18 August 2014 - 17:00

Midrange Hunter: Beasty Tactics

Spark, author of the popular of the Pyro Hunter guide, shares his latest Naxxramas Midrange Hunter!
Dot Esports

Update

  • Inclusion of 2x Mad Scientist as the card is just too good to be ignored. It brings strong card advantage and tempo as it thins out your deck while making it quicker with the sudo-removal aspect of traps and increased durability on your weapon.

    Remember that you can manipulate which secret will be played by playing the other before. Also note that a Freezing Trapplayed after Explosive Trapwon't trigger if the minion is killed but the reversed set up will trigger both of them so be careful about that.

  • Addition of 2x Flare to adapt to the current meta loaded with Hunter using traps. Running Trackingis now totally out of considerations because it will lead to less consistency ironically because of too much deck thining and not enough winning cards.
  • Loatheb comes in the deck to prevent board wipes or finishing combos. The card is really awesome to set up your lethal as you'll force your opponent to just play minions which is good for your final Unleash the Hounds
  • Leeroy Jenkinsis the last addition to the deck. As the previous changes made the deck faster and more aggressive overall, it comes as a strong finisher that can improve Unleash the Houndsif needed.

They replace the previous tech cards : Timber WolfScavenging Hyena, Ironbeak Owl, Tundra RhinoStampeding Kodo and Maexxna

Introduction

Hello everyone I'm Spark, Legend player from Hearthstone, and today I'm presenting you another Hunter build that I recently came up with.

This class has always been my favorite one and you probably already know my innovative Pyromaniac Secrets build, which is a Control type of Hunter that had a lot of success last season.

I think that the release of Naxxramas made this deck less relevant but gave some new tools to bring back a Beasts focused Midrange Hunter into the metagame, which makes me really happy because I love those Beasts synergies and this kind of Midrange Hunter is probably my favorite.

I used the good old Sunshine Hunter that was so dominant back when Unleash the Houndshad a 2 mana cost as a solid basis for this build.

In addition to the amazing results that I'm having with the deck in the current metagame at a high level of play, it is a really cheap build thanks to all the strong Hunter's basic cards so every player working on a budget should be able to afford it.

Let's get to the cards breakdown which will cover the general strategy through the explanation of the decklist along with some mulligan tips.

Note: You may have seen a version of this deck on Hearthpwn as well but this guide is more extensive and detailed, while the Hearthpwn guide is a basic overview.

Core Beasts

Those cards are your basic plays, if you have nothing to control on the enemy board, be happy to throw some beasts at him and gain board presence. Playing them on curve will always be a strong tempo play as your opponent can't ignore them because of all the synergies around those.

Webspinner

Webspinner

Probably one of the strongest addition that Naxxramas could have brought to a Beasts focused Midrange Hunter because the deck previously lacked a turn 1 play.

Its nice dearthrattle allows you to not run out of steam and even the weakest Beasts will benefit from the deck synergies such as Starving Buzzard, Scavenging Hyena, Houndmasteror Tundra Rhino.

There are many good cards to draw from it going from Dire Wolf Alphato the fancy King Krushand including all the cards that are already in the deck. The only card that I generally dislike drawing is Core Houndbecause of its low toughness and its high mana cost which makes it less reliable for a potential combo, but it's still a threat that your opponent will have to answer and a Tundra Rhinoin play can allow it to be extremely punchy.

The less valuable low drops will always find some utility for a Starving Buzzardplay or to enable a Kill Command, you can even live the Angry Chickendream with Houndmaster.

The card will generally die quickly but can sometimes make use of Hunter's Markif it stays on board, enable a turn 4 Kill Commandif you have nothing on the board or simply give a target to Houndmaster. Another great thing about it is that it's not a dead draw later on as it can give an extra draw from Starving Buzzardor charge right away into an Hunter's marked target with Tundra Rhino.

In short, this card is lovely and is pretty much the reason why I don't use Trackinganymore along with the fact the deck doesn't really need to dig for specific cards and will just benefit from raw card advantage (opposed to a rush down style of Hunter that will generally want to dig for lethal).

  • Always keep it in your starting hand and try to dig for it against Aggro decks (Warlock, Hunter).

