Hearthstone at its core is a game that people should have fun with, but that can get bogged down in the pursuit of competitive meta strategies. Thus, I humbly present Memes and Dreams, a series on Out of Cards looking to bring some good ol' memey fun into people's Hearthstone experiences. Each week we will do a deep dive on a different 'for fun' deck, discussing the basic ideas of the deck, what makes it tick, and roughly how to pilot it. This week we dive into an exceptionally stubborn Taunt Druid.
Sticks and Stones Save my Bones, but Shadow Words Really Hurt Me
Before Paladins got their shiny Nozdormu the Timeless, Druids were the undisputed lords of ramp. From Wild Growth to Overgrowth to Breath of Dreams, Druid has had the unique identity of basing themselves around hitting 10 mana before anyone else and then dropping big minions to close out the game. Historically, Ancient of War was the grand finisher that really put the pressure on opponents, but times have changed (although you might be seeing more of him in the new Classic Format). These days it takes more than just a tall body of stats, you gotta have some staying power. Hard removal is very common these days, making a powerful Deathrattle go a long way. Greybough has a truly annoying Deathrattle that requires your opponent to make very specific trades or else she will keep coming back. This deck seeks to compound Greybough's Deathrattle with other large minions that are hard to remove such as Scrapyard Colossus and Winged Guardian to create massive Taunt boards that are nigh impossible to fully remove.
The Meme - Go for the classic Ramp Druid strat and play some hefty fellas that your opponent will likely have to put some major effort into removing.
The Dream - Start chaining two or more Greyboughs off of each other to really make things difficult for your opponent to remove. There are so many moving parts involved that your opponent might just make things worse for themselves by trying to clear!
I knew I wanted to make a deck around Greybough the moment I saw her revealed. I'm a sucker for infinite value and she delivers, albeit in a roundabout way. I tried many different decks, Token Druid, Spell Druid, Quest Druid, but none felt quite right, it always felt like Greybough was too tacked on and didn't mesh with the deck. Here she is at home among many other sticky Taunt minions.
Vectus is key in making Greybough work since he covers up her main weakness, dying alone. Without any other minions on the board or in the face of a complete board wipe, Greybough gets no value. Vectus covers up this weakness by bringing back her Deathrattle in a context where there are always minions readily available for the Deathrattle to stick to! Vectus is also great for Scrapyard Colossus synergy but it does muck up N'zoth's resurrect pool a bit.
People seemed to quickly forget about the small gem that is Strength in Numbers. Its ability to cheat out huge minions helps a lot when playing Greybough since it creates something that the enemy will have to deal with before or at the same time as Greybough. If you pull Scrapyard Colossus or Winged Guardian, the board becomes immensely difficult to deal with for most decks.
The basic Druid dragon package that was introduced in Descent of Dragons has been a staple in many Ramp Druid decks for good reason. Breath of Dreams offers insane value, doubling as ramp and card draw, Ysera, Unleashed can generate looming threat that your opponent has to be constantly cautious of, and Emerald Explorer provides excellent stall and value for a medium mana-cost. Together they make the backbone and outline of this deck. That said, they only get Honorable Mention status for not being truly integral to the Greybough dream :P
Germination, like many of the cards in the deck, helps work to cover Greybough's weaknesses and is also a key card in creating more value. When used on Greybough, it creates a board state that requires a minimum of 18 damage spread over 3 Taunted bodies to clear. It's also flexible in that it can get nice value via copying cards like Scrapyard Colossus or turning non-taunt minions like N'zoth or Ysera into sizeable Taunt minions.
Budget / Alternate Options
N'Zoth, God of the Deep and Ysera, Unleashed are both not required for the Greybough Dream and are likely the first cards to be cut if you decide to pursue the Dream. When replacing either, I suggest going for other large minions to keep the deck's curve similar, but this time we can pursue options that are better when pulled with Strength in Numbers. Ysera's value can't be replaced or replicated by any other card, so we have to find other suitable dragons to replace her. Runaway Blackwing isn't a sticky Taunt minion like most of the deck but provides incredible value in its Ragnaros-esque effect. Evasive Drakonid is more in line with the deck's Taunt thematics, but also doesn't have the same threat level Blackwing provides. Fizzy Elemental isn't a Dragon and loses quite a bit of potential if N'zoth is cut, but provides a fantastic combination of threat, Taunt, and immediate impact with Rush.
