This is Part 1 of the Mastering the Hybrid Hunter extensive deck guide series. It is split into 3 main guides:
- Part 1: Beginner Guide
- Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards and Tech Choices
- Part 3: Matchups and Mulligans
This guide will cover the basics and card choices of Hybrid Hunter.
Hybrid Hunter. The nightmare of the ladder. One of the strongest decks out there on the ladder. It’s hard to tell who is the creator, but Protohype used it to get rank #1 NA before and popularized the current card list. Since then, the deck is constantly present in Ranked/Ladder, and it also started popping in Tournaments.
It’s a mix between Face Hunter and Mid-Range Hunter (hence the name – Hybrid). It uses fast early drops and couple of chargers to rush enemy down early, and when enemy’s face is already ‘melted’, and enemy used their removals, you drop bigger minions to seal the game. The deck puts much bigger emphasis on board control than the standard Face Hunter. You try to keep your minions alive as long as you can. Trap choices are also closer to Mid-Range Hunter, with Freezing Trap
- Great early game
- Good transition into mid-game
- Sticky minions
- Good reach to finish enemy off after he Taunts up
- Games are fast enough to use it while laddering
- Pretty consistent draws
- Good against most of the popular decks on the ladder
- It has no terrible matchups
- It may get rushed down by faster decks like Face Hunter
- Unlike Face Hunter, you might end up with too slow starting hand (everything 4+)
- Might get crippled by a lot of Taunts
- Bigger drops have slow tempo
As you can see, the deck doesn’t have too many weaknesses. That’s the reason why it’s rated so high. For more information on specific matchups, see Advanced Guide.
- Mid-Range Druid
- Freeze Mage
- Mid-Range Paladin
- Mech Shaman
- Patron Warrior
- Mid-Range Hunter
- Tempo Mage
- Oil Rogue
- Zoo Warlock
- Control Warrior
- Ramp Druid
- Face Hunter
- Aggro Paladin
Card choices in Hybrid Hunter are really flexible. We’re gonna go through the standard deck list. For more Alternate Cards / Tech Choices, visit Advanced Guide.
This little guy is one of the main reasons why Face Hunter was so strong. His mana to damage ratio is always good. Common scenario: you play it on turn 1, enemy coins out Hero Power. It’s 2/3/4 damage (against Mage/Druid/Rogue) for 1 mana, enemy lost the coin and didn’t develop anything. You still have board initiative, enemy doesn’t have the coin, you’ve dealt 2 damage. And that’s pretty much the best way to deal with your Leper Gnome (the only one that is arguably better is Earth Shock
You usually don’t want to drop him on turn 1, especially against the classes that can ping him, because he doesn’t get enough value compared to Leper Gnome. His basic role is, similarly to the other 1-drop, deal 2 additional damage. You’re often gonna use him on a 2 or 3-drop to deal 2 additional damage to the face. That’s usually a good play, because pushing for damage is important. However, Hybrid Hunter, unlike Face Hunter, wants to trade minions. That’s why Abusive Sergeant has great synergy with both Haunted Creeper
This deck runs 2 copies of Glaivezooka and only one of Eaglehorn Bow
Freezing Trap is one of the strongest secrets in the game. When you freeze a slow card, you might as well consider it killed, because enemy won’t have a time to play it again. It protects your board really well and gains you a lot of tempo. If you freeze 4-drop, it means that it costs a total of 10 mana if enemy wants to get it back on the board. You’ve paid 2 mana for the trap. You’re losing a card advantage, but enemy lost a lot of tempo. If he wants to play a 6 mana 4-drop, you don’t really care, you’re probably even happy with the outcome. Freezing Trap is pretty bad if enemy has some cheap minions or tokens he can freeze. The timing is important, Freezing Trap is best when you have board control and enemy has no small minions.Sometimes you’re gonna Freeze a Treant
The early removal of the deck. To make things clear – it won’t draw you a card. Just imagine the card text doesn’t exist. With this approach, you’re gonna win much more games. It’s best when used as an early removal, not when kept in the hand to wait for the draw value. The draw is an additional thing, especially since you’re often keeping situational cards in your hand, it might happen once in a ten games or so. Use it to kill their early drops. First turns are really important, and you don’t want enemy Knife Juggler
Haunted Creeper is really sticky, which is good in an Aggro deck. To remove it, enemy often has to sacrifice a lot of damage, and that means he won’t use that damage on something else. It’s usually just ignored, which is also fine for you, because your 2 mana investment will pay if it’s in a few turns. You might trade it if you want, because you get two 1/1’s anyway, so power of the board is even higher. It’s good against AoE clears, so you don’t feel bad about overextending on the board. It has synergy with Knife Juggler
Silence is one of the strongest mechanics in the game, and Owl is a great source of Silence. That’s why we opt to run two. Owl gets value in every matchup – any top tier deck runs something worth Silencing. Silencing Mad Scientist
