GvG Experimental Decks series – Midrange Hunter

Welcome to another article of GvG Experimental Decks series! In this article, I'll share my thoughts after play testing the GvG Midrange Hunter!

Update Feb 5: The deck list has been updated after the card undertaker was nerfed by Blizzard.

Since the minion is now too weak to build a whole deck around it, I chose to get rid of it entirely and focus the deck play style even more on mid game. I replaced Loot Hoarders with Haunted Creepers, replaced Leper Gnomes with Clockwork Gnomes, got rid of Loatheb and introduced  double Unleash the Hounds and double Knife Juggler. I now run a copy of ironbeak-owl and a copy of hunters-mark as tech choices, while houndmaster helps keep a steady control of the board. One Loatheb and one Sludge Belcher are good 5-drops.

I haven’t been playing much hunter this season, but I tested the updated deck against six opponents on the ladder and won 5 matches out of 6, so I’d say it still works pretty well. Of course it would need further testing, but you can try that on the ladder and see how it goes for you. Personally, I really like this version. Here are the details of the games played:

Lost against: Zoolock;

Won against: Control Warrior, Control Priest, Druid, Mech Mage, Midrange Paladin.

Introduction

Hello guys, Giordy here! Welcome to another article of GvG Experimental Decks series! In this series I am going to present, along with other reviewers such as Spark, a number of decks that we have been testing on the ladder now that the new expansion Goblins versus Gnomes is finally released. These are going to be decks that are tested by us and which we find fairly consistent and fun to play.

The purpose of this series is to show you our builds, so that you can test them, too, and give us feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. It is noteworthy to say that these decks reflect our personal play style and may not respect everyone’s tastes. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy our builds  and that they can give you good ideas when it comes to building your own deck to play on the ladder!

In my previous article I discussed my Control Shaman build, describing its strengths, its weaknesses and its viability on the ladder. Thrall served me well during my climb from rank 4 to 2, but I wanted to try something else to help me push forward on ladder; so I began to watch other people play.

I have always been a big fan of Spark and his hunter builds: he is one of the best players on EU (I have seen him get to legend #10 rank this season) and his decks are always original in more than one aspect. I observed how he played his Midrange Hunter and I really liked his build, but I felt like I needed to create a hunter list that would fit my play style better. So I tried to create a deck list that would still fit into the midrange category, but which would differ from Spark’s in some aspects.

Discussing the build

First of all, I felt like I would be a lot more comfortable with some more drawing in the deck. Since it’s not a face hunter, you need to be able to have playable cards even if the game lasts longer than expected: a lot of times you will be facing warriors or priests and you need to be prepared to a lot of healing and armor. This is why I felt like 2 copies of loot-hoarder would help me out during the early game. By adding two of those, I removed haunted-creepers, and consequently houndmaster.

The second thing I did was removing a snake and an explosive trap, and adding a second freezing, so that my mad-scientists would always trigger a freezing-trap and deal a huge tempo blow to my opponent. I also removed feign-death entirely since, although good when triggered with sylvanas-windrunner, it doesn’t  really help too much if used otherwise. I really liked the idea of having a third Savannah Highmane in the deck and I decided to replace Sylvanas with a pyloted-sky-golem: the golem is not as strong as the Highmane, but it still has 6 attack and it has a very similar role to the lion. Sylvanas helps more in removing enemy threats, but by turn 6 all you really want is raw power to further lower your opponent’s health.

Spark originally ran 2 copies of clockwork-gnome, but I guess that he came to realize that the 2 face damage that leper-gnome can provide is far too valuable to switched with some random spare part which may or may not be useful in the future. His real brilliant idea was that of adding piloted-shredder to his original Huntertaker list: not only does this minion buff the undertaker; it also dominates the board with a sticky 4/3 body, which is ready to either punish your opponent’s face for four damage or die only to respawn another 2-mana drop. The minions you usually get when the shredder dies are pretty good; of course you can be unlucky at times and get a doomsayer or a novice-engineer, but most of the time you get a decent minion out of it. Same thing goes for piloted-sky-golem: the four drops it gets you are usually good enough.

dr-boom is allegedly the best GvG minion in the game and there is absolutely no reason not to run him: it helps clearing the board, it helps pushing for lethal and is a real pain to deal with.

Last of all, tech choices. I really like the role that owls play in my deck: they can silence a nasty sludge-belcher (which literally everyone is running), thus allowing you to use your Highmane or golem to your opponent’s face. I run two copies of them, but if you feel like two might be too much and slow your deck down, there are several possible replacements for it. Another tech choice is unleash-the-hounds: although there are no minions or spells with which I can combo the hounds, this spell is usually good on its own, allowing you to better clear the board or to finish your opponent with hounds + kill-command.

Deck Variants

I tinkered with this deck a little and tried several cards in it. Some of them are very good, some other are less effective, but all of them are worth a try to can play a specific role in the deck. One of the cards I am talking about is ragnaros-the-firelord: Spark runs it in his midrange hunter and I tried it myself with great success against warriors. The thing with Ragnaros is: you only want to run him in a control-heavy meta; I am talking about control warriors, control priests, control paladins and handlocks. If you are currently at a rank where the pace of the game is much faster, you don’t want to slow your deck down with an 8-mana drop. So, keep Ragnaros in your side deck and be ready to unleash him whenever your adversaries start to armor up or heal themselves!

Another card that works decently in the deck is gladiators-longbow: this weapon can either let you trade without taking any damage or hit your opponent’s face for a total of 10 damage over 2 turns. If you use the bow at the late stages of the game, ideally after silencing a pesky sludge-belcher, you will hit your foe very hard.

If you feel like you can’t get hold of the board during the midgame, running sylvanas-windrunner instead of piloted-sky-golem can help you out. This dark lady still remains one of the best legendaries in the game!

For those of you who don’t like the tech role that unleash-the-hounds plays in this deck, you can always replace this spell with something else: either explosive-trap or snake-trap can be a good replacement for it, or even a hunters-mark could serve a similar role.

General Mulligan Guide

Mulligan choices with Rexxar are probably the easiest ones in the game. You always want your 1-mana and 2-mana drops in your starting hand, ideally an Undertaker and something to buff it with, either a Leper Gnome, a Webspinner, a Mad Scientist or a Loot Hoarder. I generally throw back traps, bows and animal-companion, unless I already have a great hand to start with. The only instance in which you might consider holding on to your freezing trap is when you are up against Malfurion, since you can give him a huge tempo swing if you use Freezing Trap after he has innervated early on in the game.

This is an aggressive deck, so you want to prioritize damage, especially in the late game; but don’t  hesitate to trade during the first few turns of the game, since you can’t lose control of the board too early. If you can, try to use your hero power every turn: holding on to your cards can allow you to keep playing even if the game goes long, so you don’t run out of steam immediately.

Conclusion

I really have been really enjoying my latest hunter build, I find it fun to play and a lot less braindead than most face hunters you see around these days. It looks like many players decided to go back to huntard rush decks: while they most certainly work well, they are incredibly boring to play and require very little skill.

This fine deck got me to rank 1 and 3 stars, allowing me to get closer to legend than I have ever been with Rexxar. I hope you guys liked my review!

As always, if you have any suggestions, tips, or questions, feel free to write in the comments section below.

Also, if you would like me to review a deck that is particularly dear to you at the moment, link it to me and I will check it out.

You can also contact me any time in-game (I mostly play on EU but also occasionally on NA): my battletag is Giordy#2566.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Peace out!