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 attempt to utilize the new Quilboar patch with a revamped Menagerie Druid!
It Has a Little Something of Everyone
The latest patch unfortunately did not bring the balance changes that some people (myself included) were hoping for. The strong remain strong and the weak remain weak...but a sneaky 'buff' did make it through. The introduction of the Quilboar tribal tag, although mainly for Battlegrounds, brought a small/not-small change to constructed as well, with Amalgams gaining the tag and N'Zoth, God of the Deep gaining a new slew of cards to resurrect. Not many are of note though, with Death's Head Cultist being a welcome inclusion for many decks that want to run N'zoth. Druid is a special case though. Druid has the legendary Plaguemaw the Rotting that can be resurrected through N'zoth and synergizes with many other cards that N'zoth resurrects as well, making a fairly difficult problem for the opponent to solve.
The Meme - You know it, you love it, its ramp Druid time. The age-old strategy. Ramp, send in the large lads/big things, the usual motions.
Plaguemaw the Rotting recently received the esteemed Quilboar tribal tag, which mostly does nothing. Quilboars have no synergies outside of Battlegrounds and makes it a moot point for most constructed cases... but only most. A new tribal tag means that N'Zoth, God of the Deep can resurrect it, which pairs exceptionally well with Taunts and Plaguemaw's unique ability. Before, Plaguemaw would be too difficult to pull off with needing additional setup, but a board full of minions that immediately resurrect themselves can be very difficult to deal with.
As previously discussed, N'zoth is integral in rebuilding a powerful board. N'zoth is an exceptionally fun build-around that lets the deck run some otherwise unconventional and unpopular cards, such as Burning Blade Acolyte. If you decide to make adjustments to the deck, you'll have to make sure to keep N'zoth in mind. You'll want to avoid low-quality minions, even if they are decent at stalling in the early-game.
Circus Amalgam is a very simple card and isn't terribly make-or-break, but it synergizes very well with the deck's plan. Taunt is something we're always looking for and the "All" tag lends it exceptional synergy to N'zoth (almost like it was made for it). You might need to be a bit wary if you want to pull off N'zoth since this can give too many tribes and prevent powerful cards such as Plaguemaw from being resurrected.
Taelan Fordring is one of the few minions in the deck that can't be resurrected by N'zoth, but he serves a very important role in the deck as also the only tutor effect. Taelan finds N'zoth just in time for the late-game and can even stem a bit of mid-game aggression. N'zoth is so important to our late-game power that having an effective second copy is way too good to pass up. Even if you already have N'zoth in hand, Taelan will draw you the next Honorable Mention.
Fizzy Elemental is a card that I am shocked has not seen more play. I imagine that it gets overshadowed by Scrapyard Colossus as the Elemental to run in a menagerie deck, but I think that Fizzy has the upper hand. Scrapyard's deathrattle puts a vanilla 7/7 Taunt in the resurrect pool and a 10-cost can muck up Taelan if you really need N'zoth. Fizzy's rush is also one of the only fast answers in the deck, making it even stronger when brought back via N'zoth.
Budget / Alternate Options
This deck is a tad on the expensive side, with Plaguemaw the Rotting and N'Zoth, God of the Deep being integral to the dream. Greybough conversely is here for extra meme value and is not too important for the dream. Germination or Mark of the Spikeshell are decent replacements since they are ways to gain extra value and copies of your taunts, allowing you to perpetuate the meme. If Plaguemaw isn't quite doing it for you, the Quilboar space can be easily made up with Death's Head Cultist. Cultists won't provide the same shenaniganry Plaguemaw does, but is a solid card and can help you survive the early-mid-game.
The epics in this deck also aren't super important, but rather are nice additions to boost survivability and consistency. Guess the Weight has a hard time being replaced since Druid is otherwise lacking in card draw, but there are plenty of strong options to help survive into the later stages of the game. Armor Vendor is fantastic at keeping you alive for a very cheap price. Similarly, Moontouched Amulet or Feral Rage can provide a substantial defensive increase while maintaining an ability of board control. The tempo value from Cenarion Ward's 8-drop is hard to replace, but cards like Cenarius or Alexstrasza the Life-Binder provide a similar defensive niche.
Baron Rivendare doubles as a potential substitute for Plaguemaw as well as a new direction you can take the deck in. Baron can create serious value from Burning Blade Acolyte and lends himself very handy if you want to specialize into deathrattles with cards such as Archspore Msshi'fn, Plagued Protodrake, or Scrapyard Colossus. Thanks to the deck's powerful ramp capabilities, Lorekeeper Polkelt has a decent chance to shine as well. Post-Polkelt, you're guaranteed N'Zoth, God of the Deep -> Fizzy Elemental -> Cenarion Ward, which allows for a very powerful string of turns. The best replacement slot for Nozdormu the Eternal is Burning Blade Acolyte since he's just kinda slow and a shaky inclusion already.
I've started to feel like a bit of a broken record when it comes to listing matchups, saying the same "Control the board against Aggro", "Get greedy against Control", and "Rush down Combo" in every article regardless of the list, so I'm going to try something different. Instead, I will very briefly go over what the deck is strong at and what the deck is weak at. I think this will allow more variety across articles and encompasses a more nuanced game experience, such as covering midrange or burn.
This deck is very strong against minion-centric decks and is great at keeping stuff on the board. Opponents such as Demon Hunter or Weapon Rogue may have difficulties reaching your face as you can more-or-less play a Taunt minion every turn. Things can get really hairy for the opponent if you get Greybough to pop off and duplicate once or twice. Without a silence or bounce effect, they will have to burn too many resources to attempt to remove your high-health minions and can fall behind very quickly. Even with a lack of early-game minions or direct removal, this deck is able to stall very effectively against decks that require board presence.
This deck has the hardest time against burn and heavy control. Burn decks like Mage and aspects of Aggro Hunter can abuse the relatively weak early-game and/or bypass Taunt to quickly burn this deck down. Although the deck does include some stabilization tools in Cenarion Ward and Thickhide Kodo, those can be too slow and the opponent will have pressured your face too much already. Potentially even more difficult is heavy Control decks. Warlock has plenty of hard removal and can answer N'Zoth, God of the Deep very easily. Priest on the other hand can Soul Mirror our larger boards to match our pressure while still having their own plethora of resources.
I was initially worried that this deck would be a bit too similar to the last Druid Memes and Dream deck, but playtesting revealed that it plays surprisingly different. The extra emphasis on getting a proper menagerie of minions for N'Zoth, God of the Deep coupled with the much-reduced emphasis on Greybough and Dragons makes the deck feel fresh. Although I loathe Quilboars in Battlegrounds (a nerf can't come soon enough), I am pleasantly surprised to utilize the tribal tag in constructed. The combo of N'zoth with Plaguemaw the Rotting is hugely satisfying to get off and is definitely a highlight in much of the playtesting from this expansion cycle. I hope people like the new format changes to the article and I look forward to the next one!
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!