Face Smackin’ The Old God’s…Hunter Style!

It’s fair to say that FACE HUNTER has always been one of the most annoying archetypes to play against in Hearthstone. I dare say its a cancer to the game as a whole, however as long as such card games like Hearthstone and MTG exist there will always be a place for an overly aggressive archetype, […]

Introduction

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It’s fair to say that FACE HUNTER has always been one of the most annoying archetypes to play against in Hearthstone. I dare say its a cancer to the game as a whole, however as long as such card games like Hearthstone and MTG exist there will always be a place for an overly aggressive archetype, as well as a niche community who will gravitate toward this particular play style. Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with adopting this strategy in way of climbing the ladder, in fact many would argue (myself among them) it’s the easiest, most time efficient road to the top. Let me start this little article, with a nickel’s worth of free advice: Whenever Blizzard releases a new expansion to Hearthstone, I have found it is a great opportunity to fine tune your already existing Face Hunter decks and begin smacking the wayward meta while it’s still in its infancy stages of figuring out what the hell is going on with all these new cards. While everyone else is brewing and battle testing new deck ideas, all you need to do in slip in a few minor improvements to Face Hunter’s core (which, by the way no matter the expansion has existed since the dawn of time), and use the confusion to your advantage.

I think it’s also important to mention that you understand that Face Hunter is a deck that also represents a solid way of getting started with a new metagame, as well as a new expansion if you’re strapped for cash, and can’t justify opening dozens and dozens of packs to build some of the more complex creations that are out there.

However, I’ll admit Face Hunter doesn’t come without its flaws and drawbacks. What it lacks in strategic depth, however, it more than makes up for in terms of speed and consistency – particularly useful qualities when it comes to making a quick climb up the ladder at the very start of each Season, which at the time I am penning this article in just a few short days away.  It has come under fire by many over Hearthstone’s short life span, and has slipped in popularity as a  result quite a bit since the League of Explorers, but is already picking up the pace once more in the early days of the Old Gods metagame.

Through trial and error within the first few days of this new expansion’s release I have found that the fiery-bat has fit pretty seamlessly into this deck, and I’ve gotten some rather surprisingly great value. He’s an awesome Mulligan and Almost 100% of the time when I can field him within the first couple of turns he’s a win, win! I’m happy with that deathrattle smackin’ my enemy’s face or taking out his minion or many cases both! If this little bat surfaces into my hand in the game’s latter stages he’s not a complete waste then either, servicing a nice a little target for abusive-sergeant to target, or is simply just good board presence, and that deathrattle is going to hit something, and I’ve never been disapointed with whatever that something is. Basically, my feeling is even if Fiery Bat’s effect ends being a waste late game, if he can be used to sneak in for 2 points of facial damage, trade into an enemy minion, or dispose of an enemy spell, in my eyes that little dude still did his job.

I’ve taken the time to outline a small guide, I think might help should you try to utilize this deck to finish strong in what days are left in this current season or if you want to start fresh with something strong into the new one too. I know this is a bold statement considering this expansions hasn’t even been out a week yet, but I’ve done my best to provide you an outline to play with what I believe to be one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful deck going forward and with any luck give you a good grounding in how to play the deck too. I’ve also included some Mulligan considerations to really think long and hard about before you begin your match, plus I’ll include a look at how these card choices interact with each other. My plan is to wrap all this up with some ideas of some card swaps should your collection not contain some of my choices or just some considerations to try out based strictly upon personal preference.

The Minor Points, That Make the Major Difference

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A while back I wrote an in-depth article regarding aggressive deck archetypes, which will help you immensely in playing with this deck should you need it, which you can find by clicking HERE. In a nutshell that particular article says the following: the purpose of this deck (as well as any aggressive deck archetype) is to basically slam damage however you can repeatedly into your opponent’s face! Yeah….that’s it. This truly isn’t rocket science, nor does it require any type of great in-depth thinking. Survive, and take down your enemy by smacking them like a retried granny getting mugged at a downtown casino in Reno, before they can they can catch up with you. It’s not a complex strategy, in fact I dare say it’s not even a particularly fun one to play, but we can all agree that it’s an effective approach if you’ve got the stomach for repetition. The whole reason you’d be using this deck in the first place, particularly on the ladder isn’t for its fun factor anyway. It’s for its time factor. It’s quick, It’s easy, It’s cheap, and for the most part, It requires no thinking. I’m going to take a few moments here to go over a few things that are important, and while they seem like things that might be common sense they are often lost in the shuffle, especially when playing with simple decks. First of all, ALWAYS remember to utilize your Hero Power whenever possible, most notably while playing as a Hunter, you’d be surprised how those 2 points of damage from steady-shot really begin to add up. Additionally, remember that due to the low-cost minions in your deck, you’ll be burning through the cards in your hand at the cyclic rate, so it’s often times better to hold one of those little guys back, a turn and fire off 2 points of damage instead if you can, especially if you have a reason to believe a board wipe looms on the horizon.

