Hearthstone Tempo DH Guide to Legend By: Dugtown

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Hello Competitive HS,

For the second month in a row I’ve hit legend with my homebrew tempo DH list that focuses on a big swing turn with Death Speaker Blackthorn. I wouldn’t consider this Deathrattle DH as we run a very different core than that deck. If you’re looking for something a bit off meta this could be for you.

Legend Proof: https://imgur.com/Og8a6Nx

Decklist: https://imgur.com/6MqViek

Blackthorn

Class: Demonhunter

Format: Standard

Year of the Gryphon

2x (1) Battlefiend

2x (1) Demon Companion

2x (1) Illidari Studies

2x (1) Intrepid Initiate

2x (2) Chaos Strike

2x (2) Felfire Deadeye

2x (2) Manafeeder Panthara

2x (2) Wandmaker

1x (3) Aldrachi Warblades

2x (3) Dreadlord’s Bite

2x (3) Eye Beam

1x (3) Mankrik

1x (4) Kazakus, Golem Shaper

1x (5) Al’ar

2x (5) Burning Blade Acolyte

1x (5) Taelan Fordring

1x (7) Death Speaker Blackthorn

2x (8) Illidari Inquisitor

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Stats: https://imgur.com/5UjyEHV This deck has gone through heavy iteration but 3.3 and 3.4 are just one card different (with 3.4 being the version I’m running now). As well, I played the majority of my games the last two months with these versions. These stats are also a bit incomplete as I do play on mobile occasionally (1/3 to 2/3 split) but I hit legend both months on the ol’ desktop.

Deck Summary:

I enjoy playing off-meta decks and saw DH was down in the dumps a bit at the start of Barrens. The common criticisms coming out of VS Syndicate (and I experienced these myself testing out the class) was that the Inquisitor tempo decks were too greedy and would lose to aggressive decks. I put my own spin on this by cutting out the fat and focusing on a consistent early game tempo package with a banger top end of Blackthorn (in addition to the two Inquisitors). Like the current Deathrattle list, I experimented by putting low cost deathrattle minions in for Blackthorn, but I found the most success by having only the 5 cost deathrattle boys made the cut. You want Blackthorn to win you the game when you drop it, not drop some 3/2s (in my opinion anyways!).

Card Overviews

Core Cards:

Battlefiend, Demon Companion, Intrepid Initiate: I see all of these cards being cut in DH lists nowadays but I find the early consistency is paramount for your gameplan. We’re a tempo deck and need to be on board (until turn 7 and 8 that is). We also do run enough spells for Initiate to activate consistently.

Illidari Studies: Synergy with Initiate as well as being a strong card. I remember reading another guide on here (shoutout to this sub!) about how powerful this card can be but you need to be smart with how you play it – often waiting til turn 4 can be crucial, but this obviously depends on the situation. Even finding and playing Vilefiend Trainer on 4 is a serviceable play. High-skill card! I tend to mulligan it away for this reason – I don’t want to play it turn 1 or 2, I want my 1-drops.

Chaos Strike, Felfire Deadeye, Manafeeder Panthara: All have a similar theme of enhancing what your hero power can do. I’d consider Deadeye the best of this bunch – a 0 mana hero power can be extremely useful fighting for board that also has synergy with Manafeeder. It also helps trigger Inquisitor on 8 and not 9 which can be huge.

Wandmaker: There are a lot of good 1 drops right now that all tend to help your gameplan. PS if you get Felosophy and you need more big boys remember to dump your Battlefiend before trying to double up your Inquisitor! We also run 4 outcast cards so Double Jump isn’t a brick.

Eye Beam: Good tempo card that also heals you, which greatly helps in the Hunter matchup.

Kazakus: Because we’re not running the new deathrattle package with the 4 drops we can run Kazakus. He’s just really good – the two 5/5 divine shields is often backbreaking.

A’lar/Burning Blade Acolyte/Taelan Fordring/Death Speaker Blackthorn:

Namesake of the deck! After much testing these past couple of months I found having Blackthorn be as greedy as possible is the best course of action. Unless you’re facing priest with Soul Mirror (RIP fun) having Blackthorn pull out these 3 minions is immense tempo, as well as AOE resistant. You will run into the issue of drawing some of these minions, but because we’re always fighting for board it’s not the end of the world to drop one of these on turn 5. You also will have games where your Blackthorn only pulls one out or is completely bricked but those don’t happen too often. When it does you just have to chalk it up to being a side effect of running this package. We run four 5 drops to prevent this to some extent.

I have seen A’lar being included in some lists now (I feel like a hipster as he was a day 1 craft of Barrens for me because of Blackthorn) but I have not seen Acolytes being run. I view them as one-turn dormant minions with a 1/1 body instead. A 5/8 taunt for 5 mana is no joke and they help set up to protect your Inquisitors. These 1/1s may surprise you! Also very good against warlock’s and mage’s AOE.

Illidari Inquisitor: These guys are probably broken as they’ll win you games you’re not supposed to win. I tried running just 1 for awhile to help my early game but running two just felt better.

