So, to be perfectly honest, I started working on Mill Rogue for this week’s Deck of the Week. While it is a very different play style than what I’ve covered before, I just wasn’t feeling it. So instead, I’m bringing a deck I have been enjoying lately, the Hybrid Hunter!
This particular decklist was taken from Gaara, in a match he played as part of Team Archon’s team league tournament. As the name suggests, it is a hybrid between the all face hunter type decks and the slower, mid-range hunter decks. While it can be difficult to play, when everything comes together, winning is a lot of fun with this deck.
Because this deck has so many low mana drops, you want to try and end up with those in your starting hand. Leper Gnome is pretty much your best turn 1 play. While he only has 1 health, getting that early start on damage is very important with this deck. He can also trade well with other 2 mana drops, or you can force your opponent to spend resources removing him. If your opponent doesn’t deal with an early Leper Gnome quickly, it’s damage can snowball very easily, so you will often times see opponents use their hero power to remove this minion. That’s 2 mana to remove a 1 mana card, which is very good value for you.
Other good early cards include Mad Scientist and Glaivezooka. Mad Scientist is another card to shoot for in your starting hand. Getting a free Freezing Trap is always nice because this secret helps you control the pace of the game. If you are able to manipulate the board state, you can almost always make your opponent return a valuable minion to his hand, instead of trading or damaging you with it.
Glaivezooka is there to put out early game pressure by making your minions more threatening and to help you control the board early on. Part of the face hunter strategy is to send all minion damage at your opponent instead of their minions. If you can deal with your opponent’s minions with a weapon, then you can keep stacking the minion damage. Board control is important to this deck because you’re trying to kill your opponent before 10 mana, so save your minions whenever possible.
Hopefully after applying early pressure with some cheap minions, by turn 4 you will have a few mid-range minions in your hand. Piloted Shredder is an excellent 4-drop because it’s sticky, meaning it’s hard for your opponent to completely remove it and any aftereffects from the board, and it’s dangerous. Because of how much burst damage this deck runs, getting even 2 attacks to your opponent’s face with a Piloted Shredder can put them in range of lethal damage.
Savannah Highmane is the hunter-only Piloted Shredder on steroids. It has all the same benefits as a Piloted Shredder, except it is even harder to remove, spawning 2 2/2 hyenas when it dies. While this is certainly not always the case, it is often joked about that if you can land one attack with a Savannah Highmane, the match is basically over. This card requires an answer almost immediately from your opponent, not only because it’s 6 damage is very threatening, but because it is also a beast which activates your Kill Command cards to deal 5 damage. Everything about this card is dangerous.
Loatheb is brought into the mix not only for his 5/5 stats, but for his battlecry. Playing Loatheb will lock your opponent out of casting any spells for an entire turn in most cases. This can often times allow you to protect a large board of minions from AOE removal, or stall the game one more turn allowing you to draw into the damage you need to finish off your opponent.
One of the harder things to learn when playing this deck is learning when to stop worrying about controlling the board and going for direct damage to your opponent. Using early minions for face damage is good, but this is not face hunter. You have to keep yourself from getting overrun. The goal is to keep chipping away at your opponent’s health in the early game, but still hold the board. Then around turn 6 or 7 you put everything you have into killing your opponent.
This timing will be different every game though. If your opponent has a weak early game, you might be able to start pushing for lethal damage as early as turn 4. If your early game didn’t work out so well, maybe it will take until turn 8 before you bring them into lethal range.
No matter the timing, once you make the decision to go for lethal damage, stick with it. If you need to draw 3 damage to kill your opponent and you get a wimpy Haunted Creeper as your next card, stick to the plan, play the Haunted Creeper, and damage that face. All you need is one Spectral Spider to survive, and you have 3 damage with your hero power. If you start second guessing yourself and trade away other minions instead, that final 3 damage gets further and further away.
The final note about playing this deck is the charge minions. Wolfrider might not seem like much, but by turn 8 you could have 2 Wolfriders in your hand, coupled with your hero power, to give you 8 damage for 8 mana. That’s quite a bit of burst damage. Don’t be afraid to use your charge minions to trade if you have to, but try to save them as a last resort. They are almost always better used for direct damage to your opponent.
I hope you enjoy trying out Hybrid Hunter. There is almost nothing better than tricking your opponent into thinking you are a face hunter and then laying down a Savannah Highmane on turn 6. If you have any cool experiences with this deck, let me know in the comments or on Twitter @AGRitterific.