Initial deck thoughts: Scholomance Academy Aggressive Demon Hunter

Aggressive Demon Hunter is a hyper-aggressive deck that tries to win the game as fast as possible. Aggressive Demon Hunter is perfect for surprising your opponents and crushing them early. XioatHS was the first player to make Aggressive Demon Hunter work in the new expansion. One of the builds we are featuring today is by @XiaoT_Hs on twitter, which he used to get rank one legend in China with this deck.

Aggressive lists tend to do well early in the season when other players test new strategies and try new decklists. 

With the release of Scholomance Academy, Glide and Voracious Reader opened the possibility for such an aggressive list. The rest of the deck is simply the most aggressive options available to Demon Hunter.

Core Cards

There are a few packages to break down on the list; because of this, I will break them into groups.

First is the “Hero Attack” package that consists of Battlefiend, Twin Slice, Umberwing, Satyr Overseer, and Glaivebound Adept. Anyone who has played tempo demon hunter will know that these cards all have lots of synergies and gain lots of value from Demon Hunter’s hero power. Each of these cards either gains bonuses when you attack or make your attack and damage output much stronger.

Next, the Bonechewer Brawler package includes Beaming sidekick, Guardian Augmerchant, and Bonechewer Brawler. These neutral minions provide a consistent gameplan of synergizing with Bonechewer Brawler’s ability. Each of these cards also provides value on their own in addition to providing synergy.

Finally, Glide and Voracious Reader are the reason this deck is playable. Each of these cards allows you to play hyper aggressively into board wipes or removal because you will refill your hand with cards so you can continue to apply pressure to your opponent. 

We are looking for anything that we can play aggressively to close out the game as quickly as possible and empty our hand so we can get the maximum value out of Glide and Voracious Reader.


Build Options

Some lists include Mana Burn to prevent your opponent from developing their board presence or from hindering yours. This card played alongside a few minions often leaves the opponent unable to answer your threats. If you are already ahead, this is game-winning. While Mana Burn is very strong, other minions can replace it to have fewer dead draws.

The only card that I have been somewhat disappointed in is Trueaim Crescent. You mostly don’t want to be trading with the deck, so most of the time, Trueaim Crescent is just a Light’s Justice. The best replacement I have found is Shadowhoof Slayer, which not only gives you a body but also tempo in the form of a +1 attack bonus. Otherwise, you can dig harder into the Bonechewer Brawler plan by including copies of Amani Berserker. 

Ace Hunter Kreen has potential as one of the strongest cards when you are ahead but falls flat if you are behind. If you find that you are not getting into stalled board states with your opponent, consider cutting Ace Hunter Kreen for more aggressive minions.


Decklists:

Deck code: AAECAZvoAwLaxgPj1AMO/acD+a4Di7oD4LwD174D3r4D98gD+cgD/sgD8skD4c4DgtADxtED+dUDAA==

The first list I want to discuss is the original list that is the fastest and most aggressive out of all of these lists. The strength with this list is the 16 one drops that make it so efficient and guarantees maximum value from Voracious Reader and Glide. Almost every matchup had to take a controlling role to shut this deck down. 

Deck Code: AAECAZvoAwSWBsy6A9rGA+PUAw39pwP5rgOLugPgvAPXvgPevgPHxgP3yAP5yAP+yAOC0APG0QP51QMA

With the exclusion of Mana Burn and Trueaim Crescent in favor of a higher curve but a more consistent plan, it is close to Tempo Demon Hunter lists before the Warglaives nerf. Cards like Eyebeam and Altruis are there to shore up against all aggressive decks in the format. Altruis is a bit slow and often underperforms with Glide and Voracious Reader, but when he does his job, it works out great. After playing a few games with Eye Beam, I am looking for a replacement. Eye Beam gets stuck in your hand and is especially bad in control matchups. 

Deck Code: AAECAZvoAwTMugPaxgPezgPj1AMN+a4Di7oDo7sD2LsDqbwD4LwD98gD+cgD/sgDgtADxtEDvtID+dUDAA==

As an experiment, I decided to try this decklist. It completely drops the Bonechewer Brawler gameplan in favor of playing a token and Feast of Souls plan. A turn 5 Coordinated Strike + Feast of Souls can outvalue the majority of what your opponent may plan on doing. The biggest negative of this list is that you can draw too many cards and gain less value from Voracious Reader and Glide. This list has not been the most successful, but if control or midrange takes over the meta, this will be the version to try.

Mulligan Guide

Generally, you should be looking for your early game threats like Blazing Battlemage, Demon Companion, or Bonechewer Brawler. You should also look for Voracious Reader since you can often empty your hand by turn three or four and get value from Voracious Reader quickly. 

In some control matches, you should consider keeping Glide as it can stunt what your opponent intends to do. Mana Burn is important in matchups where you are fighting for tempo, such as other aggressive or midrange strategies. 

General Strategy

Most of the time, this deck wants to hit the ground running at your opponent’s face and never hitting the brakes. Understanding when it is necessary to trade with this deck is one of the hardest decisions to make. My opponent having an answer to Voracious Reader on the board is the only time I feel obligated to trade into minions. It is game-winning to have a Voracious Reader on the board for more than one turn, so keeping it alive for as long as possible is vital.

Aggressive Demon Hunter’s place in the Meta

Hyper aggressive strategies often crush most controlling strategies. This deck destroys anything slow enough not to keep up or wipe the board by turn 3.

The weakness of Aggressive Demon Hunter is other fast, aggressive decks. Glide tends to be the last card in your hand. Because of this, you can often cast it with Outcast. If your opponent plays out most of their hand, they will draw more cards then you and can out tempo this deck. 

Conclusion

With the power level of Voracious Reader and Glide, a hyper-aggressive strategy ought to exist. However, it will still need some tuning and refinement as the meta develops for Scholomance Academy. An aggressive Demon Hunter list could see itself as one of the best aggressive decks in the format, especially if Control becomes stronger. Some of the high roll potentials with the draws in this deck make for a very adrenaline fueled climb to legend.

For more of Steemedmuffin’s work, be sure to read his latest story about Hearthstone Meta Theory.