This is the best you can get from Aggro-Druid these days – according to my opinion. This deck is my final conclusion on how to optimize the Aggro-Druid-Archetype, currently being quite competitive in meta, ranging between tier 1 and 2 (according to the latest Meta-Reports).
I played more than 200 games with this archetype since Un’Goro-launch, while experimenting on how to optimize the Aggro-Druid-Deck. I finally found this version and reached legend with it. To my view, it represents the best compromise to shape out the strengths and reduce the weaknesses of the archetype.
General comments on the Aggro-Druid-Archetype:
- To my view, Aggro-Druid is one of the best (if not the best) aggro-decks in meta right now.
- Nevertheless, it of course has serious weaknesses – especially in the context of all the anti-aggro-cards that have been added with Un’Goro launch. So, for instance, you will probably not win many games against Quest-Taunt-Warriors or Control-Paladins.
- On the other hand, you will beat most of the Pirate-Warriors, Quest-Rogues or Miracle-Rogues (which all are still very popular right now).
- As always, using a certain deck-type in the ladder is like playing rock-paper-scissors. If the number of rocks increases, the win-rate of this scissors-deck will certainly drop. And if you have the feeling that there is an excessive number of rock-decks out there, you should definitely change to a more paper-like deck. Nevertheless, according to my view, this Aggro-Druid-deck is still a very fine pair of scissors being sharp enough to even cut some mighty rocks.
- So, if played well, you will currently be able to reach average winrates around 58-60% (rank 5 to legend). Accordingly I think, although being a little bit neglected in ongoing deck discussions, Aggro-Druid quite rightly ranks among the top decks of the current meta.
Some short remarks to the specific tech decisions I made in this version of the deck:
- After careful consideration the deck refrains from using Bittertide Hydra. Even if this card definitely wins some games for you, I made the experience that, in summary, those situations are more frequent, in which the card affects your play style in a very negative way, even indirectly causing defeats (especially with that many Midrange-Hunters lurking around right now and threatening to kill you by using their Unleash the Hounds on the Hydra).
- In contrast to that, Living Mana is definitely the most important card for the current Aggro-Token-Druid-Archetype. Since I have seen many variants that use only one copy of it, I have to be very clear on that: 2 copies of Living Mana are absolutely mandatory.
- I experimented a lot with possible cards to make the archetype more steady and resilient. I used Soul of the Forest, Evolving Spores, Tortollan Forager, Addled Grizzly, Ironbeak Owl, Eater of Secrets and many other, but finally stuck with Swipe, Keeper of the Grove and Leeroy Jenkins. These cards give you a viable chance to deal a final blow to your opponents, even if you have already lost board control in mid-game.
- Besides dealing lethal damage to your opponent, Swipe helps you to maintain your board control for another 1 or 2 turns – which is a decisive winning-condition for the play-style of the Un’Goro-Aggro-Druid-Archetype.
- I included one Keeper of the Grove in the deck as well, not because it is a good card as such, but because in practice it turned out that just this card gives your performance a slight (and sometimes decisive) increase in flexibility. Sometimes you need a silence, sometimes just two more (spell) damage, to tip the scale in your direction ...
- Self-evidently, the same applies to Leeroy Jenkins – especially against Freeze-Mages, when a sudden (and non-frozen) Charge-Minion will sometimes save you the day.
Why not using the water-package with Finja, the Flying Star? [Update 2017/04/18]
- Although giving the deck more tempo in some situations, the water-package doesn’t make the deck more resilient in general. According to my experience, including the water package helps you to win those games faster and more clearly, which you probably would have won anyway. In the crucial and contested games, however, in which your opponent, for instance, is able to apply powerful AoE-effects in the first turns, to clean your minions or to build up a solid board as well, the 5-mana-card Finja, the Flying Star and his friends will not help you very much.