Flex Cards:

Dreadlord’s Bite/Aldrachi Warblades: I consider some variation of weapons core but I’m not sure which is the most optimal and so I’ve put them in the flex list. I run two Bites and one Warblades as I find the Outcast ability does matter more often than not, while the lifesteal really only applies in the Hunter matchup. I run 3 for consistency and for activating Inquisitor on 8. I saw on VS Syndicate that deathrattle lists are running Trueaim Crescents now and sometimes Felsteel Executioner. I haven’t tested Trueaim as I don’t have them but they may very well be good. I just think they might be a bit better in the deathrattle specific decks due to better synergy there. As for the Executioner, we don’t run that many 4 cost cards and above so I’m not sure the consistency of corrupting it. Would be interesting to test though.

Mankrik: He’s flex, but honestly he’s great with what we’re trying to do. Not sure what I’d cut for him, maybe a 4th weapon.

Exclusions:

Skull of Gul’dan: Couldn’t fit it! Would love to see more experimentation with it in though. I do find you have enough draw with your Chaos Strikes, Manafeeders, sometimes Studies into Spectral Sight, and targeted draw with Taelan. It also does cost 6 mana and you’re already running a decent sized top end for a more aggressive deck anyways.

Fury/Gan’arg Glaivesmith: Early versions had two copies of both but I just found they were only good when you were trying to close out games. I know damage synergizes with damage but I found when you’re fighting for board these got a bit clunky.

Matchups

General Mulligans: You want your 1’s and 2’s (excluding Studies)! Might be right to toss back Manafeeders too unless you also have Deadeyes in hand. Generally toss back your 3 mana weapons as Bite is only good while Outcasted (and you can’t always guarantee that) and Warblades is better on later turns. If I have a 1 drop already I’ll usually keep Mankrik. I’ll also only keep Eye Beam if it’s my left most card, or if it’s in the middle and the left is a 1 or a 2. It’s tempting to hold onto Blackthorn, especially against slower matchups, but you have to remember you can’t play him til turn 7.

Demon Hunter: 4 – 0 I beat every Deathrattle DH list I fought. They’re doing what you’re doing but a bit slower and you’re able to capitalize on that and close them out.

Druid: 2 – 2 Didn’t face too many, and I think they were split between the ramp/Guardian Animals versions and the Gibberling version. I don’t think we’re favoured against the big druid (GA into the 5 cost beasts with rush is really tough to come back from) but against Gibberling I feel it’s fairly even. Dreadlord’s Bite is very effective in this matchup – just make sure you clear their board.

Hunter: 8 – 6 This one’s a real battle, and your lifesteal cards come in handy here. Heavily mulligan for your 1 and 2 cost cards – Felfire Deadeye is crucial here. I do remember I lost two consecutive games to losing low rolls on Felmaw going face (first was a 25%, second was a 18%. Yowchy) I feel we’re favoured but only by a little.

Mage: 5 – 0 Every spell mage game I played wasn’t close, very hard for them to beat this deck. The only mage that got close was a spell damage mage that played minions. That deck seemed way better than pure spell but maybe that’s just this ol’ chunk of coal’s opinion.

Paladin: 9 – 10 Apologies if you’ve read my whole post just to see if this was some meta-breaker beater of Paladin. Sadly it is not, Pally is a really tough matchup. I find Secret is very beatable but Libram is just too much. On my final boss I did beat a Pally playing Blessing of Authority’s and Moonfang – big shoutout to that guy for the originality!

Priest: 1 – 0: Didn’t face too many. Just keep pressuring and prayers up to Odin to avoid Soul Mirror. I have lost with previous iterations to that card.

Rogue: 4 – 2 This is a really fun matchup, and to me it feels like peak HS. I think we’re a bit favoured against Miracle but that could also depend on the calibre of the player since it’s a tough deck to pilot. I did lose to one playing C’thun at rank 1, was a neat battle.

Shaman: 1 – 1: Again not too many here. The one I lost to was a Doomhammer variant that topdecked a Rockbiter against me, and the one I beat was a throwback Midrange variety. Feel like the Doomhammer one is more common – like hunter, your lifesteal cards are crucial here. Blackthorn is also key as you get out big taunts.

Warlock: 6 – 0 People like this Warlock deck! I can’t blame them for doing something they like in the face of severe opposition – I’m playing DH in a Paladin meta. Your Blackthorn targets are great here because they play around their AOE, and you win with Inquisitors.

Warrior: 2 – 1 My loss was to a Control Warrior that got a lucky brawl off, and I beat the other two Rush varieties. The Rush deck is a tough battle, similar to Rogue. There might be a time when you need to abandon board and rely on your Inquisitors around turn 7 or so.

Conclusion

That’s it! Again, I would have had more stats available but I do play on mobile frequently. I’d be happy to answer any questions and am more than willing to discuss card choices and flex options with this class! This deck is quick and fun to play and I hope you enjoy it – cheers everybody.

-Meltdown