Wow, this deck just hit 200k views! I want to thank the community for the overwhelming support. I didn't expect my first deck on Hearthpwn to have such positive reception. I will continue to produce quality content in the future so definitely look forward to that!
I've also started streaming. Video guides were something many people requested. I plan to stream the decks I've made on Hearthpwn and new creations so that people who are struggling with my deck can get help. If you are interested in watching me play please give me a follow at http://www.twitch.tv/talionhs
Once again, huge thank you to all those who supported me. This deck would not have been made popular without you :)
Here is the VOD to my latest stream: http://www.twitch.tv/talionhs/v/24599148?t=1h37m15s
NEW DECK ALERT!! Check out my new rogue deck. It's a lot of fun so give it a try. Thank you ^^
[Now with VIDEO] Talion's Midrange Hunter Deck
Thank you to Khristophesaurus Dinosaurus for his video on the deck!
Hi my name is Talion and I’m a Canadian hearthstone player. My biggest hearthstone achievements to date are 2 top 100 ladder finishes in May and August respectively and a most recently a top 50 ladder finish in September. Today, I would like to share a midrange hunter deck (dubbed “The Solution”) that I used at the end of the September season to great results. The deck is still working very well in the October season. I hit legend in about 120 games from rank 13 in the first few days of the season.
There are many variants of hunter which are all very similar so I feel it’s getting increasingly hard to accurately name and differentiate them. I believe the hunter deck that I’m presenting plays like a true midrange deck; having the ability to play the aggressor against more controlling decks and the control role against aggressive decks. The biggest strength of this deck is the synergy between the cards. All the cards work well with one another in addition to being individually powerful cards themselves.
Because the core of midrange hunter is around 20 – 25 cards, most of these decklists only differ by a few cards. I would like to discuss some of my more unique card choices instead of explaining why Mad Scientist is a busted card.
Cards I chose to include:
2 Hunter's Mark: This card, in my opinion, is severely underrated and underplayed. Most midrange decks play between 0-1 copies of this card and rarely 2 copies. This card is best used when you want to use a small minion, which this deck has plenty, to kill one of their big minion while saving your mana crystals to develop your own big threat and generate a massive tempo swing. In the current metagame, Mysterious Challenger and Fel Reaver are excellent targets for this card in addition to the usual suspects such as Sludge Belcher and Giants. This deck is probably the best shell for Hunter’s Mark because of all the positive interactions between Snake Trap, Unleash the Hounds, Knife Juggler and Haunted Creeper, which is why there are two copies.
2 Snake Trap: Snake Trap isn’t uncommon in midrange hunter. Most lists only feature 1 copy of this trap and 2 copies of Freezing Trap. Aside from the positive interactions with Hunter’s Mark, Knife Juggler and Houndmaster the biggest reason for playing snake trap is that it’s aggressive in nature. Hunter can often run into the problem of running out of a steady stream of threat in the face of multiple removal spells and/or weapons. Snake Trap fixes that problem and allows you to continue your SMOrcing. Being a trap, it also has the added benefit of misleading your opponents to play around other traps when you have it in play. There is the danger that your opponent just never triggers snake trap by racing you but it can still function as a protection for our must kill threats such as Knife Juggler. We also have more taunts than the average hunter deck to force a proc.
1 King's Elekk: This is just a Bloodfen Raptor with a potential upside which can be huge. This card’s main purpose is to have an extra 2 drop in addition the staple hunter 2 drops to compensate for the lack of 1 drop creatures in the deck. In topdeck mode, this card offers a possible means for you to draw an impactful creature. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a beast for Kill Command and Houndmaster. However, we are only playing 1 copy of this card due to its inconsistency.
2 Sludge Belcher: This card really fits with the plan of the deck as it’s one of the best anti-aggro options while being good at protecting your board against a control deck. This deck can be prone to an aggro rush and Sludge Belcher will be your best tool at turning the game around. As such, it’s one of the best cards at changing the pace of the game. Also, it has synergy with the aforementioned Snake Trap.
Cards I chose to omit:
Webspinner: While this is a fine card, I don’t think it’s a staple in midrange hunter. It helps fix holes in your mana curve but is only decent on turn 1. Even if you draw it in the late game, you will most likely have to wait a turn before you proc it and play the potentially useful beast you got for your trouble. It is very low impact and slow. Not having it makes King’s Elekk’s joust hit more consistently in our deck.
Ironbeak Owl: This card is rarely bad but is very reactive in nature. Having multiple reactive cards in your hand and not having a good start is one of the easiest ways for hunter to lose. There is also enough overlap between Ironbeak Owl and Hunter’s Mark to leave this card out.
Quick Shot: I would like to have access to 1 copy of this card but unfortunately I can’t see a card I’d play this over in the current list. It’s also worth noting that this deck curves higher than most hunter decks and it wouldn’t be easy to get the draw effect from Quick Shot.
