Control Hunter Deck Legend Guide
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 Houndsnerf, 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 Highmaneas a late game threat and Eaglehorn Bowas a versatile control and pressure tool along with Snipeto annoy Miracle Rogue and Explosive Trapto fight Aggro decks. The slower nature of my choice lead me towards a Control archetype, using a synergy that I already tested before : Wild Pyromancerand Hunter's 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 Archeris 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 Hunter's Marklater on in the game. It is also a superb tool to fight divine shield minions.
Loot Hoarderis 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 Painis also used for its draw power and its ability to fight weak minions. It has an amazing synergy with Wild Pyromancerand can also be triggered by Elven Archerif needed.
After gaining board control, you are looking to improve your mid game presence with the following minions :
Sen'jin Shieldmastais used as a tempo tool and helps slowing the agression, 5 toughness will be enough to stall and prepare for your next plays.
Azure Drakeis used to refill your hand during the game while adding a threat on the board, the spell power can find some utility with Snipeand Arcane Shot.
Weapon and Trap Engine
The Eaglehorn Bowwill 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 Trapwill deal with swarm strategies or complement the damage you are lacking to kill some stronger minions. Wild Pyromancerand Baron Geddonare here to back it up as this trap won’t always clear the opponent’s board cleanly.
Freezing Trapis a solid tempo play, especially against deck focused on playing beefy minions like Druid. It can also be useful to set up a Snipeor a Deadly Shot.
Snipecan sometimes get insane value by killing an Azure Drakeor 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 Shotis 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.
Hunter's Markwill 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 Painor 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 Shotbrings some versatility to finish some beefy minions that have been hit by Snipeor Explosive Trapor 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 Pyromanceris 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 Hunter's Mark, sometimes Arcane Shotor some traps. The other great thing is its natural synergy with Acolyte of Painthat 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 Paintwice and then trade it to draw 3 cards in the end.
Closing the game with burst
Savannah Highmaneis 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 Hexwill give you nightmares.
Baron Geddonwill provide you a last breath to control the opponent’s board, either killing Aggro decks, finishing a previously damaged board or using it with Hunter's Markto 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 Shoton turn 10. I won many games that way.
Ragnaros the Firelordis 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 Hunter's Markon the opponent minion will ensure you to hit the face for 10 damage (and sometimes more with your weapon and hero power) as Baron Geddonwill trigger first and then Ragnaros the Firelordwill 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 Hoarderand Eaglehorn Bow.
When facing an aggressive deck, you will also dig for the following cards : Elven Archer, Arcane Shot, Wild Pyromancerand Explosive Trap. Hunter's Markcan also be considered for a Wild Pyromancerplay.
Against slower decks, you'll generally want to keep Acolyte of Painand sometimes Snipeor Freezing Trapdepending on what you expect from your opponent.
Miracle Rogue : 70/30
This match up is highly in your favor. Eaglehorn Bowwill take care of Earthen Ring Farseerand SI:7 Agent.
Snipeand Deadly Shotwill deal with any of their Gadgetzan Auctioneerplay and can also find utility against Azure Drake.
Freezing Trapand Explosive Trapwill be used later on to try and prevent them from using Leeroy Jenkins. Wild Pyromancerand Acolyte of Painwill 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 Trapand Deadly Shotwill deal with an Innervateplay.
Snipewill weaken their beefy minions and allow you to finish them with your other tools or simply kill a Keeper of the Grove.
Hunter's Markwill deal with their late game plays and Wild Pyromancerwill prevent a Token variant from overwhelming you.
Savannah Highmaneis 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 Shotand Explosive Trapwill be your best allies. Elven Archerand Loot Hoarderwill also help fighting them early on. Sen'jin Shieldmastawill give you some room to breath during the mid game.
After dealing with their early board presence, Azure Drakeand Savannah Highmanewill be stronger to threaten them and Baron Geddoncan 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. Snipehave to be used early enough to counter Armorsmith, Frothing Berserkeror Kor'kron Elite.
You won't have a hard time dealing with their win conditions with Deadly Shotand Hunter's Mark.
Eaglehorn Bowalong with your hero power will help you fight their constant armor up.
They will have a hard time dealing with Savannah Highmaneand as the match up is slow, you should consider keeping it in your starting hand. Acolyte of Painwill be a good tool to keep up on card draw, and Ragnaros the Firelordwill 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 Trapand Deadly Shotwill deal with their turn 4 Mountain Giantor Twilight Drake.
Eaglehorn Bowwill help you keep control of the board while pressuring their life andHunter's Markwill generally be used for the final push.
Don't overextend to prevent some valuable Hellfireor Shadowflameand threaten them smartly to avoid easy Molten Giantplays.
Shaman : 50/50
This match up is pretty close mainly because of Feral Spirit, Hexand Earth Shock.
Eaglehorn Bowis really key to fight a Feral Spiritplay as the 3 toughness can be painful for the deck otherwise. Snipecan do an excellent job against Unbound Elementaland Azure Drakeso try to play around that.
Savannah Highmanewill have a hard time in that match up as they can just Hexit. 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 Sen'jin Shieldmastaor Azure Drake.
Deadly Shotwill have a hard time finding some utility because they will spam totems but Hunter's Markwill do the job. Wild Pyromancerand Acolyte of Paincombos as well as Baron Geddonare really great to come back from a tough situation.
Cards Consideration - Budget Replacements
Abominationcan be a decent replacement for Baron Geddonif you are working on a budget. Captain Greenskincan also find a decent spot in the deck to improve the efficiency of Eaglehorn Bow.
However, Ragnaros the Firelordis kind of a unique finisher so it is really necessary for the deck to succeed. King Krushcan be decent as a weaker replacement for him if you own him. Leeroy Jenkinsalong with Faceless Manipulatoror Unleash the Houndscan also be a good finisher but it's less reliable in my opinion.
Argent Commandercould work as an alternative win condition and Faerie Dragoncan be used for early agression. Stampeding Kodois a good card to consider but I found that Eaglehorn Bowwill generally deal with those sketchy minions. I initially played with Animal Companionin the deck, it’s a great card overall but I found that the randomness in it was sometimes punishing.
I chose Acolyte of Painover Trackingfor its synergy with Wild Pyromancerand 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 Squirewhich is better as a turn 1 play but can’t hit for 1 damage right away. It can also be switched with Leper Gnomefor more aggression or Secretkeeperwhich 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