Greetings travelers! My name is Darklumiya and I have been playing hearthstone since the very end of Test Season 2. I reached Legend Rank in Test Season 4 with my Hunter Rush deck. Ever since I began playing Hearthstone, the Hunter archetype has been my only choice, and I have improved upon the build each season with great success.
To begin, the deck’s strategy lies within its name of Hunter Rush. The main goal of the deck is to swarm your opponent with charge minions and control the tempo of the game. Essentially, your opponent will be doing the majority of the trading of minions because the deck is designed to burn your opponent’s life down very quickly. The steady shot hero ability puts your opponent on a timer until death and late game this ability takes out much larger percentages of health than in the beginning.
The reason that I found hunter attractive to play at first, lay in the fact that it represented one of the cheapest decks to build, while also allowing the user to be instantly competitive on the ladder. I would definitely recommend the deck for inexperienced players looking to climb the ladder and jump right into competitive play.
The best part about the deck archetype is that it can be taken from Rank 25 to Legend without the need to switch decks at any given time. From my experiences the deck has over an 80 percent win ratio from Rank 25 to 7 when piloted properly.
When most people talk about hunter rush, the first card that jumps to their mind is Unleash the Hounds
But the card really begins to exceed expectations when its durability is increased through the usage of traps. After using an Explosive Trap
Wolfrider/Bluegill Warrior/Arcane Golem
The main differences between hunter rush decks in today’s meta tend to revolve around these 3 cards. Most players tend to sideline Wolfrider
For example, if you are playing against a Control Warrior and are considering a Bluegill Warrior drop, it is extremely important to know that your opponent can deal with it through various means including Whirlwind
In addition, if your Bluegill Warrior/Wolf Rider manages to survive through your opponent’s turn or they are forced to remove it via weapon, then you have doubled the value of each card. It is because of this that I prefer to use Bluegill Warrior over Arcane Shot, as it provides more damage when used effectively and forces your opponent to deal with the onboard threat. Arcane Golem
Unleash the Hounds/Timber Wolf/Starving Buzzard
This fearsome combo represents the internal engine of the hunter rush archetype. Usually with your opponent making favorable trades on your low health minions, you will lose card advantage throughout the game. Starving Buzzard
It becomes extremely important to pick your spot carefully with the combo, as you will want to reap the most rewards. Without Timber Wolf
There are several matchups where utilizing Unleash the Hounds earlier is more effective, and yes I am looking at you Rush Warlock/Zoo/Murloc/Hunter. Later in the article I will go into specifics regarding different matchups.
These two cards represent the durability engine of your Eaglehorn Bow. Nowadays, many hunters have also included Freezing Trap
Specifically, it becomes a priority to dig for this card as quickly as possible against the mirror match, aggro lock, murloc, and zoo variants. In addition, the card has the ability to synergize extremely well with not only Unleash the Hounds for clearing the board, but
A general rule of thumb is that an opponent will attack with their weakest creature first. Therefore, setting an Explosive Trap followed by a Misdirection usually represents the most effective play, as their weakest minion will die first and then leave the larger minion to swing into the Misdirection.
Hunter’s Mark/Ironbeak Owl
While the majority of the cards in the Hunter Rush archetype are designed to deal damage,
Hunter’s Mark is an exceptional card that has only recently reached “staple” status as a card that you should almost always use at least one of. During my ladder climb, I utilized one all the way to Rank 7, but when I continued to run into less and less Ancient Watcher Druid decks, I removed it. I definitely recommend playing this card if the meta is littered with Ancient Watcher
The draw engine of the archetype is reliant upon these two cards. Originally seen as a poor choice, Tracking
Flare is also a card that was originally seen as a poor choice, however with the rise of the hunter archetype, is now a staple choice for the deck. Not only does it single-handedly win games against the mirror match, but it allows you to cycle through the deck. For 1 mana, it gives you the ability to weave your mana curve together nicely when you might have a non-efficient turn. It is also highly advisable to use Flare before Tracking if you have both in the hand (unless you desperately need a specific card from Tracking) because Flare
Good ole’ Leeroy Jenkins
Usually, Leeroy Jenkins will not be used until you can actually produce a kill, however there are various scenarios where using him first to avoid your opponent’s next-turn taunt would be most beneficial.
