If you’ve played Hearthstone over the past week, you know that Druid is the king of the court, and he’s hard to beat. You’ve likely come to the conclusion that playing most of the new decks just gets you beaten. Slow Death Knight decks get overwhelmed by Druid Jades most of the time. Druid is definitely overpowered and needs tuning down, but in the mean time, what do you play? Here are a few decks you can use to compete against the horde of Druids without becoming one yourself.
Okay, this one isn’t a ton better on the scumminess ladder. However, Pirate Warrior is a fairly solid Druid counter. The way to stop Druid, Jade in particular, is to beat them down before they can build up their minions. This is best done by aggressive decks, obviously. However, with Spreading Plague in the mix, flooding decks suddenly aren’t amazing counters, and Pirate Warrior remains very strong because of the reliance on weapons rather than a large board.
If you’ve never played Pirate Warrior, the playstyle is fairly simple. Whenever you can, simply go face. Play the most power you can on curve, unless there’s a real reason not to. Use your weapons to clear the board early, so that your minions can press through. After a few turns, start pushing for face damage with your weapons too. Pump as much damage as possible, and if they don’t do something, they’ll die by tun six.
Honestly, this Pirate Warrior deck isn’t exciting. It doesn’t have any new cards, and it has been in the meta for a long time. But the only reason Pirate Warrior is annoying is because of how effective the deck is at getting the job done. Now that Druids are the most obnoxious deck on ladder, perhaps it’s time to dust off your Pirate Warrior deck and see if you can’t take a few Druids down along the way.
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Exodia Quest Mage
Quest Mage never really got rolling last league, largely due to Freeze Mage just being stronger. Well, that’s not the case anymore. Warrior got a bunch of new armor spells, and for some reason, Druid can stack massive amounts of armor with their new Death Knight. Freeze Mage is fully dead this league, since it can’t deal with the armor. For those who don’t know, Freeze Mage decks rely on using Alexstrazsa to put their opponent to 15 health, then burning them down with spells. However, Alexstrazsa doesn’t remove armor, which means Druid’s Death Knight has been enough to remove Freeze Mage entirely.
Quest Mage, on the other hand, doesn’t have this problem at all. The reason Quest Mage is called Exodia Mage is straightforward: when you get all the pieces together, you win. You are able to create infinite Fireballs that destroy your opponent, and there are very few things that can stop you. The combo is fairly simple as well. Play Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Molten Reflections, Molten Reflections, and the finished Quest. Each Sorcerer costs two mana, the first Molten is two, the second costs one, which leaves you with three. The Quest only costs one mana with four Sorcerers in play. On your extra turn, you play Antonidas, any spell, and with four Sorcerer’s Apprentices in play, each Fireball costs zero and creates another Fireball.
This is a five card combo, so you will often have to wait until very late in the game to actually go off. However, the rest of the deck is built with stalling in mind. Frost Novas, Ice Blocks, Ice Barriers, and a ton of random Mage spells slow your opponent down. This allows you to stall until you can get your pieces and win. Druid decks are mostly board centric, and their new cards are direct board interactions. By not playing any real minions and freezing their board, Mage is the perfect class to stall out against Druid.
This is easily my favourite counter, but it’s also the most difficult to pilot out of the decks I’ve listed here. I myself have played lots of Mill Rogue in the past, and still have many scenarios where I misplay. For those of you looking for an extremely skill-based deck that can beat Druid, Mill Rogue is the ticket. Keep in mind that this decklist is extremely experimental, and there are plenty of changes you could make to it.
For those of you wondering, ‘mill’ is a term from Magic: the Gathering. To ‘mill’ is to take cards from the opponent’s library and destroy them. In Hearthstone, this isn’t nearly as easy to accomplish, but can be done using Coldlight Oracle cards. This puts your opponent into fatigue to kill them, rather than use damage. You may be wondering how a mill deck can win against Jade Druid, since Jade Idol creates copies. That’s why we have Skulking Geist in our deck. It not only deletes Jade Idol, it also deletes any other one cost card they may be running, putting them closer to fatigue. This includes Earthen Scales when you’re against Druid, Shield Slam in Warrior matchups, and several Priest cards. In other words, Skulking Geist and Coldlight Oracle gets you closer to your goal of killing your opponent by way of fatigue in many common matchups, and against Druid, it removes their fatigue counter.
Once we’ve removed Druid’s ability to sustain indefinitely, the match becomes much easier. The current Druid lists are largely based around wasting cards to ramp up your mana, then refilling your hand with Nourish and Ultimate Infestation. Druid decks are already drawing a ton of cards, which works in our favor. All we have to do is find ways to stall, and Valeera the Hollow is absolutely perfect for our deck. It gives us duplicate Coldlight Oracles every time we play them – which can be a lot if we use Shadowstep and other bounces properly. The rest of our deck is mostly low cost, so Valeera provides immense value most turns.
The gameplan with Mill Rogue is to sustain until you get Coldlight Oracles and some bounce effects. (Preferably with Valeera in play, but this is negotiable.) Then, you fill their hand and force them to overdraw. Repeat as many turns as needed. If you have to, start or end your turn with a Vanish to wipe their board. Remember, Deathrattles do activate if you bounce a card while their hand is full. Coldlight + Vanish is a great way to wipe someone’s board. Coldlight + Shadowstep + Coldlight + Vanish is even better. Once you get ready to kill your opponent, play Shadowblade to avoid your own fatigue damage if necessary, and draw them into oblivion.