Token Druid Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows – April 2019

Token Druid Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows – April 2019

Our Token Druid deck list guide goes through the ins-and-outs of this popular Druid build for the Rise of Shadows expansion! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and substitute cards for this archetype!

Introduction to Token Druid

It’s safe to say that, with the Standard rotation, Druid as a whole has took the biggest hits of all classes. Not only did it lose incredibly important cards that have been used across all archetypes over the last two years; cards like Wild Growth and Nourish have also been nerfed to adjust Druid’s power level at the time.

With Rise of Shadows, Druids need to re-evaluate their class identity. And what would make more sense in that regard than to rely on old and established archetypes? Team 5 has an answer to that question and added a whole lot of support to one of the most iconic Druid lists around: Token Druid.

Thanks to core cards like Soul of the Forest and Savage Roar, Druid players always tried to make Token Druid work after the dawn of a new expansion. And boy, does it work in the early Rise of Shadows meta game!

Token Druid’s core mantra goes as followed: Flood the board with cheap and sticky minions over and over again.

Token Druid Deck List

This example list has been piloted to Legend Rank 18 by everybody’s favorite caster TJ “Azumoqt” Sanders:

Deck Import

Check out alternative versions of this deck on our Token Druid archetype page!

Token Druid Mulligan Strategy & Guide

Vs Aggro Decks

It’s imperative to keep the board in your favor from turn 1, so cards like Acornbearer and Dreamway Guardians are must-keeps. Against very minion-heavy aggro opponents like Zoo Warlock and Murloc Shaman, it can be vital to keep one copy of Wrath or Swipe, but only if your other cards offer enough early game pressure.

Cards to keep: Acornbearer, Dreamway Guardians, and Keeper Stalladris; if you have one or more of those, keep EVIL Cable Rat, Power of the Wild, Wrath, or even Swipe

Vs Control Decks

We want to draw into as much early game tokens as possible against control decks. If you hit your 1- and 2-mana plays, don’t hesitate to keep cards like Landscaping as well. If not, you have to mulligan extremely aggressive for Acornbearer and Dreamway Guardians. But remember, we should almost always be favored in heavy control matchups, so a suboptimal starting hand should not be the end of the world.
Cards to keep: Acornbearer, Dreamway Guardians; if you have one or more of those, keep EVIL Cable Rat, Keeper Stalladris, and Landscaping

Token Druid Play Strategy

General Strategy

A new minion called Acornbearer does a pretty good job of following the basic rules of Token Druid gameplay. A total of 3 stats including a powerful Token deathrattle makes this 1-cost card an incredible early game option, not only because it showcases early pressure from the get-go but also a solid turn 2 play in case it gets removed from the board.

In the past, turn 2 almost always equaled in using the hero power for Druid, but not only Acornbearer solves this problem in the Rise of Shadows: Dreamway Guardians looks like a dream come true for this list. A total of two tokens, 6 stats and Lifesteal contests aggro opponents early and serves as a great foundation for a sticky board state, all while providing a whole lot of survivability.

If you play the more popular spell-heavy iteration of Token Druid, you’ll have even more new 2-cost plays at your disposal. First off there is one of two new Druid legendaries, Keeper Stalladris. A 2-cost 2/3 minion always showcased a solid minion play on turn 2, but the effect to generate more useful cards turn Keeper Stalladris into a real early game threat; it profits off of the Token Druid class Power of the Wild as well as the new and extremely versatile Druid spell Mark of the Loa.

Based on the number of spells this list runs, another new Rise of Shadows card makes an appearance in many iterations of Token Druid: Crystalsong Portal.

First off, it has to be said that this card, unlike most other typical Token Druid inclusions, doesn’t generate instant board presence. But similar to cards like Divine Favor it can serve as a much-needed hand refiller that should offer a lot of versatility in the form of powerful Druid minions. And not only that: In the current minion pool, Token Druid will find a ton of highly synergistic cards like Dendrologist, Cenarius, Treespeaker, Tending Tauren or Mulchmuncher.

