Now, I know what you must be thinking, “Hunter died off after unleash-the-hounds nerf, why is this important?” With the rise of Handlocks, Miracle Rogue, Freeze Mage, etc, Hunter one of the best counters out there to each of these decks.
So if you are choosing to play Hunter, as some players have already started picking up on this, you should know everything there is to know about beating Hunter’s hard counter, Control Warrior.
If you are just starting to pick up Aggro Hunter, we recommend you take a look at our previous guide first: https://hearthstoneplayers.com/guide-budget-hunter-ladder-and-tournament/.
The Hard Counter
What is it that makes Control Warrior so strong against Aggro Hunter? The answers stems from a combination of the Warrior’s Hero Power, a play-style that involves zero to few minions on board, and an arsenal of removal.
Warrior’s Hero Power ‘Armor Up!’ grants 2 armor which mitigates the 2 damage done by Hunter’s Hero Power. This means as the Hunter player, you have to rely a lot more on your cards to deal the 30 damage necessary to win. This makes ensuring you get as much value out of each card as possible quite important.
Control Warrior tends to keep their board small, generally having a max of two minions on board at a time. Unfortunately, this makes a good starving-buzzard plus Unleash the Hounds combo hard to pull off. To add insult to injury, one of the minions the Warrior plays, armorsmith, grants the Warrior player one armor each time a friendly minion is damaged; this makes killing the Warrior even more strenuous.
Lastly, the Warrior also has what seems like an endless amount of removal ready to clear any threat laid by the Hunter, further minimizing the damage the Hunter can deal. All of these conditions, on top of card like shield-block, place a huge strain on the Hunter to find the damage to win.
This is the easiest part of the whole matchup. Throw back anything that is not tracking, leper-gnome, starving-buzzard, eaglehorn-bow, Unleash the Hounds, or animal-companion.
Generally the only of these cards you will want to keep two of are Leper Gnome and Animal Companion, as they will be more useful in the early game. The rest you will only need one as they are mostly combo pieces which you will not need two of until later game. If you have an Eaglehorn Bow, it can be smart move to hold on to your secrets as the bow is a key card in the matchup.
For this matchup, you as the Hunter player will want to play slow and patiently. Due to Warrior’s mitigation of damage with his Hero Power, you’ll want to respond by always Hero Powering each turn, and play your cards with your remaining mana. This allows you to get more damage out of each card, as if for instance you were to play a turn three wolfrider for 3 damage, the Warrior will respond by clearing the minion and armoring up. This effectively nets as only one damage, however, by saving the Wolfrider until turn five when you can play both that as well as Hero Power, you net 3 damage assuming the same reaction from the Warrior.
Eaglehorn Bow is another huge component to winning the matchup. You can draw everything else in your deck, but nine times out of ten, you NEED the bow to win. You simply need the extra damage it provides from additional charges.
While we’re taking about the bow, let’s do a run down on the secrets included in this list and how they aid in the matchup.
First off, explosive-trap is not as strong as it is against Warrior as it is against other decks, sometimes almost hurtful, yet they are in the deck so we have to use them in the best way we can. Due to the fact Explosive Trap can almost help the Warrior by activating Armorsmiths, frothing-berserker, or grommash-hellscream, the secret should be reserved strictly for adding a bow charge, but can but used otherwise if appropriate.
freezing-trap is great for slowing down the Warrior even further, or even stopping Grommash finisher. This will buy you the time you need to finish the Warrior off yourself, while giving you that extra bow charge you need so much to do so.
Next we have misdirection, which really shines in this matchup. Since the Warrior tends to have only one minion on the board, it can be easy task to redirect an attack, say a korkron-elite, right back at the Warrior’s own face. This works extremely well on Frothing Berserkers whose attack has gotten too high, preventing the Warrior from attacking if they are smart, otherwise putting you in a great position if they are reckless.
The last secret we have in the deck is snipe. Primarily used to counter the abundance of Miracle Rogue and their gadgetzan-auctioneer, Snipe can be quite useful against Warrior as well. It handles Armorsmith, azure-drake, Frothing Berserker, every early/midgame minion Warrior may utilize, outside of chillwind-yeti. It is worth noting that you should be careful playing Snipe during the later turns of the game, as it can activate your opponent’s Grommash for free.
Beating the Impossible
When deciding how and when to take care of the Warrior’s threats try to be as efficient as possible; this may mean taking a few hits. You can allow your health to drop to 20 and not worry; because of Warrior’s slow play-style, he will not be putting out much damage quickly, a majority of it coming from fiery-war-axe, Kor’kron Elite, and Frothing Berserker.
The remainder of the damage comes from either ragnaros or Grommash finisher. In the meantime, your opponent will look to alexstrasza your life down to 15, so trying to keep your life high will not do much for you. One could argue the Warrior will save Alexstrasza to use on himself; however in this case you’d either be in strong position or a very weak position, depending if you used everything you had to bring him down that far.
We generally want to burst the Warrior down and win in one turn to avoid such a scenario.
You generally only want to remove things that pose a huge risk, such as Armorsmiths and Frothing Berserkers. The armor gain or attack gain from each respectively can put you at great disadvantage if you’re not careful. Anything else can be left alone; it will help out your Unleash the Hounds combo.
Make sure to save the hunters-mark accordingly, you want to save it for the right big minon. Your opponent will play Ragnaros, refusing to attack into secrets. Avoid this by making sure you have an answer to it on turn eight.
Although Control Warrior can give Aggro Hunter a tough time, if you apply what we discussed here today, you should find yourself winning this matchup more than half the time. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw, but we at DKMR believe in maximizing our chance for success in every scenario. We are confident this guide will give you the knowledge to place yourself in the best possible position in the matchup.
Please continue to reach out to us here, on Twitter @DontkickMyRobot, and on our website dontkickmyrobot.com. Best of luck this season!
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Written by [DKMR]BorN
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