29 August 2014 - 17:00

Midrange Hunter Guide: Mirror Match Analysis and General Tips

Hunter is the most consistent and played class in the ladder right now. So if you play a Hunter, you must know how to win mirror matches!
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Introduction

Greetings traveler, Hunter is one of the strongest and most consistent deck in the meta right now and I hit legend this season with a Midrange Hunter Deck without traps, I played the deck from rank 5 to legend and I faced a lot of other hunters, some ran traps most didn't, the fact that this Matchup is a 50/50 is true but you can get the odds in your favor by making some important plays, So here is a cheat sheet that can help you win the mirror match.

You may have seen a Reddit post similar to this (also written by me), but this is a more in-depth and extended version specifically for Hearthstone Players Premium members! Let's get started!

Before trying to hit legend with a deck you need to learn the deck, and you should:

  • Know every card in your deck
  • Know all the combos in your deck
  • Know the synergy between cards - eg. Leeroy Jenkins does 7 damage if there is a  on the field, as  grants him +1 attack.

Deck Stats on ladder ranks 5-1

  • Handlock 3-0
  • Midrange Hunter 15-2
  • Zoo 3-2
  • Priest 4-1
  • Ramp Druid 3-0
  • Token Druid 2-0

Deck design

This deck is designed to win the game in the mid game with high value minions and using your hero power to quickly burst down your opponent before the game reaches the later stages. The most powerful burst combo of the deck is  Leeroy Jenkins + Timber Wolf+ Unleash the Hounds. With this combo you can deal a minimum of 10 damage to a maximum of 16 damage depending on the number of minions on the opponents field.

Card analysis

Hunter's Markis a really strong removal card and is auto-include due to the current state of meta.

Flareis 1 mana deck thinner with an additional effect, sign me up!

Trackingis a broken card, it let's you fetch cards from your deck as well as thins the deck thus letting you get to the cards you need faster. The discard effect is more of an advantage rather than a drawback.

Stonetusk Boarhas great synergy with Hunter's Markand it acts as a third flare against hunters running secrets.

Timber Wolfis a combo enabler lets you draw cards with buzzard for 1 mana and lets you clear boards with Unleash the Hounds

Webspinneris a turn 1 minion that draws you a card and is a beast, this card just screams value.

Haunted Creeperis the source of hunters early game pressure the fact that this guy can be houndmaster'd makes it even scarier and forces your opponent to kill it even if they don't want to do so.

Ironbeak Owlhas a silence effect and is a beast fits nicely in the deck. silence is a strong effect but running two owl's isn't great so there is only one in the deck.

Scavenging Hyena- This card more often than not baits out premium removal from opponent and if not dealt with immediately it can deal massive amounts of damage it also makes using AOE awkward for your opponent.

Starving Buzzard- Your main source of card draw.

Animal Companion- literally every animal summoned through this card is over-budgeted at 3 mana and it is a great early game pressure card.

Deadly Shot- your answer to single huge minons.

Kill Command- great card to deal massive burst damage as well as remove pesky taunts and scary minons.

Unleash the Hounds- your bread and butter for massive combos.

Houndmaster- if you houndmaster a beast on turn 4 the tempo swing is insane the immense value provided by this card makes it auto include in every midrange hunter deck.

Leeroy Jenkins- the natural synergy with unleash makes this card a great inclusion in any hunter deck.

Loatheb- When timed right this card can win you games, use it defensively to prevent incoming lethal combos and use it offensively to secure board control and prevent efficient AOE.

Savannah HighmaneThis card is 10/9 stats for 6 mana, it is better than the legendary card Cairne Bloodhoofand you can have to of these. One if the most important cards in any control matchup and can single-handedly win you games. auto include in every midrange hunter deck.

Matchups

Favored:

  • Handlock
  • Midrange hunter with traps
  • Shaman
  • Control Warrior
  • Tempo Rogue
  • Druid
  • Control Paladin
  • Secrets Mage

Coinflip:

  • Zoo
  • Mirror

Bad:

  • Miracle rogue to some extent
  • Backspace/Aggro Rogue
  • Aggro Warlock

Mulligan strategy

Webspinner

In every matchup mulligan for a good curve

General Strategy

The following early game cards are desirable:

Webspinner -> Haunted creeper -> Animal companion -> Houndmaster.

Against Specific Matchups

Handlock: Keep Hunter's Markand Deadly Shot

Hunter: Keep Flareand Savannah Highmaneif you have a good curve.

Warrior: Always Keep atleast one Savannah Highmane

Zoo: Mulligan everything for Unleash the Houndsif you have unleash the hounds keep Starving Buzzardand Timber Wolf.

For all other matchups follow the 'General Strategy' above.

Mirror match analysis

Early game Pressure

Haunted Creeper

The usual early game plays are going to be Webspinnerand Haunted Creeperby both sides sometimes followed up by Houndmasterand Animal Companion.

