I reached Legend using these Decks : 8 competitive lists for Standard !
Hello everyone ! I'm Spark, Legend player from France.
It's a been awhile ! The game has been kinda stale for the past few month if you ask me ... So I was waiting for the new expansion and Standard format to come back with some new content.
And here it is, we finally got it ! If you follow me already, it shouldn't be a surprise that my first post will be about my new Midrange Hunter Deck ;)
With the Standard format, Hunter lost 2 awesome utility minions : Mad Scientist and Haunted Creeper. Those are really huge losses, resulting in a less efficient early game phase. We could also notice the loss of Webspinner but that's less relevant due to the minion being less overpowered (even though I loved this card) and well replaced by Fiery Bat.
On the other hand, Hunter gained some amazing late game threats : Call of the Wild and N'Zoth, the Corruptor (for those who really want to push the Deathrattle theme deeper, like me). As well as some very solid mid game Beasts : Infested Wolf and Princess Huhuran. So let's see how we can make that work !
In this section I'll explain the reasoning behind my choices. I'll put a Must Play / Flexible Spot mark to sum-up my opinion on each slots. I'll also add some comments on the other options you can chose for Midrange Hunter in general. As a reminder, my list focuses entirely on Beast synergies and Deathrattle theme, that's generally why the other options are being cut ;)
Fiery Bat is one of the best 1-drop in the game right now. In the best scenario, you trade it into a 3/2 while killing a 1/1 with its Deathrattle. In the worst case, you got a 2/1 body for 2 that dealt 2 damage to the ennemy hero. On top of that, it has the Beast status, pushing it ahead of pre-nerf Leper Gnome without any doubt. it's the perfect card to start the curve for Hunter in short !
Hunter's Mark is still an awesome Control tool, despite the nerf. It allows you to trade a small minion like a Spider into something huge, which are very common threats right now with the new expansion.
Huge Toad is a decent 3/2 body with Beast status and a Deathrattle effect that can help annoying your opponent a little bit, especially when combined with Fiery Bat. Nothing as strong as Mad Scientist or Haunted Creeper but it's your staple 2-drop here.
I see a lot of people chosing to run King's Elekk instead and I'm honestly not a big fan, since you won't win the joust against high curved decks, and winning it won't necessarly help gaining tempo against more aggressive Decks. I prefer the Deathrattle effect, personal choice I guess.
Bear Trap is simply a 3/3 Beast for 2, that can help power up your Eaglehorn Bow. That's just it. Traps are less efficient due to the loss of Mad Scientist but playing a few from your hand is still a very decent option.
As always, depending on how the meta evolve you can consider switching this for some other traps like Explosive Trap, Freezing Trap, Snake Trap or Snipe. This one just the most versatile due it's nature, giving you a Beast to toy with consistently.
Update : As you can you see, I'm adjusting the trap set up depending on what I face, so it's never a fix choice ;)
Scavenging Hyena is a really underrated threat for Hunter, especially since I chose to go for as much Beasts as possible. You probably already saw me toying with this card in the past and it's still a good one. Its real weakness is that it's not generally a good 2-drop, but sometimes you'll have to play it because fighting for board control is too important. If you can power it up even once while playing it, it already has done its job. The good thing about it is that your opponent can't ignore it, and if you can force him into a bad spot, he'll have to play very inefficiently to deal with it, opening the way for your other threats.
Another card that can be considered for this spot is Quick Shot to add some early Control tool or late game steam. Knife Juggler is also very decent here, despite the nerf. But I find the combo with Unleash the Hounds less efficient for now. Anyway, just remember that those are different options and the Deck design would change a little bit more than that if you choose tu run those. I decided to commit fully on Beast synergies so I stick to the plan !
Update : Swapped them out for King's Elekk as they can be played on turn 2 with no downside
Carrion Grub is a really cool 3-drop because it's a sticky Beast and can be followed up easily by Houndmaster. It's a very simple card but I'm really satisfied with it as it helps a lot contesting the board in the early game.
Another option that you can consider is Desert Camel combined with Injured Kvaldir. I tried it myself and it's decent, with the only downside of summoning those annoying 1/3 every opponents have that you can necessarly remove right away. Same comment here, this option changes the Deck design a lot, so I'm just putting it here so you can think of all your options ;)
Update : Swapped one out for Deadly Shot as it helps a lot in Control match-ups
Animal Companion is still one of the best 3-drop in the game. This section is already being long so I won't extend too much on those old staples we all know ;)
Kill Command is still the king of topdecks and a good tool to control the midgame.
Eaglehorn Bow is still a superb early to mid game control tool that helps keeping your board alive. Running it as a one-of with 2 traps feels like a good balance.
Unleash the Hounds is a good tool to help fighting extended board and tweaking the damage you need on each minion to clean the board. As I said earlier, I'm less convinced by the combo with Knife Juggler because many people are running more big minions right now, with the exception of Zoolock. Running it as a one-of still makes sense to help coming back in some situations, power-up Scavenging Hyena or simply finding lethal.
Houndmaster is more awesome than ever in this Deck as you won't ever be forced to play it without the battlecry here !
Infested Wolf is an amazing addition ! A 4-mana Beast that has a Deathrattle summoning some other Beasts, I'll take it ! Seriously there is no need to explain my love for this card, it just perfectly fits the design of this Deck ... I was really hyped for this card and it's definitely satisfying ;)
Tomb Spider is really underrated in my opinion. Of course, its body is not really appealing, but it's still a decent to Beast to throw on the board and the Discover effect is what makes it so amazing ! I can't count how many situational Beast I've found with it. Timber Wolf, Dire Wolf Alpha, Scavenging Hyena, Tundra Rhino and even Starving Buzzard are all cards that saved my ass in the right spot thanks to this card. Not to mention the classic third Savannah Highmane or some other late game King Krush and Giant Sand Worm that can close the game. This card allows you to refill your hand for the late game while choosing what fits best the situation.
