Deck of the Week – Yogg Druid
Kyle “EndBoss” Smith
If you watched the coverage from Dreamhack Austin last month, you undoubtedly were intrigued by the Summoning Stone Yogg Druid monstrosity that Tars was running. When I saw the deck in action, I immediately picked it up and played it, to pretty strong results. That having been said, as awesome and fun as the deck was, it had some elements (such as Summoning Stone) that, while awesomely fun, just weren’t optimal in terms of putting up serious competitive results.
Fast forward to this past week, and twitch streamer Savjz seems to have figured how to optimise the concept. He went on a ridiculous win streak with the spiritual successor of Tars’ list, pushing all the way to rank 2 legend on the EU server.
This list is insanely fun to run, with the explosiveness and power to turn a losing board state into a dominant one in a single turn. Without further ado, I present Savjz’s Yogg Druid.
This deck is great at using burst turns to turn around board states. Aggro lists will often be able to get an advantage in the early turns while you are developing your mana, but in the midgame it is not difficult to go nuts on a turn involving Violet Teacher or Fandral to produce a dominant board state.
My most recent game with this deck involved me accelerating with Wild Growth and Mire Keeper against Hunter, then having a burst on turn 5 with Fandral, Raven Idol, double Living Roots (with an Azure Drake on board) to wreck my opponent’s board and fill my own. This is far from uncommon. Against classes without mass removal, it is easy to have turns with Violet Teacher where you go from an empty board to a full board with the help of an accelerator like coin or Innervate.
This deck has performed well for me in aggro matches, falling behind early and then turning things around, and has performed solidly against control as well, presenting powerful big threats, while keeping the gas flowing with Nourish or Fandral + Raven Idol.
As with many ramp lists, it is important to get the right mix of ramp spells to power cards. This makes it very important to make good mulligan decisions, and to get hands that either have Wild Growth or early removal cards like Living Roots or Wrath. Clunky draws without these sorts of cards can result in you being too slow to turn the game around against aggressive decks. If a deck like Shaman or Tempo Mage can get to your life total early, often they can burn you out with direct damage. As such, it is important to survive with a solid life total until the midgame where you can take control of the board, and finish them before they can get enough burn to finish you off.
Against control decks, Nourish is a very important spell (despite that fact that you still mulligan it from your opening hand). Spending a couple of cards to Wild Growth and Innervate can leave you very invested in whatever threats they produce, but if your opponent can answer them it can often leave you low on gas. Nourish is your best way to keep the gas flowing and give you the cards to fight through your opponent’s defences. If your Nourishes end up at the bottom of your library it can often leave you a little weak in these matchups.
Play and Mulligan Advice
It is very important to be patient with your burst cards. It may feel nice to coin into a first turn Wild Growth, but the deck doesn’t do much proactively on 3 mana, and that coin could have been much more important later on being played after a Violet Teacher. Similarly, I will not play Fandral without getting value, unless I am desperate. Fandral is a kill-on-sight minion, and you should not expect to have it survive any more often than your Emperor Thaurissan does. That having been said, if you play your Fandral on 5 then Innervate into a Wrath and Raven Idol you have definitely gotten your money’s worth. If you ever have an early Fandral survive a turn, you are almost certainly winning the game. He turns borderline cards like Power of the Wild into powerhouses (a 2 mana 4/3 that buffs your team seems totally fair).
It is also important to be cognizant of what board-clear effects your opponent may have access to, so that you can time your Violet Teacher turns effectively. Against Rogue or Druid, you often want to have Power of the Wild as part of your burst so that your dudes can survive a Fan of Knives or Swipe. Against Priest, however, you would want to hold back on your Power of the Wild, so that you aren’t unnecessarily throwing resources into an Eviscerated Evil or Holy Nova. In terms of timing, bursting on turn 6 may not be ideal against Tempo Mage, because of Flamestrike, but on turn 4 or 5 you can usually burst as big as you can, because they often will only have targeted removal or Arcane Missiles with which to answer.
As for our Erratic Lord and (occasional) Savior, Yogg can be a very powerful tool, but you never want to play him in a game you are winning. Yogg is the exact opposite of a win-more card. What Yogg does consistently is kill minions and draw cards, so you don’t want to run him out there if you have a board advantage, and you don’t want to run him out there if you have a mitt full of cards or are close to fatigue. Of course, sometimes great Yogg will choose to simply kill you, but we should always remember that it is not our place to question the will of Yogg, when even our Volatile Lord himself does not do so. Praise Yogg!!!
Most of the legendaries in this deck are fairly replaceable, with the exception of Fandral. I would be hesitant to run the list without him (although Summoning Stone actually serves a similar function), but every other legendary can be replaced.
Cenarius and Yogg can both be replaced by other top-of-the-curve power cards, like Ragnaros, Firelord, Arch-Thief Rafaam or even Ironbark Protector. Basically, the role of those slots is to provide big game ending threats, so you can pick the one that happens to be in your collection. If you don’t have Blackrock Mountain for Emperor Thaurissan, his effect is not particularly central to the deck’s strategy. You can sub in another Auctioneer, Sylvanas or one of the big taunters like Druid of the Claw (who also looks great next to Fandral). As for Bloodmage Thalnos, if you don’t have him you can just basically drop him from the list. Typically, he is a mid-game card used to buff a Swipe or Wrath, so I would replace him with a mid-game card like Druid of the Claw.
Thanks for reading, and tune in next Wednesday for a new list.