The main Hunter deck these days is Camel Hunter, a much more board-centric version of the classic midrange list. It is a fun, competitive deck that has the ability to take down many of the popular decks on ladder. One such deck is Control Warrior. Anytime you plan on taking a deck to the ladder, you are going to need to know how to beat Garrosh and his seemingly infinite armor. In this guide we will look at both sides of the matchup, and show you the best way to use Hunter’s board presence and persistent damage to wear down the slow control deck.
When playing Camel Hunter you have two options. You can stick to the stock list (which is linked below), or you can branch out to try new options. While this deck is one set of thirty cards, it is still Midrange Hunter. As a result, you should feel free to tweak it to your style. Some versions of this deck run more late game, some run a secret package, and others run more burn. Each version has its strengths and weaknesses, so you just want to make sure you are playing something you understand.
When mulliganing against Warrior you need to start out fast. The most popular version of Warrior these days is Monkey, which is a deck that has a lot of ways to stay alive and control the board. If you don’t start pressuring them as soon as you can, you will fall behind. You are trying to stick as hard as you can to a one, two, three curve. That changes a little bit if you have access to the coin, but know that you want to start early and draw everything else later on.
Cards to KeepWebspinner Glaivezooka Flame Juggler Haunted Creeper
Knife Juggler is a great keep if you have other solid opening minions.
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 solid beast opening.
How to Win
Damage. Damage, damage and damage. While, as a Hunter player, pressuring your opponent’s life total is always important, you really need to make your hits count in this matchup. The more Warrior sits back and relaxes, the more they can easily execute their gameplan of building into bigger and bigger plays. You need to counter that by putting down large minions that they have to answer. You never want to let up when playing Warrior, because giving them even one turn of no pressure can put you too far behind.
The other part of this game is knowing how to play around Warrior’s ample removal options. They have every single type of kill spell imaginable, ranging from Execute to Shield Slam to Brawl to double Revenge. There is not a Control Warrior today that doesn’t run the monkey version, which means almost all of their cards are designed to kill something. You have a lot of tools that resist removal, and you need to know how to use them. Never over-extend into AOE, and if you are nervous about spot removal you should try to run out low-impact or sticky minions to test your opponent.
Early Game Strategy
The opening stages of the game are where you really need to bring the heat. While there is a good chance that Warrior will have a vast array of different answers, you need to just stick to your curve. If they do have removal, they are going be playing reactively. If they don’t have the right answers, you can get a very strong board presence very quickly.
Do your best to clear both Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain as seamlessly as possible. These two early cards are the way Warrior builds (or survives) into their mid to end game, and you want to limit their value from the cards as much as possible. It may not always be easy to do three or four damage in one go, but if you prepare for it in the right way then you should be able to limit their potential.
You have a large advantage during these first turns because this is a match where Desert Camel is extremely strong. Warrior runs no one drops, and getting a pair of 2/4’s with no drawback forces them to have a Death’s Bite or simply succumb to your board. You want to play this card over just about any other turn three play, and it should always be your two drop if you have the coin. While sometimes you are going to get Webspinner, that is still two beasts you can use to trigger your bigger threats.
During the middle turns Warrior acts in the same way it does during the early ones, by removing things. However, here there removal gets better, and they get a lot harder to kill. Though it is easy to focus on Warrior’s end game, the middle turns are much more important. This is because, it is here where Warrior either gets a chokehold on the game or lets it slip away. The games you are going to win are almost always going to be in these turns, either due to overwhelming board presence or stacks of damage.
Another big advantage you have in this matchup is that you run a lot of incredibly sticky minions that Warrior has a very hard time removing. One of those is Houndmaster. Think of the 4/3 as two different minions. Your buffed up beast, and the protected 4/3 that comes with it. When you go for early kills, this card is usually the reason why. Do everything you can to protect your early game beasts and get this to trigger. Just note that if your play out a Houndmaster on turn four and Warrior doesn’t immediately have an answer, you want to push rather than add more minions to the board. This will prevent you from over-extending too far into AOE.
Play around Brawl. The five mana spell can be an absolute blowout if your aren’t ready for it, and you need to either try to keep only a few threats out on the board, or protect your sticky minions. For instance, while you may want to buff up your Haunted Creeper with Houndmaster, you should try to buff up a different beast if you can. That will prevent Warrior from killing the spider, which raises your chances of getting three minions after the Brawl.
The best card in this matchup (as usual) is Savannah Highmane. As stated, sticky minions are all that matter, and none are better than this. Not only does the lion survive through almost all of Warrior’s spot removal, but it also brings a whopping six damage a turn. Think of this card like Loatheb. A giant minion that, if your are ahead, pretty much locks down the game. If you have it in your hand, you want to use your removal options to get the board by turn six.
It is important to understand how Justicar Trueheart changes the game. The six drop on her own is quite easily removed, but as soon as Warrior plays her you are at a huge disadvantage. It is very hard to stop four armor a turn, and once Warrior plays her, you really need to crank up the pressure. This does not mean you want to be reckless, but you want to add a little more to the board than you normally would.
Late Game Strategy
If you make it to the later stages of the game you are going to have a very small window to kill Warrior before they just get out of reach forever. Even if you are putting pressure on them, there are a lot of games where a sudden Shield Block mixed with a Shieldmaiden or Justicar Trueheart can lock you out. Always watch for the turn where your opponent can fully clear your board (or simply pull too far ahead) and try to cut them off before that happens.
This is not a matchup where you just want to play Dr. Boom on curve. You only run a couple end-game minions, and you want to save the legendary doctor for when your opponent is very low on life or for when you see a Brawl. This card can be very strong on curve, but typically just running it out into Warrior’s removal is not a good play. Use this to rebound once your board gets cleared.
As you make it towards the end of the game, try to save a Hunter’s Mark. Though Warrior’s curve has gotten significantly lower than it once was, they still run big minions like Grommash Hellscream and Dr. Boom. Those can be very hard to deal with, and it is always good to have a free kill spell in your back pocket.
Always try and chip away at Warrior’s armor in any way that you can. Even if you are focused on damage, there are many turns where you can make plays or trades that take away pressure. You never want to let up here, and understand that once you have the board you need to push. While it can be tempting to clear, you usually want to let Warrior figure that out.