Midrange Hunter Deck List Guide – Rise of Shadows (RoS)

Midrange Hunter is one of the most longstanding deck lists in Hearthstone. We'll show you the ins-and-outs of this classic archetype for the Rise of Shadows meta!

Our Hearthstone Midrange Hunter Deck List Guide features the current top deck list for this archetype in the Rise of Shadows meta! We're taking a detailed dive into this deck with mulligan advice, card replacements, how-to counter it, and best ways to play this classic Hearthstone deck. We're also going to take a bit of a look at the history behind this archetype and what makes it so popular currently.

While this deck is sometimes referred to as Beast Hunter, it is always going to be Midrange Hunter in the hearts of us old school players. This deck was one of the first real powerhouse lists in the game when Constructed Seasons were first released. The deck was also known at the time as "Sunshine Hunter" which was dubbed by Lifecoach who named the deck after his daughter (hopefully I'm remembering this correctly). This version of the deck took advantage of some previously un-nerfed cards. Starving Buzzard was still a low cost card draw powerhouse, and Unleash the Hounds was the card that fueled it. Hunter's Mark was still 0-cost, and Leeroy Jenkins only cost 4-mana. All these cards combined made for a potent deck that dominated the ladder.

While these cards would eventually be nerfed, the deck still had bouts of dominance throughout the years. The deck has also been a great list for beginning players who are on a budget. The deck will usually feature a Legendary or two, but they are usually not required and you can get away with running a cheaper list.

Midrange Hunter Deck List in Rise of Shadows

While Hunter lost a ton of good cards in the rotation, it looks like the class isn't too worse for wear. Midrange Hunter is still one of the most powerful decks to run on the ladder, and we're featuring one of the most popular versions of the deck below. If you're looking for a cheaper version of this deck, check out this guide here.

HunterNeutral
2x - Shimmerfly2x - Dire Wolf Alpha
2x - Springpaw2x - Hench-Clan Hogsteed
2x - Timber Wolf
1x - Tracking
2x - Headhunter's Hatchet
2x - Scavenging Hyena
2x - Animal Companion
2x - Kill Command
2x - Master's Call
2x - Unleash the Hounds
2x - Dire Frenzy
1x - Tundra Rhino
1x - Savannah Highmane
2x - Unleash the Beast
1x - Zul'jin

Deck Code

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Midrange Hunter Mulligan Guide

With Midrange Hunter you are always after a strong curve regardless of the matchup. Always be looking for a 1, 2, and 3-drop to play out your early turns.

Always Keep

  • Shimmerfly - Very tradeable minion that replaces itself with a card, and also has the Beast tag which means it works well with Master's Call or even Dire Frenzy.
  • Springpaw - While this isn't as good as the previously used Alleycat, it's still a great 1-drop and has good potential to remove some pesky minion from your opponent's early board. The Rush portion of this card makes it strong in the late game as well. You can use it to finish a trade, and even power-up your Scavenging Hyena to lethal damage if necessary. It also pairs well with Dire Wolf Alpha and Timber Wolf for getting in early trades so you can get quick board control.
  • Headhunter's Hatchet - While we generally want to be proactive on the board, it's still not bad to have this weapon in our hand. It is especially good with one of our 1-drop Beasts so we can get the buff on curve.
  • Hench-Clan Hogsteed - Great card for getting a trade, and it has a Beast tag so it's solid for receiving buffs and won't mess up our Master's Call.
  • Animal Companion - Great card and you really want to keep it in most cases when possible. While you can occasionally roll a Leokk in unfortunate spots, most of the time you are going to be happy with the results you get from it. This is best kept when you have a 1 and 2-drop, but you can also keep it if you are going second and have the coin with a 1-drop.

Situational Keeps

  • Scavenging Hyena - This is really good with Springpaw. Getting to trade those two small beasts and getting a buffed up and hard to remove Scavenging Hyena can sometimes just win games. It is not a good naked 2-drop, so you won't want to always keep it unless you have either of the 1-drop beasts.
  • Master's Call - This is best kept against slower decks because you'll likely need the extra cards if you eat potential AOE or your opponent has answers for your early game. You do not want to keep this against aggressive decks because it's too slow and you can't afford to skip a turn.

