Hello everyone I’m Spark, Legend player from Hearthstone, and today I’m presenting you a Control Hunter Deck that I recently built.
Since the Unleash the Hounds nerf, the viability of Mid Range Hunter Deck focused around beasts decreased, mainly due to its inability to fight Aggro decks such as Zoo. However, Rushdown Hunter is still pretty strong because the dominants decks in the current metagame tend to lose against it. Based on these data and due to my high interest for this class, I thought about building a deck that combines the strenghts of those decks.
The basic idea was to play Savannah Highmane as a late game threat and Eaglehorn Bow as a versatile control and pressure tool along with Snipe to annoy Miracle Rogue and Explosive Trap to fight Aggro decks. The slower nature of my choice lead me towards a Control archetype, using a synergy that I already tested before : Wild Pyromancer and hunters-mark.
However, the Hunter hero power having no impact on the board, it forced me to play some solid minions that could fight against the opponent’s board and threaten their life. This also lead me to choose some bursty win conditions to go along with it and try to end the game quickly afterward. The deck ended up being both controlling and pressuring, which allows you to adapt your playstyle depending on the match up.
I played it at Legend Rank with some promising results (around 65% winrate) and I have to say this is the best counter to Miracle Rogue I’ve ever seen as I scored a 90% winrate against this deck, but we’ll debate about the strenghts and weaknesses of the deck in the match ups section.
As the Hunter hero power doesn’t provide you board control, you are looking to play some minions early on to acquire some board presence :
Elven Archer is basically here to compensate for the hero power weakness, it will act as a cheap ping to help kill minions early on or make use of hunters-mark later on in the game. It is also a superb tool to fight divine shield minions.
Loot Hoarder is a nice early play that will make the opponent waste some time on it and sometimes trade for a stronger minion while providing you a card draw. You will really prefer playing it on turn 2 than having to use your hero power as it will generally force a defensive move from your opponent like using his hero power.
Acolyte of Pain is also used for its draw power and its ability to fight weak minions. It has an amazing synergy with Wild Pyromancer and can also be triggered by Elven Archer if needed.
After gaining board control, you are looking to improve your mid game presence with the following minions :
senjin-shieldmasta is used as a tempo tool and helps slowing the agression, 5 toughness will be enough to stall and prepare for your next plays.
Azure Drake is used to refill your hand during the game while adding a threat on the board, the spell power can find some utility with Snipe and Arcane Shot.
Weapon and Trap Engine
The Eaglehorn Bow will mainly be used as a removal, it is an awesome turn 3 killer and the virtual infite durability provided by your traps will also begin to pressure the opponent’s life along with your hero power. Don’t waste the first charge on the opponent’s face if you have nothing to control and no trap activated to increase the durability as you don’t want it to swing only two times.
Explosive Trap will deal with swarm strategies or complement the damage you are lacking to kill some stronger minions. Wild Pyromancer and Baron Geddon are here to back it up as this trap won’t always clear the opponent’s board cleanly.
Freezing Trap is a solid tempo play, especially against deck focused on playing beefy minions like Druid. It can also be useful to set up a Snipe or a Deadly Shot.
Snipe can sometimes get insane value by killing an Azure Drake or something like that and will sometimes lower a minion’s health, allowing you to finish it with your other tools. This trap is often surprising for the opponent as it is generally unplayed by Hunter, I made many Miracle Rogue concede after sniping their Gadgetzan Auctioneer.
Controlling different kinds of board
Deadly Shot is a standard one shot kill against high value minions. The downside is almost always avoided thanks to your constant control of the opponent’s board.
hunters-mark will help you when the previous one is not a possibility and you’ll have many way of ensuring the minion’s death with Elven Archer, Acolyte of Pain or Wild Pyromancer. The great thing about this card is that it costs no mana, so you can pretty much combo it the way you want.
Arcane Shot brings some versatility to finish some beefy minions that have been hit by Snipe or Explosive Trap or to simply kill some early threats like a Knife Juggler. It can also help finishing some games by providing the damage you lack to kill your opponent.
Wild Pyromancer is an awesome tool against swarm strategies as you have plenty of spells to activate it. Always think of the best way to use it, sometimes it will be hunters-mark, sometimes Arcane Shot or some traps. The other great thing is its natural synergy with Acolyte of Pain that will provide you some nice card draw. Don’t hesitate to kill it the turn you play it through the use of two spells if needed, especially if you can activate an Acolyte of Pain twice and then trade it to draw 3 cards in the end.
Closing the game with burst
Savannah Highmane is the basic late game threat that will trade with many card and chunk the opponent’s life if he can’t deal with it. This card is as amazing and valuable as a legendary, unless you can play it twice. The only bad news about this card is that Hex will give you nightmares.
Baron Geddon will provide you a last breath to control the opponent’s board, either killing Aggro decks, finishing a previously damaged board or using it with hunters-mark to kill a big minion and provide you a winning condition. Also remember that it can really help finishing a low opponent as using it on turn 9 with your hero power and an equipped weapon represents 7 damage, or even 9 damage with Arcane Shot on turn 10. I won many games that way.
Ragnaros the Firelord is your stronger win condition, as you generally constantly clear the opponent board, it will always either hit the opponent’s face or his last play. If you have previously played Baron Geddon, using hunters-mark on the opponent minion will ensure you to hit the face for 10 damage (and sometimes more with your weapon and hero power) as Baron Geddon will trigger first and then Ragnaros the Firelord will go for the remaining target.
Remember that those plays are pretty unusual for a Hunter Deck, so it will generally surprise the opponent and they probably won’t be planning on having to counter that.