Another powerful spell added with the new expansion is Landscaping. The 3-cost spot has always posed problems for Token Druid, and while this card only features a total of 8 stats in the form of two tokens, it definitely fits the curve more than anything.

Blessing of the Ancients, the new “board buff” in Token Druid, tries to solve the 3-cost problem as well. Before release, many players compared it to Mark of the Lotus, a card that Hearthstone designer Dean “Iksar” Ayala called “one of the most powerful cards in the game”, and they thought that 3 mana would be way too much of a cost for a mere +1/+1 board buff. However, it turns out that, after a certain point in the game, Token Druid doesn’t really care about card cost at all. In addition to that, the Twinspell keyword helps Token Druid to distribute board buffs; now cards like Power of the Wild can be used more often as a turn-2 tempo play or for early buffing to keep a board advantage.

A new card that takes profit of versatile board buffs is The Forest's Aid. Again, Token Druid likes to think in numbers, and five tokens worth 20 stat points on turn 8 is one of the reasons why Token Druid is currently challenging even the toughest control lists in the meta. Similar to Blessing of the Ancients, the ability to use The Forest's Aid as a Twinspell adds tons of flexiblity in terms of board pressure and timing. Two copies of this card single-handedly pressure opponents into hard decisions when it comes to board clearing; and even if they manage to keep the board clean, Token Druid staples like Wispering Woods and Soul of the Forest can instantly refill the board.

Last but not least, Archmage Vargoth rounds out this spell-heavy iteration of Token Druid. The former leader of the Kirin Tor perfectly lines up with cards like Dreamway Guardians, Landscaping and Mark of the Loa, and – similar to Keeper Stalladris on turn 2 – even serves as a threatening turn 4 tempo play.

All in all, Token Druid looks stronger like ever before. It received a ton of spell-heavy support with Rise of Shadows, and the fact that numerous heavy board clears from other classes had to move to Wild with the Standard rotation makes Token Druid one of the top contenders to take first spot in the meta tier lists.

Vs Aggro Decks

Token Druid’s general game plan doesn’t really change when facing aggro opponents. In this case, the spell-heavy iteration with Wrath and Swipe really pays off, because keeping the upper hand on the board should be the top priority. A certain minion called EVIL Cable Rat does a particularly good job doing exactly that by giving us one of five 1-cost Lackey cards who not only have great effects but also contest the board themselves.

Plays including Acornbearer and Dreamway Guardians obviously help a lot to establish an early board lead. Aggressive value trades need to happen as often as possible, as aggro decks like Zoo Warlock and Murloc Shaman don’t have endless amounts of spell removal at their hands; that includes early and aggressive usage of board buffs to keep our tokens on the board alive and well.

Besides that, Crystalsong Portal can become the most valuable card of this list in aggro matchups. A well-timed Cenarius or even a Druid of the Claw on curve can provide enough survivability to establish enough tokens for a close Savage Roar finish.

Vs Control Decks

Token Druid wants to play all the control matchups including Bomb Warrior, Conjurer Mage or Mech Hunter. However, playing against these archetype as Token Druid still requires a lot of discipline and well-timed aggression.

The Warrior matchup in particular depends on intelligent token usage. In general, you always want to hit that certain sweet spot on the board that makes your opponent use a board-clearing spell with a bad feeling of “I wish I wouldn’t have to use that against this board state!”. That is why you want to have three to four minions on the board as often as possible. Your buff cards like Soul of the Forest and Power of the Wild will gain more than enough value on three or four minions on average, and you should still have enough fuel left in the tank to refill after multiple board swipes.

The Forest's Aid makes decisions a lot easier compared to Token Druid gameplay of the past. Having basically four copies of this spell at your disposal makes it almost impossible to lose against control opponents if you have them in your hand some time between turn 1 and 15.

