We’ve had a little time to see how the meta is reacting to Knights of the Frozen Throne and there’s no doubt that Malfurion is coming out on top! The Jade Druid deck has been around for a while, but with the nerfs to Quest Rogue and additional cards in the latest set, it has become a deck practically without peers. Druid currently composes close to 40% of all decks on ladder, so this is the perfect time to learn more about this menace. Whether you’re planning to play Jade Druid yourself or just win more against it, you’ll want to understand which cards are key to the deck’s function. Let’s get started!
Why Jade Druid?
Assuming that you want to explore the awesome new tools available to Malfurion, you’ll have to start with a question. It’s essential to ask yourself which Druid deck you want to play for the meta. There are currently three viable options: Jade Druid, Aggro Druid, and the Token-style Druid that relies on Spreading Plague and Strongshell Scavenger synergy.
In a perfect world there’s a rock-paper-scissors effect between the different deck types.
- Aggressive (Aggro) decks lose to Midrange decks but beat Control decks.
- Midrange (Token) decks lose to Control and beat Aggro decks.
- Control (Jade) decks lose to Aggro decks and beat Midrange.
This isn’t always the case because of the (arguably problematic) power of certain cards. For example, Spreading Plague gives the control deck, Jade Druid, good matchups against both midrange and aggressive decks. For this reason I would argue that Jade Druid is, at least for the moment, far superior to the other choices.
Jade Druid: Deck Core
To start building Your winning Jade druid deck, we first need to include the core cards any druid wants. These are Innervate, Wild Growth, Wrath, Swipe, and a flexible draw engine in Nourish. Next are the Jade cards: Jade Idols, Jade Blossoms, at least one Jade Spirit, Jade Behemoths, and of course Aya Blackpaw. Fandral Staghelm powers up tons of our key spells, and is an obvious inclusion.
Remaining in the core are two new cards. Ultimate Infestation is a must-include in almost every slower Druid deck due to its great effects. Normally you give up tempo when you draw cards… Ultimate Infestation can often gain tempo as it weakens (or clears) your opponent’s board while building your own!
Last but certainly not least is Malfurion the Pestilent, the new Death Knight hero for Druid. This is an incredible defensive card that makes your Hero Power a lot better. It also gives you a lot of flexibility: when ahead, you can go for the offense with two Poisonous spiders. If you’re behind, you’re gaining Armor and dropping two 1/5 Taunts on the board!
Deck Tech Discussion
Considering the power of Druid’s late game, racking up mana crystals as fast as possible is a totally valid strategy. Choosing to include a single Mire Keeper can really help with consistently ramping in control matchups. And it’s 5 Attack across two bodies if you need board presence instead!
Kun is very powerful and flexible, with great applications in both aggro and control matchups. The ability to react to the situation on board makes this card a common inclusion.
This is close to my favorite card from the new expansion! It’s such a great anti-aggro tool, you’ll almost always want to be playing one (or more) in your deck to stall out until the power of your Golems can swing the game.
Another fantastic option against aggressive decks, but with broad applications. You can play it on turn 2 to halt your opponent’s development or drop it against a full board behind a Spreading Plague. Absolutely game-changing!
Hard removal that can take down minions too big to deal with normally. This card also has the extra benefit of overdrawing your opponent in Druid mirrors or other control matchups.
The decision of whether or not to include The Black Knight is extremely meta-dependent. Whenever the big Taunt minions show up, so does he! This card is perfect when you’re facing a lot of high-Cost targets like Primordial Drake or The Lich King.
This guy is Druid’s Silence of choice since the nerf to Keeper of the Grove. The optimal time to play this card is if you’re facing a lot of Paladins (due to Spikeridged Steed and Tirion Fordring) or Deathrattle decks.
A great tool you can use in almost every game to either fight for board control or gain Armor to stay alive. While Gadgetzan Auctioneer is frequently played alongside this card, it’s not necessary as Earthen Scales is often good enough on its own already. It also can put certain minions out removal range against classes like Mage.
A must-include in any metagame overrun by small minions. Look out for an excess of foes like Aggro Druid, Pirate Warrior, and Token Shaman!
When deciding which tech cards to include, I personally look at my last twenty games and plan accordingly. You don’t want to tinker excessively, but it’s fine to switch a few cards in and out during your climb. To make this easier, next are some completed decklists from top players. Each of these targets a different metagame, but they should give you a good starting point!
First off, here’s the list that Nicslay played to Rank 1 Legend! The most notable cards in this list are Earthen Scales and Gadgetzan Auctioneer. Including Auctioneer means that you can gain mana crystals with Nourish and retain the ability to draw through your deck and find answers.
Next up, Maff’s list which got him to Rank 15 Legend just a few days ago. He’s running a more anti-aggro build with more removal tools like a second Primordial Drake, Spellbreaker, and two copies of Spreading Plague plus Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End in case things go south.
Last up is the list of Purple, which he piloted to Rank 6 Legend. I’m a big fan of this list as it’s very good in the mirror match, as well as offering a lot of game against the resurgence of aggro decks. Naturalize lets you deal with big minions like Bittertide Hydra in Pirate Warrior and Aggro Druid. It also threatens to burn your opponent’s cards in the Jade Druid mirror, due to huge hand sizes that result from Ultimate Infestation.
Ready for Battle?
No matter which deck you’re playing now, Jade Druid is a ladder threat that you’ll want to be familiar with! Make sure you understand the key components, and you’ll be better prepared to win games and climb in rank. Thanks for reading, and see you again next time for another Deckbuilding Journey!
Editor’s note: looking for more advice on piloting Jade Druid? This guide from Sensei Asmo is a bit out of date, but there’s still good tips to consider!