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The other thing is, to know the difference between going for face vs. going for board. Here again, several months ago I wrote another article covering this topic in depth and if you’re so inclined feel free to read up on that by clicking HERE. This aspect of game play comes with experience and is very, situational but the rule of thumb is you should try to use your eaglehorn-bow to clear out the board, rather than hitting your opponent’s face, unless of course doing so places you in position for lethal within the next turn. The key here, is to try to use your own minions to charge in and deliver the facial damage, while you use your weapons and spells to hone in on your enemy’s threats, which both protects yourself as well as your little dudes. As a side note, don’t avoid trading altogether though – if sending one minion into an opposite number will help another soldier live another turn, it’s often well worth doing, especially if said minion spawns from a rather special breed and can garner additional value for your side of the board!

That’s about as complex as things ever get when it comes to playing Face Hunter, but these minor points can make a massive difference to your overall win-rate – and that’s crucial with a rapid-fire deck like this. Don’t let the naysayers wear you down here either – there is an element of skill to this deck archetype, it’s just that the skill ceiling is markedly easier to reach than many others.

Mulligan

I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet, primarily because the nature of this deck tends to be so mindless, one could argue that almost any card one opens with could be used as a viable starting hand. However, remember I said almost. I think as you get more comfortable playing with this new Face Hunter and the dust settles on the new meta, personal prefence will play a bigger factor into which cards are smart choices when considering the Mulligan. That said, I tend to to lean toward the following in my games: Fiery Battinkmaster-oversparkhuge-toad, or knife-juggler. If, I have a mana advantage with the coin I go try to hold out for some of the more pricier card options like: animal-companion, Eaglehorn Bow, or argent-horserider.

Card Combos, Synergies, and Tips

Face Hunter has always been, will always be, and will continue to be, a relevant deck option as long as Hearthstone lives and breathes. I say that to tell my readers, that at its core, there is virtually nothing new to factor in when it comes to adding a few of these new expansion cards. I don’t really feel any of these new cards have taken the Face Hunter and truly given this deck a “wow” factor, or done anything we haven’t seen before. It’s still the same good ol’ Face Hunter we know and love, it’s just got a few minor tweaks which has added a fresh element to an old deck. Still, for the sake of completeness here’s a look at all of the most important synergies in the deck.

– Every Beast-class minion in this deck increases the power of kill command by two points, which when you’re talking a Face deck ain’t to shabby. Even the dogs spawned by Unleash the Hounds affect the spell in this way.

Eaglehorn Bow‘s Durability is increased by one point when the opponent sets off your explosive-trap. TIP: Try to avoid spending the last charge before this is triggered if you can.

dire-wolf-alpha still boosts all adjacent minions (no change here), but make sure you selective with positioning if you want to cycle through multiple minions as part of the trading process (an often overlooked and common mistake).

– Even your weakest minions can take down a juggernaut on the other side of the board if hunters-mark has been applied to the target first!

Abusive Sergeant will boost the reach of any minion on the board, so always factor it in before utilizing his boost to trade on the board, and try to use the weakest guy on your end of the field for that medal of honor sacrifice.

– Don’t easily dismiss knife-juggler just because of his recent nerf, his effect still combines very nicely with unleash-the-hounds (just like it always has) for bonus dagger damage. Remember, his inclusion into Face Hunter arsenal to begin with has always been for his effect never for his stats. TIP: If you’ve applied a Hunter’s Mark to a target, you might even get a free kill if luck’s on your side!

-When using Unleash the Hounds don’t forget, you can garner 2 additional hounds if you used leeroy-jenkins and set your opponent’s board up with 2 1/1 whelps! TIP: Garner additional value with Knife Juggler also, the same way utilizing 2 additional knife throws with Leeroy’s whelps!

