome tempo swing against slower decks in the late game. Not only you get rid of their big minion for 3 mana, but you also put a 4/2 body on the board. We all know how strong BGH is.
But the question is – is he good in this deck? The answer is yes and no. Against Aggro he’s weak and that’s a rather obvious thing. And against slower decks, you aim to finish the game BEFORE they start throwing the big guys on the board. When they finally get to late game, clear your board and drop the bombs, you want them to be in the combo range or dead already.
Sometimes BGH can give you big enough swing to win the game you wouldn’t have won otherwise. But generally I’m not sure if he’s good enough. I’d definitely include it if there were a lot of Handlocks in the meta – you have no other answer for the Turn 4 Mountain Giant, so BGH would come in handy.
Other than that, if you face a lot of slow decks you can tech it in. If you don’t, I think it’s not necessary.
It’s kinda a meta call right now. With Paladin being so popular and Shielded Minibot being one of the hardest 2-drops to deal with, Blood Knight might be a perfect answer. Not only you take away the Shield, but you also make a 6/6 minion for 3 mana. That’s a great tempo swing and exactly what you need against Paladin (doesn’t matter what archetype he plays). Besides the Shielded Minibot, Paladins sometimes run cards like Argent Protector, Coghammer and Tirion Fordring – Blood Knight once again makes dealing with those easier. Generally a very good tech in Paladin-heavy meta.
Blood Knight is also good against Mech decks, or rather any decks that run Annoy-o-Tron. Also Aggro decks (including Face Hunter) seem to occasionally run the Argent Squire or Argent Horserider.
All in all, it’s a pretty solid tech. But to make it even more solid, you can actually add Argent Squire into your own deck to make it usable in the late game. Generally you don’t care that much about the Divine Shield on your 1/1 in the later turns, but having a 6/6 and 1/1 for 4 mana is a great tempo play.
Druid of the Flame/Shade of Naxxramas
The 3-drop choice. When it comes to standard, non-tech 3-drops, you have three choices. The one I’ve decided to include is Harvest Golem, but others are:
Druid of the Flame – This one is a pretty strong when it comes to 3-drops. The form of choice would usually be the Fire Hawk (2/5). It trades favorably into all popular 1-drops and 2-drops. Great against Aggro, it can take out up to 3 small drops. 5 health is out of range of all the early game removals. It’s a really solid early game minion. But, if you really need to, you can also play it in a Firecat form (5/2). It’s definitely not a turn 3 play because it’s too easy to remove. But later in the game, when enemy is already out of small removals and/or AoE, playing it as a 5/2 might put much more pressure and trade favorably with higher drops. When your 3-drop can trade into enemy 5-drop or 6-drop, you gain a lot of tempo this way. A solid minion. Compared to Harvest Golem, it’s probably better early game, but the good thing about Harvest Golem is that it’s more sticky later in the game. 2/5 takes only one hit from the bigger minion to remove and 5/2 takes only a small removal. Harvest Golem on the other hand has to be removed twice to really get rid of it. So you’re losing the ability to threaten 5 damage with Firecat form, but you gain the Deathrattle that makes it more sticky.
Shade of Naxxramas is a staple in Midrange Druid. The reason is it can sit for a long time in the Stealth and then threaten a lot of damage. It gives you one more Savage Roar minion, so it’s able to push for a lot with your combo turn. Thanks to the Shade, you’re able to get 20+ damage combo turns. You can also use it to get good trades once it grows a little. So in theory, it should also be good in Token Druid. And yeah, it’s good, but not great. The thing about this deck is that you need to get early board control. You’re using your small drops to trade, you can’t afford to put Shade in Stealth and just wait 5+ turns with it. And if you play it on turn 3, on turn 4 it’s just a 3/3 minion. It’s almost impossible to get good trades with it – even killing a 2/1 means it’s at 1 health, so vulnerable to anything. If you get a great start and manage to keep it in Stealth, then it’s really good. Revealing it when it’s 5/5 or bigger makes it really strong. But Harvest Golem is a much safer option – even though it doesn’t have such a big potential, it gets much better early game trades.
You don’t have too much room for 3-drops so you probably have to decide between one of those three. Maybe you can put 3 in total, but probably not more than that.
Soul of the Forest
Soul of the Forest is a hit or miss. The problem with the card is that if you don’t have big enough board presence, it sucks. With up to 2 minions on the board, it’s bad. It starts getting good with 3-4 minions, getting crazy value with 5 or more. Yes, it’s rather easy to flood the board with this deck, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. If enemy plays a deck that puts a heavy emphasis on clearing the board, he’s not gonna leave you with so many minions.
