Basic Hunter Deck

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This Hunter deck:

  • is meant for players who are new to Hearthstone, and/or who have not invested much (or any) real money into the game;
  • is comprised only of cards that are granted to you for free as a reward for completing the tutorial and leveling a Hunter to level 10;
  • does not include any Common, Rare, Epic, or Legendary cards.

While there are obvious weaknesses due to the Basic-only limitation, this deck is balanced, and quite strong. It should allow you to defeat the AI (in both Normal and Expert modes), and it can hold its own against players using Rare, Epic, and even Legendary cards in Play mode.

In addition to listing the deck, we will also explain why some cards have been included or excluded, how some of the minions in the deck are best played, and what changes you can make to the deck.

Note that to succeed with this deck (as with all decks), you need to make the correct decisions while playing. For this reason, we advise you to also read these two articles: Card Advantage and Why Am I Losing?.

1. About the Author↑top

This deck is presented to you by Sottle, a professional Hearthstone player from the UK who competes for Team Infused. Sottle regularly streams on Twitch and explains all of his moves. Watching him is a good opportunity to see how this and other decks play out in practice, and how decisions are made in real time.

2. Basic Hunter Deck↑top

Our deck is made up of the following cards.

2.1. Mana Curve

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3. Strategy↑top

The Hunter class is a fine choice for a Basic only deck for several reasons. Firstly, they have access to many powerful cards after raising the class to Level 10. Secondly, due to the unique Beast synergy it can teach you valuable lessons about how to use card combos. And, lastly, it is simply a lot of fun to play.

The weakness of the class is in its Hero Power. Steady Shot does nothing to affect the state of the board, and without access to the Expert Set it is impossible to build a deck with consistent aggression to take advantage of the damage. With this in mind, we believe the best build is a Tempo focused deck. Strong cards such as Hunter's Mark and Arcane Shot can be used to kill creatures extremely cheaply, leaving you with a mana advantage. At this point you can use your Hero Power to compound the repetitive damage of your minions and put your opponent under pressure.

3.1. Card Choices

In this section we will discuss some of the cards that have been chosen, how to use them effectively, and why they are chosen over other possibilities. Hopefully this will both help you to succeed with this deck, as well as inform your own deck building decisions in the future.

Hunter's Mark is an extremely powerful effect. It is best used as a late-game card to kill a huge minion in your opponent's deck with a small minion from your own. It fits beautifully with the Tempo focused strategy of this deck as it can remove a minion your opponent spent 5+ mana on and leave you with a huge mana advantage to follow up.

Tracking is the only card draw mechanic present in the deck. It is a unique effect in Hearthstone as it lets you search through the top cards of your deck and choose the card you want. Before using Tracking, make sure to look at your hand and work out what you intend to play for the next 2-3 turns. This way, when the Tracking options are presented to you, you can make an informed decision on what your hand needs. Tracking is also a powerful tool at the end of the game to dig for the Kill Command you need to finish the game.

Stonetusk Boar is featured in the deck due to its excellent synergy with several cards. Combined with Hunter's Mark you can remove any minion of your choice for just 1 mana. However, be careful of the card disadvantage this creates, since you are using 2 cards to deal with your opponent's 1. Combining Stonetusk Boar with Houndmaster creates a powerful board state and is a fantastic way to quickly refill the board after an AoE clear from your opponent. Finally, at 1 mana, Stonetusk Boar is the cheapest possible activator for Kill Command.

This deck plays both of the 2-drop Basic Beast minions, River Crocolisk and Bloodfen Raptor. This is important as the deck runs numerous Beast synergy cards. Playing both in your deck maximises your chances of making powerful plays such as dropping a Beast on turn 2 and then following up with Houndmaster on turn 3 using The Coin.

Razorfen Hunter is a fairly standard inclusion in basic decks as it is a reasonably valuable 3-drop. However, it is worth noting in Hunter that the 1/1 Boar that is summoned is a Beast, and synergises with all the combo cards in your deck.

