Warrior has long been the bane of Hunter. While they do not have as many taunts as other decks, they can gain or a ton or armor, which allows their life total to go way above the normal cap of thirty. TGT brought them even more tools to stay alive, which has made them even more consistent. However, despite this, Midrange Hunter is one of the best decks at challenging Control Warrior and beating them with the usual Hunter damage mixed with heavy amounts of board control. This guide will show you how to use Midrange Hunter’s resilient minions and surprising amount of burst to beat Control Warrior, regardless of the threats they play or the removal they have.
[toc]Sample Decklists [/toc]
Midrange Hunter has a lot of cards at its disposal. There are many different slot choices as well as ways to play the deck. It is important to understand a deck before taking it to the ladder. Moreso, it is very important to play a deck that fits your playstyle. If you are used to aggro, then you should look at the lower curve Midrange Hunters. However, if you want to play slower that is an option as well. Below are a couple of decks for you to look at and see which one best appeals to you.
While a perfect curve is not as important in this matchup as it is in others, you still want to do your best to open strong. There are a couple ways to go through this game, and if you go the damage route you most definitely try your best to get early minions onto the board. However, what sets this matchup apart from others is that you are going to try and take powerful cards rather than ones that neatly build your curve. When going against Warrior the most important thing is to try and make their removal as weak as possible.
Cards to Keep
[card]Quick Shot[/card] if you have opening minions to go with it.
[card]Eaglehorn Bow[/card] if you have opening minions or the coin with another three drop.
[card]Houndmaster[/card] is a good keep if you have a beast coming before it.
[card]Piloted Shredder[/card] is a very strong card and should always be kept with the coin and an opening play.
One last note, [card]Savannah Highmane[/card] is very slow, but can be justified with the coin and if you have a very strong starting curve.
[toc]How to Win[/toc]
Winning this matchup is going to come in two separate stages. The first of those stages will be focused around your minions, while the second will be centered around increasing amounts of damage. Your minions are by far the most important part of this game. Most decks struggle against Control Warrior because of how efficient Garrosh’s removal is. [card]Shield Slam[/card] and [card]Execute[/card] are the two best one-cost removal cards in the game, and they get even better when backed up by weapons. However, that is not a problem for you. One of the most defining trademarks of Midrange Hunter is sticky minions, which is Control Warrior’s downfall. Using these minions wisely is the most important key to this match.
Make sure to keep your deathrattle cards in their first form. This is very important because of [card]Brawl[/card], which will decimate you if you’re not careful. Making sure you can always keep something on board is very important. In that same vein, always count their removal. Warrior only has a finite amount of premium clear cards, and if you can get them to use a [card]Shield Slam[/card] or [card]Execute[/card] early on it will pave the way for the end of the game. However, if they do have removal left you always need to be careful about what threats to play. Never give them an easy way to deal with your board, and always have something in deathrattle form to play around [card]Brawl[/card]. If you don’t have deathrattle minions, then simply create a board that is threatening but allows you to have a follow up play such as a [card]Houndmaster[/card] and a beast.
The other part of this matchup is knowing what to do with your damage. Even as a Midrange Hunter you have a lot of damage in your deck. A lot. [card]Kill Command[/card] and [card]Quick Shot[/card] both add up very quickly, and most of your minions pack a real punch if they get through. The longer this game goes, the more of a disadvantage you are at. Warrior will eventually gain enough armor to get out of range, and their large threats will start coming down. You need to beat this by killing them before they can properly stabilize. The overall rule here is almost all damage should be saved for face unless you can use it to get a huge minion onto an empty board or you need to clear a taunt. [card]Eaglehorn Bow[/card] is a great repeatable source of damage, but it should be used mostly to clear minions in the early to middle game.
