This is a unique Face Hunter deck that I am testing in the June 2015 Season. As many of you know, there are numerous different types of Hunter decks which are currently prevalent in the metagame. Recently, Purple obtained Rank #1 Legend in NA with Midrange Hunter. JAB also finished the season as Rank #1 in NA and Rank #8 in EU. The Midrange archetype of Hunter is quite prevalent on the ladder. However, the best counter to this popular deck does not come from any other classes. The best way to combat this deck is through the use of Face Hunter.
Throughout the last year or so, few overall changes have been made to the deck. Only a few cards have come out which have added to the overall depth of the deck. The first card was Glaivezooka which significantly changed the matchup versus other aggressive decks. This card came out in a previous expansion and has been out for almost half a year. The verdict has been pretty much set on it. The more important card to have come out recently in Blackrock Mountain is Quick Shot. This card acts very similar to Frostbolt in the fact that it is a 2 mana spell which does 3 damage. However, it has the additional effect of drawing a card when your hand is empty. This extra effect can be utilized the best by the Face Hunter Deck. Most likely, the Face Hunter player will continuously shoot out damage from their hand until it becomes empty. Therefore the draw mechanic is quite important to replenish cards.
Recently, there has been a huge influx of hyper-early aggressive decks. To combat the rise of these decks, I have decided to tech in some unique choices to Face Hunter. The most debatable choice is the inclusion of Argent Squire. This card likely is the one that replaced Worgen Infiltrator. Most Face Hunter players will see this change and think that this is an overall loss of damage. The 2/1 body on Worgen Infiltrator can almost be assured to do 2 damage because of its innate stealth ability. However, I would argue that Argent Squire also does 2 damage, but just in two bursts of 1 damage. The divine shield that it has basically guarantees this.
The goal of Face Hunter is quite simple, it is to quick wittle your opponent’s health points to zero using charge minions and cheap burn spells. Ever since the Beta seasons, this deck has had the same theme, to the huge disdain of the masses which have fallen to it. It is quite important for the Face Hunter to play on curve because that is the most efficient way to get all the damage in. Therefore having a good 1-2-3-4 play is quite important for the Face Hunter player. I would almost say that this objective is actually quite crucial to the win condition of the deck.
Even though the objective is to mostly go for face damage, there are cases where trading on the board is the right decision. It would be correct to pay attention to the board and trade under these conditions:
- Your opponent can make favorable trades with their minion that they otherwise could not have done if you had taken initiative
- Your opponent can punish your board through trading up
- It is still early game, and you are facing a deck that prioritizes early board control
- You have guaranteed lethal in your hand through Kill Commands and just want to make sure that you do not the die the following turn
- If you opponent has lethal on board and you need to kill his minions to prevent your own death
The key to winning this deck is to know when to go for board control and when to go for face. Admittedly there will be oftentimes more times than not when the deck goes to face because that is simply the best decision to be made. Most games will tend to have the same pattern:
- The beginning and middle of the game will have you playing small threats that get in a decent amount of damage. If the board is not TOO threatening, all this damage will continually go to face until a point where the opponent gets low.
- The middle of the game will oftentimes have the opposing player making trades to prevent additional damage. In this case, the minions should have already gotten the face damage in and have served their purpose. The opponent usually cannot race you because they have to choose to either clear the board or to go for your face. They will usually choose the former and leave you the ability to have initiative on board.
The general rule of thumb for this deck is that if the opponent does stabilize, which means having board control when you have no more damage in hand, then you will probably lose. Therefore it is of utmost important that you try to finish the game as quickly as possible to ensure that this disaster scenario does not indeed occur. Most games will have you jockeying back and forth with a single damage to decide the difference between a victory and a loss. Therefore, even though there seems to be fewer decisions for this deck, each individual decision has more weight and can sway the game largely.
Key Card Analysis
Abusive Sergeant– This card has two useful purposes. The first is the natural one and it is to buff an attacking minion with +2atk. This is a relatively inexpensive buff as it only lasts for one turn. However, at the end of games when you are desperate searching for that last bit of damage to lethal the opponent, this is a very welcome card to see. Even when the opponent is at relatively high amounts of health, this card can be played anytime. The other purpose that Abusive Sergeant fills is that it can be played turn 1 if you have no other plays. Against certain classes like Shaman or Warlock, this is a very important play because it contests the board efficiently so that they cannot simply run you over with their swarming potential.
