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Hunter Secrets

Last updated on Dec 07, 2016 at 11:41 by Vlad 12 comments

Table of Contents

Secrets are spells that, when played, place a buff on the casting hero. This buff remains active until a specific action occurs, at which point the Secret is triggered, causing its effect, and being consumed.

While your opponent can see when you play a Secret (the question mark icon that appears next to your hero's portrait will be visible to them as well as to you), they cannot see which Secret has been played. All Secrets have the same mana cost within each class, meaning that the amount of mana you used on the Secret cannot indicate to your opponent what Secret has been played.

While multiple Secrets can be active on a hero at the same time, only one instance of each Secret can be active at once.

It is important to note that Secrets can only be triggered during your opponent's turn.

This article will present the Secrets, their mechanics, as well as how to counter them and how to play them most efficiently.

1. Hunter Secrets and Their Mechanics

Hunters have access to 9 Secrets. All Hunter Secrets have the same cost of 2 Mana Crystals. We will list the Secrets and their rarity before going into more details below.

1.1. Secret Triggering Order

As a preliminary mention, it is important to keep in mind that the order in which Secrets were played affects the order in which they trigger. Specifically, whenever two or more Secrets which can be triggered by the same action are active at the same time, the Secret that was played first will trigger first.

1.2. Bear Trap

Bear Trap is triggered when the Hunter is attacked, and it summons a 3/3 Bear with Taunt for the Hunter. Bear Trap is triggered by all attacks from minions, and by hero weapons, but it is not triggered by any Battlecries, spells, or Hero Powers.

One important mention is that the 3/3 Bear spawns after the attack is made against the Hunter, meaning that it will not be able to prevent the attack from occurring in the first place.

1.3. Dart Trap

Dart Trap is triggered when the Hunter's opponent uses their Hero Power. This causes the Dart Trap to deal 5 damage to a random enemy.

1.4. Explosive Trap

Explosive Trap is triggered when the Hunter is attacked, and it deals 2 damage to all enemy characters. As with Bear Trap, Explosive Trap is triggered by all attacks from minions, and by hero weapons, but it is not triggered by any Battlecries, spells, or Hero Powers.

Two more facts are important to note.

  • The damage of Explosive Trap is increased by Spell Damage buffs.
  • The minion whose attack triggers Explosive Trap will take the damage from Explosive Trap before dealing their damage to the Hunter. This means that if that minion is killed by the Explosive Trap, their attack never actually lands and the Hunter never takes damage.

1.5. Freezing Trap

Freezing Trap is triggered when an enemy minion attacks, and it returns that minion to its owner's hand, causing it to also cost 2 more mana. As the wording implies, this effect is triggered regardless of what the target of the minion's attacks is (another minion or your hero). The minion is returned to the hand of the owner before it performs its attack, so the damage from that minion's attack never happens.

1.6. Snipe

Snipe is triggered when the Hunter's opponent plays a minion, and it deals 4 damage to that minion.

The wording here is important. Snipe will only be triggered when the opponent plays a minion, meaning that if the minion is summoned as part of some effect other than being played from the hand as a minion card, Snipe will not trigger. For example, Snipe does not trigger its effect when a minion is summoned as a result of a spell or Hero Power (such as Shaman Totemic Call or Paladin Reinforce).

It is also important to note that the damage of Snipe happens after the minion's Battlecry, even if that Battlecry requires targeting. So, if an Ironbeak Owl triggers Snipe, the Silence Battlecry will still go through before the Ironbeak Owl is killed.

Snipe also deals damage to units that have Stealth innately.

If Snipe hits a minion with Divine Shield, it will break the Divine Shield.

1.7. Cat Trick

Cat Trick is triggered when the opponent casts a spell. This causes a 4/2 Cat in a Hat with Stealth to spawn on the Hunter's side of the board, after the spell is cast. This is significant because it means the spell itself will not harm or kill the Cat in a Hat. Otherwise, the Secret works in a very straightforward way, so there is not much to say about it.

1.8. Hidden Cache

Hidden Cache is triggered when your opponent plays a minion (from hand), and it buffs a random minion in your hand with +2/+2. If you have no minions in your hand, then Hidden Cache will not trigger (so its effect will never go to waste).

1.9. Misdirection

Misdirection is triggered when a character attacks the Hunter, and it causes it to attack a different random character instead. The effect is only triggered by attacks, so this means attacks from minions or from hero weapons. Misdirection is not triggered by Battlecries, spells, or Hero Powers.

When Misdirection is triggered, the attack is redirected to another random character. The only restriction for who the new target of the attack can be is that it cannot be the Hunter. We will give you an example to show you how this works in practice.