[toc]Early Game Strategy[/toc]
While you do want your early minions, the first couple of turns should be spent reacting to Warrior rather than playing your own game. This is because you want to watch out for both [card]Armorsmith[/card] and [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card]. Each of those cards can create problems if ignored, and you want to make sure they do as little damage as possible. While you don’t mind if it takes a couple of hits to kill Armorsmith, always try to get rid of Acolyte in one attack to limit their early card draw. [card]Eaglehorn Bow[/card] is the best tool for that to happen, but [card]Quick Shot[/card] works as well.
In order to carry out your plan you always want to get minions onto the board if possible. All of your two drops do a nice job of creating board presence in different ways. Hero powering on turn two is always the last resort. If Warrior gets off to a slow start you want to push through as much damage as you can. While many decks have to respect [card]Fiery War Axe[/card], your deathrattle minions don’t. This gives you the opportunity to just run things out onto the board and then react to what Warrior plays.
[card]Knife Juggler[/card] is a card you want to be careful with, but if you don’t see a [card]Fiery War Axe[/card] on turn two don’t be afraid to run it out as a way to challenge a turn three [card]Acolyte of Pain[/card]. [card]Animal Companion[/card] is also one of your best openings. Yes, it does die to [card]Death’s Bite[/card], but if they don’t have an answer it can get their life total down really, really quickly.
Never hesitate of coin out a turn three [card]Houndmaster[/card] if it has a target. This will allow you to trade, stack up early pressure or challenge their [card]Death’s Bite[/card] on turn four.
The middle turns of the game are where you need to switch gears and make Control Warrior answer you. Need is the key word there, because if you don’t start getting down threats you will fall behind and almost never be able to come back. Another reason is that most versions of Control Warrior don’t run Midgame minions. Rather they rely on weapons, removal one of their two [card]Sludge Belcher[/card]s to stop the bleeding. This is the time where you need to get ahead.
[card]Houndmaster[/card] is perhaps your best tool if you can trigger it. The reason being that Control Warrior actively depends on [card]Death’s Bite[/card] to clear the board on turns four or five. If they can’t, they have to use other, more premium removal which really causes them to struggle going into turns six and seven. The deathrattle on Death’s Bite is supposed to clear out a lot of the junk on board, but if you force them to use the first hit on a buffed minion it keeps the board in a state you want. [card]Piloted Shredder[/card] is also great for this reason, forcing them to two for one themselves while also taking damage.
These turns are going to be used setting up the last turns of the game in one of two ways. You either want to try and get some solid board presence or some extreme pressure. If you have the board it will keep Warrior from getting anything solid down since your minions trade much better than theirs. On the other hand, if they are low on life you can also force them to play reactively since they will constantly be scared of dying. Either way, you want them worrying about their health when turn seven comes around.
[toc]Late Game Strategy[/toc]
The late game here is very simple. You need to kill them. There is really nothing else to it.
Warrior loves making games go long, and cards like [card]Shield Block[/card], [card]Shieldmaiden[/card] and [card]Bash[/card] help them do it. You need to cut them off and try to end the game on turns six, seven, eight or nine. You will often do this with a high damage minion such as [card]Savannah Highmane[/card], [card]Piloted Shredder[/card], [card]Loatheb[/card] or [card]Dr. Boom[/card] or with your usual burn package. Always be conservative with your burn spells and try to save them for the finishing blow.
If they have already played [card]Justicar Trueheart[/card] you need to go into overdrive. She completely shuts off your hero power, and takes the game away in just a few turns. Remember, the only real way to beat Justicar is through overwhelming board control. For this reason, you always want to drop them to low life through minions more than burn as they are a repeatable source of damage.
[card]Brawl[/card] is one of Control Warrior’s premier weapons these days. If they set it up well it almost always leads to a win. You want to stop this from happening at all costs. This is why you need to save your deathrattle minions. Always think about the removal your opponent could have and then play to it. For instance, if you have a [card]Piloted Shredder[/card] on turn four, you should expect it to die to [card]Death’s Bite[/card]. If you can protect it behind a [card]Houndmaster[/card], even despite its deathrattle, you should.