Every Friday a legendary member from team IHearthU breaks down IHU’s “Deck of the Week” . These decks are seeing a lot of play either in constructed ladder or tournaments. Team IHU explains the deck lists and how to play them. View past Deck Lists of the Week.
This week’s Deck of the Week is none other than the very popular Ramp Druid that has been all over the ladder this week. Popularized by Fr0zen, this ramp deck doesn’t play the Force of Nature / Savage Roar combo but instead plays a lot of high value minions and draw power. This deck is meant to keep up with the heavy card advantage decks while playing lots of early removal to combat the aggro decks. Watch out for this one, because this has become quite the popular deck on ladder and for good reason. This deck is very powerful.
This deck features both Wild Growth and Innervate for early ramp, ignoring the popular Zombie Chow and sticking to an extremely high draw density. Your mana curve is much higher, making you slightly worse about aggro but if you are able to get out of the early game, you will have consistently powerful cards for the rest of the match. The ramp allows you to play very powerful minions earlier and assert dominance. This deck has extremely good matchups right now because it has the draw power and draw density to out value even the greediest decks.
In this deck of the week, I will go over the card choices and explain the deck’s core strategy, as well as go over some of the matchups and how you play them.
2 Innervate – Innervate is clearly one of the most powerful cards in the game. This card lets you play 2 turns ahead of the mana curve for one turn, in addition this card allows you to do powerful things such as use 12 mana on turn 10. 12 mana’s a magic number as it allows you to use a 5 drop (of which there are an abundance) with a 7 drop, some of the most powerful cards in your deck. This card allows you to gain tempo early by playing an overcosted minion for that turn. The tempo gained from a strong Innervate play is enough to win the game by itself usually.
2 Wild Growth – While Innervate allows you to cheat the mana system by one turn, Wild Growth allows you to do it for multiple turns. This card is obviously at its strongest on turn 2 but whenever you can fit it into your mana curve, it’ll increase the powerful draws in your deck.
2 Wrath – While Wrath is sort of a throw-away cards, you need it to combat early aggression. Its value increases a bit in the late game as you can cycle with it and set up other removal or better trades. Wrath is a necessary evil in Druid, especially if you want to play a deck as ‘greedy’ as this.
1 Big Game Hunter – Big Game Hunter’s a powerful card in this meta, sniping Ragnaros the Firelord, one of the cards this deck truly has a hard time dealing with. In addition, it snipes Alexstraza, Dr. Boom and Mountain Giant. These cards are annoying for a Druid to deal with.
2 Mind Control Tech – While Big Game Hunter is the key card for the control matchups, Mind Control Tech is the sweeper for the aggressive ones. Immediately putting a 3/3 up while taking one of their minions versus an aggressive deck is an absolute blowout. If you are control, I’d make sure you play around Mind Control Tech from this point forward.
2 Swipe – Often considered a staple in druid, it’s really only another equalizer in aggressive matchups. This card will usually only be used as spot removal against control decks (or an answer to Muster for Battle against Paladin) and sometimes will be used as burst. Pretty important card to sweep against aggressive decks though, so it’s a must play right now.
2 Keeper of the Grove – Keeper of the Grove is one of the best cards Druid has available, while being fairly decent stats for a Silence minion, it’s 2 damage ‘battlecry’ is really effective at dealing with aggressive decks early on, or combining with a Wrath to take care of larger minions like Chillwind Yeti or something like that.
2 Sen’jin Shieldmasta – Sen’jin Shieldmasta serves the purpose of being a cheap enough taunt to contest the board with, in addition it’s nice bait for Black Knight, if you see Sen’jin, you should for sure expect to see Ancient of War so you should look out. The card also keeps your life relatively safe for 4 mana and can be annoying in front of Kel’Thuzad.
1 Nourish – This card is awesome if you get it early. If you innervate it out, you’ll be able to drop your threats really quickly, in addition in the late game if you’re able to draw 3 cards with it, it’s very useful to find options to keep up with the control decks.
1 Starfall – Starfall is more removal against aggressive decks while sometimes being spot removal against the control decks. A deck this slow is going to struggle with aggro decks, so all the removal makes those matchups a lot more manageable.
2 Druid of the Claw – Druid of the Claw, an obvious staple in most Druid decks. This card is a great defensive wall and can be used to control the board efficiently as a 4/4 charge, in addition it can be used as burst in the late game along with Swipe.
2 Sludge Belcher – This card is probably the most resilient taunt in the game. While having pretty weak stats for the mana, its strength relies in the fact that you get a 1/2 out of the deal, protecting your board and your life even further. This card has great synergy with Kel’Thuzad as well, not only giving you a 3/5 taunt but the 1/2 taunt along with it.
1 Cairne Bloodhoof – Cairne Bloodhoof is probably one of the most valuable minions in the game. In exchange for being a little slow, you get 2 great bodies to grind out the board with. Cairne is also great for putting pressure on the opponent because of how impossible it is to clear efficiently. For a deck that wants to get control and then keep it, you want to be playing Cairne.
