Hello everyone, I’m JAB. I’ve been playing Hearthstone since the beginning of Closed Beta. For anyone that doesn’t know me, I’ve been legend every season, and consistently high ranked in the top 100, with multiple top 10 finishes and #1 peaks and currently play for Team Hearthlytics. I was one of the first to start playing midrange hunter about 14 months ago, and I still play it and advocate playing it today. It has simply been one of the best decks in the game for quite some time now. I’m here to show you and explain the list that I’ve been using to easily climb to and maintain top 10 legend rank on multiple servers.
Rank 1 NA proof: https://twitter.com/JABLOL/status/605268326286135297
Rank 8 EU proof: http://i.imgur.com/jI9AzcD.jpg
I believe this is currently one of the best if not the best ladder deck in the game.
What is Midrange? Simply put: midrange plays as a control deck vs aggro and an aggro deck vs control. With this deck you should be focusing heavily on controlling the board early and often making favorable trades rather than going face.
props to ErA for the first version of this deck
1 Hunter’s Mark – This card is not necessary but it lets you faceroll some matchups like Handlock. I’ll often keep it in my opening hand if I have something like a Haunted Creeper that will let me establish board control easily with this card.
2 Webspinner – This card is necessary for making sure our 2 Houndmasters are live. Webspinner can create some interesting game states depending on what he gives you. For example it can allow you to have up to 4 Savannah Highmanes in your deck! You’re usually happy no matter what it gives but some of the notable terrible beasts are Captain’s Parrot and Angry Chicken. Webspinner just helps you control the board early and chip away at them without actually having to spend any resources since it replaces itself unlike cards like leper gnome and abusive sergeant that people have been favoring in mid/hybrid hunter recently, which deal more immediate damage, but put you at a card disadvantage.
1 Explosive Trap – This card can be game changing and has a lot of blow out potential vses other aggressive decks. It helps you recover from behind and makes it hard for the opponent aggro player to race you. Also, some people play around snake trap and attack directly to face, so they get blown out that way as well occasionally. This is one of the flexible slots in the deck however, and can easily be replaced with 1 Snake Trap or cut altogether and just run 2 freezings. I prefer running 3 traps so my scientists are rarely ever dead.
2 Freezing Trap – This card generates so much tempo for you when you get it off of a mad scientist. Freezing Trap is insane vs Control and Midrange as they generally rely on dropping 1 minion a turn. Freezing just helps you take board control early and snowball it. This card is one of the main reasons midrange hunter is so powerful.
2 Quick Shot – I’ve seen a lot of people excluding this card from midrange hunter or not understanding how powerful it is. This card does exactly what a midrange deck wants to do, which is control the early game vs aggro and an extra finisher late game vs control. Don’t worry about getting the card draw off of it, that’s just a bonus, it’ll often be used in the early turns of the game to keep control of the board.
2 Haunted Creeper – This card is one of the best two drop minions in the game. This card makes it really easy to take control of the board and get a presence early in the game as it’s very sticky and hard to deal with. This card makes you a little bit more resilient to area of effect spells like Swipe, Brawl, Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing, etc. Haunted Creeper is also a great play to coin out if your opponent leads with a 2/1 one drop like Leper Gnome or Clockwork Gnome since you will be able to trade and still have a massive board presence. It has great synergies with Houndmaster and Knife Juggler. Also plays well with Hunter’s Mark.
1 Ironbeak Owl – Helps you deal with early annoying deathrattle minions like Haunted Creeper and Mad Scientist that can snowball the game in your opponent’s favor. Also it helps you push through taunts for lethal such as Sludge Belcher and Tirion. Having a silence available is just very valuable in this meta, but it is still a situational card so you can’t afford to run two.
2 Knife Juggler – Synergizes well with Haunted Creeper and Unleash the Hounds. Juggler helps you clean up tokens and 1 health minions after your opponent makes favorable trades. It is a great comeback card and also great at continuing to apply pressure while you are ahead. Sometimes with this card you have to make risky plays and just hope the knife hits the target you want.
2 Mad Scientist – This card is busted and is one of the main reasons that hunter is so powerful. We do run 2 different traps but sometimes you can guarantee which one you will get if the others have already been played or you have one in your hand. Scientist just generates so much advantage and value in the early game; I don’t know what Blizzard was thinking when they designed this card.
2 Eaglehorn Bow – Lets you clear the way so that your minions will stick on the board. Also sometimes you can just push 6, 9 or even more face damage with this card. Sometimes it is better to just attack immediately to their face even when they have no minions to attack if you have another bow in your hand or know the game will be ending soon. Other times I like to just sit on my 2 bow charges as soon as I play it if I know I am going to be playing the board control game early.
2 Animal Companion – Yes, this card is pretty RNG based but all of the possible outcomes are generally worth more than the 3 mana cost stuck on this card. Each of the 3 animals all have situations where they are better such as Leokk with unleash, Misha vs aggro, or Huffer to race control or finish the game. It’s also another beast to activate your kill command and houndmaster which is important to note. The RNG makes this card weaker for pure face hunter decks as you can’t always roll Huffer but in standard midrange hunter it is much better.
2 Kill Command – Not much needs to be said here, everyone hates dying to this card. With this deck it’s fine to use it as removal early, but you should usually look to develop minions before spending it.