Haunted Creeper

Haunted Creeper

Another strong addition from Naxxramas. It replaces River Crocoliskfrom the older build which was originally played by default because the collection lacked a better Beast that could be played on its own as a turn 2 play.

Its deathrattle is not to be underestimated as it will often force your opponent to ignore the card itself, allowing you to keep a Beast on the board and use it to your advantage with the previously listed synergies. The 2 spiders that you will get from it after some trades will be very useful as their 2 combined damage can be split if needed and it will ensure you to have some tools for an Hunter's Markplay.

The card itself can also serves that purpose, those facts plus the Webspinneraddition are the reasons why I removed Stonetusk Boarfrom the older build, because it was originally played by default to secure kills on Hunter's marked targets and get an extra draw from Starving Buzzard.

We can obviously be disappointed that Spectral Spiders are not Beasts but I have to admit that it would have been too strong otherwise because it would have been really easy to abuse the synergies of the deck by triggering Starving Buzzardand Scavenging Hyenaand increasing their damage with Timber Wolf. However, we can be satisfied that they are making useful rendering Animal Companionrandomness less punishing.

  • Always keep it in your starting hand and mulligan aggressively for it against Aggro decks and Paladin. It's a really strong card to fight early aggression while waiting for some board clears against Zoo for example.

Starving Buzzard

Starving Buzzard

One of the most important card in the deck as it allows it to keep up on card advantage. Its great synergy with Unleash the Houndswill punish your opponent for overextending by providing you a lot of card draws.

Now that the deck has gained a lot more consistency, it is less reliant on this combo and you shouldn't be afraid to use Starving Buzzardfollowed by a couple of beasts during the late game to refill both the board and your hand at the same time. I can't stress enough how this move is effective as we now have some low drops to play which are not situational. You can also do this during the mid game if you have both copies in hand and have no other play for the turn, drawing 1 or 2 cards and forcing your opponent to deal with it while keeping the second for a stronger play later on.

  • Always throw it away from your starting hand, you don't want to play it early on.

Animal Companion

This has always been a strong card for a Beasts focused Hunter. The 3 possibilities can now find some utility so it's even better than before as all those Beasts are extremely powerful for a 3 mana cost.

is probably the most valuable one, is especially strong when you have some board presence and can be very useful at applying a strong pressure on the opponent or dealing with one of his threat quickly.

  • Consider keeping it against known slower match ups (Druid, Warrior, Priest, Rogue) or if you already have some decent early plays in hand.

Houndmaster

Houndmasteris one of the reasons to play a Beasts focused Hunter. A +2/+2 taunt buff plus a 4/3 body for 4 mana can't be ignored. Remember that the card itself is not a Beast so you will generally use it to trade, be happy to kill an Azure Drakewith it for example.

All the targets can be good for it but I generally use it on my low attack / high toughness minions such as Stampeding Kodo, Tundra Rhino, or Haunted Creeperto not overbuff valuable minions and give some amazing value to my opponent's The Black Knight, Big Game Hunter, Hexor Polymorph.

However, playing it on Savannah Highmaneor Maexxnais game ending against Zoo, so don't hesitate a second and go for it. It can also provides you unsuspected lethal thanks to the damage boost or give a second breath to a silenced Maexxna.

  • Always throw it away from your starting hand unless you have the perfect hand for it : Webspinner, Haunted Creeperand Animal Companion.

Savannah Highmane

Savannah Highmane

Another reason to play Mid Range Hunter. I already said it in the past but this card is as valuable as a Legendary and you can play 2 copies of it. It will apply a strong pressure on your opponent, and if you baited their removals with your other threats it will just end the game.

Playing it as a follow-up to Tundra Rhinoif it survived feels amazingly great and is an immense tempo swing. Remember that you can also get 2 easy triggers on a Starving Buzzardby suiciding it into one of their big threat.

  • Always throw it away from your starting hand even against slower match ups, you want to pressure them as early as possible.

Board Control

Those cards are you standard control tools, you should always look to get the most value out of them and some of them also allow you to finish the game with unsuspected lethal or sustained pressure.

