Every Friday a legendary member from team DKMR 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 explains 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.
[DKMR]Kisstafer here to bring you the deck of the week! This week we are going to be covering the return of midrange Hunter. Midrange Hunter made a splash recently at Dreamhack Summer with Reynad making it to top 4 with a hunter deck featuring Oasis Snapjaw and Stranglethorn Tiger. We at DKMR are giving Tempo Storm a nod this week when we cover our take on their adaptation of Lifecoach’s midrange hunter deck. This deck is extremely good at punishing decks for playing minions with the Unleash the Hounds and Starving Buzzard combo, especially with Hunters Mark. Another key to winning with this deck is the Savannah Highmane because it’s so powerful and hard to remove it cripples most decks. Midrange hunter is traditionally weak to decks that don’t play a lot of minions because the unleash combo is it’s biggest strength. Sap is another card that is very strong against midrange hunter because of how vulnerable the Savannah Highmane is to it, but this version tries to work around that by using the stealthed Stranglethorn Tiger.
2x Hunters Mark: This card fits really well into the deck because even though it requires two cards to actually kill a minion (which normally sacrifices card advantage), usually it is combined with a Stonetusk Boar or Unleash the Hounds in tandem with the Starving Buzzard, so card advantage isn’t sacrificed. Being able to clear the opponents minions for 0 mana is an incredibly strong tool, it will give the Hunter control of the board.
2x Tracking: Since this deck relies heavily on combinations and synergies between cards, Tracking is an incredibly powerful tool that allows the Hunter to find the pieces to his combinations faster.
2x Stonetusk Boar: This is a nice minion because it works so well with many of the other cards in the deck. It’s cheap 1 mana cost makes it synergize well for a quick draw off of the Starving Buzzard, and easy buff target for the Houndmaster, or a cheap 1 mana removal in combination with Hunters Mark.
2x Explosive Trap: This trap is a necessary precaution against aggressive decks, while also being an incredible source of damage in combination with the Eaglehorn Bow. This trap is insane because no other card in the game gives 2 damage to everything for 2 mana. The closest card is Consecration and that costs 4 mana, leaving Explosive Trap as an extremely good deal.
2x Freezing Trap: The trend of this deck is that it can get a lot done for a low amount of mana compared to other decks, Freezing Trap plays into that theme as well by giving an additional way to gain a mana advantage on the opponent (a.k.a. tempo). By sending a minion back into their hand, you are freeing up time to play minions like Savannah Highmane on a clear board. The important thing to note is that the Savannah Highmane is so powerful that once it comes down safely, the game is almost won. So even though they get their card back, the fact that they have to spend even more mana to play it again makes it too slow to defend against you when you play your bigger creatures. Freezing Trap is also extremely valuable as a way to avoid dying to Charge minions.
1x Misdirection: This is a solid defensive trap that is good at delaying the game for the turns leading up to when you are able to drop Savannah Highmane. It doubles as a source of damage, especially in combination with the bow, but its primary purpose is to keep your health high so you can drop your big creatures safely.
1x Ironbeak Owl: Normally Ironbeak Owl loses too much value to be played in most competitive decks, but since it combines with the Buzzard to draw a card it is a great general purpose utility card that can remove problematic effects like Taunt, Divine Shield, and Deathrattles.
2x Starving Buzzard: This is the decks bread and butter. Hunters primary weakness is its inability to draw cards, but by playing a beast-themed deck with cards like Unleash the Hounds the Starving Buzzard allows the player to re-fill his hand. This card should usually only be played in combination with 2-3 beasts (or Unleash) so that you are getting the most value you can out of the draw mechanic. This is what keeps the deck going into the late game.
2x Eaglehorn Bow: The bow allows the player to remove 3 drops and also put pressure on the opponents face in matchups that come down to a race situation. The bow is extremely powerful when used in combination with traps because the threat of dealing 3 damage per turn is often enough to deter the enemy from even attacking you.
2x Animal Companion: This card is one of the best 3 drops in the game, because by the games typical balancing scheme the stats of this minion are well above 3 mana. For example, Huffer is only 1 damage short of Reckless Rocketeer which costs 6 mana, and Misha, a 4-4 with taunt is equivalent to 4 mana. Leokk is the only minion that is costed fairly, at 2-4.
2x Deadly Shot: This card is extremely powerful in terms of what it does compared to how much it costs. Compared to cards like Assassinate or Siphon Soul, deadly shot kills a minion for half the cost. It takes some RNG, but against decks that play very large creatures they usually only play 1 minion per turn anyways due to mana constraints. Smaller minions can be dispatched with the bow to clear the way for the kill.
2x Kill Command: This card is great for its utility, it can be a minion-clear or it can be used to go for the jugular on turns where you can set up for lethal damage. When you have a beast on-board this card is actually superior to mage’s Fireball.
