With the advent of Whispers of the Old Gods and Standard, our #1 deck to hate on saw the departure of a lot of key cards. The deck that once used to dominate the meta has now become a hollow shell of what it used to be. With crucial cards such as Mad Scientist and Haunted Creeper moving to wild, it is safe to say that Face Hunter is dead.
… or is it?
Face Hunter, as the name suggests, is a hunter archetype that seeks to hit the ‘face’ of the opponent as much as possible to end the game as fast and efficiently as possible. It uses strong minions in the early game and milks out its efficient hero power and burn spells in the late game to close all games (hopefully) by turn 7-8.
Face hunter has seen a steady decline in popularity over the past few months, and for good reason. It’s arch rival, Aggro Shaman, has consistent minions and uses the overload mechanic to put pressure and to throw a lot of burn on the same turn. Where face hunter shines, however, is in tournaments – namely the conquest format.
Conquest format is a format wherein players have to bring 3-4 decks and ban 1 deck of the opponent. Both players then must win with each hero once, and the person who wins with all of their decks first wins the match.
With the rising popularity of greedy control decks, Rogue has seen a rise in popularity too, as an extremely strong counter to the meta. With Rogue being the 3rd most played class in the Winter Preliminaries, it seems that targeting rogue in conquest is an extremely solid strategy. And guess who has an insane winrate against rogue…
The Deck – Core Cards and Tech Decisions
Let us take a look at some of the new additions to Face Hunter, as well as try to understand what each of them does for the deck.
Brave Archer : This card is one of the many cards from the TGT set that was great, but just didn’t see play because of the power levels of Naxx and GvG. With those two sets gone, this card shows again why it is great. In the late game, where the hunter is trying to close out the game while inevitably having an empty hand, this card makes your Hero Power better than Justicar Trueheart does! Now that’s value.
Fiery Bat : The new OP 1-drop of Face Hunter. This card is as good as, if not better than Leper Gnome. It puts immediate pressure on the board, has a great deathrattle effect, and is a beast to enable Kill Command!
Huge Toad : Similar to Fiery Bat, this card is the exact same thing, except in the form of a 2-drop.
Doomsayer : Many lists of Face Hunter have been messing around with Doomsayer. This card is useful in the extreme late game, when you need a to buy a turn or two to close out the game.
On The Hunt : The Elven Archer in beast form has also been seeing play. While it does not put the immediate pressure that Fiery Bat does, it does have a guaranteed ping (that for some reason, always seems to go face) attached to it. It also is an activator for Kill Command.
Flame Juggler : There always is a persistent debate regarding Flame Juggler vs. Huge Toad. While Knife Juggler is not even in the debate for this deck due to all its insane synergies, Flame Juggler makes the argument of you getting to control when the 1 damage ping occurs.
While there are seldom games where you have to trade over going face, there are certain nuances to realize in each matchup, and I’ll try to broadly categorize all of them.
Aggro Shaman: This deck will win against you in the late game more often than not, due to it having bigger minions and strong burst/removal cards. So we realize our strategy of trading nearly never and going face with our minions early on and closing out the game as soon as possible.
Midrange Shaman: You want to be able to play minions as fast as possible so as to keep up with their board flood along with being greedy with your Unleash The Hounds. Keep a Kill Command locked and loaded for their Thing From Below.
Zoolock: An extremely favored matchup, due to our deck synergizing with the Warlock Hero Power – Life Tap! Also, the addition of double Explosive Trap and Unleash The Hounds makes this a much easier game.
Renolock: The strategy is simple. Go face and pray that they don’t draw into Reno Jackson.
C’Thun/Ramp Druid: It’s a simple matchup wherein you try to create as much of a board presence early on as possible whilst playing around swipe so as to have them low enough that you can finish the game off with your Hero Power and burn spells.
Aggro/Flood Druid: This matchup is very similar to Midrange Shaman, wherein you try to capitalize on their board flood with unleash the hounds. Keep track of their damage output with Savage Roar and save a Kill Command for Fandral Staghelm.
Miracle/Malygos: Go face. Play around Fan Of Knives. SMOrc. Easy game, easy life.
Freeze Mage/Control Warrior/N’Zoth Paladin/Any Control Deck:
Against a control matchup, two things are extremely crucial.
- Understanding the need to maximize damage output over turns by understand the qualm between when to play a card vs. when to simply Hero Power.
- Playing around AoE.
As long as these two things are done religiously, the game should not be too difficult.
I have used this deck to climb in the Legend ranks and reached a peak of top 400 legend with it. The X-Factor that this deck has over Midrange Hunter is the element of surprise, wherein since most opponents expect you to play a Midrange List, you surprise them and their greedy style of play/mulligan and punish that severely.
While still not a completely solid deck, Face Hunter seems to performing a style of play comparable to the Drunken Fighting variant of Kung Fu, stumbling its way into victory. Though still not an amazing deck to ladder with, Face Hunter helps those players looking for the classic Hearthstone alt+tab experience. The no-brainer deck, for now, rests dormant, but do not underestimate the deck, because Rexxar will hunt you down.