Hunting New Prey in Un'Goro
Going into the New Year, I wanted to try out some aggressive strategies to take advantage of people working out the kinks in the format. I landed on two Hunter strategies. A Quest combo version and a more traditional Aggro Hunter variant. I liked that the Quest deck could push out wide on the board quickly and get under the other aggressive strategies. The aggro deck is a lot less explosive but its strength come from the resilience of all of the threats. The Quest deck had the most potential to be over-powered so I started there.
This is a combo deck that can double as a hyper aggressive deck. I went with fourteen enablers for the quest and two Igneous Elemental and this felt like a good amount to pop the quest consistently while not losing too much power.
I played against a wide varieties of decks, the two most popular being Pirate Warrior and Quest Rogue. In practive, while you could get on board first against the other aggressive decks, maintaining that board presence board presence was difficult. Pirate Warrior was rough given the lack of interaction. Getting on board early is critical to compete with the pirate curve. You should also be saving your Adapt minions so you can try to Taunt his Arcanite Reaper swings.
The Rogue decks simply come down to race, your quest against theirs. Thankfully, Hunter usually gets under Rogue and can pop the Quest first. Just got to watch out for Fan of Knives.
The control decks were a much easier time, thanks to Carnassa. Against the variety of other matchups, generally the slower the deck was, the easier it was. I ended up finishing 10-10 after my first twenty games with the deck. I was disappointed with the result but the losses were very close. Queen Carnassa was extremely powerful but a little too slow for the Ladder meta-game.
Going forward, if the ladder slows down, I think this deck can be well positioned. Taking my matches played into account, I put together a more durable Hunter deck to take on the Ladder.
The core of this Aggro Hunter list are the aggressive and versatile minions. Your game plan is to keep control of the board until you can either race them down or get your value minions online. The Adapt minions really stood out in this list, they are efficient bodies that are great at fighting through problematic board states.
I played 40 games with this version, but I played a less diverse field, likely because I playing at a better rank. The most popular matchups were Quest Warrior, Pirate Warrior, Quest Rogue and Zoo/Discolock. Playing against Rogue was similar to Quest Hunter, it was a straight race, and Kill Command was a huge addition here. Pirate Warrior rolled over in the early game to the beasts, and Taunt minions turn off their weapon plan. Houndmaster and Golakka Crawler are your game winners here and leveraging their abilities is important.
Taunt Warrior and the Warlock variants are very grindy, so your games come down to whose minions can attack better. Taunt Warrior is easier to play against: go to the face whenever possible and play around Ravenous Ghoul and Brawl. Force the Warrior into awkward Brawls with your Deathrattle minions and save your removal for their big Taunt guys. For Warlock, you have to go after their enablers and pressure their life total so Life Tap doesn't bury you. I did not play against many other decks but there were no extremely bad matchup other than Mage. Mage was by far the hardest class to play against, Fireblast and efficient removal causes trouble.
After going 26-14 I was happy with the results but there definitely some loses I could have avoided. There are some potential changes to the list I could see going forward. If Pirate Warrior dies down, the Nestling Roc could become a second Hunter's Mark to help fight the rise of big Taunt minions but I would keep Golakka Cralwer because of how popular the Pirate package has become. Another card to have on the radar is Flare. I've been seeing more and more of the Secret Mage decks and it is a great way to push through their Ice Blocks. Other than that, I still believe the core is solid going forward and I will be using it to grind the rest of the ladder.
If you goal is to make Legend, the best version to do that is definitely Aggro Hunter. Quest Hunter will have its day in the sun eventually, but it may be better suited for tournament play. Aggro Hunter has a good spot in the ladder's meta, it can trade profitably against the aggressive decks and come down early enough to fight through the controlling decks. Watch out for Mage, if they become more popular, changes to the deck may be necessary.
Thanks for checking out my first article for Liquidhearth! My next article will be delving into a few different Elemental Archetypes, so stay tuned.