- 1. Introduction
- 2. Why These Cards?
- 3. Why Not These Cards?
- 4. Tech Cards
- 5. Mulligans
- 6. Changes
Midrange Druid is a archetype widely known as successful, as its ramp and quality tempo allows for great consistency and high win rate. With the announcement of C'Thun cards, the likes of which I will get into shortly, the grounds upon which this deck was built has been laid out.
Players familiar with Midrange Druid will know that card quality and pushing themselves into the late game with Druid's many ramp cards are what makes MD strong. With that said, this deck relies and allows for ridiculous card quality and pretty consistent answers throughout the early and mid game, allowing for your big drops towards the end game. With the introduction of C'Thun, there's a whle new way to build this deck.
2. Why These Cards?
This deck's addition of a relatively new meta changer really sets it apart from the other C'thun Druid decks that have sprouted up lately. For that reason, I would like to start with her:
Brann Bronzebeard - Brann is also on par with the stats expected in a midrange deck, but that's also not the reason he's made it into this deck. With cards listed below, it's only an obvious pick to include him!
Klaxxi Amber-Weaver - YES! YES! YES! This is the card that really inspired a lot of people to consider a C'thun Druid deck, myself included. As stated above, he can be combo'd with Brann Bronzebeard to gain +10 health, and as early as turn 4 (or earlier with good ol' Innervate). On curve, he's essentially a Chillwind Yeti, which is about as good as you can get for a four drop, if you forget about the mechs that are leaving in Standard.
Beckoner of Evil - If I could choose one card, other than what this deck is named for, to reserve for combo with Brann, it would be this. For 2 mana, this 2/3 minion is quality in statline, but it's simply more efficient to play Darnassus Aspirant on turn two or coined out on one (if you have a 3 drop you'd really want to play). For two mana, it's effect is really great. Brann + Double Beckoner = +8/+8 to C'thun for 7 mana. WOOAAAHH!!
But seriously, this is still good on its own, so don't think you need to hold off from playing it. It's just solid stats, and can easily get squeezed onto a board with Druid's ramping capabilities.
Twilight Elder - For 3 mana, 3/4 is not at all a bad deal, and its presence on the board is a big threat for your opponent. Preserving this minion's life allows your C'thun to get buffed every turn at an amount far stronger than it may first seem. Even if he dies in one turn, a +1/+1 battlecry/deathrattle isn't necessarily bad when we're talking about C'thun and what he does. Unfortunately not combo'able with Brann, but hey, I'm not sure how well Dwarves and Gnomes really get along, anyway.
C'Thun's Chosen - OHHHHHH BOY!! This is a keeper. For 4 mana, this thing is as close to a Piloted Shredder as this deck can hope for. Similarly to PS, it will likely take more damage than necessary to kill, similarly to most Divine Shield minions that often need to go, like Annoy-o-Tron and Tirion Fordring. I see this as an essential for this deck, and any C'thun deck, as the value just seems particularly high. The 3+ damage from at least two different sources that's required to kill this girl is more than it may seem. Plus, it buffs C'Thun, and has further combo with Brann Bronzebeard. For this deck, and probably any deck like it, I would say without a doubt that this is an auto include.
Dark Arakkoa - Woah. Druid is definitely seeing some C'Thun love. As a 6-drop, this guy does an unbelievable job at filling a hole this deck previously had; strong late game minions in the 6+ mana slots. With no Ancient of Wars in the deck, this card does pretty well at stopping late game aggression, something I expect to see done against this deck a lot, and it's battlecry helps grow C'Thun pretty ridiculously, especially when combo'd with Brann Bronzebeard. The best part about this card, in my eyes, is that many classes don't have an immediate response to this card that is often run universally, so Brann can potentially be protected in the late game leading up to additional C'Thun growths as well as C'Thun itself, resulting in some ridiculous damage. All in all, this card is pretty damn solid, something you can expect from C'Thun-involved cards, I guess.
Druid of the Claw - This card can often be heralded as some of the best value in the game. For only 5-mana, you get to choose between a 4/6 taunt or a 4/4 charge, and that's so consistently good to pass up. Psst, Blizzard, it's balanced, okay?
Azure Drake - Most are probably not surprised this card is included, and possibly surprised I even bothered to include this in the listing. However, allow me to explain AD's role in the deck, as it may be replaced depending on things to come. For 5-mana, a 4/4 is just sub-par, but in good reason. The +1 Spell Damage this card has goes extremely far for both Wrath and Swipe, and the card draw makes for so much additional value. However, if WOG includes a card that acts similarly to Azure Drake that would better fit this deck in some way, it would likely be a clear replacement.
