Update 19.10.2018: Two month after TBP-Release Aviana is going to be nerfed - most likely because of this deck. Sadly they dont hit other problematic cards like Melon but i do like the fact they care about wild meta and balance.
However Star Aligner will still be playable: My guess for the new list is two Innervate instead of Biology Project and add one Ultimate Infestation for one of the tech cards. Two of Juicy Psychmelon might still be the way to go simply to draw one of them more reliable. The other one would still tutor the missing 10 drop and 2nd Star Aligner.
I will continue to play this deck every now and then. Even if its not that competetive anymore. See you there :)
Update 08.09.2018: I didn't have lots of time to play this week thus sitting between rank 2 and 3 so far. Gonna push for legend again later this month. Loatheb found his way as a stable in my list replacing one Poison Seeds. As many others said in the comments it's just too good in many matchups.
Update 01.09.2018: New season, still working! Teched in a Loatheb and tried some other stuff, because the bad winrate against shaman bothered me. ~61% winrate overall is pretty decent nevertheless. How is it working for you?
Update 31.08.2018: At the End of this season (= last 7 days) we all raised this deck to have the highest popularity (today even ~11%) and most games played in wild over all ranks from legend - 25. Not bad for something none of us had on the radar and laughed about even a week after BdP-launch. Well played, Star Aligner... well played, Sir!
(funny enough they labeled it a mill druid ;-) )
Update 25.08.2018: I'm happy to see lots of people reaching legend with this deck. Some even for their first time. Thanks for all your replies!
We are at almost 10% popularity on hsreplay now, over 7,000 games with exactly this deck and still have 62-66% winrate in the last two days. I can't believe this deck to be that strong even though everyone tries to tech against it. Maybe there is a nerf needed to keep wild mode healthy?
Update 21.08.2018: Wow... we are on the front page (druid only^^)! Thank you guys :)
No need to say... >68% winrate is insane!
Update 18.08.2018: Added a guide write-up below which contains all of the questions that have been asked. I also checked the actual statistic of this deck: Popularity of 6% with 2,400 games with a current winrate of ~66,5% (see hsreplay-link below).
Update 15.08.2018: Thank you all for your replies and questions! :-)
Exactly this deck is on hsreplay.net now as a new archetype! Risen in popularity to almost 5% and ranging between 65 an 70% winrate on average - thats awesome!!
-> https://hsreplay.net/decks/3QVFrmb1o0kC1YDerlrUWd/?utm_source=hdt&utm_medium=client&utm_campaign=mulliganguide#tab=overview (match-up overview in the spoiler)
Update 12.08.2018: Hit Legend!
After one and a half days of playing this deck i hit legend with an unbelievable winning streak of 87% wr (20-3) in the last 23 matches from high rank 4 to legend! Proof and pictures in the spoiler below:
I just wanted to share this amazing deck with you all. The moment i saw the Star Aligner i wanted to build a combo deck around it immediately. Since there was no time during the week after the Boomsday release i started on saturday the 11th to build my version. I had so much fun with it and reached legend rank in wild easily within less than two days!
After exactly 99 matches this is my refined and actual final version of the awesome Star Aligner Druid.
I'm on 62% winrate overall (61-38) from rank 5 to Legend. My final version 1.3 of this deck has a whoping 87% wr (20-3) in the last 23 matches from high rank 4 to legend.
This is against all classes. A fantastic 11-4 vs warlocks; 9-1 vs rogues; 7-1 vs priests; 10-7 vs shamans, 2-0 vs warrior and 9-3 vs paladins. Even against hunter and all kinds of mirror (togwaggle, maly). Unfavored vs burn mage und highly favored vs big mage.
Interesting fact: This deck is kinda fast, too! 5.9 minutes and 8.3 turns on average per game only.
As this deck received some attention and lots of comments i'd like to write down some thoughts of mine and answer most of the questions i've heard here:
What is the combo?
Max = 4*14+4 = 60 dmg = Aviana + Kun the Forgotten King + Medivh, the Guardian + Brann Bronzebeard + Star Aligner + Star Aligner + Ancient Brewmaster on a Star Aligner + Star Aligner + 4/6dmg spellstone on Ancient Brewmaster to free a space on board + Flobbidinous Floop as a Star Aligner + Attack face for 4 (with Malfurion the Pestilent hero power). This can be useful against druid or warrior. I didn't need this maximum combo a single time, tho.
