Greetings wanderers. Take a seat as we delve back into the new possibilities from The Witchwood. This time, we shall discuss and experiment with the Hunter Deck Building Guide for both the casual and competitive players.
With the dawn of the Year of the Raven, several Hunter decks have taken a hit. These decks include Aggro, Mid-Range, and Y’Shaarj Hunter. For Aggro Hunter, the rotation of Alley Cat, Kindly Grandmother, and Fiery Bat removes early game pressure and board presence. All three could be followed up by a Crackling Razormaw to keep the opponent on the back foot. Within three turns, the board can easily spiral out of control allowing more damage to seep through.
For Mid-Range Hunter, not only do they lose the aforementioned options, they also lose Cloaked Huntress for free Secrets, Infested Wolf for a sticky board, and Call of the Wild for that last push for damage. By managing the resources with efficient trades, this type of deck excelled at flipping the switch and going to face at a moments notice. If done correctly, the opponent won’t be able to keep up with the change in pace.
Lastly, the Barnes-Y’Shaarj combo, summoning a massive 10/10 on turn 4, is no longer a Standard Play strategy. By playing only those two minions and a tonne of spells for control, this deck can win games by turn 4 if the opponent has no answer. However, since both the key cards are now in Wild, Hunter players must seek new horizons if they wish to continue in the Standard format.
So what does The Witchwood bring to the table? The answer? A fair amount. The new expansion provides options for early, mid, and late game strategies as well as support for control and big plays. There is no real pure focus, but rather giving you the option to build anything you like. The decks that seem logical, for the moment, as the Aggro and Mid-Range variants.
For the Aggro Hunter, it still possesses a plethora of 1 cost minions and support. Dire Mole, Fire Fly, Glacial Shard, and Candle Shot all allow for early game dominance. All that is need is to follow it up by playing towards the mana curve. Cards such as Marsh Drake are big threats where their downsides can more often than not be dealt with straight away. Other cards such as Blackwald Pixie and Clockwork Automaton allow for additional Hero Power damage to pile the pressure bring the health total low. It gets even better, or should I say odd better, when Baku, the Mooneater is utilised. As the saying goes, three is the magic number. Which becomes the case for the upgraded Hero Power.
As for Mid-Hunter, many control tools become available. From powerful Dragons like Carrion Drake to make sure something valuable dies, Dire Frenzy to allow valuable trades and save something nasty for later, and the new Legendary Houndmaster Shaw gives all other minions Rush to contest the field straight away. Over the coming weeks, it is certain for a variety of versions to come to the surface.
The first deck we are going to delve into is the Aggro Hunter. Although the class has lost a fair amount of early game minions, it doesn’t mean the Deck is dead. Oh no, far from it. Fire Fly, Glacial Shard and Candle Shot, as mentioned above, are key cards for turn 1. Moving to turn 2, if you have a Beast on board, such as Dire Mole or Jeweled Macaw, a Crackling Razormaw will enhance any advantage you already have. From there, keeping on curve is all you need to do, and press the Hero Power of course. Animal Companion, Kill Command, Houndmaster, and Savannah Highmane keep the pressure high as you whittle the opponents health down to zero.
There are tech cards to consider for this deck too, depending on the meta of course. Are you running into a lot of Taunt minions? No problem, slide in a couple of Spellbreakers. Feel like the competition is just as aggressive? Pop in an Arcane Shot and Unleash the Hounds to pick them off before they become a problem. Too many Pirates wrecking port? Don’t fret, Golakka Crawler can gobble them up and save the day.
When moving into ladder territory, the first card that can boost this deck is Baku, the Mooneater. By using only odd cost cards, Baku will upgrade your Hero Power to deal 3 damage instead of 2. That’s a 33% increase in damage! And because the deck will play a lot of 1 cost minions, each game should be a fast paced hurt train. Turn after turn you can pile on the pain. Bittertide Hydra and Leeroy Jenkins will also accelerate this process.
Moving onto Mid-Hunter now. It can combine tactics from Aggro Hunter and elements of control. At the right moment you can flip the switch from making the board yours to swinging with everything you have. If done right, you opponent will not be able to keep up with the change of pace. By trading a couple of the 1 cost cards, you can fit in Wing Blast and Carrion Drake to keep the board contested. Support your efforts with the Classic Savannah Highmane. Even if it died, the Hyenas will keep you some advantage.
When you see your opponent is on the back foot, then keep a mind to you potential damage to the face. If you see an opening where an all in swing can win you the game within a few turns, go for it. It will help if you can hold onto your Kill Commands for the last push. The two Hyenas plus two Kill Command and a Hero Power can relinquish the remaining half of the other plays health if you are patient.
When taking this on the ladder, consider acquiring Houndmaster Shaw and Deathstalker Rexxar. The former allows any other minion that hits the board to Rush in and contest the board. As for Rexxar, not only can it potential destroy all the opponents minions, the Build-A-Beast Hero Power gains your incredible value turn after turn. Adding a Beast after Beast with unique combinations of effects and stats pays for itself.
And that is all for now heroes. Keep checking back as we shall provide more deck building thoughts. The next class we shall look into is Mage. Also, please check our other Hearthstone articles if you haven’t done so already. Until next time, smile and game.