Hello everyone I'm Spark, Legend player from Hearthstone, you probably know me for my Pyromaniac Secrets Control Hunter build and today I'm glad to present you another Hunter Deck.
I've always liked the synergy that this class has around beasts and I think the meta shift and the new cards from Naxx is bringing it back to life.
Why bring back Mid Range Hunter ?
You probably remember the time where Sunshine Hunter was dominant back when Unleash the Hounds had a 2 mana cost. At this time, I played it a lot and made an older guide which was kind of a basis for this new deck.
After the nerf, this build died almost instantly but I think that it's time to bring it back with a major tweak : switch back to the Eaglehorn Bow and Traps synergy which was really dominant in my Pyromancer build. This time, Snipe is swapped out because of all the Nerubian Egg and other painful Deathrattle minions (plus the fact that the Miracle Rogue era is kind of dying with Naxx), Explosive Trap is mandatory as a lot of people are playing Zoo with the new power Naxxramas gave to this deck and Freezing Trap is just an amazing tempo card that allows you to keep board control against other Mid Range and Control decks.
What Naxxramas is bringing to the deck ?
First of all, the deck now has the perfect turn 1 : Webspinner. This card will almost always die but you don't really care since it is just giving you a free card kind of like a cheap Loot Hoarder but the card doesn't even comes from the deck and it will always be a beast. There are a lot of useful beasts for the deck in the collectible cards going from Dire Wolf Alpha or Stonetusk Boar to Stranglethorn Tiger or King Krush and including the cards that the deck already use (having 3 Savannah Highmane during the same game can totally crush your opponent).
Drawing a less valuable beast is not really a concern since the card is free and it will still have the synergy with the deck : drawing with Starving Buzzard, powering up a Scavenging Hyena or giving a target to Houndmaster.
The fact that it costs 1 mana also allows you to use it on Starving Buzzard turn for one more draw, or to give you a cheap way to activate Kill Command or Houndmaster. If it stays on the board, it can make great use of Hunter's Mark and combo with Scavenging Hyena.
I think you get the idea, after testing it a lot, I just love this card (for a beast focused hunter off course).
The second new toy to work with is Haunted Creeper. The deck finally has a decent turn 2 to play apart from the vanilla River Crocolisk, it can be played on its own contrary to Dire Wolf Alpha or Scavenging Hyena which are more combo oriented.
Basically, this card ensure you to have something on the board and more importantly a way to kill hunter's marked target (since you work with a 1/2 or 2 1/1). The only sad thing about it is that the 1/1 spiders are not beasts but it would have been too strong because of the easy trigger on Starving Buzzard and Scavenging Hyena. The card itself is really valuable and annoying to deal with because it ensures you some form of board presence and the fact that it is a beast and a 2-drop makes it perfect for Mid Range Hunter.
The last card to notice is Maexxna, it is not that great on his own but the fact that it is a beast make it a great pick for this deck. It will generally force your opponent to deal with since it is a strong threat regarding board control and therefore lack answers for the Savannah Highmane play. It is an insane follow up to Tundra Rhino and is also really awesome when combined with Houndmaster even if they silenced it before because it will give a resilient taunt like Oasis Snapjaw can do.
Anyway, we'll need to see how people adapt to this card but at the moment it is just awesome at baiting out silences and hard removals, and if not dealt with it just kills everything on his way. I'm just a bit sad that it is not a 5-drop with a bit less toughness because the card can only find a spot in a beasts focused hunter decks righ now in my opinion.
Tweaks around the initial basis :
In comparison to the older Sunshine Hunter, I also found useful to cut some of the situationnal cards to play them as a one of and therefore improve the consistency of the deck.
- Timber Wolf is a really great tool when going for an Unleash the Hounds combo but having 2 of them can struggle in your hand. You can also consider Dire Wolf Alpha for its great synergy with Haunted Creeper but it has less flexibility with Unleash the Hounds plays and that's pretty much the purpose of this slot.
- Scavenging Hyena is an awesome Hunter card but the fact the it needs to be combo'd doesn't make it a great turn 2 play on its own. It also often baits silences or hard removal for your later threats when played properly. Having one in the deck is really perfect for the consistency of the deck so it doesn't rely too much on it working but can surprise the opponent when used at the right time.
