Hello everyone ! I'm Spark, Legend player from France.
I wanted to share my Handbuff Beast Hunter with the new expansion being released !
The card that I'm the most excited about is Rat Pack. It is very decent on its own and pretty consistent without relying too much on the hand-buff mechanic, as its deathrattle effect also benefits from Houndmaster.
I'm pretty sure Trogg Beastrager and Rat Pack will stick in the deck as they are pretty solid on their own for the archetype.
I'll try to make Shaky Zipgunner and Dispatch Kodo work along with them, but I'm not sure yet if they will stick or not. Only playtesting will tell if they are consistent enough.
Dire Wolf Alpha synerizes well with Alleycat, Kindly Grandmother, Unleash the Hounds and Rat Pack while also empowering the battlecry effect from Dispatch Kodo.
I will tweak the early game depending on the needs. Considering cards like Fiery Bat, King's Elekk and Scavenging Hyena.
Traps and Eaglehorn Bow will also be considered if the initial list doesn't perform too well.
Finally, N'Zoth, the Corruptor could be added to the deck if a slow metagame requires it, but I believe aggressive decks will always remain consistent in the metagame.
Updates & Results
Swapped out 2 Animal Companion for 2 Scavenging Hyena as they synergies too well with the tokens and Tundra Rhino. As Animal Companion is not a beast (it just summons one), it can screw up with your buff mechanics.
The deck does very well for the moment ! The only issue I'm having is Warrior Pirate swarming the high ranks right now. But this will slow down a bit after the meta stabilizes, even though the deck will still see play I think it's ok to have this unfavorable matchup while beating many other decks.
As many of you suggested, Ragnaros the Firelord had a weird spot in this deck. It's a very good win condition for Midrange Hunter in general, but I ended up swapping it for Call of the Wild as the deck has generally a lot of Beasts on the board, it can benefit from Tundra Rhino and it doesn't mess up with the buff synergies. Ragnaros the Firelord remains a solid option for his burst and control potential, otherwise King Krush is also a decent option here, and Leeroy Jenkins can do the job as well if you really want to be more aggressive. It's up to you, depending on how you feel about it, but I'm personally favoring Call of the Wild for its synergies with the deck ;)
I also swapped Deadly Shot for Hunter's Mark as the deck generates a lot of tokens to prefer it and the meta doesn't really fit Deadly Shot anyway.
The deck is still giving me solid results !
Warrior Pirate has dropped slightly in popularity, so it's fine having this bad matchup from time to time.
Dragon Priest is still a decent matchup in my opinion, both decks are based on curve.
Jade decks are generally fine as they are somewhat slow so you can kill them before they set up too solid golems.
Renolock are more popular right now, they can be issue if they manage to controi the board enough and sustain so you lack the steam to finish them. But it can also be pretty easy if you manage to overwhelm them. In short, it's kind of hit or miss, kill them before Reno Jackson or have a bad time.
I think the list is refined now, the current meta allows the deck to perform pretty well. The strength of the deck is that It can win almost anything with a solid curve. Sometimes you just have to accept the loss ;)
I swapped out Call of the Wild for Leeroy Jenkins as I feel like the deck need to kill a bit faster than usual. Call of the Wild feels a bit too slow to be used against Aggro, and it won't always help coming back against slower decks.
This is still a fine card to run anyway and I faced a few situations where one card would be better than the other so you can argue that both are viable options.
I pushed to Rank 3 with the deck and hit Legend today, finishing with Jade Druid and Jade Aggro Shaman because there was a bit too much Shaman to deal with for this deck. Here are the results I gathered this season :
Here is an in-depth guide posted at Good Gaming : Hand-buff Beast Hunter
I updated the deck the full combo package with Cult Master, Unleash the Hounds and Timber Wolf.
The result feels a bit more cheesy as you're relying on various combos to win the game, but it does better in the current meta because the previous version was often outpaced by aggressive decks like Shaman. It is also even funnier to play as you have access to more combos to surprise your opponent by either refilling your hand with Cult Master, powering up a huge Scavenging Hyena or bursting down your opponent with a board full of beast and Timber Wolf !
Tweaked the list a little bit to give more early and mid-game power, giving up on the draw potential from Cult Master.
These videos come from my stream so it's in French, sorry about that. It's just much harder for me to focus on speaking English while playing, compared to simply writting in English.
What about the mulligan ?
Pretty straight forward, all about getting the early game. I always keep Alleycat, Kindly Grandmother and Rat Pack. I generally keep Dire Wolf Alpha if I don't have a 2 drop and keeping a Quick Shot isn't a bad idea against Aggro.
Why not more buffing cards like Smuggler's Crate and Hidden Cache ?
The point of the deck is actually to use some handbuffing synergies while not relying too much on them. This set up would just reduce draw consistency and the fact that they are spells are not helping your other buffing cards. Remember that you also want to benefit from standard Beast synergies, so it's better to run Beasts.
In short, Rat Pack and Dispatch Kodo are well supported enough by the solid Trogg Beastrager and Shaky Zipgunner, there's no need to disrupt the deck consistency for a simple chance of getting a better buff.
How can I include Knuckles into the deck ?
I know everyone is hyped about its effect, but honestly the card doesn't really deserve a spot in the deck. It's a bit too reliant on the buffing mechanics and comes in with less potential swing that Tundra Rhino, which is very important for the combo potential. Anyway, you could still swap Call of the Wild if you really want to run the card but it's far from necessary imo.
Why not use Don Han'Cho ?
The card is incredibly bad for this deck, it is just too late of a play. By the time you get to play it, you're not even sure to have a minion in your hand and you'd rather want to pressure for late. Moreover, getting his buff on a minion means commiting fully on this minion to close the game. The card just doesn't fit this deck.
How can I replace Rat Pack ?
How can I replace Quick Shot / Kindly Grandmother ?
I'm realizing some players lack these adventure cards. Unfortunately, they are just the best picks here. You can get decent results with a mix of Animal Companion / Eaglehorn Bow / King's Elekk / Fiery Bat but it will obviously remain sub-optimal.
That's it for now guys, I hope you'll enjoy the deck as much as I do ! I'll be gather more data throughout the season and keep updating the deck here, so stay tunned for that !
Don't forget to show your support by upvoting the Deck if you liked and don't hesitate to discuss about it or ask any question in the comment section below ;)
Follow me for more content and updates !