Hi guys, I'm Bma and I'm here to share a deck that I had quite a bit of success with last season. As some of you might know, I have performed pretty well in past seasons, with a qualification into Blizzcon Qualifiers. As a result, I was not hindered by the "camp top sixteen" mentality and tried to get Rank 1 Legend. From the 27th of August to the 30th, I held Rank 1, losing it on the last day to someone using the same deck list as myself. Unfortunately, due to the lack of sleep that I had on that day, I was unable to perform at my fullest and take back the rank.
Nevertheless, I believe that the deck list I used was very strong and that people looking for a strong Hunter deck should consider some of the ideas that I've used for this build.
What sets this deck apart from other Hunter variants is the inclusion of two Snake Traps and two Mad Scientists. I believe that all the other traps are suboptimal and easily played around, while Snake Trap often generates a lot of value, especially if played for free by Mad Scientist. It is reassuring to play Mad Scientist and be guaranteed Snake Trap, rather than the lack of control in the typical "Do I get Freezing or Explosive" scenario.
Some people will debate on the use of double Mad Scientist with only two traps in the deck. Because of how strong Mad Scientist is as a turn two play, I believe that it is completely fine. Of course there are some circumstances where Mad Scientist, typically the second copy, will be unable to activate its Deathrattle if both Snake Traps were used or in your hand. However, even as a 2/2, it is an acceptable creature. Moreover, due to the fact that Hunter is an early game dependent class, I believe the trade off is reasonable.
Regarding Snake Trap, I feel like this is the best trap in the game. While it is certainly possible to play around the card, doing so is many times impractical as it involves not swinging at your creatures at all. The only real situation where Snake Trap really sucks is if they can swing at your creature and then Buzzard/UTH afterwards. On the flip side, this card is a good defence against Buzzard/Unleash if they have zero creatures on board prior, as it leaves you 3 1/1s to immediately regain control the next turn.
The deck also runs Scavenging Hyena and two Timber Wolves. These cards synergise very well with the rest of the deck and specifically Snake Trap. Buzzard with Snake Trap is also a ridiculous play, but nobody will run into that anymore unless you try to trick them, or put them in a situation where they absolutely have no choice (a taunted beast, for instance).
The other thing that people might notice is the use of no Tracking and only one Flare. The reason behind the lack of Tracking is largely due to the double Scientist double Trap problem. First, I found that space was too tight in the deck already, with the only real flex pick being Stampeding Kodo that can be replaced with anything depending on metagame. Secondly, running Tracking thins your deck by three cards each time it is played and increases the chances of making your Scientist a dead card by a reasonable margin. Based on this, I felt that it was not worth it to include in the deck. Flare was another card that most people would consider running two copies of. If Hunter is all that you are seeing on the ladder, then it is acceptable to run two copies. However, when I was laddering, there was a reasonable proportion of other classes, against which Flare is significantly weaker. This is up to your own discretion in the end.
Another flex pick is Eaglehorn Bow. While I originally did not like this card very much, the metagame has shifted quite a bit towards creatures that are otherwise too hard to remove. Bow is very strong versus many of Priest's creatures, and is one of the few outs against an early Undertaker. The obvious downside is the fact that you lose HP when you swing at creatures which can sometimes be an issue in the mirror match, but this card is definitely good enough to run at the moment.
Aside from these picks, everything else is pretty standard compared to other Hunter lists.
Note : I am currently running one Tracking over the Stampeding Kodo. The Kodo is a flex pick: you can run anything, such as Sludge Belcher, Eaglehorn Bow, a second Scavenging Hyena, or a second Flare.
I mulligan away everything except for Webspinner, Mad Scientist and Haunted Creeper, because if you don't draw these early game cards you could lose to your opponent who does. If you already have them, then you should consider Animal Companion, Unleash the Hounds, or Starving Buzzard
This matchup can take multiple forms. The main three builds you will encounter are Trapless Hunter, Trap Hunter (usually Freezing and Explosive), or Undertaker Hunter.
