[DKMR] Kisstafer here to bring you the latest installment of the DKMR Deck of the Week. This week we’ve chosen to share a Hunter deck that [DKMR]Kisstafer workshopped with the team after the latest Naxxramas Construct Quarter was released. This deck is a Midrange Hunter with our own personal twist on it – we decided to cut the Savannah Highmane to make it better against Miracle Rogue and vs the other Hunters we’d been seeing on the ladder. Savannah is very strong, but its high mana cost means it can be late to the party at times. Stranglethorn Tiger is almost guaranteed to get in for 5 damage due to its stealth, and it comes down a turn earlier which means you are faster in the race. [DKMR]Kisstafer was able to hit Legend with this deck and you can too!
2x Hunters Mark: Mark gives the Hunter the ability to make huge tempo swings, allowing Hunter to suppress the opponents board presence.
2x Tracking: Tracking is great because it lets the hunter hand pick how he wants to fill out his mana curve, it increases the quality of the options the Hunter has during his turns. Tracking is vital in matchups where you need a specific card, like against zoo where it increases your chance to draw Unleash the Hounds.
2x Webspinner: Webspinner is great for filling out the mana curve, it gives the hunter a turn 1 play, as well as drawing a creature to play on a later turn. If you draw the webspinner it makes it hard to have a very bad mana curve. On top of that, it can be played with the Buzzard to effectively be a 1 mana Arcane Intellect.
2x Explosive Trap: Explosive trap is a great card at fending off Aggro, and synergizes well with the Eaglehorn Bow to provide a lot of extra reach. It can also be used to buffer the opponent’s minions health to set up for an Unleash the Hounds. Against mid-range decks it can be coupled with Hunters Mark to shut down the opponent’s offensive posture.
1x Freezing Trap: Freezing trap is useful in two types of situations: games where you want to push for damage by ignoring the opponent’s minions on board, or in games where you have no minions on board yet to deal with your opponent’s.
2x Haunted Creeper: Haunted creeper is great at fending off aggressive decks that use cards like Leper Gnome, Argent Squire, Worgen Infiltrator etc. The 1 attack is enough to kill these creatures while also providing a couple 1-1’s to fend off future minions as well.
2x Starving Buzzard: The Buzzard is the deck’s primary draw engine, utilizing the synergy between it and cards like Webspinner and Unleash the Hounds to draw enough cards to keep the deck churning out threats.
2x Eaglehorn Bow: Eaglehorn bow is great for multiple reasons; early on, it is great at controlling the board while you develop your own minions, and later on it is good for pushing in the last bit of damage needed to finish the opponent. Coupled with traps, the bow can deal a substantial amount of damage over the course of a game.
2x Animal Companion: Animal companion has great synergy with the Houndmaster and Buzzard, and is undercosted for it’s stats. It is a great 3 drop, and even though sometimes the randomness of the card can be annoying, it is always worth 3 mana.
2x Unleash The Hounds: Unleash the Hounds is the primary AoE option for Hunter, it is great because it is unlike other AoE cards in that you can customize where the damage is allocated. Unleash the Hounds is a powerful card because it allows Hunter to take more liberties with attacking an opponent’s face instead of trading minions. By using Buzzard + UTH, the Hunter is rewarded when the opponent has many creatures, and as a result, opponents tend to make unfavorable trades just to diminish the size of their board in fear of the Unleash.
2x Houndmaster: To put it simply, the stats that Houndmaster provides are worth more than 4 mana. It provides a 4-3 which is only 2 stats off of a Chillwind Yeti, and comes with a 2-2 buff which means it is 2 stats better than a Chillwind Yeti. On top of that, a lot of the time the buff has charge as it is being used on a minion that is able to attack, adding even more value. The Houndmaster is great for pushing extra damage on the opponent’s face and also for taunting up to shut down Aggro decks.
