The story in which our heroes try yet another non-standard classic build. Let’s start a little differently and drop the decklist right at the start:
“What is Nature’s Call?”
Jasani, Shrine Keeper
4 The Natural Order
3 Legacy of the Legion
4 Noxious Trap
4 Explosive Trap
4 Nature’s Focus
4 Planned Assault
3 Netherbreath Spellblade
4 Forces of Jaedenar
3 The Boon of Alexstrasza
4 A Question of Gluttony
4 Eye of the Storm
4 Band of Vile Aggression
4 Cover of Silence
2 Seer’s Signet
In case you couldn’t tell Jasani is druid/hunter dual hero. As with the other monster dual heroes she cannot use talents but gets full access to other cards from those classes, only other caveat is she sports a meager 25 health.
“Fall like leaves…in…fall!”
Dryads first showed up in Warcraft 3 as a night elf unit. Waaaay back when the night elves were not part of the alliance, they were their own race within the RTS (the others being Undead, the Alliance, and the Horde), and actually see a fair amount of play in various matchups. They were mostly used due to their slowing poison and of course the ability to abolish magic meaning summoned units go bye-bye on your opponent’s side as well as enemy buffs or debuffs. This doesn’t quite make a very clean translation to the tcg, but you can’t have everything.
“Fear the fearsome fury of the forest fawn!”
While the night elves were not my preferred faction in WC3, heroes that aren’t blue or red are always of interest to me. In this case I was brainstorming ideas for a side event at worlds specifically a classic event. Cryptozoic put a lot of emphasis on contemporary and core so the fact that classic was event getting a nod had me excited. The assumption going in was that Tyrus, Werewolf hunter, and Deathwish would be everywhere since back in 2013 these were the primary heavy hitters. Granted someone could have brought an eggregator build I didn’t really expect them all that much, I mean who wants to play with graph paper for a side event?
While I had some concerns about various matchups I was determined to play something that would give me the element of surprise. Sure most people could guess many cards in the list just from seeing the hero combo, there is an element of uncertainty given the pool of cards available. For whatever reason I was on an innervate kick and after reviewing the other duel heroes I settled with our 4 legged friend because she could essentially play on your opponent’s turn for most if not all of the game. If you look carefully the deck is basically wants to:
Draw → resource → go
Draw → resource → go
Draw → resource → go
At least as long as your opponent will let you that is. Naturally they won’t be sitting around doing nothing so that’s where the “interrupts” come in. You have 7 pseudo-counterspells in bombard and snipe and for anything that sneaks through you can hibernate to bypass things like will of the forsaken or aberration. Traps are a fun touch. While noxious was a core all-star, I found it was especially useful here since you can pop something and then ready some resources to quest or innervate. Just keep in mind that the target has to actually get destroyed to get the ready effect. Explosive Trap is a nice all around answer that deals with threats big and small, werewolf or regular wolf, orc or (some) undead. Even more fortunate you can lock down the opposing team. That’s where the nails start sealing the coffin.
Once you’ve managed to get to the midgame you can hopefully slap down a Spellblade. Since you’re drawing cards on your opponent’s turn you can skip a few draws to recur whatever you happen to need, hurricanes to keep the board locked down, TNO for removing pesky abilities or equipment, card draw, or the finisher legacy of the legion.
Legacy is another card that at the time I just enjoyed playing so as the deck started coming together it seemed natural to create 20 stats worth of allies every turn off an ability. In addition to Legacy the main lich, Ke’lThuzad himself, can come down and ruin your opponent’s day. While he may not be as effective against say Vorix or Deathwish you do get a significant health boost in addition to a static 3 attack which is not something to dismiss lightly. Anything that actually does run allies would be in for a serious rude awakening, the undead master hero isn’t usually the first thing that jumps to people’s minds when they think hunter/druid.
Between Netherbreath and planned assault you have a lot of redundancy. Planned Assault targeting an innervate isn’t exactly mana efficient but since many of the answers this deck runs are 1-for-1 you need to stretch every cards as far as you can. Even beyond the single target single answer focus of most cards here you can get away with splitting the answers between different types of answers. As you might imagine, you don’t usually want The Natural Order against aggro or Explosive Trap against Deathwish and Planned Assault allows you “draw” extra copies of that single answer that did actually come off the top giving you another couple of turns to try find more.
“I’m not in season!”
The deck performed well if your opponent allowed you at least a little breathing room as you need at least 2 resources to get your “interrupts” online. Granted you could lose against “the nuts” if they had it, for the most part you can go toe-to-toe with the major fair players (AKA not the combo decks). That being said bogmara proved to be a problem since the red warlock could vomit a bunch of guys out before you potentially could even have a turn. The side event went well as I beat a some standard decks, and luckily squeaked by as boomkin since I think they made a mistake in one game and allowed me to actually remove a moonfire. The issue came in against Hans playing Nicholas Merrick. Basically the deck played mirror image and a bunch of permanent based mage removal such as smoldering blast and brittalize.
That wasn’t the difficult part. The difficult part was when he slammed down Deathwing, the Destroyer. Due to all the tokens, and ongoings, and other whatnots the big bad came down very quickly and I never really got beyond 6 or 7 resources. Game 2 went mostly the same way. While that particular deck may not be rampant among WoW groups it does highlight a problem with this deck. That being that it needs to be tailored to an expected meta.
You’ll notice that cyclone is missing, similarly starshot. Depending on what you expect to see you can easily switch some of the tools available for other ones. None of them are necessarily bad but clearly some are more appropriate and/or efficient in certain matchups or others. You can only row so many dead cards before you’re in serious trouble.
“I’ll attract the enemy with my human call!”
At GenCon 2016 I learned that other people have discovered the power of dryads. I believe only 1 person was playing Jasani but he made T4 with a slightly different build than I presented. Aside from the huge card pool dual heroes present Jasani in particular has a lot of flexibility in how her 75 cards can look. If you’re looking for a deck that essentially lets you play control mage without actually being the infamous class Jasani may be one you want to pick up.
*Note: Section titles are quotes from the Dryad unit in Warcraft 3.