Taunt Druid Deck List Guide – Rastakhan – December 2018

Taunt Druid Deck List Guide – Rastakhan – December 2018

Our Taunt Druid deck guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this newly popular deck from the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype.

Introduction to Taunt Druid

Recruit Taunt Druid is one of the brand new archetypes spawned by The Witchwood, which relies on Knights of the Frozen Throne’s Hadronox and Witching Hour alongside Carnivorous Cube and a healthy dose of Taunt minions to generate insane amounts of value in the late-game and to ensure its survival against aggressive decks. While it certainly has its specific vulnerabilities, it is an extremely effective archetype in the early days of The Witchwood and its nascent metagame, and while the length of matches may not make it ideal for ladder grinding, your obscene win-rates against aggressive decks should more than compensate for this downside.

Taunt Druid Deck List

Rastakhan’s Rumble didn’t really add anything new to the list. If you’ve been playing in the past, you shouldn’t need much in the way of new cards!

Deck Import

Taunt Druid Mulligan Strategy & Guide

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Wild Growth – With almost all of your tools being as expensive as they are, ramping up your mana is crucial, especially considering how multiple aggressive archetypes feature an upgraded hero power and the extra value and board presence in the early turns that entails.
  • Oaken Summons – Armor gain plus a relatively large Taunt minion in the early rounds is the best medicine against aggression.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Wild Growth – Again, with a plethora of expensive minions, ramping early is of paramount importance. It’s a must-have and a must-keep in basically every matchup.
  • Nourish – An answer to a very similar question as Wild Growth, though you generally want to use it for draw against slower decks to provide additional answers.
  • Hadronox – The lynchpin of the deck and the source of the obscene value you’re going to rely on in order to win the control matchups. Since you have multiple cards in the deck that are essentially dead before you play this humungous spider, you are highly advised to just keep it in your opening hand against slower opponents when you get the chance.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Oaken Summons – Not only does this card get you an essentially overstatted minion on the turn it’s played, its Recruit ability also means that you want to get it out as soon as possible in most matchups so that it doesn’t lose its value.
  • Naturalize – Specifically against Cubelock, this is your best – if not the only – answer against an early Mountain Giant. It almost always lets you burn a card or two from your Warlock opponent’s arsenal while simultaneously pushing them closer towards fatigue. While you can usually out-control a Spiteful Druid, keeping this spell can also insure you against those turn 6 flip turns by getting rid of the massive minion summoned by the Spiteful Summoner.

Taunt Druid Win Rates

Winrate stats are currently unavailable for this deck at the moment!

Taunt Druid Play Strategy

Cubelock – The only way to lose against Gul’dan’s dastardly demons is to die to at least half a dozen charging Doomguards. You have the inevitability over your opponent as you are guaranteed both to win the value game and the fatigue fight: all you need to do is to avoid an unceremonious death in the mid-game. Getting rid of the early Mountain Giant is a must: while you can certainly take the value hit by throwing multiple mid-sized taunts and removal spells into it, the real danger here is being blown out by a Cube. Naturalize is your best friend here. Otherwise, you want to cycle through your deck as fast as possible in order to be able to set up a ton of taunts: Cubelock really struggles with such a board state. It’s perfectly okay to just throw down Hadronox in this matchup, as there is no transformation effect to worry about: even if it gets silenced, Witching Hour should be more than enough value later on. If you’re not pressured, try to wait with your combos until The Lich King is dead: that extra source of value is extremely useful in all the control matchups.

Control Mage – The problem with this matchup is Polymorph, simply because the transformation effect will shut down your Witching Hours. You’re not going to be able to rely on your repeated Hadronox-board floods in the late game, so the way you can eek out a few percentages here is to try and get at least some value out of the card. You will need to Naturalize it on the turn you put it down, and try to go from there – coupled with Frost Lich Jaina, this is one of the few control decks that can cause you a lot of problems.

Even Paldin/Odd Paladin/Murloc Paladin – Swipe is your best friend here, but try to get as much value out of it as possible: its main goal isn’t to stop you from taking damage – playing rope-a-dope against aggro is very viable with this deck –, but to stop a board-wide buff. Sunkeeper Tarim and Level Up! are killers, just like Gentle Megasaur is in the Murloc archetype. If you can make sure that those cards don’t put their minions out of reach, the taunt wall should suffice as the early pressure of these decks isn’t as incredible as some of the other aggressive decks’ in the metagame.

Tempo Rogue – The one specific element that’s different in this matchup from other aggro decks it Hench-Clan Thug’s potential to win the game on its own on turn 3: make sure you keep some sort of removal for it in your hand. Other than that, hiding behind Taunts and gaining health is the name of the game: if you can hang in there until turn 8-ish, you are generally favored.

