Hi everyone, I’m TrainerDusk. I’ve been playing Hearthstone and watching streams since day 1 of the NA closed beta and I’d love to share everything I’ve learnt with you. If any of you recognize me, it will be from the Netdecking series I’ve been posting on Reddit. I’m happy to announce that as of today my guides will be appearing here on HearthstonePlayers.com.
Why should I play Face Hunter Deck?
The answer to that question is simple. The Face Hunter Deck wins games really quickly. The faster you win, the quicker you can climb the ladder and get the illustrious Legend rank. If you want to get from rank 25 to rank 5 in a day, this is the deck for you. The climb from 5 to Legend is significantly harder due to the lack of win streaks, so you should play your most consistent deck in the final 5 ranks. That isn’t to say that Face Hunter can’t take you all the way to Legend, just that this deck is really good for burning through ranks like nobody’s business.
How to kill your opponent
While this might seem like a strange thing to start the guide with, it’s actually the only way to win a game of Hearthstone. The enemy hero has 30 heath. If you can remove all 30, you win. This deck is carefully designed to deal at least 1 damage for every mana you spend and consistently deal 30+ damage by the end of turn 7 or the start of turn 8. Your goal while playing this deck is to use every single point of mana you have, as to maximize the speed at which you kill your opponent.
Here are a few of the notable damage-per-mana efficiencies in this deck.
- steady-shot (the hunter hero power) will deal 2 damage for every 2 mana you spend.
- leeroy-jenkins will deal 6 damage when you spend 4 mana.
- leper-gnome will normally deal 4 damage for his 1 mana cost. Leper Gnome deals damage so well that I have a >80% win rate if I play this card in the first 2 turns.
If I draw the perfect opener with this deck I win >85% of my matches. The perfect opener is as follows.
- Leper Gnome
- Hero Power. Attack Face with Leper Gnome.
- eaglehorn-bow. Attack Face with Bow and Leper Gnome.
- explosive-trap and Hero Power. Leper Gnome dies, dealing 2 damage with its deathrattle.
That’s your opponent on 17hp (15 when the trap explodes) after spending only 10 mana. Finishing them off after that should be pretty easy considering how almost every card in this deck deals damage the turn you play it.
One important thing to note is that there is a lot of synergy between the cards in this deck. By playing cards together in interesting combinations you can do incredible things. In this guide I will list all the important combos, as well as a few fringe techniques I have come across over the months of playing this style of deck.
- hunters-mark: The first card in this deck is a very situational card. Hunter’s Mark serves 2 main purposes. First, to lower the health of a large taunt wall, such as those found in control decks. This is especially useful against Handlock and Ramp Druid, while occasionally being useful against Control Shaman, Control Paladin and Midrange Hunter. The second use of this card is to set up an enemy minion to die to Explosive Trap. This is required in all matchups and is key to surviving when you have a bad opener against aggressive decks. There are many ways to kill an enemy minion after you use Hunter’s Mark on it, but most notable is using a single Hound from the Unleash the Hounds spell. As you will occasionally need to bypass 2 large taunts, this deck contains 2 Hunter’s Marks.
- flare: Flare is an interesting and quite powerful card nowadays. First of all, it draws a card. When you are trying to use every single point of mana in a turn, 1 point of left-over mana can be used to cycle through your deck with flare. Secondly, the card reveals stealthed units. The Miracle Rogue is pretty popular right now and countering an enemy conceal can single-handedly win you the game. Lastly, this card destroys enemy secrets. Mage secrets, especially ice-block are a strong counter to the style of play with this deck, so removing one is fantastic. Hunter and Paladin are seen less than Mage at the moment, but it is also good for removing explosive-trap, misdirection or noble-sacrifice. If secrets get stronger, removing them does too, so a second flare is always an option. Remember that flare destroys ALL enemy secrets, not just one.
- tracking: Tracking is used to dig through your deck for specific cards. If you aren’t looking for one specific card to kill your opponent e.g. kill-command to deal damage behind a taunt or hunters-mark to remove a taunt altogether, there are a few that I find very powerful. More than anything, you want an eaglehorn-bow as it provides good damage every turn, while you only need to pay an initial mana cost the first turn you play it. If you have traps available, all the better. starving-buzzard and unleash-the-hounds are very useful for refilling your hand. leeroy-jenkins is one that I hate to throw away, so I’ll often keep it. When you use tracking I seriously recommend you write down the 3 cards that you were shown so you know what you have thrown away. There were times that I needed to draw one specific card to win the game and I couldn’t remember if I had discarded it in an earlier Tracking. Writing it down or typing it in a text file will save you a lot of headache when playing this deck.
