Hearthstone is a game, and that means it should be fun. Our mission with this series is to help make Hearthstone fun for everyone by spotlighting decks that are fun to play and only contain cards at lower rarities or ones that are given out to all players. This is Budget Deck Breakdown, and this week we'll be talking about Deathrattle Hunter.
Tonks for the Memories
Even if they weren't that great, Deathrattle Hunter decks have made their mark on Hearthstone's history as the other thing you can do with Hunter that isn't jamming damage into your opponent's face with reckless abandon (although Undertaker Hunter did both). Like many other Blizzard Approved Class Identities, there have been a plethora of cards that either push or payoff from the Deathrattle mechanic in Hunter and our current Standard rotation is no exception with cards like Ursatron, Carrion Studies, and Mok'Nathal Lion.
The coup de grace (which is French for "big boy") of the current Deathrattle Hunter shell is Darkmoon Tonk, a large mech that floats like a battleship and stings like another battleship. Darkmoon Tonk's business is doing a lot of damage, and baby...business is booming. Darkmoon Tonk is a great card to start with when building a budget Deathrattle Hunter deck, and the list we're featuring today utilizes the Tonk as top-end for a low-curve deck with sticky minions and cool synergies.
With this deck, we're trying to use cheap, sticky minions to fight for the board early while transitioning into a late-game where we hope to play Darkmoon Tonk then get that Big Tonk Energy to launch extra missiles at our opponent's face thanks to Mok'Nathal Lion's Battlecry. We have a pair of 3-drop tutors that can find our key cards for us: Diving Gryphon for Mok'Nathal Lion and Ursatron for the Tonk. Diving Gryphon can also find Animated Broomstick, which also pairs nicely with Tonk even if it doesn't get us those extra missiles. Thanks to these tutors, we have a pretty good chance of playing Darkmoon Tonk on curve and in style.
Mok'Nathal Lion is a heckuva card and has multiple opportunities to shine in this list beyond the dream scenario of Darkmoon Tonk. You can hold on to it for a ten Mana combo burst with the Tonk (made possible by a discount from Carrion Studies), but Mokky (can I call you Mokky?) can copy any of our cheap Deathrattles in the early game while zooming in to take care of our opponent's biggest minion. Against aggressive decks, using it on curve while copying the Deathrattles of Serpent Egg or Bloated Python is perfectly egg-ceptable. It is the perfect card for this deck, and if there's one thing I want you to take away from this article, it's a desire to play more Mok'Nathal Lion.
Finally, there's one card in this deck that I have a feeling many readers moused over in confusion. It's possible you forgot it even existed. Let me sum up. Recurring Villain is a card that we use to confound our opponents by occasionally bringing it back when we have the opportunity to land an Adorable Infestation or Wriggling Horror buff on it. Most importantly, it works with Mokky to give Mokky the ability to summon another Mokky when it dies. Recurring Villain is not very good, but it is sometimes good and sometimes good is good enough for me.
Mulligan and Gameplay Tips
This deck likes to curve out in the early turns, so keep that in mind when you mulligan. Generally, you want to see a 1-drop like Dwarven Sharpshooter or Blazing Battlemage and some follow-up plays like Adorable Infestation, Wandmaker, or Serpent Egg. We also would like to see our 3-drop tutors: Ursatron and Diving Gryphon.
Against aggro, you can also look to keep Dancing Cobra since it's acceptable to play it on curve in that matchup without Corrupting it first. Animated Broomstick is great for winning back the board. Adorable Infestation and Wriggling Horror help us fight for the board by giving our minions a cheap buff (especially useful with Serpent Egg).
Against control or combo, you want your low-curve sticky minions like Serpent Egg and Bloated Python. Carrion Studies is also a fun keep against those decks.
This deck wants to be aggressive in controlling our opponent's board and making it as difficult as possible for them to deal with our board. For that reason, we have a lot of cheaper minions whose timely deaths will leave behind another decent-sized body and cheap Rush minions to attack our opponent's minions while protecting ours.
Our minions without Deathrattles or Rush either provide us with cheap ways to buff our minions or solid bodies that can fight for the board. Dancing Cobra in particular shines in most matchups. Against aggro, it's a sticky 2-drop that can answer their early game and still be a body to land our buffs on. Against slower decks, it's a mid-to-late-game Poisonous that can cheaply answer a big threat.
Card Replacements for the Rich and Famous
Deathrattle Hunter decks can get pretty wealthy if you're not careful. If you have it, Oblivitron slots in as an enabler for Darkmoon Tonk, making it easier to get one on the board while triggering its Deathrattle. It can replace pretty much any card you want. Nine Lives is a powerful recursion effect for the late game and is worth adding in place of the Wandmaker and a Carrion Studies. Teron Gorefiend is another decent option if you have him, striking down your Eggs or Tonks only for them to return more powerful than before (though probably a little angry from that whole striking down business).
If you're less into the value generation of Wandmaker, you'll probably find Bonechewer Brawler to be more your speed: he's tough, he wears our cheap buffs exceptionally well, and his Taunt protects our other minions. Hunter's Mark is a cheap and effective way to remind your opponent that Hunter's Mark is a card. And finally, if you really want to you can replace Recurring Villain with Teacher's Pet, but this act will forever bring shame upon your family.
Deathrattle Hunter is a fun, cheap, and cool way to play Hearthstone. I'm certain that this list only scratches the surface of what you can do with the archetype so don't hesitate to try out different things for yourself. Have a blast (or three or four) with Darkmoon Tonk!
Are there any budget decks you've been having fun with? Why do you think more people should play Recurring Villain? Share your thoughts in the comments!