In fact, it is the early game that almost always decides the game for Token Druid: Try to get in enough chip damage early, so you can finish off your opponent with some tokens on the board and Savage Roar.

Token Druid Tech Cards and Card Substitutions

  • Crystalsong Portal/Wrath/Swipe/Keeper Stalladris: As already said, this list runs the popular spell package that helps us dealing with Taunt minions and early pressure by aggro decks. If you don’t have Crystalsong Portal and/or Keeper Stalladris, you can try to run a more minion-based version of Token Druid, including Argent Squire and Eccentric Scribe.
  • Archmage Vargoth: This minion is a must in our spell-heavy iteration of Token Druid, and you should have received this legendary for free anyway!
  • Wardruid Loti: This Rastakhan legendary adds a ton of flexibility in Token Druid. The Poisonous form in particular can bypass late game Taunt minions like Lucentbark with ease. If you want to run it, you could leave out one copy of EVIL Cable Rat or Swipe.
  • Microtech Controller: This Boomsday minion looks like a great inclusion for this list; however, it’s more of a problem of having too many good cards that we need to run in Token Druid. In a minion-based line-up, Microtech Controller would be more than welcome.
  • Eccentric Scribe: This card is extremely interesting for Token Druid. It adds another layer of stickiness through its Deathrattle and packs a punch thanks to its high attack value. It’s also a great Hecklebot target! Running one copy of it in a minion-based list could work wonders if the meta shifts towards more control-based archetypes.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze: Thanks to Rogue and Warrior, weapon removal is the name of the game in the current meta. But Token Druid doesn’t actually want to remove weapons! In fact, we want our opponents to invest mana into weapons so that they use them inefficiently.

Tharid

Julian "Tharid" Bischoff, a dinosaur in the fast-changing world of esports and self-proclaimed Warcraft expert, already created Hearthstone-related content for Red Bull, ESL and Hearthhead.

Check out Tharid on Twitter!

43 Comments

  1. Stonekeep - Site Admin
    April 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Guide was just updated for the Rise of Shadows expansion. Comments below this one might be outdated!

    • Sepam
      April 17, 2019 at 3:27 am

      I don’t see any Cenarius in this desk, but You wrote about it at least twice

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        April 17, 2019 at 3:53 am

        First of all, it’s Tharid who wrote the guide, not me.

        And second of all, context is important. He’s talking about Crystalsong Portal, a card that can give you any Druid minion. Cenarius is Druid minion. Now, if we take those two facts and add them together…

        • Sepam
          April 17, 2019 at 4:51 am

          … then I apologize for my carelessness. Twice 😉

          • Stonekeep - Site Admin
            April 17, 2019 at 5:03 am

            No worries, now you know 🙂

  2. YT_BrokenTeapot
    October 23, 2018 at 4:19 am

    Could one add one or two copies of Evolving Spores to this deck? Nearly every adaption is great: +3 attack is similar to playing Savage Roar, +3 health can bolster one’s board (maybe counter an Explosive Trap or other board-clear), +1 attack + 1 health is a more expensive Power Of The Wild but can be nice if you desperately need this but don’t have Power Of The Wild in hand, Poisonous can clear entire huge boards, Taunt can function as a less powerful Spreading Plague in sticky situations, Stealth can prevent your board from being traded into and set up for a lethal combo the following turn, Divine Shield is also quite broken in a similar way to +3 health, and Summon two 1/1 Plants is ridiculous and could even be regarded as a better Soul Of The Forest. I think that’s every adaption. Thoughts? I’d love to hear of this would be a good addition to this deck, and if so; one or two copies and what would I replace?

    • YT_BrokenTeapot
      October 23, 2018 at 7:02 am

      Oops, I forgot Windfury! Full board of 2/2 tokens + double Savage Roar + windfury = 88 damage.

