If you want to bring Hunter to ladder these days, one of your best options is Camel Hunter. It is a very strong version of the classic midrange list that runs extra early game to get control of the board early and build into larger threats. However, if you plan on taking the deck to ladder, you need to know how to use it to beat the other popular decks. This guide will break down how Camel Hunter matches up against Renolock, and how careful planning and resource conservation can win the match.
The original decklist for Camel Hunter (linked below) is a very strong deck. However, you can still make a lot of changes to the list to better suit your personal style. You can run a minion heavy version, one that has a secret package and more early game, or one that has a good amount of burst. It really depends on what decks are most popular at your current rank. While you still need to play the core list, you should also not be afraid to go outside of the regular cards.
When facing against Warlock you always want to mulligan for Zoo unless you have a very strong suspicion your opponent is Renolock. While you can recover against Renolock with a slower midrange hand, that will crumble against Zoo. As a result, you are just going to be looking for one and two drops. You are a board control deck, and you only want to keep slower cards if you have a way to start the game. Three and up is just too slow 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.
Cult Master can be really strong with a lot of small opening minions.
Houndmaster is a good keep with the coin and a solid beast opening.
Piloted Shredder follows the same rules as Houndmaster.
How to Win
Renolock is a very sound deck that has very strong plays throughout the entire curve. While those plays are not all minion, their spells are just as important to their overall gameplan. As a result, you need to carefully plan each minion you play in relation to what Renolock can do. That means try to have enough threats to challenge their minions, but not enough where you are going to get blown out by AOE.
The other way you beat Renolock is making sure you force them into making the plays you want them to. They have a lot of options, but you can really force their hand through either pressure or a strong board state. For instance, attacking their life will often force them to use Reno Jackson or Antique Healbot instead of clearing the board or putting down a big threat. Make those plays as much as possible, and try your best to squeeze your opponent into a corner.
Early Game Strategy
The first turns of the this game are going to be spent trying to identify your opponent’s deck. You should be able to do this in the first turn or two. If your opponent doesn’t open with one of the telltale Zoo one drops (Flame Imp, Voidwalker), or if they simply tap on turn two, you are most likely facing Renolock. Beyond identification, you really just want to get minions down. You want to control the way the pace of the game, and that begins on turn one.
Animal Companion is very strong in this matchup because it is a really good threat for a very low amount of mana. You almost always want this to be your go-to three drop on an empty board. If you already have control the early game, then save this for during the midgame as a way to instantly get pressure on the board.
When playing Desert Camel you should remember that Renolock does run both Abusive Sergeant and Zombie Chow. Giving your opponent is usually not a big deal, but they can use those cards to chip away at your bigger cards to set up AOE. As a result, try to only play camel into a board where you can get rid of the one drop right away.
Always be aware of turn four. You want to have the board to deal with, but you also need to play around Hellfire as well. The sweeper can really set out back if you aren’t ready for it. Either have only two minions on the board, or just play ones that have more than three health or deathrattle.
The center turns are the game is where Renolock starts to play their larger threats, and you need to rise up to match them. While they do not have the same punch as you do, all of their cards from Sludge Belcher to Fuegen to Loatheb can really slow you down, which is their entire purpose. Always try to stay one step ahead of that, and do your best to keep their board clear to play around Shadowflame.
Houndmaster is a great card for baiting out AOE as well as forcing your opponent into a corner. This card supplies two threats, that instantly forces an answer from your opponent. Most of your early beasts have a good amount of health, which makes them very hard to kill. As such, Warlock is going to try to stop you by either dealing with just the 4/3 or playing their own threat. Either way, you can keep getting damage through.
Another extremely important card is Loatheb. The fungus-loving five drop is one of the main way you are going to win games because it just locks Renolock out when you are trying to make a final push for lethal. Most people don’t play around the legendary, and if you can get it down when your opponent has no minions on board it should push enough damage to end the game.
Savannah Highmane is going to carry you in this matchup. Beyond their single Ironbeak Owl, Renolock has no way of easily killing the lion. Even if they try to answer it with something like Sylvanas Windrunner, it still gives you a chance to crush them for six. You want to play to this card as much as possible, and do your best to get it down when your opponent isn’t able to easily trade into the shell.
Don’t hesitate to use Hunter’s Mark as soon as you see something large. Renolock is a deck of big minions, but they are not a deck of many finishers. As a result, if you can use the free spell to take down one of Renolock’s scarier midgame plays, you should.
Late Game Strategy
The end of the game is going to be very tricky. You need to pressure Renolock enough for force them to heal while you have board control, but you also need to watch out for AOE. If you are deciding about what to play around, it is often to try and push hard. The AOE can hurt (especially something like Twisting Nether), but if they don’t have it you will usually win.
Save Dr. Boom for after large AOE. The doctor is great on turn seven, but he is really valuable as a way to refill your board once it gets cleared out.
Finally, it is important to try and get as much use out of your hero power as you can. You are not Face Hunter, but you always want to keep your opponent within striking distance (or make them think they are). As a result, try and sneak in a Steady Shot as much as you can, especially as the game goes on.
Always look for ways to set up Cult Master. As a Hunter deck, you really don’t have that many forms of card advantage, and you need to keep your hand flowing if you want to keep pace. You won’t have that many opportunities to trade in your board, so you need to jump on them when they present themselves. If you are already ahead, drawing is more valuable than playing another minion.