Opinions on Control-esque Hunter Cards?

Posts: 967
Today I opened a golden Explosive Shot and a golden Gladiators Longbow and was wondering, how good are those cards on a control-ish Hunter? I know they're top tier picks in arena but I was wondering what an expert's opinion on it is. Also what would be the core cards to compose a control Hunter?
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Posts: 1,930
Explosive Shot is still meh because it's a very expensive card for the effect it provides, but it's still very much usable in a control Hunter deck. Gladiator's Bow is significantly better than Explosive Shot and works wonders in a control Hunter deck, but is not a must have or anything. As far as the rest of the control Hunter deck goes, the core is still the same among all Hunter decks: the UTH combo(as many cards of it as you can fit, if you're tight in card slots drop Timber Wolf first than Leeroy than Buzzard than UTH), Eaglehorn Bows, 4-6 secrets, Hunter's Marks and Animal Companions.

After this core, control Hunter focuses more on the removal aspect, so Arcane Shot, Explosive Shot, Multi Shot, Deadly Shot and Gladiator's Longbow are all viable candidates(I intentionally left out Kill Command since unless you're forcing your deck to run heavy on beasts in a control Hunter deck you usually won't have too many of them to reliably get Kill Command to hit for 5 when you need it to), which of these and how many is up for personal preference as they each have their pros and cons. As far as minions go, Hunters don't have good expensive class minions, only medium sized(4-6 mana) in Savannah Lions(don't bother with Tundra Rhino and the rest, they're just bad), so you're going to have to fill the gaps with neutrals, which in turn means you're not focusing much on the beast synergy. So the usual assortment of value neutrals like Harvest Golem, Yeti, etc, fit well, along with the usual legendaries that you play in a control decks, just not too many of them. Rag and Cairne are definitely your top 2 legendaries, I wouldn't bother with Ysera for example as it's just too slow. As a Hunter you also have access to King Krush, who is decent in a control deck and simply too expensive for mid-range and aggro decks, so if you want to use him this is the deck to do it in. This is also where you include the likes of Big Game Hunter, Faceless Manipulator, Black Knight, Ironbeak Owl, etc, but these are meta specific cards so add/remove as needed.

Now, about strategy. Yes, you're playing a control deck now but you're still a Hunter thus your hero power is still Steady Shot. This means that in spite of being a control deck, you're still playing aggressively, so against most if not all other control decks you are going to be the aggressor, while against aggro and mid-range decks you'll use your hero power to ramp up the pressure while you keep controlling your opponent's board. The biggest asset the Hunter control deck has is its versatility, as all of your damage sources can be aimed at either your opponent's board or his face. So a control Hunter can suddenly start to race his opponent even if his opponent is playing a normally faster deck(so any aggro/mid-range deck basically) if the Hunter has a fast hand out of the gate and his opponent has a slow hand. Remember though that you're still a control deck, so rushing face is not something you should be aiming to do often, only when RNG severely cripples your opponent while also giving you a great hand to exploit it.
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