Jade Druid Guide pt. 2: Matchup Guide and Tips

 

Jade Druid is a deck that is built around the Jade Golem mechanic, which lets you play a larger and larger Jade Golem for each one you summon. Jade Druid is a strong contender on ladder, thanks in no small part to the new cards in Knights of the Frozen Throne, Spreading Plague and Ultimate Infestation. Last Saturday, I wrote part 1, which offered an introduction to the deck and dove into the deckbuilding aspect of playing Jade Druid. This week, I’ll go more in-depth about how to play the deck, including various tips and advice against every opponent class.

I’ve reached legend the last two months with Jade Druid. While my results with the deck haven’t been super impressive (I finished the October season at rank 68 Legend), I still hope I can speak about the deck with authority.

 

 

Mulligan Guide / Early Turns

Mulliganing well with Jade Druid can be more difficult than it first appears. Here are some guidelines to properly mulligan with the deck:

  • The key cards that you want to keep almost all the time are [Wild Growth and Jade Blossom].
  • I used to keep Jade Idol all the time in my opening hand, but that was a mistake. In reality, there’s many factors to consider when deciding to keep Jade Idol. In matchups where you want to stay ahead on your Jade count early on, matchups where you want to be the aggressor, or in matchups where a 1/1 can trade favorably, playing turn 1 Jade Idol can be very handy. Jade Idol loses value in matchups where the opponent can kill a 1/1 easily.
  • You can keep Living Roots if your opponent is playing aggressive decks, but if your opponent is a Warrior, I don’t suggest playing the saplings on turn 1 because [N’Zoth’s First Mate] will clear one of them.
  • I toss back Wrath more often than not. Wrath is a good card against Warrior or if I also have Jade Blossom in my hand.
  • If you have Wild Growth or Jade Blossom with the Coin, cards like Jade Spirit and Nourish become better keeps. However, you should almost never keep Nourish against aggressive decks.
  • Aya Blackpaw can be a strong keep against control decks if you also have ramp.
  • Likewise, Spreading Plague can be a strong keep against Aggro Druid or Paladin if you also have ramp.

The early turns are usually about ramping up at your earliest opportunity. You might have to plan your future turns so that you have something useful to play every turn, and you’re not wasting resources like the Coin. For example, you should avoid Coin Wild Growth on turn 1 if you have nothing to do with 3 mana next turn. The early turns can also be about removing key minions like Vicious Fledgling. Keep in mind that not every minion has to die immediately, and you can simply ramp up with Wild Growth or Jade Blossom in more situations than you might think.

 


Matchup-specific advice

 

Vs. Warrior (Pirate, Control)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Wrath, Living Roots

 

 

Vs. Paladin (Recruits)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Jade Idol, Living Roots, Spreading Plague (with ramp), 4 drops (with ramp), Wrath (with Blossom)

 

 

Vs. Hunter (Giants)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Jade Idol, Living Roots, 4 drops (with ramp)

 

 

Vs. Mage (Tempo, Reno, Exodia, Freeze)

Keep: Depends on archetype

 

 

Vs. Priest (Combo, Big, Reno)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Aya Blackpaw (with ramp), Mulch (with ramp), 4 drops (with ramp), Nourish (with ramp)

 

 

Vs. Warlock (Reno, Zoo)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Living Roots, Jade Idol, 4 drops (with ramp), Wrath (with Blossom)

 

 

Vs. Druid (Aggro, Jade)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Jade Idol, Living Roots, Jade cards (if Jade), Spreading Plague (if Aggro)

 

 

Vs. Rogue (Tempo)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Living Roots (If First), 4 drops (with ramp), Wrath (with Blossom)

 

 

Vs. Shaman (Aggro)

Keep: Wild Growth, Jade Blossom, Wrath (with Blossom), 4 drops (with ramp), Living Roots

 


 

Tip: When to Shuffle or Summon with Jade Idol (or both!)

It’s preferable to shuffle Jade Idol once before you reach fatigue when playing playing against any control deck. Typically, you have to sacrifice the opportunity of summoning a Jade Golem in order to shuffle. However, if you have Fandral Staghelm, you can shuffle and summon a Jade Golem at the same time.