- Moreover, the 5 murlocs you have to include in your deck when using the water-package are rather weaker than the minions they replace, since the murlocs display their strength only, if they get the chance to combo together.
- Especially the 3-mana Pantry Spider is a incredibly crucial card for your play style, giving you 2/6 stats for 3 mana in the form of two minions that can’t be removed easily and that furthermore synergize with Mark of Y'Shaarj. To a lesser extent the same is true for Eggnapper. Replacing these with Murloc Warleader is not a good idea.
- So, consequently, according to my experience, the Aggro-Zoo-Druid performs better without the water-package. It allows you to concentrate on the core zoo-buff play style of the archetype, to compose a more effective minion-board and to include a few additional tech-cards like Keeper of the Grove.
Mulligan and first turns [Update 2017/04/19]
Your primary objective is to build up a good board as fast as possible. Referring to this devise you should make your mulligan decisions:
- Consequently, you should always keep the 1-mana-minions you get like Enchanted Raven, Fire Fly, Argent Squire or Bloodsail Corsair
- If you get one or two 1-mana Mark of the Lotus in your hand, keep them as well.
- Keep Innervate, but only one copy of it. Keep two of them only in exceptional circumstances, because it could bring you in the negative situation of having too much "mana-power" but too less minions in your opening hand.
- Always keep Golakka Crawler when you expect your opponent to play an early pirate, especially when facing Pirate-Warriors or Rogues with Swashburglar.
Furthermore, it is important to roughly plan your first three turns when deciding on mulligan.
- Therefore, it can still be a good idea to keep a Pantry Spider in your starting hand, especially if you have a The Coin and/or an Innervate at hand. Besides that, you should normally mulligan every 3-5 mana card.
- Also, keep a Power of the Wild if it fits into your early game plan.
- I usually mulligan Ravasaur Runt and Mark of Y'Shaarj, because these cards have turned out to be very "situational" during the first turns, having rather negative effects on your tempo. When you (contrary to your plan) are not able to trigger their effects, they might implicitly tempt you to play ineffectively.
- So, if you cannot guarantee that you can get or still have 2 minions on your board, then Ravasaur Runt is not a good choice for turn two or three. Otherwise, by playing it together with a Bloodsail Corsair which comes with Patches the Pirate, you could ensure to make Ravasaur Runt work.
- The same is true for Mark of Y'Shaarj: only keep it, if you are sure, that it will be able to trigger its card-draw-effect when played during the first turns. Otherwise or if you are not sure, mulligan it. There's a high change that you will draw a card that fits better in your plan to establish a strong board as fast as possible.
- Remember, that if you have an Innervate (and/or a The Coin) in your starting hand, the possibilities of your first and second-turn combos are increased even more due to being able to spent up to 4 or even 5 mana on your first or second turn.
- This means, for instance, that by playing Fire Fly, Flame Elemental, Bloodsail Corsair (which comes with Patches the Pirate) and a Mark of the Lotus, in your first turn you are able to establish a board with 4 buffed minions with 8/11 stats - which is absolutely crazy (and shocking for your opponent). If he/she doesn't have a good starting hand, you will probably win the game.
Your mulligan- and first-round's game-strategy should always consider, which class your opponent is playing, which kind of deck you might face and which possibilities he/she has, to play combos, to buff minions or to cast spells during the first rounds.
- So, for instance, when facing a Hunter, you should always try to remove his early minions like Alleycat as fast as possible, in order not to run into an insanely buffed Scavenging Hyena.
- When facing a priest, a clever move would be to keep your 1-mana Enchanted Raven during the first turn and playing it in the second turn instead together with The Coin and Mark of Y'Shaarj to get a 4/4 minion which cannot be removed either by Shadow Word: Pain or by Shadow Word: Death.
- These are only two illustrations of how you should adapt your playstyle to the opponent you face. There are many other examples of such an early "micromanagement" that helps you a lot with successfully building up a powerful minion-zoo during the first turns.
