Welcome to our Beginner’s Hunter Deck List Guide! If you are just starting out in Hearthstone this guide will help you learn how-to build and play this completely free Hunter deck list. The guide includes card explanations, mulligans, play strategy, and future card replacements/substitutions.
Find More Beginner Decks: Beginner Hearthstone Decks for Every Class
Beginner Hunter Deck Overview
Hunter is generally regarded as an aggressive class due to its hero power. This beginner’s deck skews more in that direction, however, you should not only attack your opponent’s face. You still need to make good trades, but the key to an aggressive-midrange Hunter deck is recognizing when you need to stop trading and go after your opponent.
Don’t understand some of the terms in this guide? Check out our Hearthstone Terms & Glossary!
These card choices are broken down into two sections: Class and Neutrals.
Arcane Shot – Cheap damage spell that can remove minions or potentially finish off your opponent. This also pairs well with the next card, Hunter’s Mark.
Hunter's Mark – Hunter doesn’t have a lot of great removal options so using this and another card can help take down a taunt or problematic minion.
Animal Companion – One of Hunter’s best basic cards, as well as being powerful enough of a card to see play in Hunter meta decks. Animal Companion can summon one of three potential minions: Huffer, Leokk, or Misha. Each one of the three minions has its own strengths and weaknesses, but if you are playing on curve you are usually looking for Huffer or Misha. Leokk gets better when you inevitably get Alleycat or Unleash the Hounds.
Kill Command – A bit weak when you don’t have a beast on the board, but when you do it can lead to fast lethals or help take out large minions.
Houndmaster – Another of Hunter’s more powerful minions and one of the main reasons to play all of the beasts in the deck.
Tundra Rhino – This is a card that can be a bit hit or miss because if it doesn’t at least get a bit of value on the turn it is played then it is pretty bad for the cost. It’s often better as a later game card then on curve, but at times you will just have to play it to get a trade or to play on the board.
Acidic Swamp Ooze – Decent stats and an ability that is very relevant against certain classes. It’s generally best not to be too greedy with the effect unless you know for sure they are going to play a weapon. It’s almost always better to play something rather than wait and hope to destroy a weapon. Be more conservative with this card against Warrior.
Bloodfen Raptor – Mostly just a body for stats and a cheap cost. In the majority of classes the beast tag is irrelevant, but in Hunter it is very important for activating Kill Command and allowing for a target for Houndmaster.
Razorfen Hunter – A pretty bad overall card, but is more relevant in Hunter due to the token having the beast tag.
Shattered Sun Cleric – Solid minion that has a strong buff attached to it. While it’s nice to get the buff, it’s usually best to just play the minion on the board rather than hope for a best case scenario.
Chillwind Yeti – One of the best basic minions. 5-health is very important and can trade and survive against most minions of the same cost or below. The card saw some really early play in meta decks in the beginning of ranked play, but is just purely outclassed by better minions now.
Nightblade – Useful for getting in damage that bypasses taunts which synergizes with Hunter’s hero power.
Beginner Hunter Deck Mulligan Advice and Strategy
While keeping low drops is the name of the game, you do not want to keep Arcane Shot or Hunter’s Mark. These cards can be helpful in the early game, but it’s always better to be keeping minions because this deck requires you to be proactive and aggressively take the board. You really want to keep Animal Companion when possible, but it’s obviously better if you have a 2-drop. If you are going second you can risk keeping it without a 2-drop and just coin it out on turn 2. Houndmaster is your best 4-drop if you can stick a beast to the board. If you are going second, play a beast on 2 and hope that it survives so you can coin out Houndmaster for the buff.
Keep your 2-drops, and if you get one in the opening mulligan you can look to keep a 3-drop. If you are going second then you can consider keeping a 4-drop if you already have a 2-drop.
- Always Keep: Acidic Swamp Ooze, River Crocolisk, and Bloodfen Raptor
- Keep w/2-drop: Animal Companion, Shattered Sun Cleric, and Razorfen Hunter
- Keep w/2-3 drop Curve or 2-Drop & The Coin: Chillwind Yeti or Houndmaster
Tempered aggression is the name of the game for Hunter. You want to actively be putting out minions and when possible going to the face. Finding ways to fit in hero powers to start getting in damage can be important, so look for opportunities to accomplish this. The key to your overall success with Hunter is finding the spots where it’s time to stop trading and start going full face. This can be determined by if you are ahead on board, if you are running out of cards, or if you are looking at nothing but burn spells in your hand.
Look for good trades early in the game, but if you have a chance, go to the face! If you roll a Huffer from Animal Companion it’s almost always correct to throw it at the dome. 4-damage thrown away in the early game could be the difference between a win and a loss. Your opponent has to deal with it on their turn and you rarely get more than one attack out of Huffer.
Always be looking for a way to take advantage of the Houndmaster buff. This is another potential chance to go to the face with something, if your opponent has a small minion on the board and you can buff a minion with the Houndmaster, it’s usually better to just get in the damage. The taunt part of the Houndmaster buff makes it so you can risk getting in the damage because you and it are protected. However, if there’s a juicy trade on the board or something that needs to be removed then you should do it.
When going into the late game is when it’s time to start really turning on the damage. Nightblade helps with this, and Kill Command is one of your best outs. However, the problem with Kill Command is that it requires a beast on the board. This can lead to times where it might be best to use the Kill Command early if you are close to lethal and have no other beast in your hand. You can also save a cheap beast for this type of scenario as well rather than just feed it into your opponent’s board.
If you can, try and save Tundra Rhino for either an empty board, trade, or chance to play another beast with it. This card is especially good once you either get Savannah Highmane or high attack beasts in your deck.
Card Replacements and Substitutions
I’m going to list cards that you should start to look to replace to stick with the theme of this deck which is a Midrange Hunter. You should start to look towards budget decks and build towards them once you start to acquire cards. Once you’ve built a budget deck, you can then start to build towards a meta deck.
Find Budget Decks: Hearthstone Budget Decks for Every Class
Savannah Highmane is one of Hunter’s best cards and was joked to be Hunter’s only good Legendary card (it’s a Rare not a Legendary). Highmane goes well with an on-curve Tundra Rhino as well as makes you more resistant to AOE spells. The card requires an answer very quickly due to its high attack. If you get one or two of these you should replace Boulderfist Ogre with them.
Alleycat is a cheap Hunter minion that helps you spread out the board and gives you a target for buffs. This card works very well another cheap card that can be in this deck: Crackling Razormaw. Both of these cards see a lot off play in the meta version of Hunter. You can remove Nightblade for Alleycat and Razorfen Hunter for Crackling Razormaw.
Once you’ve gotten a few of these upgrades it’s time to start looking into those budget decks listed above! Good luck out there on the ladder.