People mentionned that they did really well by swapping them for Quick Shot. I definitely feel like this could be a tech in a fast-paced meta so don't hesitate to try it yourself ;)
Other options would be running some 5-drops mentionned in the Princess Huhuran section below.
Update : Swapped them out for Quick Shot due to the meta being too fast
Princess Huhuran fits the theme of the Deck perfectly. It has a really solid body for its cost and it's effect can be really amazing. You shouldn't focus too much on triggering it, sometimes playing it on curve without the effect is just too much pressure for your opponent to handle.
If you don't own it, the card is perfectly replacable with any 5-drops mentionned below :
Tundra Rhino is a tech card that I used initially in this Deck (ended up cutting it for the second Call of the Wild), and I'm much more convinced by it, especially when you run those cheesy Scavenging Hyena. The card has a good interaction with Savannah Highmane (both before and after it) and can enable some crazy plays.
Ram Wrangler is obviously a good contender here but it just feels like a win/lose more card to me. If you can't meet the condition, the card just sucks, and if you do, it's a very random effect. That's why I'm not a big fan of the card, although it's kinda cool. The Discover effect from Tomb Spider is more consistent, it cost one less and has a the Beast status.
Finally, Stranglethorn Tiger and Stampeding Kodo are also good 5-drops.
Update : Swapped it out for Stampeding Kodo because there are many targets for it in the current meta
Savannah Highmane, the king, the lord, the beloved, god of all beasts ... Still my favorite card, one of the best 6-drop in the game, pretty much the reason to play Midrange Hunter ... It's not even a Legendary and you can even play more than 2 copies of it thanks to Tomb Spider and N'Zoth, the Corruptor reviving them, not to mention Princess Huhuran trying to copycat as well xD
Sylvanas Windrunner makes a come back in my Midrange Hunter like in the good old Feign Death days ! You probably get it, it's mainly for its insane synergy with Princess Huhuran and N'Zoth, the Corruptor (which makes you feel less sad about Sylvanas Windrunner being killed without strong value). Besides that, it's a good minion to have in the current meta, due to the amount of high value threats running around.
The Black Knight is also a good consideration for the Deck as we are seeing a good amount of Taunt minions.
Update : Removed due to the meta being too fast
Call of the Wild is so huge ! Control Decks will hate you for running 2 copies of this card. Let me sum this up : for 8 mana you get a 5/2 charge, a 2/4 that gives +1 attack to all your other minions and a 5/4 taunt. This card can clear the board while refilling yours or just simply give lethal. I was initially running one copy (Tundra Rhino was the last spot) for consistency purpose, but the value in the card is just too damn high to not play 2 !
N'Zoth, the Corruptor is lovely ! I've always enjoyed the Deathrattle theme (as you may have noticed) so I was really hyped for this card and I'm so satisfied I got to open a golden one (yes, it summons back golden minions) ! Once again, this card is insane against Control Decks, summoning back Savannah Highmane or Sylvanas Windrunner with some small Beasts aside is just too much for your opponent ! On the other hand the card is not really relevant against Aggro Decks, but for the moment, the meta allows you to play it frequently, if you didn't killed your opponent before =P
If you don't own it, there is no real replacement for it. The Deck will still run fine without it honestly, you'll just be less annoying for Control Decks, so you can run any 5-drop mentionned earlier or simply The Black Knight ;)
Update : Removed due to the meta being too fast
I updated the Deck to give it more consistency in the current meta. Tomb Spider, although I really like the card, was somewhat slow for this fast meta. The trap set up along with some more 2-drops along with Knife Juggler and Unleash the Hounds helps making it through the mid game ;)
The Deck is still Tier 2 but does a lot better in this fast meta. The older version is still a lot of fun and could be used in a slower meta to counter Control Decks.
General Strategy & Mulligan
As you can see, Midrange Hunter lost some of its early game annoyance but gained some more late game power. That's why your early game should focus entirely on controlling as best as you can the opponent's board. Then if you can make it to the late game where Savannah Highmane and Call of the Wild shine, you are probably winning the game ;)
Summing-up these strengths and weaknesses, the Deck has really good match ups against slower Decks and can win any Midrange / Control oriented Deck. On the other hands, Aggro Decks are harder to handle now, due to their constant pressure and your lack of board control. The only Top-Tier Deck giving me real issues right now is Zoolock, because of their early to mid game consistency.
As for the mulligan, it's no surprise you should focus on getting some decent start to curve out into the mid game. I can't insist enough on how important it is to mulligan aggressively for your early curve, else you're gonna have a bad time.
Don't forget to adjust your curve if you have The Coin, as playing 2 2-drops or 2 3-drops can save your early game sometimes ;)
I recorded some games with the Deck around Rank 5. These are not necessarly the most relevant games as the meta is not really defined yet. But it still shows how the Deck works and how it should be piloted ;)
I recorded some gameplay with the updated version at Legend Rank :
It's too early to say how competitve the Deck is for now but I'm having great success with it around Rank 5 on EU. I didn't play much recently so I was only Rank 8 when the expansion came out, and the Deck pushed me to Rank 4 without requiring too many games.
I definitely think the archetype (with all the options I presented in the article) will be Legend material and I have no doubt I'll climb easily with it next season. It's probably a Tier 2 Deck I'd say. The only thing holding it back being Aggro Decks, which are a bit too pressuring in general, but not unwinnable.
That's it for the guide guys, I hope you'll enjoy the Deck as much as I do !
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 ;)
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