The full set of cards dropping into the game with United in Stormwind has been revealed! As we always do here, it is time to review these new cards, this article focusing on how Demon Hunter is likely to perform in the new meta.

Keep in mind that this is an early look at the class before we've been able to play with the new cards, so while we try to be as accurate as possible in our predictions of what is to come, no one can perfectly predict the Hearthstone meta.


Demon Hunter Deck Themes in United in Stormwind

The major one is all about card draw and the resulting discounts; we know how powerful mana cheating can be in Hearthstone. Although in this particular case, there are quite a few doubts. Beyond that there is a flashy attempt to make Fel spell school become its own distinct thing, and a couple potential additions to the existing Lifesteal & Deathrattle variants.

The new Tradeable keyword might also find a few fitting synergies here given its cycling potential, but so far most Neutral minions sporting the tag don't come across as particularly outstanding. We already have a very respectable card draw package within the class, from the mainstay Skull of Gul'dan to - wait for it - the perennial meme of Glide

It's all riding on the muscular shoulders of our pal Jace here. So far he's not shaping up to become the most explosive of finishers, but with each new Fel card printed in the future we'll have to review this statement. For the time being we got some direct damage from Chaos Strike or Fury (Rank 1), along with single target and AoE removal (Eye Beam, Immolation Aura, etc.) 

Just that, yet since the archetype has been doing okay ever since the Wailing Caverns Mini-Set, Peddler is actually a fair addition due to its overall synergy with the deck and of course with Razorfen Beastmaster.

We almost made it without another Lifesteal card being added, but here it is to round up the current offerings. As it stands, it's not very likely to be able to compete with Eye Beam

So let's have a closer look at all these new toys:


The Questline

Final Showdown Card Image Gain Momentum Card Image Close the Portal Card Image 
"Get out of my way, these things don't close themselves! "

Each Questline tells a short Mercenary story through its subsequent sidequests, culminating in the big payoff. Here we have Kurtrus fighting a rather sizeable demon and attempting to disable the magic door (The Burning Legion truly has a knack for littering the landscape with various portals). And that's your crucial dose of lore trivia for the day, kids. 

I reeealy wanted the Final Showdown to be named slightly differently, so we could have a certain immortal tune echo across virtual halls as we begin our matches. Petition to rename? Perhaps that's best reserved for the future, as merely drawing cards doesn't rank very high on the great scale of Epicness. 

Mechanically, we could sum this up as "draw tons of cards, enjoy your discounts". Everyone loves when their cards cost less mana to use, as long as it amounts to some kind of advantage or helps achieve that final goal. At the start of every turn we are guaranteed to get one tick for the quest. The rest is down to using our extensive card draw package (Skull of Gul'dan, Double Jump, Spectral Sight, Acrobatics, and yes, yes - Glide) while managing the expanding hand size. It's actually not as simple as it sounds, seeing as it all has to be performed within a single turn - three times total, once for each part of the Questline. Afterwards we earn our prize: 

Demonslayer Kurtrus Card Image
Let's gooo! Wait, what do you mean there are no more cards left in the deck?

Now that's actually pretty underwhelming. First we need to spare 5 mana for our dear Kurtrus, who does nothing immediate for us when played on the board. Then we better be able to keep drawing more than one card per turn in order to effectively benefit from the permanent discount. That is, if there are enough cards left in the deck for this to matter in the first place. 

It doesn't play nicely with any Soul Fragments = no discount (not that Soul DH is even seen much nowadays). It's hard to imagine the whole setup being of any relevance to other archetypes we've known, except for the lone Lifesteal OTK where it will be inevitably experimented with. But does that deck even need to go through such hoops for its consistency? This might prove to be one of the biggest baits of the expansion.

P.S. Echo delves into the depths of this one here


Jace Darkweaver

Jace Darkweaver Card Image
Slaying demons, eating Fel nutrients and working out. A lot.

Our standalone Legendary of the set. Or technically not much of a standalone, since he's all about that newfound Fel spell school synergy. 

If you've played some World of Warcraft in the recent years, you might be familiar with the guy. A former mage serving under Illidan, assisting young demon hunters and doing what Illidari do best - that is, slaying countless demons while mastering fel energies for themselves (I guess there was another small lore lesson to be had, after all). 

