Our Midrange Hunter deck list guide for the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion features the best deck list for the archetype. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Midrange Hunter
Midrange Hunter is one of the oldest archetypes in Hearthstone, dating as far as early 2014 (LifeCoach’s “Sunshine Hunter”). It was present in nearly every meta in one form or the other, but always with a similar basic strategy and Beast synergies.
This archetype wasn’t doing very well in the last few months. While it was still a solid choice in the lower ranks, the faster meta made it obsolete if you wanted to climb higher. Situation has changed in Rastakhan’s Rumble. A Beast-only build based around Master's Call emerged and is doing quite fine. While according to the stats it’s the weakest of the popular Hunter archetypes, it’s still solid and (importantly) a great budget option, since it can be built on a very low budget.
It’s hard to say where the Midrange (Beast) Hunter will head after the rotation – the card that made the deck viable in the first place is going nowhere, but Hunter in general is losing a lot of powerful cards.
Rastakhan’s Rumble Midrange Hunter Deck List
Midrange Hunter Mulligan Strategy & Guide
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Dire Mole – The best 1-drop you can get, 1/3 stats trade evenly or favorably against other 1-drops and it’s a beast for the sake of early synergies.
- Springpaw – While not as good as Dire Mole, you still prefer to have something on Turn 1 than skipping it.
- Crackling Razormaw – Vanilla stats with a powerful Battlecry – this card can win you some games on Turn 2. Getting the right Adapt on your early Beast can be a key to victory.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Candleshot – Keep vs Aggro. Amazing board control tool vs faster deck. You can clear the 1 health minions immediately and make sure that your board trades favorably.
- Scavenging Hyena – Keep with a 1-drop, especially Springpaw. 2/2 for 2 is bad, but if you can buff it to 4/3 immediately by trading off your 1-drop, it’s already worth it. It can snowball the games.
- Animal Companion – Keep with a good curve. Having a T1 and T2 play are more important, but if you already have those (or alternatively a T1 play + Coin), then having a good 3-drop to follow up on those is something you want.
- Master's Call – Keep vs slower decks. Against Aggro, you don’t want to skip Turn 3 doing nothing anyway, you first and foremost need to fight for the board control. But it’s an amazing refill vs slower builds.
Midrange Hunter Play Strategy
When facing fast decks, even though this build is quite aggressive, you will still need to take the control role most of the time. Your early game tempo is relatively low, it’s hard to swing the tempo in your favor once you get behind. It means that you have to slowly, but surely control the board throughout the early game and look for your opportunity to strike.
The only exception is getting a perfect start. For example, Dire Mole into Crackling Razormaw into Animal Companion. With that kind of opener, if you can get ahead early, you might want to push for face damage and try to seal the game quickly. But if you skip an early turn, or your opponent is keeping up with you, then don’t try to push for the damage – control the board instead.
First few turns are important. Getting the damage in is rarely relevant and your Hero Power is absolutely useless. Even if you can pick between playing a 1-drop on Turn 2 and Hero Powering, go for 1-drop – that 2 damage is irrelevant until you can start pushing your opponent, and it won’t happen without a board. It’s crucial to clear whatever minions your opponent might be playing. Try to go for the highest tempo moves each turn, if you don’t, you might fall behind.
Like I’ve mentioned, as a Midrange Hunter, you will have a very hard time coming back when you fall behind. Your deck has only two “AoE” cards. First one is Unleash the Hounds – but if you play it just like that, you can only deal 1 damage to each minion. The good news is that you can choose the targets (e.g. you can deal 2 damage to a more important target and ignore something that’s not high priority). Another good thing is that you can potentially bump it up with Timber Wolf – now each of your Hounds will deal 2 damage, making it much easier to clear the board. Of course, in a perfect case scenario, you might also play your pay-off card – Scavenging Hyena. For each Hound you trade in, it will get +2/+1. So, for example, after 4 Hounds die, it will be a 10/6 minion. But Hound + Hyena costs 5 mana, 6 mana if you add Timber Wolf, you might not be able to afford waiting that long. Your second AoE is more straightforward, but incredibly overpriced – Deathstalker Rexxar. Of course, you don’t play it for the Battlecry alone, but it’s often the more useful part vs board flood decks.
If you don’t fall behind in the early game, you should have an advantage going into the mid game. Flanking Strike is a high tempo play, very powerful card in faster matchup. Tundra Rhino, if not cleared, will add a lot of tempo to your plays. And Savannah Highmane is very difficult to clear – you can often get 2 for 1 with the main body, and then clear one or two more minions with the 2/2’s. Of course, it’s very slow, so if you are already behind when you play it, it’s not good.
The best way to win the game is by overwhelming the opponent with Beasts – a lot of the cards should give you 2 for 1. If you get the board control in the mid game, just deal any damage you don’t spend on trading minions to your opponent. If the game goes for that long, Master's Call might give you an edge. Keep in mind that despite drawing 3 for 3, it’s still a low tempo play, since it doesn’t change the board state at all even though you spend 3 mana. That’s why use it only if you’re already ahead, or when you run out of steam and have nothing else to do. Using it when you’re even on the board instead of developing is generally a bad idea. Ideally, you would also play Dire Frenzy before Master’s Call – this way you have a solid chance to draw one of the buffed minions back right away. 1-drops and 2-drops are the best minions to buff in fast matchups, since drawing them will give you a high tempo play. Buffed Springpaw works particularly well, because it’s a 4/4 with Rush for 1 mana. But Tundra Rhino is also not too shabby – it’s a 5/8, so it will almost certainly clear something the turn it’s played, and then it has a quasi-Taunt – your opponent probably has to kill it (or at least Silence it), otherwise you get too much tempo from its effect.