2x Unleash the Hounds: Unleash is the card-draw combination with the buzzard as well as the board clear in combination with Hunters Mark. This card is incredibly vital to the deck in most matchups because it punishes them for playing minions. For every minion your opponent plays, they run the risk of giving you a card. The threat of that alone causes people to make sub-optimal minion trades, often suiciding their own minions whenever they can. You should try to save the Buzzard Unleash combo for when you will draw at minimum 2 cards, and ideally 3+. If they play around the combo then unleashing for less is fine, but sometimes if they do this just keeping it in your hand and having them threatened by it, is better than actually playing it.
2x Houndmaster: This card gives an incredible amount of stats for how much mana it costs. A 4-3 is not too shabby on it’s own, and then it gives an additional 2-2 to another minion. Compared to alternative 4 drops, the power of this minion is spread out between two creatures which makes the opponent have to spend more removal cards on it (most AoE cards are not enough, aside from Blade Flurry, Flamestrike, or a spellpower enhanced Lightning Storm). Aside from the huge stats, this card gives taunt which is important when playing against decks like Miracle Rogue who can leeroy combo you if you don’t wall up.
1x Leeroy Jenkins: Leeroy Jenkins is a great finisher in any deck, and is even more brutal is Hunter because it combines so well with Unleash the Hounds. Come late game, it’s so easy to finish a game with a Leeroy+Unleash combination, or draw a hand full of cards by playing Leeroy + Buzzard + Unleash. This deck abuses the whelps that Leeroy spawns incredibly well.
1x Stranglethorn Tiger: One of the weakest matchups of midrange hunter is against Miracle rogue due to the fact that many of the strong minions this deck puts out are extremely weak to Sap. For example, when you play houndmaster on a minion and it gets sapped the buff is lost, or when Savannah Highmane is sapped you have to invest another entire turn into playing him again, which loses all tempo. Stranglethorn Tiger is a neat addition made to the deck by Reynad, due to the fact that it cannot be Sapped the same turn that it is played. This means that you will always get at least 5 damage in with this minion, which can be the difference between winning or losing.
2x Savannah Highmane: Highmane is the hammer that comes down to seal the fate of the opponent. Highmane is such a large creature and has so many stats that it often takes up the opponents entire removal kit just to get it off the board. If you’ve played any minions before dropping him, they often just have nothing left for him. If he is the first minion you play, they spend so many cards on trying to get rid of him that all of your other beasts will get by unscathed. If you manage to play two of these guys in the same game, it’s almost certainly a victory. The weakness of this card is that it does nothing the turn that it is played which gives the opponent a window of opportunity to make an aggressive move on your HP before you can stabilize the board. It is important to control the size of the opponents board before playing him to prevent this type of maneuver, because once he is played safely the game is in your hands.
Against aggressive decks that spam the board, you want to mulligan hard for Explosive Trap and Unleash the Hounds. Against slow control decks you want to search for Starving Buzzard, Animal Companion, Savanah Highmane, and Houndmaster. Against miracle rogue you want to search for Eaglehorn Bow, Deadly Shot, and Animal Companion. Against hand-lock you want to search for animal companion, deadly shot, eaglehorn bow, freezing trap, and hunters mark.
The plan with this deck is to remove everything they play early on with the various cards like bow, kill command, traps, deadly shot etc biding time until you can play savanah highmane. Cards like animal companion, houndmaster, and stranglethorn can develop your board early but there is an emphasis on keeping the board clear early on. You need to preserve as much HP as possible so that when you drop highmane you aren’t at risk of just being bursted down. When you have Unleash the hounds in hand, you almost always want to use your minions to attack his face because the more minions he has on the board the more cards you will draw off the buzzard+unleash combo. He will be forced to do the minion trades himself because he’s scared of the possible unleash, so by using your minions to attack his face you take advantage of this fact. Once he is low enough through using the bow, hero power, and attacking face, you will usually have some kind of burst whether its leeroy or kill command or unleash the hounds to finish him off.
Alternate Card Choices
2x Timber Wolf: this card draws off the buzzard and also makes unleash the hounds extremely powerful, the main drawback is that it makes the deck even more reliant on drawing the combo.
1x Stampeding Kodo: This card is really solid against specific decks like shaman and control warrior, and not so great against others that have no targets for it. This deck is using the stranglethorn tiger instead at the moment due to the fact that it’s better against Sap and there are not many targets for Kodo in the metagame right now.
1x River Crocolisk: River Crocolisk is a solid 2 drop that also draws off of the buzzard, but in a lot of the current matchups it just loses a lot of value because it dies to deadly poison or a ramped out yeti or something like that. It is definitely still a solid choice and probably SHOULD be in the deck.
This Deck is great in the current meta and has seen a lot more play in tournaments. Put this deck on Hearthstats.net and keep track of your stats. Let us know if you have any questions!
[DKMR]Kisstafer streams weekdays http://www.twitch.tv/kisstafer. You can find all of DKMR’s streamers on their website with the days that they stream!
Written by [DKMR]Kisstafer
Discussions about this topic brought to you by Team [DKMR]