I Am Not Prepared: The Diary of My Race to 1000 Demon Hunter Wins (Week 8)

This week: why you should RTFM, an unreciprocated flirtation with Highlander Demon Hunter, why you shouldn’t cut Skull of Gul’dan and some day one ladder impressions.


Hearthstone Esports: RTFM edition

Remember when I said last week that I’d try to clinch a top 200 spot? Well, may this serve as a lesson to read the damn manual in every situation. No longer does a top 200 ladder finish get you an invite to a special Masters Tour qualifier: instead, the top 16 get in directly. Hovering around 250, my plan was to have one last high-focus play session on Sunday afternoon – that was when I read the announcement of the Montreal event and went back to check the existing rules. Oops! With just a few hours to go, top 16 was out of sight even with a 100% winrate. No promises I’ll make such a deep run in June!

As such, I had to settle with a peek into the day 1 madness across both the Standard and Wild ladders. I was especially curious about the state of the evergreen format at this stage of the season: will I find ultra-tryhards and monster decks across the ranks? It could be due to my low MMR (finished around 5000 last season and never really played the format before) but I still encountered my fair share of homebrews as I rose through the ranks. Aided by a generous winstreak, a few hours of play got me to Diamond 10. If not for my writing commitments, I likely would have hit Legend in a single day.

As for Standard… well, let’s just say there’s a reason I focused on Wild instead today.

There’s also not much to report on the innovation front when it comes to Tempo Demon Hunter, though I will say my initial disgust of the post-nerf Crimson Sigil Runner may very well have been unwarranted. There are still a few flex spots and one-offs, but unlike a few weeks ago, they don’t meaningfully alter the amount of pressure you can exert on any given turn, only having small impact on the consistency of your curve instead. With Priestess of Fury no longer a desirable curve-topper, the archetype is a lot weaker in games that go long, which is likely a good thing in terms of the overall metagame but makes VENGEANCE a whole lot more difficult to achieve.

There can be only one (Demon Hunter archetype)

When it comes to deckbuilding innovations, it’s important to find the sacred cows that feel like auto-includes when you’re trying to free up a slot or two. My time in Wild with Odd Demon Hunter made me think about the possibility of a build focused even more on all-out aggression, especially after a chain of encounters with Druids in high Legend – which turned out to be an odd anomaly. As such, I decided to counter their passivity by reintroducing my old pal Questing Adventurer but also adding Frenzied Felwings to capitalize on my early advantages even further. It crushed Druids alright (7-0) but I couldn’t get a win against Warriors to save my life. To complete the experiment, I swapped out Skull of Gul'dan for Spectral Sight, theorizing that if I empty my hand this fast, it could actually serve me better in the mid-game. It wasn’t an entirely insane idea, but it couldn’t bring the deck to a point where it got me out of the top 250 purgatory. However, keep this in mind when the new set lands: there could be room for an ultra-aggressive Demon Hunter deck the likes of which we have never seen. This meta though? You get wiped way too easily if you rely on 2-Health minions to deal the initial damage.

In other news, I also gave Pavelingbook’s Highlander Demon Hunter a spin today, and I was quite excited to do so as well. Regular readers of this column may remember that this was the very first archetype I tried on release day, but it was demolished in the mirror by the more Demon-heavy tempo builds that led to the unprecedented near-instantaneous nerf in just 24 hours. Not gonna lie: I got smashed. 2 wins, eight losses, and I never felt like I got a handle on the curve or the playstyle. Normally I wouldn’t report on a deck based on just ten games, but since I didn’t want to swap at the end of the season when I thought I had something on the line, today was my first chance to try it. Further experiments are warranted, that is for sure – and though it does feel like it has more gas against Warriors, it simply doesn’t feel consistent enough elsewhere. It’s an odd feeling, being unable to interact with your opponent’s board on certain turns.

Both the HSReplay stats and the Vicious Syndicate meta report pegs Demon Hunter as the top dog in Standard even after a triple crown of nerfs. Here’s the funny thing though: it may have taken three nerfs and more than a month, but you can’t really complain about where Demon Hunter currently is in the metagame. It’s a brand new class with a lot fewer cards to draw upon compared to its rivals, and it has one quite powerful deck and some sort a fringe alternative which you can pilot to high Legend if you’re extremely good with it. At this point, you can fairly reliably counter it with a Warrior build if you really can’t stand them, but it nevertheless remains a great entry point for newcomers and those with a small collection if they’re looking to climb. Tempo Demon Hunter is a strong but brittle archetype, and at this point you can definitely get wins against it by good play and correct deckbuilding.

It’s just a shame that the road to this situation was paved with many missteps, because I feel like many have soured on Demon Hunter during its monstrous reign and those of us who really enjoyed its old-school playstyle (because say what you will about it, you know what’s coming at any given turn) now have to contend with a lobotomized version of the archetype with little room to innovate in the remainder of Ashes of Outlands. No predictions this week either: I genuinely don’t expect a new approach related to the class anytime soon. However, now that the new PC is good to go, I will have proper stats for you when next week’s edition rolls around.

Maybe if Team 5 had RTFcardtext, things would have turned out differently.


Luci Kelemen is an avid strategy gamer and writer who has been following Hearthstone ever since its inception. His content has previously appeared on HearthstonePlayers and Tempo/Storm's site.

Check out Yellorambo on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Dominus97
    June 5, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Great article. You should give vulpera scoundrel a go in your tempo list I’ve had great results

  2. JoyDivision
    June 1, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Don’t know if the Server mattes but… finished Diamond 3 last season (Wild) and started climbing Again yesterday. Only faced ‘netdecks’ like Quest Mage, Pirate Warrior, Raza Priest, Odd DH in like 30+ games.

    Besides that: Finished legend 517 the Season before, got a 10 multiplier. This time, Besides not grinding to legend, it is an 11 multiplier… surely something one doesn’t need to understand. 🙂

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      June 2, 2020 at 5:13 am

      That’s because your star bonus is based on either the rank you finish at OR your MMR, whichever is higher.

      For example, if you have a Legend player MMR and then you finish a season in Bronze (because you didn’t have time to play, for example), you still get 10 star bonus next season.

      On the other hand, if you’re on a new account, you still have low MMR and you hit Legend during your first month, you will also have 10 star bonus, even though you might not have Legend MMR yet.

      It probably means that your MMR jumped into the 11 star bonus category because of higher win rate.

      But honestly, I would really like Blizzard to just explain how the 11 star bonus works in the new system.

      • JoyDivision
        June 3, 2020 at 4:47 am

        I’m playing for years, always to rank 5, after hitting legend once.

        My win rate wasn’t that high (at least not higher than the month before), so that doesn’t seem to explain it …

        My logic (until now, that is) was: ‘High Legend’: 11 stars, Legend 10 stars, Diamond 5-1 9 stars.

        But, as I saw, this logic didn’t work out. 😉

        BTW finished 160 Legend yesterday in the evening by just playing a few hours. New system is devaluating Legend status for sure o.0 …

    • PitLord
      June 2, 2020 at 10:22 am

      This season give me 11 star bonus. The last day of may i reach wild legend 841 (in standard i was 3500) with a discardlock, i think top 1000 it’s enough for the bonus?

      • Stonekeep - Site Admin
        June 2, 2020 at 10:38 am

        I’m nearly sure that it’s not a fixed number. Number of Legend players varies between seasons, servers and formats, so having a fixed number wouldn’t make any sense. Like, before the ranked changes, we usually didn’t even have 1k Legend players in Wild at the end of season, so just hitting Legend would give you 11 star bonus.

  3. Sneakytodd
    June 1, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I’m thoroughly enjoying this series…