Many times I faced this situation if I am going first and I play Webspinner my opponent will coin out a Haunted Creeper which is the perfect counter for the  Webspinner. Later on, the same Haunted Creeper ends up killing 3 of my creatures thus effectively giving my opponent card advantage. In order to deny this control to the opponent, I started keeping Scavenging Hyenaor an Ironbeak Owlin my starting hand if my opponent keeps more than 2 cards to counter the Haunted Creeper, it sounds crazy to silence a haunted creeper but believe me it's a clutch play.

However if you have an Unleash the Houndscombo the correct play would be to kill the Haunted Creeperon Turn 4 and Unleash the Hounds on Turn 5. If you can stabilize in the early game then you always win Midgame.

Plays that snowball the game in your favor:

Starving Buzzard

  1. Playing the Savannah Highmane first: The player who can get a Savannah Highmane on the board first usually wins the game 80% of the time.
  2. Getting opponent below 18 health: You can just burst them down from this point.
  3. Maintaing board control with 2 or less minions when it is turn 5: This is important as Turn 6 is the Savannah Highmaneturn and if you have board control you just win however playing around Starving Buzzard+Unleash the Houndscombo is very important because if you get behind on cards your only option would be to burst down which wont be as effective if you are low on cards.
  4. Playing around Leeroy Jenkins + Timber Wolf+ Unleash the Hounds combo: You play around this if opponent has been holding onto a few cards for a long time (you need to try hard if you wanna get to legend so try to track the cards) or if you are super winning, as sometimes you can just die to huge burst.
  5. Saving Flareand using it at the right time to destroy a secret , this card can turn the tides of a game by giving you a huge tempo boost if it destroys a secret. However sometimes it is correct to use it even if you are not destroying secrets such a situation being when you are behind on board or cards  and need to topdeck a specific card to win.

Common Misplays

Tracking

A) Turn 1 Tracking

Do not play Trackingon turn 1 when you already have a playable card on turns 2 and 3.

When to cast Tracking:

  1. On turn 5 to get Savannah Highmane
  2. To fish for lethal.
  3. To get something to play when you have a horrible curve.
  4. To fish for removal.

B) Suiciding the deathrattle creatures

Do not kill the Webspinnerwithout getting a trade just to get the free beast and do not kill the Haunted Creeperto get the two 1/1's (most of the time)

Note: The 1/1's from haunted creeper aren't beasts.

C) Always keeping Unleash the Houndsin the starting hand

When to keep Unleash the Hounds
Unleash the Hounds is a great catchup card if you are behind on board or cards. however it is not always correct to keep Unleash the Hounds in your hand.

You keep Unleash the Hounds if:-

  1. You are going second and have a Starving Buzzard, Webspinnerand Haunted Creeper(aka the perfect hand).
  2. You are facing zoo.
  3. You have a Timber Wolfand opponent kept more than 2 cards.
  4. Your hand sucks and you think you might not be able to draw into better one.

Tips for popular matchups

Savannah Highmane

  1. Control Warrior: In this matchup if you can get your Savannah Highmaneout on turn 6 you will win, you mulligan for Savannah Highmane and if you don't get him then you track for Savannah Highmane, Savannah Highmaneis the single most important card in this matchup. Also do not try to trade with the control warrior's legendary minions as it will be inefficient. play around Death's Biteaoe effect. silence Unstable Ghouland always kill their Armorsmith.
  2. Druid: Play on curve save Hunter's Markand keep Deadly Shotin starting hand to deal with innervated minions and and huge threats mid to late game.
  3. Priest: Never use Houndmasteron Webspinnerand Haunted Creeper as it will get Shadow Madnessed. Play around Cabal Shadow Priest, Savannah Highmanes win you this game. This matchup isn't favored but it's not bad either you should just try to get maximum value out of every minion and play around 'stealerino' cards.
  4. Shaman: Unleash the Houndsis the best card in this matchup, use your hero power as much as possible and you should not play Savannah Highmaneon turn 6 if you suspect a Hex, this matchup should be easy.
  5. Zoo: Find the Unleash the Hounds+ Timber Wolfat any cost, try to get both of your Haunted Creepers out as early as possible. If you can stabilize by turn 5 you win.
  6. Handlock: Save Kill Commands for face, keep their health high enough so that they cannot play Molten Giant+ taunt giver unless you have double Kill Commandin your hand.. You can play Starving Buzzardon turn 3 to disrupt their turn 4 Mountain Giantkeep Hunter's Markand Deadly Shot, this is a fairly easy matchup I haven't lost a single game against a handlock with this deck.

Conclusion

This is a great deck to get to legend this season where the hunter meta prevails as this deck counters the current meta and the guide should help you win the mirror match, the deck has a 70% winrate on the ladder. and can get you from rank 5 to legend in a matter of hours. So when you face a hunter on ladder playing this deck then fear not as you know the tricks to win the mirror match which your opponent might not.

Hope you guys enjoyed this extended article about Hunter mirror matches. It definitely is one of the strongest and consistent deck in the meta at the moment so one must be prepared to face a lot of mirror matches! Please leave any feed back or suggestions in the comments below, I'd greatly appreciate it!

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