- abusive-sergeant: This is one of the weaker cards in the deck. If you make use of the battlecry, you can get 2 damage out of this card for 1 mana. Otherwise, you can play him on turn 1 as a weaker leper-gnome. Playing him the same turn as another minion will attack is the ideal scenario, which is why this deck contains unleash-the-hounds,arcane-golem, wolfrider and leeroy-jenkins. The reason this card relatively weaker than other cards in the deck is that by itself it doesn’t really do much. It is still worth playing though, as 2 damage for 1 mana is great and it gives you a card to play on turn 1 if you don’t get the amazing Leper Gnome start.
- leper-gnome: Leper Gnome is an absolutely phenomenal card. It can be the most mana efficient damaging card in the game, by far. You will find there are games where you get 6+ damage from a 1 mana investment, which is absolutely absurd. That’s 20% of your opponent’s life total for 1 single mana point. Absolute worst case scenario is where he is killed with earth-shock, but that is still your opponent silencing a 1 cost minion. You really want to have a Leper Gnome in your opening hand. The fact that he only costs 1 mana means you can fill out your mana curve on an awkward turn with him. There isn’t much else to say about him except that you will begin to love giving your opponent some “big hugs”.
- timber-wolf: Timber Wolf is without a doubt the weakest card in this deck. There are only a few circumstances that you want to play this card. The strongest of these is just after you use unleash-the-hounds, to buff up the attack of each Hound by 1. It does also buff the attack of starving-buzzard, though I have never had a buzzard survive long enough for this to happen. The last circumstance that I find useful is Timber Wolf will increase the damage of your kill-command due to the beast synergy. This is the main way I kill control players as leeroy-jenkins and other charge minions get blocked by taunt walls.
- explosive-trap: The first of the traps and the easiest to use by a long way. All of the traps in this deck will increase an eaglehorn-bow durability by 1 when they are activated. Beware this does include an enemy Hunter too, so try not to buff an opponents weapon too much. Explosive trap is here to board clear against aggro decks, like Zoo Warlock. The 2 damage to your enemy hero is just icing on the cake. Secrets activate in the order that they were played, so as a rule of thumb always play Explosive Trap first. For example, if a flame-imp attacks you and you have played your misdirection before you played your Explosive Trap, the Flame Imp will set of the Misdirection, but die to the Explosive Trap before the attack takes place, thus wasting your Misdirection. If you had played Explosive Trap first in that situation, the Flame Imp would die first, leaving your Misdirection intact and unused. Explosive also combos with hunters-mark to kill any minion for 2 mana.
- freezing-trap: Freezing Trap simply slows your opponent down. I prefer to play this card turn 4/5 at the earliest, in hopes of sending a larger minion back to the hand. If you freeze a 9 or 10 cost minion, such as alexstrasza, it can never be played again. This is the weakest of the traps and is first to go when I want to change the deck. It is really just here to buff the eaglehorn-bow durability and just has the nice added bonus of messing with your opponent and making his plays awkward. It’s actually possible to bluff with traps and pretend to play one trap when you have actually played another. Some people are still surprised to see Freezing Trap and do not play around it.
- misdirection: Misdirection is great. Similar to Freezing Trap, it is here to slow your opponent down and make his plays very awkward. It is pretty good if an enemy minion misdirects and attacks the enemy hero. It’s pretty great if an enemy minion misdirects and attacks another enemy minion, killing them both. It’s absolutely brilliant when the enemy hero attacks with a weapon, misdirects and kills their own minion and hurts them in the process. If the enemy minion misdirects and hits the enemy hero, while the enemy hero has a weapon equipped, the weapon damage is dealt to the minion, but the weapon does not lose durability. Keep this in mind when facing the weapon classes.
- starving-buzzard: There is very little to say about Starving Buzzard other than what the card says on itself. This card is the final part of your draw engine, along with flare and tracking. You summon a beast and draw a card. If you have 2 Starving Buzzards out, you will draw 2 cards per beast, as well as drawing the one card for playing the second Starving Buzzard. If you combo this with unleash-the-hounds, you can refill your entire hand. Starving buzzard also increases kill-command damage. A nice 6 mana combo is Starving Buzzard + Unleash the Hounds + Timber-wolf to draw a load of cards and deal a load of damage.