Normaly it‘s Brewmaster or Floop for 46 dmg. Or even only one Star Alinger in hand for 32 dmg or 30 without Malfurion. Still all OTK.
Against fast decks (Pala, Shaman, Zoo, Rogue) its always enough to deal 7, 14 or 21 dmg and clear their board without Brann or only one Star Aligner without Floop/ Brewmaster and develop an own board. No otk, but still game over since they have no answers to your board, so never wait for your otk-combo against those decks. Also against decks that loose some health early on (Control Warlock ;-) ), you can often kill them with some face dmg due to hero attack, Piper, Swipes, their own hero power and a small 14 or 21 dmg combo.
Why is this one so consistent?
Your only gameplan is "Ramp, Draw, Stall" where druid has so many insane tools for. As mentioned above this deck takes only 6-8 turns on average to end the game. Some guy in the forum did an OTK on turn 3!
As written above this deck has positive winrate against all classes. Hand disruption can end your game (Control Warlock) and really fast decks can overwhelm you when you draw badly (mostly Burn Mage and Even Shaman) - it's still a good matchup for you, which is kinda sick.
The main reason for its consistency is, you can do everything above "on the fly": Wild growth into Branching Paths into Nourish + Biology project into Spreading plague + Juicy psychmelon into your combo is an easy turn 6 "no otk, but win the game" against fast decks, where they can do nothing against it. Against slower decks you can take your time to draw more combo pieces (which normally happens automatically) to do an OTK on turn 7 or 8.
Why Star Aligner and not Malygos or Togwaggle?!
Well, most people said "you need so many combo pieces, this is way worse than togwaggle". As somebody who won over 300 matches with Togwaggle and Malygos Druid, i was surpised this is simply wrong and after testing a bit - this one seems to be even stronger to me. Also this deck is a hell lot of fun to play.
Pros compared to togwaggle and Malygos:
1) This version is much less fragile to hand disruption. Thats simply because your opponent can destroy any 2 of 6 minions in your deck and still loose. Only Aviana and Kun are important (and you can even win when you loose one of those, so there is no auto-concede like it is for Togwaggle normally). When they hit two of Medivh, one Star Aligner, Piper, Brewmaster or Floop you still have an OTK in hand. When they hit your Brann and one of the above, you still have 21 dmg, which is enough in most cases. Not to talk about these games where you have your combo in hand already and some Rat pulls your Aviana and your opponent has no answer to kill it immediately - that's funny :) Keep in mind you can also bounce back a pulled Kun or play a Floop-Aviana if you loose your Kun (see post of user TheStarsAlign in the comments: "Actually I have won games where I lost Kun, although it's harder to pull it off. Basically you want to play Aviana when you have Floop in hand so next turn you can either go for combo with the existing Aviana, or if they kill her - Floop Aviana and go on" and also "I have been saved by brewmaster bouncing a pulled Kun back to hand"). Against Togwaggle, your opponent has almost 100% chance to hit a crucial combo part; malygos is similar.
2) Compared to Malygos your deck is much more constistent. You dont have to add cheap spells for your combo and in case you dont have full lethal; you still clear their board and build your own which ends the game, too.
3) Compared to Togwaggle it is a huge advantage, that you just end the game when playing your combo. You dont have to play the game against Kingsbane or Gul'Dan, etc.. You dont have to care about your oppenents board killing you after your combo turn. You can simply play your combo and win.
4) It's way faster than the other combo decks. On hsreplay there is an average of 7.5 turns and 6.5 minutes compared to over 10.5 turns and over 9 minutes with Togwaggle.
Mulligan and when to play which card?
Always keep against all classes: Wild Growth, Nourish, Juicy Psychmelon - it's just the "i've already won the game"-combo.
Against possible Aggro/Tempo (= all paladins, shamans, warlock, rogue): You are happy to have a Spreading Plague and Branching Paths in hand. Ferocious Howl is fine, too. You also sometimes might want to keep Malfurion the Pestilent, since he is an important card against mirror, control in gernal and also against aggro and burn decks. The three always-keeps above are still core, since they win you the game on turn 7 or even turn 6 with coin or Biology Project. You just need some tools to survive which you normally draw reliably.