Flare: This card is just way too situational. Most of the time it’s just going to be a 2 mana redraw which could cost hunter the game because you don’t want to be spending 2 mana for a redraw in the early game. By the time you can use it you’ve been working with fewer options in the previous turns because you had a Flare in your hand instead of a real card. Even the best case scenario against secret paladin leaves you with a 6/6 on their side of the board that you have to make up with 4 mana to be even.
Ram Wrangler: This card is very good if you can get it to proc and is downright embarrassing if you cannot. We already played 2 copies of Houndmaster. Having more situational cards like this one will lead to a lot more inconsistent draws. Ram Wrangler should be played with Webspinner so that you can proc it more easily, but we do not have Webspinners. Also the 5 drops in the deck are all more suitable than Ram Wrangler and playing more 5 drops will make the deck clunky.
Ragnaros the Firelord/other big threat: Seeing the King's Elekk in the deck might make people want to add another big threat such as Ragnaros the Firelord, but it’s not worth building your deck around 1 of the filler cards. Furthermore, this deck is already on the verge of being too clunky. We simply do not need additional big threats.
How the deck plays out:
To be successful with this deck you want to know what your role is at all points in the game so that you can have a consistent and effective plan of attack. In general you want to be trading against decks that can outrace you and racing decks that are slower than you but that could change based on the cards in your hand. You could have get a very aggressive hand that makes it better for you to race, or holding cards like Unleash the Hounds which incentivizes you to go face instead of trading or maybe you have a very late game hand that you want to survive long enough to play those cards. Your role can change during a game so it’s important to be able to recognize when you need to switch from the aggressor to the controller and vice versa. It’s very common for this deck to be fighting for board control for the first couple of the turns of the game and then have huge burst that kills your opponent in 1 or 2 turns with your board, hand and hero power.
In general you should try to mulligan for a strong curve out and keep cards that work well with each other. On the play I would mulligan everything for a 2 drop if I don’t already have one. If I have a premium 2 drop for the match up, I would also keep a 3 drop and possibly a premium 4 drop for that match up. If it’s a bad match up and I have a premium 3 drop but no 2 drops I will still keep the 3 drop and hope to find a 2 drop with the remaining 2 cards. This can also be true if my opponent kept multiple cards in his opening hand. Basically, if I feel my opponent has a good start and/or the match up is unfavorable, I will take more risks with my mulligan. I’m reluctant to keep any reactive cards or cards that cost more than 4 on the play because you have the initiative so it’s better to have proactive cards and cards you can cast early in the game.
On the draw I would mulligan everything if I don’t have a 2 drop. I will always keep a premium 3 drop if I already have a premium 2 drop because on the draw you really want to aim for the curve of 2 drop, 2 drop, 3 drop. Depending on the match up another reasonable curve out is 2 drop into 4 drop into 4 drop. Because you start with an extra card on the draw, I think it’s okay to keep a reactive card on the draw if it’s stellar in the match up (such as Unleash the Hounds vs paladin or Hunter’s Mark vs handlock).
Mad Scientist and Animal Companion are the premium 2 and 3 drop in almost every match up. Other than the premium 2 drops you should keep cards that work well together such as Knife Juggler and Haunted Creeper or Knife Juggler and Snake Trap. I will go into details about what other cards are also good keeps in each match up when you don’t have Mad Scientist and Animal Companion. But these are the cards you really want to start with.
Vs. Combo Druid: Even to Favorable
King’s Elekk is better than Knife Juggler to keep because you will be trading into Darnassus Aspirant. The ability and creature type on King’s Elekk is more likely to be relevant than Knife Juggler’s. Eaglehorn Bow is a fine keep as it kills both Darnassus Aspirant and Piloted Shredder. In this match up you should aim to flood the board because druid is very bad at playing from behind and struggles with AoE clears. Savannah Highmane is very difficult for the druid player to answer effectively and Hunter’s Mark will create a huge tempo swing when used on their taunts.
Vs. Midrange Hunter: Even
Haunted Creeper is very good here especially when paired with Knife Juggler or Houndmaster. Knife Juggler and King’s Elekk are quite poor on their own because they match up terribly against the opposing Mad Scientist. Eaglehorn Bow is good to keep board control whileUnleash the Hounds is a poor choice because it’s only good when you are behind or with Knife Juggler and you should be aiming to be ahead. This match up is tricky to play because your role changes all the time. In general if you can go face and make the opponent trade into your creature then you are in a great spot. Unleash the Hounds is one of the only cards that will catch you up if you fall behind especially paired with Knife Juggler so watch out for that combination when you are overextended.
Vs. Tempo Mage: Favorable
It’s tricky to mulligan against mage because it depends on how the cards line up. Haunted Creeper not being able to trade with Sorcerer's Apprentice or kill Mirror Image makes it awkward while your 3/2 lines up badly against opposing Mad Scientist. Mad Scientist is much better than your other 2 drop options here. Your mulligan decision should largely be dependent on the other cards you are keeping as well as how many cards your opponent is keeping. This match up is favorable because you are better than the mage at getting board control and they struggle against Savannah Highmane.