Quest Rogue – This deck is a direct counter to yours and there’s not much you can do to steal a win. Even if you can get a Hadronox down to re-summon a bunch of taunts and get on the board, a single Vanish can cripple you. You really don’t have the ability to put up enough pressure to disrupt the completion of the quest, and it is impossible to outlast a steady stream of 5/5 minions.

Miracle Rogue – Just like with Quest Rogue, you are in no position to counteract their gameplan: the real ticking clock here isn’t Leeroy Jenkins but the million ghastly spiders: your only way to weather the storm is an early, beefy Hadronox, instantly killed by your own spell before it could be Sapped.

Tempo Mage – There’s a premium on Lesser Jasper Spellstone in this matchup, as the burn generated by this deck isn’t enough to finish you off on its own: early minion damage plays a major part in the equation. The newly popularized version with Vex Crows allows the Mage player to go relatively wide, but that comes relatively late in the game when it has already been decided who holds the board. Try to have some sort of backup plan in case of Counterspell: that’s one of the more nasty tools in the Mage’s arsenal.

Spiteful Druid/Spiteful Priest – Anduin’s the bigger issue as the deck runs larger threats and Priest is capable of healing them back if you don’t finish them off. Try to keep a Naturalize for their turn 6 shenanigans – otherwise there’s not much else to do than to fight for the board with your minions and blow them out with an eventual Hadronox turn. Watch out for Mind Control!

Odd Hunter – Should be a very easy matchup as long as you can limit the incoming minion damage – something this deck is uniquely qualified to do. Oaken Summons can single-handedly win you the game, and a few more taunts and armor-gaining cards are generally enough to earn that coveted “Well fought. I concede.”

Control Warrior – A fairly easy matchup. Tank Up provides no benefit against you, and no amount of Brawls in the world can deal with a cubed Hadronox and all the taunts it provides. Play it safe and slow, and just like in other control matches, try to get as many Lich Kings resummoned as possible.

Shudderwock Shaman – As unrefined as those decks are, the nature of the archetype makes them favored against you. Acknowledge your beatdown role and try to hit them as hard as possible early on, and resurrect with Hadronox as soon as you get the chance for the finishing blow.

Mirror match – Get ready for 14 minions on the board! It’s a slow, grindy, totally value-oriented game where many of the tenets of the old Control Warrior mirrors apply. Face damage will not get you anywhere. Try to draw as little as possible. Make sure you throw in your Lich King before you start resurrecting with Hadronox. Getting Hadronox off before your opponent is a massive advantage. When your opponent’s board is full after using Witching Hour, at least kill the Cube so that only one Hadronox comes back – if you can get rid of both, even better. Slow and steady wins this race.

Taunt Druid Card Substitutions

You can run two, one, or even zero Tar Creepers, but having more than two Oaken Summons targets is very valuable – on the other hand, it’s not the kind of taunt that you want to eventually resurrect with Hadronox, so one copy might be the sweet spot.

There are certain lists out there that only feature one copy of Branching Paths, but considering the card’s incredible flexibility, it’s something that I would advise against cutting. It can single-handedly win you the game against aggressive decks once you pushed them off the board, it helps to cycle in the slower matchups and can also provide a juicy amount of burst to quickly finish the game off whenever they are unable to remove your post-Hadronox board.

On the other hand, the one copy of Ultimate Infestation could be something that you could consider getting rid of if you’re not facing very many aggressive opponents. The card is completely dead against Control archetypes, and if you want to make other adjustments as well, a Master Oakheart-based package could be a very nice way to put up pressure and increase the consistency of a Hadronox pull. Dragonhatcher is the other possible inclusion that goes with the card for the Primordial Drakes, and the Tar Creeper could be your one-attack minion for the ultimate recruitment experience.

Speaking of dead cards, an interesting alternative deckbuilding option is to include a copy of Spreading Plague and just never play it in the slower matchups so as to avoid screwing up your Witching Hour. It is likely overkill, but it is something you can consider if you’re having trouble against all the Paladins and Rogues of the world.

Since it’s very difficult to use Carnivorous Cube for anything other than consuming a resurrected Hadronox, you can also gain a slot by only running one in the deck: it’s also possible to cut one Rotten Applebaum, especially if you include a Tar Creeper. Ferocious Howls are fantastic ways to upgrade your Spellstones and to cycle through your deck – it also gives you something to do on turn 3 when you miss your ramp – so I’d consider those cards core to the deck. Harrison Jones can be cut, but it’s likely not worth it: it’s an excellent tool against Cubelock and Aggro Mage as well with some additional utility against other aggressive decks with weapons as well.


Luci Kelemen is an avid strategy gamer and writer who has been following Hearthstone ever since its inception. His content has previously appeared on HearthstonePlayers and Tempo/Storm's site.

Check out Yellorambo on Twitter!

Leave a Reply