Maybe. I admit I'm still tweaking this deck, but the testing I've done so far has made look like… really, really good.
### Aggro Druid
# Class: Druid
# Format: Standard
# Year of the Gryphon
# 2x (0) Innervate
# 1x (0) Lightning Bloom
# 2x (1) Adorable Infestation
# 2x (1) Nature Studies
# 2x (2) Annoy-o-Tron
# 2x (2) Crabrider
# 2x (2) Guess the Weight
# 2x (2) Mark of the Spikeshell
# 2x (2) Mark of the Wild
# 2x (2) Razormane Battleguard
# 2x (2) Toad of the Wilds
# 2x (3) Dreaming Drake
# 1x (3) Guff Runetotem
# 1x (3) Speaker Gidra
# 1x (4) Kazakus, Golem Shaper
# 2x (5) Arbor Up
# 2x (5) Twilight Runner
# To use this deck, copy it to your clipboard and create a new deck in Hearthstone
So, let's talk Taunt druid.
Taunt druid sucks. I hope I'm not blowing anyone's mind or ruining their day here with this statement. It sucks hard, and obviously, and unambiguously. But some of the cards in the taunt package are quite good in theory, so what if we took those good elements, like Razormane Battleguard and (for now) Mark of the Spikeshell, and put them in a better deck. Rather than bad taunt synergies, we're running just generically good card like Kazakus and Gidra.
So, we run no Greyboughs here, say goodbye to your Plaguemaws, so long silly 4 drop thicc Kodos. In this deck, we *just get on with it and murder you with Speaker Gidra on turn 4*.
I don't think I've ever seen or made a deck that has been able to apply quite as much pure, timmy-ish PRESSURE as this one. I must have had a record number of turn 3-4 concedes since I started testing it. Non-reactive decks tend to just get bodied by the sheer amount of stats in play. The goal is simple enough. Play undercosted and/or sticky threat which demands an answer, if they don't have one (which is quite often, *you* try answering a 5/8 windfury on turn 2-3), then they die. Of course it's not all roses, there are some teething problems, you get some spectacularly bad mulligans and druid card draw if you aren't ramp or mostly spells… well… let's just not even talk about it, but in general you've already overwhelmed the opponent by the time it catches up to you.
So now the summary of "make big thing, buff big thing, SMorC" is out of the way, let's talk in more detail about individual cards and why they're there.
THE TAUNT PACKAGE –
These are the cards that have survived the deck's taunt druid origins, for better or for worse.
Razormane Battleguard – You'd think this would be a core card, and indeed I'd never suggest cutting it. But it's more of a nice bonus really. Mostly it's just a free 2/3 that immediately dies, which is fine, but then sometimes you get to follow it up with a one mana 5/6 taunt, or mark of the spikeshell+mark of the wild it and play the copy and cheat all the mana forever. This card was basically the only redeemable part of taunt druid so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's still good, however it's not the core engine.
Toad of the Wilds/Annoy-O-Tron – these might as well be the same card. Their job is to be sticky and to come down for free when there's a Battleguard in play. That's about it. You have to land buffs on something after all. The deck has 11 nature spells in it so toad is normally active.
Dreaming Drake – Card's just good, it's a little hard to corrupt without sticking a Battleguard, but when you do it feels borderine unfair, otherwise it's still just a solidly statted minion.
Mark of the spikeshell – honestly this might be the weakest card in the deck, it's very rarely better than a 2 mana +2/+2 with the nature tag for Guff. But that's surprisingly playable? I like to keep it around just because it helps kill people and every so often generates some stupid value like copying a taunt golem from Kazakus.
Mark of the Wild – second verse same as the first. It's not the strongest card, but buffs is buffs, and +3 health is a lot. Sticking this on a Gidra or a Crabrider does plenty enough killing people to justify its inclusion.
THE LOL-JUST-KILL-THEM PACKAGE –
Crabrider – I don't know who decided that druids were too good for the "put a bunch of buffs on the sticky windfury 2 drop" plan, but they should be sacked from their position as a decision maker. I've almost killed people on turn 3 with this card and Guff (Guff + double innervate + mark of the wild+nature studies. Somewhat unlikely but it's happened at least once) and while that isn't exactly the normal state of affairs, they still basically have to kill it the moment it comes down or there is just no racing that clock. And that isn't always easy to achieve.
Speaker Gidra – Gidra is Crabrider number 3. I think we've not seen her in the meta for a while so it's easy to forget how hard she actually solo's people who don't have an immediate answer.
Guff Runetotem – Do you have any idea how much damage this card represents in a deck with 11 nature spells, innervate and bloom? The answer is a lot. It's a lot of damage. The buffed minions stick around and stay buffed too.
Innervate/Lightning Bloom – These go in the lol just kill them category because that's what they're really there for. Both the acceleration they provide and the synergy with Guff are basically why the deck even work. Only running one bloom because overload 2 in a deck looking to curve out is just bad, but the card is still super powerful.
THE GOOD CARDS PACKAGE –
Adorable Infestation – is still just great value for one mana.
Kazakus – Kazakus swings games on his own sometimes, plus bonus points for the occasional time you get to pull off the taunt golem/mark of the spikeshell interaction. Imagine running a silly 3/5 kodo over Kazakus…
Arbor Up – I don't love running four 5 drops, but you can't justify not putting Arbor Up in an aggro deck that can run it. It is, and will likely until its rotation remain, absurdly broken in any deck that can build up a beefy midgame board.
