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 [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] and [card]explosive-trap[/card]. Without further ado, let’s get into the guide!
[cardinsert card=”clockwork-gnome” float=”left”][card]clockwork-gnome[/card] takes the spot over [card]leper-gnome[/card] 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 [card]emergency-coolant[/card] 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.
[card]explosive-trap[/card] is in there to counter other aggro decks, if you start seeing more control, i’d switch this out for a [card]snake-trap[/card] since [card]explosive-trap[/card] isn’t as good there. Against zoo, it can single-handedly win you games (as long as they don’t manage to get a [card]nerubian-egg[/card] on the board before triggering it).
[card]eaglehorn-bow[/card] is great for obtaining and keeping board control, we run it instead of [card]glaivezooka[/card] 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 [card]harrison-jones[/card] 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.
[cardinsert card=”unleash-the-hounds” float=”right”][card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] is awesome against aggro and can end the game on the spot if you combo it with [card]knife-juggler[/card]. I mostly use this in three situations: Either this gives me lethal, it comboes well with [card]knife-juggler[/card] or it can clear my opponent’s board efficiently (happens often vs. paladins and hunters with their 1-health minions).
[card]piloted-shredder[/card] gives us an extra deathrattle for our [card]undertaker[/card], and is a sticky minion with decent stats. I prefer him over [card]mechanical-yeti[/card] because the 2-mana minion you get is a threat and an AoE deterrent for your enemies.
[card]loatheb[/card] 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.
[cardinsert card=”savannah-highmane” float=”left”][card]savannah-highmane[/card] is easily the most valuable 6-drop in the game, giving better stats than [card]cairne-bloodhoof[/card] 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.
[card]dr-boom[/card] 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 [card]undertaker[/card], he buffs it twice, and he also has good synergy with [card]knife-juggler[/card] 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.
You’re not going to chuck everything out for [card]undertaker[/card] 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:
[cardinsert card=”mad-scientist” float=”right”]Always keep: [card]clockwork-gnome[/card], [card]undertaker[/card], [card]webspinner[/card], [card]haunted-creeper[/card], [card]knife-juggler[/card], [card]mad-scientist[/card] (if you have two of the 2-drops, throw one back)
- [card]ironbeak-owl[/card] if you’re up against a class that starts with undertaker and you have no other way to deal with it.
- [card]animal-companion[/card] if you have a good 1-2 curve.
- [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] if you have [card]knife-juggler[/card] and are up against hunter or zoo.
- [card]eaglehorn-bow[/card] against priest to deal with their pesky [card]northshire-cleric[/card] and [card]wild-pyromancer[/card].
- [card]savannah-highmane[/card] against warrior since it’s a key card to winning the match-up.
- A second [card]knife-juggler[/card] against paladin or hunter since it’s incredibly powerful against their 1-health minions and [card]silver-hand-recruit[/card].
With your mulligan considerations covered, let’s get into how you’re actually going to play the deck!
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 [card]savannah-highmane[/card] and [card]dr-boom[/card] to overwhelm your opponent. During the first couple of turns, your ideal scenario is an [card]undertaker[/card] 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 [card]knife-juggler[/card]+[card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] combo, or keep adding to your board while cutting down theirs with [card]eaglehorn-bow[/card]. Your [card]freezing-trap[/card] will also help you by removing one of their minions for free (since you got it from [card]mad-scientist[/card] 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 [card]eaglehorn-bow[/card], [card]kill-command[/card], [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] and sometimes even [card]animal-companion[/card] 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 [card]savannah-highmane[/card] on the board and a [card]kill-command[/card] in your hand when your opponent is at 15hp, you can simply attack him, hero power and if you have him, [card]loatheb[/card] to prevent healing spells so you can [card]kill-command[/card] 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.
Against zoo, save your [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] for their [card]imp-losion[/card], if you can combo it with [card]knife-juggler[/card] you’ll win the game easily. Be wary of [card]sea-giant[/card], 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 [card]kill-command[/card]). If they have [card]antique-healbot[/card], there isn’t much you can do about it, so don’t worry about playing around it.
[cardinsert card=”fiery-war-axe” float=”right”]Warrior
Control the board from early on in the game, and try to snowball your board with valuable midrange creatures such as your [card]savannah-highmane[/card] (which you should mulligan for, by the way). Keep track of their [card]execute[/card] and [card]shield-slam[/card] and when they burn most of it, play [card]dr-boom[/card] to seal your victory. Be wary of [card]alexstrasza[/card] and don’t get cocky, warriors can clear your board with [card]baron-geddon[/card] and [card]brawl[/card] 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.
Aim to overwhelm druids during the first few turns by playing on curve, I like to be greedy and overextend, disrespecting [card]swipe[/card] quite a bit. Save your [card]ironbeak-owl[/card] for a taunt to give you lethal or for [card]sylvanas-windrunner[/card] 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 [card]freezing-trap[/card] does work in this match-up, especially against early innervates, but don’t mulligan for it, instead aim to get [card]mad-scientist[/card] which will most likely pull one for free.
Haven’t really seen too many, but hunter is a natural counter to shaman, just focus on board control, play around [card]lightning-storm[/card] and keep track of their [card]hex[/card] (make sure at least one comes out before playing [card]savannah-highmane[/card], 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.
[cardinsert card=”muster-for-battle” float=”left”]Paladin
This match-up is all about your [card]knife-juggler[/card] into [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] combo after they use [card]muster-for-battle[/card], if you can pull that off, you have the game sealed. Be sure to handle their [card]silver-hand-recruit[/card] since they can quickly become 3/3s that are much harder to deal with. Save your owl for [card]tirion-fordring[/card], if they play [card]bolvar-fordragon[/card], just clear the rest of their board and use [card]freezing-trap[/card] (be sure to spam “sorry” afterward) to give them a 7 mana 1/7 in their hand.
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 [card]cabal-shadow-priest[/card] by playing your low attack minions early on. Luckily, there are not too many of these on the ladder.
[cardinsert card=”mechwarper” float=”right”]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 [card]frostbolt[/card] and [card]fireball[/card] and clear their [card]mechwarper[/card] as fast as you can. [card]knife-juggler[/card] and [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] 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 [card]ice-block[/card] can interfere with your strategy and buy them the time they need to finish you off, they’ll also have [card]antique-healbot[/card] 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.
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 [card]sabotage[/card] and use up your bow charges as fast as you can to deny them value from it.
[cardinsert card=”undertaker” float=”left”]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 [card]haunted-creeper[/card], play around them effectively, and as soon as they overextend, punish them with [card]knife-juggler[/card] and [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card]. Remember that they can [card]kill-command[/card] and hero power to deal 7 damage, and don’t forget about their [card]unleash-the-hounds[/card] either.
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!