Eaglehorn Bow

Eaglehorn Bow

An amazing weapon when combined to some traps. It will deal with early and mid game minions and the extra survavibility gained from your traps will allow you to pressure the opponent life as well.

As the decklist includes 2 copies of it, don't hesitate to use it just like a Fiery War Axeto kill 2 consecutive plays from your opponent. However, don't waste the last charge on the opponent's face if you don't have the second copy in your hand, unless you are going for lethal obviously.

  • Always keep it in your starting hand unless you're facing an Aggro deck and really need to mulligan aggressively for better tools. Try to dig for it against Shaman, Priest and Warrior.

Explosive Trap

A really valuable trap and its main purpose is to slow down Aggro decks. It really helps preventing Zoo from pressuring you too much.

Explosive Trap

You will generally want to use it with an empty board on your side so your opponent can't play around it by trading some minions in. Also note that many people will try to outplay you with a Defender of Argusplay so having the second copy or an Unleash the Houndsin hand can help you fight them back and even punish them for that move.

Remember that the damage also goes to the opponent's face so it can help getting to lethal range and getting another bow charge in the late game, be careful not to waste it if you are not sure of the possible scenarios however.

  • Mulligan aggressively for it against Zoo and keep it against Paladin if you don't have Haunted Creeperin case it's an Aggro one. Consider keeping it against Shaman and throw it away from your starting hand against other match ups.

Freezing Trap

It complements perfectly this set of weapon and traps as it will heavily punish Mid Range and Control decks from playing the game slowly.

Freezing Trap

You will generally want to return back some minions that you can't deal with right away like a Druid Innervateplay or simply for which you don't want to waste a removal too early. It can also handle minions that seem painful to your board in a specific situation such as an Armorsmiththat you can't Stampeding Kodoyet when you have some 1/1 on the board. Finally, it can also be used in the late game to prevent an opponent from getting lethal and making Leeroy Jenkinscry a lot.

This card is really an amazing tempo tool that helps continuing to pressure the opponent's life while not wasting too much resources into his threats, and remember that sometimes you won't even see the returned minion back because your opponent has to deal with your board and the mana cost of the card has increased.

  • Always keep it against Druid and consider keeping it against known slower match ups or if you already have some decent early plays in hand.

Hunter's Mark

This has already been covered a lot in the previous section, you will generally want to use it on big taunts that prevent you from getting to the opponent's life or just strong threats that you can't leave on the board.

What makes this card insane is the 0 mana cost that allows you to use it during combos or play your own threats and don't waste your tempo to remove something from the opponent board.

It is obviously really great to use during an Unleash the Houndscombo or simply by trading a small minion like Webspinner, Haunted Creeperor its spawned spiders while developing your board.

  • Always throw it away from your starting hand, you want to kill big threats with it.

Unleash the Hounds

Unleash the Hounds

Still an amazing card despite the nerf, it allows you to benefit from all the great synergies of the deck and completely punishes an opponent for overextending.

As stated in the Starving Buzzardsection, the deck is now less reliant on this combo so those 2 cards can be played independently which is great for the consistency of the deck. Off course it remains a really strong play and you should totally go for it when necessary as it allows you to refill your hand while clearing the opponent board.

Using it with Scavenging Hyenawill build up a big threat that your opponent will have to deal with and therefore cost him a removal that may create a free way for a future Savannah Highmane.

The card can finally serves to find lethal, especially when combined with Timber Wolfor if you have on the board.

  • Try to dig for it against Zoo and keep it against Shaman. Throw it away from your starting hand against other match ups.

Kill Command

Kill Command

The equivalent of Mage's Fireballfor Hunter but it's even better thanks to the lowered mana cost and the fact that 5 damage is generally enough to deal with the common Hearthstone threats that have 4 or 5 toughness.

An important thing to notice is that this card can be a very strong finisher, I can't say how many times I won games thanks to it or even with both copies. Hunter can deal a crazy amount of damage to find unsuspected lethal thanks to this card and the hero power, which both bypass taunts, combined with the weapon and some beasts on the board when possible. So be careful about how you use it in the late game, especially when you are running out of steam against a heavy Control deck, and plan your lethal accordingly to your cards.