1x Leeroy Jenkins: Leeroy gives hunter a lot of reach that it wouldn’t otherwise have, providing 6 damage from hand. He has synergy with Unleash the hounds to set up high burst finishers or to set up extremely large Buzzard+Unleash combos. The nature of direct damage cards is that the more of them you have, the better they all are. This is because when you have more of them they are more able to achieve their goal – bringing the opponent’s health to 0, and thus a deck can be built around them. With this in mind, by having Leeroy in the deck it actually makes the Hunter’s Hero power, Eaglehorn Bow, & Kill Commands better as well.
1x Oasis Snapjaw: Snapjaw is in the deck as a 1 of simply because he fits the curve, he is a 4 drop to toss out when you have no houndmaster targets (or simply desire a fatter houndmaster target).
1x Loatheb: Loatheb is an insanely powerful card, I will list a few ways to use him to great effect. He is great at shutting down miracle rogue on turns they play a concealed Gadgetzan. He is great at supressing the opponent’s ability to remove your creatures if you have already developed a board advantage. He is even great when played on his own because your opponent often doesn’t have the option to remove, and must use their minions instead. If they decide not to use minions (or maybe they have none), it is a great way to start snowballing a board advantage.
2x Stranglethorn Tiger: Stranglethorn tiger is a very interesting card. At first it doesn’t look like much because it’s only a 5-5 for 5, but when you consider the ramifications of your opponent not being able to interact with it, it allows you to do some pretty cool plays. For example, it lets you set up lethal in creative ways that aren’t possible with non-stealth creatures, as well as guaranteeing a Houndmaster target for a turn. Sometimes being able to push for 5 damage rather than having your minion instantly removed (or sapped) is the difference between winning or losing, and that’s why we chose to include him over the Savannah Highmane in this deck. Not only that, but he comes down a turn earlier than the Savannah Highmane which means in race situations (as the mirror match tends to be) the player who has the Stranglethorn Tiger will be at an advantage.
Against Warlock Aggro, you want to be searching HARD (send back everything!!) that isn’t Unleash the Hounds. You could also keep Tracking, Haunted Creeper and Explosive Trap, but everything else should be sent away. Against face Aggro decks, keeping Haunted Creeper is very clutch as it can often 3 for 1 the opponent’s minions and solidify your early defense. Web spinner is also particularly good against face-decks, as it can trade with minions like Leper Gnome.
Against Midrange and Control decks like Druid or Warrior it is best to keep early minions that fit your cuve; Web Spinner, Haunted Creeper, and Animal Companion, and sometimes even Houndmaster if you have a lot of low drops to put down. The Starving Buzzard is also a good card to keep against these decks as it guarantees having enough fuel to keep going toe to toe with them into the mid-late game.
Against Miracle Rogue, you want to be on the lookout for early minions to put pressure on them ASAP, but also the bow. One of Rogue’s strengths is that it can gain tempo by removing your creatures while playing it’s own at the same time. One of the best ways to handle this is to have the Eaglehorn Bow out and ready to shut down any minions they play so that you don’t fall behind on board.
With this deck there are four phases; 1) board control; 2) posturing; 3) pushing for damage; 4) clean up & repeat.
During the board control phase, you are looking to establish dominance over the board by making profitable trades while still going face when it is better to do so. During the posturing phase, you are trying to safely get out your mid-size creatures like Houndmaster + Stranglethorn which put you in a position to push for significant damage in the coming turns. In the pushing for damage phase, you are using minions to attack the opponent’s face (unless you would die otherwise, or are presented with a trade that is too profitable to not make). In the clean up & repeat phase you should be calculating which spells/cards you will need to finish the opponent and which you can afford use as removal. For example, maybe you have Leeroy and a Kill Command, and you can use Kill Command on a minion because you have lethal the following turn with Leeroy anyways. It is also in the clean up phase that the Buzzard+Unleash combo should be used. By not trading for their minions and hitting face instead in the pushing for damage phase, you have given the opponent an opportunity to inflate their board, which then lets you punish them by drawing many cards. When coupled with Hunters Mark the Buzzard + Unleash often tidy’s up their entire board which in turn allows your own minions to seize the opportunity and keep pushing for damage.
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Written by [DKMR]Kisstafer
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