Animal Companion is an incredible 3-drop. While the random effect can be frustrating, all 3 possible Companions are far above average value for 3 mana. Often you will be happy with any outcome from this card and the times where you get the exact Companion you need can be extremely rewarding.

Houndmaster is one of the best cards in the game for pressing an advantage. Playing a Houndmaster when you already have a Beast in play adds 11 points of stats to the board for 4 mana, which is far above the expected value for a 4 mana card.

Oasis Snapjaw is played in this deck purely for its synergy with Houndmaster. If you succeed in getting a Houndmaster buff onto a Snapjaw the 4/9 minion it creates will be too much for your opponent to answer more often than not.

Frostwolf Warlord is used simply due to the poor options available in the 5 mana slot in the Basic set. Since this card offers no special synergies in this deck, do not be afraid to play it out as a 5/5 or 4/4 if you are lacking better options.

Boulderfist Ogre and Stormwind Champion are your end-game minions in the deck. Boulderfist Ogre is a great value minion for 6 mana due to its 7 health, while Stormwind Champion can quickly turn a board of smaller minions into a destructive force.

3.2. Card Omissions

Here we will talk about some of the cards that are not included to help you understand and identify weaker cards, hopefully improving your deck building skills.

Timber Wolf is not used here since the card on its own is too weak. Despite the buff effect occasionally being powerful, you will find it too often sits in your hand waiting for the right situation. Even worse, you can be forced to play it out as a 1/1 which dies to many classes's Hero Powers. Since the deck already plays some situational cards like Hunter's Mark it is best not to include many more.

Starving Buzzard was once one of the most powerful cards in the game. However, since receiving a heavy nerf it is now extremely over-costed. With Buzzard costing 5 mana, it will often be past turn 7 before you can get any real value out of it. Futhermore, spending 7+ mana on drawing cards is much too slow for a fast Tempo deck such as this one.

Tundra Rhino is not included for many of the same reasons as Starving Buzzard. Its 5 mana cost means it is too expensive to play in combination with other minions. Playing it on Turn 5 and hoping to follow up on Turn 6 can pay off big if your opponent does not have a board presence, or removal, but that situation is too rare to merit its inclusion.

3.3. Card Swaps

Obviously, as a Basic deck, this list has a lot of room for improvement. As you progress with the game and gain access to more cards and Arcane Dust, here are some additions that you may consider.

If you have access to the Naxxramas set, the following additions are excellent:

  • 2 x Haunted Creeper for 2 x Bloodfen Raptor. As the new Beast featured in Naxxramas, Haunted Creeper is an obvious inclusion. We choose to replace Bloodfen Raptor and not River Crocolisk since the higher health of Crocolisk makes it a superior target to place a Houndmaster buff on.
  • 1 x Loatheb, 1 x Sludge Belcher for 2 x Frostwolf Warlord. As mentioned previously, the Basic set is lacking in quality 5 drops. Since Frostwolf Warlord offers no great benefits in this deck, replacing them with two of the strongest cards from the Naxxramas set will provide a significant improvement.

Other welcome additions from the Expert Set are listed below. However it should be noted that these cards should be added only if you open them from a pack. Spending dust to improve a Basic only deck is not particularly efficient, and you should instead try to save dust towards one of our low, or mid-budget decks.

  • 2 x Unleash the Hounds for 2 x Razorfen Hunter. Unleash the Hounds is a powerful and unique effect. Combining this card with Houndmaster or Hunter's Mark can create some crushing turns and lead you to victory.
  • 2 x Freezing Trap for 2 x Bloodfen Raptor. In a Tempo based deck such as this one, Freezing Trap is an excellent utility. It allows you to deal with a single creature of your choosing for 2 mana, leaving them unable to remove any of your minions and enabling you to compound your advantage further.
  • 2 x Savannah Highmane for 2 x Boulderfist Ogre. Savannah Highmane is one of the most powerful minions in the game with very few efficient answers. Adding it in place of the Boulderfist Ogres also increases the overall number of Beasts in your deck, strengthening your synergy cards.