Edit 02.05.: I posted the new version of the deck, fully adapted to the Witchwood meta, here: https://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/1106758-malytog-druid-that-actually-still-works-full-guide
Edit 01.04.: Peaked at #857 with the deck last season.
Edit 16.03.: Little update to the meta situation: IF you're in a meta with a lot of cubelocks AND a lot of control decks, there is the problem, that many decks, vs which you would need Twig/Maly combo will run weapon removal. In a meta like that, the deck is no good pick, since 1.) Cube Lock is the hardest matchup anyway and 2.) many of the heavy control matchups need Twig to be winnable. If it gets destroyed preemptively there is only slim chance to win. In those matchups try to bait out weapon removal via Medivh. I already added those notes to the matchup strategy section.
Edit 13.03.: Added more videos to the bottom of the guide. Also here's TheJiminator's Legend Proof Tweet: https://twitter.com/JiminatorHS/status/972544016137863168
Edit 11.03.: I hit Legend (Proof) today with the deck with a winrate of around 70% throughout the last push from 2 to Legend.
Edit 10.03.: Updated the Matchup/Mulligan section so Matchup specific mulligan should be more obvious now.
Edit 08.03.: Added some words to ALL common matchups, not only the ones we're unfavored in, and also went through all cards and explained each pick.
I'm a regular Legend player and always on the lookout for cool and original decks that actually work.
Here i want to present you the deck i had the most fun with since a long time: A Malygos Druid that actually works well in the current meta. The impulse for creating the list came from my disappointment with the Malygos Druid lists i've seen so far on pro players' twitter: None of them worked consistently for me. This season i hit Legend by exclusively playing this list, climbing from rank 5 on while meeting all current top tier decks on my way.
Since i already played and tinkered with the deck last season, the amount of games was enough to be almost certain, that this is the most optimal list. There's only 1 flex slot left and i will go into that in the next section.
29 cards of the list are optimized. The only flex slot is filled by either Fatespinner/Taldaram/Doomsayer. I am still testing.
Fatespinner: Great synergy with Ixlid, Faceless Manipulator, Innervate and our four 1 mana removals for reliable instantaneous triggering. The board clear part is great overall, 3 dmg is so much better than 2, especially vs paladin, vs Void Walkers to get board burst in, vs Secret Mage's Explosive Runes, Hunter's Spellstone and a lot of other stuff. Also, the buff is a poor man's Branching Paths. This card has staggering synergy with our deck, helps us in weaker matchups and is overall very good vs a variety of decks.
Taldaram: This is a very good card in a vacuum, not much to say. Also, the fact that he does not concur with another 3 mana card for the same slot makes it very tempting to just include him anyway, cause we can. However, the only matchup where he clearly outshines Fatespinner is Cube Lock, which is one of the hardest matchups for the deck. There he will provide a huge win % boost when drawn. A copied Cube or Void Lord will prolly not win you the game, but definitely stall the game till the very late game, where you'll win. Vs the other tough matchup, Paladin, it is good too, when used on the DS taunt 1/1 for example, to stall a bit. One thing that i don't like about him is that he is useless on giants alone, if you don't combine them with Ixlid. But besides that the advantages of running him prevail, even more since with him one can also use the Faceless on something else in matchups where you wanna combo Ixlid/Maly.
Doomsayer: Simply good to stall, not much to say. Also good synergy with Ixlid vs aggro and with Spreading Plague/DK. Another thing i like about him is that even if he gets silenced he provides another buff body for Branching Paths.
Honorable mentions: Wild Pyro (only really good vs Dude Pally), Thalnos, Evolved Kobold (combo abundance, additional SMOrc reach but also empowered board clear, Fatespinner does it better), Druid of the Claw (Neat combo with Ixlid/Faceless for kinda mini Pyro and also good vs aggro). Further candidates can be found in this list: https://www.hearthpwn.com/decks/1045943-malydruid-tech-card-slot-30. Even tho all of them have their benefits in the deck, none of them made the cut.
Explanation to card choices
Innervate: Implementing those resulted in the biggest performance boost so far. Getting UI, Plague, DK, Ramp, etc. 1 turn earlier can be the difference between win and loss. Also, being able to UI one threat AND remove another threat with Innervate + Naturalize/Spellstone is huge. Last but not least it prevents you from overdrawing if you draw into it with a handfilling UI, without having to waste a Moonfire that you might want to keep for Maly.