- Such small early game subtlety is (besides lucky card draws) also often decisive for winning mirror matches against other Aggro-Druids.
More remarks on playing the Aggro-Druid [Update 2017/04/19]
- Remember, in some situations it may be necessary to use Power of the Wild for creating another 3/2 beast-minion.
- There are plenty of good synergies that you should keep in mind. For instance, it is a very strong combo to play Bloodsail Corsair together with Mark of the Lotus, since you'll also get a buffed 2/2 Patches the Pirate with charge out of it.
- Be careful with Living Mana:
- This spell will only transform your actual mana crystals into Minions. So if you use Innervate on turn 3 for casting the 5-mana-spell Living Mana, you will only get 3 2/2 Mana Treants.
- Sometimes it is better to stall Living Mana a little bit, using it together with a buff-spell one or two turns later. Casting Living Mana + Innervate + Power of the Wild or Living Mana + The Coin +Mark of the Lotus) could be decisive, especially when playing against opponents who are expected to run 2-damage AoE-Spells like Consecration, Blizzard or Explosive Trap. In such cases it can be crucial to summon 3/3 Mana Treants that can't be removed in one sweep.
- Trying to do face damage as much as possible doesn't mean to ignore the enemy board. Instead try to think very carefully, if an enemy minion has to be removed or not. The benchmark for your decisions here is not the concern about your own health but, if an enemy poses an acute threat for your board and your future board-control.
- Don't hesitate to even use a Savage Roar if necessary to remove a potentially dangerous enemy minion such as Frothing Berserker, Sorcerer's Apprentice or Scavenging Hyena, before your opponent can benefit from its synergies.
Why not using more card draw effects? [Update 2017/04/21]
As in most aggro-rush-decks, card draw is a severe problem. If you run out of steam (which will definitely happen at the latest by turn 6 or 7) and your enemy is not dead or almost dead, you basically have lost the game. Consequently, I experimented a lot with different alternatives. However, I soon realized, that although more card draw can make your aggro-engine run a little bit longer, including cards like Runic Egg, Loot Hoarder, Novice Engineer, Acolyte of Pain, Coldlight Oracle or even Cult Master or Nourish in your deck doesn't come without major downsides.
First of all, most of these minions are far less effective during your early game, than the one's they would substitute, so your early game performance will definitely diminish. Furthermore, with cards like Nourish or Cult Master you severely increase the risk of having a dead card in your hand during the decisive first rounds of the game. The same is true for Runic Egg, if it can't be buffed quickly. Most of the cards, on the other hand, are also too slow for your early-game playstyle. When using a Acolyte of Pain, for instance, you have to wait for him getting hit before drawing any cards (apart from bringing only half the stats of a Pantry Spider to the board). Similarly, Cult Master doesn't really fit in your playstyle, for the last thing you want on turn 4 or later is to sacrifice your minions just to get more (yet unplayed) cards. Moreover, this type of minion will always be a primary target for your enemy's attacks, before you can even draw any cards from it. Furthermore, in general, it turned out that in the midgame, when you basically have run out of steam, usually even a Nourish is not able to get you back on the winning track (unless you happen to draw a Living Mana to which your opponent has no answer to).
So, from an overall perspective, according to my experience, including more card draw minions or spells into the deck will not increase but rather decrease its winrates. For, if you construct your aggro-engine running a little bit longer, you will have to take it with less horsepower. In an aggro-zoo-deck like this, however, it is better to start the race with the most powerful motor you can get, rather than with a bigger tank ...
Here is a short video made by KiwiiNbacon about the deck (Many thanks to him!) [Update 2017/04/22]
I hope you enjoy going aggro with Malfurions new Un’Goro zoo.
If you like the deck, give it a +1vote and leave your thoughts and comments below!
Thanks to DoctorMuscle you can find a Russian translation of this guide under http://hearthdecks.ru/?p=118 [Update 2017/04/22]