If you’re growing tired of playing Rogue, Warrior and Druid all day long on the ladder, there is a deck for you. It’s not one of these classes, and performs pretty well against all three of them. Midrange Hunter is the deck, and it’s in a much healthier position as opposed to last meta. Midrange Hunter in Rise of Shadows is actually fun to play.
Key Components and Strengths
Midrange Hunter obviously lost some of its best cards when Deathstalker Rexxar and Crackling Razormaw rotated. However, these contributed to Hunter being over tuned and having unstoppable value. Rexxar has been traded out for Zul’Jin, a hero card with a much more balanced one time effect.
One of the keys to the success of Hunter is Master’s Call, a three mana card that draws three cards. This competes directly with Raiding Party as the strongest way of drawing cards. Another way that Hunter retains power is that big Scavenging Hyenas can still just win games. Druid’s lack any removal, Rogues must be running Sap and Warriors have to have an activator with Execute.
Dire Frenzy tends to maul opponents as well. Landing Dire Frenzy on a high value target like Vicious Scalehide, Witchwood Grizzly or Tundra Rhino can win games. Marked Shot has also become a nice tech inclusion in the deck, providing removal and more spells for your Zul’Jin.
Tempo Rogue is the most popular archetype right now, so Midrange Hunter should take steps to win against it. The card inclusions against Rogue should be Vicious Scalehides, Witchwood Grizzlies and a Deadly Shot for Edwin Van Cleef.
In the mulligan phase, you want to look for a good early game curve. This would be Shimmerfly and Springpaws on turn one, Headhunter’s Hatchet and Scavenging Hyena on two and then Animal Companion on three.
Scalehide and dire Frenzy are pretty important in this matchup since you can potentially out-heal the damage dealt by the Rogue. Witchwood Grizzly is another important card as they typically run low on cards and don’t run Sap.
Being aggressive in the first few turns of the game will lead to victory most often against Rogue. Rogue’s don’t have a way of dealing with wide spread boards, other than Fan of Knives if the minions have one health. Even then most Tempo Rogues do not run Fan of Knives because it”s really bad against Warrior and other Rogues.
This is probably the most favorable match up of the top three classes. Bomb Warrior might be slightly more difficult than control Warrior because they can also play for tempo, but is also a little easier because they keep their hand low on cards.
Against Control Warriors, you would cut a Tracking, the Witchwood Grizzlies and an Unleash the Hounds in favor of another Tundra Rhino, a Savannah Highmane and an Unleash the Beast. Going Tundra Rhino plus Dire Frenzy is very important against Control Warrior. While they can react to minions being played, you are still dealing five damage to face with each Rhino and can deal 20+ damage in a turn with a Dire Frenzied one drop.
Against Bomb Warrior, the Witchwood Grizzlies can stay because of the low cards that will be in the Warrior’s hand. This is a matchup where Dire Frenzy on Scalehide can be good. This will keep your health up every time you draw a Bomb, you can essentially heal for the same amount.
The mulligan phase against Warrior should be aggressive. Curving out is nice, but also keeping Master’s Call and Dire Frenzy is important to keeping the pressure on the Warrior. Keeping Zul’Jin is also very good, as very rarely can a Warrior pressure you so that you don’t get to play Zul’Jin on turn 10.
Token Druid is the most difficult match up of the three biggest archetypes for Hunter. It requires the Hunter to get an optimal draw, and the Druid to draw sub-optimally. The important cards in this match up are Unleash the Hounds and Timberwolf, Scavenging Hyena and the Witchwood Grizzlies. If there is enough Druid in the meta, including two Explosive Traps could help counter the deck.
In the mulligan phase, it would be nice to keep Scavenging Hyena and Unleash the Hounds. These two cards are how you beat Whispering Woods. On turn five, you can generate a huge Hyena, and because the Druid won’t be able to remove it, you can hit them a couple times in the face with it for the win.
If you don’t happen upon those cards, you will need to rely on playing a good curve, and getting out Witchwood Grizzlies. Hopefully your opponent doesn’t find cards like Crystalsong Portal, because this devalues the Grizzly. Another card that is tough to beat is The Forest’s Aid. However, if they don’t manage to get value out of their cards and play The Forest’s Aid as their last card, this is typically very beatable.
The stats for Midrange Hunter can be quite misleading, since most people are playing an un-optimized version of the list. When built correctly, Midrange Hunter can have an edge against most of the meta decks. Midrange Hunter in Rise of Shadows provides a nice breath of fresh air away from the volatile RNG based games of Rogue and Warrior.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.