Hearthstone - Examination of a Hunter Deck
I've had much success with this deck. What I only recently realized is that it consists of very few cards that could be considered difficult to acquire. Four rare cards, two Explosive Shot and two Savannah Highmane, all that are required. This is a deck that is easily within reach of newer players and those that are playing strictly free-to-play.
I'd estimate that I was winning 7 out of 10 matches with this deck up until about the Gold-2 rank. Now that I am Diamond-1, the deck has been a bit more challenging, but I'm still coming out on top in over 50% of my matches. It is a strong deck if played with patience.
This is a beast synergy deck. The only non-beast minion in the set is the Houndmaster, and that card specifically compliments beast minions.
This is a deck light on card drawing capabilities. Though, the two Starving Buzzard cards do offset that weakness somewhat. That said, not always having a wide assortment of cards in-hand to choose from has only occasionally proved to be a detriment.
This is a deck that is reasonably strong on clearing opponent minions. Hunter's Mark, Arcane Shot, Explosive Trap, Deadly Shot, Kill Command, and Explosive Shot all play towards board control. A couple of those cards can also be used to damage the opposing hero when necessary. Thus, additional gameplay options are open to you as the situation dictates.
Patience is required. Saving damage cards for maximum potential should always be in the back of your mind. You do not waste an Explosive Shot on a single 1/1 minion, for instance. Try to use Kill Command cards only when you have a beast minion in play. Save Hunter's Mark for minions that you can't take out with a single attack. Save Arcane Shot to give that little extra you need to get rid of a tough minion; it is an excellent card in conjunction with Explosive Shot and Kill Command.
I will very rarely play non-minion cards in the first four turns. My main goal with this deck is to get minions out and to get them to stick. The moment my opponent ignores a minion and decides to damage my hero, instead, is the moment when they are ceding control of the board to me. Once I start getting out those first minions, once I start getting out the taunts to protect them, I can start ramping up the damage of my beasts. Most of my beast cards offer some sort of synergy to other beasts cards already on the board.
If my opponent starts trying to slow me down by playing taunts or high-damage cards, I can then start using my damage cards to keep his board clear, allowing my minions to continue applying damage to his hero.
I like to save these cards for late in the game to take down tougher minions, those with 5 or more defense. Hunter's Mark allows those minions to be removed from play with much less trouble. It allows you to exchange cheap minions for far more expensive minions.
Another card I like to save for emergency situations. Arcane Shot can be used to apply that last bit of damage to an extra tough minion to take it out. Perhaps your opponent has a 7 defense minion surrounded by two 2 defense minions. You use an Explosive Shot to deal 5 damage to the main minion while taking out the two adjacent minions. Use Arcane Shot to deal the final 2 damage to that main minion.
Play Unleash the Hounds when you when newly placed minions to attack immediately, and with a little extra oomph. This is a nice card to play alongside a Savannah Highmane.
Timber Wolf should only be played when you have other minions already on the board. Playing this in conjunction with newly placed minions simply makes Timber Wolf an immediate target.
On the other hand, if you don't happen to have a taunt available and your opponent has only a single minion in play, this could can act as a pseudo-taunt, drawing his attention away from any other action for a single turn.
Do not play Timber Wolf on your first turn. It is an exceptionally easy card to remove. Without it, you remove a lot of the power of your beast deck in future turns.
I prefer to play Explosive Trap if my opponent gets a number of minions down on the table that I have been unable to remove. It is a good card that can clear a good portion of your opponent's board.
This card is particularly effective early against Murloc synergy decks.
Dire Wolf Alpha is one of the first minions I like to play early in the game. On turn two, preferably. It takes some non-trivial amount of effort to remove (i.e. more than the single-use of most damage-focused hero powers).
If your opponent leaves it alone, a taunt on the following turn will help greatly in your goal of controlling the board.
If I don't have any Dire Wolf Alpha cards to play early, then Scavenging Hyena is the next best option.
I normally do not try to adjust my game to fit his ability text. If a minion happens to die while it is on the table, then all the better. That said, it is best to play this card while you have a taunt or other high-value minion on the table.
There are not many draw cards in this particular deck, so making sure you make the most of the Starving Buzzard is important.
I like to play this with other 1 and 2 point cards while I have a taunt on the table. If I'm fortunate, I'll get a couple of turns of use out of this card.
Animal Companion is such a great card for the cost. Yes, it is random, but each of the three possible results are useful in nearly every circumstance.
The possibilities are a 4/4 bear with taunt, a 4/2 boar with charge, or 2/4 griffin that gives +1 attack to other minions.
Another card I like to save for situations where I would prefer not to use minions for board clearing duties. This is a very useful and powerful card late in the game, versus high-power opponent minions.
I prefer to play Deadly Shot while my opponent has few (usually only one) minions on the table. Limiting the random factor of this card by as much as possible is important.
Kill Command is another great card, either against a high-value enemy minion or against the opposing hero itself.
I do like to save these for as long as possible. When my opponent thinks I can't quite pull out a win on the next turn, having one of these in my hand will ensure that win.
Play Ironfur Grizzly on the third turn, if possible, especially if you already have a Dire Wolf Alpha on the table. Taunts are used less to protect your hero and more to start setting up board dominance. You're protecting minions that are already in play and supplying bonus text to other beast cards.
Houndmaster is the only non-beast card in this deck. Try not to forget that when playing beast synergy cards, and then face-palming because this card did not receive the expected bonus.
This card does give a lot of strength to a beast deck. It is another method of getting a protective taunt on the table. Try not to give that taunt to cards you really want to remain in play for multiple turns, because those newly created taunts will not be long for the board.
Explosive Shot is a fantastic card for helping to clear an opponents board.
Like most of my non-minion cards, I like to save these damage cards for later in the game, as they help to minimize my opponent's strengths, especially if he has cards-in-hand dominance.
Tundra Rhino takes more than a little effort for an opponent to remove. If it isn't removed, it allows all of your beasts to attack on the turn that they are placed on the board.
When using Houndmaster, this is usually the card that I like to give +2/+2 and taunt.
Savannah Highmane is another great card. Even after it is destroyed, you still end up with two 2/2 minions.
Just hope that this card isn't silenced. That is an exceptionally annoying outcome for this card.
If you end up playing this deck, give yourself a few games to get used to it. Try it against a few of the expert AI heroes. Let me know in the comments your experiences.
Remember, patience is the key. If you're using non-minion damage cards in the first three turns, you're really weakening the overall efficacy of the deck.Originally Published Nov. 8th 2013