- eaglehorn-bow: Eaglehorn Bow is up there with Leper Gnome as an absolute monster when it comes to damage-per-mana. It is not uncommon to get 4 attacks out of this card, which is 40% of your opponents total health for 3 mana. You want Eaglehorn Bow in your opening hand every game. Tracking is in this deck because of the sheer strength of Eaglehorn Bow. You want to hit your opponent in the face with this weapon most of the time, only stopping to kill it with taunts or remove very very high priority targets.
- kill-command: You need to use your best judgement when playing this card as it has a variety of uses that need to be considered. The first and most obvious use of a damaging spell in a face hunter deck is to hit your opponent in the face (duh). I prefer to use this card later on, when enemies start to up taunt walls. You can close out games pretty easily when you double Kill Command + Hero Power behind taunt as 8 or 12 damage for 8 mana. Sometimes it is necessary to kill a minion with Kill Command, and you have to be ready to do it when the time comes. It feel unnatural to put so much damage anywhere but the enemy hero, but minions like mana-wyrm and knife-juggler need to die and you might not have the more efficient traps or weapons to do so. By the time you actually need to use Kill Command, you should also start planning out your next 2 or 3 turns and actually figure out how to finish off your opponent. Thinking several turns ahead is a big part of playing Face Hunter and it is a skill you need to acquire before you will get Legend. Main thing to keep in mind are what cards your opponent will be able to play considering the amount of mana they have.
- unleash-the-hounds: Oh how this card has fallen from grace. It was once the best card in all of hearthstone and single-handedly decided the entire metagame. This card is why Shamans and Paladins were considered weak (it counters the hero power). Since the mana cost of Unleash the Hounds was increased from 2 to 3, people have stopped building their decks to counter it, so it’s still pretty damn good. Obviously this card goes well with starving-buzzard and timber-wolf, but did you know that the 2 whelps summoned by leeroy-jenkins will also give you 2 hounds? If you already have the bow, the traps and the Leeroy, this is the next card I would search for with tracking. Similarly to kill-command, this can be used as face damage or as removal. I think you should use your best judgement when deciding to hit face or to clear, as different circumstances require actions. As you use this card more and more, you will get a good feel for when you need to trade or when you need to hit face.
- arcane-golem: Arcane Golem is a fairly interesting charge minion as it comes with a downside. Giving your opponent an extra mana crystal is a little controversial and I know for that reason not many people like using this guy. In actual fact, you rarely care what your opponent is playing, so if your they have an extra mana crystal it isn’t usually a big deal. I often won’t play Arcane Golem until I know how I am going to find lethal damage, but if he’s the only card you can play on that turn, go for it. Before you do play him, make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disaster and have a little think of what the enemy can do with that extra mana crystal.For example, if you are giving a Druid 9 mana and you have 14 health left, it’s not too wise to die to force-of-nature + savage-roar when it can be avoided.
- wolfrider: Not much to say about Wolfrider at all. 3 mana to deal 3 face damage is just fine. He’s just here to fill out the curve and push for a little bit more face damage.
- leeroy-jenkins: The ultimate finisher is Leeroy Jenkins. This guy is a fireball with a benefit. He combos with unleash-the-hounds pretty well and can be buffed by abusive-sergeant if needs be. Every now and then there will be a time that Leeroy must be used to remove an enemy minion. It can be a tough decision to make, but sometimes it is the right choice. Leeroy is a pretty straightforward card though, so I’m sure that you readers have a great time with this card in your deck. If things start to go poorly, at least you had chicken.
- steady-shot: Although Steady Shot is not a card, it deserves mention here as you will use it many times every game. Consistent use of your hero power will win you games. Try to fit it into your curve as often as possible as you will run out of cards in your hand if you don’t.
Hit your opponent in the face.
No seriously, that’s it.
Your main priority is searching for Leper Gnome, Eaglehorn Bow and a Trap to go with the bow. Aggressively mulligan away everything that isn’t one of these. You need to use up every single point of mana you have. While there are a few non-optimal cards you can play, such as turn 1 abusive-sergeant and a turn 3 wolfrider, there are certain cards I will always chuck back, no matter what.
Never under any circumstances keep Tracking, Timber Wolf, Arcane Golem or Leeroy Jenkins. These are cards best played later in the match and are a total waste keeping in your opening hand. I never keep Flare unless I am against a secret class; Mage, Hunter or Paladin.