General Strategy – Mulligan Choices
The deck aims to control the board throughout the game and finish with some late game win condition along with a constant pressure of the opponent’s life. Your minions are generally used to cycle through the deck and stall the game for your next plays meanwhile your hero power will become more and more efficient.
You’re looking to keep your main early plays in your starting hand : Loot Hoarder and Eaglehorn Bow.
When facing an aggressive deck, you will also dig for the following cards : Elven Archer, Arcane Shot, Wild Pyromancer and Explosive Trap. hunters-mark can also be considered for a Wild Pyromancer play.
Against slower decks, you’ll generally want to keep Acolyte of Pain and sometimes Snipe or Freezing Trap depending on what you expect from your opponent.
Miracle Rogue : 70/30
This match up is highly in your favor. Eaglehorn Bow will take care of Earthen Ring Farseer and SI:7 Agent.
Snipe and Deadly Shot will deal with any of their Gadgetzan Auctioneer play and can also find utility against Azure Drake.
Freezing Trap and Explosive Trap will be used later on to try and prevent them from using Leeroy Jenkins. Wild Pyromancer and Acolyte of Pain will find some utility during the mid game to control the board while drawing some cards.
Druid : 60/40
This match up is very good for the deck as long as you can keep tempo in your favor. Freezing Trap and Deadly Shot will deal with an Innervate play.
Snipe will weaken their beefy minions and allow you to finish them with your other tools or simply kill a Keeper of the Grove.
hunters-mark will deal with their late game plays and Wild Pyromancer will prevent a Token variant from overwhelming you.
Savannah Highmane is really strong in that match up as they’ll have a hard time dealing with it.
Zoolock and Aggro Paladin : 55/45
Those match ups can be very easy if you draw the cards you need. Wild Pyromancer, Arcane Shot and Explosive Trap will be your best allies. Elven Archer and Loot Hoarder will also help fighting them early on. Sen’jin Shieldmasta will give you some room to breath during the mid game.
After dealing with their early board presence, Azure Drake and Savannah Highmane will be stronger to threaten them and Baron Geddon can swing the game if they manage to come back from that point.
Warrior Control : 55/45
This match up is more dependant on the draws from both sides. Snipe have to be used early enough to counter Armorsmith, Frothing Berserker or korkron-elite.
You won’t have a hard time dealing with their win conditions with Deadly Shot and hunters-mark.
Eaglehorn Bow along with your hero power will help you fight their constant armor up.
They will have a hard time dealing with Savannah Highmane and as the match up is slow, you should consider keeping it in your starting hand. Acolyte of Pain will be a good tool to keep up on card draw, and Ragnaros the Firelord will generally be your finisher.
Handlock : 50/50
This match up is similar to the Druid one but tends to be harder because of the number of resources this deck has at its disposal thanks to Life Tap. Freezing Trap and Deadly Shot will deal with their turn 4 Mountain Giant or Twilight Drake.
Eaglehorn Bow will help you keep control of the board while pressuring their life andhunters-mark will generally be used for the final push.
Don’t overextend to prevent some valuable Hellfire or Shadowflame and threaten them smartly to avoid easy Molten Giant plays.
Shaman : 50/50
This match up is pretty close mainly because of Feral Spirit, Hex and Earth Shock.
Eaglehorn Bow is really key to fight a Feral Spirit play as the 3 toughness can be painful for the deck otherwise. Snipe can do an excellent job against Unbound Elemental and Azure Drake so try to play around that.
Savannah Highmane will have a hard time in that match up as they can just Hex it. However, if they do so, it will let a free way for your other win conditions and the best case scenario is when you can bait it on a senjin-shieldmasta or Azure Drake.
Deadly Shot will have a hard time finding some utility because they will spam totems but hunters-mark will do the job. Wild Pyromancer and Acolyte of Pain combos as well as Baron Geddon are really great to come back from a tough situation.
Cards Consideration – Budget Replacements
Abomination can be a decent replacement for Baron Geddon if you are working on a budget. Captain Greenskin can also find a decent spot in the deck to improve the efficiency of Eaglehorn Bow.
However, Ragnaros the Firelord is kind of a unique finisher so it is really necessary for the deck to succeed. King Krush can be decent as a weaker replacement for him if you own him. Leeroy Jenkins along with Faceless Manipulator or Unleash the Hounds can also be a good finisher but it’s less reliable in my opinion.
Argent Commander could work as an alternative win condition and Faerie Dragon can be used for early agression. Stampeding Kodo is a good card to consider but I found that Eaglehorn Bow will generally deal with those sketchy minions. I initially played with Animal Companion in the deck, it’s a great card overall but I found that the randomness in it was sometimes punishing.
I chose Acolyte of Pain over Tracking for its synergy with Wild Pyromancer and because you really don’t want to risk having to dump your win conditions. As the deck is control oriented, you’ll generally have the answers you need so you’re not looking to dig for specific cards but you just want some card draw to keep up on card advatange.
If you are not really satisfied with Elven Archer, it can be replaced with Argent Squire which is better as a turn 1 play but can’t hit for 1 damage right away. It can also be switched with Leper Gnome for more aggression or Secretkeeper which is a bit more cheesy in my opinion although it has some great synergies with the deck.
The hunter deck is really fun to play and seems pretty strong in the current meta, especially if Miracle Rogue continues being so dominant.
I had a really good time building and tweaking this deck and I think its main strength comes from the element of surprise. I had many people adding me after games to ask me “what kind of deck is this ?” etc.. It felt really rewarding as people even liked being defeated by this new deck.
I hope you’ll enjoy the deck as much as I do and that it will help you fight the overplayed Miracle Rogue while being consistent against other decks 😉
As many of you requested, here is a gameplay video