Our Midrange/Hybrid Hunter deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will teach you how to play this midrange Hunter list. This Midrange Hunter guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Midrange Hunter
Midrange Hunter has been around since the beginning of constructed Hearthstone. The archetype has had its ups-and-downs, but continues to be one of Hunter’s best options for the ladder.
In general, Midrange Hunter looks to get off to an aggressive start with early minion pressure. Typically, this strategy is weak to board clears, but the high end of the curve is enough for Midrange Hunter to continue pumping out damage.
Update: Kobolds and Catacombs – Midrange Hunter (December 2017)
Midrange Hunter actually got some pretty nice tools in the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion. Candleshot is a nice way to remove early minions without the expensive of losing health. It also pairs really well with Hunter's Mark. Dire Mole is also a nice addition due to it being hard to remove initially and making it a prime target for Crackling Razormaw. Flanking Strike is a very solid tempo tool that can remove a minion while developing a board, and everyone’s new favorite card Corridor Creeper is also great in this deck.
I’ve updated the deck list above to the most popular version, but there will be inconsistencies in the deck guide while we are updating them across the site!
Midrange Hunter Card Choices
Midrange Hunter runs a full stable of powerful Beasts, synergistic minions, and a few key utility spells. While there are several successful lists floating around, the one referenced in this guide seems to be the most refined.
- Alleycat – Alleycat gives you two bodies on turn one that can be adapted by Crackling Razormaw. Plus, Tabbycat is adorable.
- Tracking – Frequently, Hunters can close out games if they’re able to find one critical card. Tracking helps you find that Kill Command to finish off an opponent or early-game minion to fill out your curve.
- Crackling Razormaw – While the Alleycat into Razormaw curve is the dream, dropping a timely Adapt in the late game can help find additional damage or some efficient removal.
- Kindly Grandmother – Sticking minions (Beasts, especially) on board is crucial for Midrange Hunter’s game plan. As such, a card like Grandmother that provides two bodies in one is extremely valuable.
- Scavenging Hyena – With so many beasts in the deck, Hyena can quickly get out of hand. Even following Alleycat on curve, the card can become a turn two 6/4.
- Animal Companion – When ahead on the board, there aren’t many better plays for Hunter than an Animal Companion. With a wide board, Leokk can push immense damage. Huffer is pretty EZ four damage and Misha can protect other minions. You really can’t lose.
- Bearshark – More than just a meme, Bearshark is a nightmare for removal-heavy control decks.
- Deadly Shot – Hunter has always had problems clearing off opposing minions. Trading an entire board into a large taunt or threatening minion is rarely a winning play. In many situations, Deadly Shot instead answers these cards one-for-one.
- Eaglehorn Bow – For a deck that relies on snowballing a board presence, being able to protect minions is critical. Bow offers opportunities for massive tempo gains, allowing you to continue piling on the aggression.
- Kill Command – After hurling a barrage of minions at your opponent’s face, it’s always helpful to have some reach damage to end games before (or after) losing the board. Kill Command also offers an effective removal option for high priority targets.
- Unleash the Hounds – Hunter struggles when the opponent is able to gain control of the board. Unleash provides a means of swinging the board back in your favor or punishing token decks when paired with Scavenging Hyena.
- Houndmaster – Landing the buff from Houndmaster can solidify an already favorable minion presence or swing the board back in your favor. Midrange Hunter runs more than enough beasts to justify the four drop.
- Savannah Highmane – An old adage in Hearthstone is that if Highmane hits the face, the Hunter wins. While not always the case, it is still often true.
- Fire Fly – While Alleycat is always the preferred turn one play, Fire Fly gives the deck another option in the early game.
- Dire Wolf Alpha – Dire Wolf can make for some massive swing turns when paired with Unleash the Hounds. The card also offers another decent followup to an Alleycat opening.
- Golakka Crawler – Despite the nerf to Fiery War Axe and the supposed death of Pirate Warrior, Crawler can find a lot of targets to chow down on. At worst, it’s a reasonable turn two play.
- Bittertide Hydra – It’s a bit startling that it took so long for Hydra to find its way into Rexxar’s stable of beasts. Bittertide gives Midrange Hunter another fatty minion for a mere five mana.
Midrange Hunter Tech Card Considerations
Despite being a fairly tight list, there are a few flex spot in the deck that can be rotated out to adjust to shifts in the meta. More than any other class, Hunter can justify the inclusion of crabs thanks to the Beast tag.
- Hungry Crab – Murloc Paladin is still a popular choice on ladder. If you run into a pocket of Murloc decks, Hungry Crab can tag in for Fire Fly.
- Hunter's Mark – Because it comes out faster, in some cases, Hunter's Mark can outperform Deadly Shot for the removal of large threats.
- Pirate Package – Too many lists are running Golakka Crawler for Pirates to be a safe inclusion. Additionally, after the nerf to Fiery War Axe, weapon removal becomes a little less necessary. If you find a need to kill off weapons, pulling out Fire Fly, Dire Wolf Alpha, and a single Savannah Highmane can make room for Bloodsail Corsairs and Patches the Pirate.
Midrange Hunter Mulligan Strategy & Guide
The mulligan section into two parts – against fast decks and against slow decks. Fast decks are generally the Aggro decks (e.g. Pirate Warrior) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Midrange Hunter). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Alleycat – Against any deck, you really want to have something in play on turn 1. Spreading your one drops into two bodies is especially helpful against aggressive decks to line up value trades.
- Fire Fly – Fire Fly often isn’t quite as strong on turn one as Alleycat, but is still worth holding onto in just about every match up.
