I AM STREAMING RIGHT NOW! JUST HIT LEGEND!
Video of the deck winning at #10 Legend on the NA Server:
Even with the meta changing soon due to the upcoming expansion, deck builders are still fine tuning their current creations and coming up with interesting takes on classic archetypes. I've spent the majority of this season playing various Paladin midrange decks, but TeenageQi sent me a pretty interesting Hunter build that he has had quite a bit of success with on the ladder this season. He is currently Top 10 Legend and has done a lot of his climbing with this deck. While many players like to bash Hunter for it's alleged ease of play and short games I have always enjoyed playing the class. After playing a few games with the deck it became evident to me that that it was much deeper than the popular face hunter decks, requiring more planning and more deliberate use of the coin.
First things first, watch the video above or tune into my stream. Watching the deck in action is extremely helpful.
Since most of you are familiar with Hunter decks I am just going to go over SOME of the card choices, obviously there is no reason to explain why we are playing 2x Kill Command or Unleash the Hounds.
Webspinner: Ever since the Undertaker nerf this card has been cut from a lot of Hunter decks. It's simply not aggressive enough for face hunter builds, but it makes the cut in this deck for one simple reason, card advantage. Webspinner is a 2 for 1, that's all there is to it.
Glaivezooka: This card on other hand is one that we normally don't see in midrange decks and it's pretty much an auto-include for aggro decks. It's a quick card and is a natural fit for aggro decks but midrange players have been hesitant to use it. The reason why I include it in this midrange deck is simple, like Webspinner, it generates card advantage. Equipment is OP in Hearthstone, it basically allows you to use your health total as a resource to generate card and tempo advantage.
Cult Master: Cult Master makes all your creatures two for ones. If this card goes unchecked then your opponent will be in a world of hurt. This minion basically has taunt, your opponent has to attack it first or they will be punished. It's fragile, but it really dictates the pace of the game, and it's obviously powerful when combined with Unleash the Hounds. I've played 1x Cult Master in a lot of my decks; Zoo, Paladin Midrange, Hunter, etc...Basically Hunter needs a way to draw cards, and this is our best choice.
Kezan Mystic: A lot of players are critical of this card, and they should be, but understand that this card is basically a metagame call. Most of the time you play this card it will be underwhelming but when your opponent does control a secret and you do steal it you will often steal the entire game with it as well.
Knife Juggler: Knife Juggler has great synergy with both Haunted Creeper and Unleash the Hounds. The former is an excellent surprise tactic, as most of the time, your opponent will ignore an early Haunted Creeper instead of attacking it, leaving you free to follow up with Knife Juggler and get two free knives from its Deathrattle effect. The latter is a very strong board clear tool, since each Hound summoned will do 2 damage, 1 point with its Charge effect, and a further 1 point through a thrown knife.
The Coin: You usually want to hold your coin back until for turns 3-6. We are playing midrange and we generate most of our value in the mid point of the game. That being said, sometimes it will be correct to use it earlier than turn 3. Use your discretion wisely, because The Coin is an extremely valuable resource.
MATCHUPS AND MULLIGANS:
General Mulligan Tips: You want to mulligan for your early drops above anything. You can keep your 3 and 4 drops if you can curve into them well, but you will generally mulligan them if are not able to curve into them. You can keep Piloted Shredder if you have the coin, the same goes for Cult Master, otherwise I would throw them back.
Vs. Mech Mage: Mech Mage can get some really explosive starts and a lot of times you will be put into the role of a control player. Don't be afraid to use your Kill Command on a minion. When you cast Unleash the Hounds be aware of a possible Goblin Blastmage on the next turn. When you use Unleash you almost always want to use it as a board clear as opposed to going face. The video above can definitely shed some light on this matchup.
Vs. Ramp Druid: Ironbeak Owl is a snap keep vs. them because of their taunts. You have to play around Swipe very carefully in this match due to the amount of 1 toughness minions in your deck, because the last thing you want to happen is them to be able to Swipe your face and take out all of your guys at the same time. Be careful with your freezing traps because you don't want them to be able to return Ancient of Lore to their hand. The same goes for Keeper of the Grove. Always keep in mind what the maximum amount of damage they can do with their Force of Nature + Savage Roar combo is.
Vs. Paladin (Midrange or Control): Paladin is one of those decks that the longer the game goes the more it will tend to favor the Paladin. You want to try to get a good aggressive start, and Unleash the Hounds is a great weapon against them because it answers Muster for Battle very well. Try not to let them leave too many Silver Hand Recruits on the table because Quartermaster gets stronger with each additional one.
Vs. Oil Rouge: This matchup can be incredibly difficult due to the large amount of removal that they have. If you can trade, you should probably make the trade because it's likely the next turn the minion won't be in play because it will be killed by a removal spell. Cult Master can be very key in this matchup, and if you have the coin I recommend keeping him. A lot of times will want to play Cult Master the turn after you play your other minions to make sure you are able to attack them into your opponents minions, assuring that you will be able to net some value. Be sure to play around Fan of Knives
Why should you play this deck over Face Hunter?: While I am a huge fan of Face Hunter, I have found midrange builds of Hunter to be more consistent. Obviously Face Hunter is a great ladder choice due to the very quick nature of the games, allowing you to climb quickly, but I feel like this advantage is often mitigated by the fact that Face Hunter pretty much auto loses to Warrior and Priest. This midrange build doesn't really have any terrible matchups, it's just consistent. Your late game cards like Savannah Highmane and Dr. Boom will allow you stay in the game longer against control decks, and your Sludge Belcher will help defend yourself against the onslaught of aggro decks that you are bound to face on ladder. This deck simply has more options than Face Hunter. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, it's just more of a matter of how you want your deck to perform and how you want to approach winning the game. If you want more options then this deck is most likely better suited for you than Face Hunter.
Additional Notes: Keep in mind that Kezan Mystic is very oriented towards a specific metagame. If you want you can swap this card out with another "silver bullet" type cards such as The Black Knight.