How to play Neirea’s StarLadder Jade Druid (Hearthstone deck)

Jade Druid is a popular deck in control lineups: with its infinite Jade Golems, it is the ultimate control killer and beats most other control decks at ease. For Hearthstone StarLadder Season 3 Finals, Neirea brought this list that is a mix between old and new: splashing in one copy of Wild Pyromancer and pone copy of Acolyte of Pain for some improved early game and cycle, but otherwise remaining true to the basic construction of the archetype.

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s take a look at this Jade Druid variant.

The deck

Deck code: AAECAZICBvYH+wyuqwK+qwKUvQLTxQIMQF/+AcQGpAfkCLS7Asu8As+8At2+AvnAAsnHAgA=

Some newer Jade Druid builds are built for a lot of card draw: running two copies each of Wild Pyromancer and Acolyte of Pain, they can deal with wide boards of small minions and draw a bunch of cards while doing so.

However, this Neirea’s list from the StarLadder finals is a mix between old and new. There is one Wild Pyromancer to help deal with aggro, and there is one Acolyte of Pain to provide a little additional draw, but other than that it follows the tried and true path of the Jade Druid.

Mulligan

Well, you’re a Druid. Therefore, you want to ramp up to get to play some of those big threats, and Wild Growth and Jade Blossom are extremely valuable cards.

Against many aggressive decks, you also want to hold on to a Wrath, because it can help deal with a Vicious Fledgling or a Murloc Warleader should they arrive on the board too soon. Wild Pyromancer can also be good against aggro, especially if you have any cheap spells to go with it.

Other than that, it gets complicated, because a Druid’s mana curve is not the same as anyone else’s mana curve. The cards in your mulligan and the path they would guide you towards play a huge role in any mulligan decisions.

Try to plot out your first turns, including the use of coin: coin Wild Growth is often good, but sometimes you might want to play that Wild Growth on two in order to have that coin available for later. Sometimes you go coin Jade Blossom on two into Wild Growth and Wrath on three or a Jade Spirit on three.

How to win

The classic Jade Druid win condition is big, infinite Jade Golems. This win condition is achieved by surviving the early game, drawing through your deck rapidly, and setting up a big turn with Gadgetzan Auctioneer at 10 mana where you ideally play cards such as Wild Growth and Innervate to have the mana and card draw to cycle through multiple Jade Idols, shuffling the necessary amount back to your deck and summoning enough threats on the board as well: against decks with board clears, you want to hold on to a couple so that you can repopulate the board even if it is fully cleared and you lose your Auctioneer.

There are two Gadgetzan Auctioneers in the deck, so the first one can be used more liberally to assist with card draw in the mid-game.

However, you do not always need to have infinite Jades to win a game. In more aggressive matchups where the opponent will run out of resources eventually, just your regular Jade Golems will do. In these matchups, it is often better to play both Jade Idols as minions, not getting to make huge Jades, but having more and bigger minions on the board earlier in the game.

There are no charge minions in the deck, so burst from hand is limited: two Swipes and a Feral Rage, that’s it. With an Innervate, that gives you a maximum of 12 reach from hand. Saving those Swipes to go face can sometimes be vital, especially if the opponent has Taunt minions.

Earthen Scales is a key card. Against slower Mage decks, your goal is to create huge Jades and then armor up with Earthen Scales on them to get out of reach. Against faster decks, Earthen Scales can be used earlier, either to gain just enough armor, enable a trade or make a Taunt just big enough, or buff a Wild Pyromancer so that it can deal more area-of-effect damage.

Fandral Staghelm is not quite as important as it used to be, but there are still several cards that synergize extremely well with it:

  • Jade Idol for both value and tempo
  • Wrath for four damage and draw a card
  • Feral Rage for four attack and eight armor
  • Nourish for two mana crystals and three cards

Especially Nourish can be game-winning if played early with Fandral, and sometimes it is correct to risk playing Fandral on four in order to set up for a potential Nourish on five.

Gameplay

Here are some sample gameplay videos that showcase the deck in action!

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