- Highlander Druid
Wild Hearthstone has thousands of cards, and a wide variety of possible decks. This incredible deck diversity is sometimes lost when only looking at the few decks common in the highest ranks. Wednesday, the Wildest of Days is a series aiming to highlight a different off meta deck each week with an in depth guide into its strategy and gameplay. The deck are selected for having interesting synergies and using rarely seen cards.
Imagine a deck with infinite value, where you can keep duplicating your hand indefinitely. That deck is real, and it is Reno Druid. Reno Druid is one of my personal favorite decks of all time, and it has gotten a major upgrade with the latest expansion: Wildheart Guff. Guff allows the deck to ramp faster and draw more, and enables powerful plays at over 10 mana. Reno Druid is generally a control deck, balanced between removals and using Taunt and Deathrattle minions to survive against aggro while having N'Zoth, the Corruptor and Hadronox to resummon them later. The Druid payoff for playing a Reno deck, Elise the Enlightened, can combine with Zola the Gorgon to be able to duplicate your hand forever, giving Reno Druid a powerful infinite value engine. To make this even sweeter, every Elise played after the first will make all the copied cards golden! Reno Druid can win in a lot of fun and different ways, including the ability to create an almost indestructible wall of Greyboughs or being able to infinitely mill your opponent in the lategame. Overall, if you like Value decks, Reno decks, or want to play with Guff or the Druid Taunt minions, give this deck a try!
Now, let's get into a guide on playing the deck. It's going to go through major overarching strategies to keep in mind, how to mulligan, gameplay tips on key synergies, and card choices.
In the early turns you're going to be ramping and drawing cards to look for ramp. You can also play your Taunt and Deathrattle minions and any removals if necessary. In the midgame, keep dropping Taunts to protect yourself while ramping and drawing more. By the lategame, you should be able to launch a value offensive with your finishers to close out the game.
Ramp and Aggression - One strategy you can use is ramping quickly and then being able to play high cost threats like Dragonqueen Alexstrasza early to close out the game before your opponent has time to deal with such minions. Zephrys the Great can even give Windfury or Bloodlust for lethal if you manage to get on board early. Even without ramp, sometimes you need to be aggressive on the board early and rely on Zephrys the Great or even a Branching Paths attack buff to win against certain fast combo decks.
Midgame - In the midgame, you can use your taunts, removal, armor and heal to stall against an aggressive opponent while you wait for your mana to get to a high level.
Finishers - If you managed to survive to the lategame, you can drop minions that generate massive boards such as Hadronox, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, and N'Zoth, the Corruptor. These will be able to close out a game against most aggro decks. If you are against a combo deck, you can use Mutanus the Devourer combined with Brann Bronzebeard and things like Elise the Enlightened, Zola the Gorgon, and Flobbidinous Floop to try and eat their combo pieces.
The Unbreakable Wall - If you see that you are not being pressured much or are against a deck that can generate a ton of huge minions (Jade decks and Pogo Rogue are some examples of this), you may want to try and set up a Hadronox or N'Zoth that will generate 5 or more Greyboughs. For tips on how to set this up, see the Gameplay section.
Infinite Value - Against control decks, one N'Zoth, the Corruptor may not be enough to win. Therefore, you can use Elise the Enlightened and Zola the Gorgon to duplicate threats like N'Zoth indefinitely until you run them out of removals. Sometimes you had to use Zola for survival early game, in which case duplicating N'Zoth 4 times is often enough. This can be done with Elise combined with either Brann or Flobbidinous Floop. Another key thing which can win lategame is to dump most of your hand and keep duplicating Naturalizes. After three uses of the Elise Zola combo, you should have 8 Naturalizes in hand, and you can keep removing any minions your opponent plays while milling them for a lot each turn. If you need more Naturalizes, just keep duplicating your hand when your number of Naturalizes gets down to 4.
This deck starts off with ramp and transitions into a Taunt midgame to survive and apply some minion pressure. If you manage to gain board control early, you can use Zephrys for lethal but otherwise you will have a supremely powerful value endgame which can beat aggro, combo, and control.
Below is a highlight of an Unbreakable Wall Greybough board. Interestingly enough, the priest later managed to get their own infinite Greybough board yet Reno Druid won due to duplicating Branching Paths a few times with Elise the Enlightened and gaining a ton of armor to win in fatigue.
- Keep Zephrys the Great, Wildheart Guff, Overgrowth, Nature Studies, and Lightning Bloom.
- Keep Doomsayer against aggro.
- Keep Guess the Weight or Rising Winds if you are against a slower deck or already have a good anti aggro card in hand.
- Keep Reno Jackson if against aggro or midrange.
This deck has a lot of overlapping strategies, and things like knowing how and when to use the infinite value combo can take some time to get used to. This section will try to help with general tips, but to really get good at a Reno deck like this one with decision making and strategies that can very be different depending on the matchup, the best thing to do is to just keep playing the deck and keeping in mind what worked well and what made you lose in terms of what strategy you tried and if you were focusing too much on value or tempo.
