Rastakhan’s Rumble Big Beast Druid: The Past and Future of the Archetype

For a long time, Beast synergies were something native to Hunter. However, after a while, Blizzard has decided to turn Druid into a “second” Beast class. Despite getting a lot of powerful synergies over time, Beast Druid as an archetype never really took off, despite individual Beast cards seeing quite a lot of play here and there.

On the other hand, we had another kind of Druid deck – this time much more successful – called “Big Druid”. It’s a spiritual successor to the old school Ramp Druid. Basically, the deck was built around ramping as quickly as possible and then playing a big minion after big minion every turn.

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The new Big Beast Druid archetype is a sort of a mix between the two – on the one hand, it utilizes Beast synergies, but on the other, it heavily relies on ramping and overwhelming your opponent with massive minions. Let’s take a look at the old builds, the upcoming Druid cards and what kind of Big Beast Druid decks we might see in Rastakhan’s Rumble!

You’ll be able to find all of our pro and streamer lists on our Big Beast Druid Archetype Page!

More New Rastakhan Archetypes

Big Druid & Beast Druid

The “Big Beast Druid” name is a homage to two different decks, which the new archetype takes inspiration from. The first one is Beast Druid – the deck that got briefly popular over 2 years ago.

Here is a good example of the old school Beast Druid. It was a rather aggressive Midrange deck. The “Beast” in its name came mostly from two synergy cards – Mark of Y'Shaarj, as well as Menagerie Warden. Were those all of the Beast synergies available to Druid? Actually, no. Druid could also play Wildwalker or Knight of the Wild, but they didn’t really fit into this kind of build. Knight of the Wild in particular would be insane if it worked like Arcane Giant, gaining the discounts even while in the deck. But since it only did when in your hand, top-decking it in the late game felt really bad.

Current Big Beast Druid would share some similarities, like Beast synergies and wanting to play proactively, but would also be significantly slower. Most of the current Beast synergy cards would be very weak if triggered on a small Beast, that’s why the build will have to look much different. If anything, it will look closer to the other deck it draws inspiration from…

Big Druid is a more recent than Beast Druid, but it’s still hard to call it a “new” deck. It was invented around 1.5 years ago, but it wasn’t exactly a completely new concept at this point. Ramp Druid was one of the oldest Druid archetypes, and it shared a similar game plan.

Basically, your strategy with this kind of deck was to ramp as quickly as possible, sacrificing your early game tempo completely. You either didn’t play any small minions, or played only the ones that let you drop your big bombs faster. Then, your late game was full of big bombs, which you wanted to drop turn after turn. Faster decks had no way to deal with them and got overwhelmed, while slower decks crumbled under the pressure or you dropping minions you shouldn’t have played at that point. E.g. if you ramped by 3 mana, you could play a 9-drop on Turn 6 – that put a quite significant dent in your opponent’s removal management plan.

The deck list featured above is actually quite recent – from Boomsday Project. The deck wasn’t very popular this expansion, but it was still a viable, albeit off-meta choice for the most part.

Big Beast Druid Card Choices in Rastakhan’s Rumble

The current concept for a Big Beast Druid didn’t start nowhere. When Witching Hour was released back in The Witchwood, multiple players have theorycrafted for the best ways to use it. While it ultimately became a part of the Hadronox combo in Taunt Druid, early in the expansion it was tried out with big Beasts, such as Charged Devilsaur or Tyrantus. The tempo swing of getting one back for just 3 mana was massive. However, that was only the beginning. Rastakhan’s Rumble has featured a bunch of cards to strengthen this archetype, although not all of them might make the final cut.

Oondasta – Probably the most important card in the new strategy. While 9 mana cost might drive some other classes away, for Druid it’s not really that bad. It’s a great tempo swing – assuming you’re running only high cost Beasts (which you do), you will clear something from the board and put a big body, resulting in a great tempo swing. Notably, the 9 mana cost also means that she comes down one turn before Ultimate Infestation, meaning that you can drop her for the tempo and then refill hand with UI next turn (plus, if she survives, you might be able to pull out another Beast from your hand). She will be a vital part of your strategy.

