Well, it finally happened. Just about every Demon Hunter card has been nerfed now that the latest balance patch hit Warglaives of Azzinoth, Kayn Sunfury, and Metamorphosis.
Is Tempo Demon Hunter dead? Far from it. Rather, it has finally been brought in line with the other classes and Demon Hunter decks even use some Neutral cards nowadays. I guess filling the entire deck with class cards may have been a sign of some minor balance issues.
It only took players a couple of days to figure out multiple potential paths for Tempo Demon Hunter to take in its new reality: building the deck without Warglaives, finding new ways to support Warglaives, or just doing things as if nothing has changed.
Tempo Demon Hunter without Warglaives of Azzinoth
The top contenders to replace the nerfed cards are History Buff and Cobalt Spellkin. History Buff can make your minions more difficult to handle whereas Cobalt Spellkin provides some excellent spells for Demon Hunters: Consume Magic, Mana Burn, and Twin Slice are the only current one-cost Demon Hunter spells, so you’re guaranteed to get some of them from Cobalt Spellkin.
Deck code: AAECAea5AwLMugPaxgMOlga8pwP9pwP5rgOBsQOLugPXuwPgvAPXvgPevgPZxgP3yAP5yAP+yAMA
This popular Tempo Demon Hunter list combines the power of these two new additions with the powerful early-game package of Bonechewer Brawler, Amani Berserker, Beaming Sidekick, and Guardian Augmerchant. If you can buff your berserkers, they are difficult to answer and can carry the game almost by themselves. History Buff gives you another way to buff them in the mid-game if you do not find them in your opening hand, and Cobalt Spellkin helps you to find reach and protect your berserkers.
Tempo Demon Hunter with new support for Warglaives of Azzinoth
With Warglaives of Azzinoth at six mana, Tempo Demon Hunter lacks a good play for turn five. Another approach to mitigate this issue is to skip directly to six mana with Escaped Manasaber.
Deck code: AAECAea5AwLMugPaxgMO/acD+a4DhLYDi7oD17sDxLwD4LwD1r4D174D3r4D2cYD98gD+cgD/sgDAA==
This popular new Tempo Demon Hunter list keeps Warglaives of Azzinoth and adds Escaped Manasabers to get them out on turn five as if no nerf ever happened. It does not have room for Amani Berserkers, which weakens its early aggression, but it can still dominate the board in the mid-game with Warglaives of Azzinoth.
Tempo Demon Hunter as usual
Surprisingly enough, simply ignoring that anything bad happened is actually a viable strategy for Tempo Demon Hunter.
Deck code: AAECAea5AwSWBsy6A8O8A9rGAw39pwP5rgOLugPXuwPEvAPgvAPWvgPXvgPevgPZxgP3yAP5yAP+yAMA
This older favorite list is still perfectly functional despite including all the nerfed cards, even Metamorphosis, which was hit the hardest.
As an unexpected upside, the Corsair Cache nerf means that Warriors now struggle to remove Bonechewer Brawlers and Amani Berserkers in the early game, which improves the deck’s weakest matchup despite the hits it took from the balance patch.
There is no strong unconditional on-curve play for turn five in the deck anymore, but combining multiple cards and possibly the Hero Power or using Glaivebound Adept if you have Umberwing equipped can still keep the tempo up even during that challenging turn.
I played the old variant after the nerfs and still had good results, you can see more about it here:
The future of Tempo Demon Hunter
Tempo Demon Hunter decks will continue to undergo experimentation in the coming weeks. Early results indicate that Cobalt Spellkin is the most promising new addition and a Warglaive-less version of the deck that includes the card is the strongest approach, followed by the Escaped Manasaber variant and the old Metamorphosis list. All of them can easily win more than half of their games and remain viable options for laddering, but I currently recommend the Cobalt Spellkin list the most for a smooth path to becoming legendary.
And you can still succeed on a budget too
Oh, and budget Demon Hunter is also still completely viable. In fact, with Druid taking a hit, Budget Demon Hunter is now the uncontested best budget deck in the game.
Here’s my latest take on the archetype:
Deck code: AAECAea5AwKBsQPMugMOlgb9pwP5rgOLugPXuwPgvAPWvgPXvgPevgPHxgPZxgP3yAP5yAP+yAMA
You can find my guide video to Budget Demon Hunter here:
Overall, then, Demon Hunter is still doing fine and I expect its numbers to go back up on the ladder soon.