The amount of value (and damage) Knife Juggler can get is really immense. One of the highest priority targets in your deck. Enemy WILL throw a removal at him if he has any. He gets Execute
Mad Scientist gets you value by both tempo and card advantage. Tempo thing is pretty obvious – your 2 mana trap gets casted for free, so you essentially gained 2 mana when he dies. The trap, however, didn’t come from your hand, but from your deck. It means that you also drew it first. He’s the sole reason why Secrets are ran in every Mage and Hunter deck. His stats are pretty standard. 2/2 for 2 is neither good, nor bad. He is pretty susceptible to Silence. But, that means one less Silence for Shredders and Highmanes, and in the end something will get Silenced anyway. If you manage to trade him with another 2-drop and get a free trap (or he eats the removal from your opponent), you get 2 for 1 value. Enemy can’t just ignore him forever and he’ll have to kill it after some time. Dealing 2 additional damage every turn is not something you can take against Hunter. Mad Scientist works great with Eaglehorn Bow
Since you have only 1 copy of Eaglehorn Bow, you want to get as much value of it as you can. It means that you’re gonna stay at 1 charge pretty often, waiting for enemy to proc a trap (or for you to draw a trap). Your bow can potentially have up to 4 charges (12 damage!), and it sometimes happens. Don’t waste your charges on enemy face, though. Killing enemy 2-drops, 3-drops and Shredders is the main purpose of your weapon. Only if you don’t need to control the board, this card has a potential to deal a lot of damage to enemy. At the base, it’s a worse version of Fiery War Axe
Animal Companion is exceptionally good, especially if RNG is on your side. We like to compare this card to 3 Basic cards. At random, you summon boosted versions of Wolfrider
Your main way to finish off the opponent. Enemy often stabilizes when he’s around 10 HP. Combined with your Hero Power, this card can kill him even when he Taunts up or takes complete board control. It also helps to deal with the Taunts. It kills the first body of Sludge Belcher
Unleash the Hounds
Your main Anti-Aggro tech. May be used in both offensive and defensive way. The existence of this card has impact on the match – even if you don’t have it in your hand. Enemies are often scared to play more than 2-3 minions against Hunter. It’s great against other Hunters and Zoo. It’s also good against Paladin and Shaman, since their Hero Power spawns tokens. In general, it’s great against any deck that wants to flood the board. It combos nicely with Abusive Sergeant
Arcane Golem is a really interesting card. The stats are great, but it has a downside that severely limits its uses. You don’t want to draw it too early. Dropping it on turn 3, especially when second, is often losing play. Unless you have a really fast start and you think that you can afford to give enemy 1 mana, you want to keep him for the reach or to drop him on later turns. The closer it gets to turn 9, the better he gets. One additional mana on turn 3 is huge, but on turn 7 or 8 it’s not as good anymore. If dropped from turn 9 upwards, opponent gains nothing. Great card later in the game, but surely you won’t mulligan for it.
Wolfrider is one of the “fast” aspects of the deck. A really aggressive card, with only 1 attack and a charge, he’s a decent turn 3 play most of time. Wolfrider’s boon is that he is a minion. He needs to get removed. Even if by ping, opponent has to waste 2 mana to kill him. It may completely cripple his turn 3. Even better if enemy can’t actually remove it. It might hit for 3 more damage or trade with something. If you have other means of killing enemy minions – don’t use Wolfrider. It’s much better if enemy has to remove it himself and waste resources. However, if you have no other way to keep the board control, use him to trade on turn 3.
One of the strongest 4-drops in the game, probably the strongest in Fast decks. His stats are fine and he’s really sticky. If you drop it on turn 4, enemy probably won’t be able to deal with both him and the minion you get from his Deathrattle. Most of the minions he drops are fine. There are two best outcomes, Millhouse Manastorm
One of the biggest minion in your deck. 5/5 for 5 mana are good stats. But what you play it for is the effect. You want to have the board control, and you often will on turn 5. When you drop Loatheb, opponent’s options get limited. He can’t remove it with spells, he can’t AoE your board, he might drop something big, but you usually just sneak free damage on the turn after you’ve dropped Loatheb. He’s great against spell-heavy decks like Oil Rogue or Freeze Mage. One of the best turn 5 plays, but against some deck you might want to keep it and drop when the good opportunity strikes.
The biggest threat in your deck. The card is pretty slow, but it has immense power and value. 6/5 body is formidable, and even if removed you still maintain board presence. It’s not big enough to get killed by Big Game Hunter
The deck is flexible. Depending on the situation, starting hand and the deck you face, you might play it faster (like Face Hunter) or slower (like Mid-Range Hunter).
