- Quest Demon Hunter
I have been a huge fan of Final Showdown since United in Stormwind was released. The gameplay style the questline encourages makes you feel like a card-slinging boulder picking up momentum as you roll downhill, throwing cards left and right at everything that moves until all of a sudden your deck is empty on turn 7 or so. It definitely reminds me of my demon hunter character from World of Warcraft, darting left and right around the battlefield while pulling aggro as a vengeance tank. The other payoff cards introduced in Stormwind, Irebound Brute and Lion's Frenzy were also solid additions to the newly-created archetype, to the point where the former received a mana cost nerf. I tried many different iterations of a questline deck but always ran into the same problem: assuming you get to swing face with your massive Lion’s Frenzy after a whirlwind turn…you often had nothing left in hand or deck to get you across the finish line. It was a Lion’s Frenzy kill or nothing as fatigue would burn you away. (At least those fatigue indicator cards would now cost two less! Mana savings all over the place.) The deck, while fun, never felt quite coherent enough for my tastes and I let it be for a while.
And then, Kazakusan. Stop me if you’ve heard this before in these last couple of weeks, but the black dragon works wonders in a deck that is all about drawing through your deck as fast as elvishly possible and saving more mana than a Costco membership. All of a sudden, this new archetype had a powerful refill and late game finishing option it previously lacked. In addition, you continue to get savings on the treasures themselves! The result has been an immensely fun deck that has actually been winning games and moving up the ladder-something I never really set out to do.
This is a questline deck, which means first and foremost you are playing towards Demonslayer Kurtrus. Once you are able to get the big man down, you are usually able to pop off on a miracle-style turn (hence the deck name) one or two turns later, resulting in a massive hit with Lion's Frenzy and a fiery pit of a deck for Kazakusan to refill with his toys. From there, you use whatever card draw you have left in tandem with your discounted treasures to defeat your opponent. Against more aggressive decks that lack clearing tools, you also have the option of creating a wall of Irebound Brute to shut down minions or push for lethal on their own without relying on questline completion. All in all, you have a couple of outs in your games but you should primarily be working on your questline whenever possible. It is very easy to get the reward down by turn 6 at the latest with this deck, but as I have learned more and gotten luckier more skilled with top decking I have more consistently been able to throw Kurt down on turn 5.
Questline Support = Card Draw
So. Much. Draw. One of the aspects I really enjoy in playing questline DH decks is the planning that goes into your turns. It isn’t enough to just use your draw cards at the first opportunity since you must reach a certain number of cards draw each turn. Rather, you must always be counting and thinking ahead, taking card position in hand into account and looking two or three turns into the future to efficiently clear questline steps while trying to save as much draw as possible to get you into your miracle turn later on. This deck runs a lot of Outcast cards, which means you should always keep an eye on hand position. When possible, give extra consideration to an outcast card that has found its way into the right slot since not playing it will begin its pilgrimage to the left slot and deny you the outcast benefit for a while. Most of the draw is self explanatory, but there are a couple I’d like to point out:
This was another card out of the Onyxia’s Lair mini-set that gave this archetype a big boost. Originally, she was added to the deck as a way to power through the remainder of your cards once the questline is complete. However, there have been many times where the worgen provides the last card draw needed to complete a questline step in the mid-game where a draw chain would have otherwise died out. In addition, opponents seem to hate this girl as they trade into it immediately when possible. This slight respite against more aggressive minion-based decks is appreciated in a deck that doesn’t run too many minions or clears. I only run one copy in the deck as two felt much too clunky and not useful enough in place of other card draw. Color me impressed with her so far.
Glide: Ah, the card that everyone on Reddit thought would break the game back in the Scholomance Academy days. I’ve always appreciated the card for its disruption potential (especially when combined with Far Watch Post) but now we have an archetype that weaponizes the card and turns it into questline progress or straight up weapon damage later in the game. I have found it useful more often than not to use Glide before it is outcast since it represents a questline step completion on its own. That being said, it’s always important to decide if its worth waiting to disrupt an opponent based on the deck they are playing, or to save Glide for your Lion’s Frenzy in order to cycle your hand back into your deck and turn it into attack power for a lethal swing. It also feels very nice to glide into a hand full of treasures once you have played Kazakusan in the end game. Glide is super versatile in this deck/archetype and is one of the more powerful cards at your disposal.