The one you will struggle with in the early game the most is Undertaker Hunter, because they will accumulate an early game advantage. You must try your best to stabilise the board, even if you have to make weak trades, because the overall quality of your deck is much higher than theirs in the late game. I have won many games again that build even with a significant HP disadvantage, which in other Hunter matchups would have spelled certain death.
In the other Hunter matchups, HP is of critical concern at all times. If you are trailing in HP by over 10, you will generally find that game difficult to win. It's also important to keep track of how many creatures you have exposed on the board at any one time. Giving your opponent an UTH-Buzzard combo can be very dangerous unless overextending had given you an overwhelming tempo or HP lead. In this matchup, you should never rely too much on your traps because many Hunter decks run double flare at the moment.
Around the turn four mark, you need to be careful of giving them a free Houndmaster play. In this matchup, it's pretty difficult to deal with Houndmaster tempo if you allow him to turn something like a Haunted Creeper into a 3/4. If the game is even, dropping the first Highmane on turn six is also very important, because Highmane's stickiness usually guarantees you a lot of board damage.
I only mulligan for Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, and UTH. Sometimes I keep Webspinner if I don't have any other 2-drops in hand. This matchup is a lot about surviving until you can draw into Unleash the Hounds. Snake Trap is very good in this matchup, as it gives you much needed board presence that the Warlock must deal with.
In this matchup you want to try and control the early game as much as possible. Your advantage lies in the late game; ideally you want to clear their board and conserve your life until you can Buzzard/Unleash or similar. It is not that hard if you open with Haunted Creeper or Mad Scientist to survive until mid/late-game.
I'm not sure if it's even possible to lose this matchup. Just mulligan as you would for Zoo, because that's the only matchup you should even be concerned about. Try to play completely on curve and play aggressively. Be slightly careful about Molten Giant, but overall, remember that once you knock Warlocks below 10 HP, they can usually only heal three to six health at most. The only other cards to be concerned about are maybe big Hellfire/Shadowflame plays or Faceless on your Savannah Highmane. Overall, pretty simple matchup in all honesty, I rarely lose this.
Most Druids these days are really fast, and run lots of early game cards. AS a result, you need to mulligan for all your early cards such as Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, and Webspinner. Animal Companion is also a keep if you already have other 1 or 2-drops. Be slightly concerned around turn nine for massive Savage Roar plays.
Against fast Druid, it's important to stall out until you can land an inevitable big UTH/Buzzard turn, at which point you need to stabilise and drop Taunts as soon as possible.
Against slow Druid, just play on curve, try to get that Savannah out near turn six, and use UTH/Buzzard to close games out.
This is a very, very difficult matchup. I keep Webspinner, Buzzard (and I will play it even if it's only for minimal card draw), Houndmaster (extremely potent value), Mad Scientist, Haunted Creeper and Animal Companion (never UTH as Rogue never plays enough creatures for the combo). Loatheb is also reasonable to keep if you have early drops. If you fail the early game you are going to have a rough time keeping up with their 3/3s, AoE, and Gadgetzan .
In this matchup you just have to drop your creatures and hope he doesn't have endless removal into an early Gadgetzan. Not much else to say here though, he either removes your stuff or he doesn't.
I would always keep Buzzard in this matchup. Other than that, mulligan for your 2 and 3-drops. You can be slightly more greedy with later drops in this matchup, however, I don't keep Savannah anymore as Warriors got a lot faster with Death's Bite, and failing to have an early game makes it far too dangerous to keep a 6-drop.
In this matchup try to play on curve. Don't be too concerned if he gets early Armorsmith value – this matchup can be won simply through a control playstyle. This matchup is one where you can gain complete control of the board, and it'll be irrelevant even if he's on 30 HP and 15 Armor.
