Our Jade Druid guide for the post nerf Knights of the Frozen Throne meta will take you through Mulligans, Gameplay, Substitutions, and Combos!
Introduction to Jade Druid
Jade Druid was one of the popular decks to come out of the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion. Three classes got access to Jade synergy: Druid, Rogue, and Shaman. Druid has flat-out been the front-runner for popularizing the style of deck due to its ability to accelerate their mana pool and push out more and more Jades. The card that truly sets the class apart from the others is Jade Idol. It makes the deck extremely hard to beat in a value-oriented/late game matchup because you can continually add Idols to your deck and create monstrous Golems that will eventually overwhelm your opponent.
Jade Druid is weakest against aggressive decks, but thanks to the addition of Spreading Plague it now has a much better matchup against decks that try and aggressively spread the board. The deck was clearly a worry for Blizzard leading into the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion that they added Skulking Geist to potentially slow the deck down. Geist, however, wasn’t enough and they eventually made nerfs to Innervate and Spreading Plague. We will find out if it was enough to take down the mighty Jade Druid or just slow it down a step or two.
Knights of the Frozen Throne Additions
Spreading Plague gives the deck a much needed way to stave off aggressive board spreading decks. This allows for extra turns which means more ability to develop Jade minions. It also means your opponent is going to actively gamble on whether or not you have the card in your hand. They might not be able to be as aggressive as they want to be, which again allows you to get into the later turns.
Malfurion the Pestilent is one of the standout Death Knight Hero cards early on in the release of the Frozen Throne expansion. It combines instant board presence with a great flexible Hero Power. It’s also very solid against combo decks due to the ability to get over 30 Health with the armor. Fandral Staghelm works with both the Battlecry and Hero Power.
The biggest addition to the deck is likely Ultimate Infestation. It is a huge swing turn for the deck that allows you to remove a minion, refill your hand, gain life, and develop a board. It’s the ultimate late game card that can instantly get you back into the thick of things. This card has also allowed Jade Druid to cut cards like Gadgetzan Auctioneer which gave it more spots for techier cards like Big Game Hunter, Kun the Forgotten King, and The Black Knight.
Update – Jade Druid October 2017 – Post Nerf
Now that Innervate and Spreading Plague are nerfed it seems like Jade Druid might not be as powerful as it once was. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not still top tier. The deck has gotten closer to where it was before the Innervate nerf. A lot of players are including Mark of the Lotus again, and Doomsayer is seeing much less play.
Zalae’s Jade Druid Video Guide
Zalae played a ton of Jade Druid during the August Season and has put up an in-depth video on the deck type! While this guide is technically out of date due to the nerfs, it’s still a valuable watch to learn more about this deck in general.
What is the Jade Golem Mechanic?
If you haven’t been following Hearthstone very closely then you might be a bit confused by the Jade Golem mechanic. This an exclusive mechanic to the Jade Lotus gang from the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan which is made up of the Druid, Rogue, and Shaman classes. Each time a Jade Golem is summoned by a card, the following Jade Golem will be +1/+1 stronger. It also increases in mana cost by one all the way up to ten. While the increase in mana stops at ten, the increase in attack and health does not. You can probably now tell that if you start spawning a lot of Jade Golems they can get out of hand pretty quickly.
Jade Druid Mulligan Guide and Strategy
You are looking for your ramp cards to start building your mana towards the late game. Wild Growth, and Jade Blossom are your 100% targets. Mire Keeper can also be kept especially if you have Wild Growth. Jade Idol can be kept to fend off early minions and accelerate your Golems. You will always play the first Idol as a minion and not add them to your deck.
Jade Druid Win Rates
Jade Druid Play Strategy
Most games you are just looking to ramp up in the early turns. If you are against aggro, then you are looking to remove minions with Wrath or trade with your smaller Jade minions. Every turn you can force your opponent to play sub-optimally is better for you. There will be times when you’ll have to throw down Fandral Staghelm on the board against aggro to stop some of the bleeding, but generally you’ll at least want to get one trigger from him. This is especially the case in control matchups where you can afford to save him for the later turns.
Nourish is almost always going to be used as ramp, you have enough card draw potential in Ultimate Infestation.
Spreading Plague is a great help against aggressive decks. They’ll have to either decide to play around it and not extend their board or risk playing into it and giving you a potentially full board. Most aggro decks will have no choice but to chip down your taunts which helps weaken their board for a potential Swipe. The nerf to Spreading Plague was fairly minimal and you still should have enough time to get it out before you take too much damage.
Late in the game if you are behind or looking to close is when Malfurion the Pestilent and Ultimate Infestation come in handy. Malfurion is extremely flexible in potentially giving you the ability to take out problematic minions or helps protect you and can give you health via the armor. Ultimate Infestation is an extremely powerful card which can completely swing the game back in your favor and helps replenish your hand which will allow you to eventually close out your opponent.
Jade Druid Tech Cards
Jade Druid is extremely powerful, and there’s a lot of cards that can be played in the deck. Here’s a list you can consider adding to your deck depending on your meta. You might find some of these cards already in the example list above, but you can swap some in and out depending on how you want to build your Jade Druid.
- Kun the Forgotten King – A great way to reload after a potential board clear, or in some fringe cases can gain you health when you are in dire need. Kun into mana and then into Ultimate Infestation is a killer turn.
