- Making Fletch happen (now with detailed guide)
- Combo Hunter
So after my deck gained a surprising amount of attention I have decided to actually commit to writing a detailed guide on how to play it (seeing how this is basically an entirely new archetype with no real comparabe gameplay pattern).
After finding a surprising amount of success with this deck (that I basically almost nailed with the first draft, only having to change 3 cards for the current and presumably final build) I struggled to think of how to describe the archetype. At face value it's a combo deck with a 26 damage (occasionally 32) damage finisher. However, it doesn't really play like a true combo deck (on account of the fact that Hunter can't get away with just ignoring the board and drawing through their entire deck) but rather an aggro/tempo hybrid aiming to get in as much chip damage as possible until lethal through the combo (or parts of it) is achieved. However, after continued testing I realized that a lot of the time the combo isn't even relevant and games are won through accumulative damage and ruthless board presence. As a result I was thinking of the term "aggro-combo", but that really didn't fit either....
But then I had sort of an epiphany...this deck plays almost exactly like the Miracle Rogue of the old times (the one that used Gadgetzan Auctioneer as a draw engine to gather burn spells to finish off the opponent). Basically you're a tempo deck that tries to take the board as efficiently as possible while accumulating damage, but you also have a miracle draw engine that can get you the pieces for a lethal combo. Light on minions, but not incapable of taking the board and using it to get damage in. No healing or defensive options, but enough damage to race a lot of opponents as well as push them off the board if necessary. Basically Miracle Rogue.
As a result I propose this deck should be referred to as Miracle Hunter (and no, you don't need a miracle for it to work, save your puns).
With that out of the way the playstyle of the deck should probably be more clear to those who didn't see it before. Your goal is to kill your opponent through any means your deck allows. Since you can't play defensively you need to make sure to use all your ressources to their fullest and play with foresight. Conserve cards when possible, but use whatever's necessary to get you closer to victory. In short: Every game you will have to make decisions based on the current state of the board, your hand, your opponent's life total, and your outs. This is not an autopilot curve deck. There will be situations where you will need to make plays that aren't really obvious in order to get a bigger payoff later on. It's not necessarily a hard deck (I'd say it's much easier than Miracle Rogue) but it requires you to think at least a little ahead and consider most of the possible outcomes.
Now, explaining how the deck is to be played and how all the cards work together it makes sense to first explain every card and its uses individually. Buckle in boys...this is goinng to take a while...
Adorable Infestation: This is essentially the glue of the draw engine. When used with Arcane Fletcher it basically cycles itself which gives your lategame miracle turns much more consistency. Just in general it helps generating fodder for your miracle turns while helping you fight for the board early or just get additional damage in. Do remember that the Token is a beast which can interfere with other cards in the deck.
Arcane Shot: Removal or burn damage depending on your situation. How you use it depends on the situation. Do note that just sending it face to proc a Pen Flinger or Krolusk Barkstripper is a totally valid play.
Dwarven Sharpshooter: Pretty self-explanatory. Fletcher fodder, good 1-drop and great for keeping the board clear. Sometimes it's right to not play it on turn 1 if you're fighting an opponent that can possibly kill it. It's okay to keep it in hand until you actually need it. It really depends on your matchups.
Overwhelm: Very flexible removal. We have enough small beasts to use as pseudo-spell damage meaning in matchups with high health targets you want to hold on to this and use Arcane Shot as small removal whereas in faster matchups you can just use this as is if necessary and keep Arcane Shot for burn.
Rapid Fire: Good by itself, better with Bloodmage Thalnos, great with Professor Slate and essentialy for Pen Flinger. Do not waste this if you have other options. This enables so many combos as well as potentially giving you lethal outs.
Shimmerfly: Not really an obvious choice at first glance seeing how it's the worst target of Scavenger's Ingenuity. However, having extra ressources, specifically spells is extremely important in this deck. There's almost no truly bad result from this (not even Hunting Party)
Tracking: one of the most important cards yet one of the trickiest. Basically 1-mana draw 3, except you toss 2. You have to be careful when to use this because getting unlucky can just lose you the game by dropping a combo piece or an essential removal piece. You only want to use this when you have to (aka needing to activate Spellburst or being out of options). Don't use it to fill your curve...or if you do, realize that it's a big gamble. Still, you have to use both if you want to win the game because it helps get through your deck fast.
Wolpertinger: Great 1-drop, good for Fletcher, absolutely amazing off Ingenuity. Also works well with Overwhelm. Just a solid card in general. If you get it off Ingenuity make sure to get it out as fast as possible (Coin it if you have to) because in the current meta there is almost not 3-damage AoE meaning they will often get a lot of damage in before they're dealt with.