Below are gameplay tips regarding many of the synergies in this deck and how to use them effectively.
The Unbreakable Wall
If you have multiple Greyboughs on the board, it will be very hard to remove them, almost impossible by minion trading if you have 6 or 7.
This is because they will keep giving their Deathrattle to another Greybough and later coming back. If you're trying to go for this, don't play too many other Deathrattle or Taunt minions. Instead, try and set up turns where you have a non-Taunt minion and Greybough on the board so that Greybough will be able to have its Deathrattle activate and later summon another Greybough. You can use a small minion like an eagle from Rising Winds along with a Greybough to let the Greybough come back again.
You can also use your many minion duplication cards to play more than one copy of Greybough from hand. Also, even if you only managed to get 2 or 3 Greyboughs to die before playing N'Zoth, the Corruptor or Hadronox, you can still build The Unbreakable Wall as long as you didn't play too many other Deathrattle minions. This is because if you play Hadronox and then N'Zoth, or play multiple N'Zoths, the second or third one will summon enough Greyboughs to form it.
With Wildheart Guff, you can ramp all the way to 20 mana. First of all, remember that ramping costs 2 mana but gives you 1 mana back, so if you have a play in mind that leaves you with 1 mana, you should use his hero power first.
With mana over 10, there are a number of plays you can do that you just can't with 10.
Ivus, the Forest Lord becomes better at more mana, being able to be over 30/30 with Rush, Taunt and Divine Shield at 20 mana.
In general, there are a lot of plays you should look out for that can allow you to get one minion's effect multiple times in one turn. For example, you can play Brann Bronzebeard, Mutanus the Devourer, and Flobbidinous Floop as Mutanus to get four uses of Mutanus' battlecry at 14 mana. You can do similar things with Zola the Gorgon. Another example of a powerful play using over 10 mana is using Brann Bronzebeard and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza at 12 mana to get four 0-cost dragons added to your hand.
Be aware that Spreading Plague has anti synergy with Hadronox. If you're against aggro, you definitely don't need Hadronox to win as you have many other finishers so use Spreading Plague normally as it's a very powerful anti aggro card. Otherwise, if against control, try to play Spreading Plague to get a minimum of taunts summoned from it unless you're under a lot of pressure and need it to save you.
Infinite Value Combo
First, play Elise to duplicate your hand when it has Zola in it and Zola will be duplicated. Keep in mind it duplicates cards from left to right, so if you have 6 cards in hand only the leftmost 4 will be duplicated due to hand space.
This gives you a second Zola in hand, so you can use the second Zola to get a copy of Elise back in your hand. This way, you will have both an Elise and a Zola in hand and can repeat this whole cycle again.
This will give you infinite value since you can keep duplicating your hand like this indefinitely.
This is very flexible since you can duplicate both spells and minions. In general, which cards you should duplicate depends on the game and the situation, but a general rule is that if you can, you should first dump cards that are less useful for the specific matchup you are in to be able to duplicate only cards that you will want more of. You can always play this combo to duplicate a few card draw spells and then have another Elise and Zola ready for later to duplicate some higher quality cards when you draw them.
You can use this to duplicate armor gain, Poison Seeds, and Reno Jackson for more survival, N'Zoth, the Corruptor and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza for lategame finishers, and Naturalize for mill. If you dump most of your hand, being able to keep duplicating Naturalizes and removing whatever your opponent plays while milling each turn can be a great finisher. If they don't play any minions to prevent this just keep Naturalizing your own Elise and Zola.
Keep in mind that although this infinite value combo is great, you should not save Elise and Zola for it in aggro matches. Even playing Elise on turn 5 as a 5/5 body to get another copy of Reno Jackson or Zephrys the Great can be good, as can using Zola on Zephrys or Reno. In general, don't be afraid to use either Zola or Elise by themselves without waiting for the infinite combo, as you will only need infinite value in certain control matches or against some combo decks where you want to be able to duplicate Mutanus the Devourer.
When playing the deck, you should try and decide on your overall strategies to use for the game depending on the matchup which you should be able to infer based on the first couple turns.
One thing that's almost always good no matter the matchup is to ramp a lot early on. If you can, try to use Wildheart Guff to ramp every turn unless you really need the mana to do a specific play or need to draw into some specific card due to board pressure.
Since this deck has so much potential value in the endgame (theoretically infinite), you should usually focus on tempo and survival for the early and midgame - don't try to maximize the value of every single card.
Ivus, the Forest Lord is usually good from as little as 5 mana - don't save him for 20 mana each game, his usefulness is in his flexibility. Play him when you don't really have any other play to do on a turn, he will usually be able to Rush into an enemy minion and have Divine Shield which means you can favorably trade and then use his Taunt to stall.
