Evil draws close, my friends! If getting back into wild Hearthstone has taught me anything, it’s that Demon’s Bite is still good! Laying on the Hero Power is one of my favorite things to do in Hearthstone, and I have still been having success with Odd Demon Hunter. I believe Illidan and Baku the Mooneater can still work very well together in the wild format, just like they always have. For those curious about how these two met, you can find the full history of Odd Demon Hunter here.
But where have all the Demon Hunters gone? I have only seen a half dozen in my last 150 ranked Wild games. If that. The Stealer of Souls ban seemed to affect Demon Hunter more than Warlock. Where is all the vengeance? Perhaps the wild overhaul made other strategies more interesting? Valeera has remained very popular, perhaps Odd Demon Hunter is a thing of the past…
Not if I can help it! Some of us must have Vengeance!
Maym’s featured Demon Hunter deck:
The Core of Odd Demon Hunter in 2021
Leper Gnome is a great card and has been a fantastic addition to the core of Odd Demon Hunter since it was un-nerfed for the Wild format. One of Odd Demon Hunter’s weaknesses in the Wild format is the shallow card pool. Which Baku the Mooneater’s restrictions cut down even further. The addition of Leper Gnome for the consistency of Odd Demon Hunter was a godsend.
A card some might not expect in the core of Odd Demon Hunter is Demon Companion. However, due to the aforementioned shallow card pool, the benefit of having an additional one-cost card makes it worth including. In addition to that, it synergizes well with another favorite of Illidan, Intrepid Initiate.
Why I like Bad Luck Albatross
One of my all-time favorite Odd Demon Hunter builds is the Bad Luck Albatross list. Contrary to popular belief, Bad Luck Albatross isn’t just in the deck to be better off against Reno Priest. Against many decks, Bad Luck Albatross is just a solid card. There are many different strategies that it disrupts and simply adds additional bad draws to their deck. While many of these are niche, on occasion, they just grant you a free win or cause your opponents turn to be much weaker. Some disruption opportunities include:
- Highlander decks like Reno Warlock & Reno Priest.
- Scavenger’s Ingenuity from the Budget Hunter deck.
- Recruit cards like Druids’ Oaken Summons.
- Various (uncommon) Big decks like Big Druid, Hunter, Shaman, and Priest.
- Apexis Blast from Spell Mage.
In addition, Bad Luck Albatross is not the worst minion based on pure stats. The four Attack, three Health body, adds up fast if you use it to follow up some of your one-cost cards in the early game. One of my favorite times to access Bad Luck Albatross is against the increasingly popular Murloc Shaman deck. The high attack helps a lot to take out the early Murlocs before they get out of control.
The main build paths of Odd Demon Hunter in the Wild format
There are a few different build options possible currently in the Wild format. These include options like the Deathrattle/Double Jump Build I have been using, a Deathrattle build with Undertaker, or the most common version in the Burn-oriented lists.
The Burn strategy for Odd Demon Hunter
The Burn strategy is by far the most popular way to build Odd Demon Hunter, and the appeal is obvious. The Burn list is the fastest version of the deck, allowing quick games on the ladder. There’s some downside for the deck since it has more “unplayable” games than the other versions of the deck since, on occasion, you get stuck with only burn cards in your hand, and you just lose to an aggressive opponent.
Losing by an inch is the same as losing by a mile after all, and therein lies the value of just going all in. If you deal 30 damage fast enough, you can beat anything! As far as the straight burn build, I’ve included my current favorite list below.
The current Burn list isn’t quite as successful as my previous iterations of the archetype, but I’m still happy to share the list with you all. The Burn build simply beats up many decks in the current Wild Hearthstone Meta. However, it is also far more volatile than other Odd Demon Hunter builds, so keep that in mind if you want to give the deck a try.
The Deathrattle strategy for Odd Demon Hunter
The Deathrattle package feels like it is very close to being great. Undertaker is a great card, and I have always liked Ur’zul Horror. Clockwork Gnome, however, has not been up to par. I have even scored two spicy Time Rewinder(one mana, return a card to your hand) + Arcane Golem lethals while testing Undertaker, and it is still obvious Clockwork Gnome is bad. In my opinion, this package only needs one or two deathrattle upgrades to push the build path to the forefront of Odd Demon Hunter. Bad Luck Albatross and Leper Gnome are solid, and scaling one-drops are Odd Demon Hunters’ thing.