Professor Slate: Despite looking like a core piece he's really just here because it would be a waste not to run him. Often you won't get more than one kill with him, but that's already enough. Don't fall back in tempo by holding on to him though. If you can throw him out and kill a single 3/3 then it'S worth it. Anything that requires your opponent to react to the board instead of killing you is a good thing.
Ramkahen Wildtamer: A strangely flexible card. At face value it's just another combo piece, but in practice it's so much more. Unless you're playing against a hard control deck with lots of lifegain (like Priest) going full combo isn't necessary mos of the time. As such, playing Wildtamer to just copy something like a buffed Wolpertinger, Krolusk Barkstripper or even just Shimmerfly is not bad at all. JUst make sure not to copy the token from Adorable Infestation. How to use Wildtamer will depend on your matchup and on the current situation and can change turn after turn. Using it ineffectively (both copying something useless or keeping it for too long) may result in your loss.
Arcane Fletcher: Basically Auctioneer. Ideally you want to draw at least 3 cards off this, but sometimes 2 or just 1 is okay too, depending on the matchup. Make sure you keep in mind that you will need 1-drops to play alongside her so don't just spam all your minions on curve early on. Pen Flinger works incredibly well with this later in the game, even though you have to play spells in between to recycle it. Occasionally the Fletcher sticks for more than one turn and then you just win.
Krolusk Barkstripper: Originally just added because of the obivious synergy it has become an actual centerpiece of the deck. Your best (and only) bet at killing big stuff early (without being lucky enough to draw Slate). When draw off Ingenuity your turn 5 can be a huge swing that can decide how you get to play the game from there on. Against a lot of decks copying this with Wildtamer is almost as game winning as copying Krush. Sometimes you can just throw it out on 4 and demand an answer. Do remember to keep spells around to activate this though.
Beastmaster Leoroxx: The only actual pure combo piece. Ideally you want to use it with triple Krush on turn 10 + Hero power for 26 damage. Sometimes it's also fine to just use it with one or two Krush...or even Barkstrippers in there. At the end of the day we aren't an OTK deck, we just have lots of endgame damage. It is therefore sometimes preferable to use this before having lethal and relying on Pen Flinger and spells to finish your opponent off (as those can't get blocked by taunts).
King Krush: Outside of being the main damage part of the combo you can also use the big dino as is. Often you will get into situations where you can't rely on drawing Leoroxx so you can just play the guy and ram face...and then do it again with the copied one. I have won plenty of games by just playing the guy as is because I got my opponent low enough. It is a threat they need to deal with or take 8 again, meaning you should definitely use it to put on pressure, especially when there's a chance they'll have taunts up later.
Pen Flinger: The absolute MVP. Early removal, lategame finisher, he does it all. Do NOT waste him. Always make sure to bounce him back after using (unless you need to leave him on the board due to mana constraints while dealing with a prime threat). If he didn't exist the deck just simply wouldn't work at all.
Bloodmage Thalnos: The only true flex card in the deck. I ended up putting him in because I wanted more draw and extra synergy with the spells. He also occasionally helps to finish, but most of the time you just play him to cycle. Feel free to sub him for tech choices (discussed later)
Now this might sound discouraging, but hear me out. This deck doesn't have any favorable matchups. If you're playing this deck you always have to play like you're behind or are about to have the tables turned on you.
That's what makes it fun though. Basically you have to give 110% while your opponent gets to play whatever autopilot netdeck currently gets you to Legend in the least amount of time.
However, this also means that your opponents are often prone to misplays, which is how you can snatch a lot of wins. Unfortunately a lot of this is due to the deck's relative obscurity. If (and that's a big if) this deck becomes more widely known thanks to the exposure on this site expect your winrate to decrease as well. As it stands, a lot of the deck's power does come from the fact that oppponents just don't know what to expect and fail to play around it. When you're playing against this, the last thing you expect is seeing your opponent, who did nothing but clear the board and hero power while cycling Pen Flingers, play King Krush from hand for game. Once they do realize what you'Re playing they'll probably try to either disrupt your combo or pressure you because they are aware of your damage limits. In that sense let's keep this thing our little secret so I can eventually hit Legend with it and pretend I'm an accomplished deckbuilder.
Either way, here's a few tips on each matchup, ranked vaguely from easiest to hardest:
The easiest matchup on the basis of SHaman being pretty bad right now and they're only vaguely popular and viable deck being Totem Shaman, which you counter on the basis of being really good at clearing small minions early on (and having Slate and Krolusk as fallbacks for later swings). Totem Goliath can be a problem though.
If you run into one of the elusive Burn/Spell Damage Shamans you're probably doomed. This deck doesn't handle opposing burn strategies well...like...at all.
A surprisingly comfortable matchup. Granted, you are always at risk of being smorced down, but overall you're not gonna deal with any minion above 4 health making it very easy to keep the board clean. Krolusk is key against the Guardian Augmerchant combos. If they draw the nuts you're probably still screwed, but you'll always have a fighting chance.