Midrange Hunter Deck Guide & Gameplay Strategy

The gameplay strategy of Midrange Hunter largely depends on what kind of deck you are playing against. The very definition of a midrange deck is that you control aggro and beat up control. This is very important when it comes to best piloting this list. The other very important factor to understand in Midrange Hunter is when to flip the switch. There will generally come a point in many matches that you need to start being super aggressive. Flipping the switch means you are going straight to the face and looking to burn out your opponent. Hero Power becomes a mandatory thing every turn. This phase of play usually comes right around when you play Savannah Highmane. You don't want to trade with this, you want to force your opponent to deal with it so you can use the Hyenas on your turn.

Against Aggressive Decks

This is your weaker matchup, and you will need to play control in the early game to establish a board. Take the easy trades and use Headhunter's Hatchet to manage the board as much as possible. Your damage spells like Kill Command will need to be used to remove minions. Keep your minions as much as possible and make value trades when you can. Aggro decks generally don't run AOE or have the ability to clear a wide board.

If you fall behind (this is likely), you do have some options that can help you wrestle control back. Unleash the Hounds can be a potent board clear in the mid-game against a soft board. You can also combine this with Timber Wolf and take down larger minions. If you are really lucky, you'll be able to combine this with Scavenging Hyena and end up with a clear board and a large minion.

Against Slower Decks

This is your bread and butter matchup, and where you get to prey upon these more control and combo heavy options. You become the fast deck in this situation, so you are looking for an aggressive opening to start getting in damage as soon as possible. Your minions become very important, and you will largely be trying to use them to get damage into your opponent's face each turn. This is also where it is important to weave in a hero power as much as possible. You will want to use your spells to remove any taunts and as much as possible keep your board alive.

The biggest thing you'll need to watch out for is spells that damage your board. It helps to really have intimate knowledge of what each deck is running in the current meta. Does the deck have 2 or 3 damage AOE? How much does their AOE cost? Do they have The Coin and can play their AOE earlier? Understanding whether or not your opponent can clear the board on any given turn is instrumental in your success with this deck. This also determines how wide you can go with your board. If you suspect they have AOE, you'll want to hold back certain cards or play minions that you don't mind losing to bait it out. You will need to tip toe the line of playing just enough to force your opponent to play their AOE without losing all of your resources. If you have Master's Call, you can play more aggressive because you know you can reload your hand if you lose your board. This has not been the case in previous iterations of Midrange Hunter.

Savannah Highmane is great in this matchup, it's usually a bit too slow against aggro. You will hopefully have forced out a hard removal from your opponent, but this isn't always the case. You might just have to play the Highmane and hope it sticks. It's one of the better cards against Warrior, because they don't have removal that transforms our big lion.

Midrange Hunter Card Choices

The majority of this deck is pretty much set in stone, so let's take a look at why each card is in the deck.

