MUA: Midrange Druid Vs Hunter

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Hunter. We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing. Cards To Keep Situational Keep – with Wild Growth or Darnassus Aspirant – with Innervate The most popular […]

Introduction

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Hunter.

Sample Decklist

We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing.

Mulligan

Cards To Keep

Innervate Living Roots Darnassus Aspirant Wild Growth Wrath Shade of Naxxramas Keeper of the Grove

Situational Keep

Piloted Shredder – with Wild Growth or Darnassus Aspirant

Druid of the Claw – with Innervate

Hunter Meta Decks

The most popular Hunter deck is the Midrange Hunter. Even though you can meet a lot of different version of the deck on the ladder, they all have pretty similar playstyle. The main differences are Secrets they might run and whether they are more Beast-oriented (with cards like King’s Elekk and Ram Wrangler) or not. Another popular Hunter archetype is the Aggro/Face Hunter.  Face Hunter puts much more pressure on Charge minions and burn spells. It’s the deck that has much more consistent and strong early game, but lacks the late game Midrange Hunter has. There is also a Hybrid Hunter, which is something in-between – there are a lot of different Hybrid Hunter versions that take some parts from the slower and faster decks, so it’s pretty much impossible to take one list and write about it.

Vs Midrange Hunter

General Strategy

Games against Midrange Hunter might seem like an uphill battle. Not only you have to deal with their early drops, but you also have to keep up with their strong late game. But the thing is, you don’t want to take the defensive stance in this matchup. It might seem counter-intuitive, but against Midrange Hunter you look to take the aggressive stance. A lot of their minions are very annoying to deal with because of the Deathrattles. You don’t have enough Silences to deal with all of those. Even though you want to keep the Keeper of the Grove for the Savannah Highmane, you rarely can afford to do that unless you draw it later. What you want in this matchup is to ramp up and pressure the Hunter and then finishing the game with combo. Hunter has almost no defensive mechanics, most of the time the only Taunt they might run is Houndmaster and it requires beast on the board. It means that once you take them down to low health, they should stay there. It makes Midrange Hunter really vulnerable to the combo or even the Savage Roar only. If you manage to get a good ramp at the start and pump out threats each turn, let the Hunter trade. You have to play defensive only if he’s the one with threats on the board first. The player who deals the first hits is usually the one with advantage in the race. When it comes to dealing with Hunter’s minions, the early and mid game shouldn’t be a big problem. They are annoying because of the Deathrattles, but that’s it. The problem starts with the Savannah Highmane. Not only it’s a 6/5 minion and you have hard time dealing 5 damage (your mid game removals/minions deal 4 damage – Swipe, Druid of the Claw, Piloted Shredder) so if you don’t have Wrath (for 1 damage + cycle), you are often forced to tank 6 damage with Hero Power. And that’s only the start – if you kill the first body, two 2/2’s spawn. So not only you want to Silence it, but killing the first body also takes a lot of work. It means that you rarely have enough resources to kill it the turn it’s played. But the thing about Highmane is that it’s very slow play. Hunter usually uses his whole turn to develop one big threat that has no immediate impact, nor Taunt. It means that if you’re ahead on the board, you can just ignore it for 2-3 turns. Hunter has problems dealing with couple of big minions. Hunter, when put under a lot of pressure, won’t be able to race you, because it’s the race that he won’t win. He’s going to be forced to remove your minions, basically giving you couple of turns to keep the pressure. Often you won’t even need the full combo – Savage roar only or let’s say Druid of the Claw + Savage Roar will often be more than enough to kill the Hunter.

Tips

  • Main Secret Midrange Hunter uses is the Freezing Trap – you can expect it in every build. Another ones that are being tried in Midrange Hunter are Bear Trap and Snake Trap. When it comes to the Freezing Trap, you want to attack with your smallest minion first in order to proc it. You can also Taunt up and try to ignore the trap until you get a good opportunity to proc it. The best target to proc it is the 1/1 from Living Roots or Darnassus Aspirant – the second once gets additional value, because since it doesn’t die, you don’t lose the Mana Crystal. The easiest way to proc Freezing later in the game is Force of Nature. You can freeze one of the Treants and still have other 2 to attack with, you can replay the last one for 3 mana later when you need it.
  • Trade off your low health minions. This way you deny the potential Unleash the Hounds value. The card is bad in this matchup, but by being greedy you can get Hunter a lot of value.
  • Don’t play around too much damage from their hand. They rarely run the Charge minions and most damage they can do comes from the board. When it comes to the burn, they have standard 2x Kill Command and 1-2x Quick Shot, but they’re often forced to use those to clear your board. Some builds run Leeroy Jenkins, but it’s rare.
  • In this matchup you should use the Ancient of Lore to draw the cards, unless you’re really low on health. Drawing into the combo is really important, as it’s your main win condition in this matchup.

Vs Aggro/Face Hunter

General Strategy

Face Hunter matchup is very, very different than the Midrange one. Even though both decks might have similar start with 1-drop into 2-drop into 3 drop, that’s where the similarities end. Face Hunter races you from the start. They take trades only if they’re very good, sometimes not even then. You need to stop their aggression as soon as you can. Developing an early minion or two is important – even though a lot of their minions have 1 health, you don’t really want to kill them with your Hero Power. This way not only you slow down on tempo, but you also take more damage, which is exactly what they want. Don’t play the value game, use as much tempo as you can. Face Hunter is going to run out of cards way faster than you anyway. Keeper of the Grove is phenomenal card in this matchup, because it often gets 3 for 1. Druid of the Claw is also important. If they don’t have a way to get through it (usually it’s the Ironbeak Owl) it can stop a lot of damage. Your game plan is to survive. But you can’t play the defensive game forever – around turn 5 or 6 you need to start pushing the Hunter back. You can’t afford to play the long game, because they put you on the clock with their Hero Power. They also should have a lot of burst in their hand, because they won’t likely use burn on your minions (unless they have Taunt). Use the Ancient of Lore to heal – you don’t care about card advantage. Even if you’re at seemingly high health (~15), healing is still superior, because you buy yourself one or two turns to find a way to kill Hunter. I’d draw cards only if I had absolutely nothing good in my hand to play. You should win the game just with your mid game drops. Once you develop two or three of them, you put Hunter into couple of turns clock. Ancient of War is absolute MVP in this matchup – try to bait Silence with a smaller Taunt first and then throw this guy on the board, Hunter won’t go past it for the rest of the game. Force of Nature should mostly be a tool to clear the board. Even if you have FoN + SR in your hand already, don’t worry about using it. The game won’t likely go to turn 9 anyway – either you push the Hunter or they kill you before that. When it comes to the traps which Hunter uses, it really varies from build to build. Explosive Trap is probably the most popular one, but Freezing Trap, Snake Trap and Bear Trap are another common ones. So it’s mostly just a guessing game. If enemy takes your minions down to 2 health it’s an obvious tell that it’s an Explosive trap, but besides that it’s often hard to tell.

Resources