Moonfire: Bread and butter. Special role in the Secret Mage matchup, where they let you safely cast UI on 10, Nourish on 5, Plague on 6 and so on. Also, free pings and 6 dmg for free vs aggro/midrange are always good. 0 mana spells in particular got great synergy with Giants, cause they let you play a Giant in a turn you normally would not be able to do so.
Jasper Spellstone: Just a very good removal. So much better than Wrath. Great synergy with Fatespinner, Innervate and also Branching Paths/UI.
Naturalize: MVPs right there. The only deck they can get problematic against is both aggro Pally variants. But then again, they got Divine Favor anyway, so its bearable. In all other MUs it nearly doesn't hurt at all to let your opponent draw, even if you don't mill him cards. This is due to the vast power of our combos into which we just have to draw with our manyfold drawing tools while stalling and our deck's high amount of answers to the questions the opponent is putting. Vs Cubelock this card is straight S-Tier, improving our weakest MU by a LOT. Furthermore it got great synergy with Innervate and also Fatespinner.
Taldaram/Fatespinner/Doomsayer: See in the section above.
Branching Paths: Clearly a 2 of. Love this card, offers so much versatility. Suits different roles depending on MU. Vs control mostly draw or additional burst dmg, vs aggro mostly heal. Great synergy with unupgraded Spellstones.
Mire Keeper: Ramp that fits our curves perfectly and also offers 2 bodies for sneaking in Branching Paths board burst combo at 10 mana. Also contests enemy's Sunkeeper Tarim turn.
Twig of the World Tree: In a vacuum one of the weaker cards in the deck, cause it provides nearly no tempo in the turn played nor the following turn out of itself. But since our deck got a lot of stalling tools and also Medivh it is part of a good portion of the power combos the deck offers and the enabler to a true OTK. Handle it differently, depending on MU! Work towards breaking it by just repeatedly hitting face or the lowest attack taunt, even if that doesn't kill it. If you want to combo the breaking point with other specific cards, plan ahead accordingly.
Faceless Manipulator: A catalyst for all power combos the deck offers, but also a stalling tool by copying opponents threats in matches where you don't necessarily need to combo.
Ixlid: Needed for the true OTK and crazy tempo combos. Vs aggro you can tempo him out, if you don't see possibilities to combo anything in the near future.
Spreading Plague: Singlehandedly wins games vs flood decks. Stalls till combo vs control.
Malfurion the Pestilent: Serious chip damage, removal and survivability. Not much to say, top notch card.
Medivh: A lot of swing potential when combined with Spreading Plague. In general insane tempo combos possible, best one being playing him into an equipped Twig followed by UI.
Malygos: Eponym of a plethora of different decks since the beginning of Hearthstone. However, in this deck he is the core card only in a handful of matchups.
Ultimate Infestation: $$$ You have not lived, if you haven't yet UI'd your opponent's face, followed by attacking with a 1 charge Twig, followed by UIing your opponent's face again for 36 mana worth of actions in 1 turn. ;)
Arcane Giant: Part of one of the most practical power combos the deck offers. Even if removed he prevents enemy from developing and therefore buys time without costing mana. Just a very crucial and good card in this deck.
Matchup strategy + Mulligan
- Always keep Wild Growth, Innervate, Mire Keeper.
- Keep UI only if you got at least 2 other ramp cards, but never vs very fast decks.
- Vs slower decks, that are NOT Control Lock, Big Spell Mage, Control Priest, Big Priest (Vs those 4 decks board centric powerplay will likely not win you the game and you have to draw into full or partial Maly combo) you can keep Twig and Medivh, IF you happen to get them both.
- Matchup-specific Mulligan (in addition to what is written above) was added right after the matchup's name in Italic in the section below!
Cube Lock (very unfavored): Naturalize, Taldaram/Manipulator, Nourish - The only deck that unites high tempo pressure, sustain and value, so it is our obvious Nemesis, cause we got a hard time handling all of it at once. Don't use your manipulator on anything less juicy than a loaded Cube with Giants/Doomguards, if you got other means to stall the game. Copying a Voidlord is also fine if the pressure is too high, especially if you also run Taldaram and therefore still have the possibility to Maly combo. Cube Lock is most dangerous between turn 4 and 6. If you make it further than this mark while being able to stabilize and stall, then you can play vs them like you would vs Control Lock, namely draw into your Maly combo. Even tho some lists run 1 Nether, going for board-creating Tempo combos can be the right play situationally. If he pulls a Voidlord and you got Plague on hand this likely is enough to stall for some time. If he gets early giants and Doomguards its a different story and you definitely need Naturalizes and upgraded Spellstones asap. Taldaram improves the MU a lot.