You can hide a Doomsayer behind a Taunt minion to be able to activate it more often. Doomsayer is especially powerful when combined with Spreading Plague. Finally, he can be good in the early game if your opponent has just started developing the board but doesn't have 7 attack yet.
Another powerful synergy is Poison Seeds into Spreading Plague.
If against combo, try to ramp and draw as fast as possible and then play Mutanus the Devourer, and next turn Flobbidinous Floop as him into Zola the Gorgon to get another copy. If you have Elise the Enlightened, doubling Mutanus or Floop is great.
This section is going to go through the main packages of cards in the deck. Each package has cards that help the deck with a specific goal. When playing the deck, it's useful to know what purposes each card serves and what other cards in the deck have synergy with it or help achieve the same purpose. This section might also be useful if you're interested in the reasoning for why each card was included in the deck.
Ramp will help you get to your powerful cards faster. Wildheart Guff's effect to have a maximum of 20 mana also allows for strong plays that you can't do in one turn at 10. Nature Studies, in addition to allowing you to discover more ramp, can let you play a spell one turn earlier and so acts a bit like ramp itself.
Removal and Anti Aggro
Removal is one of Druid's biggest weaknesses as a class, and Zephrys the Great helps a lot with that. Other than that, Poison Seeds is your best board clear but some combo of Taunt minions or Spreading Plague into Doomsayer may often be a full clear as well. Other cards in this package provide Armor Gain which can help stall until you do get to either removals or taunts. Reno Jackson is a great anti aggro tool able to take you up to full health. Due to the copy effects in this deck, you can play Reno and Zephrys multiple times.
Hadronox will summon Taunt minions which can help you protect against an aggro offensive or have stats to go on offense yourself.
These minions are in the deck to be resurrected by N'Zoth, the Corruptor. They are also good by themselves as they all have Taunt and help protect you against aggro. Greybough can be resurrected multiple times if his Deathrattle goes off, and Khartut Defender is two minions for N'Zoth in one. Therefore, despite the seemingly low number of Deathrattle minions, N'zoth should have plenty of targets. It's better to have quality over quantity for N'Zoth, especially since you will often be playing multiple N'Zoths in the endgame due to your various minion copying effects. Furthermore, since all of these except Hadronox itself are taunts, they each let you make progress towards two finishers (being part of both the N'zoth and Hadronox packages) while only using up one card slot. Finally, N'Zoth can summon Hadronox making an extra sticky board where if N'Zoth and all minions resurrected are cleared, the Hadronox will summon a new board to deal with.
This is probably the most fun part of the deck, and the main unique aspect Reno Druid has over other Reno decks. It's a really powerful package which has been responsible for many wins. Using Elise the Enlightened and Zola the Gorgon, you can keep duplicating your hand indefinitely. This can be used to get infinite value by duplicating something like N'Zoth, the Corruptor, infinite mill by getting Naturalizes, and anything else. These cards are also good by themselves so in matchups where you don't need infinite value, like against aggro, you can just use either of them to do something like duplicate a Reno Jackson or Zephrys the Great one time, which may be enough to win that type of matchup.
These minions don't fit in any other package, but are all powerful by themselves. Ivus, the Forest Lord is very flexible and can be good starting from as little as 5 mana, and is especially strong at the more than 10 mana that you can get with Wildheart Guff. Brann Bronzebeard is good with any of the Battlecry cards in this deck. Flobbidinous Floop allows you to have the effect of any minion in your deck for only 4 mana. Mutanus the Devourer gives you a chance against combo decks and is great against control as well. Finally, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza gives you value and board tempo, and can be especially powerful if ramped to early.
These can all draw cards. Card draw is important to consistently get to your powerful cards from other packages. Nature Studies can often discover card draw so it is included here. Wildheart Guff is your best source of card draw as he can draw an extra card every single turn.
If you like Value decks, this might be a very enjoyable deck to play. It's a Reno deck with both control and board elements that has the potential for infinite value and high replayability. If you have a question or comment, or are wondering about a card substitution, post below.
What are your favorite wild decks? Which off meta decks have you been playing? Let us know in the comments below!
Vote On This Deck!
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- 0 Lightning Bloom x 1
- 1 Naturalize x 1
- 1 Nature Studies x 1
- 2 Guess the Weight x 1
- 2 Moonlit Guidance x 1
- 2 Rising Winds x 1
- 3 Dreaming Drake x 1
- 3 Ferocious Howl x 1
- 4 Branching Paths x 1
- 4 Flobbidinous Floop x 1
- 4 Overgrowth x 1
- 4 Poison Seeds x 1
- 4 Swipe x 1
- 5 Elise the Enlightened x 1
- 5 Greybough x 1
- 5 Teacher's Pet x 1
- 5 Wildheart Guff x 1
- 6 Spreading Plague x 1
- 7 Colaque x 1
- 9 Hadronox x 1