Consume Magic: This card does some heavy lifting in the deck. It’s worth playing the wild version of this deck solely for this card. Not only does it move you towards questline completion and deal with a pesky effect on your opponent’s board, it can also remove a taunt that would otherwise prevent you from dealing a lethal blow with your weapon.
Board Clear Tools: Limited, but Present
Altruis the Outcast is a nostalgic card for me. I came back to Hearthstone just before Scholomance dropped, at the peak of the pandemic, and Demon Hunter was my favorite class to play as I rebuilt a collection for Standard. There’s just something so satisfying about that board-wide glaive animation as it chips away at literally everything. In this deck, he was originally intended for use after questline completion to provide a source of chip damage to close out games. However, he has also seen much more play in the mid game to tidy up a board or two (if you’re lucky…but don’t plan on him surviving more than the turn he is played) and stabilize the gamestate just enough to move to the miracle turns.
Other than the outcast himself, you have Soul Shear and Immolation Aura to try to cut off boards before they can get too big. You are not going to be able to handle a wide board of big threats short of silencing taunts and swinging face, so some matchups are definitely not going to be in your favor. Soul Shear also provides questline support and healing through Soul Fragments, since they count towards questline completion when drawn. Don’t discount the healing either, there have been more than a few games that were decided by the healing keeping me alive long enough to get to my endgame plan.
Illidari Studies also counts in this section. You can use the discover to look for clearing tools as needs arise, giving you flexibility in a variety of situations.
This little package of cards should be familiar to anyone who has dabbled with questline demon hunter in the past. Against aggressive decks, a wall of copied and buffed brutes can be enough on their own to close out a game. In addition, Kazakusan can support the brutes as well through treasures like Gnomish Army Knife or Banana Split. Even if they don’t close out the game, the brutes can buy you the time you need in the mid game to get to your ultimate gameplan. Despite their nerf, I find the brutes are still quite good.
Mulligans & Matchups
As always, I suck at specific mulligan information and don’t have access to stats that could help inform these opinions because I play on mobile/iPad. I will keep playing the deck and take notes to try to offer some more helpful advice over time. Overall, I have found the most success when I mulligan for early card draw, aiming to place an outcast card in the middle slot initially so it can move over once the questline is played. The dream curve so far has been Sigil of Alacrity on turn two into Crimson Sigil Runner and Spectral Sight on turn three to complete the first leg of the questline and get the snowball rolling downhill. If i am expecting a lot of minions up front, I will keep Immolation Aura and Soul Shear to help control the board and set up soul fragments for draw chains later on. Even if forced to take a slower start, I am usually able to make up the ground around turn three or four nearly every game. I’ll keep working on these suggestions!
Observations after playing for about a week: After a bunch of playing both in Casual and on Ranked, I have a few smaller insights. Remember, I don’t have any sort of stat tracker, so this is based off of hastily scribbled notes and memory. What I’ve seen so far:
- The deck is a ton, ton, ton of fun.
- The mulligan is all about finding draw, and throwing minions away. Seriously, do not keep any minions in the opening hand, they aren’t coming down in the early game and you are sacrificing draw to do so. However, there is one specific situation where I keep minions in hand, and that revolves around…
- Glide. This card is a lynchpin in the deck. In the incredibly specific situation where a.Glide is in the middle slot of your mulligan, next to the questline meaning it will be outcasted when ready to play, and b. You are in a matchup where you are eager to Glide away the opponent’s hand on turn 4 (or 3, if you hit an Illidari Studies early on) then I will keep minions and unplayable stuff in my opening hand in order to Glide it away on 4 and most likely hit more draw. This also keeps me from burning too much draw and questline discounts before playing my first Glide, nullifying the benefit. It’s also good to time Glide usage (if playing it outcast) after the opponent hits their card draw or hand discounts. I have found that Shaman and Priest react poorly to this in particular. Also, don’t be afraid to use a Glide in a non-outcast slot because it does represent a questline step by itself (preferably step 2 or 3, especially step 3 if your hand is very full.)
- 90% of the time, you are going to complete step 1 of the questline on turn 3, depending on mulligan luck. Much like the step’s name, Gain Momentum you will then usually complete the next two steps on the following two turns unless you brick on some draws. However, don’t worry if you need to spend an early turn managing the board a little with Soul Shears and Immolation Auras. The soul fragments will support questline and Lion’s Frenzy draws later in the game, and it’s worth it to try to survive. I have won games at 4 health which was given to me by soul fragments a turn earlier. That being said…
- You are going to have a rough time against aggro. You just don’t have the board clears to survive multiple waves. Don’t be afraid to throw down Altruis early on if you have a good 3 or 4 damage to the board combined with draw, as opponents will always clear him immediately and spare you a slight bit of damage. That could make the difference between life and death in the late game. You live on the razor’s edge when you play this deck.