1 Sylvanas Windrunner – While Cairne is probably one of the most valuable minions, Sylvanas is the most game-breaking minion in the game. This card’s almost always a game changer when it’s played. In fact, Sylvanas is the reason many players include silence in their decks in the first place. When Sylvanas is played on a board where she’s guaranteed to get value, if they don’t have the silence for her – they usually lose outright. Sylvanas was so powerful she was nerfed at 5 mana and still remains to be one of the most played legendaries in the game. An auto include for any deck that wants to regain control of the board in the later stages of the game
1 The Black Knight – Black Knight’s inclusion is due to the large upswing in this deck’s popularity. Ancient of War is almost impossible to deal with without Black Knight in your deck. This card’s strength relies solely upon the metagame but when it’s powerful, it’s the most crippling card in the game. When you play this deck, be sure to try and stay on top of the meta and know whether or not cards like Black Knight are valuable.
2 Ancient of Lore – Ancient of Lore is a must-play in Druid for the obvious power of the card. This card draws you closer to your Innervates in the late game (which in this deck is a blessing, not a curse) and allows you to find more threats and answers to your opponent’s cards. The life gain is also very strong against aggro as once you stabilize, the life gain can help balance out the early damage they got in so they won’t be able to burn you out with something like Kill Command.
2 Ancient of War – Ancient of War is the be-all, end-all against aggro decks. Once you resolve Ancient of War in a decent position, the game is usually over. This card’s also very strong against decks that don’t play Black Knight and in some rare scenarios can be used as a 10/5 to end games, but I’d recommend not doing that right now because Big Game Hunter’s more common than Black Knight right now.
1 Kel’Thuzad – Your win condition. When you trade a couple of minions off then play Kel’Thuzad, you’ll win the game on the spot. This card’s a huge tempo clincher because once you get off its ability, you’ll have way too much on the board to handle, outside of Brawl or Equality and Consecration. In the mirror match, this card is almost impossible to kill behind taunts and will protect you basically forever in that scenario.
1 Cenarius – Cenarius is great because it not only provides you with a strong board right when it comes into play, you can also use either ability (depending on which one’s better in your spot) to reinforce winning scenarios and make them impossible to get out of. All in all, a great fit for a deck that tries to gain board control as early as turn 3 with Wild Growth.
This deck has no mulligan strategy, except for throwing away every card that isn’t Wild Growth or Innervate. Some people recommend keeping Keeper of the Grove versus Warlock but it’s too slow against Zoo, so unless you know its Handlock, try and throw away every card even still, for those Wild Growths and Innervates. They’re the cards that give you the tempo required to snowball to a victory. Keeping Wrath against aggressive decks is okay if you’re on the coin as well, simply to deal with Undertaker before it reaches the critical stages.
Against aggressive decks
Prioritize your life total above all else. Your draw density is much higher than theirs (meaning your cards are worth more in the grand scale) so don’t worry about value, like Hero Powering a 2/1 when your life is low. If you can gain board control early, the game is usually out of reach for the aggressive deck so always try and look for those strong starts, I would hard mulligan for Innervate above all else but Wild Growth is usually acceptable too. Even if you would take some damage, I’d Wild Growth on 2 against aggro even still just to give yourself more options. Don’t let that card sit in your hand, no matter what it’s your best turn 2 play. If things get out of hand, you play 2 Mind Control Tech, 2 Swipe, 2 Wrath, 2 Keeper of the Grove and Starfall, in addition to large taunts and potentially overcosted minions due to Innervate.
Against control decks
Try and hold Sylvanas and Black Knight for their best scenarios and once you gain the board control, these two cards will seal the deal. This deck has a lot of valuable minions, making it hard for most decks to deal with your big threat after big threat. You won’t have dead cards in your hand like combo pieces, instead your cards just get more valuable as the turns go on, this would be one of your easier matchups. My advice is to hold Ancient of War until you have a great position so that Black Knight doesn’t hurt as bad. If they Black Knight you on your Ancient of War when your position is weaker than theirs, then you will lose the game. Mind Control Tech is best served as a 3/3 for 3 on curve in this matchup so don’t be worried about holding it for value as you will never get any in these control matchups. Innervate is best used to play 2 threats in one turn in the control matchups as its more likely for them to have their removal in the early game. It’s still a fine play to use early game if you have nothing else or if you’re using it on Ancient of Lore or Nourish.
This deck is all over ladder and for good reason, this deck’s very strong and provides strong threats throughout the whole game and what it lacks in burst, it makes up for strong pressure throughout the entirety of the game. The deck takes a little while to get accustomed to if you’re used to playing normal druid, but after a couple of games – you should get the hang of it. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t worry about what the opponent is doing because it’s doing something super powerful itself, you’ve come to the right place. This is the deck for you.