    • TheRealBaker
      October 25, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Actually you forgot even the non targettable one. But anyway, evolving spores is just so bad in almost all the situations. +3 attack or +3 health are the best ones, but +1/+1 is terrible for 4 mana, poisonous is sometimes okish, divine shield would be good if it did not cost 4 mana to get it. Non targettable is horrible, the deathrattle is kind of good, but not that much, (soul of the forest is better if you have a full board and agaisnt defile), taunt is soo bad. I mean, only +3 attack or +3 health are good and maybe windfury, but the others are just garbage. The problem with the card is that it’s not reliable and that it costs way too much.

  3. TheArcanist
    October 19, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Could you add a post-nerf version? I suppose the Strongshell version is no longer viable?

  4. Ferbe
    October 10, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I wonder how adding in something like a Black Knight/Alextraza would help against control priests or mech pallys with strong single taunt minions? Black knight would obviously prevent you trading your entire board into one minion, and alexstraza would act as a catch up mechanic late in the game if your’e short on cards/playing a hero who healed the whole match (behind a big taunt minion you took a while to get down)

    • Ferbe
      October 10, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      Also Floop could used same turn or the following turn with the black knight in case your opponent dropped another big one that next turn.

    • Qwerty019283
      October 11, 2018 at 4:59 am

      you won’t really be short of cards with this deck at any point tho…

  5. DrNoOne
    September 26, 2018 at 5:19 am

    I’ve been playing this deck (EU Legend) and have found that substituting 1 Saronite Chain Gang for Cenarius really improves the consistency of the deck. The one extra board refill/board buff is a godsend both against control decks with tons of removal (Warlocks/Shudderwock) and against aggro.

    On its face it might seem like a very slow play, but this isn’t really a tempo deck. Each turn you are looking either to create a board from scratch because your opponent cleared the previous one, or you are looking to buff your existing board. Cenarius is a premium choice for both.

    • DrNoOne
      September 26, 2018 at 5:23 am

      Also, and it goes without saying, playing Cenarius with Floop in hand is absolutely broken.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      September 29, 2018 at 12:57 am

      Cenarius is a pretty interesting idea, I’ll definitely give it a try. I remember trying him out before Boomsday, and he worked… weelll, he DID work, but I didn’t feel like he’s amazing. However, Floop might be a game-changer – after the first slow turn you get a second, insane one. 4 mana for a 3/4 + a massive buff, but even 3/4 + 2x 2/2 Taunt is amazing.

  6. Vothart
    September 25, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Is strongshell scavenger a good choice of you decide not to run oaken summons? In my opinion it’s great to combo with giggling and spreading plague

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      September 25, 2018 at 8:41 am

      The deck was just updated to feature the Strongshell Scavenger. Yes, it’s a good option if you cut Oaken Summons and add Saronite Chain Gang on top of the previous list. That’s why it’s the most popular version of the deck currently 🙂

  7. C.D.
    September 24, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    plz update the guide. I’m pretty sure this is a witchwood list, and also I don’t get what floop is for in the newer list, or why no voilet

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      September 25, 2018 at 3:51 am

      This was not a Witchwood list, it was Boomsday Project list from earlier (there was no Giggling in Witchwood). But the guide was just updated for the currently most popular version.

      And Floop, as explained in the updated guide, is a flex card. It can be a 0 mana 3/4 when you play it after Arcane Tyrant, it can be an extra Giggling Inventor (but cheaper and with a 3/4 main body, making it absolutely broken). You can also use it to play two Strongshell Scavengers if you have a board with a bunch of Taunts. Or just as a better Saronite Chain Gang, but the last option is usually the worst one.

  8. Herman Byre
    September 12, 2018 at 12:27 am

    i dont have the dust to craft malfurion, is there a good replacement out there? i have been running lich king in his place

    • Myqj
      September 21, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      isn’t this deck guide out of date? most people are running the taunt variant and that uses a slightly different strategy and mulligans.