- Ironbeak Owl can bypass taunts for the finishing blow or deal with painful effects by silencing the minions. Very useful overall and I may play 2 in the future as there are so many things to target with the release of Naxx.
- Tundra Rhino can set up very interesting plays when followed by Savannah Highmane or Maexxna the next turn if it survives. It also benefits greatly from Houndmaster thanks to its nice toughness and is good at killing weak minions when it comes into play. Its unique effect also allows you to get instant value out of Hyena from our beloved lion king and Webspinner combo'd with Hunter's Mark or the dream powered up Scavenging Hyena with charge. Its weaker stats and the fact that your opponent will often want to deal with it makes it perfect as a one of to fill the curve.
- Stampeding Kodo can be really useful at killing the lower minions for free and giving you a presence on the board. It will sometimes act like Tundra Rhino on turn 5 by killing a weak minion but this one won't hurt himself and has one more attack that will be valuable to trade the next few turns and off course it doesn't come with the unique effect of giving charge to your beasts. It is possibly the best target for Houndmaster once it is on play but its battlecry can be useless in some situations so playing one is the best way to ensure it doesn't struggle in your hand. Those 2 situationals cards give the deck some versatility on turn 5 or later.
Those cards and Maexxna remain situationals and the slots are really flexible depending on personal preferences or can simply evolve depending on the state of the metagame ;)
Update with Mad Scientist release :
- Inclusion of 2x Mad Scientist as the card brings good card advantage and tempo.
- Addition of 2x Flare to adapt to the current meta loaded with Hunter using traps.
- Loatheb comes in the deck to prevent board wipes or finishing combos.
- Leeroy Jenkins is used to close out games faster.
Last few tips :
- Don't hesitate to play Starving Buzzard followed by a couple of beasts in the late game if you have a lot of mana and no other plays, the card isn't restricted to its synergy with Unleash the Hounds since there are many beasts in the deck ;) I also sometimes see myself playing it in the mid game with only one or two beasts if I have both copies in hand and save the other for a potential combo. Off course it depends on the plays available to you, if you have an optimal play to take control of the board go for it ! Overall I would say that the deck is now less reliant on getting a Starving Buzzard into Unleash the Hounds combo thanks to the Webspinner value and the stickness power of Haunted Creeper so you shouldn't be afraid to play those cards independantly if it seems like the best play ;)
- I can't say how many times I finished the game with Kill Command or even double Kill Command. This card is just amazing at finishing games so be aware of how you use it in the late game. However, don't be too greedy if you're opponent plays a Chillwind Yeti on turn 4 and your only response is a beast into Kill Command just go for it, it's great at controlling the board too. The card is the equivalent of Mage's Fireball and its versatility really help the deck ;)
- Eaglehorn Bow is great at controlling the board and threatening the opponent's life, use it efficiently and don't waste its durability ! Remember that you have two copies in the deck so sometimes using both charges to kill their consecutive plays is the right thing to do, but using the last charge for the face without a reason and without the other bow in your hand is not a good idea.
On this topic, be sure to make the most value out of your traps, you'll need some practice to acquire the art of it, remember that they have a very strong utility. Explosive Trap is very good against Zoo and Freezing Trap just wrecks a Druid tempo for example.
I'm really happy to bring back a beast focused Hunter and play it on the ladder and I feel it's really great in the current meta as it has favorable match up against Zoo, Druid and Shaman (which are the classes I face the most currently). If you face too much Freeze Mage, including a Flare could be a good idea ;)
Here are my results with the deck from Rank 15 to Legend :
Total : 86-26 (112) 77%
Hunter Mid Range : 19-7 (26) 73%
Warrior Control : 11-3 (14) 79%
Zoolock : 9-3 (12) 75%
Priest : 9-2 (11) 82%
Shaman : 9-1 (10) 90%
Druid : 7-3 (10) 70%
Miracle Rogue : 5-2 (7) 71%
Hunter Aggro : 3-3 (6) 50%
Handlock : 4-1 (5) 80%
Paladin Control : 3-0 (3) 100%
Paladin Mid Range : 3-0 (3) 100%
Backspace Rogue : 2-1 (3) 67%
Secrets Mage : 1-0 (1) 100%
Giants Mage : 1-0 (1) 100%
That's it for the guide guys, I hope you'll enjoy the Deck as much as I do !
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