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"Hearthstone" Hunter Deck: Win With Aggressive Direct Damage

This Hunter deck plays some familiar faces, including Trampling Rhino, to deal tons of damage directly to your opponent's  Life Points.

This Hunter deck plays some familiar faces, including Trampling Rhino, to deal tons of damage directly to your opponent's Life Points.

An Aggressive Deck With Predictable Outcomes

For those Hearthstone players who enjoy getting a ton of minions out to the battlefield and hitting for big damage every turn, there are few archetypes better than Hunter. However, not all Hunter decks are built equally. Some focus on defeating minions and developing the early game to control the battlefield. Some try to simply smash in as many damage points as possible with reckless abandon, hoping that they can deal more damage more quickly than their opponent.

This deck list has the latter goal. It is meant for the most aggressive players who are comfortable allowing opponents to deal a lot of damage to them directly and who are comfortable putting a lot of faith in their deck's performance with the goal of simply staying alive a little bit longer than their opponent.

If this sounds like you, I encourage you to try out this Hunter build, which focuses on creating a lot of smaller minions that can hit each turn and utilizing all of your mana on each turn to deal as much spell and power-based damage as possible.

So let's check out the deck list before we discuss how to best play it!

Aggressive Direct Damage Hunter Deck List

Minions: 15

(1) Intrepid Initiate x2

(1) Irondeep Trogg x2

(1) Guardian Augmerchant x2

(1) Wolpertinger x2

(2) Cult Neophyte x2

(4) Warsong Wrangler x2

(5) Trampling Rhino x2

(5) Barak Kodobane x1

Spells: 13

(1) Demon Companion x2

(1) Adorable Infestation x2

(2) Doggie Biscuit x2

(2) Quick Shot x2

(3) Ramming Mount x2

(3) Aimed Shot x2

(4) Piercing Shot x1

Weapons: 2

(1) Trueaim Crescent x1

(4) Rinling's Rifle x1

Irondeep Trogg is a great opener against spell heavy decks including those played by Mage and Druid.

Irondeep Trogg is a great opener against spell heavy decks including those played by Mage and Druid.

How to Assert Early Game Dominance

The overall goal of this deck is to simply race your opponent's Life Points down to zero, but of course there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy for accomplishing this.

The way you start the game will depend on what kind of deck you are playing against, which can be inferred by which archetype your opponent is playing.

There are two ideal openers for this deck:

Irondeep Trogg, a 1/2 minion that summons another Irondeep Trogg when an opponent plays a spell, is the best opener against Mage, Druid, Priest, Shaman, and Demon Hunter decks, which tend to play a lot of spells early game.

Wolpertinger, a 1/1 beast minion with a Battlecry that summons a copy of Wolpertinger, is the best opener for Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warlock, and Warrior decks, which tend to open with minions as opposed to spells.

And if you aren't able to play the above minions, you can also play Intrepid Initiate. However, this minion is less ideal for the first turn because it centralizes your attacking power into one minion and compels you to play a spell turn two to leverage its Spellburst ability, while lacking the significant benefit offered by the similarly powered Irondeep Trogg.

Or, you can play Demon Companion, which will summon one of three minions: a 2/2 with taunt, a 2/1 with Haste, or a 1/2 that gives all of your minions +1/+0 continuously. Again, it's not bad, but it's more ideal to play later game with the hope of getting the minion that provides +1/+0 to power up your wide field of minions.

But, since Demon Companion is a spell, if you can play Intrepid Initiate turn one and Demon Companion and another one mana minion on turn two, this is a fairly strong option to consider.

On turn two to three, you can either continue to build your board widely by playing more minions, which is good when your opponent is playing a lot of removal spells, or build up your existing minions with spells like Adorable Infestation, Doggie Biscuit, or Ramming Mount. The latter strategy is best if your opponent is building a similarly powerful board, and is especially strong if you can stick any of the above spells on an Irondeep Trogg, making it more difficult to remove.

Additionally, by sticking a Ramming Mount to your Irondeep Trogg and then attacking with Indestructible, you can destroy large minions on your opponent's field without risking damage to your Irondeep Trogg.

