Hearthstone is at its best when it takes advantage of its limitless, digital nature, and there’s no better example of that than the wrath of Yogg-Saron.
Yogg was never designed for competitive play. It’s honestly hard to think of a card you can count on less. Random targets with random spells, promising so many opportunities for hilarious disasters (Astral Communion, quadruple Sprint, eating a Soulfire to your own face) and once-in-a-lifetime victories (the off chance you land double triple Pyroblasts to your opponent). It’s my favorite card in the game, because it always, always gives you a great story.
Pro players generally look for consistency in their decks, which is why something like Zoo—which almost always guarantees a dominating early game—is a constant fixture at the top of tier lists. Decks built around Yogg-Saron have equal chances to win or lose a game in one turn, which means for the most part they’ve stayed away from high legend. That is, of course, until Yogg Druid came along.
If you peruse Jack “J4CKIECHAN” Hutton’s Yogg Druid list, you’d rightfully think you’re staring at a meme. Double Soul of the Forest, double Nourish, and double Wisps of the Old Gods round out a truly edgy archetype that seems like it simply can’t win. Wisps of the Old Gods in particular was considered one of the most underpowered cards in the entire Druid library, but J4CKIECHAN is clearly seeing something we couldn’t, because last month he piloted this list all the way to rank two legend on European servers.
Yogg Druid kind of works like one of those old token decks, using underrated Druid buffs like Power of the Wild and Soul of the Forest in conjunction with Violet Teacher to create some really powerful turns. Fandral Staghelm—which might be the best legendary introduced in the Old Gods set—has a ton of utility, especially with the aforementioned Wisps of the Old Gods. If he’s on your board, all of a sudden you can create an army of 3/3s with one card. You’re also running Raven Idols to buff Yogg’s spell count and generate more Violet Apprentices, and Mire Keepers, Wild Growths, and Innervates for a little bit of ramp and flexibility.
I know that might not seem like much, but it really does work. Janne “Savjz” Mikkonen found a ton of success with a Yogg Druid that ran a few heavier minions, and James “Firebat” Kostesich is (somewhat derisively) playing a version that runs a Malygos, double Gadgetzan Auctioneers, and *gasp* Moonfires for more burst and card draw. This is a real trend, and there’s a chance one of the weirdest-looking decks on paper might be legitimately worthy.
Honestly it’s stuff like this that makes me really happy Force of Nature was nerfed. Druid has a ton of interesting cards, but they never got a lot of play because of the potency of Force/Savage. It was simply counterintuitive to play the class in any other way—like how slow Warrior lists dominated before Grim Patron showed up. Also, we need to give props to J4CKIECHAN. So far he’s given us Egg Druid, Camel Hunter, and Yogg Druid—three decks that carved their way into legend on their own terms. He’s one of the few true genius deckbuilders we have in Hearthstone, and it’s great to be reminded of how many untapped ideas linger in this card game.