Hearthstone is a really engaging new game. While I have some concerns about the current beta systems (especially with regards to quests and rewards), I am pretty confident that this game will be a lot of fun when it goes live. However, as this will be the first card game that many current or past WOW player might play, I thought it would be helpful to pull together some basics that will be helpful for everyone, and then go into more specifics with regards to thinking about how to put together a good starter druid deck before you have access to a lot of the more rare cards.
New player resources for Hearthstone:
- Khalanil put together a really awesome new player guide for Hearthstone that covers many different aspects of the game. Anyone picking up hearthstone should read this guide.
- More generally, Hearthpwn is a fairly comprehensive resource. This includes the Hearthstone Wiki that has pretty good definitions of various aspects of the game that may help with learning the basics.
- The Wowhead crew has launched their new hearthstone site, HearthHead.
- For completing the tutorial phase of Hearthstone, Aramis has a great summary and helpful guide.
There are several types of cards available as druid class cards:
- Spell damage cards: Moonfire, starfire, starfall, swipe, and wrath
- Minion cards: druid of the claw, ancient of lore, keeper of the grove, ironbark protector, ancient of war, cenarius, force of nature
- Cards that buff minions: Mark of the wild, power of the wild, savage roar, Mark of nature, soul of the forest,
- Cards that buff your hero: Claw, savagery, bite, healing touch (heals your hero),
- Mana increasing cards: Innervate, Wild growth, Nourish
- Remove opponent minions: Naturalize (note that wrath and starfall now only do damage against minions)
- Card draw: Several abilities have secondary bonuses allowing us to draw more cards: wrath, nourish, ancient of lore, and wild growth (If you cast wild growth when you have 10 mana, it lets you draw a card instead).
- There are also many neutral minions available to all players
Decision points in building a deck:
- Spells vs minions - The druid deck works well if you have a mix of minions and spells. Going too spell heavy or too minion heavy may actually hurt the druid deck. Spells such as starfall and swipe that help to clear the board are especially vital in controlling the board and gaining an advantage over your opponent.
- Choose 1 of 2 cards: Many druid cards let you choose one of two effects, such as choosing between taunt and charge, or choosing between gaining mana/health and gaining cards. You want to pick up several of these flexible cards to allow for better adapting to the situation.
- Card draw power: Basic druid decks are often bad when you run low on cards. So, the ability to draw more cards is vital for a druid deck to be successful. Minions that allow for drawing cards (such as novice engineers) can be vital for getting card draws without losing board presence. The Gadgetzan Auctioneer can be very powerful in a spell heavy druid deck for getting card draws. Cards like wrath and starfire that both do damage and draw cards can often be better than cards like nourish that only draw cards.
- Spell power buffs: Cards like swipe and starfire benefit greatly from spell power buffs, allowing you to hit substantially harder than you would otherwise. Minions such as dalaran mage with their +1 spell power buff combo well with spell heavy druid decks.
- Controlling the board: Being able to contain and control enemy minions is important. So, cards with silence such as ironbeak owl or keeper of the grove are good additions to a druid deck and can often turn the tide of battle. Natualize is powerful for killing legendary or high mana cost minions, but letting your opponent draw 2 cards is a huge disadvantage.
- Buffing minions: Druids can do well with strategies that involve controlling the board with several minions and then buffing them up. This makes druids an ideal candidate for “murloc decks”. Cards and minions that buff other minions are powerful (e.g., raid leader, shattered sun cleric, power of the wild, savage roar, soul of the forest).
- How defensive? Cards that heal, taunt, or otherwise protect you can be good additions to the deck. However, unless healing touches are well timed (e.g., played right after your opponent exhausted their hand), they may just delay your loss since they don’t give you board control. Instead of having Healing Touches, I run with Ancient of Lore minions and often will use the draw card effect instead of the healing effect if the heal won’t give me an advantage. Cards like Druid of the Claw are very versatile, offering either charge or taunt depending on how aggressive or defensive you want to play.
- Mana control: I have had mixed success with cards like innervate and wild growth. While they can help you get out big minions quickly, I often find that my big minions get turned into sheep and frogs, since players will often have removal in their hand to deal with big threats early in the game. Without big legendary cards, I don’t find that innervate fits well into how I personally play my deck. However, others playing aggressive decks have found ways of using innervate to get more early medium-sized minions out to control the board.
Example Druid Decks:
For people starting out without many of the premium cards, using the basic druid starter deck is pretty terrible. So, the goal should be for you to create a custom deck as early as possible when you play a druid.
Level 1 druid deck with no premium cards:
- Practice Mode Minion Buff deck.
- You will want to replace cards with new abilities as you level. Spells like swipe and starfire are really important to add to your deck as you level up.
Level 10 druid budget druid deck with no premium cards
Level 10 template deck with some common premium cards:
More advanced druid deck starting points:
- Board clear deck.
- Luizimgpi’s Murloc aggro deck.
- More discussion on murloc decks.
- Dangerhorse’s spell deck (requires Malygos)
- “The brothers stormrage”
What druid decks are you running with? Any advice to new hearthstone players?