Keeper of the Grove - Though Keeper was nerfed, I've been continuing to run a single one of it, as silence is always important, and when you're looking at board impact, it's basically a Disciple of C'Thun with +1 Health for 1 more mana when dealing 2 damage. Of course, it doesn't buff C'Thun like Disciple does, but as far as impact on board, it's around the same range of value (Blizzard, a 2/3 would have been nice). Also, with no alternate workarounds for taunts, big deathrattle minions, or stuff with huge effects, silence is pretty vital, like in C'Thun-mirror match-ups when you know you have to silence your opponent's C'Thun or you'll die to it on board (yes, silencing a C'Thun sets it at 6/6). If you prioritize this card for its silence only, or think it's too weak as it currently is, feel free to run a Spellbreaker instead.
Twin Emperor Vek'lor - If you plan on playing much of C'Thun decks, this card is a must craft. It's an absolutely insane card for a number of reasons, like being a 8/12 Divine Shield Taunt with effect "must be silenced twice" for 7 mana. I hope you get what I mean by that. Anyway, this card is crazy for setting up a C'Thun play, as well as forming a lot of defense for yourself in order to stall out the game. It works fantastically well with Brann, giving you three 4/6's for 7-10 mana, and is similar to playing two additional Druid of the Claws for about 3/4 the mana. I highly recommend this card for a number of reasons, and legitimately consider it the Dr. Boom of C'Thun decks in terms of overall concrete and potential value.
C'Thun - lol
3. Why Not These Cards?
Emperor Thaurissan - This is truly a hard choice, especially when most similar decks auto-pick this card. Thaurissan has a unique role in this deck, similar to that of the OTK Grim Patron deck of pre-Warsong patch, in that he can reduce the mana costs of certain cards to maximize the potential damage of a combo. However, here's why I chose not to include it. Many people dream the dream of Thaurissan reducing the costs of Brann Bronzebeard and C'Thun, or alternatively the cost of Aviana, in order to double the effective strength of C'Thun in just one turn by playing them both simultaneously. However, I personally believe that's unrealistic to pull off, given you first have to dig for both Emperor Thaurissan and Aviana if you run her (which it makes some sense to), and then dig for Brann Bronzebeard and C'Thun by turn 10 or shortly after in order to pull it off. This is not a intended to be a combo deck, and the steady tempo and exceptional card quality is what really plans to drives this deck. Aviana and Emperor Thaurissan are both otherwise useless in this deck, and take up card draw when you would rather draw a minion that you can play independent of combo. It's certainly something that works in otherwise control classes, like Patron Warrior, but I can't honestly say it would work as well here in a Midrange deck. And yes, Druid has Innervates so it's more feasible than some other decks, but you only have two, and I simply can't imagine holding ~5-6 cards for a combo to work well in this deck.
Living Roots - Though this card is often a must pick for the current Midrange Druid, its use is primarily to deal with the aggro decks that we will likely be seeing less of in the upcoming Standard meta. That said, unless aggro proves to still be dominant in the Standard ladder, Living Roots will likely stay out of this deck. Update: with many core cards of Face Hunter seeing massive nerfs, I've decided to keep this card out of the deck for sure. While it can still help against other aggro decks in theory, it should he kept in mind that in Standard, Shaman will likely become the most aggressive deck, and that said, the midrange-styled cards being introduced for Shaman will likely be more worth running than the faster ones. On the other hand, aggro Paladin is somewhat of a problem, but with Dr. 2, also known as Shielded Minibot, being out of Standard, as well as Avenge, Coghammer, and many others, as well as much of the most aggressive oriented cards in the game being nerfed, I also see aggro Paladin being weak as well.
Defender of Argus - This too is a card included in some C'Thun Druid decks, and though for fair reason, I don't see it as all too necessary. It's combo'able with Brann Bronzebeard, though he's often best used when buffing C'Thun. Still, this card may be worked into the deck down the road when things can be tested out directly, but at the moment I don't see it as a necessity.
Ancient of War - As detailed above, this card is pretty well replaced with Klaxxi Amber-Weaver, which despite its lack of taunt can be really groundbreaking in Standard. This deck also highlights on its battlecries, which Ancient of War does not have, and Klaxxi Amber-Weaver does. Additionally, with the introduction of Dark Arakkoa, late game taunts are pretty well covered.