- You only have one Lion’s Frenzy, so plan accordingly. A small 4 or 5 damage hit to face is usually not worth it when you can hit 14 or 15 in one turn through careful use of Glide. Two weapons felt too clunky in the deck, but if you find yourself wanting a second weapon, maybe you can fit it in somehow.
- To the best of your ability, don’t use draw hoping to hit more draw to complete a questline step. Obviously, you’re not always going to have enough draw at one time in your hand. However, there’s a difference between using a Double Jump to try to chain good draws together to complete a step versus using double jump when you also have another source of draw in hand. Desperate situations aside, try to skew the odds in your favor when you start a draw chain and give yourself the best chances possible even if it means holding off for a turn to prepare. This deck is also all about planning.
- I ideally look for an opening hand with a Spectral Sight or Glide in the middle slot, and a Sigil of Alacrity in the right hand slot to set up a turn three completion followed by a Glide completion plus hand disruption for the opponent.
- Altruis the Outcast plus Banana Split is just nutty.
Substitutions: Making it Yours!
This part has me the most excited. I have found there are many ways you can take the deck now that it’s late game problem has been solved. You can lean much more into a “tax” or disruption gameplan using things like Far Watch Post, Nerub'ar Weblord and even my favorite: Star Student Stelina, where you slow down the opponent just enough to reach your goals. You could opt for a more board-based gameplan and add cards like Redeemed Pariah to capitalize on your large quantity of outcast cards and create another snowballing threat that demands a response. Mankrik also fits into these decks to provide a nice body and a little burst of damage given all of your card draw.* Originally I ran a bigger soul fragment package by including Spirit Jailer for more healing, cards to draw, and early game board presence. I truly feel that the addition of Kazakusan opens the questline DH archetype up for more experimentation and creativity, and I’m very excited to see what future cards will support the deck even further. Just…PLEASE don’t nerf Kazakusan in a way that makes him incompatible with the questline. He fits so well and enables the deck like never before!
EDIT: Roffle played a QL/Kaz deck on stream this week that also included Yogg-Saron, Hope's End and Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate, praise be their names. This is an incredible option if you want to go full chaos, which I wholeheartedly support as well. Roffle's version took the deck in a more Fel direction by also including Jace Darkweaver, which could definitely merit further exploration as more and more Fel spells are printed.
*-full credit to the brilliant Swizard for the Redeemed Pariah and Mankrik ideas!
(Pictures coming tomorrow lol nope I need help posting pictures plz)
Moving into the year of the Gryphon, I was probably anticipating the Demon Hunter cards the most. How would the developers move the class in new directions? Would they? Or was the class doomed to only play Odd DH in wild and punch things angrily over and over again? Between the big demon, token, and questline support, I have been thrilled to see the class branch out and try new things. I have loved both the hero card and the questline the class was given, and look forward to continuing iterating on these archetypes into the next expansion year and beyond.
I am dead serious when I say this is probably the most fun I have had playing Hearthstone since the original C’Thun was around. If I could, I would craft this deck golden with no regrets because I find it that enjoyable to pilot. It isn’t for everyone, and you will probably create a version that is more optimal than this one through playtesting. Awesome! I am of the mindset that the more people testing and trying out questline DH, the better. I feel like the card is finally free of its dependency on Il’gynoth and can stand on its own as a fun, unique, and explosive archetype that no other class can quite replicate themselves.
Plus, the name of the deck can be spoken in iambic pentameter. That’s gotta count for something!
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- 1 Consume Magic x 2
- 1 Crimson Sigil Runner x 2
- 1 Double Jump x 2
- 1 Felosophy x 2
- 1 Final Showdown x 1
- 1 Illidari Studies x 2
- 1 Sigil of Alacrity x 2
- 2 Immolation Aura x 2
- 2 Soul Shear x 2
- 2 Spectral Sight x 2
- 3 Acrobatics x 2
- 3 Lion's Frenzy x 1
- 4 Altruis the Outcast x 1
- 4 Glide x 2
- 4 Razorglaive Sentinel x 1
- 5 Need for Greed x 1
- 8 Irebound Brute x 2
- 8 Kazakusan x 1