2 Unleash the Hounds – This is a card that it may be possible to run 1 of at times as it can be pretty situational, and sometimes extremely weak against decks such as control warrior, but it’s pretty important in some matchups which makes me not want to run less than 2. It’s really important to clear Paladin’s recruits before they can play their Quartermaster and really important vs. zoo if they have a better opener than you. Unleash helps you come back from behind and is always there to punish them if they overextend. Mechwarper lets people dump their hand of creatures early, and Unleash can help you survive against those insane openers. Even though we can’t play buzzard with this card anymore, it still has insane synergy with Knife Juggler and Leokk.
2 Houndmaster – I had only been running 1 or 0 Houndmasters until I saw ErA running 2 and then tried it out myself and saw how ridiculously powerful this card is, and it isn’t dead as often as I thought it would be. This card is the reason I still favor running 2 webspinners. People rarely play around this card so it offers big blowout potential and swings in the game. Sometimes you will just throw it down on turn 4 without making use of the battlecry, but don’t feel too bad as you will have more games where you just win on turn 3 or 4 thanks to this guy than you will have to play him naked. Houndmaster swings the game insanely hard vs aggro, and can sometimes be used as a comeback card on a Highmane when you’re close to losing. and applies a lot of pressure to control decks.
1 Piloted Shredder – A lot of people ask why there is only 1 copy of Piloted Shredder in this deck, as it is obviously a very strong 4 drop in any deck. The answer is simply: Houndmaster is even more powerful in this deck and we don’t have slots available for more 4 drops. I often even cut this one Shredder to tech in a Kezan or Harrison depending on how the meta looks, but I’ve been favoring the one Shredder lately.
1 Loatheb – This card is a staple in almost every midrange deck. Loatheb protects your board from spells which can help you quickly seal up a game and prevent any comeback potential for the opponent. Loatheb really makes decks in the game have to fight heavily for board control.
2 Savannah Highmane – This is my favorite card in the game.. Highmane is basically a powered up Cairne. Many people said that if you get in one attack with Highmane on their face then you usually win the game, and I have to agree with that statement most of the time. Highmane is a must answer threat, but is very difficult to deal with as opponents have to exhaust their removal in the early game just to stay alive. The power level of this card is just absurd and works very well as a finisher vs Midrange and Control. Highmane is one of the main reasons to play Midrange Hunter.
1 Dr. Boom – The best Legendary of the entire GvG set. Works very well as a finisher when ahead and even can be a comeback card when you are behind if you get some sick boombot RNG. The stats you get for its mana cost are superb. Even if he gets killed by Big Game Hunter, you still have 2 bombs that are going to generate some value. I have been putting this guy in the majority of my midrange and control decks, and haven’t regretted it. He is just very frustrating to deal with and hard to play around.
Tech Choices – I often like to play 1 Kezan Mystic in the deck if I’m running into a lot of hunters and mages. Sometimes Harrison or Ragnaros are also considerations.
Mulligans and Matchups
It is hard to explain exactly when to keep and when to get rid of something as opening hands and matchups vary heavily but the below guide will give you a general idea of how I mulligan with the deck. Generally you want to search heavily for 1 and 2 cost minions so you can get a quick start and apply tons of pressure on your opponent.
You should always be looking for a solid early curve in your mulligans. You can watch my stream to get an even better idea of how to mulligan with the deck.
To note: usually you search heavy for 1/2drops and only keep 3 drops if you already have a 2 drop or are on coin. Turn 1 and 2 are the most important turns of the game for hunter. You really don’t want to be clicking your hero power on turn 2.
Mage (Easy) – Keep, Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Quick Shot, Eaglehorn Bow, Hunter’s Mark (with creeper), Animal Companion (with coin)
Shaman (Easy) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Ironbeak Owl, Eaglehorn Bow (If you already have one and two drops), Quickshot (if you know it’s mech shaman)
Druid (Medium) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Animal Companion
Paladin (Medium to Difficult) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Ironbeak Owl (sometimes as it can trade 1 for 1 with minibot)
Warlock (Easy to Medium) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Ironbeak Owl, Eaglehorn Bow, Hunter’s Mark(with spinner/creeper) If you know it is zoo: Quick Shot, Unleash the Hounds (Only if on coin and already have a good curve with early minions)
Hunter (50/50) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Ironbeak Owl, Quickshot (if you don’t have any other 2 drops)
Warrior (Medium) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Animal Companion, Piloted Shredder (sometimes if you have a good early curve already), Hunter’s Mark (sometimes with webspinner/creeper to help kill early armorsmith), Eaglehorn bow(sometimes with coin and webspinner)
Rogue (Medium to Difficult) – Keep Webspinner, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Eaglehorn Bow, Quick Shot (sometimes)
Priest (Medium) – Keep Hunter’s Mark, Webspinner and Haunted Creeper (sometimes, depends on rest of hand), Mad Scientist, Animal Companion, Eaglehorn Bow (more often with coin)
Never Keep – Dr. Boom, Savannah Highmane (used to keep this vs Warrior but now I prefer to have a quick start with early minions), Loatheb, Unleash the Hounds (too situational, better to draw it later), Kill Command, Freezing Trap and Explosive Trap (you would rather get these for free off of Mad Scientist)
Sometimes Keep – Ironbeak Owl, Animal Companion (if you have coin or already have a 2 drop going first), Eaglehorn Bow, Houndmaster (if on coin and you know you will get a beast to stick early)
Hope you guys found this write-up useful. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer! I stream the deck often on http://twitch.tv/jablol and also offer coaching!