Dude/Murloc Paladin (even): Fatespinner/Doomsayer/Taldaram, Swipe, Spreading Plague, Spellstone - This matchup is so damn swingy, that it is very hard to assess its difficulty level. Those 2 decks have so many synergies that you can't even really talk about highroll, when they pull some hilarious shit. Anyway, Murlocs are easier than Dude Pally in the way that they got less ability to refill the board and also less possible power combos in their deck, but on the other hand they produce bigger threats and a tad smaller boards, which is exactly the situation Spreading Plague does not like. Both are capable of winning even if you got all defensive tools on hand, due to just practically being the more consistent deck overall in this matchup with no real weakness. Dude Pally in particular is the only aggro deck that i can remember, which unites board flood, refill, draw and hard removal in one list without drawbacks. Just wait for the right moment to use swipe/Plague, don't use them prematurely, they got more ways to refill than you got to remove/contest. Beware of their board buffs at 6, 5 (dude) and 4 (murloc and dude) and possible board buffs at 3 by the weapon (both). It's mostly about who highrolls more. If you run Fatespinner it will improve this matchup, cause 3 hp is the magic number vs both. Taldaram on an early Argent Squire, Righteous Protector and Knife Juggler (right before Plague in best case) will buy some time as well. Besides by the attrition route, a very common way to win is to just burst him down with Branching Paths after a Plague turn, when he doesnt have Tarim/Equality to remove.
Secret Mage (even): Doomsayer/Fatespinner, Spellstone, Malfurion the Pestilent - Swingy matchup. Use your plethora of cheap spells to check for CS, especially before UI and stabilize by armoring up via Paths and DK and using Plague to potentially absorb some burn. After he played Aluneth you can even Naturalize him into a quick fatigue death within some turns. This MU like any other Aggro MU is about surviving, not killing him. Use Giants, Maly, Fatespinner to soak Explosive Runes. If you can afford it, wait until you can react on the occassional Mirror Entity via one of your many removals.
Big Priest (even): Nourish - Stall the game till full Maly combo. If he highrolls a lot it's hard ofc. Also spread in some board creating tempo turns without sacrificing tempo pieces to force him removing instead of summoning/reviving. If he goes full ham on his board, then you can pull full board combo, if stalling for Maly will take too long. This way there is no way for him to remove without damaging himself. Often the game is won midgame/early late game, after he leaves 3+ minions on board by Branching Paths burst. DK is rly good card here too to get that chip dmg in. Only trade if you have to, Ysera for example can be ignored, she mostly even helps you, if he plays her AoE spell. If you run Taldaram, use either him or Manipulator on one of his juicy drops to buy some time and possible find more win conditions.
Aggro Druid (even): Fatespinner/Doomsayer, Spreading Plague, Spellstone - You draw Plague, you win.
Big Druid (even): Nourish, Naturalize - Both decks can pull off crazy tempo turns without setup, so pretty even. You win by tempo play, so Giants are the way to go.
Spiteful Priest (even): Nourish, Doomsayer, Naturalize, Spellstone - Can get out of hand if he curves out perfectly. But still, i had plenty comebacks even vs perfect curve with Plague. Board centric combos win the game, since this MU is all about tempo and he doesn't have removal for multiple giants. If he is low hp and you got at least 1 threat on board, just throw a second and 3rd one, if you can. He cannot deal with multiple threats, since MC takes his whole turn, so he is in a dilemma of having to remove, but not being able to afford removing. Also watch out for Grand Archivist, which is one of his best cards vs our deck.
Exodia Paladin (slightly favored): Nourish, Doomsayer - You both draw pretty fast towards your combo, but he is even faster than you! Very hard to directly push by board due to Equality, so keep Maly Combo pieces or make sure to SMOrc him down a bit, so you just need partial combo. The matchup plays a lot like the one vs Quest Mage and Mill Rogue. Get as much face damage in as possible, so you force him to remove instead of drawing into his combo! Make him do awkward plays. Like any combo/ctrl deck he is in trouble if he got to use his removal inefficiently and is left with a small hand.