  • Springpaw - While it's a lesser version of Alleycat, it's still a very reliable early game card that can help buff your Scavenging Hyena and gives you something to trade with.
  • Timber Wolf - Very weak on its own, but powers up your Springpaw and makes Unleash the Hounds a very solid board clear or finisher. Midrange Hunter is mostly about getting every little bit of damage in to finish off your opponent, and Timber Wolf can be a savior in the right situation.
  • Tracking - Some people might wonder why this card is in the deck. Yes, you do lose two cards when you use this but Midrange Hunter is very rarely if ever going to be a deck that draws out its entire deck. Just think of the cards you lost as being at the bottom of your deck and it really makes no difference that you lost them. This card gives you the ability to get a card you need right now, and can lead to the last bit of damage you need for lethal.
  • Dire Wolf Alpha - A more expensive and more durable version of Timber Wolf. While it only works on adjacent minions, it's rare to have more than a couple minions on the board anyway in most cases.
  • Headhunter's Hatchet - Solid weapon that can be a good turn two play to gain that extra durability.
  • Hench-Clan Hogsteed - Good aggressive card that can trade down a minion, and leave something for us behind afterwards.
  • Scavenging Hyena - Can get crazy good if we can pair it with Unleash the Hounds, or just trading with some of our beasts. This one can be tough for aggressive decks to deal with.
  • Animal Companion - One of the most powerful and longstanding Basic cards in the game. It is either protecting your smaller minions with a taunt, buffing them for extra damage, or allowing you to go for the face early with a Huffer roll. This card can break open games with a timely roll.
  • Kill Command - Synergizes well with all of the beasts in the list, but also is great for removing pesky taunts or going for that final bit of damage you need for lethal.
  • Master's Call - Hunter has generally been starved for card draw, and with a deck that is nothing but beasts means you will always be getting the three card draw. This card gives you a chance in the mid-game if you lost your board or had an awkward draw.
  • Unleash the Hounds - Has great synergy against wide boards and gives you a way to really buff up your Scavenging Hyena in the right scenario. It can also be paired with Timber Wolf for extra damage to clear the board or go for lethal.
  • Dire Frenzy - This card is pretty situational and can be dead in certain situations, but it also can help push your advantage over the edge and potentially give you some strong draws in the mid-to-late game. This card is also pretty good with Tracking if you land it on a minion you want to get in your hand.
  • Tundra Rhino - This card can be insane if your opponent can't remove it. It is really good if you can land it on an empty board on turn five and then follow it up with a Savannah Highmane. Keep in mind that if you need to trade your Highmane for whatever reason, your Hyenas will also have charge once they spawn. You can also use this card as just general removal in the right circumstance.
  • Savannah Highmane - This card has been jokingly referred to as a Hunter Legendary card due to how good it can be. Great stats for the cost, and the Deathrattle is extremely useful. Your opponent will need to have the right removal in hand to deal with it, and is such a powerful turn six option on an empty board.
  • Unleash the Beast - Pretty strong new card from the Rise of Shadows set. We get a big minion we can use right away to trade, and it synergizes with Zul'jin.
  • Zul'jin - We don't have a ton of spells, but it should be enough to utilize our hero card.

Midrange Hunter Card Replacements

I'm listing a bunch of the potential replacement options and what they can accomplish below. When you are replacing cards in a deck, you are either trying to emulate what the replaced card does or contribute to the decks overall strategy. Do note that if you are lacking cards like Master's Call and Zul'jin that you will be on a more aggressive gameplan.

  • Hunter's Mark - If we're running into a lot of high health taunts, then this is a solid addition to the deck.
  • Deadly Shot - A great card against decks that put down taunt minions or just a single big minion each turn. The problem with this card, however, is that it's extremely weak against decks that spread out the board.
  • Eaglehorn Bow - While your deck likely doesn't run secrets, it's still a solid weapon without them. Good for pushing damage and clearing minions. It has been a long time part of Midrange Hunter in the past.
  • Jungle Panther - Aggressive stats with Stealth that makes it hard to remove. It can be very weak against most AOE spells.
  • Ornery Tortoise - A bit of a risky card to have in an aggressive meta because Hunter doesn't generally run healing. This card does have a lot of stats for the cost, and it pairs really well in a deck that takes advantage of the following card...
  • Houndmaster - While the full cost Midrange Hunter version doesn't run this, it has been a long time part of the archetype. Just a great overall card if you can play it on curve on a minion and can be used to push damage or protect your weaker minions while producing a decent body.
  • Flanking Strike - In the best case scenario, you are removing a minion and gaining one of your own which is extremely powerful. While this will not always happen on curve, it still helps you chip away at a minion and develops your board. This card can be dead in certain scenarios.
  • Lifedrinker - Deals damage to the hero that can get by taunt, and has a rare healing ability that can sometimes be helpful for a class that can't heal itself.
  • Baited Arrow - Overkill was the new mechanic introduced in Rastakhan's Rumble. This card costs quite a bit, so you will generally not want to run two of them. In just about all cases, you will really need to get the Overkill value out of it or it's a pretty bad card. It does standout a bit from Flanking Shot in that it can be used to damage the enemy hero.
  • Stranglethorn Tiger - If you are lacking Savannah Highmane this can be a good temporary replacement. This card is nearly guaranteed to stick to the board and makes it able to receive buffs or guarantee some damage.

About the Author

Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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