Can be the most difficult or a very easy one, depending on the deck. Highlander or Dragon Hunter usually isn't an issue unless they just play a perfect curve while going first. Meanwhile Face Hunter is absolutely horrible because they are one of the few decks that just outrace you every time no matter how good your hand is.
Much like Hunter this can go well or completely horrible. Unlike Hunter this isn't dependant on deck choices but RNG entirely. I really REALLY am beginning to hate Highlander Mage for the amount of RNG horseshit they regularly pull out their asses to flip a game around they couldn't have won through using their presumably very limited IQ. Basically whenever Solarian Prime or Puzzle Box hits you have to hope it doesn't somehow win them the game from a completely doomed state. Other than that you can quite easily go for a mini combo because you'll be chipping away at their health and they have no real way to recover.
Haven't played against the new Tempo Mage a lot, but from the looks of it the same applies. If they get good RNG you're getting screwed.
Now originally I thought that Warrior, specifically Bomb Warrior, would be a terrible matchup, but it's surprisingly even. In the Bomb matchup Tracking is key, because you can just ditch the bombs (even if that technically slows down your overall draw). The only issue is that Warrior don't usually play a lot of minions meaning you might end up in situations where you just hero power and pass which isn't ideal.
Big Warrior is an entirely different thing, but I haven't played the matchup enough to make a good judgement. Basically, if Rattlegore or Troublemaker come out of Commencement you basically just lose on the spot unless you have a clear way to lethal (or Krolusk decides not to be retarded and actually hits the right target)
Falls in the same vein as Demon Hunter with the unfortunate downside of their minions being mostly Stealth based + way more burn from hand. Overall you still have a good chance of just outdamaging them while keeping them off the board (I even once won against a 16/16 van Cleef on turn 4 from which I took a fat swing to the face only to take him out the following turn with Krolusk. All in plays like that don't work against this deck). If Stealth Rogue is really prevalent I would recommend just swapping in Explosive Trap (but more on that in the Tech choice section)
Varies between decks. Slower decks are easy pickings because their tendencies of self harm basically do your work for you.
The faster self-damage tempo builds are a different story. While it's convenient that they burn away their life total within the first 4 turns it's quite unlikely that you can deal with a Vulture board or Darkglare shenanigans once they come online. Basically it comes down to how well they draw.
That being said, the matchup can go either way. YOu have to go full combo, there's basically no other option because Priest heals so much these days. Apotheosis is one hell of a card and makes it so getting chip damage to stick is incredibly difficult. Also, if they play Fate Weaver and have Mindrender Illucia in hand you're screwed because if they realize what you're doing they'll just reverse OTK you. It all comes down to how fast you can assemble the combo, but overall I'd say that Priest will most likely win if they know your deck (and because Priest just so happens to keep checking out your hand and deck they'll figure it out eventually).
We don't deal well with snowballing. If you don't have Slate by the time they do dumb stuff you're probably done for, and even then Exotic Mountseller ruins your day every time. Thanks to the nerfs Druid is less common, but it's the one matchup that's basically unwinable if they get to play their deck. If they brick, however, then you'Re just going to have a field day as all their clunky beasts get munched by Barkstrippers.
If Druid is unwinable then Paladin is just....really really frustrating. The just counter everything naturally while still leaving you with a shred of hope that you may push through. Sometimes it happens, and usually it's rather close...but way too often you just get cockblocked by the many taunts and heals. The worst part is how strong their snowballing game is early, meaning you have to use a lot of ressources just to keep them off the board early, and even if you manage that, by the time Argent Braggart (fuck that guy btw) comes down you basically need to have Slate ready or the game is going downhill for you.
Paladin is just a natural counter and they don't even have to realize what deck you'Re playing. They just do stuff that you can't really do much about. It's quite unfortunate.
Now personally I'm not a big fan of playing cards to target specific matchups because usually you happen to not run into those the moment you do. Still, here are a few things that you can use if you get furstrated by certain decks.
Acidic Swamp Ooze: Basically only to tip the Bomb Warrior matchup in your favour (but it probably does so heavily). Also works against Rogues, but they don'T rely on weapons as much. Flex spot is Bloodmage Thalnos or Overwhelm
Explosive Trap: Prime counter to Stealth Rogue and also helps a lot against Demon Hunter. Again swap it with Thalnos and/or one Arcane Shot, since the burn potential technically evens out.
Ironbeak Owl: Not ideal because it messes up Ingenuity even more, but it could be extremely useful against Paladin (and maybe Priest). Technically you could copy it with Wildtamer and make Paladin's life miserable as their 10/10 Argent Braggart is cut down to size, but I wouldn't put too much hope in it. That matchup is a nightmare in any case. Thalnos swap.