But if your opponent is playing a spell heavy deck, Cult Neophyte is a great turn two minion to play because not only does it post a 3/2 minion to the battlefield, but it also makes it difficult for your opponent to play early game spells that help these decks (especially Mage, Druid, and Shaman) achieve their tempo.

Aimed Shot can allow you to deal seven damage directly for just five mana which you can spread out over two turns!

Aimed Shot can allow you to deal seven damage directly for just five mana which you can spread out over two turns!

Shoot Damage Spells Directly at Your Opponent

In almost all scenarios, you want to use your damage spells, Aimed Shot and Quick Shot, to deal damage directly to your opponent. Again, the goal of this deck is to race your opponent's Life Points down to zero, so you typically don't need to use these spells to remove your opponent's minions.

Instead, your opponent will likely be running their minions into your minions to try to combat your growing board, and while this isn't fun for your board development, if they aren't dealing damage to your Life Points faster than you are damaging theirs, there isn't typically much reason to care about your opponent's minions.

Let's just do the math. If you play all of your Aimed Shots and Quick Shots, you will deal 20 damage to your opponent's Life Points for a total of 14 mana. (These totals consider the fact that you will use your buffed hero powers after playing Aimed Shot.) This is 66% of your opponent's Life Points alone!

Additionally, this deck still plays great removal options that apply pressure to your opponent's Life Points, including those provided by Trampling Rhino, Piercing Shot, Rinling's Rifle, Trueaim Crescent, and Guardian Augmerchant. Therefore, you don't need to use Aimed Shot or Quick Shot on minions unless you really need to destroy a small minion that isn't easy to remove through combat and that is providing a solid continuous benefit to your opponent. But don't do this unless you have no other options.

Don't Forget to Use Your Hero Power!

This should go without saying, but try to use all of your mana each turn. If you have at least two leftover mana at the end of a turn, use your Steady Shot hero power to deal two damage directly to your opponent. Don't use this in lieu of developing your board, but it never hurts to use this if you have nothing else you want to play, so don't forget to use it when you can!

Don't overlook Warsong Wrangler. This card can quickly turn games in your favor.

Don't overlook Warsong Wrangler. This card can quickly turn games in your favor.

Trampling Rhino for the Win!

One of the most critical pieces of the aggressive direct damage strategy is attacking with Trampling Rhino. But we can help ourselves tutor this card into our hands and power it up by first playing Warsong Wrangler on turn four.

You may be wondering when to play this card. I would recommend playing it as soon as possible. In this deck, it will give you the option between Wolpertinger and Trampling Rhino. If your opponent has no minions on the battlefield, you will want to take the former, which will give you two 3/2 beasts for one mana. But in most instances your opponent will have a minion in play, so typically you will take Trampling Rhino, giving you a 7/6 beast with Rush.

By the time you can stick Trampling Rhino to the battlefield, it will be turn five, meaning that you should have whittled away at least half of your opponent's Life Points by then.

Then, using Trampling Rhino to attack an opponent's minion with Rush, you will destroy an opposing minion and deal up to six direct damage because of the Rhino's ability which deals excess damage not used to destroy a minion to an opponent's Life Points, putting the Trample in "Trampling" Rhino (we're looking at you Magic: The Gathering). In many instances, if everything goes right up until and including this moment and you can directly attach with other minions in play, your opponent will have fewer than half of their Life Points remaining.

Additionally, if needed, you can repeat this strategy with the second Trampling Rhino (which will have the +2/+1 benefit from the first Warsong Wrangler) later in the game. Another benefit of playing Trampling Rhino in the later game when you have more mana is that you can further power it when it hits the battlefield using Adorable Infestation, Doggie Biscuit, or Ramming Mount, which can often end games.

Happy Battling!

This is a top tier deck that is competitive at the highest levels of Hearthstone play. Because of this, it is extremely reliable, but only after you've developed an eye for making the correct decisions throughout the course of your games.

If you are not familiar with the aggressive direct damage strategy, don't get discouraged if you aren't immediately winning with this deck. This is because it often requires players to leave themselves wide open for direct damage in order to deal the requisite damage to end games before the opponent is able to execute their winning strategies.

Happy battling, and I hope to see you soon around the hearth!