Of course, it is still an amazing control tool so you shouldn't be afraid to use it during the mid game for a big tempo swing by killing their threat and developing your own board, especially against Mid Range decks.

  • Always throw it away from your starting hand unless you have Webspinnerand Haunted Creeperin hand without Eaglehorn Bowor Freezing Trapagainst Druid and Priest.

Tech Cards

I'm playing only one copy of those cards despite their great power because they fit a situational purpose and you don't want both copies to struggle into your hand. These slots can be swapped for other cards depending on the state of the metagame and according to your personal preferences and play style.

  • All those cards should be thrown away from your starting hand because of their situational purpose. Consider keeping Ironbeak Owlagainst Zoo and Shaman to stop the Nerubian Eggmadness.

Scavenging Hyena

Timber Wolf

Really great at increasing Unleash the Houndsdamage to control the board more efficiently or when going for lethal.

You can also consider Dire Wolf Alphafor its great synergy with Haunted Creeperbut its higher mana cost makes it less flexible when going for Unleash the Houndsplays and that is the purpose of this slot.

Scavenging Hyena

An amazing card but getting value out of it requires it to be included in a combo so it's not a great turn 2 on its own. Therefore, playing one gives more consistency to the deck.

It often baits silences or hard removal when played properly, which is great for your later threats, and remember that you can get instant value out of it with a Tundra Rhinoin play for a slaughtering move.

Ironbeak Owl

Great at bypassing taunts to find lethal and dealing with annoying effects during the mid game. It's a really great card overall and I'm even considering adding a second copy of it because the release of Naxxramas is bringing some painful deathrattles.

Tundra Rhino

Tundra Rhino

It can set up some very interesting and game changing plays thanks to its unique effect. It can be a standard turn 5 followed by Savannah Highmaneor Maexxna, kill a weak minion while forcing your opponent to deal with it or set up one of the crazy combo explained before. Its weaker stats is the reason to play only one but makes it a great target for Houndmaster.

Stampeding Kodo

It comes with higher stats but will only fit one of the previous situations, killing a weak minion but without injuring himself. Destroying an Acolyte of Painwhile preventing draws from your opponent feels really great and there are also many other targets in the game to get crazy value from. Be careful of the resurgence of Nerubian Egghowever, playing a second copy of it could be a consideration in the appropriate metagame but it doesn't seem to be the case right now.

The value of the card requiring its effect to get something is the reason to play only one but this is also one of the best target for Houndmaster.

Maexxna

Maexxna

The last addition from Naxxramas to this deck. Its nice effect will force your opponent to either kill it or silence it, making a free way for our beloved lion king.

If they can't deal with it, the card will just snowball the game by killing everything on its way thanks to its high toughness for an insane value.

If it's not enough, getting an Houndmasterbuff onto it will make sure your opponent have to sacrifice all his minions to get rid of it (Zoo will instantly concede at that point).

Moreover, if they choose to silence it, you still have a pretty resilient beast to work with and you can use the Houndmasterbuff to get a 4/10 taunt that will stop most of your opponent's aggression. Also remember that you can get instant value out of it with a Tundra Rhinoin play.

Some other situational cards that could be considered :

Flare(Freeze Mage and mirror match up), a second Ironbeak Owl, Dire Wolf Alpha, Deadly Shot(not needed if you use Hunter's Markcorrectly), Loatheb(prevents board wipe or finishing combos), Leeroy Jenkins(increases burst potential but not needed in my opinion), etc..

I recommend not to change the core of the deck and only switch the cards that you want with the tech cards slots.

See Update Section for an explanation of the changes with the Mad Scientist release !

Mad Scientist

Closing

I'm really happy to bring back a Beasts focused Midrange Hunter and play it on the ladder efficiently. I feel that the deck is really great in the current metagame as it has favorable match ups against Shaman, Druid and Zoo which are dominant at the moment. Most of the deck I'm facing are either these or Warrior (which is one of the best match up for the deck) and my win rate is around 75% so I expect to climb to Legend really fast this season.

Don't hesitate to discuss about it in the comment section below, be sure to check out more of my work on Hearthpwn or here on HSP and follow me on Twitter to keep track of my updates ;)

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