Stampeding Roar – Another important card in this kind of strategy. I wasn’t excited about it at first, but then I’ve seen the potential. You see, in the worst case scenario, it will summon a 3/12 with Rush (Witchwood Grizzly) for 6 mana and two cards. Not the best thing ever, but should be a good play vs Aggro. However, the best case scenario is simply insane. For 6 mana, you can summon either Oondasta or Tyrantus, gaining 3 or 4 mana for free – that’s even better than pre-nerf Innervate. Oondasta will likely summon another Beast, while Tyrantus is… instant removal + a 12 attack minion that can’t be targeted by spells, making it very hard to remove. Assuming you’ve played a single Wild Growth, you can do those plays on what is essentially Turn 5.

Ironhide Direhorn – This is another card that felt a bit underwhelming at first, but I’ve got to like it after Stampeding Roar was revealed. While not as good target as Oondasta or Tyrantus, we need to assume that we won’t always have them in our hand. Also, if we pull Oondasta, it would be better to have another minion on the board too. But just pulling Ironhide Direhorn straight from Stampeding Roar is also not a bad play. Giving it Rush is key – with that, you can easily trigger the Overkill effect immediately. For example, if you run it into a 5/5 minion, you end up with that minion removed, 7/2 and 5/5 on the board, which is a great swing in your favor. Plus, it’s a solid card to pull from Oondasta. Given that both have Overkill, your opponent will want to get rid of both, but it will often be impossible – he’ll have to choose between you pulling another big minion from your hand or getting a free 5/5.

Predatory Instincts – Predatory Instincts is a card that would theoretically fit into such an archetype, but I feel like it might just be too slow. On the one hand, your Beasts generally have quite a lot of health, so doubling their health is a noticeable. Having a tool to tutor them is also nice. On the other hand, it costs 4 mana – that’s a lot of mana for just drawing one card. I think that one copy might be tried, but it might get cut, especially in a faster meta.

Amani War Bear – And finally, this is the last Rastakhan’s Rumble card to consider. On the first glance, it looks like a pack filler. Rush and Taunt also don’t seem to fit together. But the thing is, not only Druid doesn’t have access to that many removals (so a Rush minion might get things done), but the deck NEEDS to run a certain number of big Beasts so you won’t run out of them too quickly. As a result, Amani War Bear might get included, depending on how many Beasts the build will end up running, at least until some new, high cost Beasts get printed.

Big Beast Druid in Rastakhan’s Rumble

So far I’ve prepared three different versions of the deck. As you probably understand, the actual deck rarely look like the pre-expansion theorycraft, because when everything launches and you can actually play with the cards, things start to look different. However, I’m quite confident that SOME version of the deck will be viable – there’s just too much potential for that to not be the case.

First version, Carnivorous Cube one, is the most greedy of the three. Basically, it prioritizes slower matchups over Aggro ones – when playing it, you would probably lose to Aggro quite consistently.

Your basic game plan is obviously minion pressure. You want to ramp up and ideally drop Stampeding Roar into a big Beast on the curve. Oondasta or Tyrantus work best, but others aren’t that bad. You can get a free 5/5 if you have something to kill with Ironhide Direhorn, and since you SUMMON the Charged Devilsaur, you can attack face immediately. Then, after your big Beast dies, you either drop more of them and more to put pressure, or you revive the ones that died with Witching Hour.

The deck runs Carnivorous Cubes, which are pretty greedy. They have two purposes. For one, you can eat a big minion (especially one that has already been damaged) to heal and duplicate it. But, there’s also a combo aspect. If you stick Charged Devilsaur to the board, or get it back from Witching Hour, you can hit the face, Cube it, Naturalize the Cube and hit twice more for 21 damage in total. The combo is not very consistent (you have other things to revive with Witching Hour), but that’s fine, since it’s not a combo deck – it’s just something extra.