WEIRD CARDS –
Twilight Runner – This looks like a concession to the lack of good card draw options, and it half is? It certainly helps the running out of gas problem, but honestly I'd run it anyway. Having a big stealth minion at the top of the curve is about the best way I've found to recover from board clears and land a bunch of otherwise dead buff cards in hand. Honestly playing a Twilight Runner never feels bad or clunky, and sometimes you innervate it out, although it isn't the first line of play you'd want to look at, and it still feels grossly unfair when you do it.
Guess the Weight – Druid card draw. Ugh… PLEASE give me an excuse to cut this garbage.
CARDS I'M CONSIDERING:
Broom – I've never really felt in danger against other aggro decks, and I have some cards with native rush anyway, but Broom is still one of the stronger things you can do in a deck that likes to put big dumb balls of stats into play. I could definitely see myself running it instead of *pukes in mouth* Guess the Weight given more testing.
Intrepid Initiate – Doing stuff on turn 1 that doesn't have to involve Innervate would be nice. I'm a bit worried about running out of gas if I make the curve too low though, so it's staying out for now.
Okay, now let's talk about Matchups briefly. I haven't really done extensive enough testing to get really great data yet, and there's only one of me, so take this section with a pinch of salt, but here's what I've found so far:
Any aggro deck except secret paladin: You're absurdly favoured against all of them. Weapon rogue has never looked worse than it does against this deck, you know it's good when they start having to facecheck 4+ attack minions and use up endgame damage to not die on turn 3. Demon hunter just gets bowled over by your higher and more robust mana curve, minus some insane skull draws they don't have too many ways back in. I've lost to face hunter a couple of times because that deck is just incredibly robust and sometimes a big'ol rhino comes and ruins your hopes and dreams, but the matchup is still fundamentally favoured for most of the same reasons as other aggro decks.
Secret paladin: Oh my Yogg and Galloping Saviour are the only reason this one is harder, you will almost inevitably eventually end up with enough big taunt stuff in play that they can't deal with it, but that combination of secrets makes it hard to just jump ahead and innervate your way to victory in the early game, and you really don't want to find yourself in a position where you have to trade into the paladin's board, that's still pretty much death unless you're really far ahead. With that said, they lack burn or a good way to close out the game if you get out of the early stages. I think this is still slightly favoured.
Libram paladin: Libram paladin is a good deck with near infinite gas. Thankfully they only have one real board clear and most of their removal tends to come from trading. The problem with this matchup is that they can do this quite efficiently for a very long time and you're on a clock. Trying to win after they start spamming discounted librams of hope and playing Liadrin is mostly a lost cause, although sometimes you can still stick something large enough after their equality libram has gone that they have to lose all their advantage bashing their head against it. I'd call this slightly unfavoured.
Warlock control: Pretty favoured. The deck HAS the tools to run you out of resources, but it has them too slow and too late. Their early game removal suite does almost nothing, the entire deck laughs heartily in the face of school spirits, and by the time we're worried about siphon souls and malicia the game should be either over or very close to over. If you didn't have to dodge hysteria this would feel almost unlosable, as it is it's merely favourable, because hysteria does horrible things.
Priest control: Slightly unfavoured. they can stall better than warlock, by a lot, and generate extra hysteria copies. Both of these things equate to this matchup being worse than the warlock one. On the other hand, they don't really have a good way to close the game out, so even if you get full cleared, as long as you still have SOME gas, it's worth it to keep on playing.
Rush Warrior: Unsure? Not played enough to get a firm grasp. I suspect by the nature of a deck that tends, as the name suggests, to run a lot of rush minions, against a deck that really wants to stick a board, that you're probably not the favourite to win. But it's not like you have no game against them. Your stuff gets bigger faster, and the rush warrior early game isn't that scary. A bunch of 1/3s and 2/3s definitely aren't going to do anything to stop you. If they get conditioning off or stage dive into a crabrider you're probably in trouble though.
Miracle Rogue: Favoured. They can usually clear you and/or contest your board meaningfully once, but they'll have to dump a lot of their good cards to do it and by that time you've probably dealt most of their life total in damage. Brain freeze is an annoying card and the deck is capable of some incredible powerspikes though, so it's not a surefire thing.
Secret Rogue: Ew. Blackjack Stunners. Try to dodge this one is all I can say. Honestly having played this matchup a few times I almost sympathize with the paladins and their 35%ish winrate here.
That's about it! This deck is still very much a work in progress and maybe in a week's time we'll find out it's not good at all, but I'm deeply impressed by the potential it's shown and I've already had some games that ended in total blowouts with it. If nothing else, when this deck works, it feels just unfair.
Edit: Forgot to mention token druid in the matchups list – I've only played against 3, but I crushed two of them and narrowly beat the third off of what I thought was a pretty bad draw. They establish bigger and more resilient boards, but you establish your boards first and can threaten lethal most turns.
- Guess the weight in Druid: Should you be guessing lower or higher?
- [Guide] Hitting 11 star bonus with Gibberling Druid
- Forged in the Barrens Card Reveal Discussion [March 18th]
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