If Greybough isn't quite your style, then this deck can still function as a decent outline for a Taunt Druid deck. Safeguard is a great option if you intend to keep N'zoth in since it's another exceptionally sticky minion to resurrect. Khartut Defender doesn't get revived like with OG N'Zoth, the Corruptor (shoutout to Doom in the Tomb Rogue), but still provides good value and stabilization. You could also opt for Anubisath Defender since it synergizes well with Overflow, although I would recommend putting in at least one other spell that costs 5+. Bone Wraith is another very cheap Taunt minion that really helps shut down Aggro Decks while not being awful to pull with Strength in Numbers. Without Greybough, Vectus loses quite a bit of spiciness and could be replaced as well.
Embiggen is a decent consideration in any deck that includes Strength in Numbers since it makes the quest 'easier' to complete and increases its payoff. Some of the cards are already 10 mana, so the downside isn't too awful. It then might be wise to make the deck even more minion-heavy with cards like Siamat or Groundskeeper. I've thought about cutting Overflow down to 1 and I think it should be the first consideration when making replacements. Resizing Pouch isn't a bad idea either since it can help round out your curve against aggressive decks. Teron Gorefiend is a fantastic card at making the Greybough Dream come true by both duplicating Greybough and getting her Deathrattle to trigger on a minion guaranteed. It can be a bit tricky to achieve, but Teron is definitely the way to go for maximizing a Greybough board!
A very scary matchup since this deck's cheapest minion is a 3-mana Dreaming Drake and doesn't stop too much prior to Corruption. Nature Studies and Swipe are decent enough to save in the opening hand since they offer the most chance for any amount of removal and board control. Lightning Bloom into any Taunt that costs 6 or more is good enough to help stall the board. Winged Guardian is especially good since it can't be removed through things like Sap or damaging spells and will likely absorb a very large amount of damage. Overflow is great for stabilizing, but you'll likely have to make peace with the prospect of burning a card or two. Don't be stingy with Vectus, just slam him down even if no Deathrattles have died. Baseline you still get the 1/1 Whelps, which can be good for trading into small health threats.
Here this deck shines at whittling down hard removal with very sticky minions. Don't go too overboard and play conservatively depending on the matchup and keep track of what resources have been used. Keeping one or two threats is typically enough since their AoE removal like Brawl or Twisting Nether will lose some value and will likely leave one or two things leftover since our cards revive themselves. Ysera, Unleashed and N'Zoth, God of the Deep are both very powerful in this matchup since their ability to flood the board with medium-large threats is sometimes enough to end a game already. This matchup is also where you can afford to get greedy with Greybough and try to get many copies of her summoned at a time. However, due to this deck's reliance on high-value Deathrattles, the Priest matchup, in particular, can be quite difficult. Control Priests will typically have 1 copy of Soul Mirror and/or Plague of Death and might generate more making big plays especially difficult.
Hard mulligan for ramp if you can/are sure it's Combo. Since many Combo decks rely on using spells to remove minions, Winged Guardian can very easily carry the game if you get it out fast enough. Guardian is especially strong against Combo Demon Hunter since it can't be targeted by Eye Beam or Felscream Blast. Strength in Numbers is also fantastic for cheaply generating threat very quickly (~2 minions played) and can help overwhelm them. Germination will suffice on any card as another way to put pressure on the opponent. Not too much else to say really, just try to ramp ASAP so that you can beat them down before they burst you down.
Finding a fitting deck for Greybough took a lot of trial and error, but this one feels really right. Playing big dudes always brings out a primal sense of satisfaction, and this deck does a great job of that since each big dude just spawns more big dudes! The sheer amount of work it takes for the opponent to remove all your Taunt minions is truly staggering. Barring Plague of Death, even complete board wipes aren't always enough and still might leave you with 14+ attack on the board. Even better, you might achieve the Dream and stack up a bunch of Greybough Deathrattles that are honestly quite hard to track. Then, once your opponent tries to clear the board, you somehow have more attack and health on the board than before! Ramp Paladin, even if it does offer up 10 mana itself, can be a tricky matchup since Tip the Scales really tips the matchup in their favor. That said, it's nice to play ramp in the class that it was always truly meant for.
What is your meme deck of choice? Do you try different ones for each expansion or do you try to evolve old ones with new cards? Do you have any meme dream stories? Tell us in the comments below!