A hidden gem build containing Mechs or Quillboar could edge the above cards out by a tad, but nothing competes with the former two builds. Whenever Blizzard adds a decent one-drop Deathrattle minion to the card pool, though, I’d wager this will be the best way to build Odd Demon Hunter.
Maym Deathrattle Code:
How the matchups for Odd Demon Hunter actually work.
From what I have gathered, much of the claimed matchup spread for Odd Demon Hunter is rooted in “theory” as opposed to actual practice. That theory, in large part, contributes to the decline in Odd Demon Hunter’s popularity in recent months. However, from experience, I believe many matchups are different from popular opinion. As such, here is how I see the matchups for Odd Demon Hunter against many of the most popular decks in the format.
Odd Demon Hunter vs. Secret Mage
Secret Mage might be the most underrated matchup for Odd Demon Hunter in the current meta. While it is not quite as one-sided as the old Quest Mage matchup, it is a deck you can consistently beat. Despite Arcane Flakmage and Flame Ward, there just aren’t many tools that can meet the aggression that Odd Demon Hunter puts out. While something like Arcanologist is a bit annoying on occasion, you can deal with it easily through the addition of Tuskpiercer, which allows us to deal easily with units that have three HP.
So far, my stats against Secret Mage are right around the 70% win-rate mark, which seems quite accurate with how the matches usually play out. Once you get the hang of which secrets you have to play around, you start winning consistently.
Darkglare Warlock vs. Odd Demon Hunter
Darkglare Warlock is the other premier matchup for Odd Demon Hunter. However, I will be the first to say just how good the matchup is, is a tad overblown. Yes, it is good, and it certainly favors Odd Demon Hunter. However, much of that advantage comes down to the builds, the draws, and the pilots. Darkglare Warlock has draws that Odd Demon Hunter cannot beat.
Some Darkglare Warlock builds with more board clear and healing than others also do better in the matchup against Odd Demon Hunter. Some may even play things like Sunfury Protector, which is pretty much lights out if they pull off the entire combo. If I had to assign a % value to the Darkglare matchup, I would put it around 60-65%.
Odd Paladin vs. Odd Demon Hunter
Historically Odd Paladin performed very well against Odd Demon Hunter, especially when Odd Demon Hunter first became popular in the Wild format. The memories of that time bias the matchup even to this day, despite Odd Demon Hunter adding many tools that improve the matchup. Since Odd Paladin overall is slower than it used to be, due to the inclusions of cards like Loatheb, Conviction, Knight of Anointment, Lord Barov, and even Lothroxian, the Redeemed.
These new tools replaced cards like Corridor Creeper and the pirate cards to synergize with Patches the Pirate, which perform much better against Odd Demon Hunter in particular. Like most archetypes, Odd Paladin builds have become more and more streamlined towards a metagame without Illidan, which works to Odd Demon Hunter’s advantage. Double Jump and Illidari Studies allow Odd Demon Hunter to load up on Dreadlord’s Bites, further changing the matchup. I would give Illidan, using the Dreadlord’s Bite/ Double Jump package, around 55 to 60% against the newer builds of Odd Paladin.
Reno Priest vs. Odd Demon Hunter
All good things must come to an end, and in the case of Odd Demon Hunter matchups, he who ends your fun happens to be very, very rich. Reno is the bane of Illidan’s existence in Wild, and honestly, the matchup will always be terrible, and it’s no secret. Other Highlander decks such as Reno Warlock and Mage seem to be getting more popular every season. There isn’t much more to say about the texture of these games; their whole deck aims to beat aggressive opponents.
Against Reno Priest, in particular, I would be happy to win 3/10 games. That is basically the minimum win rate for an aggressive deck against the slower decks due to them making mistakes or not finding the right responses to your aggression. Overall I would put the win rate of Odd Demon Hunter against Reno Priest at ~25%, but even that might just be too optimistic.
Some of us, though, just want Vengeance. To those true Illidari, I hope you always Mana Burn their Reno turn!
Odd Demon Hunter vs. Odd & Kingsbane Rogue
There are two primary Rogue archetypes I want to cover, Kingsbane Rogue & Odd Rogue. Despite it not being as clear as the matchup against Reno Priest, the strength of Rogue is one of the main reasons for Illidan’s drop in popularity in the Wild format. Rogue is just too strong & consistent.