Sylvanas Windrunner - Sylvanas is not necessarily a bad inclusion into a Midrange Druid deck such as this, but she isn't necessarily the most important to run. I take pride in this deck's low dust cost, and besides not wanting to add a 1600-dust minion that doesn't have to be there, Sylvanas often seems too clunky in Midrange decks. At least from my own experience, she rarely gets the opportunity to make extreme value, other than clearing an otherwise pretty small board, catching a silence, or being dealt with some other way like Entomb or Hex. Though this is probably the worst reasoning as to why a card should not be included in a deck that you have ever read, I'm just about certain that Sylvanas won't be added to this deck in Spring, unless she turns out extremely effective in it.
Ancient of Lore - I originally had this card in even post nerf, thinking the heal would be more necessary than it ended up being. It turns out that Azure Drake's lower mana cost means cycling for cards, particularly taunts in the late game, is extremely important in this deck. I'm a bit disappointed in Lore's nerf, mostly because I saw the issue with Druid in the Force-Roar combo, but as this deck allows for playing quickly, Azure Drake lets you dig and play stuff on the same turn, which is just way too important in this deck.
4. Tech Cards
The Black Knight - TBK is a strong replacement for Keeper of the Grove if you're often facing decks with taunts. The meta shift has added a surprising amount of them, and even against decks like Zoolock and Evolve Shaman, taking out Voidwalker or Thing from Below has a definite effect on the board and immediately gives you some value and potentially a tempo swing. He's also extremely powerful in C'Thun match-ups, taking out Twin Emperor Vek'lor (always take out the big brother first) for basically 1 or 2 mana.
Mind Control Tech - MCTech is only good in a meta we know will be quick. With Mad Scientist, Glaivezooka, Imp-losion, Nerubian Egg, Voidcaller/Mal'Ganis, Haunted Creeper, and even Crackle all leaving in Standard, it's relatively safe to assume the meta will begin to slow down rapidly as slower midrange/control style decks can begin to prosper. Even the Midrange Shaman like the one I made that will surface in WOG will be relatively slow compared to the current Face Shaman. With this in mind, MCTech would only be included if the meta is shaped to still be quick.
Big Game Hunter - I could only ever recommend including a Big Game Hunter if you're constantly running into control-like decks, or against decks where removing, say, a 7/7 on turn 5 is often necessary. If you're not facing decks like that every single game for a long period of time, I wouldn't put this in your deck.
Though it may be too early to say for sure, the mulligans we can predict now will likely be the ones this deck will use at WOG launch. Regardless, here are the likely mulligans, which I will hopefully not have to change anytime soon.
Druid: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, C'Thun's Chosen, Beckoner of Evil,Darnassus Aspirant
Hunter: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, Beckoner of Evil, Darnassus Aspirant
Mage: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, C'Thun's Chosen, Beckoner of Evil, Darnassus Aspirant
Paladin: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, C'Thun's Chosen, Swipe, Beckoner of Evil, Darnassus Aspirant
Priest: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Beckoner of Evil
Rogue: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, C'Thun's Chosen, Darnassus Aspirant/Mire Keeper
Shaman: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, C'Thun's Chosen, Darnassus Aspirant
Warlock: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe (for zoolock), C'Thun's Chosen, Darnassus Aspirant
Warrior: Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, C'Thun's Chosen, Darnassus Aspirant
The good thing about Midrange Druid, as you can see, is you usually know what you want to dig for straight away. More indepth mulligans will come soon, though, for sure.
April 6th - Replaced a Darnassus Aspirant with a Mire Keeper. This is to avoid the downside of Aspirant's deathrattle, and give some versatility as well as higher curve ramping. One of each allows for more potential on-curve choices.
April 17th - Replaced one Azure Drake and one Big Game Hunter for two Dark Arakkoas. The reason behind this is that Drake is only effecting 4 cards with its spell damage at the moment, and while card draw is important, Midrange Druid doesn't need a ton of it. As for BGH, I'm almost completely certain that it will be nerfed, and this deck's ridiculous tempo and high-end minions means trading is a fair alternative to removal. That said, Dark Arakkoa is one of the more impressive cards I've seen so far, and as it fits perfectly in the curve gap as a 6 drop, it's pretty vital. Check the explanation I wrote above about this card where I go more in detail.
April 21st - More changes are likely to come today, but I'm too excited not to update this now. Twin Emperor Vek'lor is absolutely insane, he's 8/12 across two Taunts for 7 mana. He's officially the Dr. Boom of C'Thun decks in my opinion, and I'm glad others can agree. I'm particularly excited that it can replace one of the cards that a lot of people see as weak now, Ancient of Lore, though at the time being I'm keeping one as it's still a strong card for its versatility. However, if there's a card that does something like Taunt, Deathrattle: Draw a card (or two), and has super good stats, I'll likely replace it. At the point of writing this, I've considered Crazed Worshipper, but I mostly see that in a patron-like combo warrior deck. Doomcaller is also nuts, and I'll likely try working at least one in, as two may be excessive but one could help you win against control decks, as a 7/9 body is tough as is, but it also buffs C'Thun further and gives you another one. That's absolutely insane, especially when it hints that C'Thun dying means it can still be buffed. This means you can continue playing minions after C'Thun dies in order to fight for the game, and if it comes down to resurrecting C'Thun he'll be bigger than ever.