One with greater potential, even though there might not be enough support to fully realize it just yet. We've seen this effect before with the likes of Shudderwock and Zul'jin, and they were powerhouses in their own right. On the plus side there is no 'random targets' here, prioritizing enemies instead. Which is nice until you remember many Fel cards being double-edged swords: Immolation Aura, Chaos Nova, Eye Beam, Chaos Leech, Felscream Blast.

The dream would be to stack enough direct damage opportunities (Chaos Strike, Fury (Rank 3), Metamorphosis, Fel Barrage) and hit your opponent for over 20 damage in a single turn. Which would mean surviving for longer while drawing and using all these spells before even dropping Jace. If it works like Zul'jin with Tame Beast (Rank 1), then it snapshots your ranked spell at the point where you used it: meaning for the full bonus Fury (Rank 3) ought to be used at 10 mana. Sounds enticing on paper, and yet... isn't Lifesteal OTK already doing it far better and faster?

We'll have to see with the later Mini-Set and any new Fel spell being "printed". Some form of Control Demon Hunter in the future?


Lion's Frenzy

Lion's Frenzy Card Image
Um, has anyone seen my pet lion?

No, I do not know what Demon Hunters have in common with lions. This warrants further investigation. But Stormwind City, House Wrynn and the Alliance as a whole use lion-themed heraldry for their crests. So there you go, maybe Kurtrus has been trying to apply for a honorary membership. 

For a class with many powerful weapons, this one is looking... not very good. It fits the whole card draw theme and goes along with the Questline, but that's a lot of setup for an underwhelming payoff. Sure, if you happen to draw 6-7 cards in a turn, it amounts to a decent chunk of damage. But on average, Aldrachi Warblades, Felsteel Executioner and Marrowslicer tend to be far, far superior for the non-conditional reliability factor alone.


Felgorger

Felgorger Card Image
Fel-only diet, a demon's favorite.

Just your standard demon checking all the boxes. We have fel synergy, card draw, and board presence all in one, but these are underwhelming stats for the mana cost. As long as Skull of Gul'dan and similar tools exist, it might be harder to justify a deck slot or two for this one. The meta being slower would be of considerable advantage here. Still, there is probably nothing better as far as drawing early Fel spells goes. 


Persistent Peddler

Persistent Peddler Card Image
"Hey, you! Yes, you. Grab this fel cookie, it's a bargain! C'mon, you're missing out!"

Something for fans of Deathrattle Demon Hunter. Just a single token of appreciation for the archetype, it could result in an even greater tempo while thinning the deck. Has Razorfen Beastmaster's stamp of approval, with the Tradeable flavor helping ensure the other copy of the card can almost always be pulled out for free. 

Nothing is as annoyingly persistent as these Deathrattles, folks.


Sigil of Alacrity

Sigil of Alacrity Card Image
Pfft, we all know that sigils are the very antithesis of alacrity.

Where were you when we needed you to complete the absurdly grindy requirements for Forged in the Barrens achievements, huh, Sigil of Alacrity? Denying all that you supposedly stand for. Now it's too little too late to be helping us out with that. But perhaps you could help out Kurtrus with his set of quests. 

The Questline synergy is natural, although it would have to be timed pretty well. Planning your turns ahead to line up with other card draw, and all that. On its own, it could be an appealing option for Lifesteal Demon Hunter. The deck doesn't have many straightforward turn 1 plays (and there are scenarios where you might wish to hold onto Double Jump or Illidari Studies). I could even see it replacing a copy of Chaos Strike or said Double Jump.


Chaos Leech

Chaos Leech Card Image
Agreed, Demon Hunters are such irredeemable leeches. 

A Fel spell, so all the relevant synergies apply. Stronger Eye Beam if arranged into Outcast position, but also a more expensive one. A toy for Jace Darkweaver,  maybe some Lifesteal DHs will decide to run more redundancy, so they could use Chaos Leech for removal/healing while preserving outcasted Eye Beam for the Il'gynoth combo.


Fel Barrage

Fel Barrage Card Image
Pew... and pew. 

Well now, this isn't much of a barrage. Still, this looks useful. Even more so because it can go face if the opposing board is empty. Otherwise a decent single target removal scalable with spell damage. And we keep pushing the Fel package for Jace Darkweaver & Co.


