Jab’s Legend Hunter Deck Guide

Jab's Hunter list caught my eye. It includes a lot of midrange elements to help you succeed against control match-ups while retaining strength against aggro.

Introduction

With the advent of GvG’s second season, a lot of fast decks started being played in order to reach legend in the fastest way possible. This deck particularly caught my eye: Jab’s Hunter list runs fewer 1-drops than usual, meaning it is less reliant on an undertaker start, but includes a lot of midrange elements to help you succeed against control match-ups while retaining strength against aggro with cards like unleash-the-hounds and explosive-trap. Without further ado, let’s get into the guide!

Card Choices

clockwork-gnome takes the spot over leper-gnome because this isn’t a face hunter list, it’s a midrange variant, and the spare parts aid in board control whereas 2 damage to the face doesn’t. Getting an emergency-coolant can be the difference between winning and losing, and other spare parts may be able to keep key minions alive (or make you trade up) and force more resources out of your opponents.

explosive-trap is in there to counter other aggro decks, if you start seeing more control, i’d switch this out for a snake-trap since explosive-trap isn’t as good there. Against zoo, it can single-handedly win you games (as long as they don’t manage to get a nerubian-egg on the board before triggering it).

eaglehorn-bow is great for obtaining and keeping board control, we run it instead of glaivezooka because of the 3 secrets in our deck. Don’t use it to go for face damage unless you’re working on establishing a lethal horizon or if you suspect your opponent will play harrison-jones soon. Try to save your last charge when you have a secret up, but don’t be too greedy and use it for removal if the situation calls for it.

unleash-the-hounds is awesome against aggro and can end the game on the spot if you combo it with knife-juggler. I mostly use this in three situations: Either this gives me lethal, it comboes well with knife-juggler or it can clear my opponent’s board efficiently (happens often vs. paladins and hunters with their 1-health minions).

piloted-shredder gives us an extra deathrattle for our undertaker, and is a sticky minion with decent stats. I prefer him over mechanical-yeti because the 2-mana minion you get is a threat and an AoE deterrent for your enemies.

loatheb is here to lock down the game for us: when things are looking grim for your opponent, slap him on the board and set up for lethal to take away most of his possibilities for stabilization. If you draw into him early, you can play him as a 5-drop if you have no better plays and he still has good stats for the cost.

savannah-highmane is easily the most valuable 6-drop in the game, giving better stats than cairne-bloodhoof with a better distribution (silence doesn’t hurt him that much). Also worthy of noting is that he contributes to the synergies in this deck since he’s both a beast and has a deathrattle. It doesn’t get much better than this, he’s your saving grace in control match-ups.

dr-boom is amazingly powerful, he’s an auto-include in most decks at this point in the meta, and since you’re going midrange hunter, you can afford a single 7-drop in the deck. If you play him with undertaker, he buffs it twice, and he also has good synergy with knife-juggler if he just so happens to be on the board. He’s usually used as a win condition because of the huge body and versatile boom bots.

Mulligan Strategy

You’re not going to chuck everything out for undertaker with this deck. This is because your curve isn’t appropriate for that, you only run 6 1-drops whereas most hunter decks run 8-10. This is okay, since you’ll be a lot stronger when the game progresses farther than the first couple of turns, but it affects your mulligan strategy. Generally, you’ll want to be less greedy and adopt the following strategy:

Always keep: clockwork-gnome, undertaker, webspinner, haunted-creeper, knife-juggler, mad-scientist (if you have two of the 2-drops, throw one back)

Sometimes keep:

  • ironbeak-owl if you’re up against a class that starts with undertaker and you have no other way to deal with it.
  • animal-companion if you have a good 1-2 curve.
  • unleash-the-hounds if you have knife-juggler and are up against hunter or zoo.
  • eaglehorn-bow against priest to deal with their pesky northshire-cleric and wild-pyromancer.
  • savannah-highmane against warrior since it’s a key card to winning the match-up.
  • A second knife-juggler against paladin or hunter since it’s incredibly powerful against their 1-health minions and silver-hand-recruit.

With your mulligan considerations covered, let’s get into how you’re actually going to play the deck!

Game Plan

This deck aims to establish board presence early and use it to snowball the game in your favor. It has many efficient midrange minions in order to help you do so, and rounds out the curve with the godly savannah-highmane and dr-boom to overwhelm your opponent. During the first couple of turns, your ideal scenario is an undertaker start, but that won’t always happen, so you’ll generally be looking to play on curve for the first 4 turns. Afterwards, try to get off a knife-juggler+unleash-the-hounds combo, or keep adding to your board while cutting down theirs with eaglehorn-bow. Your freezing-trap will also help you by removing one of their minions for free (since you got it from mad-scientist optimally). By playing your minions on curve, you ensure that you don’t run out of steam since you don’t waste more than 1 card per turn, all while keeping pressure on your opponent. That concept is the reason the deck can thrive without card draw, but if your opponent manages to get you into the lategame, you’ll probably be done for. While I did stress that this is a board control deck, you have godlike reach with your eaglehorn-bow, kill-command, unleash-the-hounds and sometimes even animal-companion if you’re desperate. I’ve gotten down opponents from 20hp to 0hp in one turn by combining these cards and some attacks from minions, so even if you don’t have lethal, think if you can set it up for the next turn by going for face instead of for the board. For example, if you have a savannah-highmane on the board and a kill-command in your hand when your opponent is at 15hp, you can simply attack him, hero power and if you have him, loatheb to prevent healing spells so you can kill-command and hero power for the win the following turn. To summarize, control the board until you can establish a reasonable lethal horizon, and then move in for the kill.