Against Aggro, one way to win would be sticking Witchwood Grizzly and then Cubing + Naturalizing it, resulting in 2x 3/12 Taunt. It would slow down their pressure for 2 or 3 turns, meaning that you would have time to drop big minions and either trade everything or just go face and put them on a quick clock.

The build runs a single Ultimate Infestation, which is also a pretty greedy choice in this kind of deck. Generally, you would often have hand size issues, that’s why 2x UI is probably out of question. While UI is an amazing card and a great late game refill + immediate pressure, in the second a bit less greedy build I’ve replaced it with Juicy Psychmelon. Both builds have a 7, 8, 9 and 10 mana minions, making Pyschmelon a pretty… juicy option (*ba dum tss*).

Talking about the second deck, it’s not that different from the first one. Greedy Cubes were replaced by Ferocious HowlAmani War Bear. The first one is another form of life gain, and adds a bit more consistency to the deck, since it cycles. Oh, and it’s a solid way to upgrade Lesser Jasper Spellstone. Amani War Bear, on the other hand, adds another big threat to the deck, but a threat that’s pretty solid in faster matchups too. It has Rush AND Taunt, meaning that you can remove a high priority target immediately, and it will also protect your life total. Ultimate Infestation was also replaced with Juicy Psychmelon, which I’ve detailed above. Other than that, it hasn’t changed.

The goal was to make it a bit more consistent and less greedy without ruining its “on curve” power. You can still seal the games with minion pressure, and I feel like Cubes might be just too greedy. The thing I like about them is a chance to burst your opponent with Devilsaurs, although it might not be all that necessary.

And finally, the third deck was created specifically to fight well against Aggro, but it also stands a chance against slower decks (although it’s much weaker than the previous two).

The main difference is that this build does not run Witching Hour. Because of that, it can run Spreading Plague and Malfurion the Pestilent. The thing about minions created by both of those is that they’re Beasts. A single Spreading Plague can make your Witching Hour useless, which is why Taunt Druid didn’t run it in the first place. And as we all know, Spreading Plague is an insanely powerful defensive option, especially in board flood matchups.

On top of those, the deck runs Wrath as another anti-Aggro early game option. Given that the card can cycle, it obviously adds some consistency to the deck too – if you don’t need to use it as an early game removal, you can just draw another card and get to your important plays faster.

The Big Beast choices have also changed. I cut more offensive plays like Ironhide Direhorn and Charged Devilsaur and instead I run more Taunts. 2x Witchwood Grizzly, 2x Amani War Bear and 2x Giant Mastodon are the current set of Beasts (and of course OondastaTyrantus, because they’re too good to cut). If we add 2x Ironwood Golem (potentially from Oaken Summons), the goal is to basically drop a Taunt after Taunt and force your opponent to trade into everything. Giant Mastodon in particular might seem underwhelming, and honestly, it definitely is versus slower decks. But against Aggro, if you can get a 6/10 Taunt on 6 (Stampeding Roar) or pull it from Oondasta, that’s a HUGE body that will be hard to get through. 6 attack also means that nothing they punch it with will survive, unlike something like Voidlord, which won’t kill 4+ health minions.

If you curve out nicely, the deck would absolutely drive Aggro players nuts. If they flood the board, you Spreading them. If they don’t and play around it, you will drop a big Taunt after big Taunt.

The main issue I have with this deck is that while it should be able to beat Aggro and Midrange, it might have a problem against slower decks. You see – the big Taunt minions don’t put as much pressure as the stuff you could drop in the decks above. Without Witching Hour, you also won’t have that great late game tempo swing – if your opponent clears all of your minions, the only win condition left will be Malfurion the Pestilent, and that might not be good enough vs decks that can regain health. For example, this build can be very weak against something like Odd Warrior. If you don’t win with something like Tyrantus, they should be able to find enough removals for your other plays in the long run and then outarmor your damage.

Maybe the most optimal build will be something in between, with more anti-Aggro options, but also more late game meat to not run out of threats in the slower matchups.

