Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Hearthstone: Hunter Beast Mastery

Looking for a decent yet affordable deck to start with? I’ve been piloting the Hunter deck mostly to start with as I start climbing my way back up to Masters and on. It’s a straightforward deck and easy to play. It relies heavily on minions to deliver the finishing blow and you have to be able to time your attacks as well as your targets or else it will cost you. Of course, a little luck never hurts either. The great thing about this though is that you’re either going to win fast or lose fast. The only majorly expensive thing is King Krush, but he’s more of a luxury. Scroll down to the bottom to see a narrated video of this in action!

Overview

You’ve got a hunter deck that’s full of mostly beasts. They’re all midrange costing beasts and they all have some utility. Your Ironbeak Owls can help control and ability threats. Your Buzzards help you draw cards. Animal Companions and Ironfur Grizzlies have their own thing going. Your spells consist of ways to either control the board or accelerate into draws you need.

Deck list

The Cards

Flare and Tracking: Tracking is pretty straight forward. Cast it and you can use it to help cycle and fish for options. There a taunt minion in the way? Hope you draw into a Hunter’s Mark or a Kill Command. Low on minions yourself? Fish the next three possible cards for some beasts to help power your offense.

Hunter’s Mark: Such a good card. For one, it’s free. Second, it allows any of your minions to trade with any of your opponent’s creatures. How pissed off are they going to be when their 4/7 Twilight Drake just got brought down to size and taken down with your 1/1 Snake?

Timber Wolf and Unleash the Hounds: Ideally, you don’t want to see Unleash the Hounds in your opening hand. Timber Wolf is a toss up. You can drop it turn 1, but I find it usually gets blown up early game. The +1 buff does come in handy mid to late game as it strengthens the rest of your minions. However, if you have a Buzzard in your hand, you can use it as a way to feed your hand size.

Snake Trap: I’ll almost always play this turn 2. If I can pair it with a Buzzard in play, even better. This deck needs cards to really keep going.

Ironbeak Owl: Do not play these willy nilly. Sit on these until there’s an actual threat on the board or if it can secure you a win. If your opponent’s big tree druid thing is in the way, silence it and let your army through.

Scavenging Hyena: This is insurance. If your opponents take out other minions, your Hyena gets larger. It’ll definitely attract removal because your opponent won’t want this to get large. What do they do if there’s a Buzzard and a Hyena and play with enough mana for only kill?

Starving Buzzard: I’ll almost always play these around turns 4 – 6. I make sure I have at least 1 beast to follow up with it (ideally 2). If possible, you want to try to protect it or make it really hard for your opponent to kill it (like forcing them to decide between that or a Timber Wolf or a Hyena).

Animal Companion: AC is a random card which can give you either Misha, Leokk, or Huffer. They’re all beneficial in their own ways and you’ll find your plays will

Kill Command and Multi-Shot: These are your direct removal spells. Kill Command has the benefit of being used directly against the player. So when calculating the amount of damage output your beasts have, keep this in mind.

Ironfur Grizzly: The Grizzly is like your best friend. Dependable and will usually take a shot for you (or two if you’re lucky). Don’t expect much more out of it then that since it’s mainly supposed to be a meat shield.

Houndmaster: Turns any of your beasts into meat shields. Great well to help defend your Buzzards.

Savannah Highmane: Throw these away from your opening hand if you see them. It’s a dead card until mid to late game anyway. But it plays right into the theme of your deck and provides durability against any board clears.

King Krush: Your finishing blow. Your upper cut. Your People’s Elbow. Your coup de grace. Need I say more?

Playing the deck

Opening draws: Throw away Unleash the Hounds, King Krush, Savannah Highmanes. You should definitely keep Tracking, Buzzards, Snake Traps, and almost every other minion. Keep Flare against mages, paladins, and other hunters. Keep Kill Command and Multi-Shot against hunters, warriors, and priests.

Everything you do should be used to either go straight to the opponent’s face, clear a path to your opponent’s face, or eliminate any threats that are bigger then you. Certain classes will give you a harder time than others. Know what other class capabilities are and identify what spells they have which can be used against you and play accordingly. Priests have Mind Control. Bait out your 4/3 Starving Hyena so they won’t steal your Highmane when you drop it next turn.

Know when to hold your beasts. If you already have board supremacy (like 3+ creatures) and are in good position, don’t overplay your hand! Your opponent might have a mass removal spell. Suddenly, those extra hyenas and owls you played are dead for no reason because you didn’t have to play them. If all your minions are dead, you have no other offense and you’re in top deck mode. Playing against a mage? Watch out for Blizzard. Against Warlocks? Hold them against Hellfire.

Your hero power is straight forward. 2 mana, 2 damage to the other player. Use it if you have nothing else to do. You should be able to get a few early ones in during the early and late game stage.

Learn how to maximize your minions abilities. For example, the Grizzly’s taunt is great at attracting attention. Your opponent must go through it. So if your opponent has a 4/3 on board without a taunt staring down your Grizzly, and it’s your turn, what should you do? You can attack into the 4/3 and suicide it. Or you can attack your opponent directly and let them attack into your Grizzly. In both scenarios, the opponent’s minion and your Grizzly are both dead. But in the second case, both are dead and you dealt 3 damage to your opponent resulting in steps closer to a win.

