Malygos Druid: The Alexstrasza and Ixlid Showdown
Hello Wilders and welcome back for another look into Wild. Today’s topic revolves around Malygos OTK Druid. Given its recent surge in popularity, an intense debate has been sparked in the community regarding the deck’s win condition. Specifically, there are two camps. One advocates for Ixlid, Fungal Lord plus Faceless Manipulator, while the other supports Alexstrasza.
Now I have been playing and building combo decks for a long time. I have witnessed and involved myself in this deck’s evolution from start to present. Thus, I have gained a solid understanding of all its ins and outs, its weaknesses and strengths, no matter the build. I can honestly say that based on my expertise neither win condition is wrong. They both have their own merits so it is impossible to say that one win condition is stronger than the other. I can, however, set out the merits of each list.
In order to ascertain a combo deck’s functionality within a certain meta, you need to look at a variety of factors. These include the following:
b) draw engine and cycle speed,
c) amount of combo pieces required,
d) maximum feasible amount of damage,
e) mirror matches,
f) versatility and
g) anti-aggro tools.
For the purpose of this article, I will be comparing my own personal Alexstrasza Malygos Druid list to Roffle’s Ixlid Malygos Druid due to the fact that both have reached Legend ranks.
Hand Size, Draw Engine, Cycle Speed
& Combo Pieces Required
In the context of these decks, it is necessary to view these four factors in conjunction with each other. Typically, hand-size is not a serious issue for most combo decks. However, that is not the case when it comes to Malygos Druid. Due to the fact that these decks run quite a significant number of high-costing cards they are more often than not faced with the issue of having too many in hand. As a result they can find themselves unable to drop cards quickly enough to make use of their most potent draw engine Ultimate Infestation. In turn, this leads to significant drop in cycle speed and a delayed combo.
Regarding these particular criteria, the Alexstrasza variant is favored. It has one less combo piece (although it should be stated that the Ixlid variant can achieve victory with only two Malygi), runs Wrath as an additional cycle option and also features one extra card, namely Innervate, which can be discarded from your hand freely in order to free up space for an impending Ultimate Infestation. As a result, it has the potential to be faster and more consistent than its Ixlid counterpart.
Maximum Damage & Mirror Matches
When it comes to pure damage output, Ixlid Malygos Druid has the Alexstrasza variant completely and utterly licked (much like Alexstrasza did Marrowgar). In essence, while the Alex version can deal a maximum of 59 damage, the Ixlid variant can reach a whopping maximum of 134 damage.
This extreme amount of damage potential makes armor in the mirror match close to obsolete for the Ixlid Druid. However, that cannot be said for the Alexstrasza variant as it holds significantly lower burst potential. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that in a match between the two decks while the Alex variant only has one condition, i.e. the combo, the Ixlid list has two. The first being the combo and the second, transcending the potential burst range of the opposing deck through excessive armor gain.
Yet, as stated in the second part of this article, the Alex variant has one key advantage. It is quicker and generally more consistent, so it is completely possible to draw and execute your combo significantly faster in the mirror match. In the end, it comes down to a battle between balancing the draw engine and having significant enough burst potential.
Versatility and Anti-Aggro Tools
In these regards, both decks are technically similar and equal. They share identical anti-aggro tools and mechanisms but each one features its own versatile combo options. For the Alex variant, it is Alexstrasza herself as she can be used as potential emergency healing. Conversely, the Ixlid version can utilise either Ixlid or the Faceless Manipulator to make a board or copy a significant opposing enemy minion.
As discussed above, both win conditions have their merits; I personally cannot say with absolute certainty that either one is superior. In a general metagame, the Alex list seems to have a slight edge due to draw speed. But if the meta ever slows down and playstyles like armor stacking start to resurface, then the Ixlid variant is without a doubt the favored deck to win. At the present time both are viable but ultimately, which one will reign supreme will be dictated but the status of the metagame at any given time.
Gunnolf's Alexstrasza Malygos Druid
Roffle's Ixlid Malygos Druid