Closing

That’s all folks, thanks for reading. What do you think about those theorycraftings? Did you also think about this archetype? Will you What would you add or remove from those deck lists?

Be sure to check out our other theorycraftings, and hopefully we’ll see you in game when Rastakhan’s Rumble launches on Tuesday. Good luck on the ladder and until next time!

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

11 Comments

  1. Timeotheo
    December 1, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Wouldn’t you want to play Hadronox in the last list ? Since most of your beasts have taunt anyway (and Hadronox is a beast itself), a mixed beast/taunt archetype makes sense. It’s true that you don’t run cubes nor witching hours, but Hadronox is still good as one massive board fill in slower matchups. Not a built-around card, but additional value from a single card in a deck that needs it (I think Big Druid did the same ?).

    I mean, assuming the deck performs well against aggro, teching in a single card that brings one extra full board in slower matchups might make sense. Also, in those matchups, you probably can afford to hold onto your spreading plague (and summon poisonous spiders out of Malfurion) so as not to dilute your beast pool. And in aggressive matchups, the worst case scenario of Hadronox bringing back 7 1/5s can still be game-winning.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      December 1, 2018 at 5:39 am

      You’re actually right, how could I not think about that? I was considering Hadronox when first theorycrafting about the deck, but then realized that the first two decks probably don’t run enough Taunts to make it consistent. Then I’ve created a list full of Taunts and didn’t add Hadro. Welp.

      I’ll come back to those lists when I finish all of my other theorycrafts, I should give them some updates before the launch!

    • Erance Clarke
      December 4, 2018 at 4:57 am

      I was thinking the same thing lol

  2. NoIdeabutPlentyofIt
    November 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Hi!
    Great ideas , Love the work – thx for the good read. Question I habe: why run oaken summons? If I see it right, theres only the golem to recruit, and just for the armor gain it would probably not be worth it? How about switching those for plague and/or more ramp like greedy spite?

    Best, F.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      November 30, 2018 at 10:00 pm

      The thing is, you can’t run Plague with Witching Hour. Scarabs are Beasts and they can get revived too. If you play Plague, you cut Witching Hour, just like in the last build.

      Having Oaken Summons increases the consistency of t4 play twice. Drawing either Golem or Summons means that you can play something on curve. Summons also thins your deck, which is generally positive. Also, don’t underestimate the value of 6 armor – it does wonders vs Aggro.

      2x Golem + 2x Summons was tested before and it generally works well. But of course, a third minion (3-4 drop) can be added for consistency if necessary.

      • NoIdeabutPlentyofIt
        November 30, 2018 at 10:30 pm

        Hi,
        Thanks for the detailled reply. Didn‘t think of the scarab beast factor! All makes more than sense in the given context, will playtest.
        Best regards,
        F.

  3. Orasha
    November 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Imo in Witching Hour lists it might be better to cut the Direhorns, since the tokens it generates clog up your beast pool. Like a 3 mana 5/5 isn’t bad but you want to have better options, like the War Bear.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      November 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      You’re right that you’d rather get something better, but 3 mana 5/5 as a worst case scenario isn’t that bad. The thing is, you won’t always be able to trigger Overkill, and if you will, you still have a much higher chance to get something better.

      But those lists will definitely have to be optimized, that’s for sure.

  4. Maximal
    November 30, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Just add Stampeding Roars, Tyrantus, Oondasta and Ironhide Direhorns to the current Big Druid list. There is no need for a lot of beasts, you want as much chance to pull Tyrantus or Oondasta.

  5. Omnitarian
    November 30, 2018 at 10:37 am

    The pieces fit together so well that I’d be pretty flabbergasted if this didn’t become a playable archetype. The only potential hangup is if 1) other Druid decks are better (in which case, wait til rotation) or 2) it winds up uniquely vulnerable to common removal- Mass Hysteria, Supercollider, and Psychic Scream feel particularly troublesome, and besides Witching Hour you don’t have any value plays if your threats dry up. But that’s just a “maybe”.

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