Big Spell Mage (slightly favored): Nourish, Medivh - This MU is a lot like vs Control Lock, with the difference, that many Big Spell Lists can create tremendous tempo with Medivh, Alanna and DK and therefore chip away your life total quite effectively. Dirty Rats are another threat vs our deck. If you manage to draw UI in the 1st half of your deck you should be good, tho. Biggest problem is an early Jaina, cause that means that going for full Maly combo is mandatory. Only go for board centric combos, if his hand is small and you tested for board clears already. Also get that chip dmg in, either by DK or Branching Paths on a 2+ sized board. He cannot deal with few medium threats in an economical way in terms of resource management. Take care not to get chain-frozen by his Water Elementals with an equipped Twig! Also take care of weapon removal! For this reason it is useful to play Medivh before Twig, to bait his removal. Twig is more important in this MU than the tempo provided by Medivh.
Kingsbane Rogue (slightly favored): Nourish, Spellstone, Malfurion the Pestilent - Same as vs Quest Mage. Get as much face dmg in as possible. Upgrading his stuff takes quite some time for him and sometimes its no problem to ignore his minions. Just force him to use his clears early on, instead of letting him cycle like crazy. DK is MVP since he provides bodies for Branching Paths burst and also unavoidable heavy chip damage each turn. Watch out for hand space vs Vanish. Also note, that if you mill him he most likely cannot mill you.
Inner Fire Combo Priest (slightly favored): Naturalize, Spellstone, Doomsayer - Naturalize and Spellstones fuck them up badly. Just remove the board all the time. No need for Maly. Board centric combos win the game. If you can, bring chip dmg in on their high hp drops to minimize burst potential. Take care for Acolyte on your Manipulatored big threats of his or your giants. Cause he can flip that for an OTK, so take care, that if his hand is big and he didn't use many combo pieces yet, at least your health total is really high AND your threats are as low hp as possible while still being high enough to be AoE'd away. One problem of our deck vs them is one of our advantages of other MUs: Our almost exclusively high life minions. Giants, Medivh and a naked Malygos might be, what gets you killed in the end. You gotta play smart and really take care.
Shaman (slightly favored): Fatespinner/Doomsayer, Spellstone, Spreading Plague, Nourish - Any type of shaman falls under that difficulty. They cant do anything vs Giants, so if you pull that combo theyre done. Also Maly into breaking Twig into Swipe will end him, since he heavily relies on keeping a board.
Zoo Lock (slightly favored): Spellstone, Naturalize, Doomsayer/Fatespinner - Due to Naturalizes and Spellstones both versions of Zoo (the one that buffs demons and the more common one) are fairly easy. Just stall and pull tempo combos.
Jade Druid (favored): Nourish - Jade Druid got problems with big mid game threats, so any of our board centric combos, not even full ones needed, will be too much for him and he will be forced to Plague all the time instead of increasing Jade counter or drawing. Medivh, Giants and Paths are MVPs and also Plague+Paths following the Spreading Plague Ping-Pong is often a winner.
Control Priest (favored): Nourish, Medivh - Wait for Maly combo. They got ways to deal with any board you create, if his hand is small you can go for it tho. Just don't sacrifice combo pieces lightly. Also take care of weapon removal! For this reason it is useful to play Medivh before Twig, to bait his removal. Twig is more important in this MU than the tempo provided by Medivh.
Control/Mill Warrior (favored): Nourish, Medivh - Slow warrior decks don't have the luxury of Control Locks to be able to Make strong boards right after they used their board clears. And most of them run only 1 Brawl. So, just pull board combos, after the second one he's in the shit. Maly is an alternative finisher. Vs Mill watch hand size. Also take care of weapon removal! For this reason it is useful to play Medivh before Twig, to bait his removal. Twig is more important in this MU than the tempo provided by Medivh.
Exodia Mage (favored): Malfurion the Pestilent, Nourish - Just face. One would think our deck is slow, since it's combo, but i never lost vs an Exodia Mage with it. Just build a board, force him to spend turns on stall instead of draw/Quest completion and chip his face away with your manyfold non-board-based dmg sources. DK is MVP, so is an early Maly (no combo needed) and also a ninja Branching Paths board burst, when he let his guard down. Naturalize in the right moment to mill combo pieces.
Spiteful Druid (favored): Nourish, Doomsayer, Spellstone - He's less dangerous than Spiteful Priest.