Leper Gnome– The classic turn 1, “I feel icky”. Previously when Hybrid Hunter was not yet created, this obviously identified a player as Face Hunter. Playing a control deck and having no answers was one if not the worst feeling to feel when seeing a turn 1 Leper Gnome. This card is so efficient because it is almost guaranteed to inflict 2 damage minimum. Many times it inflicts 4 and even more damage. When uncontested, it does a great amount of work. However, with its 2/1 body, it can contests many 1 and 2 drops and leave your opponent searching for a way to deal with it without expending too many of their resources on a 1 drop. This is simply the bread and butter of the deck.
Glaivezooka– Glaivezooka is one of the strongest cards in the deck. When having no coin, it can be combo’ed with your 1 drop, usually Argent Squire and be used to take down an opposing player’s first minion while still leaving your 1 drop secured. If the opponent had not played anything yet, this simply pushes for 3 extra damage on that particular turn. The versatility of Glaivezooka at such early stages of the game is what makes the card quite strong for the Hunter class. When used in conjunction with weaker minions such as Haunted Creeper, it has a great amount of potential. For these reasons alone, that is why the deck runs two copies instead of only just one.
Explosive Trap– This is another one of those Hunter class cards which both push for damage and provide early board control if needed. Usually, you will not even need to play Explosive Trap because it will usually be brought out by something like Mad Scientist. Therefore, one can pretend like Explosive Trap has a zero cost, but yet a great ability. The 2 damage dealt is vastly important as always because each and every single point of damage matters with this deck. However, Explosive Trap can also be used to wipe the boards of early board control decks such as Zoo. Cards like Flame Imp and Knife Juggler, along with a plethora of other cards will just simply die. Sure, the opponent can wait and try to proc the trap when he has stronger minions out. However, Explosive Trap also sees synergy with Eaglehorn Bow, so leaving it untouched may bite the opponent in the end. This is the only trap that is run in the deck because simply it is the most effective.
Quick Shot– As stated earlier, this card sees most of its utility through both its ability to push for damage and cycling. The best part of this is that like many of the other cards seen in this Face Hunter Deck, it does both jobs with one effect. If not pushing for damage, Quick Shot can also be used as a minion clearing mechanism. For example, if your opponent played something like a , it is quite the pesky minion which has to be dealt with immediately. The Quick Shot could be used to clear that and then the Face Hunter player could continue their aggression with the minions that are already on the board.
Haunted Creeper– This is a rather unique inclusion to this deck. Haunted Creeper is not in here because it is a good card for pushing damage. Simply it is one of the best 2 drops in the game because of the innate value that it has. Haunted-Creeper is basically a 2 mana drop with the accumulated statistics of 3/4. For 2 mana, this is simply ridiculous value that you cannot get out of any other card. With additional buffs from both cards like Abusive Sergeant and Glaivezooka, this first 1/2 body can be used to trade with a whole 1 or 2 drop from the opponent. The two 1/1s that do spawn from the Haunted Creeper are insurances against any potentially large AOEs that the opponent may have used in their attempt to clear your board.
Knife Juggler– Knife Juggler will always be an important card in any Hunter Deck. Its innate synergy with Unleash the Hounds is oftentimes devastating as it can turn a completely unfavorable board around to being one that is manageable and even towards the Face Hunter player’s advantage. Even without using the combo, Knife Juggler allows the Face Hunter player to consistently push for 1 damage per minion played. This 1 damage can be both important for board control as well as getting your opponent closer and closer towards lethal. Even as a standalone card being played on turn 2, it is a strong play because the 3/2 body is a huge threat so early in the game.
Mad Scientist– This card has been called one of the most broken cards in the game. Even alone, its 2/2 body is not something to be forgotten. It can threaten most early drops while being able to push for damage. The true brilliance of this card is the ability in this deck to bring out free Explosive Traps. This free play is basically generating a substantial amount of tempo for the Face Hunter player. It is oftentimes difficult to both deal with the Mad Scientist body as well as the ramifications of the free generated trap.
Eaglehorn Bow– The second weapon which is to be featured in this deck. Eaglehorn Bow provides a different role in the deck. I would say, it is the important mid-game weapon which can be opted to go for face damage or to control the board. In conjunction with the two secrets available in the deck, it should generated a lot of value through the free charges. This is a mandatory card to have in all Hunter decks, and at least one copy of it should be played. For Face Hunter, the initiative that can be taken with the first swing for 3 damage makes it a definite keep versus some matchups.
