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DKMR’s Deck of the Week #3, Standard (Aggro) Hunter

by - 8 years ago

Every Friday legendary player [DKMR]Alchemixt breaks down Don’t Kick My Robot’s “Deck of the Week” . These decks are seeing a lot of play either in constructed ladder or tournaments. Team DKMR explain the deck lists and how to play them. Make sure you check out Don’t Kick My Robot if you want to become a better player or check out their premium services if you would like them to do a 1 on 1 coaching session with you to help you better your game. View past Deck Lists of the Week.

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[DKMR]Alchemixt here from team Don’t Kick My Robot to bring you this week’s Deck of the Week.  And the deck is, Standard (Aggro) Hunter. Hunter decks are a favorite on the ladder for their lightning fast games, consistency, and its also pretty cheap to build. There seems to be many variations of Hunter as well as some non-aggressive versions but, the deck that we will use as a baseline is the Standard (Aggro) Hunter that I recently played in my second KOTH victory.

Deck List

Standard (Aggro) Hunter

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  • Tracking – Some people have cut this card because, it is wasting time that you could be using to actually deal damage to your opponent. The reason we like tracking is that when you have such powerful combos like Unleash The Hounds and Starving Buzzard you really want to be able to set that up as consistently as possible.
  • Abusive Sergeant – One of the weaker cards in the deck in my opinion but, very good at putting through some extra damage and often used to buff up a creature in order to break through a large taunt.
  • Leper Gnome – This is the card you always want to get in your opening hand and usually your ideal turn 1 play. Always good for 2 damage and you can use it to start putting pressure on slower decks or trade it off against more aggressive decks.
  • Timber Wolf – Usually the 3rd part of your combo but, not always necessary. When combined with Unleash The Hounds, Timber Wolf can be quite scary. When using Unleash The Hounds to draw cards off Starving Buzzard you should not have a hard time finding one Timber Wolf so, sometimes it may be better to wait until at least turn 5 for your combo.
  • Explosive Trap – One of the best traps for hunter because of a few reasons. Dealing 2 damage is always nice and this trap also wipes your opponents board in the aggressive matchups. The trap has many synergies in the deck by adding durability to your weapon and with Unleash The Hounds you can set up your opponent to have their board completely cleared by this.
  • Misdirection – We have seen some people only play 1 of this card and some people cut it entirely. This trap is a bit more situational but, I like having the extra trap to go along with the weapon. Also, you can usually set it up to either deal a bunch of extra damage or have 2 creatures kill each other.
  • Unleash The Hounds – I could go on for awhile about how good this card is but, I am sure you all have seen it in action.
  • Acidic Swamp Ooze – I played the Ooze in a tournament but, on the ladder you could definitely switch this out for something else.
  • Ironbeak Owl – The owl has some good synergy with the deck just by being a beast type. However, I find its best use is to get through taunted creatures or silencing cards like Armorsmith.
  • Starving Buzzard – This card is the decks draw engine and acts as a finisher when combine with Unleash The Hounds. The buzzard may not actually kill the opponent itself but,it will be the reason they lose.
  • Eaglehorn Bow – One of the most solid cards in any hunter deck. Because you are likely to get at least one trap, the bow is often 3 mana for 9 damage (although it is spread out).
  • Animal Companion – Although the beast you get can be situational and not the one you want exactly. The fact is, every beast (even Leokk) is an above average creature for 3 mana.
  • Deadly Shot – Not in every deck but can, potentially take out a large taunt creature or giant. I frequently find myself killing an early innervated card that druid plays out.
  • Kill Command – Usually used to deal 5 damage to the face but, also used to get through large taunts as well.
  • Arcane Golem – Great card for finishing the game but, usually you do not actually want to play this card on turn 3 because your opponent will be able to take advantage of the ability.
  • Wolfrider – Just another source of damage that has a small chance of staying alive to hit them again.
  • Leeroy Jenkins – You all know this card by now. When combined with Unleash The Hounds you get 2 extra dogs and a whole lot of damage.

Here is a list of a few cards that can be played in Standard (Aggro) Hunter but, are not in our decklist

  • Arcane Shot – Acts as good removal or 2 damage to the face but, it just doesn’t do enough in our opinion.
  • Flare – More of a tournament card but, if you want the edge in the mirror match then feel free to play it.
  • Bluegill Warrior – The reason we chose not to play this card is basically, if you want to pay 2 mana to deal 2 damage then just click your hero ability. We would rather have more impactful cards like Animal Companion instead.
  • Hunter’s Mark – Falls into the same category as Deadly Shot but, can be played for free after a large Unleash The Hounds/Starving Buzzard combo.

We could write 15 more cards and make an argument for why they could be played in Standard (Aggro) Hunter but, the ones listed above are what you will commonly run into on the ladder so be prepared!

This week we are going to try something different. Instead of going through each matchup briefly, we are going to go into much detail about playing the deck itself correctly. Many people claim that Hunter Aggro is a “faceroll” deck that requires no skill and button mashing. However, even though some people may get decently far using this no skill method, the top level Hunters all play the deck with good decision making and skill.

How to Play the Deck

To start with, you will need to understand the key combos/synergies in the deck:

Unleash The Hounds + Starving Buzzard (4 Mana)

Unleash The Hounds + Starving Buzzard + Timber Wolf (5 Mana)

Leeroy Jenkins + Unleash The Hounds (6 mana)

These are the most powerful plays you can make while playing Hunter and they are usually game ending. Although it is possible to win a game by simply rushing down your opponent and using your hero power, the main goal of each game should be to set up one of these devastating combos.