- Crackling Razormaw – Landing a Razormaw Adapt on turn 2 can give you the lead you need in the early game or swing things back into your favor.
- Dire Wolf Alpha – Dire Wolf is a great follow-up to either of the one drops in Midrange Hunter. The extra attack is frequently enough to allow your minions to trade up.
- Golakka Crawler – Golakka is an obvious keep against Warrior, but enough aggressive decks run the Pirate package to justify keeping the crab in your opening hand.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Kindly Grandmother – The initial body typically isn’t aggressive enough to line up well against fast decks, but, especially with The Coin or Dire Wolf Alpha, Grandmother can give you the tools to out-value your opponent’s early game.
- Eaglehorn Bow – While it’s not ideal to take extra damage against Aggro decks, Bow can help you protect your board position and reduce the long-term damage output from your opponent.
- Animal Companion – Animal Companion on turn 3 is usually very good, you really want to have plays on turns 1 and 2. Only keep this card when that is the case.
- Bearshark – Likewise, Bearshark is your strongest turn three play in a lot of matchups. When facing an aggro deck, however, passing on your first two turns can be game over.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Alleycat – Cats are almost always your best turn one play, regardless of the opponent. Keeping both copies is even reasonable in many matchups.
- Fire Fly – Even against slower decks, having a turn one play can give you the start you need to get ahead. Fire Fly also gives you the mana flexibility to fill out awkward curves in later turns.
- Crackling Razormaw – When facing slower decks, you want to pressure opponents in the early turns. Razormaw can help increase the aggression of your early minions both with the body and the Adapt.
- Dire Wolf Alpha – All of your one drops are about spreading wide on the board. Dire Wolf increases their attack and can help you deal more damage or get through annoying early Taunt minions.
- Kindly Grandmother – Slower decks give you more time to build up your board, which is what the Deathrattle mechanic needs. Control and slower midrange builds are more likely to clear your board, which Grandmother protects against.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Bearshark – Not being able to target a minion is frustrating for decks running direct removal spells. Against these decks, Bearshark is your best turn three play, but you want to have a one and two as well.
- Golakka Crawler – Golakka is less likely to eat an opposing Pirate against slower decks, but is still a reasonable turn 2 play if you don’t have better options already in hand.
- Animal Companion – Animal Companion is better in slower matchups, but you still really want cards to play in the turns before you summon Huffer.
- Scavenging Hyena – Like Dire Wolf and Razormaw, Hyena synergizes with a turn one Alleycat, but is a weak tempo play if you can’t confidently kill off any Beasts.
Midrange Hunter Play Strategy
Due to the hybrid nature of this deck, it is incumbent upon the player to correctly identify whether or not he/she is the Beatdown or the Control. The accuracy of this determination can often be the difference between victory and defeat.
When facing other aggressive deck, the line between Beatdown and Control is often blurred. In many cases, it depends heavily on the contents of your hand, whether or not you are on the play and the current board state. Frequently, roles changes throughout the match, so be willing to adjust to the game state.
Fortunately, the combination of aggressive minions and a high-value top end makes it possible for Midrange Hunter to fill either role. Trade efficiently when appropriate, but look for openings to start getting damage in. In the mid-game, Houndmasters can facilitate value trades to solidify your board state.
Against Control decks, you’re almost always the Beatdown. Here, you want to prioritize an aggressive start before your opponent is able to gather removal. While an aggressive start is crucial, do not risk overextending. In these matchups, be aware of the potential AoE spells available to the class you’re facing.
Sustaining pressure is equally important to an explosive opener. Bittertide Hydra and Savannah Highmane are included specifically for these types of matchups. Landing them on curve can line up enough damage to burn through your opponent’s life total. Weaving in Hero Powers can build up enough damage over time to keep the enemy in range of burst.
Midrange Hunter General Tips
Below are some General Tips for piloting Midrange Hunter.
- Always count the damage you have available. This deck relies heavily on minion attack damage, so know how much you’ll have available on upcoming turns.
- Hero Powers are a valuable source of damage against slower decks. Include Steady Shot in your damage calculations when trying to math out how many turns are required to score a kill.
- Avoid the value traps in the deck, such as Crackling Razormaw and Golakka Crawler. Both minions offer reasonable vanilla stats and sacrificing tempo for the sake of value in the early turns can be crippling to this deck’s goal.
- When playing Dire Wolf Alpha and Unleash the Hounds together, each Hound represents two damage. Remember that the Hounds spawn on the far right, so place the Dire Wolf accordingly.
- Make sure that you have enough space on board to maximize value from Unleash the Hounds.
- Always play Kindly Grandmother on the far left of your board. With Dire Wolf Alpha and Unleash the Hounds, you often have the need to propagate minion buffs and minion placement is an important consideration.
Midrange Hunter Card Substitutions
Coming in at a mere 2000 Arcane Dust, Midrange Hunter is an impressively inexpensive deck to craft. That said, there are some budget options for players who are the remaining Adventure and lone Epic card in the list.
- Kindly Grandmother – Since One Night in Karazhan is behind a paywall, players without the Adventure can substitute Grandmother for a second copy of both Dire Wolf Alpha and Fire Fly.
- Bittertide Hydra – Hydra is an important card in many aggressive lists and Midrange Hunter is no different. However, a player lacking the three-headed Beast can slide in Tundra Rhino instead. Followed by a Savannah Highmane on turn six, Rhino enables the eight damage you would have gotten from Bittertide.
About the Author
A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.