Talking about Biology Project: Awesome card, but almost never use it on t1 - it's a blunder in 95% of cases. When you have Wild Growth and Juicy Psychmelon in your opening hand though, Biology Project reads like: "you win this game on turn 7 or earlier". Just dont play it too early, but a turn or two before you can combo out.
Same is true for Juicy Psychmelon: It's not a t4-play, when you have a) other options in hand (e.g. coin+nourish or branching paths) or b) play against a control deck that likely has hand disruption (warlock exspecially). You like to play this card right before your combo-turn against those decks, when you already have other cards in hand that they can take away.
Branching Paths is a great utility card. It's normally either draw or armor, which depends on your hand and your opponent. Sometimes you can even win a game with furious 3 or 5 attack Spreading Plague.
Most of the card choices should be obvious but i will write more about why i did not put in one specific card and chose some instead of other possiblities:
(No) Ultimate Infestation - I tried UI instead of one melon in the 1.2 version of my deck and it just didnt work for me. Fell from low rank 2 already back to rank 4 over 30 games which was the start for the above version.
What happened: I simply wasnt able to draw the combo reliable until turn 6 or 7 where i would have been able to reach 10 mana and play the combo normally. Even worse, when i didnt get melon but played UI without drawing all combo pieces I got a full hand with all the other 4-7 mana cards and had no chance to play a melon after that. So I had to survive additional 2-3 turns to empty my hand and play melon then.
Tldr: The moment you get 10 mana you want to play your combo in 70% of the games. There is no need and place for UI.
(No) Zola the Gorgon - i saw some lists running this and well... beside giving two golden copies of Star Aligner it's simply not optimal in this deck. Problem here is board space, because unlike Floop this needs two spots on the board and unlike Brewmaster this doesnt free a spot. You limit your possibilities so it's just worse than both.
(Yes) Medivh, the Guardian - for him beeing a 7-health-minion obviously. But on top of that: 1 more dmg with hero attack (which equals 30 dmg otk with heropower and Brann + double Star Aligner). And he fits the 8-mana-slot of Juicy Psychmelon, which is really important. I saw other lists / streamers running Charged Devilsaur (also 8 mana) or North Sea Kraken, which both are okay when you dont have Medivh, but I'd always prefer a 8-mana minion. Another cards nobody seems to have in mind is Defias Cleaner, which can silence deathrattles that are capable to destroy your combo like Sylvanas Windrunner, Obsidian Statue, etc.. All in all i like Medivh the most.
(Yes) Ancient Brewmaster over Youthful Brewmaster - simply because you want to draw Brann with Piper as your lowest cost minions. And mana cost of the Brewmaster doesnt matter.
Card replacements and tech options
Honestly i don't think there is much to refine in this decklist. There are some tech choices that can be considered, tho. The cards that come in mind to swap out are:
- one of Floop or Brewmaster (all in all, even if you don't need both Brewmaster and Floop normally, it's good to have both of them in the deck to draw one of them reliably, so you want at least two Brewmasters or a 2nd Piper if you dont have floop)
- one or both of the Spellstones (see Wrath below)
- one or both of Poison Seeds (this card has the lowest "played win%" in the deck because of its nature. It saves you some games, exspecially against Shaman, though.
- one or both Swipes - i'm not sure on this one yet as it seems really greedy, but some lists cut both of them for some of the below cards.
Tech choices are (in no particular order):
1) "Eater of Secrets as mages, pally, and now apparently a secret hunter have been bumming me out." (from muninns in the comments below) - seems a strong idea to me.
2) A 2nd Witchwood Piper - to draw your Brann even more consistent. Also seems like a good idea to me.
3) Wrath - for draw or some more control against an early board. I really didn't need it. Also it's always a close call between Lesser Jasper Spellstone and Wrath. Flexibility to draw is nice, but this deck is so strong in drawing cards; i didnt need it most of the time. And Spellstone is just better on removing bigger threads which are way more dangerous.
4) Loatheb - great tech against other druids and mages. Definitly a card to consider so thanks @ Rhapsody1198 and kizlyar for suggesting it in the comments!
5) Mulch - for some single target removal which druid lacks otherwise. Good against Warlock and Shaman.
6) Jade Blossom - for even more ramp; seems greedy, might work out.
