Hey everyone, Trainerdusk again. This time I’ve been having some incredible success with the Druid class on ladder. The current metagame seems to be very heavy Hunter with a few decks that counter the Hunters. Therefore, the ideal deck at the moment is something that performs well against Hunters, Priests and Warriors with fair matchups against the other classes. This Druid deck contains specific mechanisms and synergies that allow it to crush the popular decks. Trust me when I say that silences are the counter to the meta that we’ve all been looking for.
[toc]The decklist and its multiple playstyles[/toc]
Depending on your matchup, this deck can be played in either a faster aggressive style or a slower defensive/control style. The flexibility of the deck stems from the options available to you when playing multi-choice druid specific cards such as [card]keeper-of-the-grove[/card] or [card]ancient-of-lore[/card] as well as the choices of silence targets. As there are several playstyles available to you, I think it would make more sense if I talk about the cards in terms of the common matchups and how you should treat them, rather than my usual method of talking about the matchups at the end.
Innervate is here to give you flexibility in your plays and lets you immediately answer cheap/aggressive threats with cards that cost more than you could otherwise afford. For example, when facing a Deathrattle Hunter who plays [card]undertaker[/card] on turn 1, Innervate allows you to immediately neutralize the threat before it gets out of hand with a turn 1 [card]the-coin[/card]+[card]innervate[/card]+[card]keeper-of-the-grove[/card]+”Deal 2 damage”. There are many different examples of powerful Innervate combos, but the main use of this card should be to answer threats appropriately when presented with them instead of leaving them alone and hoping that they go away.
In slower matchups, such as Control Warrior, you will rarely feel pressured into innervating out answers particularly early. In these matchups, you can feel free to use innervate for your own personal tempo. Against Warriors, I try to get my [card]ancient-watcher[/card] out and silenced as quickly as possible to keep their armour totals low, as this protects your minions from a high value [card]shield-slam[/card]. Against Priests I will also try the same thing, but for a different reason. Priests cannot remove a 4 attack creature easily, so an early Ancient Watcher will dominate the board.
In most matchups, a turn 5 (or 3) [card]ancient-of-lore[/card] is usually the right choice, as the draw will replace the innervates with other useful cards. More on Ancient of Lore later though.
I would recommend you keep maximum 1 innervate in your opening hand, unless you have something silly like a turn 1 Zombie Chow into a turn 2 The Coin+Innervate+Innervate+Ancient of Lore.
Zombie Chow is a great turn 1 play that allows you to begin controlling the board right from the start of the game. The high stats allow you to build a multiple card advantage by consistently 2-for-1ing your opponents early drops. For example, you can both kill a [card]mad-scientist[/card] and activate the secret with the same 1 costs minion, protecting your larger minions from a devastating [card]freezing-trap[/card] tempo loss.
Really, this minion just sures up the early game of the deck in exchange for a slower kill overall. In matchups where you are closing in on lethal damage, this deck has the resources to silence the +5 health deathrattle if you so desire. If you can’t silence away the deathrattle and your opponent gets healed, frequently this is irrelevant as [card]alexstrasza[/card] will set their health to 15 regardless of this effect.
Overall, this is a strong minion that I would always recommend keeping in your opening hand in every matchup.
In a deck with 6 possible silences, Ancient Watcher is almost certainly going to dominate the early game and snowball you to a victory.
A quick tip about the Ancient Watcher; do not silence it until you intend on attacking with it. Sometimes your enemy will use [card]kill-command[/card] or [card]hunters-mark[/card] on it before you silence it, allowing you to save your silence for another minion.
I like to keep 1 Watcher in my opening hand. Keeping 2 is risky unless you have 2 silences as well.
[card]ironbeak-owl[/card], [card]spellbreaker[/card] and [card]keeper-of-the-grove[/card]
Your silences are what make this deck so good. Here are a list of common targets that I like to silence in the current meta (excluding your own minions):
[card]Leper-Gnome[/card], [card]Mana-Wyrm[/card], [card]Northshire-Cleric[/card], [card]Undertaker[/card], [card]Webspinner[/card], [card]Zombie-Chow[/card] (when on a board with [card]Auchenai-Soulpriest[/card]), [card]Flametongue-Totem[/card], [card]Haunted-Creeper[/card], [card]Knife-Juggler[/card], [card]Mad-Scientist[/card], [card]Acolyte-of-Pain[/card], [card]Mana-Tide-Totem[/card], [card]Void-Terror[/card], [card]Houndmaster[/card] (buffed beast), [card]Voidcaller[/card], [card]Sludge-Belcher[/card], [card]Starving-Buzzard[/card], [card]Cairne-Bloodhoof[/card], [card]Savannah-Highmane[/card], [card]Sylvanas-Windrunner[/card], [card]Ancient-of-War[/card], [card]Tirion-Fordring[/card], [card]Ysera[/card].
Keeper of the Grove is the best silencer against aggressive decks as you have the option to outright kill a small minion with the 2 damage battlecry.
If any of those minions have caused you trouble recently on the ladder, you can see why I absolutely love having the freedom to silence whatever I want without worrying that I’ll waste it.
I’ll keep a silence or two in my opening hand most games.
[card]force-of-nature[/card] and [card]savage-roar[/card]
The typical Druid combo that deals 14 damage from hand is especially effective in this deck you have the tools required to take board control and keep it. Any additional minions on the board when you go for the FoN+SR will also receive the buff, making this a devastating win condition for the deck. Adding an [card]innervate[/card] to this combo will either allow you to play the combo 2 turns earlier or on turn 10 you can add a second Savage Roar, buffing the total damage dealt to a staggering 20 damage from hand.