- Primordial Drake – Could be in the main list, it’s a way to sweep boards against decks like Aggro Druid which is a bad matchup for Jade Druid. The card can help sure up some of your weaker matchups which are Aggro Druid, Murloc Paladin, and Pirate Warrior.
- Big Game Hunter – One of Druid’s big weaknesses is lack of removal. Big Game Hunter helps against cards like The Lich King, Y’Shaarj (Big Druid/Priest), and can take down opposing big jades.
- Earthen Scales – This card is a lot better when you are running Gadgetzan Auctioneer, and it’s a great way to gain some health if you are behind in a game against an aggressive or combo deck.
- Mind Control Tech – Another card that helps your aggro matchups, and even works against other Jade Druid decks.
- Gadgetzan Auctioneer – Not nearly as necessary because you can refill your hand with Ultimate Infestation, but when you pair it with Jade Idol and potentially Earthen Scales it can be a great draw engine.
- Spellbreaker – Great for shutting down problematic minions and bypassing taunts for lethal.
- The Black Knight – If The Lich King or Paladin with its strong taunts and Spikeridged Steed are popular then TBK works well in this deck.
- Mark of the Lotus – Very good card with Spreading Plague and just in general will buff your boards and get you to lethal faster. Before the nerf, players like Zalae felt like it was core to the deck.
Jade Druid Card Substitutions
- Aya Blackpaw – A very strong card that provides tremendous value in the late game. An Ancient of War or Dark Arakkoa are workable replacements. If you have The Lich King he can work in this deck as well.
- Fandral Staghelm – I would absolutely craft Fandral. It’s tough to play Jade Druid without him, most of the tech cards above are workable.
- Ultimate Infestation – An absolute powerhouse of a card and should be crafted if you are going to attempt to play Jade Druid seriously. There’s no real direct replacement, you’d probably want to run a more Gadgetzan Auctioneer-centric build with Earthen Scales but it’s even worse now without Innervate.
- Malfurion the Pestilent – A great card that can help stall the game and get you out of tough situations. Primordial Drake can fit here, but it’s obviously not a direct replacement.
Jade Druid Tip, Combos, and Synergies
Fandral Staghelm and all of the Choose One cards in your deck are amazing. Nourish is fantastic with this card as well as Jade Idol and Wrath. This also now works with Malfurion the Pestilent’s initial Battlecry and his Hero Power. Blizzard has also changed how Wrath works with Fandral, it now does the damage separately instead of all at once. This can be semi-problematic against minions that have a damage trigger, or can help you kill a minion you wouldn’t have been able to before with Spell Power.
You should always use your first Jade Idol as a minion and the sooner the better. You’ll want to delay your next one for the most part unless you are ready to start just mass producing jades because Jade Idol on its own is not a great draw in many situations. Try to always remember how many Idols are in your deck so you don’t either accidentally add more too soon or potentially use your last one as a minion.
Don’t get super greedy with Mark of the Lotus, if you have a decent sized board it can be worthwhile just to buff it. This is especially the case when you can play around AOE spells like Flamestrike or Dragonfire Potion. Lotus is not always for pushing lethal, it’s a great board survivability tool.
Wild Growth can be used in the mid-game if you have the right tools in your hand. It’s tempting to save it for the card draw, but if you are in a tight position it’s better to just accelerate your mana if you have cards like Nourish and Ultimate Infestation already in your hand.
Jade Druid Matchups Guide
Here are some tips on how-to play Jade Druid against some of the currently top tier meta decks.
Tempo Rogue Matchup
This is an unfavorable matchup for Jade Druid, but fast early ramp into cards like Jade Behemoth and Spreading Plague can make all of the difference. Plague is very hard for Rogue to get through, while Behemoth lands a solid Taunt as well as beef up your following Jade Golems. Your Plague minions can help soften up the Rogue’s board for a Swipe. Mind Control Tech can also be useful in this matchup. Try to survive long enough to play Malfurion the Pestilent which can hopefully armor yourself out of danger.
Highlander Priest Matchup
Highlander Priest is one of Jade Druid’s best matchups and is one of the main reasons you can reliably play this deck on the ladder currently. Slow decks have a really hard time against Jade Druid because you’ll never go into fatigue and you can continue to push out larger and larger minions. Malfurion the Pestilent is also a key to keeping your life total up with armor and making it very difficult to be comboed down.
Spreading Plague is one of your weaker draws in this matchup. Priest doesn’t have many minions, and they can be pretty easily cleared by Shadow Word: Horror and Dragonfire Potion. The key to this matchup is early ramping and growing your Jade minions as much as possible. Once your Jades are large enough you will only really have to worry about a Kazakus board clear.
Zoo Warlock Matchup
Zoo is going to be one of your tougher matchups. Their minions are very resilient due to high health and will make it tough for you to remove many of their threats. Spreading Plague is a key here, but try to put pressure on before they can play Bloodreaver Gul’dan which will replenish their board and make it really hard for you to win.
Evolve Token Shaman Matchup
Most of your aggro matchups have gotten worse because of the nerfs to Innervate and Spreading Plague. Try to keep the board as clear as possible while building up your Golems, you don’t want to give the Shaman a super wide board to get off a good Evolve. Spreading Plague can help keep you alive, but it’s not as reliable due to Devolve. The Scarab Beetle‘s are 2-mana, so them devolving down to 1-mana minions is pretty bad. Mind Control Tech could provide a big swing if you get lucky.