Posted by: Grumpy | November 15, 2013

Hearthstone Hunter 101


Our ol’ buddy Rexxar is quite the hero. He saved Orgrimmar and the Horde over and over again before settling down with his faithful pet bear Misha at Thunderlord Stronghold in the Blades Edge Mountains. In fact he’s the perfect hero to represent hunters in Hearthstone.

The Hunter deck in Hearthstone is one of the easiest to learn and play in the game. I recommend it to new players for their first deck outside of the mage of course. That does not mean that Hunters are a pushover later in the game. It’s assortment of skills makes it a difficult deck to defeat. The following is a strategy that can be used to successfully play the hunter deck. It is written for the beginning of game play when you don’t have many epic or legendary cards. However, many of the ideas presented should carry over into the later stages of your gaming experience. I’ve also listed some epic and legendary cards that will help out later on so you can be on the look out for them.

Overall Strategy

Rexxar has many strong tools to damage the opponent and the strong synergy between hunters and beasts makes him extremely powerful.

General Tactics

Tactics are the things you do to achieve the overall strategy. This first group of tactics are general in nature and apply to all classes.

Harass, Heal, Extend:

This is pretty self explanatory. Use minions that heal so that you can survive longer. Along the way take out the opponents taunters and other minions. Do damage to the opponent’s hero if you can. Don’t let the opponent get too many minions or you’ll be overrun.

Tanks Are Our Friends:

Tanks protect the adventurers in World of Warcraft by keeping the bosses attention on them instead of the party members. In Hearthstone that function is provided by taunt minions. As long as you have taunt minions on the board your hero and other minion are relatively safe from attack. There are some exceptions to this of course. Some spells and minions can bypass taunt minions. A good rule of thumb is to keep a taunt minion up as much as possible.

Send Them On A Wild Goose Chase:

This tactic baits the opponent into spending precious resources on something that isn’t important to your plan. Play a card that looks dangerous so that your opponent will want to remove from the board.

Dropping a Core Hound is a good example. At 9/5 your opponent can’t afford to leave that on the table or they will take 9 damage somewhere during the next turn. They pretty much have to remove it and in doing so will spend resources that they could have been using to kill your hero.

Preventing Card Starvation:

Card Starvation happens when you play all of the cards in your hand and the only cards you have left to play are those you are dealt at the beginning of your turn. It’s also called playing off the top of the deck. This is a bad thing because your options are limited by whatever the next card is. It would be better to have a selection of cards in your hand to pick from.

To prevent this problem we put cards in our deck that cause us to draw more cards. Loot Hoarder and Divine Favor are good examples of these kind of cards.

Getting Rid of That Annoying Thing

Being able to get rid of an annoying ability or that taunter that is in your way is incredibly helpful. If you don’t have an ability that Silences or Dispels a minion keep a couple of minions in your deck that do. The Ironbeak Owl comes to mind right off the bat and is a beast so it works well with hunters. Actually it works well in any deck.


Hunter Tactics

Now on to the Hunter specific tactics.

Nasty Little Secrets:

Hunters get to play secrets. Secrets are actions that are hidden from your opponent which only trigger under certain conditions. For instance, if your opponent plays a minion card Snipe automatically deals 4 damage to it. When you’ve played Misdirection, if an enemy attacks your hero the attack will instead hit another random target. It could be your opponent’s or yours. There are a few other traps. I’ll let you discover how much fun they are.


Hunter’s have two weapon that they can wield (at the time that I’m writing this). The Eaglehorn Bow has 3 attack and 2 durability but whenever a secret is revealed it get’s +1 durability.

The Gladiator’s Longbow has 5 attack and 2 durability for a cost of 7 mana. It makes your hero immune when attacking. Which is especially handy when dealing with really large  attack power minions. It’s epic though so it will be difficult to come by.

Synergy With Beasts

The synergy between hunters and beasts is so strong that many deck building guides just flat out say try to get the cards listed below. If you don’t have a card that is listed just fill in with any beast until you can get the card in question. A lot of the beast buff other beasts and a few of the hunter’s abilities either help beasts or do more damage when the hunter controls other beasts.

TL:DR = Get Moar Beasts!

Hero Power

The hunter hero power is Steady Shot. It does 2 damage to your opponent’s hero, bypassing taunt, etc. Unfortunately you can’t use it against minions. It’s really easy to forget to use your hero power. So remember it.

Deck Building Advice

  • Get a wide variety of taunt minions.
  • Beasts are best.
  • If your minions do more than one thing that’s even better.
  • Fill the rest of the deck with cards needed for the tactics you want to concentrate on.
  • Think mana curve when building your deck – not only ramping up, but what you can cast together with 5-10 mana.
  • Take your time. Having two copies is not always the best solution if they don’t fit.
  • You probably now have way more than the 30 cards allowed in the Hearthstone deck.
  • Pare down the cards that are needed the least until you get to 30. Then play test and adjust from there.

Here’s an example of a Hunter Aggro/Control Deck. I’ve used a variation of it for a while now and have done really well with it. The deck does list some epic cards that are going to be difficult to obtain at first. But that’s alright, just fill in the cards that you don’t have with other beast minions. You’ll do fine.

You can always put the cards into the deck as you earn or craft them later on.

Here’s another example of a Hunter Control Deck. I haven’t tried this one yet (mainly because I don’t have most of the cards yet), but it looks interesting.

Have a tactic that I missed? Have more deck building advice? Please share it with us in the comment section below.

DISCLAIMER: The game is in early beta and many of the cards and tactics mentioned above may change before the game goes live.



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