Control Lock (highly favored): Nourish - Applies no pressure. Just draw into full Maly combo. His only way out is burning/Rat-ting your combo pieces or destroying Twig on his turn. Even Rin is useless, cause you cycle through your deck faster than he can develop her seals. Watch out for Geist. It is good for you, if he burns some or all of your 1 mana spells in the deck, but bad, if he burns them from your hand. If it enables you some turns of stall via Plague you can play them right away on his Void Lords. Take care of weapon removal! For this reason it is useful to play Medivh before Twig, to bait his removal. Twig is more important in this MU than the tempo provided by Medivh.
Miracle Rogue (highly favored): Nourish, Spellstone, Doomsayer, Naturalize - Just remove his stuff and use board centric combos. He can't deal with that. If you're at stable life, wait with Plague till spiders hit the board. Naturalize for Van Cleef. It might be cause i know miracle rogue by heart, but i never lost a game vs one.
Hunter (highly favored): Nourish, Spellstone, Doomsayer/Fatespinner, Malfurion the Pestilent, Naturalize - Any hunter deck is easy to beat, cause they are less explosive than Secret Mage and also got less draw. Just stabilize via taunts and armor up. Even for the occassional turn 3 or 4 Barnes we got maximized consistency by 2 Naturalizes.
List of some combos:
Important note: Even tho you HAVE tons of combos in the deck, in several matchups and several situations even outside those matchups it is TOTALLY FINE and potentially game-winning to just not combo at all, but play e.g. 1 or 2 giants or a naked Malygos (possibly followed by some Moonfire/Spellstone to remove/setup lethal, depending on situation; but just naked without anything will do the job as well, often) on board just like that! You have to know what your opponent plays, how many ressource he got left (most important: cards in hand, but also cards in deck) and then decide. Do-or-die holding on to combo pieces often makes you lose the game, especially vs tempo oriented low-value decks without real power combos. Just know the decks out there, be aware of the tools your opponent's deck has and act accordingly! There is only a handful of decks where you neccessarily have to hold on to combo pieces to win (To see which decks these are, please read in the section above!) and where bad turns while doing so are OK. Vs higher pressure decks this is not possible!
The Twig into Medivh and Board of Giants combos are the most practical ones vs most decks, where you simply win by dropping tempo/value bombs. However, vs Control Lock and to some extent Control Priest, Big Priest and Big Spell Mage it is safer to utilize a Maly Combo most of the time. In addition, games vs those regularly get won mid game from board burst while utilizing other spells to remove taunts for example when he doesn't expect it (that's why i love Paths so much btw, it punishes opponents that are stingy with their AoE or just unattentive) or has no powerplay ready yet. Just make sure to always get that chip dmg in and just trade what is necessary. An advice which applies to all combo decks that are not an exodia version. In matches where you want to combo something specific with Twig, be aware not to equip it before you've not gathered at least 60% of all combo pieces in hand.
- Full Maly combo: Faceless on Ixlid -> break Twig -> Maly -> Moonfire x 2 = 42 damage
- Board reset: Malygos -> break Twig -> Faceless on Maly -> Swipe -> X
- Plethora of other combos utilizing all or some of the above cards, not much to write up there, you can figure the possible combinations out.
- Giants combo on empty board: Faceless on Ixlid -> Arcane Giant
- Giants combo on board with at least 1 minion: Ixlid -> Arcane Giant -> Faceless on Giant
- Tempo swing without an own threat in hand: Ixlid -> Faceless on enemy's threat -> Innervate -> Naturalize
- Most massive tempo swing possible mid game: equipped Twig -> Medivh -> UI
- Building board into sneaking in burst lethal with Branching Paths or Fatespinner + 1 mana removal
- Humongous board clear: Ixlid/Faceless on Fatespinner + Innervate + 1 mana removal
Additionally, a breaking Twig scenario obviously makes for a crazy turn, nearly no matter what you got on hand. There's almost certainty to swing the game in your direction, even with the shittiest of 20 mana turns.
Those are just a handful of combos. Too tired right now to list more, but as a player who exclusively tends to play combo decks i have to say that i haven't played a deck with more possible combos and win conditions since loooong time, if ever. Please ask anything you want to know in the comments and also let me know your thoughts about possible improvements after you tried it for some games.
I would make some showcase videos myself, but i don't have the equipment/connection to do it, so here are some showcase videos of the deck:
TheJiminatorHS playing the deck in Legend ranks:
Kristophesaurus made a thorough showcase video:
Kiwiinbacon made a little showcase video: