Token Druid Mulligan Strategy & Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Lesser Jasper Spellstone – Early game removal, 2 damage for 1 mana is already a solid way to deal with some of the 1-drops or 2-drops, but if you won’t need it early, you might even be able to upgrade it to 4/6 damage, which makes it an insane single target removal.
- Wild Growth – Ramp is very important – the faster you get to the mid game, the easier it will be to perform your combos or play certain anti-Aggro cads (such as Spreading Plague).
- Oaken Summons – While it’s obviously better with Wild Growth, you want to keep it by itself too. For 4 mana, you get 6 Armor + either Ironwood Golem (Taunt) or Violet Teacher (solid body that your opponent needs to deal with).
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Swipe – Against Paladin. Dealing with their 1 health minions before mid game is very important, so they can’t capitalize in cards such as Sunkeeper Tarim or Level Up!.
- Spreading Plague – Against a board flood deck such as different Paladin builds, or in the mirror. It can destroy boards full of small minions.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Wild Growth – Ramp is by far the most important thing in slow matchups.
- Oaken Summons – Great Turn 4 play – it gives you a solid body and some Armor, while thinning your deck a little.
- Nourish – You want to get a lot of mana as soon as possible. Most of your combos are expensive, and the longer you wait, the higher the chance is that your opponent will have a way to answer them. Nourish can seem slow, but you still want it.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Malfurion the Pestilent – With ramp. Trust me, getting that upgraded Hero Power out early is a great way to win in some matchups. Since you’ll be pushing most of the time, 3 damage per turn is massive.
Token Druid Play Strategy
Your game plan against Aggro isn’t different than with any other Midrange/Control deck. You basically need to survive and either stabilize board with Taunts / your health with Armor gain OR run them out of resources, whatever happens first. Sometimes you might get a surprise lethal, but I’ll talk about that later.
In faster matchups, you will play reactively throughout most of the match. You want to control the board as well as you can. You basically try to clear whatever they play and not take too much damage. Taking SOME damage is really fine – the deck has a few ways to regain health. Removing minions is important. Later in the game you might be able to punish your opponent for flooding the board with small stuff (Spreading Plague), but not early – if you don’t clear then you might just die very quickly.
The deck is very low on the actual minions – it has only 5 in the entire deck. However, they’re all pretty good against Aggro. Ironwood Golem has a Taunt, so it might be hard to get past on Turn 4. Violet Teacher has a sort of soft Taunt – your opponent can ignore it, but he might get punished really hard for doing that. And finally, Arcane Tyrant can get dropped for 0 mana from Turn 5 onwards if you play an expensive spell on the same turn (so it’s a high tempo move).
The real game vs Aggro starts past Turn 6. Now instead of desperately trying to clear everything, you can make some proactive plays. For example, Wispering Woods + Power of the Wild, depending on how many cards you have in your hand, it can be a nice board fill and a way to get some great trades. Spreading Plague is even better – against a board full of small minions, the card is nuts and often wins you the game on the spot. Given that it’s unlikely that your opponent will clear more than one or maybe two 1/5’s right away, next turn you can buff them with Power of the Wild or Branching Paths to get some great trades, or even set up a reverse lethal. It’s not very common, but you can win some games vs Aggro deck like that. For example, 4x 1/5 with Savage Roar and Branching Paths (+2 Attack) is 22 damage – and that’s A LOT.
Malfurion the Pestilent also helps greatly in those faster matchups. You nearly always want to go for the two 1/5 Taunts, because that’s 15 health gain in total, assuming your opponent has to get through them with minions. On top of that, depending on how much health you have, you can use your Hero Power as the 3 damage removal or 3 health gain every turn. The armor part is usually better, but being able to remove a threat or even start pushing damage once you’re absolutely out of their burn range is also a nice touch.
Ultimate Infestation is often a way to close out the game. Not only you get 5 Armor (so you might escape lethal), a 5/5 minion, but you also clear something and draw a bunch of cards. Between your current hand, and the cards you draw, there is a very high chance to get Arcane Tyrant (a free 4/4), and more removals or life gain. Or even a way to kill your opponent next turn.
Armor gain is a very important part of the deck in those fast matchups. Just remember to prioritize removal over Armor gain. Unless you’re desperately low and you absolutely need to get Armor that turn, you want to remove the board first, because it saves you more life in the long run. For example, let’s say that your opponent has a Kirin Tor Mage on the board and you can clear it with Jasper Spellstone. If you decide to go for the Armor this turn (let’s say Branching Paths) – you get 12 and then the 4/3 hits you for 4, resulting in 8 net gain. On the other hand, if you clear that minion first and then gain Armor next turn, you didn’t take the extra 4 damage. So Armor gain should come LAST after you’ve stabilized (or, like I’ve said, if you need to play it in order to survive). Between 2x Branching Paths, 2x Oaken Summons, Malfurion the Pestilent and 2x Ultimate Infestation, the deck runs enough Armor to outlast any aggressive deck, as long as they don’t overwhelm you on the board, that is. It makes this deck especially good against “burn” or “face” decks such as Face Hunter / Tempo Mage.
