For this week’s Deck Clinic, I asked readers to submit Block Decks as that’s going to be the format du jour untill Throne of Tides releases in October. I received a great number of submissions (thank you all for those) and I settled on one particular list that caught my eye. Here’s the email I received:
I’m a fan of your Deck Clinic series and since the new formats have appeared, I’ve been trying to find Decks that will be good in Block. While the [Twilight Citadel]/ Paladin will surely hit play, I’m still struggling getting the Fire Shaman at some decent level. My hunter deck works quite well:
Hero [Baxxel Geartooth] (For being a Goblin, I rarely use the flip)
[Baxxel Geartooth back]
4 [Emerald Tree Warder] *With Stash and the cheap Quests and the ability to get him with Gispax the draw is quite good*
4 [Exxi the Windshaper] *Exxi shines with big Avatars or with a Boomer turn 2 and I can also search for her*
3 [Sava'gin the Reckless] *Stash can trigger the Quest and Tree Warder and is searchable*
3 [Tesla] *Big Hitter that I can search for*
4 [Gispax the Mixologist] *This Card is just amazing in this deck, I can get just what I need, mostly its tree warder/Cairne*
1 [Emerald Emissary] *Kinda random Card, I searched for him once*
4 [Cairne, Earthmother's Chosen] *Tokens get boosted, is searchable and triggers Treewarder*
3 [Avatar of the Wild]
4 [Aspect of the Wild]
4 [Arcane Shot]
2 [Widow Venom] *Against Healer decks, and I can discard it for Gispax*
3 [Blast Trap] *I’m not sure about damage traps, because of Worgens*
3 [Favor of the Hunt] *With Exxi the damage grows*
2 [Wild Fervor] *Another unsure thing, although its quit useful until now*
4 [Corrosion Prevention]
4 [The Key to Freedom] *Only for Locked Away*
4 [Locked Away] *Draws me a card for one which means in t4 I can play [Emerald Tree Warder] and stash something and use [Locked Away] for 3 cards*
I have nothing against Abilities or Equip, but I didn’t find any that really annoy me that badly. Also, the removal is lackluster on the Horde side. Gispax and the Stashers/Exxi are too strong to switch into a boring alliance curve deck with [Koeus]. So if you could help me with the Abilities out a bit I’d be glad.
One of the biggest reasons that I chose Andy’s deck list was that it was Horde and most of the Hunter decks that I was building consisted of Alliance decks. He also happened to be using one of my favorite allies from the Block, [Gispax the Mixologist]. Though I liked him a lot more when I operated under the incorrect assumption that he could search out any card that did Nature Damage (as opposed to how he actually work; searching out any card with the damage type Nature, i.e. Nature damage allies and weapons), his ability is still nothing to scoff at, especially in Block. Nature Damage was a large theme of the Worldbreaker Block so printing an ally that allows you to tutor out a Nature card every turn seems a bit absurd, considering that most draw in this Block costs, on average, 3 resources.
In testing the deck, I noticed that it was severely lacking in speed. Andy basically wants to get damage in where he can, pumping his guys via [Aspect of the Wild]. The biggest issue that I could see was the lack of an early game. Aside from the always awesome [Boomer] and an occasional Tauren token, he doesn’t have any ally that costs less than 3. I tested against aggressive Shaman builds and I was very often half dead by the time I was able to play my first ally.
There were also some cards that seemed out of place, such as [Arcane Shot]. While paying two to draw you a card and deal a damage is passable, I found myself often wanting more. While I may have missed some awesome synergy, in a deck that is relying on Nature Damage, [Arcane Shot] sticks out like a sore thumb. The other cards that felt out of place to me were [Wild Fervor] and [Favor of the Hunt]. I lump both cards together as they have a somewhat similar affect. While pumping the attack on an ally and re-readying it via [Exxi the Windshaper] is awesome, that’s not really the goal of this deck. Your primary method of pumping your allies is via [Aspect of the Wild] and I found the additional pump spells redundant. I toyed with adding [Bronze Drakonid] to really get some double attacks in but I felt that strayed too far from the theme of Andy’s deck.