If you’re playing from behind, there is some hope but it depends on what your disadvantage is. If you’re behind on cards (as in your opponent has more cards in your hand then you) and a neutral board, it’s not going to look good. Don’t worry about your life total as much so long as it’s above zero, you’re okay. The strength of Hunter decks is based on their ability to burst opponents down in a turn or two. Well timed minion drops with an Unleash the Hounds can help tremendously even the score and even bring it back in your favor. Buzzards are the key to digging yourself out of a hole.

Good luck and good hunting!

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

In this post, Amava of Amava Knows Aggro looks at the often underhealed Hunter pet and why they should be extended heals.

Hello, my name is Amava. I’m a raiding Hunter who transferred to the Ner’Zhul server to join Conquest shortly after WotLK was released. As a damage-dealing player, I’ve been a long time reader of World of Matticus because knowledge of the whole spectrum of specialties and roles helps build the foundation for a successful raid. When Matt put out his Guidelines for Guest Posters, and specifically called out a Hunter post as "lets not go there", I just had to plead my case to the healing community.

top5pet

Awareness of your fellow raiders’ strengths, weaknesses, needs, and desires helps make you a better member of your team. Over the next few minutes, I’ll hopefully convince you that any mana and GCD’s that you can spare for a Hunter’s pet directly helps the raid succeed. Let’s explore five reasons you want to keep an eye on those critters…

Say it with me: D. P. S.

If you raid, I’m willing to bet you enjoy dead bosses. There’s a million and one factors that go into killing a boss, and one that stands out very visibly is the need for enough damage per second to bring the mobs health to zero before the Enrage Timer dings. The pet of a Hunter of any spec brings a solid chunk of DPS to the raid. If the Hunter is a Beast Master, even more so. WWS reports show BM pets doing 45-50% of the Hunter’s total damage. Take for example a recent Conquest raid on Patchwerk in Heroic Naxxramas. Two BM Hunters. Two kitties. Two Thousand DPS. Each. Actually, closer to 2.2k each, but that didn’t fit nicely with my Two-Two-Two structure. Bottom line: Hunter pets bring massive DPS to your raid. Please help keep them alive.

Buffs and Debuffs

One of the most important parts of raiding is having a solid Raid Composition. There is a plethora of raid buffs and boss debuffs that all work together to boost the performance of your raid of 25 unbuffed toons to the equivalent of 28-29 toons. Ghostcrawler says, "Bring the player, not the toon." Blizzard has given a variety of options for fulfilling each of the buff/debuff categories which is outstanding from the perspective of a Raid Leader trying to get a team together, and Hunter pets only serve to increase the flexibility. I’d like to modify GC’s statement, "Bring the player [and the pet], not the toon." Since patch 3.0.2, there are a number of options for a Hunter to bring if your raid is lacking a particular capability. Some examples are a boost to the Attack Power of nearby players, a reduction in the armor level of the boss, or make the boss miss its next attack (tanks and healers should love this one). Dead pets bring no buffs or debuffs, so please help keep our pets alive. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see what special abilities their pets are bringing to the raid.

Cuddly

Everybody loves animals. Even animal haters, deep down inside, love animals. The haters are probably just harboring spite from a single bad encounter, and are irrationally prejudiced against the whole Animal Kingdom. I mean, even the Grinch has a dog. But I digress. It’s something primal; something instinctual from our roots. We love animals. There’s a subtle and subconscious benefit to your raid. It boosts morale seeing those fuzzy wuzzy pets charging off to battle, or just yawning and fidgeting while they patiently wait for everybody to stop going /afk. They’re also cute as hell when they accidentally go off and aggro the next pack of mobs or two. Blame the Hunter, not the pet.

Off-Tanking

Ever since patch 3.0.2, some Hunter pets make outstanding tanks. There are a whole slew of options, but most notable ones are Gorillas, Bears, and Rhinos. Before WotLK’s release, at level 70 there were reports of pets main tanking Gruul. At level 80, I’ve used my Gorilla to solo Utgarde Keep and nearly all of The Nexus. They are quite sturdy, can be spec’ed to resist lots of magical damage, and generate a respectable level of threat. In a raid environment, if you need to occupy the attention of a mob or two, a Hunter’s tanking pet brings some fantastic flexibility to your team. Just like the official tanks, our pets are going to need some love from the Healers. Do keep in mind that a tanking pet won’t deliver as much DPS as a ferocity pet, and I’m unaware of any reasonable way to make my pet uncrittable, but they do provide more options to your Raid Leader, which can be priceless in a pinch.

Spirit Bond

Here’s one that should really hit home for a Healer who wants to boost her numbers and top the healing meters. Mid-way through the Beast Master talent tree is a talent called Spirit Bond. Putting 1/2 points in this talent boost all healing that both the Hunter and the Pet receive by 5/10%. On the surface, it does not really look like a raiding talent, because it doesn’t directly boost DPS at all. However, the BM tree is a little messed up, and Hunters often find themselves with one or two points that really have no nice home, but need to go somewhere to allow access to the sweet and juicy talents deeper in the tree. Any mana you invest into a Hunter’s Pet will boost your individual return by 10% if that Hunter goes 2/2 in Spirit Bond. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see where they put their points.

Wrap Up

This is my top five reasons you want to heal my pet. Whether its raw numbers-based action or the softer side of a cuddly belly to pet between wipes, we all win when you keep our pets alive. What other reasons are there for keeping our furry friends alive? Or are you one of the haters who’d rather sit outside the FSR for just one more cooldown than lift a finger to help a kitty out?

Image courtesy of clix