April 27th - Apologies if there's any weird typos or incoherent moments, I'm typing this on a laptop that I really can't stand. Hey, Google, if you're reading this, sometimes less features are better! Anyway, after playing for several matches, I decided to go through on some changes I was expecting to make for a little while now. First of all, Elise Starseeker had to be replaced because though her use is strong and she comes as a pretty strong 4-drop regardless of effect, this deck has no shortage of solid 4-drops. Along with her, I decided to replace one Keeper of the Grove, as more than one is pretty excessive in the current meta. Keeper's effect was also way stronger in Wild, allowing you to silence some of the extremely sticky Deathrattle minions that filled most decks more aggressive than this one. Still, if you dislike the new Keeper (he'd be more balanced as a 2/3, in my opinion), you could replace him with a Spellbreaker. While the Ironbeak Owl allows for more efficient mana use in the later stages of the game, its body as a three mana minion is too weak. Speaking of that exact stat lineup, here's the card I replaced those two with! Disciple of C'Thun is pretty powerful and makes for a fantastic 3-drop, as his effect is similar to the damage portion of Keeper and the growth value of Beckoner of Evil. In addition to these changes, I went through with changing the remaining Ancient of Lore with a second Azure Drake. A lot of people "suggested" this change, but that's not why I went through with it. The heal is still a decent aspect of the card, but with the Twin Emperors, this deck's premier 7-drop covers that entire turn. The heal rarely makes a massive impact in the current meta, and the Spell Damage is extremely good with Swipe and Wrath, and the mana cost is just enough to fit both a 4/4, a card draw, and considerable board clear into a single turn. In other decks I could see Lore still working, but through testing, I've decided that I'm set that this deck isn't one for it to work.
April 28th - After climbing 7 ranks with this deck today, and expecting to reach legend with it in a day or two, I've decided to finalize the current list as it is for now. Nothing in particular seems too weak, though I'm continuing to watch what cards seem to be the bring-downs of the deck and what can be replaced with simply better cards. By early May I'm hoping to revamp the guide with various match-up strategies, many of which I've already formulated solid strategies for. Thanks a lot of all the great feedback so far!
May 15th - Man, has time flown. Though these two changes are pretty recently finalized, and I'm not extremely set on them just yet, I've replaced a Darnassus Aspirant and Keeper of the Grove for a second Mire Keeper and The Black Knight. Though MK isn't as good as DA is for early-game board presence (2/3 for 2 is pretty good, guys), it still makes up for it in the mid-game, both to build up the board as well as skip turn five on curve in order to play a six drop, like Dark Arakkoa. TBK is a choice I'm not sure on in the meta as far as months down the line goes, but lately it's done me well, and removing a Geomancer'd C'Thun is really satisfying when you get a 1-mana 4/5 with that Assassinate. That said, alternatives for TBK will always remain as either Keeper of the Grove or Spellbreaker.
June 16th - Apologies for the lack of proper updates to those who have enjoyed this deck in the past, but I've been really focusing on other things, in and out of the game, including some ridiculously fun decks I might post soon that I've had some moderate success with. Since the meta has returned to a more aggressive format, I recognized the need for more early game tools, and Living Roots is just about the best anti-aggro early-game card for Druid, and possibly the best in the entire game. In this deck, it allows for early board presence that, when coupled with your hero power, allows you to bridge the gap you may have at times between dealing with enemy flood and pushing out your own minions. However, to introduce that change, I've had to make cuts elsewhere, in the form of silence and non-C'thun buffs, which I believe all around makes for the better. By cutting a Spellbreaker/The Black Knight, we're not missing too much, as a lot of powerful silenceable minions are just not as threatening now, because most minions are being played for their core stat value. Additionally, I decided to make a cut of one Druid of the Claw, because while it's a great card, there's many other great 4-drops in this deck. If you disagree with this change, I would suggest taking out a Mire Keeper instead, which is recommended over a DotC for those on a budget. Overall I see this change as a positive but unfortunate one, as it's just accommodating to a shitty meta Blizzard unfortunately failed to fix. Regardless, happy aggro-hunting, everyone!