On the other hand, if it works, it can win you the game. It makes all your small 1/1 tokens so much stronger. Having a full board of small minions that spawn other small minions on the death is like a dream for this deck. It’s much easier to get Power of the Wild and Savage Roar value. Enemy needs not one, but two AoEs to get rid of all of them, which is usually very hard to get.
If you want to include it, it’s definitely a one-of. Getting two of those in the row on a 5+ minions board means you’d just win the game, but that’s highly unlikely and oftentimes it’s gonna be a dead card.
An ultimate card draw engine. If you run out of steam, that’s probably the best answer for the problem you’re gonna get. With so many small tokens, Cult Master can consistently draw 3+ cards. It’s really big, being closer to your combo cards and having more cards to work with.
That’s the best case scenario. The problem with Cult Master is that it also requires a board control to gain value. You need to play it and sacrifice your minions into something. You can’t play it without getting value – 4/2 for 4 mana is so bad. Another thing is that you usually don’t want to be the one doing trades, unless you get really good ones (e.g. running 1/1 into 3/1). You want to push for damage and Cult Master forces you to trade – it slows the game down.
The good question is – do you actually need that many cards? Do you want to sacrifice the tempo to draw the cards? Isn’t it better to play let’s say Violet Teacher if you already have board control and proceed to combo and win the game?
I think that Cult Master is definitely viable one-of. Especially if you find yourself in the scenarios when you have the board, but don’t have anything good in your hand too often. But I don’t think it’s auto include into the deck.
Piloted Shredder is one of the stronger 4-drops in the game. Especially in those decks that want to get aggressive. 4 attack is good enough and the fact that it’s really sticky helps the “face” tactic. And it actually seems like a perfect include into the Token Druid deck. The fact that it sticks into the board makes it better with Power of the Wild and Savage Roar. It’s always gonna get some value – it rarely dies for free. While some of the outcomes might screw you, other are so good! Millhouse Manastorm or Succubus outcomes are really good and even the seemingly useless Ancient Watcher might be very strong with double Silence.
So what’s the problem? First – the card slots. You can’t get rid of Violet Teacher, Keeper of the Grove or Swipe – they’re all too important. And unlike the standard Midrange Druid, you can’t put in too many 4-drops. You plan to play much faster game. You could include it instead of one of smaller drops, but that’s against your game plan. And when it comes to higher drops, you don’t really have a room to make the cuts.
If you want to make your deck slower – you can play Shredders instead of one of the small drops. If you can fit him somehow – sure, he’s a really good choice. But I just couldn’t find a place for him in this deck.
Because face is the place. I ran Leeroy Jenkins in my old, old Token Druid list (in the Beta). Back then it costed 1 less mana, but that’s not a really big deal when it comes to this deck. It gives yet another direct damage as a way to finish off the game.
Since it’s a minion with Charge, it can also be combo’ed with the Savage Roar. Leeroy + Savage Roar is 10 damage on turn 8 on an empty board. What’s great about the combo is that it’s turn 8, not turn 9. Enemy expects your combo on turn 9 and often doesn’t heal up/Taunt/etc. a turn earlier. You might often catch him off-guard and 10 damage is a lot.
Since the main way you use this card is a burn for lethal, you don’t care about summoning the two 1/1’s for your enemy. But if you have some board presence and no other good play, you can get him out on turn 5 and kill the 1/1’s with some small minions. Since it’s a minion, if it stays alive it can push for the 6 damage again, making it really superior to the burn spells.
In worst case scenario you might use it as a removal. You can get rid of pretty big threats thanks to the 6 damage. It sucks because it leaves two 1/1’s for the enemy, but it’s always an option if you have no other way to kill some minion.
The bad side of this guy is that he’s very situational. If you draw Leeroy too early, it often sits in your hand until the end of the game. Which isn’t what you want from the deck like that.
Loatheb is probably the most solid tech card ever. The thing is, pretty much every deck runs some spells. Some are heavier on spells, some are lighter, but it can work against any opponent. And the 5/5 stats for 5 are good – it trades really well with most of the other drops in the range.
Loatheb is especially useful in the deck where you want to protect your board against AoE and/or set-up for some combo turn. Check, check. Loatheb works really great in the Token Druid deck. Not only you can use him to save your board, which is – let’s be honest – really fragile most of time, but you can also use him a turn before you intend to do the Savage Roar combo to ensure that something is gonna survive and enemy has harder time healing etc. (e.g. Paladin can’t use Lay on Hands).
Works especially well against decks heavy on spells – right now decks like Freeze Mage or Oil Rogue aren’t on the top of the popularity list, but even the Secret Paladin is very heavy on spells – you can let’s say deny the Divine Favor turn and that can be a difference between winning and losing.
Not much more to say about it – a really solid drop that can works in pretty much every meta. If it gets more spell-heavy, it’s an auto-include. Right now, he’s an option – a good option.