After the great feedback of my first Break the Meta article, I decided to share with you the Spell Hunter deck this time. I know that, for most of you, Spell Hunter is not a new deck, and that you don’t believe it’s a ‘’meta breaking’’ deck. I can’t prove you wrong, but I have to disagree with you.
We have seen plenty versions of Spell Hunter after all these expansions. The most famous and aggressive one used to be ‘’Barnes’’ into ‘’Y’sharjj’’, which was basically an auto-win if you were lucky enough and made this play on ‘’turn 4’’. The newest version of Spell Hunter is totally minion-less, with secrets, weapons, burst and summoning spells. In addition, it has a really strong late game with ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’’ and ‘’Rhok’delar’’.
Spell Hunter is a really interesting deck. Imagine a deck, without minions, full of spell which generate minions. Most of the cards give you great value and flexibility – that’s why we saw a lot of play of it before the nerfs. People think that this deck is not that strong anymore, but I strongly disagree. I still see people playing bad decklists and greedy decks. Sometimes these kinds of decks are bread and butter for Spell Hunter.
I have already mentioned that ‘’Spell Hunter’’ has spells which give a lot of value. The way you play this deck, especially in the early game, is really standard. All you need to do in the early game is just rely on your secrets, try to buff your spellstone, and take the trades to keep the board. Alternatively, try to create an aggressive board versus control matchups.
This is the reason mulligan is pretty standard versus most of the match ups. The most of the time, look for ‘’Lesser Emerald Spellstone’’, or secrets like ‘’Wandering Monster’’ and ‘’Explosive Trap’’. Keep in mind ‘’Animal Companion’’ is your strongest turn 3 play and also ‘’Candleshot’’ or ‘’Eaglehorn Bow’’ can really shine versus Aggro.
In the Late Game, there is more complexity when deciding what kind of gameplay you would like to follow, since it depends on the condition you are. If you are about to set lethal, you should rarely play ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’’, and cards like ‘’Tracking’’, ‘’Kill Command’’ and ‘’To my Side’’ become powerful determinants of the game’s outcome. However if you lose the board, are far behind, or are expecting to win only if you maximize value with your plays… You have ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’’.
This card can create Zombeasts which are able to recover the board with big Taunts or AOE and, in general, this card gives you the chance to create minions which are able to cover your needs every single turn of the late game. In addition, another card with huge value is ‘’Rhok’delar’’. When your hand looks empty, you’re finding lethal, or you’re trying to survive,, this Weapon fills your hand with spells which are able to resolve your situation. You don’t want to risk burning any cards when you play this weapon, so make sure you have enough mana to play at least one Spell before you play ‘’Rhok’delar’’.
Versus Aggro: Trade every single minion with ‘’Candleshot’’, ‘’Flanking Strike’’ and ‘’Eaglehorn Bow’’. Cards like ‘’Explosive Trap’’ and ‘’Unleash the Hounds’’ can be insanely strong versus aggro, but sometimes you need to face the risk of receiving a lot of damage before you play them in order to take good value. For example, playing ‘’Unleash the Hounds’’ versus Odd Paladin on turn 3 and trading two or three minions without buffs is not a good idea. Moreover, never forget ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’s’’ Battlecry, which is another good removal versus Aggro.
Versus Control: As I mentioned above, cards like ‘’Kill Command’’ or ‘’To my Side’’ can deal tons of damage when you play them at the right time – most of the times, they are your win conditions versus Control.‘’Hunter’s Mark’’ is one of the best minion removals. Imagine a 4/8 ‘’Primordial Drake’’ or a ‘’Lich King’’ dying from ‘’Hunter’s Mark’’ and ‘’Candleshot’’. This Card is certainly a must-keep versus Druid.
Secrets like ‘’Rat Trap” and “Freezing Trap’’ have great value versus control. Many control decks play a lot of cards in the late game when trying to play a big combo or looking for a draw. ‘’Rat Trap’’ places a big threat on the board when the opponents have used up most of their mana, and it can also guarantee a good trade or even lethal. ‘’Freezing Trap’’ has the potential to remove sticky minions from the board or stun them when your opponents want to play around ‘’Freezing Trap’’.
‘’Rhok’delar’’ is always useful when you run out of resources or when you want to keep pushing your opponent, but keep in mind that ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’’ might give you some good Zombeasts. However, some control decks can out-value them easily in the late game so you must be cautious when deciding if you want to change your hero power or not.
Tips and Combos
● NEVER PLAY TRACKING ON TURN 1! This is a play that I have even seen in the Legend Rank. We are talking about Hunters who play this card and, because they have not played on turn 1, they play ‘’Tracking’’. Why is this play bad? On any turn, you never know what your opponent is like. Not only do you not have a plan, but also you end up discarding two cards which would be valuable later in the game. Yes, playing ‘’Tracking’’ on turn 1 when Spell Hunter used to have Barnes/Y’sharjj combo was a really good play, because you were increasing the likelihood of playing ‘’Barnes’’ on turn 4, but this kind of play is really bad now.
● The ‘’Hunter’s Mark and ‘’Explosive Trap’’/‘’Unleash the Hounds’’ combo is really good versus aggro when you want to remove minions which make your opponent’s board very aggressive
● The emptier your hand is, the more value you get from Rhok’delar. Rhok’delar is the reason we play minionless Spell Hunter. Without this card, this deck has no reason to exist. It is really bad to play it when you have 6 cards in your hand, unless you urgently need an answer. Don’t forget that when you play this card, the maximum Mana you will be able to use might be 3. So always play ‘’Rhok’delar’’ in the beginning of the turn you want to play it, to avoid the risk of burning a card next turn.
● Never get greedy with Eaglehorn’s Bow and Secret combo. I have watched people avoid using the weapon because they were expecting it to get buffed from the secret they had played, but in the end they lose their games because of this horrible mistake. Especially versus aggro, this is a risk you should never take. If you want to save your weapon and play ‘’Flanking Strike’’ over it, it’s woudl be a very good and understandable play because you summon a 3/3 wolf as well. However, sometimes you need to value the risk you take in not trading minions. Think hard about whether you really want to keep the weapon and trade the minions you have on your board, rather than using it.
● Calculate your Zombeasts mana carefully before you create them. Zombeasts are able to carry the whole game for you. However, you have to consider when you want to play them and how many cards you want to play at the same turn. Combining the stats of two beasts sounds really strong, but it can be really expensive and often one Zombeast on board is not enough to help you to survive. People play Silence almost in every single deck, so this is a risk you can’t take. So before you start creating your zombeasts, aside from what are you looking to create, think in advance how do you plan to play your turn. Also, sometimes, the cards you have in your hand can provide you with better play rather than just spamming your hero power to create Zombeasts with random effects.
Ultimately, I believe that Spell Hunter still has a lot to offer to both Ladder and Tournaments. I know that, in general, Hunter is not top Tier, but this deck might have an answer versus a lot of match ups because of the value it can gain from ‘’Deathstalker Rexxar’’ and from ‘’Rhok’delar’’. The minion generator spells are really powerful spells and, in combination with its burst spells, it is possible to easily change the outcome of the game versus every single match up.
This deck is not expensive and is really interesting to play, but skill is required in order to master it. Another good deck for our Series – stay in touch for the next one soon!