Highlander Hunter Deck List Guide - Descent of Dragons January 2020
This guide contains detailed Strategy, Mulligan, and deck-building information to help you play Highlander Hunter in the Descent of Dragons expansion.
Highlander Hunter includes only one copy of each card in order to make use of Zephrys the Great and Dinotamer Brann. It is an aggressive midrange deck which is also capable of winning long games using Zul'jin.
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Highlander Hunter Deck Lists
Highlander Hunter Mulligan Guide
Highlander Hunter runs a Secret-based early-game package which can create some powerful curves. Secrets which are unlikely to be triggered by your opponent early on, such as Rat Trap, are especially good to keep as they will tend to stick to the board to activate Masked Contender and Hyena Alpha.
- General Mulligan (keep regardless of what your opponent is playing) — Zephrys the Great, Secretkeeper, Dwarven Sharpshooter, Shimmerfly, Clear the Way.
- Mulligan against Aggro (also keep if you think you are playing against an aggressive deck) — Springpaw, Eaglehorn Bow, Subject 9. Also consider keeping Zul'jin, if the rest of your hand is exceptionally good.
- Mulligan against Control (also keep if you think you are playing against a slow deck) — Dinotamer Brann, Subject 9. Also consider keeping Zul'jin, if the rest of your hand is exceptionally good.
Masked Contender and Hyena Alpha are strong keeps in all matchups if you also have a Secret which you expect your opponent will not activate early. Likewise, all of your secrets become viable keeps if you have either of the aforementioned minions or Secretkeeper, although be mindful that Snipe, Explosive Trap, and Freezing Trap are likely to be activated by most opponents before Turns 3 and 4.
Highlander Hunter Strategy
Highlander Hunter is essentially the latest evolution of Secret Hunter, a popular archetype during Rise of Shadows. It shares a similar overall gameplan with that deck: gain board control in the mid game through powerful Secret synergy and then close games out with either an aggressive push for lethal or a massive Zul'jin.
In the early game, it is typically best to play difficult-to-activate Secrets like Rat Trap before ones like Snipe which are triggered faster. There are two reasons for this. The first is that you want to maximise the number of opportunities your opponent has to play into these secrets, as they tend to be very punishing; the second is that having a Secret remaining on the board going into your own turn is very important for activating Masked Contender, Hyena Alpha, and Eaglehorn Bow.
Navigating the early game well and getting good value from your Secrets and synergy cards should put you in a good position to begin playing more pro-actively in the mid game. Subject 9 and Faceless Corruptor are powerful but slow cards, so it is generally much easier to play them when you are already at an advantage. This is also where your two major 7-Mana minions come online. Siamat and Dinotamer Brann are both exceptional cards from both behind and ahead. When behind, both cards can be used to trade away an enemy minion by leaving a body behind. When ahead, both are powerful drops that apply a lot of pressure. Siamat should typically be played with Divine Shield and Windfury when you are looking to pressure the opponent, although Taunt can be situationally useful to protect your face or board from Charge or Rush minions respectively.
Highlander Hunter has a surprising amount of sustain late in the game thanks to Zul'jin in combination with high-value cards like Marked Shot and Unleash the Beast. Be sure to keep track of what spells you have played so that you can know what Zul'jin will do. In longer games, it is often correct to hold Zul'jin until after you have played some of your highest-value spells. This can be a big difference maker against Control Warrior and other decks looking to exhaust your resources.
Remember that while you do have a lot of sustain, you are ultimately the aggressor against control decks, so be sure to find extra face damage where possible. It is often better to spend your final 2 Mana in a turn using Steady Shot rather than casting a Secret, especially if you do not expect the Secret to be activated any time soon.
Zephrys the Great is a difficult card to play correctly, and rewards players with a comprehensive knowledge of the Basic and Classic sets. In this deck, one of its strongest applications is burst damage, and it can do this in some surprising ways. For example, if you have managed to stick King Krush to the board, Zephrys will often offer you Windfury for lethal damage. Remember to deal any damage from hand with cards like Kill Command before playing Zephrys in these scenarios, as it does not take the specific cards in your hand into account when looking for lethal.
Against Aggro, you will typically find yourself playing the role of a control deck, removing enemy minions and limiting incoming damage as much as possible. When under a lot of pressure, using your secrets to bluff can be life-saving—the threat of Freezing Trap or Explosive Trap can often force your opponent into not attacking, buying you valuable time. Zul'jin will typically win you the game if you can survive to play it, so use your resources aggressively to reach this point.
Against Control, you can often win deep into the late game after playing Zul'jin, but this is not the only route to victory; do not be afraid to play aggressively and try and close the game out early if your hand is suited to doing so. In general, hands full of premium minions (Hyena Alpha, Dinotamer Brann etc.) will want to be played aggressively, while slower or more reactive hands should be played for value.
Highlander Hunter Card Swaps
- Against Control — Add 1x Savannah Highmane for 1x Dwarven Sharpshooter.
- Against Aggro — Add 1x Unleash the Hounds for 1x Kill Command.
- 10 Jan. 2020: Deck has been reviewed following the January balance patch.
- 10 Dec. 2019: Deck updated for the Descent of Dragons expansion. Removed 1x Sunreaver Spy, 1x Ramkahen Wildtamer, 1x Unleash the Hounds, 1x Savannah Highmane, 1x Tracking, 1x Hunters Pack, 1x Snake Trap, 1x Sandbinder for 1x Dwarven Sharpshooter, 1x Diving Gryphon, 1x Primordial Explorer, 1x Veranus, 1x Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, 1x Springpaw, 1x Clear the Way, 1x Faceless Corruptor.
- 14 Aug. 2019: Deck guide added.
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