This should be an excellent card in any aggressive Token Druid deck that runs Savage Roar. Can help you snowball a board lead and spread wide very quickly. The issue with this card in Druid is that it’s only as good as the archetype it’s played in, so if an Aggro Druid does not emerge, this card won’t see play in the class.
Gibberling spawns a copy of itself that carries an unused Spellburst charge, which means we can build a full board of these furry little things if we chain enough spells. Essentially, Gibberling is a 1-mana Violet Teacher in a class that has Soul of the Forest and Savage Roar. This is a surefire, build-around card for either a combo-centric Druid deck such as the current iteration of Spell Druid, or an aggressive flood deck that the class has also been historically famous for. We’ll be surprised if Gibberling doesn’t become a cornerstone card for a Druid deck at some point in the future, if not immediately.
A heavily nerfed Innervate. That doesn’t sound like a promising description, does it? The good news for Druid is that if Innervate was printed today, we would give it a score of 6 out of 4. Lightning Bloom is “only” one of the most powerful cards in this set because it allows Druid to cheat mana. Whether it’s an aggressive deck or a ramping deck, when Druid cheats mana, it wins games! Who cares about Overload when your opponent is already dead?
The first “studies” card, this is also the strongest one. To be perfectly blunt, this card is ridiculous. Forget about the fact that it discovers a spell, “storing” mana for your next spell is what makes it so generically strong. Remember that we don’t need to use the discount on the same turn we play Nature Studies. We can play Wild Growth or Fungal Fortunes on turn 2 again. We can play Overgrowth on turn 3. We can chain spells in multiple ways that just seem broken to us in theory, especially with cards such as Kael’thas, Mountseller and Gibberling available in the format.
This is a very nice value card that can help you shore up a consistent curve. Generating two minions for one mana is a very good deal, especially when these minions are guaranteed to be playable in the early game. The issue, of course, is that the quality of these minions won’t be high, and Partner Assignment should only be strong in a more aggressive deck that doesn’t look to ramp early.
A Chillwind Yeti with taunt and heals for 5? That’s quite strong on paper, but the condition is quite limiting, deck-building wise. It’s a minion, so Spell Druid doesn’t want to play it. Even in a deck where it fits in, such as one that runs Guardian Animals, it might not make the cut. Groundskeeper could end up being played, but it seems like more of a fringe choice rather than a card you always include in a deck.
Food for Guardian Animals, this one is weaker than Twilight Runner since it doesn’t have the same impact when summoned. It’s a sticky minion that provides some defense, which is nice, but it’s not going to make or break a deck.
Stealth means it’s almost guaranteed to attack, which means that Twilight Runner is a 5 mana 5/4 that draws 2 in most scenarios. It’s also a beast that has great synergy with Guardian Animals, so if there’s anything that makes us want to play the 7-mana spell, it’s this card.
Pretty good card that offers an immediate threat for Savage Roar, but also an option to become a removal/swing card if taken with Overload. We wonder whether it might have an issue competing with Glowfly Swarm, though its Treant synergy could be relevant. It’s also a card we don’t need to run in a spell-heavy deck. Solid, but not spectacular.
This card is as good as the beasts available to it, and we think Twilight Runner alone makes it a strong consideration in Druid. Add Escaped Manasaber and Teacher’s Pet, and you’ve got a promising package of beasts that are worth summoning with this spell. Guardian Animals is a perfect follow up to Overgrowth that could present a competitive alternative to Exotic Mountseller at the 7-mana slot.
Survival of the Fittest
This card will go as far as Kael’thas carries it. The potential value and lasting pressure that Survival of the Fittest presents are insane, but it’s only a viable card if Druid can reliably cheat it out. This means we need to build a Druid deck that has enough minions to offer strong targets for the buff, and enough spells to activate Kael’thas. If we can have both, Survival of the Fittest will…. survive.
We’re not too high on this card for a few reasons. The first is that we don’t see Druid utilizing a large enough package of beasts to justify Wildclaw’s “Keleseth” ability. In a speculated Guardian Animals deck, you’re not going to run more than 6-8 beasts (and you’re most likely to run 5), while the copy ability may only feel good in a “win more” scenario. You’d probably have to run Winged Guardian to make this card a real threat, but that relies on Big Druid making a comeback. Doubtful.
There’s an easy way to evaluate whether Gidra is a good card. If it’s followed up by merely a 1-mana spell, it becomes a 2 mana 2/5 with Rush and Windfury. That’s already very powerful, and the more expensive the spell is, the more ridiculous Gidra becomes. Considering how good Gidra is at a very baseline level, it’s likely to find a home, but it’s possible that Druid decks will prefer cards that carry more direct synergies with their game plans.
Forest Warden Omu
Omu can potentially enable an expensive combo you’re normally not able to do for 10 mana, so the immediate reaction is to run this with Germination to set up a big 20 mana Malygos or Ysiel finishing turn. However, fixation on clunky late-game combos might be missing the point regarding the strength of this card. Omu is just a 0 mana 5/4 once you hit 6 mana and cast a spell. It’s basically an earlier Kun, which is already nice by itself without any further synergy. We’ll see if it becomes more than that.
Scholomance Academy Set Rank: 2nd
Overall Power Ranking: 4th
After getting hit with a big Fungal Fortunes nerf that killed its competitive edge towards the end of Ashes of Outland, Druid needed a big set to boost its power level across the board to make a comeback. We believe it got that set.
Lightning Bloom and Nature Studies are so powerful that we believe they will be played in every Druid deck. Whether it’s an aggressive deck that gets on the board early, or a slower deck that ramps up to a power turn, these cards are perfect building blocks.
We’re particularly intrigued (or terrified) with the return of Kael’thas Sunstrider, who might have received enough support to come back to the meta in a big way. Alongside Guardian Animals and Survival of the Fittest, Druid has new powerful things to do on turn 7 as a follow up to Overgrowth. These cards could end up replacing the current popular choice of Exotic Mountseller.
And then we have Gibberling, a card with tremendous potential in different kinds of board flooding Druid decks that will be thoroughly tested with the launch of the expansion, providing the class with early game blowout potential.
Indeed, Druid is likely a big winner of Scholomance Academy. It has received strong tools for aggressive decks, ramping decks, and late-game combo decks. Pretty much all that Malfurion could ask for.
Just agreeing with a lot of the comments already posted. Lots of time and effort into analyzing each and every card. Great work.
The more I read/hear from Vicious Syndicate, the deeper my respect. 10/10.
Paladin have a zero cost spell. Time is money friend!
The gold standard of HS articles
most important hearthstone content second to the game itself! love vS
Great job! Thanks Guys!
Fantastic work, super helpful! Thanks
Awesome review guys! I can’t believe how much effort went into this. Keep up the great work!