Vs. Secret Paladin: Favorable
Haunted Creeper is much better than the 3/2s in this match up because of Shielded Minibot, Noble Sacrifice and Muster for Battle. Unleash the Hounds is at its best in this match up as well. Eaglehorn Bow is only good against Knife Juggler and maybe Secretkeeper so I would only consider keeping it going second. This match up is favorable because you can outrace the paladin. Also, Hunter’s mark is very effective against Mysterious Challenger their strongest card.
Vs. Dragon Priest: Unfavorable
The 3/2s are better than Haunted Creeper in this match up because you can threaten Northshire Cleric. Knife Juggler is slightly better than King’s Elekk because the ability is more relevant when attempting to trade with priest's 4 health minions. This match up is very hard to win if the dragon priest can hit its curve because it’s very hard to take board from them then. You have to aggressively push for face damage in this match up and hope you can kill them before they stabilize.
Vs. Oil Rogue: Even to Unfavorable
Haunted Creeper is better than the 3/2s in general due to SI:7 Agent and Backstab but even more so when they have the coin and can coin out SI:7 Agent. Eaglehorn Bow is good at killing rogue’s early creatures so you can keep it as a hedge if you anticipate your plays will lead them to playing SI:7 Agent or Earthen Ring Farseer. In general, rogue struggles with the faster hunter variants. We have one of the slower hunter decks so we give the rogue more time to setup. Once rogue gets the board it’ll be very difficult for us to get it back. We also have less burst than the more aggressive version of hunter which is very effective against rogue. To win this match up you have to exploit rogue's lack of good early game options while making their later turns as awkward as possible.
Vs. Midrange Shaman: Even to Favorable
Haunted Creeper lines up better against shaman’s removal and isn’t directly challenged by Totem Golem. Unleash the Hounds is good when you lose board control but you should have the board in the early game so it’s not worth keeping. In this match up if shaman can keep up with your board in the early game then you might have trouble closing out the game because shaman can deal with your late game very well with Hex and once the Fire Elemental comes down they can make a lethal push against you shortly after.
Vs. Zoo Warlock: Even
Haunted Creeper is great here because it’s hard for the zoo player to remove and in combination with juggler will give you a board while removing the zoo player’s board. Try to save your Unleash the Hounds until after they've used Imp-losion for maximum value. Zoo beats you by racing you so trade appropriately when you can’t outrace them or have cards that can swing the race in your favor.
Vs. Handlock: Favorable
Handlock is a good match up for midrange hunter but even more so for us because of the 2 Hunter’s Mark. Knife Juggler is a good card to have here because of the pressure it can put on the handlock player. I like to try to pace the game so that I can get a Savannah Highmane on board before putting the handlock player in Molten Giant range if I don’t have much burst in hand. With Hunter’s Mark backup it’s probably okay for you to just go all in and ignore the Molten Giant.
Vs. Control Warrior: Favorable
Knife Juggler is a good keep alongside Mad Scientist because there is a good chance Mad Scientist will pull Snake Trap so you can still play Knife Juggler into Fiery War Axe to continue the pressure. If they don’t have Fiery War Axe then Knife Juggler can threaten to kill Armorsmith and put a lot of pressure on the warrior. I don’t like keeping bow on the play because you really need to pressure the warrior with recurring damage from creatures. Piloted Shredder is another card that's good to keep if you can curve into it. Going into the late game if you are ahead on board the only card you need to watch out for is Brawl. Playing into Brawl and having a strong follow up is perfectly fine. Otherwise you might not be pressuring the warrior enough and giving them time to catch up.
Vs. Patron Warrior: Even to Slightly Unfavorable
It’s hard to have a favorable match up against the bogeyman of the metagame that is patron warrior. Beating patron warrior will have you pressuring them from the beginning and going face when you can. Eaglehorn Bow is a reasonable keep here as it does well against Unstable Ghoul and Acolyte of Pain. Trading into Emperor Thaurissan is rarely correct because the damage is already done when it came into play and the game needs to end in the next 1 or 2 turns because you most likely cannot keep up with the patron warrior at that point.
Because of the synergies in this deck, I would suggest playing it card for card if you want the optimal results. Even something as small as replacing the second snake trap can potentially weaken the deck by a lot. If card availability is an issue, you can consider some of the cards I chose to omit as a potential replacement. The fact I mentioned them means they were very close to making the deck and are likely the next best thing. For more specific replacements and suggestions to potentially improve the deck feel free to discuss them in the comments section and I will try my best to respond.
In my opinion sequencing with hunter is very important because the hunter is much better while it is ahead. Knowing which 2 drop to play first when you have multiple 2 drops for every match up is absolutely crucial if you want to do well with hunter. Unfortunately because there are so many scenarios and match ups the section on sequencing can be extensive. If you have any specific scenario feel free to post it in the comments and I will try my best to answer them. If there is enough interest in the community, I will also post some of the common sequencing scenarios against the popular decks in the metagame.
Thanks for reading! I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions you have on the deck. If you like the deck please give it an upvote! :)