VS Druid (Ramp and Token)
hunters-mark and Kill-command are the only ways you are getting through these taunts. Beware the force-of-nature + savage-roar combo for 9 mana, as that’s the thing that’s going to kill you. In general though, just apply pressure to the face from minions and expect them all to die to shapeshift, wrath and swipe. This is not a particularly nice matchup, but liberal use of misdirection and freezing-trap make it a piece of cake. unleash-the-hounds is really quite amazing vs Token Druid, but it isn’t too great against Ramp, so I tend not to mulligan for it.
eaglehorn-bow, eaglehorn-bow, eaglehorn-bow. The first hunter to equip a bow wins. This is a pretty simple match and due to the inclusion of flare in our decklist, it can be pretty easy to win. The majority of Hunters that I see on the ladder play the (IMO) weaker midrange hunter. Keep up the aggression and try to get the ideal start I mentioned at the start of the guide. Try to bait out the enemy Flares with your weaker traps and save your stronger ones for later. This match is really just down to the opening hand, so mulligan aggressively for a playable one.
If they play freeze mage, there are 3 outcomes. 1 You kill them on turn 7 because they didn’t draw ice-block. 2 You kill them the turn you play flare. 3 You don’t draw flare and you kill them anyway because they are playing a really slow deck and you can just use steady-shot the turn after you activate their Ice Block. It’s a really easy match that you should win much more often than not.
If they are playing aggro mage, you need to get a better opener than them. You will lose board control, as their hero power kills the majority of your minions, so you need to play with that in mind. Try to rush as fast as you possibly can and hope that you can kill their mana-wyrm with your bow. hunters-mark is the only card in your deck that deals with water-elemental, so keep one ready at all times.
If you are against aggro pally, you will win. It’s so incredibly easy as you just rush harder than they do. Their reinforce actually buffs your unleash-the-hounds, so go have fun with this one.
Unfortunately, Heal Paladin exists too, and this deck simply loses to their heals. If a reasonable proportion of the player base begin to play heal paladin, stop playing this deck and find something else.
Irritating, yet winnable match. You need to keep rushing them and hope that you kill them before you run out of steam. I hold a >50% win rate vs priests, because if they keep wasting their mana casting lesser-heal you can just build up a board presence and wipe them out. This is another exceedingly straightforward match and you should have no trouble playing this. Just beware the turn 1 northshire-cleric as it trades really well with everything in your deck and the cabal-shadow-priest can steal pretty much any minion you play.
VS Rogue (Tempo or Miracle)
This deck beats rogue. Rush face win game. It doesn’t matter if they use removal on your cards, as your cards have already charged in and dealt their damage. The Rogue also has to use a weapon for their hero power, which results in even more face damage for a stupidly easy match. The icing on the cake is that flare counters Conceal and hunters-mark can deal with edwin-vancleef
Imagine a Paladin that can’t heal itself. That’s Shaman. totemic-call buffs your unleash-the-hounds. There is only one card in the Shaman arsenal that will give you grief and that is feral-spirit. If you get past these taunts, you’ll be fine. Just beat the Shaman to death and remind him there was a reason nobody played him for months.
Warlocks hurt themselves so you don’t have to. Oh my god is this an easy match. If you have explosive-trap against Zoo and hunters-mark against Handlock you’re gonna win. Again you need to just go face to win the game and aim for the perfect start that I mentioned earlier.
Some people still play aggro Warrior, which is nice. This deck rushes faster than aggro warrior, so you should win pretty easily. Control warrior is another monster entirely. It’s a shame to end on a low note, but I have a <10% win rate vs control warrior as they can counter pretty much anything you do. Their [card]armor-up[/card] negates your [card]steady-shot[/card]. [card]whirlwind[/card] and [card]baron-geddon[/card] kill every single minion in your deck and to top it all off they even have [card]shield-block[/card] to keep themselves alive. Do not go into a control warrior matchup and think you have a chance of winning. You really don't.
I hope you learned something today reading my Face Hunter deck guide. This is a very good deck for climbing the ladder with its superbly fast games. If you don’t win fast, you lose fast, so you can burn the bottom 20 ranks in no time. I know this deck does have some almost unwinnable matchups, but for me it still maintains an overall winrate of >50%. In the end, that’s all you really need to climb.
If you have any questions, you can leave them below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. If you want to reach me in-game, I’m TrainerDusk#2126 on the EU server, otherwise I’ve also got a twitter @TrainerDusk or my stream which is twitch.tv/trainerdusk
Good luck out there!