Card Substitutions

-If you don’t have Leeroy in your collection I’d consider swamping him out for an additional Hunter’s Mark as I highly considered not running him to begin with and simply running 2 Hunters Marks. The value gained from the survivability off of an addtionational Hunter’s Mark, especially in an ever evolving meta, which seems to be merging toward a nasty cthun monster in the games latter stages can not be understated. I’ve just found even better value from Leeroy has a finisher T4-T5, getting me the victory before C’thun needs to be a worry in the first place, but still a second Hunter’s Mark could not be faulted.

-If you don’t have tinkmaster-overspark, I’d suggest replacing him with a worgen-infiltrator, a second Hunter’s Mark, or even a single freezing-trap. With the inability to include the mad-scientist, I thought running secrets, particularly Explosive Trap (Face Hunter’s Bread and Butter), would certainly neuter this deck going forward. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that this hasn’t been the case at all, in fact I’ve bearly noticed Mad Scientist absence from the deck.

Card Choices

I’m not going to waste too much discussing the obvious, as most of these cards have been apart of Face Hunter’s line up since Hearthstone’s Conception. Instead I’ll discuss briefly the reasons behind some of the other choices that make this particular version of Face Hunter different.

Leeroy Jenkins: As mentioned earlier I almost didn’t include him into this deck mostly because of his 5 mana cost, but I have found his ability as a finisher is so money he really has been the soul of the deck. When he hasn’t been the big finisher I’ve needed, he’s been the game changer to get me within in lethal range especially utilizing the 2 1/1 whelp “draw back” with an Unleash the Hound combo that’s given me just enough to get the face damage I need through the following turn. Additionally, the raw power gained from 7 points worth of damage off of an Abusive Sargeant combo is almost 1/3 of your enemy’s life’s blood.

Tinkmaster Overspark: Yeah, I know an odd ball choice at the surface value but hear me out on this. If you can manage to Mulligan for this guy and play him on T2-T3, or drop him when you have anything on the board with him he is virtually all upside! With the exception of Leeroy Jenkins, and your Animal Companions every other minion in your deck is a pint-sized ankle biter. At worst with Mr. Overspark’s emergence you’ll receive a different (albeit) slightly weaker pint-sized ankle biter (but quite frankly you’ll be really no worse off for it). Or, at best you’ll get a 5/5 powerhouse that totally cements your advantage and dumps a devilsaur-sized helping of extra pressure on the enemy’s plate on turn 3! Now, on your enemies end sure worst case scenario you’ll end up turning his ankle-biter into a 5/5 beast but I still believe Tinkmaster Overspark is worth the calculated risk within the confines of the deck you’re running–not the stress you carry about the deck you’re opponent is running.

Huge Toad-Okay, this guy isn’t particularly fast paced for an aggressive deck but he synergies well with the Kill Command, offers up a decent offensive 3/2 body for the bargain price of 2 mana and comes with a pretty nifty effect, that if I’m lucky will go right where I want all damage this deck will eventually go–to the enemy’s face!

Fiery Bat-I sort of already touched on this dude earlier but, I’ll say a bit more here. I am kind of looking at this card as well as treating it as the poor man’s Leper Gnome. I’m playing to Mulligan for it, dropping it turn 1 if I have it, and praying that the one point of damage of its deathrattle will go right between my opponents eyes just like with Huge Toad.

Hunter’s Mark-You definitely would not be wrong looking over this deck list and getting rid of something to run 2 of these bad boys. One huge weakness in this deck is trying to figure out how the hell you’re going to pull out a win if you haven’t gotten one by T-5. That said there is nothing in your arsenal, to get rid of big scary creatures your opponent will hit you with late game except this one card. This is the insurance policy so once you draw into it, use it wisely.

Argent Horserider-This guy’s pretty obvious and has been apart of most Face Hunter decks for a while. The Divine Shield is what really makes this minion worth his weight in gold. His inclusion into the deck list, was due in part because his presence instantly forces your opponent to deal with him and it’ll take two defensive measures on their end to do so. In the meantime, you’re reaking havoc, getting in at least 4 points of damage before he gets killed off–whether that’s face or board damage it doesn’t really matter it’s still significant.

quick-shot This card is perfect for removal, getting in those last few points of damage, as well as card draw while circulating through your deck–particularly so with Face Hunter when its difficult to maintain cards in hand. This is a card choice, that cannot be tinkered with, definitely a must have going forward its inclusion and its value cannot be understated.

Conclusion

I hope you’ll find just as much success with this revamped version of Face Hunter as I’ve had in this new and evolving meta. As with all my articles feel free to leave me your two cents both in the tip jar and down below in the comments section should the need strike you. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read my ramblings and spend with me. Until next time!