Metamorfin

Metamorfin Card Image
"Mrrrglfnn!"

Look how cutely menacing this one is! Alas, I have it on good authority it just couldn't make the final cut for the Mighty Morphin Power Murlocs squad. That's kinda sad.

Not a proper 1-drop, given the Goldshire Footman guise if the extra condition isn't met. 3/4 statline stops being as useful beyond turn 3, and the problem here is that you may not want to throw away your cheap Fel spell just to boost the murloc. Especially if you are holding them to pair with some form of spell damage or a Mo'arg Artificer. Not convinced the little guy might warrant a deck slot.


Irebound Brute

Irebound Brute Card Image
Bound by ire-on?

So many angry brutes among the demonkind. I wonder just what it could synergize with (*coughs* Glide *coughs*)... 

Wannabe Bladed Lady. Technically limitless mana discounts always deserve due consideration. This coming down for 0-1 mana (or more realistically 2-3) should be a nice tempo bonus while drawing through our decks. Natural fit for the Final Showdown Questline, and probably not much else. That Big Demon DH archetype has yet to break the meta...


Relevant Neutrals

Cornelius Roame Card Image Stockades Prisoner Card Image Entrapped Sorceress Card Image

Nobleman Card Image SI:7 Skulker Card Image

Any of these could warrant a decent amount of testing to find out if they are worthwhile to go along with Final Showdown (or a brave Lifesteal DH in the case of these last two). Although Entrapped Sorceress might not be able to compete with Venomous Scorpid, unless we are doubling down on discovers. 

Stockades Prisoner might prove to be a tad too slow to make an impact, while Cornelius Roame promises to be a card draw engine that has to be removed outright. If Demon Hunter ever ends up resembling Handlock, then we have a selection of cards such as Spice Bread Baker, Package Runner, or Goldshire Gnoll.

Of course there are also Tradeable tech cards (Guild Trader, Royal Librarian, Rustrot Viper) that could sneak into any deck of choice. Finally, Mo'arg Forgefiend is a Big Demon. 

Enthusiastic Banker Card Image Stubborn Suspect Card Image 

Any small Deathrattle cards with beneficial outcomes are at least a consideration for this DH archetype, but this set offers very few of them. These two don't look powerful enough to make the cut. 

There is also that infamous Elwynn Boar, if somebody actually finds a way to live their best meme dream.


Theorycrafting Demon Hunter in United in Stormwind

It wouldn't be too difficult to add Persistent Peddler to the Deathrattle variant or Sigil of Alacrity for the Lifesteal Demon Hunter and call it a day, but there is no fun in that. 

While the Final Showdown Questline offers plentiful prospects (and I have a soft spot for Glide, memes or not), it is our pal Jace Darkweaver who deserves a proper spotlight. Even if the Fel support package might be currently somewhat lacking. 

The deck runs Il'gynoth and Mo'args because they are just too good with various Fel spells not to, but isn't too concerned with holding onto or preserving any combos. If it happens, great. Otherwise it's just survival tools to stall, heal, and throw into Jace's pool. 

Drawing through the deck while preserving one's health total and cleaning up the boards would be the general game plan. Any chip damage done to the opponents meanwhile is valuable. At the end of day, in Jace Darkweaver we trust. There is no other reliable way to add that final chunk of face melting.  


Closing Thoughts on Demon Hunter in Forged in the Barrens

In terms of power levels, it's arguably among the weakest sets of class cards for United in Stormwind. Both the Final Showdown Questline and Jace Darkweaver hopefuls might struggle with coming across consistent win conditions. 

So will it be Deathrattle's and Lifesteal OTK's playing field once again, at least until the Mini-Set for the expansion or a larger balance patch arrive? All signs point to a yes. 

Maybe some kind of Big Demon focus sneaks up on us (one can dream), as there certainly doesn't seem to be much going in favor of any Aggro revival. There are a few more seeds being planted for the future, but Stormwind just could turn out not to be a very exciting set for the class.


Where do you stand on the Demon Hunter class for the coming expansion? Any brand new ideas you haven't seen talked about much? We are always looking to expand our horizons! 


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