Match-up Guide

Warlock

Against zoo, save your unleash-the-hounds for their imp-losion, if you can combo it with knife-juggler you’ll win the game easily. Be wary of sea-giant, keep their board clear to prevent them from cheating it out early.

Against handlock, try to get them to 15hp, and then burst them down to below 7 (so if they taunt up, you can still kill-command). If they have antique-healbot, there isn’t much you can do about it, so don’t worry about playing around it.

Warrior

Control the board from early on in the game, and try to snowball your board with valuable midrange creatures such as your savannah-highmane (which you should mulligan for, by the way). Keep track of their execute and shield-slam and when they burn most of it, play dr-boom to seal your victory. Be wary of alexstrasza and don’t get cocky, warriors can clear your board with baron-geddon and brawl and can also burst you down from 12hp, so keep an eye on that. This is one of the harder match-ups, but still pretty winnable.

Druid

Aim to overwhelm druids during the first few turns by playing on curve, I like to be greedy and overextend, disrespecting swipe quite a bit. Save your ironbeak-owl for a taunt to give you lethal or for sylvanas-windrunner if they stand to steal one of your larger threats. If they aren’t a particularly taunt heavy variant, you should be able to come out ahead in this match-up. Your freezing-trap does work in this match-up, especially against early innervates, but don’t mulligan for it, instead aim to get mad-scientist which will most likely pull one for free.

Shaman

Haven’t really seen too many, but hunter is a natural counter to shaman, just focus on board control, play around lightning-storm and keep track of their hex (make sure at least one comes out before playing savannah-highmane, since that’s the best possible answer). You should come out ahead pretty easily in this match-up, since shaman is in a slightly weaker spot at the moment.

Paladin

This match-up is all about your knife-juggler into unleash-the-hounds combo after they use muster-for-battle, if you can pull that off, you have the game sealed. Be sure to handle their silver-hand-recruit since they can quickly become 3/3s that are much harder to deal with. Save your owl for tirion-fordring, if they play bolvar-fordragon, just clear the rest of their board and use freezing-trap (be sure to spam “sorry” afterward) to give them a 7 mana 1/7 in their hand.

Priest

The hardest match-up, it can deal with all of your threats efficiently. Use your bow to clear their early creatures, keep pressure up during the midgame and hope they don’t draw into all of their answers. Play around cabal-shadow-priest by playing your low attack minions early on. Luckily, there are not too many of these on the ladder.

Mage

Assuming they’re a mechmage, aim to outpace them early on and keep up pressure while striving for board control. Be wary of their insane reach with frostbolt and fireball and clear their mechwarper as fast as you can. knife-juggler and unleash-the-hounds synergy is vital in this match-up.

If they’re freeze/handmage, play the match-up as you would handlock, but you’ll have a lower winrate since ice-block can interfere with your strategy and buy them the time they need to finish you off, they’ll also have antique-healbot which can work against us. Play as if you were a rush deck and aim to finish them off before they can draw into their threats.

Rogue

Haven’t seen too many of these either, but this is a purely tempo based match-up, so mulligan hard for 1-drops if you don’t get them, and try to get board control. It might be hard given their great early game removal tools, but if they don’t have good draws, you’ll be able to pull a win. Punish them hard for taking too much damage with their weapons by abusing your hero power when you have control of the board and keep an eye out for lethal. Be wary of sabotage and use up your bow charges as fast as you can to deny them value from it.

Hunter

You’re slightly unfavored against the mirror, since other hunters will have more 1-drops to mulligan for and they’ll probably be able to overwhelm you early on. If you can deal with early aggression, you’ll come out ahead because of your valuable drops later on. Check for traps with haunted-creeper, play around them effectively, and as soon as they overextend, punish them with knife-juggler and unleash-the-hounds. Remember that they can kill-command and hero power to deal 7 damage, and don’t forget about their unleash-the-hounds either.

Conclusion

Hunter has been arguably the most powerful class for quite a while now, and this decklist takes advantage of its strengths whilst covering its weakness to control by playing a higher than usual curve. I strongly disagree with the common argument saying that hunter requires no skill and that it’s an easy class to play, since there is obviously a large difference between a legend hunter and a rank 10 hunter. You’ll have to think about how to squeeze out that last bit of damage, how to most efficiently gain board control and when to start working on setting up lethal, but hopefully this guide will help get you in the right mindset. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the comments below! Thank you for reading, and I hope this guide helps you succeed!