7) Innervate - yeah, well. Sometimes it saves the game to be able to combo on 8 or 9 mana.
8) "I just subbed both Lesser Jasper Spellstone for two Naturalize and this save me a lot of times removing magnetized mechs or milling key cards from the opponent" (from TheWishmonster in the comments below). I like this idea! :)
Card replacements are:
The above combo-version is optimal but never the less you can still play the deck succesful without Floop and Medivh so feel free to try it out even if you dont want to craft those:
Flobbidinous Floop -> 2nd Ancient Brewmaster
Medivh, the Guardian -> Charged Devilsaur or Cauldron Elemental or Force-Tank MAX or any other 8-mana / 7 hp minion.
Strategy against harder match-ups
Shaman - This is almost always even Shaman; i didnt face a single Shudderwock so dont care about those (they have no chance anyway). You always want a spreading plague in hand. Let them summon as many totems as they want and dont kill them. The best thing that can happen to you is them having a full board with only ~10 dmg that you can survive for a few turns easily. Keep in mind they run some burst spells like Jade Lightning and Crackle. Your game plan is to buy you 1-2 turns with a large plague into your combo and armor up with Ferocious howl and Branching Paths meanwhile. Use your combo even if it's no otk - they cant do anything against your board.
Wizard - if it's burn you're unfavored since they can deal too much damage in a short period of time. Try to mulligan for some armor gain, play around Counterspell (coin, biology project or spellstone to pop it) and Explosive Runes (dont let them kill your Aviana on combo turn; use a brewmaster or piper before or dont even care about it when you aim for fatigue). When you can keep their board in check and gain enough armor you win the game - it feels so good seeing them die to their Aluneth fatigue ;) Hardest matchup, tho.
Warlock - Zoo is easy to beat as all other aggro swarm decks. Control is an interesting matchup. Hand disruption is what we need to avoid; if they hit Aviana or Kun it's over normally; anything else and you're still fine.
Our biggest advantage: They are low on health most of the time by default so you can kill them with a small combo on turn 5-7 most of the time. If they are still below 8 mana you even dont have to fear a board clear and play your non-otk-combo with lethal on board the next turn.
Mirror - These matches are a hell lot of fun and so strategically. You're highly favoured against Malygos version since you're out of their range really fast, which is your aim in every mirror anyway. And about 50:50, maybe slightly unfavoured, against Togwaggle if he knows how to play mirror. This list has some advantage against some other Druid decks, that run only one branching path or poison seeds.
Against Star Aligner Druid: Keep in mind this duel normally goes to fatigue so dont draw too much and armor up as far as possible; keep Malfurion the Pestilent in opening hand and use your Branching Paths for armor only. Hit their face as often as possible (swipe, too).
If you cant otk them, stay out of their Dmg-range and be the second to do your combo. Keep at least one Seeds and Plague (sometimes even offensive with +attack from branching).
Against Togwaggle it can be a problem when he steals your unfinished combo from hand with azalina and draws the rest from your deck, while giving you an empty deck, so you loose to combo and/or fatigue. So turn the tables and empty your deck as far as he does, complete your combo first and play the above game (they normally have no clue how to play Star Aligner mirror and misplay this matchup). This is still a 50:50.
General tip - you normally dont have to care about your opponents board when playing your combo since it's gone in a few seconds. BUT if there is something that can interact with your board you have to be careful. As written above Sylvanas Windrunner, Obsidian Statue can steal/kill your Aviana after the first Star Aligner killed them. A Boom Bot or anything that deals random damage to enemies can hit your 7 health minions and disable the Star Aligner battlecry. Just be careful when you see something like this and if possible kill it before your combo turn. If not, give it a try and hope for the best. Obviously you also never ever want to kill a Deathlord during the game.</pre>
I hope you give this deck a try since it's a lot of fun and actually... well... as strong as a deck can be to deserve some fast nerfs honestly. This combo seems to be slightly problematic for wild and i dont see effective counters, since hand disruption is still not a really big problem (~70% wr against warlock) and aggro decks which normally hold combo decks in check have almost no chance against this. So i hope this guide will also help those who want to tech against this to keep the wild meta healthy :-)
And finally... english is not my mother tongue so sorry for all typos and whatever i wrote wrong. I will answer your questions in the comments and am happy for every +1 you give this deck. Thank you!
Have fun! :-)