When playing against slower decks, all of the defensive tools you have are slightly pointless. Or rather, they might come handy sometimes, but you won’t win a game thanks to them. Against a fast deck, you win if you don’t die – games vs Control aren’t that easy. This time around, you’re the beatdown and you want to kill them before they run YOU out of resources. But how do you exactly kill a slower deck with almost no minions? Well, the deck is called “Token” Druid for a reason – it can generate a lot of small tokens that you can then buff.
The most important part of your game plan is actually ramp. Your combos are quite costly and if you needed to wait until Turn 8+ to play them normally, it would be way too slow and an average slow deck would just outtempo you. That’s why Wild Growth and Nourish are so good – ramping up means that you can perform the combos quicker and there is a lower chance that your opponent has found something to pressure you with, a big Taunt or a board clear.
The general idea behind this deck is to stack a big board of tokens, and then kill your opponent with a mix of different buffs – Power of the Wild, Savage Roar and Branching Paths. You have a few ways to generate those tokens in the first place. The most basic and simplest one is Wispering Woods. If you’re holding at least seven cards, it creates a board with seven 1/1’s, although even 5-6 is usually good enough. Alternative ways include Violet Teacher + cheap spells and Spreading Plague. However, it’s hard to pull off multiple Violet Teacher procs in a single turn because of the mana limitations, and Spreading Plague is hard to set up vs slow decks.
But just playing a bunch of Tokens basically means that your whole game plan crumbles upon a single board clear. Well, you don’t want to make it THAT easy for your opponent. Whenever you can, you want to combine a big board of tokens with Soul of the Forest. The card means that if your opponent plays a single board clear, he will just buff your board. Given how much damage you can pull off with Savage Roar and such, playing Wispering Woods + Soul of the Forest is like putting your opponent in check – if he doesn’t clear both the 1/1 tokens and then the 2/2’s, he loses the game.
Of course, since the deck has only a few ways to fill the board with minions, it means that it’s really vulnerable to decks with multiple ways to clear the board. For example, Even Warlock is a bad matchup. Although it does not run Lord Godfrey like Cube/Control builds, Defile and Hellfire are still painful, and most of the builds use Dread Infernal on top of that. Similarly, Control Priest (or more recently, Quest Priest) can be a bad matchup if they draw their removals – between Wild Pyromancer, Duskbreaker and Primordial Drake it’s hard to stick anything, and Psychic Scream just destroys you. The deck works much better against builds with a lower amount of board clears, or with board clears expensive enough that it’s hard to combine two on the same turn. For example, it works surprisingly well against Big Spell Mage – the only way for them to clear that board is 2x Dragon's Fury, because of how expensive the deck’s AoE spells are.
Alternatively, Malfurion the Pestilent is actually another way to close out the game if you can get some chip damage here and there. If you turn into the DK Hero early, you might be able to deal 3 damage per turn, every turn. Between that and constantly putting pressure by flooding the board, some of the slower decks might crumble. After you get them low enough, just finish the game with a mix of Hero Power and Swipe or even Ultimate Infestation after they Taunt up.
Token Druid Card Substitutions
Midrange Token Druid deck is a relatively inexpensive deck, but nearly every card it runs is important. Here’s a quick rundown of the Epic & Legendary cards with their role and whether they can be replaced or not:
- Malfurion the Pestilent – Technically, he’s not an important part of the deck’s game plan, but it’s just a very good card in general, which fits into this build. Against Aggro, it’s a very good defensive card, and against slower decks, it’s a way to create some tokens + way to push damage every turn. You can replace it, but your win rate will drop down. You can try Wrath, Greedy Sprite or Living Mana. Alternatively, use some tech card, such as Acidic Swamp Ooze (another weapon removal is also fine), or Spellbreaker.
- Branching Paths – Can’t be replaced. Against Aggro, it’s a way to gain armor after you’ve stabilized, and against Control you can use it to draw your combo pieces quicker or as a supplementary Savage Roar.
- Wispering Woods – Basically one of the most important cards in your deck in slow matchups, setting up the Wispering Woods + Soul of the Forest for 8 mana is often your best way to win some matchups.
- Arcane Tyrant – Another good way to get some extra tempo, but not absolutely necessary. Use the same replacements I’ve listed next to Malfurion the Pestilent.
- Ultimate Infestation – You want to play it in every single slower Druid deck – there is no point to not run it. In case of this build, you run out of cards quite quickly + you want to get deeper into your deck to find the right pieces. You COULD try some other card draw if you don’t have it, but you should really just craft it if you want to play Druid.