There are 2 combos in the deck as sometimes you will need to use one Force of Nature to regain board control. it is also quite handy to have a greater chance of drawing the combo, to ensure your win condition is available consistently.
The basic gameplan for this deck is to seize board control then simply to survive until you draw the combo and win the game, which leads nicely into the next few cards: the healers.
Never keep these in your opening hand.
[card]earthen-ring-farseer[/card], [card]ancient-of-lore[/card] and [card]alexstrasza[/card]
In aggro (Read: Hunter) matchups, having the potential to heal up from 1hp to 30hp again is literally a matter of life and death. You absolutely need to keep your life total topped up in order to survive and stabilize against these super aggressive undertaker decks that everyone seems to be playing right now. While healing up is all well and good when your opponent won’t stop hitting face, it is the flexibility of these healers that makes them so potent on the ladder.
If you aren’t healing yourself, Earthen Ring Farseers primary function is to heal up one of your 5+hp minions after a trade. This is usually your [card]ancient-watcher[/card], [card]shade-of-naxxramas[/card], [card]druid-of-the-claw[/card] and [card]loatheb[/card]. The minions that cost 6 or more will only really survive a few more turns anyway as the game will end on turn 9 or 10 more often than not. You are essentially killing a 2-drop for free with the Farseer, which is quite handy.
Keep a Farseer in your opening hand in all matchups.
The Ancient of Lore lets you refill your hand and keep pumping minions onto the board without fear of resorting to topdecking. This is especially handy when you need to dig for the FoN+SR combo to close out the game and collect your stars. I will draw in every matchup except the Hunter, unless I am at a dangerously low health and risk dying in the following few turns. Having a 5/5 on the board as well as the draw is very nice.
Only keep Ancient of Lore if you have 2 Innervates. Otherwise, mulligan it.
Alexstrasza helps you kill Warriors and Priests who usually stay at a very high health throughout the match. As you only need 1 addition damage after Alexstraza’s battlecry to win with a FoN + SR combo (assuming every minion on your board dies before you combo), I have found the inclusion of this minion to be vital for winning control matchups. Do not underestimate the 8/8 body on the board also, as you can often win outright with it if your opponent lacks hard removal.
Never keep Alexstrasza in your opener.
The rest of the deck
[card]shade-of-naxxramas[/card] is the biggest minion in the deck. Just let this guy sit and grow until your FoN+SR combo unless you really desperately need to clear an enemy minion. This card is vulnerable to [card]holy-nova[/card], [card]lightning-storm[/card] and [card]auchenai-soulpriest[/card]+[card]circle-of-healing[/card]. If you can let it grow out of the range of those AoE spells, you should be fine. [card]flare[/card] also reveals the minion, but that’s tougher to play around.
Only keep Shade of Naxxramas in slower matchups, e.g. Priest, Warrior and Druid.
[card]swipe[/card] is your AoE removal, which is particularly effective against the multitude of 1hp minions that are seen nowadays. It helps you stabilize vs aggro but can also be used as face damage when you are trying to get lethal.
I like to keep 1 swipe in my opening hand in all matchups.
[card]druid-of-the-claw[/card] is another minion to add to your arsenal. I almost always use the 4/4 charge form now as the 4/6 is too susceptible to [card]hunters-mark[/card] or [card]soulfire[/card] and I like to get value out of the card the turn I play it. The loss of 2hp can be a downside when charging, but getting rid of a high priority minion immediately is too strong to pass up when you are fighting tooth and nail for to get board control from the aggro decks. I only really play the 4/6 taunt against Priests and Warriors, who are less likely to efficiently remove it. If I already have board control and my enemy has nothing, either form is viable depending on how close you are to comboing for the win.
I never keep Druid of the Claw in my opener.
[card]loatheb[/card] is usually just a 5/5 on turn 5, but sometimes it secures a win from its effect. If you are looking to play FoN+SR on turn 9, playing Loatheb on turn 8 makes your minions much more difficult to remove with spells, increasing the likelyhood they will survive. It’s a nice addition to the deck and can really mess with your opponents, especially if they play miracle Rogue.
Never keep Loatheb in the opening hand.
[card]the-black-knight[/card] is here for the following reason. [card]deathlord[/card], [card]misha[/card], [card]houndmaster[/card], [card]sludge-belcher[/card], [card]druid-of-the-claw[/card], [card]ancient-of-war[/card], [card]tirion-fordring[/card]. All are seen frequently enough to make this card viable. It helps you get past a taunt for your lethal damage, but more importantly it can give you an undeniably large tempo swing and mess with your opponent’s morale.
Never keep The Black Knight.
[card]ragnaros-the-firelord[/card]: A big minion with an immediate impact to the board. Rag is strong in almost all decks and he fits in nicely here. He isn’t really vital to the success of the deck, but as far as high impact topdecks go, Ragnaros is one of the best.
Ragnaros is far too expensive to keep in your opening hand.
Let me know how you get on with this decklist. I personally am having great success with it in all matchups. Every single class can be beaten in one way or another with this deck as you can choose to stabilize and heal or go full aggro and win with the combo quickly. I’m happy to answer all questions about this decklist in the comments below. Good luck out there and I hope you enjoy silencing absolutely everything and ruining everyone’s carefully copied decks with this anti-meta druid.