The biggest difference that we see between a rank 10 Hunter player and a legendary Hunter player is patience. Just because you have the mana to do something doesn’t always mean you need to go all in. Smart players will try and play around  Unleash The Hounds but, don’t get frustrated and just play your card when they only have 1 creature because, it isn’t worth it. I have had many games where I watch my opponent smash my face in and all I am doing is clicking my hero ability and maybe throwing down some mediocre cards to get in the way.

However, we still win many of those games because when we play my combo, it basically ends the game on the spot. Obviously, there are going to be situations where you have to make a less than stellar play but, the point is to try and keep calm and assemble the strongest combo that you can.

Another major problem we see when watching other people play Hunter is that they are unsure of whether they should be clearing the board or rushing to the face. It can happen both ways, we have seen players try to clear everything then not be able to kill their opponents and we have also seen players completely ignore the board and die because of it. It is really hard to explain exactly what you should be doing because, it is always situational and completely depends on the game but, I will try and give a few guidelines.

The first thing to look for is convenient trades for good value. An example would be trading a leaper gnome for a Faerie Dragon. You are trading your 1 mana card for their higher power 2 mana card while also dealing them 2 damage to them therefore, this trade is almost too good not to make.

The next thing to keep in mind is if the creature you let live will hinder your overall plan. One example would be, lets say you have your Eaglehorn Bow and they have an Earthen Ring Farseer; potentially, that Earthern Ring Farseer could be taunted up by a Defender of Argus or Sunfury Protector. Furthermore, that Earthen Ring Farseer might be able to kill off your Huffer and if you protect your Huffer than you will deal 1 more damage in the following turn assuming Huffer lives.

Hopefully those scenarios made enough sense to understand the concept that we are trying to portray. Overall, when it comes to deciding whether to kill off your opponents minions and attack their face, just consider all the possible things that could happen when leaving a creature alive versus the damage you do to them directly.

The final thing that we will mention is sequencing your plays correctly. Again, to cover ourselves here we will say that everything is dependent on the particular game and board state but, we will try and give some good guidelines/examples to help.

Try to always fit your hero ability into your turns. For example, lets say it is turn 4 and your options are to either play Animal Companion or Misdirection + Hero ability. Many times we would just play the Misdirection + Hero ability because it uses all your mana and you get in 2 damage that you might not be able to squeeze into your following few turns as you start to play more expensive cards. On turn 5 you will be able to Hero ability again + the Animal Companion, so essentially you are dealing 2 extra damage throughout the game.

Another common scenario is whether to play a creature and attack them or Hero ability/Kill Command for direct damage. You always want to take the chance to get in damage with creatures first because, direct damage will always deal that damage at any point in the game, whereas if your opponent taunts up then you might not always get to deal damage with your creatures. A good example for this is Wolfrider. If the opponent doesn’t have any more taunts then we like to play Wolfrider over almost any other option; we want to ensure that the Wolfrider deals at least 3 damage. Late game the Wolfrider might not ever get the chance to hit the player and you will have wanted that 3 extra damage when trying to finish them off with Hero ability/Kill Commands.

Thanks for reading and please let me know us you liked this sort of guide over the previous version.

Guide written by [DKMR]Alchemixt

Discussions about this topic brought to you by Team [DKMR]


JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.


0 responses to “DKMR’s Deck of the Week #3, Standard (Aggro) Hunter”

  1. Tyfor says:

    Thanks for the guide. I recently read your article on netdecking and found both quite helpful. I am going to try swapping out my 2 bluegills for some added utility cards. Though pretty obvious after you pointed it out, I never thought to consider the bluegill as a hero power equivalent…/facepalm! Thanks again for your work. It is certainly appreciated.

    • ZenStyle says:

      I’m also tempted to hop over to Bluegill, though I’d be dropping Arcane Shot for it which I believe has a place in this deck.

      • Tyfor says:

        I run 2 owls and 1 mark giving me 3 ways to deal with taunters. I’ll probably take out the 2 bluegills for 2 arcane shots. Any thoughts?

  2. Tyfor says:

    Oops meant this to be a reply.

  3. Aradalf says:

    No Scavenging Hyena?

  4. Stacktrace says:

    Put together this deck to try it out. And lost game, after game, after game… And despite being a bit discouraged, I was also a bit happy, as it was a prime example of how it takes more than the right cards and a winning deck list to be a good player. Obviously I cannot claim to be a good player (mediocre may even be a stretch), but the biggest issue for me was that there seems to be a very good awareness of this deck, and opponents would keep a single minion, 2 tops, out at a time, and the rest in their hand.

    I would have 2 buzzards, a timber wolf, and a hounds in my hand and the mana to drop them all, and my opponent would only have 1 minion up. So I would wait, but their minion would out damage my hero power, and would quickly be replaced by a new one when I took it out. It just seemed that against a savy opponent, they can sustain higher damage output than I could, putting the pressure on myself. Only drawing into Mr. Jenkins gave the combo enough reason to be played.

    As there is no doubt that this deck works, I am only pointing out my own poor play, but wanted to include this counterpoint, and ammo against this game being play to win.