Before the release of Knights of the Frozen Throne, the leaked cards from the Druid set seemed underwhelming and far too late game to accomplish anything of much value. However, what a lot of us apparently failed to realize was that this was one of the first expansions since Naxxrammas that did control cards well. As a result, some old decks like ramp and token Druid are seeing just as much play as Jade and aggro decks. Cards such as Giant Anaconda and Ultimate Infestation went from cards people thought nobody would play, to staples in many Meta Druid decks.
The four major archetypes to paly Druid with (all of which, if I may add, are the only four decks in the S Tier ranking right now) are Ramp, Aggro, Jade and Token. Each of them, while unique in playstyles, all focus around a few central cards released in this expansion that provide the icing on the cake for these decks. Let’s talk about those cards that switched up the Meta so much.
Giant Anaconda, as mentioned before, came off as an incredibly underpowered card. 7 mana for 5/3 stats is incredibly poor, and all for an effect that only goes off if the creature is destroyed. At the time, there seemed to be just too many answers to it, both before and after its Deathrattle goes off. Keeping removal in hand to deal with whatever it brings out is one, or even just silencing or removing the effect of the card by whatever means (such as Polymorph) seemed to be all too easy to play around. However, the impact of this card while playing a deck like Ramp Druid, where high mana costs are much easier to deal with, provided a gateway to Segway into the late game faster than ever before, forcing your opponent onto their back foot as soon as you begin ramping up.
Ultimate Infestation seemed incredibly underwhelming up front. Sure, it did everything, but it didn’t do any of it particularly well. What we failed to realize was the simple fact that this card, quite literally, did everything. Need card draw? Got that. Board pressure? On it. More health? Coming right up. Removal? Got that too. It was one card that very literally accomplished the jobs of four separate cards combined, which allowed for much more room in the deck to add anything else that might be needed. Jade and Ramp Druids especially benefit from this card, but it certainly fits into Token as well.
Spreading Plague was, again, an incredibly underrated card up front, likely due to the simple numbers. It felt too situational, and reminded us a little too much of Protect the King! In the sense of lots of low stats taunt minions. Simply enough, I think we got too caught up in that to realize that 5 health is a lot of health, especially when referring to multiple minion summons. It can be used to really stabilize a game and buy yourself plenty of time to get your later game cards in your hand and on the board to regain control.
Crypt Lord is a card we only see almost exclusively in Aggro Druid, but wow is it impactful. An incredibly healthy minion for the cost, that only gets more healthy based on how many minions you can pump out. It protects your other minions while they can go face, and finds incredible combos with cards like Dire Wolf Alpha, Mark of the Lotus, and just about everything else that buffs minions, particularly their attack. Doing so can make it more than just a wall for your opponent to run into with little punishment due to the one attack.