Post-nerf Hunter: Need No Birds nor Hounds!

It's been almost a week since the nerf to Buzzard and Leeroy. Giordy shows that the Buzzard nerf doesn't mean the Hunter is gone.

Introduction

Hello guys, Giordy here! Welcome to my fourth Weekly Deck Review!

After September 23d we’ve all seen a huge shift in the current meta. Hunter appears to be vanished in the haze, while an enormous amount of Handlocks and Priests have been dominating the ladder at ranks 5 to legend. Also, several shaman decks have been appearing to counter the worrying dominance of priests and warlocks (Thrall is supposedly  the best anti-control hero).

I noticed this huge shift when I started to lose game after game with my control warrior, with which I had been doing really well when hunters were still around. So I decided to follow the anti-handlock route, but not with shaman: I figured I would prove that the nerf to Starving-buzzard has not destroyed the class, but it has only made it less “broken.”

In order to counter the meta shift, I have been playing a deck that is currently popular among hunters, and that is Abstract’s “Legendary Hunter.” The guy has been tinkering with the deck since he heard the news of the upcoming nerf and has come up with a deck build that easily brought him to legend rank before the nerf hit. You can find his short guide on the deck here.

Abstract’s Deck

I have to say that I really like the simplicity and yet the efficacy of this deck. Like its predecessors, the deck falls on the midrange archetype and tries to be decently aggressive on the first turns while keeping up with medium-sized minions during mid-game.

Tempo advantage is gained through the classic Eaglehorn-bow + mad-scientist combo. Because of the scarcity of beasts compared to the abundance of deathrattle minions, Abstract only runs one copy of houndmaster. Sludge Belchers are currently the most solid 5 drops in the game, they are an auto-include in almost every deck, and so is loatheb. Savannah Highmane is probably the best 6-drop  in the game, hence it’s a must in a midrange hunter.

Since the deck is lacking the buzzard + hounds combo, it has to rely on weaker card-draw alternatives, these being flare and loot-hoarders. While the deck is pretty consistent and works well against most decks, I have found myself being left with few cards in my hand and, most importantly, I haven’t been able to pull out as much damage as I would have liked to with this deck: this is why I came up with my own hunter build.

Giordy’s Hunter

I wanted to create a deck that would still fall in the midrange category, which would be fairly consistent and able to dish out more damage throughout the game. Since I’ve been mainly encountering priests and handlock, I figured that I needed a deck which could kill them before they could gain board control, but not kill them so quickly as to leave me without cards if things didn’t go my way during a match.

The first thing I did was getting rid of the Haunted Creepers in Abstract’s deck which, although good, they deal low damage and can’t be buffed by houndmaster anymore, since I’m not running any due to the lack of a decent amount of beasts. What I did, instead, was add an explosive-trap in order to be sure that my bow gets buffed and in order to counter effectively the occasional zoo decks and the several shamans that have been appearing on the ladder. I also added two arcane-shots, since they are the only spells that can get through taunts along with kill-command.

As you can see, I haven’t swayed much from Abstract’s build: the deck looks very similar, but I wanted damage that could be dealt beyond Handlocks’ taunt walls. Although priests don’t run as many taunts, they do have Defenders of Argus, and as the game progresses they gain more easily board control, getting possession of your haunted creepers and several low-attack minions. Hence, the loot hoarders and leper gnomes have to die before turn 6, and most of the times you will have to hit your enemy’s face with everything you have.

This build has proven to be quite succesful, although priests are a lot harder to deal with than Handlocks, Shamans or Secret Mages. Essentially, this deck acts quickly but doesn’t go berserker. You want to win the game before your enemy takes control of the board,  but you still have many options to answer to possible medium threats. Usually, by turn 10 the game is over.

Conclusion

I have been having a lot of fun playing this deck and I hope that hunter lovers will be encouraged by these new takes on the class after the recent nerf. In my honest opinion, Rexxar is still a totally viable class and it can still be used to get to legend and beyond.

I hope you guys liked this week 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!