I find this matchup surprisingly difficult. Once again you mulligan for early drops, probably specifically a Buzzard as well. This is one of those matchups I'd consider keeping Hunter's Mark just in case of Deathlord or some ridiculously huge buffed creature. I would likely also keep Animal Companion as this card is one of the best turn three plays against Priest if you roll Misha.
Be careful of turn four Shadow Madness or turn six Cabal Shadow Priest. This matchup is also one where I feel that you must resolve an UTH/Buzzard combo to successfully win the game. Priest also has lots of AoE to be concerned about. Overall, most of your wins will come from mass burst with Leeroy or Kill Commands.
Easy matchup, easy life. Just mulligan for early drops and Buzzard/UTH. You almost always get value off Shaman players because of their hero power. Also, because they run no healing whatsoever, any early game damage really sticks, and after resolving UTH, they're usually really vulnerable to Kill Command finishes.
Just go for early game cards here. Haunted creeper is usually great because if they're aggro it kills their 1 HP creatures, and if they're control, it will kill their tokens and set you up for Houndmaster.
Aggro Paladin is all about surviving the early game and stabilising. Control Paladin can be a little bit difficult if they draw into stuff like Sludge Belchers. Overall, the control matchup hinges on playing on curve and trying to snowball the lead, or drawing multiple cards off Buzzard to out card the opponent.
Almost every Mage on ladder is aggro, so I mulligan for early game cards usually – usually no need to keep flare in opening hand. Webspinner, Creeper, Mad Scientist, and Animal Companion are all great keeps here.
Aggro Mage is all about trying to control the early game because your late game is generally superior. In the case of Control Mage, it is generally okay to play on curve, answer their threats (usually Water Elemental), and get in as much damage as possible to their face. On the last turn, you will want to finish them with Flare, if possible.
Unleash the Hounds with Buzzard to gain incredible card advantage and tempo. The deck also runs the incredibly powerful Savannah Highmane, which is strong at any point of the game past six mana. Together with cards like Kill Command, it is usually very simple to burst your opponent's life down after an Unleash the Hounds combo, especially if they struggle to clear your board on any given turn.
When playing Hunter, you want to try and drop sticky creatures like Haunted Creeper and Mad Scientist. You can then ramp up into a turn three Animal Companion and turn four Houndmaster. Turn five is a potential Buzzard/UTH turn, and turn six is the Savannah Highmane or Buzzard/UTH/Timber Wolf turn. Generally speaking, the Hunter deck actually does reasonably well in the late game because it has a lot of low cost creatures and 3-drops, which allow you to swarm the board easily late game, provided you were able to Buzzard/UTH for value on any given turn. This is what I refer to as playing on curve. This is generally a solid strategy towards winning the game.
Remember to always look for lethal when playing this deck. Especially when you have board control, you can often set up lethal within two turns by going for face instead of trading with their creatures. Kill Command is a very solid finisher, as is Leeroy/Unleash/Timber Wolf. People falling into a late-game Snake Trap are at risk of lethal if you have Timber Wolf or roll Leokk.
This card deserves its own section. This card is something that you need to look out for both in general and in the mirror match. In the mirror match, you need to be concerned when going for face instead of trading, because it will open you up to the opponent Scavenging Hyena being played to generate huge advantage. Against other matchups, in the early game I believe that it is justifiable to play this card simply for tempo. However, always be on the lookout for when you can play Hyena to create a huge threat within one turn. Often times, if they use removal on a Hyena, they become unable to do much else on that turn. This will allow you to create an insurmountable lead.
Houndmaster in this deck is very strong. Understand that you can Houndmaster Snakes (very relevant in the Zoo matchup) and that a solid turn five curve play is Stonetusk Boar/Houndmaster, as it also allows you swing for 3 damage. The ideal situation is to be able to play Houndmaster on curve on turn four, especially because your creature immediately gains that +2 Attack for ridiculous tempo advantage. It is also okay to play this card by itself in matchups where Steady Shot and passing is too weak a play on turn four.