Remember that against Aggro decks, you’re on defensive. Against decks with similar tempo to yours, you shift to either aggressive or defensive depending on the draws. And against Control decks, you play the aggressive game and need to push for damage.
Early game is really important. You usually want to start with Leper Gnome
Normally, Animal Companion
If enemy plays Silence targets like Nerubian Egg
During mid game, you might want to start pushing for damage, but board control is still your number one priority. Piloted Shredder
On turn 5 you might want to drop Loatheb
Remember that against most of the classes, your Hero Power does wonders. It puts them on a clock and you don’t care if the game lasts couple turns more, as long as you Hero Power every turn. From mid game onwards, you want to squeeze your Hero Power every turn. If you have a good play that uses all of your mana, don’t worry, it’s fine. But if you have to choose between dropping a Leper Gnome and Hero Powering, the second one is usually better. The card will still be in your hand, and you can’t get back the 2 damage from Hero Power. Remember to use your mana efficiently. Try to finish every turn with 0 mana. Sometimes it’s impossible, but playing on curve is really important. Mid game is also the time when your combos come into the action. Unleash the Hounds is your main source of combos. A turn 5 Knife Juggler + Unleash may save you against Aggro and turn the game around. Arcane Golem
You don’t want that phase to last too long, you aim to finish the game around the start of late game. Against Aggro decks, late game is usually non-existent and the game is already decided by now. Hybrid Hunter doesn’t run out of steam too fast, but it still does when compared to Control decks. Against slower decks, Savannah Highmane
By the late game you should also have some reach in your hand. One of the big decisions is whether you use your Kill Commands on enemy minions or keep it for the reach. Both approaches have their reasoning, depending on how the game goes. If enemy is far from dying, you shouldn’t save Kill Commands. You won’t kill him soon anyway, and keeping your minions alive gives you much better chance to deal damage. If enemy is close from death, especially if you think that he has no way to regain his health, you probably want to save your Kill Commands for their face. Arcane Golem
You certainly don’t want the game to last longer than 10 turns. At this point you’re probably top decking. Quick Shot
One of the most important things you need to realize is the best way to kill your opponent. Which cards you can waste and which cards you need to keep? Can you overextend on the board or if you get AoE’d, you won’t be able to win any more? It depends greatly on matchup, but here are your main win conditions.
- Early game aggression. It’s the fastest way of winning. If you get the good curve, many low drops, you might rush enemy down before he can do anything. Especially if his start was slow. It’s a good way to play the game if you see that enemy doesn’t drop anything during the first turns. If you’ve dealt 15 damage by turn 4, you might as well continue with your strategy and rush enemy down. If it fails and opponent somehow removes your board, you still have your bigger drops and Hero Power.
- Tempo. Freezing Trap is a great tempo tool. Your weapons also give you a tempo in exchange for life. Abusive Sergeant boosts your Tempo too. So, if you keep the tempo on your side, you can slowly grind enemy down thanks to your Hero Power and some minions you have on the board.
- Big drops. . Those are your main win conditions against slow decks that run a lot of removals. Your early and mid game plays will probably get removed, and you have to rely on the big ones. The good thing for you is that they are probably running out of removals by the time you drop them, and that both of those are hard to remove on the turn they’re played (Loatheb because of his Battlecry, and Highmane because of how sticky it is). If you squeeze some early damage, you probably should win with your big drops.
- Reach. Against some decks you need additional damage from your hand, and Hybrid Hunter has it. Ramp Druid and Handlock are good examples. Those two may easily get big Taunts which you can’t get through. By that time, however, they already should be at low health. Finishing them off with combination of Kill Commands, Quick Shot and your Hero Power is a possibility.
Advanced Strategies, Matchups and Mulligans
Our Mastering the Deck series are extremely in-depth and extensive. Here are the other parts of the Hybrid Hunter series:
- Part 2: Advanced Strategies, Alternate Cards and Tech Choices
- Part 3: Matchups and Mulligans
Hybrid Hunter is really flexible deck. It has so many win conditions and you can play it in a lot of different styles. You may adapt depending on the situation and your current needs. This build also requires much more strategy than some people imagine. You have to think many turns ahead, you have to decide between board control and pushing for damage, you need to drop minions in the correct order etc. The deck is slightly harder than the standard Face Hunter list, but we can definitely recommend it for both new and more experienced players. It may appeal to the first group because of how cheap it is.
If you liked the guide, please share your thoughts. Let us hear about your experience with the deck, whether you like it or not, or if you agree with our reasoning. Thanks for the reading, check out more of our content!