Animal Companion– All of the three possible minions that can be brought into play by this spell are traditionally better than the other 3 drops available. Huffer is basically the same as Arcane Golem, except without the downside. Of course Huffer is the ideal minion to come out because it pushes for damage immediately, while still maintaining its 4/2 body. Both Leokk and Misha are decent alternatives even if they do not necessarily seem to fit in the moment. There are very few circumstances in which I would not simply drop Animal Companion on turn 3 if the board is empty. Sometimes even if the board is contested, I would play the card to see which of the three minions that I would get.
Kill Command– Good ole skill command. This card in MOST situations should be saved for last minute burst burn. I cannot count the number of times where the Face Hunter player seemed to be off lethal by a substantial amount, with almost no outs but Kill Command. Yet somehow they will always have this card. The surprise damage that it represents is almost never played around. However, since it is so mana-efficient, it is great. Even if a beast is not available for the full 5 damage burst, sometimes 3 damage may be enough to kill off your opponent.
Unleash the Hounds– This card is great for comebacks, because it is probably one of the few cards in the game that actually punishes the opponent for the board control that they have amassed. In conjunction with Knife Juggler, there is huge potential to completely swing a board around. Unleash the Hounds actually has great synergy with Leokk also, as it operates as a pseudo Timber Wolf with its +1 atk buff.
Tech Choices and Alternatives
Argent Squire– This card is great to push a decent amount of damage. However, most of its utility can be seen through the ability to play it on turn 1. Argent Squire is actually tech’ed into this deck to counteract the many aggressive early game decks that seemed to have been popping up recent on ladder. The ones that I am referring to are Tempo Mage and Aggro Paladin. These decks have a multitude of cards which have 1 health, that can be easily dealt with the Argent Squire. Also Argent Squire can be used to deal with many other early drops from other classes. This while being able to stay alive until the next turn is what makes the card so good.
Ironbeak Owl– In almost every deck, there are taunts or strong threats which will prevent your child minions from breaking through and dealing damage to the opponent’s face. Ironbeak Owl is the exact card you need to burst through the Ancient of War which has just newly been played by your Druid counterpart. This is a simple necessity in all Face Hunter decks. Even if it is dead early on in a game, there will be some occasion where later that it will provide its utility.
Wolfrider– This card simply exists in the deck to push at least 3 damage to the opponent’s face. Sometimes they cannot deal with the card and will take more and more damage. When this happens, that is when a lot of value can be realized. Not much else to say about the card besides that it is crucial to the strategy.
Arcane Golem– This is the other card that pushes damage to the opponent’s face and serves no other purpose. The one downside to this is that Arcane Golem gives a mana to the opponent for every turn after it is played. This can be detrimental as it is the same as providing a free Wild Growth for the opposing player. Therefore I recommend to play Arcane Golem near the end of the game when the additional mana generated is not really that big of a deal. Ideally Arcane Golem will be used as a sort of finisher to close games out.
There are also various tech choices which can be recommended based on how the meta is looking at the current moment:
- In a meta full or aggro decks, which we are in now, tech in Argent Squires and Explosive Traps
- If you are playing against a meta with a lot of Hunters and Mages, tech in Kezan Mystic
- In a more control-orientated meta, try to tech in possibly a second Ironbreak Owl to deal with those taunts. Possibly add Worgen Infiltrator and use it to replace the now less important Argent Squires.
- If you are playing against a lot of Handlocks or Warriors, try to tech in Hunter's Mark to deal with the high health point creatures that they possess.
This deck is insanely cheap to craft and an average player should have most of the cards that are played. Face Hunter is incredibly beginner friendly and I would highly recommend to try this deck if you are running very tight on dust.
Matchup Analysis and Mulligans
Check out the second part of the guide for the detailed matchup analysis and mulligans on how to approach each opponent and increase your win rate further!
Thanks everyone for reading this guide. Hopefully this has educated everyone enough on the general idea for Face Hunter. It is not as one-dimensional as everyone believes it to be. If you enjoyed the article, feel free to give a nice thumbs up! Please leave comments below and definitely subscribe to Premium if you have the chance. The sheer amount of articles that are on this site is amazing.