      • EpicNinja
        September 22, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Currently I run this deck as I counter a lot of Deathrattle Hunters.
        – Power of the Wild – Oaken Summons – Violet Teacher
        +Flobbidinous Floop + Saronite Chain Gang + Strongshell Scavenger
        Mulligan: Floop, Wild Growth and Spellstone

  9. TrungNguyen
    September 4, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    How good is this deck? I can craft it by disenchanting all of my useless cards!

    • Belton
      September 10, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      It is very strong right now but requires little to no thinking, however if you’re looking for a skill based deck you might want to play something like malygos druid or a control based deck.

      • TrungNguyen
        September 10, 2018 at 11:22 pm

        Ok! Thanks for the reply!

    • Ghultaan
      September 21, 2018 at 6:59 am

      It´s an autoplay…

  10. Rickerd86
    September 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Is illidian stormrager a good card for this deck? in case the answer is yes, for which card will it be a good substitute?

    • Dragilion
      September 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      I believe it looses sunergy since its cost is at 7. You can’t “protect” the minions you get out of it with soul of the forest.

      • Dragilion
        September 3, 2018 at 1:36 pm

        Adding to my reply: unless you somehow rebuild the deck with innervates and the new Biologi project, then at 10 mana you could build a decent board.

  11. Belton
    August 26, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    What is the best counter for this deck?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      August 28, 2018 at 4:40 am

      Slow Warlock decks such as Control or Cube Warlocks are probably the best counters.

      Big or Taunt Druid also work pretty well – especially Big Druid, since it does run Plague.

      • kalina88
        August 30, 2018 at 7:27 am

        Cube Warlock works really well against this…Unfortunately for me 😀

        • Belton
          September 2, 2018 at 4:06 pm

          You filthy meta slave you should be ashamed that you aren’t using whizz bang to climb like me 🙂

  12. Clonko
    August 25, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Would Illidan Stormrager be good in this deck? And if it is, what card should it replace?

    • Clonko
      August 25, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Same thing for Floop’s Glorious Gloop

  13. GlosuuLang
    August 22, 2018 at 8:36 am

    The guide still mentions keeping Oaken Summons because it can pull Ironwood Golem from the deck. But the deck list doesn’t have Ironwood Golem.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      August 22, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      Yeah, sorry, I updated it throughout the guide, but forgot to do it in the mulligan.

      Oaken Summons is still a good keep – getting 6 Armor for free and thinning your deck is good in every matchup 🙂

      • GlosuuLang
        August 23, 2018 at 1:04 am

        No worries. It must be a nightmare keeping all guides up-to-date. We’re here just to help.

        Oaken Summons is a bit weaker now that you only run 2 4-drops. Many times you will draw a Violet Teacher before your Oaken Summons, and that sucks. With Ironwood Golem in it was rare that Oaken Summons was a dead card. But I totally get it, Inventor is much more powerful than Golem, so it’s replacement is justified.

  14. Nixx
    August 18, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Is Floop’s Glorious Gloop worth crafting? Is it played only in token deck?

    • Josse
      August 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Yeah so far I’ve not seen it being used anywhere else, but I guess that it’s replacable.

      Looks not like the best craft for me at least.

    • Vincent Lemay
      August 18, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      If you play token druid, you should definetly craft this, as it often alllows you to get a big tempo swing, mostly against aggro decks (paladin, zoolock or rogue). Most of the time, it’ll get you 5 mana or more, which can allow you to get your board back if you traded with your tokens or get a bigger board advantage if you used your spells to clear your opponent’s minions. As a token druid player, I can say it has worked very well for me. However, I don’t know any other decks that could fit this one in.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      August 22, 2018 at 12:55 am

      I’d say that it’s not worth it yet. Even the best Token Druid builds have been cutting it for now, and it doesn’t see play anywhere else.

      The card has its moments, but it’s more of a meta call – e.g. if Odd Paladin would be more popular, the card would be much better (because it would be easier to get some massive mana gains). But right now there aren’t lots of matchups in which it’s a great card, so I’d pass on it for now.

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