The main goal of the deck is to deal 30 damage to your opponent before they overwhelm you with their end-game cards. The one card you always want to have in your opening hand is Eaglehorn Bow
The deck is usually judged as skill-less and “faceroll”, however there are numerous situations that arise which separate the top tier players from the lesser. It is not always the proper move to go directly for face. That Northshire Cleric
By far the most important concept of the deck to grasp, revolves around the concept that you must use your mana as efficiently as possible to do the most damage. On turn 3, if you have a choice between a Wolfrider
Tracking and Flare are in the deck to better utilize turns where you might not be as mana efficient as you would like to be.
Good Match Ups
Whenever you go up against one of these archetypes you should be smiling. They represent your best matchup outside of shaman, as a big Unleash the Hounds or Explosive Trap can seal the game. There will also be a fair amount of swapping back and forth between trading and hitting face, as you must decide whether or not your opponent can outpace you or not. Murloc represents the deck where you will want to trade as much as possible, as they are the most combo-oriented build. Mulliganing hard for Explosive Trap and Unleash the Hounds will give you the best chance for success.
In addition to the other warlock variants, Handlock provides an exceptional matchup for hunter as they are very slow. You’ll want to mulligan for 1 and 2 drops as your opponent is usually slow out of the gate. Ironbeak Owl and Hunter’s Mark are also cards you want to get to as quickly as possible because they deal with Ancient Watcher and Giants with taunt.
It is also extremely important to consider that your opponent may have a Hellfire
This deck is not as rampant as it once was, which is a shame due to the fact that it’s a great matchup for hunter. They load the field up with minions and make themselves vulnerable to an Unleash the Hounds, while also running very little taunts. Set your opponent up for a big Unleash the Hounds and this matchup will very easy.
Shaman also represents a strong matchup for hunter and it can be argued that the matchup is the hunter’s strongest one. Shamans have 0 heals outside of Earthen Ring Farseer
I would highly recommend saving your Bow, Explosive Trap, Misdirection, and Unleash the Hounds to handle the Feral Spirits and if necessary you may have to use Ironbeak Owl an Unbound Elemental
This is the worst matchup for the deck. A good control warrior player will not give you the big unleash play that you usually look for because they don’t play out that many minions at once. It is important to set the tempo early with this matchup, utilizing 1 and 2 drop minions early to pressure them to respond.
There’s a fair bit of luck involved as you really hope they do not open with Armorsmith
This matchup comes down to drawing your Ironbeak Owls and Hunter’s Marks. Watcher Druid will throw taunt after taunt at you in the form of Druid of the Claw
It becomes very important in this matchup to get in damage early so that a kill can be achieved before they drop their legendaries. Swipe must be played around at all costs, so trading your big field of Unleash the Hounds doggies might be more beneficial than hitting the face in certain situations. Overall, a big Starving Buzzard/Unleash the Hounds combo before they establish too much of a board is your best chance to win. Luckily for hunter, this deck has not been as popular on the ladder lately due to the influx of Zoo/aggro lock.
Neither Good Nor Bad Matchups
This is one of the only matchups where you will summon a turn 1 Abusive Sergeant
This matchup reminds me of the hunter mirror in the fact that it’s essentially a race to the finish line. Miracle rogue has few minions so it might be favorable to trade in certain situations. Gadgetzan Auctioneer
There always comes a point towards the end of this matchup where you have to hold off your opponent for 1 turn before you can win and hope they don’t have the Eviscerate
Mid Range Rogue
The Argent Squire
As stated previously, the deck is fairly cheap to make and the only legendary required is Leeroy Jenkins
Hunter rush is not only one of the cheapest decks to craft, but also one of the strongest choices in today’s meta. With few poor matchups outside of Control Warrior and Watcher Druid, Hunter has proved itself as one of the top ladder-climbing decks. I highly recommend it to a newer player who wants to play competitively as quickly as possible.
I’d like to reiterate the fact that to play it correctly, this deck will not always mean rush the face. Favorable trades against certain matchups can make or break a game, as you must be aware of the cards that can outpace you. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot on the ladder and see how it works for you!
If you have any questions feel free to ask, and if you are interested in hunter rush gameplay give my Twitch and YouTube a look!
PS: You can see all my Hunter videos and my climb to Legendary at my channels!
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