Written by F2K_Minntzu
Hey guys, I’m Minntzu. Let’s talk about Hunter. Not so long ago Call of the Wild cost only 8 mana and it was a key card, the most popular decks were built around it as the main win condition. Since Blizzard decided to change its cost to 9 mana, it seriously weakened old hunter lists, players had to invent something new. Nowadays, there are almost no decks that would be complete without Cloaked Huntress. It seems hard to notice the difference between “Secret Hunter” and “Face Hunter” because they both run same core: Huntress and secrets. It makes more sense to define 2 currently playable archetypes as “Face Secret Hunter” and “Midrange Secret Hunter”. Although it happens that incorrect or not clear enough definition is more used due to archetype segregation.
Midrange Secret Hunter seems to be a more popular version, according to Vicious Syndicate‘s latest report and seeing BlizzCon meta where 7 out of 12 players who brought Hunter chose the Midrange variant. Even though Face Hunter shows better results and takes second place and tier 1 after Midrange Shaman in VS Power Ranking. Midrange Hunter took 3rd place having only a 2% worse win rate overall.
A staple version for a hunter deck hasn’t been found, unlike for other dominant classes where decks consist of 25+ core cards. So a big variety of decklists was seen at BlizzCon, each player considered the best variation for himself…
Face Secret Hunter Lists (BlizzCon 2016):
Midrange Secret Hunter Lists (BlizzCon 2016):
There was only one player who brought Camel Hunter instead and didn’t put any secret in his deck, Yulsic:
Traps. The most powerful trap appears to be Cat Trick, it is included in 2 copies in all lists. Mostly 2 Freezing Traps, but second is cut by some players. Explosive Trap with 2 copies was chosen in each Face Hunter deck. Snipe is more often seen in Midrange decks, mostly played with two copies whereas Snake Trap is the least included.
Barnes is obviously better in Midrange version. Possible good outcomes: copy of a Savannah Highmane, Ragnaros the Firelord, Kindly Grandmother, Infested Wolf. However Amnesiac found an extra slot for Barnes in Face Hunter too, even though his value is significantly worse in there.
Animal Companion is a strong card with no doubt, but Leokk lowers win-rate of Face Hunter decks. Therefore, half of the players prefer Argent Horserider or even Wolfrider over the 33% Huffer roll in their decks.
Tundra Rhino. Can see play if on turn 5 you’re ahead on board, which should be the case for Secret Hunter with a more aggressive opening, than traditional Midrange had.
Call of the Wild. In an attempt to build new lists, Hunters had to go for a more explosive early game and this can no longer allow them to play such an expensive card.
Differences in Match-ups
First of all, if Midrange Secret Hunter and Face Secret Hunter play against each other, Face is favored to win. Probably, the reason why overall stats for Face Hunter are so great is that the matchup against Shaman is improved by a lot compared to Mid Secret Hunter which has only about a 40% win-rate. For faster Face Hunter deck it’s a coin flip. The fast archetype also has a slightly improved match-up against Zoolock, Miracle Rogue and Priest. At the same time, Midrange Hunter has a larger number of favored matchups in total. It performs better against any kind of Druid, Tempo Mage and is unlike Face Hunter favored vs Control Warriors and Dragon Warrior. Nevertheless, both lose to Pirate Warrior.
Conclusively, Face Hunter as a subtype of Secret Hunter is a better well-rounded tool for the ladder at this stage of the meta while percentages of classes do not change.