If you are looking to climb the Hearthstone ladder in the constructed format, there are a few different types of decks that you can use. The basic types are Control, Rush, and Balanced. To get all the way to the top of the ladder though you really need to make sure you know how to play with and against all three types.
The essence of a Rush deck is about beating down your opponent so fast they never get a chance to setup their own deck and strategy. Rush style decks exist in almost all card games, and they are generally called Rush or Aggro (short for aggression) decks. These decks go hard at the opponent right from the start and aim to win before the late game. In fact they generally try to win by about turn 5 or 6. If the game goes past that point in time, most Rush decks will run out of steam and have not real way to win in the late game.
This guide looks at two typical Rush Decks and how to play with them and against them. Each of these decks can help you make your way to the top of the ladder if played correctly.
Hunter Rush Deck
Hunters can make awesome Rush decks due to the fact that they have access to a large number of cheap effective beast minions. In addition to the beasts that they have, they can deal direct damage with their class ability to plink away at the enemy.
Hunter Rush Deck List (Feb 2014):
- 2x Arcane Shot
- 2x Explosive Trap
- 2x Snake Trap
- 2x Snipe
- 2x Unleash the Hounds
- 2x Knife Juggler
- 2x Loot Hoarder
- 2x Scavenging Hyena
- 2x Starving Buzzard
- 2x Eaglehorn Bow
- 2x Animal Companion
- 2x Deadly Shot
- 2x Kill Command
- Ironfur Grizzly
- Leeroy Jenkins
- Explosive Shot
- Savannah Highmane
Play Strategy – Hunter Rush
While this deck seems to be about a mad rush at your opponent, it is a bit of a slower Rush deck, you need to pace your opening and aim to control your opponents minions for a few turns. What the deck is really about several really nasty combos that can decimate an opponents minions or give you huge minions or card advantage.
The combos you are looking to setup include the following:
- Starving Buzzard and / or Knife Juggler into Unleash the Hounds and / or Snake Trap
- Unleash the Hounds with Scavenging Hyena
- Eaglehorn Bow with multiple traps
- Kill Command with any beast active
The first two combos listed are extremely effective. Think about the first one alone. If you opponent gets a few minions active (lest assume 4) by turn 6 and you save a buzzard and Knife Juggler along with a hound card until then you play them in sequences. Knife Juggler into a Starving Buzzard into Unleash the Hounds. This sequence will provide you a total of 6 minions on the board, 5 damage dealt randomly, and 4 replacement cards. That's pretty hard to deal with as an opponent.
Any time you can set up a mass attack you can deal significant damage before the opponent can react. Once they do, you can make sure you have your traps in place to control their response. A key trap to have in place when you have the Starving Buzzard and / or Knife Juggler in place is a Snake Trap, because even if they are attacking your minion to kill them off, the trap will trigger and either kill off the attacker first, or provide a card advantage before your minion is killed.
The main deal with this deck is to make sure you do not run yourself out of cards. Make sure you keep your Starving Buzzards around in your hand until you will be able to make use of them to gain multiple replacement cards.
How to Play Against – Hunter Rush
There are several things to keep in mind when playing against this deck, but the biggest is the use of control and mass damage cards.
This deck will have a really hard time against decks that make use of mass damage spells that can clear the board with one card. While they have a hard time with it, they can still deal huge amounts of damage in one go, so don't get careless. Mage control decks match up especially well against this deck.
A second key point is to not give the hunter too many targets. Ideally you should only have 2-3 minions in play at any given time. If you give them more than that, they will make extremely good use of their Unleash the Hounds combo and potentially decimate you.
Ideal Opening Hand – Hunter Rush
This deck works in many different ways with many different opening hands. Ideally though you want all low cost control cards early. Therefore you should not keep anything over a casting cost of 3, you can worry about drawing them later.
Deck Options – Hunter Rush
The deck listed above works very well as is, but is a bit limited due to personal card selection. Two changes I would suggest are adding in King Krush and a second Snake Trap.