Lorekeeper Polkelt: Now I have not yet tried this because I don't own Polkelt and am currently trying to not impulsively spend as much, but...he could be legit...and I mean really legit. As it stands he puts the combo in your hand within two turns and finds the missing pieces shortly after. On paper he could dramatically improve the slower matchups. On the flipside he also makes it so all your cycle is now at the bottom of the deck meaning you'll have to have your 1-drops in hand by the time you play him and then wait to get to Fletcher to play them. Essentially he would become a liability in any matchup that isn't Priest (and ruins your day in Warrior because he puts all the bombs in one neat stack to blow you up). Use him at your own risk. Swap with Thalnos.
[Hearthstone Card (Scarp Shot) Not Found]: This may sound like a bit of a meme, but this card could dramatically increase your overall burst output as well as your snowballing if you get to hit Wolpertinger. The issue being of course that it's horribly slow and inconsistent. I did get it once off Shimmerfly and it ended up winning me the game. It also goes face for whatever that's worth. In any case don't run more than one. Swap with Thalnos or Arcane Shot.
Stonetusk Boar: Now this is probably one of the few legitimate choices if you want to be more aggressive. A great pull of Ingenuity (and could also work with Scrap Shot if you want that). It will essentially double as a rush minion or just more burn. I might try and replace Shimmerfly with it, although I think getting the extra value is better than more damage. After all, if you wanted that you should just play Face Hunter. That said, the ability to copy a bunch of roided up pigs instead of Krush sounds hilarious.
Cards that didn't make it and why
As the last piece I'd like to mention a few cards that some of you might consider using, but probably shouldn't.
Intrepid Initiate: Initially this would seem like a perfect fit. It's an aggressive 1-drop that synergizes with spells. Unfortunately this is not the case. Ideally we like to keep our spells until we need them whereas this encourages you to use them proactively for more pressure..meanwhile the guy probably won't even get an attack in, so really, there's no point.
Jar Dealer: Was part of the original build, because I thought I wanted more 1-drops available for Fletcher. However the card isn't really that exciting when compared to Shimmerfly (which is what I replaced it with eventually). More consistency for Fletcher isn't worth running a card that's a way worse topdeck and has way lower potential to highroll (while being just as random).
Vereesa Windrunner: The shell of this deck was actually part of my attempt to build a Vereesa deck. Unfortunately she's just straight garbage. The problem with Vereesa is that by the time you play her you probably have used most of your burn spellls already, and if you haven't then you're probably losing anyways. What Vereesa needs would be a card that gives you copies of spells you cast on enemies (a reverse Lady Liadrin basically). So unless that happens exactly next expansion.
That said, if you really have a craving for Vereesa you just take this deck, take out the Krush combo parts and put her in alongside double Scrap Shot and Stonetusk Boar. You probably won't win a lot, but you'll be the champion of our hearts.
Zephrys the Great: I'M just mentioning here because I'm sure that some galaxy brain will probably attempt to throw ihm in there because they think he needs to go in every deck with at least 3 draw options.
No. He won't work and you're better off with Millhouse probably.
Jepetto Joybuzz: On paper perfect with every card except King Krush...and that's the problem. If the deck wasn't built around Krush eventuality I would seriously consider Jepetto....maybe Vereesa + Boars is the better build after all? (I'm kidding of course)
Yes, this is a real deck. Yes, this is basically competitive. Yes, you can rank up with this (hell, I'm actually making progress between D5 and Legend right now).
It's Miracle Hunter. It works, but it's not exactly ideal if you actually plan on maxing out your winrate, but if you just casually play Ranked for portraits then this is most definitely worth your time.
Do note that this deck is relatively expensive (4 epics, 4 legendaries) and none of its components are that versatile (although only Arcane Fletcheractually rotates next year, so the other stuff still has potential). It's a deck for Hunter enthusiasts and people who like decks that require at least a minimum of strategy. If you're short on dust or just like to play simple decks with a straightforward gameplan then this will probably only end up frustrating and disappointing you (I should know, because that's what happened to me when I crafted Miracle Rogue back in the day).
Either way, to anyone who does pick this up, I hope you have as much fun playing it as I had making it.
Special thanks to Pezman and all the other members of this community that are kind enough to put up with my delusional attempts at revolutionizing the meta.
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- 1 Adorable Infestation x 2
- 1 Arcane Shot x 2
- 1 Dwarven Sharpshooter x 2
- 1 Overwhelm x 2
- 1 Shimmerfly x 2
- 1 Tracking x 2
- 1 Wolpertinger x 2
- 2 Rapid Fire x 2
- 2 Scavenger's Ingenuity x 2
- 3 Professor Slate x 1
- 3 Ramkahen Wildtamer x 2
- 4 Arcane Fletcher x 2
- 4 Krolusk Barkstripper x 2
- 8 Beastmaster Leoroxx x 1
- 9 King Krush x 1