Patron Warrior is a very strong midrange style deck that also has a good amount of combo potential and end game burst. As a result, it is very strong against most of the popular decks on ladder, and can be a great way to climb ranks. If you do want to use the deck, you need to know how to pilot against a wide range of other powerful lists. One of those is Midrange Hunter, an archetype that has come back in popularity due to both its impressive minions and combo potential.
Right now, there are three distinct styles of Patron: Tempo, Aggro and Board-Centric. As their name states, each version operates a little different than the others. However, that does not mean there is a right or perfect version to run. All three types have their individual strengths and individual weaknesses. Choose the one you best understand. To help with that process, three different versions of Patron, and a guide, have been linked below.
Anytime you are facing down Hunter, you need to start out fast or you will lose control of the board (and of the game). It will be initially very difficult at first because your opponent has a lot of sticky minions to start the game off with. However, if you can challenge them right out of the gates with your early removal and high-health minions, you should be able to take the day.
Cards to KeepExecute Fiery War Axe Armorsmith Slam Cruel Taskmaster Acolyte of Pain Death’s Bite
Inner Rage can be good to combo with activators like Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain.
Battle Rage is good if you have an opening where you can set it up.
Piloted Shredder is strong keep with the coin.
Grim Patron is a good keep here if you have some opening plays.
How to Win
The way to win this matchup is by controlling the board. Midrange Hunter is a deck that thrives off of board control, which it uses for both board control and pressure. That gameplan directly conflicts with yours, which is also to try and keep control as long as possible. As a result, you need to spend most of your time clearing, and making sure Hunter has no minions. To do this you want to leverage your Whirlwind effects as much as you can to try and always clear their board. Your weapons and small removal are really important as well.
The other part of this matchup is watching out for damage. A Hunter is a Hunter is a Hunter. That means, even if you are facing Midrange rather than Face, you need to always careful keep track of your opponent’s damage potential. As a Patron Warrior you do not have access to the traditional armor gain that Control Warrior does, but you have your hero power in addition to Armorsmith. Use both of these whenever you can to stay out of Hunter’s burn range for things like Kill Command.
Early Game Strategy
The very first part of this game is going to make sure your opponent isn’t playing Face Hunter. This happens in the early turns, and can be figured out usually on turn one or two. There many cards (Leper Gnome, Worgen Infiltrator) that Face Hunter plays, and there are many cards (Webspinner, Desert Camel) that belong solely to midrange. Being able to identify which minion belongs to which deck is very helpful. However, if they open with a card that goes for both decks (Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler) then you want to assume your opponent is midrange because it is more popular.
Another big part of the early game is testing for secrets. Hunter has many at their disposal, and Midrange can run all of them depending on what style of deck they are running. If you do not have an answer for Bear Trap, you should not attack their face, but if you don’t have an answer for Snake Trap, stay away from their minions. In addition, always plan for Explosive Trap by checking your minions health and attack with your weakest minion first to not get blown out by Freezing Trap.
Use both Armorsmith and Acolyte of Pain as much as possible. Hunter’s early game revolves solely on small minions, which feeds right into each of these minions. Just run these down when you have the chance and let your opponent figure out how to deal with them.
Note: As Hunter runs a lot of small early minions, you are almost always going to have a chance to trigger Battle Rage. The draw spell is one of the best ways to get ahead in a game, and you should always try and eek out as much value from it as you can. Sometimes that even means making subpar trades to get extra cards into a weak hand.
This is the part of the match where the game is won or lost. Both you and your opponent are going to go for your big turns and strong minions, and whoever can use that to their advantage is going to come out on top. During these turns you want to just go for any big minion or big combo play that you can to get ahead and pressure your opponent. If you can successfully get them to focus all of their energy on the board rather than putting down minions, you should be able to take this home.
Houndmaster is the scariest midrange card that Hunter has, and as such you always need to be aware of its existence. The 4/3 can apply a lot of pressure on its own, and if it ever gets a beast to buff you are going to be in real trouble. As a rule, do your best to clear every beast your opponent has early on, no matter how innocuous they are.
Know how you are going to use Execute. The one mana spell is your only source of hard removal, and you need to make it count. Midrange Hunter tops out at the six or seven mark, meaning most of their large minions are going to top out at things like Dr. Boom, not Ysera. If they have a big threat out, even something like a Sludge Belcher or Loatheb, that you cannot get through, don’t be afraid to take it down.
Finally, you need to always watch out for turn six. Savannah Highmane is an insanely strong card that, if nothing is done about it, will kill you in a turn or two. To deal with the lion you need to be able to beat the 6/5, and then have a way to almost instantly deal with the hyenas. The way you are going to do that is with board presence. Always do your best to have some threat down by turn six.
Late Game Strategy
Hunter is a deck that usually spends the final turns of the game attempting to kill. You are going to do your best to set up finishing damage here, and they are going to go all-out with their damage. To combat this you need to get to your finishers faster than they can get to theirs. It is not an easy race, but it can be won if you spent your middle turns controlling the flow of the game.
If you have a high life total or there is no pressure, play Dr. Boom if you can. The seven drop needs to come down as soon as possible for two reasons. One, the Boom Bots are a great way to clear a of late game problem minions that Hunter likes to run. Two, Boom is by far their best finisher, and if you can get yours down first it takes away their ability to drop theirs.
Grommash Hellscream is a very strong tool in this game. Yes, he works as an incredible finisher, but he is also very strong as removal. The orc can kill a wide range of Hunter’s cards and still leave a 10/x body on the field that has be dealt with immediately. A lot of people will hold gromm back solely as a finisher, but you should never be afraid to get aggressive or use him as board control.
Never let anything live if you can afford it. This may seem like really obvious advice, but it is very important. Hunter is a very aggressive class, and even midrange can stack up a lot of damage as the game goes on. They have a ton of burst, and even letting one minion live can allow them to build up an assault. To prevent this you always need to try and make sure they have nothing to attack with when their turns starts.