The other issue I had with this deck (and most of the Block decks that I’ve been testing) were the quests. [Locked Away]/ [The Key to Freedom] while an obvious combo, was one that I was trying to avoid. In playing it, I found the combo passable, considering the other quests that are available. Andy’s list was already packing [Sava’gin the Reckless] and [Cairne, Earthmother’s Chosen], which will be Stashed most of the time. I think that any aggressive deck (such as this one) really has to look closely at Stash as the quests in the block are often too costly. I found I lost too much tempo when I was paying 4 to draw a card. Emerald Tree Warder] helped with the draw, but I didn’t like playing an ally that has sub-par stats (3/2 for 3) and an ability that relies on other cards being in play for it to trigger. A 3-drop that trades with most 1-drops just doesn’t seem very good unless you’re running Protectors to save him.
Here’s the final list that I settled on:
Hero [Baxxel Geartooth]
[Baxxel Geartooth back]
4 [Locked Away]
4 [The Key to Freedom]
4 [Emerald Captain]
4 [Yazli Earthspark]
2 [Burom Bladeseer]
3 [Obsidian Drakonid]
3 [Obsidian Drudge]
4 [Sava'gin the Reckless]
4 [Exxi the Windshaper]
4 [Gispax the Mixologist]
4 [Cairne, Earthmother's Chosen]
4 [Aspect of the Wild]
3 [Avatar of the Wild]
3 [Blast Trap]
I haven’t built a deck with more than 40 allies in it since my Heroes of Azeroth days, which I felt was sort of appropriate given the ‘reboot’ of the game with the new Core rotation.
I made a pretty drastic cut to the abilities in the deck. I’m using the 3 best abilities that Hunter has available, [Aspect of the Wild], [Avatar of the Wild], and [Blast Trap]. I liked the [Blast Trap]s in the deck because I’ve got no weapons, so rarely will my hero not be ready to Trap some large opposing dude. As Andy pointed out, it’s very satisfying to kill and opposing [King Genn Greymane] for free.
I increased the ally count because I want to be playing an ally every turn, save for the turn that I plunk down my [Aspect of the Wild]. I added [Toz’jun] to the list as additional [Tesla]s that don’t actually die because of my pet restriction. He’s expensive but boy does he hit hard with [Aspect of the Wild] out. I also added [Burom Bladeseer] and [Yazli Earthspark] to round out my curve a bit better. [Yazli Earthspark] proved to be quite the powerhouse in testing. Without Aspect, she’s hitting for 4 a turn and with it, she’s hitting for 6, which isn’t too shabby for a 2 drop. I wanted to add in more 1-drops, but there’s very little for the Horde in the way Nature Damage 1-drops. [Emerald Captain] came in but I’d really like at least 4 more 1-drops that just aren’t available to me.
Andy had pointed out that his ability and equipment destruction package was missing altogether from his initial list. There really aren’t that many abilities and equipment that need to be answered in Block, but that’s not to say you don’t need some way to deal with them. The Hunter mirror often comes down to who can get the [Aspect of the Wild] to stick, so I added in both the [Obsidian Drudge] and [Obsidian Drakonid]. Neither fit my theme of Nature Damage, but there aren’t many alternatives in Block for the Horde that don’t result in you losing card advantage to blow things up.
The thing that I’ve really enjoyed with [Aspect of the Wild] is that it makes trading with a Hunter almost impossible. It allows most of your allies to jump 2 spots on the normal ally curve (i.e., your 2-drop [Boomer] is a 5/5) and gives the Hunter a huge advantage as the aggressor. I think a deck like this is extremely well positioned in the current meta game as there are very few board wipes (the two that come to mind are [Carnage] and [Outbreak] and even those are situational. Editor’s Note: watch out for [Holy Wrath]) and most removal is 1-for-1, which allows my deck to effectively work with so little draw power.
It’s scary to think that State Championships are only a little over a month away. They will be the first big event for Block and I’ll be interested to see what decks come out of the event. Though Hunter has long been only a strong class for limited, the recent changes really bode well for the class as a whole. It’s definitely a heavy contender for my choice of deck to play next month.
I’d really like to hear what everyone else thinks. Did I cut too many abilities? Am I packing too many allies? A very big thanks to Andy for the deck list. As always, if you’ve got a Block list that needs a little attention, ship it on over to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll take a look.