A few tips to handle Hunters

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Just felt the need to make this post as the Hunter panic is reaching new heights on these forums.
For some people it will matter, so here are my creds: I play casually with tier 2-3 decks and land myself at rank 2-3 EU every season, done the push to legend once but don't really feel the need for it anymore, and Hunter is my most played class though these days I mostly focus on Shaman.

- first, chill. Realize that Hunter has always been the most popular class after every expansion was released or after a set of nerfs hit. Always. I can't even remember when that has not been the case and I've been playing since GvG.
Reason: Hunter decks are quite consistent, and they do easily punish unrefined decks because they have built-in clock through the hero power, though it's true that this time it's compounded by the class having good decks that are already refined.

- there's a good chance it's not going to last, for a few reasons:
* with the disappearance of Druids, DR Hunter has lost one of its best if not its best matchups
* Hunter decks are efficiently techable against, and both Odd Paladin and Spreading Plagues being out of the picture opens up a lot of deck slots to include Hunter hate in your decks. Spellbreakers, Skulking Geist (gets Play Dead, Hunter's Mark and Tracking out) and - if you really only run into constant Secret/Spell Hunter - Chief Inspector come to mind.

- though 4 archetypes are being seen, Secret Hunter and Beast Hunter are not nearly as popular as Spell and Deathrattle.

- Focus on the Deathrattle Hunter matchup. It's easily the most powerful of the Hunter archetypes, it's also what you'll see most when climbing above rank 5 as people at that level know how to play against Spell Hunter.
That means: Even Paladin, Even Shaman, Even Warlock, any good Priest deck that includes Psychic Scream (Control, APM, Res Priest), any Rogue deck that makes a good use of Vanish. Turns out some of these decks also got a fair boost in losing their worst matchups with Odd Paladin being toned down.

- about the Spell Hunter matchup: you can go the extra mile with Chief Inspectors, it's not as bad a card as people make it out to be.
One of the main arguments people have against it is "but what about the other matchups, it's so bad there", but it really doesn't make sense if the same people say that {insert your own percentage exaggeration here}% of what they face is Spell/Secret Hunter. If 80% of your matches are against one of those decks, then the card is really strong in 80% of your games, period. I don't see how the card being mediocre (not even bad, mediocre) in 20% of the remaining games can affect your winrate negatively.

But more importantly: learn how to play against the secrets. That matchup is 50% played on this, and knowing how to do this correctly makes teching specifically for this matchup unnecessary - unless if you face this deck constantly, in which case, why not.
I had trouble understanding the difficulties people face with this until I started randomly watching rank ~10 games replays to make sure and, god, the decisions are awful. Like, "running your single 2/3 minion into Hunter's face for no reason while he has a secret up" awful.

- crash course in dealing with Hunter secrets:
* always, always, always keep in mind that secrets is mana invested into almost nothing until they are triggered. IE if you don't trigger the secrets while developing minions, you should get far ahead on the board.
* also remember that as long as a secret is up, the Hunter player can't play his second copy.
* realize that triggering the secrets is actually what the Hunter wants you to do.
* Spell Hunter usually runs 2 x Explosives, 2 x Wandering, and Wandering is the one secret absolutely every Hunter will keep in his mulligan. What I mean here, is that not triggering secrets in that matchup often comes down to not attacking the face without a plan.
* to really put this in perspective, here's what happens when you have a single 2/3 minion and you decide to attack face when a secret is up:
- if it's Wandering, there's a large chance your minion dies
- if the Wandering Monster survives, you just conceded board control to the Hunter, good job, you probably lost that game on the spot
- it also allows the Hunter to play his second Wandering. For all you know, it might be the only secret he has in hand to boost his Spellstone
* preserve your minions. If they all die to Wandering/Explosive, you will have nothing left to contest the Spellstone. You're in no rush to damage the Hunter, really. What you really want, is to take the early game opportunity to develop your board, so that you can deal with the Spellstone.
* when to trigger the secrets: once you dealt with the 5 mana power spike and you have several minions which are big enough to survive to Explosive, you can go for it.
- ideally, you need to have an answer to the random Venomstrike. A 3 attack minion you're ok with sacrifying, a spell, a weapon, you name it.
- always make sure to first attack with your lowest cost minion (or the one more likely to be interesting when replayed) to deal with Freezing.
- if possible, attacking the face with a weapon first is often a good idea. Better lose a couple of hps than a minion to an Explosive/Wandering combo. Minion preservation is key, remember?

This thread is already pretty long, so I'll stop here, but questions and contributions are welcome.
My fave thing of late for dealing with the Spellstone is by playing as Shaman and putting down Devilsaur Egg on turn 4 or 5 followed by Volcano when they fairly predictably hit the Spellstone as it kind of ruins their follow up.
Thank you OP
don't forget the freeze and rat traps
12/20/2018 11:42 AMPosted by Shakou
don't forget the freeze and rat traps

True, true.

