Can Hunter Compete Without Call of the Wild?
has been a controversial card since its release in Whispers of the Old Gods. Many think it to be too strong, but were fine with it at the time since Hunter was so desperately lacking any kind of early game presence. Most of the community thought it was okay if the deck had a bunch of mid-to-late game burst and presence since decks were afforded an opportunity to prepare a response unlike the days of old where Face Hunter would kill you before you could even afford a solution.
But with One Night In Karazhan releasing, Blizzard has helped fix these issues with cards like and . Needless to say, Hunter has quickly became one of the most popular classes on the ladder. And while many are still running that infamous Hunter spell, which has seemingly overtaken as the class' identity card, others have cast it aside in favor of a list that plays like a more traditional Hunter deck.
Competitive Hearthstone player Jon "Orange" Westberg, is one of the pros leading the charge. "Yeah, I never really liked Call of the Wild," he tells us, "It is one of the most powerful cards in the game, but it plays awfully bad with the rest of the Hunter cards."
Orange claims the only real reason why it saw play at all was because the other Hunter cards "were rock bottom" compared to the other classes out there. He continues, "Now with Cloaked Huntress and Grandmother," cards that he thinks push Hunter further away from a build which runs Call of the WIld, "I dont think the card is a must anymore and you can build more tempo-based Hunter decks instead of Hunter decks that stall and then just try to win on the back of Call."
He willfully admits that running a single copy might be "good," but doesn't think that mainstream Midrange Hunter decks need to run both copies anymore.
-2 Abusive Sergeant
+1 Fiery Bat
-2 Huge Toad
+2 Freezing Trap
-1 Deadly Shot
+1 Snake Trap
-2 Argent Horserider
+1 Eaglehorn Bow
+2 Clocked Huntress
-2 Call of the Wild
+2 Knife Juggler
+1 Dire Wolf Alpha
MrYagut recently won a ton of games in high Legend with his own decklist which is a more typical version of what you've come to expect. However, it still makes some notable inclusions such as Argent Horserider and Abusive Sergeant, cards you'd more likely see in an old Face Hunter.
Orange's decklist hearkens back to the old days of Hunter where running a card over six mana would have been blasphemy, and it seems like he's mostly eliminated any kind of cards that would have seemed "sub-par" a few months ago. Though Standard inevitably changed things, was viewed as a terrible card not that long ago and is mostly just above average.
It certainly feels like an old-fashioned Hunter deck through-and-through and there's certainly some value to that.
Even comparing the two it's clear that Midrange Hunter as a whole has gotten a lot faster in the span of a few weeks and that's probably what's helped it rise out of the doldrums, but once the meta settles down after the last wing of Karazhan releases, we'll finally see which version ends up on top. For now, the answer is yes, you can be competitive without Call of the Wild. But is it the most competitive option? We're not so sure yet.
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