Removal Cards: which to run?
I'm not in the beta, so I'm just theorycrafting decks while I bide my time. When it comes to removal cards, my evaluations are as follows. Note that I've not played the game, so these evaluations are very much of a "on paper" nature.
Hunter's Mark - It's free to play and combos well with Arcane Shot, Explosive Trap, Elven Archers, or in-play minions to remove any enemy minion from the board.
Arcane Shot - It's cheap to play and combos well with Arcane Shot and Explosive Trap to remove any enemy minion from the board. It has the added bonus of being able to damage the enemy hero.
Explosive Trap - It's cheap to play and is fantastic at clearing the board of weaker minions. It's a wonderful defense against rush decks utilizing lots of cheap, weak minions. The downside is it's susceptible to Flare and other cards that benefit from or counter Secrets.
Kill Command - This card offers three or five damage to any enemy minion, and can also be used to damage the enemy hero. There's little downside to this card.
Snipe - For just 2 mana it can destroy mid-game minions and soften up late-game minions as they come into play. It also synergizes with the Eaglehorn Bow. It's inefficient against early-game minions and it can be countered if you opponent summons fodder minions before playing more important ones. It's also vulnerable to cards such as Flare.
Deadly Shot - Instantly killing any minion is great, but because it strikes a random minion some work is required to ensure you kill the minion you need to kill.
Explosive Shot - This card can directly target any enemy minion. That means it can be used to clear several weaker minions or to soften up a few tougher ones. It can be combined with Hunter's Mark to take out at least one minion of your choosing. It's higher mana cost means you'll be unable to use it early in the game, and you'll be unable to combine it with much else until late in the game.
Freezing Trap - What it does isn't bad. It's not as great as directly destroying a minion, but it's not bad. The problem is it's too easy for a savvy opponent to clear it by attacking first with a weaker/cheaper minion, thus leaving his more expensive minions a clear path.
Multi-Shot - Like Deadly Shot, the targets of this card are randomly determined. This means you're not guaranteed to hit the targets you need to hit. Because this card just damages, rather than destroying, the targets and costs 1 more mana that Deadly Shot, I don't think it's as good...even if it does hit two targets.
So what do you guys think? Do you agree with my assessment? Or do you feel I've got it wrong? If you do think I've put too much or too little stock in one or more of the removal cards, let me know which and why.
If you're going to include Arcane Shot and other damage removals then you should add the weapons as well, because that's really the main reason to use a weapon.
Hunter's Mark isn't that good because it's a 2-for-1 card. Doesn't even remove the actual card either, which can be troublesome in certain situations. Not terrible but there's only 30 cards you can bring to a deck and in some decks there's really no room for this card.
I don't think Arcane Shot is that great either. Good early-game, okay mid-game, pretty useless late-game. You have other cards to deal with early-game, some of which have better flexibility (Eaglehorn).
Explosive Trap and Kill Command are definitely great removals though. KC can be used for damaging heroes if you want to rush them down and Explosive Trap is good in general.
I like Deadly Shot though. There are definitely plenty moments where having Deadly Shot can really end trades in your favor, especially late game when people play their strong minion. With good board control that's typically the only minion up, so you can use this and instantly kill that 8/8 taunt mob (and save a potential silence too).
Multi-Shot is pretty bad I agree. Explosive Shot is fine where it is. It starts being useful when you have the mana to use it, so I think it's in a good spot.
The strength with Freezing, Misdirection and Snipe is that the opponent can't exactly tell what secret it is, and if they guess wrong they can get punished very badly. Typically it is good for the opponent to have the weakest minion attack first but under certain circumstances (you have a taunt or a high health minion), they might have to waste minions baiting out the traps. By itself these cards don't do much but in conjunction with each other (or simply acknowledging that Hunters have a ton of secrets), the opponent has to find ways around it, which may force them to make bad moves.
The ones I would run would be Deadly, Freezing, Snipe, Explosive, KC and Eaglehorn. The rest I think is on preference but I would avoid Multi-Shot tbh lol.
Edited by Etherlight on 10/27/2013 4:38 PM PDT
I haven't played with all the hunter cards yet, but from what I've noticed:
The Hunter's Mark + Arcane Shot combo is good yeah, but once you play against people with better cards/decks, it's quite an inefficient use of deck space compared to a priest's Shadow Word cards and other class' removal options.
Kill Command is definitely great. If you play a beast deck you almost always have a beast out anyway for the +2 damage.
Deadly Shot really depends on who you're playing. If you're playing against a beastcleave deck or murlocs or whatever it's pretty bad, but if you're up against someone stalling until lategame to play a few big minions or if they play a buff minion style (many priests) then it's invaluable. It's also good for clearing really strong taunts when you'd rather have them off the board as opposed to just silenced via Ironbeak Owl.
As for the secret cards, your opponent really has to guess at what secret you have down unless they have played you before. I don't have many of them but from my own experience and watching others, I think Explosive trap is the best as it is the most difficult to counter for most people.
I agree Multi-shot is underwhelming, especially when you compare it to Explosive Shot (which I don't have), which costs 1 more but has several advantages and can turn a game around on its own. I've had situations where Multi-shot has saved me, but many more examples where it has sat in my hand being inefficient cost wise to use, or just hit the wrong minions.
Edited by sourlows on 10/27/2013 5:15 PM PDT
Cards that hit random targets can be useful, because they are allowed to hit stealth. Stealth aren't immune to everything. If the card says ALL minions, that includes stealth. If it says random enemies, that can be stealth.
I'm sure you already know this, but outside of conditional use of Deadly Shot or Big Game Hunter, all Hunter removal cards are two-for-one against minions with more than five health. If you're going to run two-for-one either way, why not run one that costs 0 mana?
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