Many people consider Rogue to be the best aggressive class in the Wild format, and its various successful builds prove that. If you had to choose, the Kingsbane Rogue matchup is certainly better than the matchup against Odd Rogue for Odd Demon Hunter for a few reasons. First, Dreadlord’s Bite is very strong against Kingsbane Rogue’s minions and weaker against Odd Rogue. Odd Rogue’s minions often have more health, such as Hench-Clan Thug. In addition, Odd Rogue’s enhanced Hero Power is very strong against Odd Demon Hunter.
Overall I’ve logged a high win rate against Rogue decks since the release of Demon Hunter, but I believe that to be misleading. I have played a ton of Odd Demon Hunter, and both of those Rogue archetypes are much harder to pilot than they appear. I think both of these matchups are pretty close to 50/50, with the Kingsbane matchup being slightly better than the Odd Rogue matchup.
That should cover the most popular decks on Ladder, and as you can see, the matchup spread is pretty solid. Odd Demon Hunter is pretty well-positioned if the 3 top decks are Reno Priest, Darkglare, and Secret Mage. If any of you would like more matchup analysis notes, let me know! I would be happy to write up a more comprehensive matchup strategy guide.
Everything you need to know about the Mulligan with Odd Demon Hunter
To start with the basics of Odd Demon Hunter Mulligan choices, there are some cards you just always keep. These cards are your best one-cost cards, Lowly Squire, Battlefiend, and Intrepid Initiate. There are some rare instances where you find all three, in which case you are free to mull one of those to look for a spell or Beaming Sidekick if you prefer.
Beaming Sidekick is worth holding onto if you have any one-cost card to go alongside it that you expect to make it through the turn. If you don’t have one, throw it back and look for a better turn-one option. That same concept works for many cards since if you don’t have any of the best-three, you often full-mulligan to find them. However, if you have a strong turn-one play ready, many cards become worth holding. For example, Tuskpiercer is incredible alongside Lowly Squire since you want to use Demon’s Bite in most cases on turn two. Still, I always mulligan Tuskpiercer if I don’t have any early minions in hand.
I rarely keep cards that cost more than one with my current build, but that changes with the meta, builds, and matchup. However, in my opinion, you can’t go wrong aiming your entire mulligan to snowball the early turns every single game. Keep in mind when building your deck. The more burn spells you add, such as Leeroy Jenkins, Arcane Golem, Fury, the worse your average starting hand becomes.
Also, be wary of mulliganing into Baku the Mooneater. That 8/10 starting hand you have is good enough, no need to throw a card back fishing for the perfect opener and plummeting your chances of winning by drawing Baku the Mooneater. That line on when to do that, like everything, comes with experience and matchup knowledge.
Should you keep that Consume Spirit against Warlock because you just lost to Cubelock?
Probably not. Do you mulligan everything for Albatross against Priest? Again, probably not. Odd Demon Hunter needs to snowball early to be effective. If there is a simple takeaway here, aim for one-drop minions, mulligan the spells, and the more expensive cards. Also, expect to play against Pirates when you queue into Warrior. It’s your best shot.
Closing thoughts for Odd Demon Hunter in the current meta
I have said this before, once more for emphasis. Piloting is going to come down to matchup knowledge and experience. Knowing how to be judicious with your resources and properly aligning them against what your opponent’s deck contains is paramount. Eventually, you will learn which draws frequently result in wins against which archetypes will further influence your mulligans. Past that, if you are still having trouble, try to predicate your play on three factors: Resource efficiency, your opponent’s counterplay/options, and damage output. If this is a bit flustering, try to envision the result of multiple play lines and then evaluate them based on these metrics.
As always, my friends, time grows short. I wish you all luck on the ladder! My Twitter is the best way to keep tabs on my latest Odd Demon Hunter build, and I will keep posting updates as often as possible. Let me know if there is anything I missed. What did I get wrong? I’m always happy to see new builds and how other players are doing with Odd Demon Hunter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! True Illidari are rare in this wild community; no harm in a few outcasts sticking together!
I give thanks where it is due. Thank you all!
For more Hearthstone content, be sure to read all our latest Battlegrounds content including Guff Runetotem & Mutanus, the Destroyer, Trade Prince Gallywix. Or read all about the Battlegrounds Minion Pool Mechanics & Embiggen Druid instead.