I have Ragnaros in place of King Krush and you could make room for both but you really need to keep a low mana cost curve. To make room for the second Snake Trap you can remove the single Ironfur Grizzly or play around with other cards of your choice.
One area that this deck does lack is taunt, and therefore you could mix in a Houndmaster or two to be able to provide some taunt ability and extra hitting power for your minions.
Warlock Rush Deck
This is a really popular Rush style deck as many of the cards are easy to get and the deck can be quite effective. Also who doesn't like Murlocs!
Warlock Rush Deck List (Feb 2014):
- 2x Soulfire
- 2x Mortal Coil
- 2x Power Overwhelming
- 2x Flame Imp
- 2x Gimscale Oracle
- 2x Leper Gnome
- 2x Murloc Raider
- 2x Murloc Tidecaller
- 2x Voidwalker
- 2x Young Priestess
- 2x Bluegill Warrior
- 2x Murloc Tidehunter
- 2x Coldlight Seer
- 2x Murloc Warleader
- Leeroy Jenkins
- Old Murk-Eye
Play Strategy – Warlock Rush
This deck has a lot of potential since it can put out a lot of creatures and damage quickly, and then use the Warlock Life Tap ability to help it keep cards coming into its hand to keep moving forward.
There are some simple things that players miss though when trying to play this deck. One of the big ones is Life Tapping too early. As long as you can be putting creatures into play, do so. Wait to tap until you can not do anything else.
The second issue that players try doing when playing this deck is trading creatures. The simple rule is, don't. I know that is counter to the play style of most decks, but with this deck players will want to kill your minions off and trade against you, so let them, after you have already done damage to them.
Some defense early on is good, that is why the Voidwalker and Young Priestess are in the deck, make use of the early to slow down your opponents attack. This goes for your Soulfire spell as well, use it early, even if you have cards in hand. Clearing the board of a big drop from the opponent early is worth the loss of a card.
How to Play Against – Warlock Control
This can be a hard deck to play against, and if they get a good draw, sometimes it is almost unbeatable. However, if you play smart against it, there are many ways to defeat it on a regular basis. The things to keep in mind are to make sure you remove key minions as soon as possible. This means killing the Murloc Warleaders before all else, then moving onto other buff murlocs, and then finally onto anything else.
Taunt minions are no guarantee due to several big damage spells and Power Overwhelming, therefore don't trust they will have to attack you. Make sure you worry about board control first and only damage your opponent personally if there is nothing on the board.
Again, board control is everything. Keep the board clear as much as possible, and if the game goes late in the game you will likely win.
Ideal Opening Hand - Warlock Control
This deck is about early and constant pressure on your opponent. With that said, make sure you only keep minions in your opening hand, and only those up to 3 mana (which shouldn't be hard since you don't have many over 3 anyway).
Spells you can draw later and will come over time. The main thing you want is a Voidwalker, Flame Imp, or Leper Gnome. These are not murlocs but do provide great early game pressure. Best of all, your opponent will not see that it is a murloc deck until you drop a whole bunch of them a few turns into the game.
Deck Options – Warlock Control
This deck can use several other cards as well. A noticeable exclusion is the Murloc Oracle that provides both players with 2 cards. This could be used, but is tricky since it provides your opponent just as much benefit as it does to you, and has therefore been excluded.
One card that can help and be subbed in to help with mid game threat levels is the Hungry Crab. Sure it eats a murloc to grow larger, but there are options. A great way to play it is to Power Overwhelming one of your murlocs, slam your opponent with it, and then eat it with the crab before it dies.
Since this deck does not have many big hitters or late game damage abilities, there is an option to put at least 1 big hitter into the deck. Solid options for that role are Ragnaros or Ysera.
As with any card style game, decks and play styles will change over time, so it is important to keep in mind that these deck work well at the time this was written (Feb 2014), that will change over time. Even if the cards themselves are not tuned throughout the rest of the beta, as the meta of the game changes, so do the decks that work well.
What are your thoughts on these two Rush Style decks presented here? Are they similar to what you use? How would you change them up? Do you have your own completely different rush deck? Let us know by posting in the comment section below.