But if you have no Fandral, you often have to decide whether or not to shuffle. Against most tempo decks, like Rogue and Hunter, you should never shuffle. Against other Jade Druids, you should never shuffle. If you’re playing against a control deck but you’re very far behind, you should summon. If you find yourself in a situation where the game will be over in the next couple of turns, like against a Razakus Priest who used Lightbomb and drew their entire deck, you should summon shuffle.

If you’re very far through your deck and you have the option to shuffle, draw cards, and play one of the three Jade Idols immediately, then you should shuffle.

 

 

Tip: When to ramp / draw with Nourish

If you play Nourish when you have 5 mana, you should gain two mana crystals more often than not. You might want to draw three cards if you need a specific card next turn to win the game; For example, Spreading Plague against an Aggro Druid. You might also want to draw three cards if you’re against a control deck and you haven’t drawn Ultimate Infestation or the second Nourish. Sometimes not drawing cards can be a huge risk, especially if you’ve drawn situational cards like Spreading Plague or Mark of the Lotus.

 

Tip: When to armor or deal 3 damage to the enemy hero with Malfurion the Pestilent

Vs. aggro /midrange: Aggressive and midrange decks are the beatdown against you. If you’ve already stabilised the board, it’s better to gain three armor than it is to deal three damage unless you can set up lethal.

Vs. Control: You are the beatdown against control decks, so it’s usually better to deal three damage. It can be worthwhile to gain three armor to get out of lethal range sometimes.

Vs. Reno Priest: Reno Priest is like a control deck, but they can also deal over 30 damage in one turn. You should deal three damage if you’re planning to win the game in the next few turns, or if the priest already played Reno Jackson.

 

Tip: When to summon Spiders or Scarabs with Malfurion the Pestilent

Spiders can be very strong against decks that play big minions, like Combo Priest, Big Priest, and Giants Hunter. They can also be strong if you happen to have a wall of Scarabs from Spreading Plague, or if the board is completely empty and you’re expecting the opponent to play a big minion, or if you opponent has one big minion.

Scarabs are strong if you’re low on life, your opponent has small minions, your opponent has Potion of Madness, or if you simply want to ignore your opponent’s board and go face with your other minions.

 

Tip: Should you play Aya Blackpaw or Jade Behemoth first?

Usually you should play Aya Blackpaw first, but there can be situations against aggro when you draw two Jade Behemoth and you might not have the time to play both Behemoths.

 

Tip: Is it okay to overdraw with Ultimate Infestation?

Overdrawing cards is only important in games against control decks. Usually, you should play your other cards first to avoid overdrawing, but it’s fine to overdraw one card, or sometimes more if it’s your only option. In rare situations, overdrawing a second Jade Idol can be game-losing.

 

Tip: Keeping a hand of Jade cards in the mulligan

If your hand comprises of all Jade cards, you can keep them all and simply overwhelm your opponent in a few turns.

 


 

Possible inclusions from Kobolds and Catacombs

That’s it for the gameplay section of this guide. Since today is the day before release of Kobolds and Catacombs, I want to briefly look at some of the cards that might make it into the deck. Since there are a lot of cards in the new expansion, I have created a shortlist of three cards that I think have the most potential.

 

 

Branching Paths: Drawing cards and gaining armor are both very strong in Jade Druid. Branching Paths lets you choose which effect you need, so it’s almost never a bad draw. Granted, the card draw aspect is a little overpriced at four mana, so the card might not make the cut in Jade Druid for that reason.

 

Arcane Tyrant: This card costs 0 when you play a spell that costs 5 or more. Jade Druid plays two Nourish, so you can play this card on turn 5 quite often, and sometimes you can even play both copies at once. The other spells that cost 5 or more mana are Spreading Plague and Ultimate Infestation. Sometimes, you will play this for free after playing Ultimate Infestation while you have ten cards in your hand, preventing yourself from overdrawing.

 

Zola the Gorgon: Zola the Gorgon is handy because it can give you an extra Jade Spirit, Jade Behemoth, or Aya Blackpaw. Brann Bronzebeard is still better, but perhaps you can play Zola in addition to Brann Bronzebeard.

 


 

Conclusion

Hopefully you enjoyed both of these articles on Jade Druid. With proper management, Jade Druid can eventually overwhelm even the most resilient control decks. The deck can be quite fun if you like to play big minions, and it also rewards proper decision making more than it might seem. I hope these two articles have inspired you to try out the deck, or has improved your decision making on ladder.

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