Alternatively, Deathstalker Rexxar can be your win condition in faster matchups. While you mostly use it for the initial AoE and Armor, the Build-a-Beast Hero Power can come handy if you get the right option. After the Beast pool was updated, the card got much stronger in faster matchups. There is a significant chance to get a Lifesteal, Rush, Taunt or Charge minion – basically something either defensive or with immediate effect. For example, combining Vicious Scalehide with pretty much any Beast is amazing vs faster decks. You can even go for some combos – such as combining it with Bittertide Hydra. Not only you get a massive 9/11 Rush minion, which heals for 9 each time it attacks, but you also don’t lose any health from the Hydra’s effect, because damage dealt from the card’s effect also triggers Lifesteal.
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. 1-2-3 mana opening is a great way to start each slow deck, but unlike vs Aggro, here you don’t need minions to control the board – you need them to deal damage. The more minion damage you deal, the easier it will be to close out the game. Not only you might put your opponent in the range of your burn, but when he’s low, he will be forced to make many sub-optimal plays. For example, a Warrior using Shield Slam on your 3/2 minion in the late game, because he’s afraid to take any extra damage.
When you face a slow decks, the meta knowledge is very important. You need to be able to identify the deck you’re facing. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it takes multiple turns to do it, but you need to realize what cards they are playing. Or, more importantly, what kind of removals they’re playing. As a general rule, don’t play too many minions into the AoE clears. And if you really want to develop – try playing minions that will be out of range or buffing some stuff out of range. Let’s say that you play against Warlock – Hellfire is commonly played by slower builds such as Cube or Even. So, for example, playing another 3 health minion if you already have a decent board might not be the best idea. But you might play Dire Frenzy to buff one of your minions out of range. Or play Crackling Razormaw and try to give it +Health, Divine Shield or Deathrattle.
One of the best way to snowball the game is with Scavenging Hyena. You want to play it on the same turn you’re trading off at least one or two Beasts – it’s too easy to kill as a 2/2, but if you buff it immediately, it might become harder. If your opponent doesn’t find removal, it will just grow and grow. Even after you pump it up two times, 6 attack is already enough to put A LOT of pressure on basically any deck.
Master's Call is much more important in slow matchups than it is in fast matchups. Here you will basically need it, otherwise you run out of steam quite quickly. If you already have Dire Frenzy in your hand, try to play it first before drawing with Master’s Call. In case of slow matchups, you ideally want to shuffle your biggest threats. Shuffling a Dire Mole or Springpaw is not good enough. The best cards to shuffle include Savannah Highmane (very slow, but they’re very hard to kill for your opponent), Tundra Rhino (Charge + if it sticks, then it lets you push more damage with other Beasts) and Huffer from Animal Companion (7/5 with Charge for 3 mana is absolutely amazing). Scavenging Hyena, Crackling Razormaw and Misha from Animal Companion are also solid targets.
If your opponent got all the necessary clears, then gained a bunch of health and you can’t win through the pressure, don’t worry, you still have a chance. Deathstalker Rexxar can actually turn your deck into a value powerhouse. Getting an early Rexxar might even make you outvalue some slower deck in the long run.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that you DON’T always want to play Rexxar on the curve. If you’re still on the “push for damage” phase of your game plan, when your opponent is quite low etc. then playing DK Hero will often lose you the game. Not only you waste an entire turn doing basically nothing, but you also sacrifice the 2 damage Hero Power, which is great when pushing for damage. Trust me, your opponent would thank you for turning into Rexxar when you’re pushing him against the wall. You just give him a few turns to come back. Use Rexxar as soon as possible only if a) your early game was quite weak and you basically have no chance to kill your opponent in time and b) if you’re already running out of steam. If you can pick between playing Rexxar and doing nothing vs dropping Savannah Highmane, you want to do the latter 95% of the time.
Once you turn into Rexxar, another common mistake is going being greedy and picking the biggest minions possible. First of all, you generally shouldn’t create a minion with a higher total cost than 8. Making a 9 or 10 mana Zombeast means that you can’t use Hero Power on the same turn, and you’re losing value. Make one only if the options are really amazing – e.g. Stranglethorn Tiger + some Big 4-drop or 5-drop to set up lethal. However, even 8 mana ones usually get clunky. Remember that on top of the cards you get from Hero Power, you also draw something from your deck each turn. If you pick only high cost Beasts, your hand will eventually get full and what’s good of all the high cost Beasts if you don’t have time to play them all? If your hand is nearly empty, it’s good to start with some more expensive options, but as you draw more cards, you might opt for the lower mana options instead, so you can e.g. play a Dire Frenzy, Kill Command and such on the same turn.
Midrange Hunter Card Substitutions
With roughly 3,000 Arcane Dust cost, the deck is very inexpensive and can be easily played by the budget players. It runs only a single Legendary card – Deathstalker Rexxar. While the card is difficult to replace, you can still play without it – you would just have to adjust your play style and be more aggressive in slow matchups, since you wouldn’t have your infinite value tool just in case. If you want to make the deck better vs Aggro, you’d want to add another Unleash the Hounds. If you want to make it better against Control, replace it with a second Tundra Rhino instead.
As for the Epics, you play 2x Master's Call, and if you want to run a full Beast version, those are irreplaceable. However, you can drop them and just play regular Midrange Hunter instead. Remove some of the Beasts, Master’s Calls, Dire Frenzy and add cards like Houndmaster, Houndmaster Shaw, Fungalmancer and such.