- Freeze trap: the netdeck that everyone copies only runs one of these, but of course extra ones could be discovered through Secret Plan.
If anything, this is even more incentive to focus on developing the board in the early turns, without attacking the face. Same logic applies, if you have more minions alive, having one bounced back to your hand (ideally the smallest one) doesn't hurt you as much. Also, it's much better if the Freeze is triggered during the turn when you want to make trades, as once it triggers, it opens trades for all your (hopefully) bigger minions.
If feasible, it's great to trigger the Freeze with a small Rush minion from hand. In the Grand Tournament era, Argent Horserider was in fact one of the best cards to play into Hunter traps for this reason - survive Explosive, and it's ok to have it bounce back to hand.
Final tip: big taunt minions are really good to play if you fear a freeze trap and can't really have a minion bounce back (say, if you only have one, big minion), as it forces the Hunter to make the trades himself making Freeze irrelevant.

- Rat Trap: is much less common and only really has impact later in the game when you can play 3 cards in a turn. To be honest I focus less on it as the most important part of the matchup is still handling the early to mid game correctly.
All I can say here is keep in mind its existence. Avoid playing 3 card combos in the mid game (mostly 2-drop + coin + 2-drop) and you should be fine.
Good info.

I agree about the chief inspector comments too.
Running only one Freezing Trap seems silly to me; we're in a meta where evenlock >> zoolock, and DR hunter's one of the best, if not the best deck, in the game. Even freezing a 3/3 wolf is not a bad deal.

Smarts get you far against spell and secret hunter. Against DR hunter you need luck and tech.
My tip is to uninstall and play a different game until the devs get their act together
Great advice OP!I still view deathrattlle hunter as the biggest threat but against the 3 hunter decks in general I like even paladin. Expensive but pretty safe.If deathrattlle pulls ahead switch to aggro.
Good effort but all this is pointless as Hunters are next level broken. You say hunters get no value from spending mana on traps but that's no true as it buffs emerald spell stone, not to mention the wandering monster they get.

This isn't just a case of "Hunters being good at the start of an expansion". Hunters were great even before the expansion, deathrattle hunter was already tier 1.

I've personally seen a lot more spell/secret hunters but does it really matter? Even Big Hunter is broken because hunters have several disgustingly good core cards. Rexxar, Zuljin and Spellstone make playing atm pointless.
Or just wait until April.
12/20/2018 04:43 PMPosted by Pariahmonkey
Or just wait until April.


That's my plan. When my only option to actually win in the game is to play Hunter or a deck specifically devised to counter Hunter, I'd rather just not play.
12/20/2018 04:43 PMPosted by Pariahmonkey
Or just wait until April.


That's what they were saying about Kingsbane, Odd Paladin, etc.
good thread because Disguisedtoast, Complexity and the match I am in are all Secret Hunters
:)
=P
cubelock
Sad part of my match I have 2 flares and a chief inspector. Over half way through the deck didn't get any of them and my opponent played 50,000 secrets I had to try and get past before faced. Didn't happen.
Wild players be like, what's Hunter? I haven't seen one spell or deathrattle Hunter since the release of Rastakhan. Seems like a standard issue to me.
12/20/2018 09:01 AMPosted by Clockwise

- always make sure to first attack with your lowest cost minion (or the one more likely to be interesting when replayed) to deal with Freezing.


I'd only somewhat agree to this; if you have a hard read on a wandering monster you want to swing in something that should trade cleanly like a 3/4 or 4/4.

A time you'd have this is that you say, played a 2/3 on turn 2, and they play a secret that sits their for multiple turns. This very likely means a wandering, and it certainly means one if you don't see a spellstone come out on 5, as that means they werent just upgrading the spellstone.

- crash course in dealing with Hunter secrets:
*if you don't trigger the secrets while developing minions, you should get far ahead on the board.
* also remember that as long as a secret is up, the Hunter player can't play his second copy.


this is such horrible advice

most decks out there don't have the time to just let secret hunters develop their board

if a hunter pulls out spellstone on round 5, are you just going to sit there getting face pounded because you don't want to trigger his secrets?

your "suggestion" of just doing nothing and not putting any pressure on the spell hunter, will lead to an easy win for the hunter in 90% of cases
12/20/2018 09:06 PMPosted by Kinakino

- crash course in dealing with Hunter secrets:
*if you don't trigger the secrets while developing minions, you should get far ahead on the board.
* also remember that as long as a secret is up, the Hunter player can't play his second copy.


this is such horrible advice

most decks out there don't have the time to just let secret hunters develop their board

if a hunter pulls out spellstone on round 5, are you just going to sit there getting face pounded because you don't want to trigger his secrets?

your "suggestion" of just doing nothing and not putting any pressure on the spell hunter, will lead to an easy win for the hunter in 90% of cases

read further down to the point where he says: do NOT attack FACE until after t5

that means you develop your board and then you crash against their wolves -of play a board clear and done

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