Control Hunter Part I — Can we?


With the release of League of Explores, I have had this burning desire to play control Hunter. Control hunter has never really been a ‘thing’. Due to it’s lack of massive board wipe and one-card spot removal.

This burning desire, is now HEAT.  I will discuss which cards and strategies can make our control Hunter dreams come true.

The Hero Power.

27215The Hunter hero power does not seem very control oriented. It encourages rapid damage and is used as a great finisher for that last bit of damage. Two damage to the facearino can actually be a GREAT tool for a control player. It allows you to focus your cards on board presence, disruption & card draw. The problem with this theory, is other control decks (Priest & Warrior) simply negate the effect with their hero power.  My conclusion: the best strategy is to go for the Sir Finely play, and switch that hero power OR try to leverage Steamwheedle Sniper.  Alone, Hunters hero power just isn’t quite enough.

The Cards & Strategies. 

The early game.

Any control deck has the possibility to get blown away by aggro decks. Early game is important, especially for a Hunter who can’t lean on his hero power.  Take what you think Hunter should play and forget it. In the mid range and aggro world, Hunters secrets are a spectacular ways of disrupting your opponents early game. As we all know, In long drawn out games, the secrets become very weak. With this in mind, our control deck will have only 1 or 2 secret cards.

Which secrets?  I want something that will help early and late game. Snake trap seems good here, but assumes you an active minion on the board, that your opponents wants to attack. I think in control, we want Bear Trap. It will give us a creature when they attack face, and is usually  unexpected. Bear trap can also wreck OTK decks if played late game.

22370Other early game cards we should include: Zombie Chow for early game minion help. King’s Elekk for card draw. With our larger minions in the deck we have a good shot at winning the joust. Sir Finley for hero power and some early creature removal.  Finally, we will be running Deathlord. It stomps aggro, and the inclusion of deadly shot it shouldn’t be as risky against control/mid range.

The mid game.

Mid game is not usually the hardest part for a Hunter. This part of the game is more difficult for a control build. Gone is Animal Companion. (a tough choice, but just doesn’t fit). What about Desert Camel? I personally do not like this card. It’s just to risky with Clerics, Tunnel Troggs & Mana Wyrms out in the wild.

We need board removal. Thus Hunters Mark and Unleash the Hounds are required.  We still need more removal! One Powershot and one Explosive Shot are included. Finally we will round out with one Steamwheedle to leverage our hero power. Multi-Shot can be good, but I don’t like cards like this that can’t be played in certain conditions. Deadly Shot is here as good removal against single large minions, divine shielded minions, or to keep tempo. Finally, lets add one Sludge Belcher to buy us some time.

Card Draw

22272How can we draw cards? In hunter, we really can’t so well. We are going to leverage the discover mechanic to fill our hands up. Included are TWO Tomb Spiders. This is important, as our creature count is so low. King’s Elkk is here, as mentioned above. Finally, we use Ball of Spiders. The 3 random beasts you get are vital to this build and give you some small board presence.

Healing

Healing is another relevant item for control decks. Hunter has no great way of healing with it’s class cards. To keep a good curve, I have opted to go with the refreshment vendors for healing and a good body on the board.

Late Game

The most difficult part. We need to punish our opponent for taking us late game. Hunter’s late game is extremely weak. Will we have to get creative and use the neutral pool to fill this need.  As mentioned above, Ball of Spiders is in the deck. Sylvanis is here & extremely important. Sylvanis is semi removal and a major threat. Ragnaros is added for that late game damage push. If your opponent is out of cards, Rag is usually a game winner. Dr Boom is in my list providing board presence, and comeback possibility. Finally, Nexus-Champion Saraad gives us a decent body and a shot at another spell we desperately need.

What’s not included..

A few cards didn’t make the cut. Savannah Highmane, a great Hunter card isn’t in simply because we need more impact in our late game. Ysera is not included.  While Yesera will show up in many control builds, I felt Dr Boom was a better late game card, which comes out two turns earlier. This may change with play testing.

184px-Faceless_Manipulator(450)Tech Cards and Swaps

The tech cards in the deck are:

Faceless — Good against Druid, Paladin & Warrior. Faceless is also great for coping your Rag or Belcher.
Big Game Hunter — Required to shut down the Dr 7s and other large minions.

These cards could be swapped out for cards like Harrison Jones if you are seeing a lot of Warrior or shutdown those Sahman Doomhammers. Flare is a good addition if you keep getting beat by Secret Paladin or Freeze Mage.

Part I is complete! We have built a mighty deck. I will play test this bad boy and report back in part II the play strategies and substitutions.

Until then Creeps!

Deck List:

It’s Control Christmas

Click here to view this deck on HearthPwn.

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