To understand any deck in Hearthstone, you need to understand the mirror match. Mirror matches are very important because they show you what it is like from the other side of the table, giving you an idea of both your deck’s strengths and weaknesses. Piloting through a mirror match is the best way to plan your gameplan, and understand how your deck really works. In this guide, we will break down the mirror match between Camel Hunter to understand how the deck uses fast board control to take over games.
Camel Hunter is one set deck with 30 cards. However, underneath that it is just a very clever twist on a classsic midrange deck. As a result, you have a lot of ways you can tweak the list to match your style or to fight the decks you are seeing at your current rank. You can play a more minion oriented list if you are seeing a lot of midrange, more early game and secrets if you are fighting through a lot of aggro, or you can play burst to counter control. Each version is good for different situations, and you want to stick with the archetype you best understand. To help you make that decision, the original list has been linked below.
When mulliganing against Hunter you just need to stick to your low curve cards. Hunter is a deck that, like Tempo Mage or Druid, makes a living off of putting something onto the board and then using that early presence to pressure their opponent into being defensive the whole game. As such, you need to cut off your opponent’s plan as soon as you can by beating them to the punch. That means mulliganing hard for early cards, and throwing back anything three or above unless you have the coin.
Cards to KeepWebspinner Glaivezooka Flame Juggler Haunted Creeper Knife Juggler
Desert Camel should always be kept with the coin.
Animal Companion is strong keep with the coin or an early curve.
Houndmaster is a good keep with the coin and a very strong opening.
Piloted Shredder follows the same rules as Houndmaster.
Cult Master can be kept with the coin and a minion with a low of low-cost minions.
How to Win
All Hunters, from Face to Midrange to Camel, operate on the same values. They want to get early board control and then use that presence to pressure their opponent’s life total. This forces their opponent to react defensively instead of playing minions, which means they can slowly wear their opponent down in the same way Druid sets up their combo. As such, you need to do everything you can to get board presence. Use your removal sparingly, and trade as much as you can unless you are pushing for lethal.
Planning ahead is very important in this matchup. As mentioned, you typically want to stay one step ahead of your opponent. Hunter has a lot of small combos and strong options. You need to set your own plan up as best you can, but also take away your opponent’s. If you cannot stop something like Houndmaster or Mad Scientist, you then want always make your plays thinking about what’s going to happen if those cards get triggered.
Early Game Strategy
The early game is very important because this is where you and your opponent are going to get most of your fuel. You need to do everything in your power to secure some type of presence before you fall victim to too much early damage. In this way, a lot of Hunter games can be decided on turn two or three if their opponent doesn’t have a threat. Understand that, and know how important it is to get an early minion onto an empty board. Since you and your opponent are both playing similar lists, whoever misses a drop or gets cleared is going to be playing one step behind.
Glaivezooka is one of the best early game cards you have access to. It lets all of your small, early minions trade up, and also gives you a way to clear while protecting any small one or two drops. You want to set up the trigger on a minion as best you can, but also don’t be afraid to play it on its own to get rid of your opponent’s first or second turn play.
Knife Juggler is also very important for getting early control. While you do not run a ton of small minions, you do have enough early game to ping down your opponent’s board. Also, if you have Haunted Creeper you want to break it the same turn you play juggler. That instantly puts down a must kill threat, and can usually act as removal.
Desert Camel is very, very risky. The three drop is strong, and is very good when you are ahead on board, but if you already don’t have presence, it can lead to a disaster. There is always a chance your opponent is going to pull a Webspinner, but you do not want to give your opponent an Injured Kvaldir unless you are already ahead in the game or desperately need a Houndmaster target.
The middle of the game is going to be the most important part, because this is where the finishers comes down. You and your opponent are both playing a midrange deck, which means you both run very few finishers. Rather, each of you is trying to get board control and push finishing damage with your five and six drops. That makes this your end game of sorts. Know that, and always try to use your big threats as leverage to make your opponent play defensively.
There are many swing cards in this matchup, plays that instantly put you ahead. The biggest of that is Houndmaster, which you need to play to and around. If you have a beast on board, you want to do your best to make sure it is going to survive by protecting it and trading away other minions. In that same vein, if your opponent has a beast you need to get rid of it before turn four rolls around.
Another very important swing card is Cult Master. Card draw is at a premium in this game, and you want to try and get as much as you can. Getting a good turn off of master will keep your threats coming, and allow you to outlast your opponent. If you have a chance to draw three or more cards, you should look to do so.
Always do your best to play around Unleash the Hounds, especially after turn five when your opponent can use it with Knife Juggler. If you are behind you need to flood the board, but there is no reason to stack up minions when you are already ahead. If you have two minions controlling the game, don’t add any more.
If you play Savannah Highmane, you are in control. The lion pressures an enormous amount of damage and is very, very hard to deal with. As such, once you get the six damage onto the board, your opponent is going to have to play to it. That gives you a large advantage because they are going to need to use their resources and board to trade, giving you priority. If you have the beast out, you typically want to go face (unless you are scared of dying) and let them deal with it.
Late Game Strategy
Both you and your opponent run very little late game, making the later turns a battle of damage. The end of this game plays a lot like the Tempo Mage mirror, with you and your opponent doing your best to just get any minion to stick so you can put the other in finishing range. Your hero power (and theirs) is going to lead to lethal eventually, and the person who gets the last say usually comes out on top.
Like Savannah Highmane, Dr. Boom is a card that instantly gives you control of the flow of the game. If you are at a comfortable life total, get him down as fast as possible. However, also be aware of your opponent’s boom. Try to have a strong board by seven just in case they want to use him to catch up.
While it is strong in the middle game, Hunter’s Mark is phenomenal during these turns. It is a great way to nullify your opponent’s threat or challenge their board. Try to save one if you can to answer any crazy top decks your opponent might have. Removing something while also putting your own threat is the way to win midrange vs. midrange games.
Finally, it is always smart to push for damage and threaten your opponent’s life total. At the end of the day, you are a Hunter. As such, your opponent is not going to feel comfortable being in the mid teens in life, especially if you have cards in hand. While you don’t want to be reckless, going face with a large threat and acting like you have a Kill Command can be a good way to put them on the defensive.
Understand how important Loatheb is. Not only does the five drop solidify a board (giving you lethal more often than not), but he can also help prevent your opponent from killing you. Hunter does not run that many spells, but the ones they do can be tricky. Do not be afraid to throw down the five drop as a tempo play.