Let us assume that the Hunter has Misdirection active, and one minion on the board, and their opponent has two minions on the board. If their opponent attacks the Hunter with one minion, the attack will be redirected to either the Hunter's minion, the opponent's other minion, or to the opponent's hero.

When the redirected attack happens, it follows all the rules of attacks, which is to say that if it is an attack between two minions, they will each deal their damage to the other minion.

1.10. Snake Trap

Snake Trap is triggered when one of the Hunter's minions is attacked, and it summons three 1/1 Snakes for the Hunter. Snake Trap is only triggered by attacks, so not by Battlecries, spells, or Hero Powers, and only by attacks made against the Hunter's minions (so, not against the hero).

The 3 Snakes will only be summoned within the limit of the maximum number of 7 minions on the board. So, if the Hunter already has 5 minions on the board, only 2 Snakes will be summoned.

2. Countering/Detecting Hunter Secrets

Whether you are playing against a Hunter, or you are playing as a Hunter, it is very important to learn how to counter and play around the Hunter Secrets. We will approach this section as though your opponent was playing the Secret, but you can of course use the information if you yourself are the Hunter, in order to understand how your Secrets may be countered.

Whenever a Hunter plays a Secret, you will immediately need to make it a priority to find out what that Secret is, and to remove it at the smallest possible cost.

As soon as a Secret is played, you will have to do the following actions in an order that suits your current situation:

If none of the above actions have triggered the Secret, then it must be either Dart Trap or Cat Trick (or Hidden Cache, if the Hunter has no minions in their hand at the time that you played your minion). Using your Hero Power or casting a spell will help you narrow it down to the final Secret.

Let us look at each Secret in a bit more detail. Remember that these actions do not need to be performed in a specific order, since they depend greatly on what your options are (whether or not you have weak minions on the board or in your hand, etc.).

2.1. Freezing Trap and Snake Trap

Both Freezing Trap and Snake Trap are triggered by attacks made against minions (though Freezing Trap is also triggered by attacks against the hero), so you can check for both of them at the same time. To minimise the impact of Freezing Trap, it is best to use a cheap minion, which is not important to your current board situation. There is no way to minimise the effect of Snake Trap, but it is ideal if you have some means of disposing with the 3 Snakes that spawn from Snake Trap.

So, if you have a Consecration in your hand, it is best to attack before using it, so that if a Snake Trap is triggered, the Snakes will also die to the Consecration.

If a Hunter plays a Starving Buzzard while a Secret is active, you must try to avoid them drawing 3 cards if that Secret turns out to be Snake Trap. So, in this case, it is ideal to either Silence the Starving Buzzard before you make an attack, or to kill it with a spell.

2.2. Snipe and Hidden Cache

The simplest way to test for Snipe is to play a very cheap and weak minion, such as a Novice Engineer, so that you do not lose out on very much if it dies. It is ideal if you play minions with Battlecries or Deathrattles, since this means you get at least some additional value from the minion.

Another way to test for Snipe is to play a very strong minion, which will not be killed by Snipe. For instance, you could play a Boulderfist Ogre, since even after using up Snipe, this minion would still be left with 3 health. Alternatively, minions with Divine Shield also make good Snipe targets.

Playing a minion will also serve the purpose of checking for Hidden Cache (though the strength of the minion you play makes no difference). Keep in mind that Hidden Cache does not trigger if the Hunter does not have a minion in their hand (to benefit from the effect).

2.3. Bear Trap, Explosive Trap, and Misdirection

Bear Trap, Explosive Trap, Freezing Trap, and Misdirection are all triggered by attacks made against the Hunter, so you will test for them at the same time.

Generally speaking, given that Bear Trap and Explosive Trap are common and Freezing Trap and Misdirection are Rare, you are much more likely to run into the first two, so you can keep that in mind.

In order to minimise the damage of Explosive Trap, there are a few things you can do. The first is to use your own minions (with 2 or less health) to attack and kill the opponent's minions, and to then trigger Explosive Trap with a remaining high health minion. This will ensure that your low health minions were not entirely wasted, as they would have been if they had just died to Explosive Trap.

If this is not possible (for instance, the opponent has no minions on the board), then you can try to either buff your existing minions enough to survive the Explosive Trap (such as with a Blessing of Kings), or to return them most valuable of them to your hand (such as with a Youthful Brewmaster) before triggering the trap. Just make sure any additional minions you play will not die to the Explosive Trap themselves, or that if they do, the effect they provided was worth it in the end.

For Misdirection, you should always try to minimise the damage that you or one of your minions would take if the Secret was Misdirection. This means that you should never attack the Hunter with a minion with a high attack value, since this could end up damaging your hero (which could even kill you if your health is low) or another one of your minions. Instead, you should attack with a minion with a very low attack value, since this will ensure that, in the worst case scenario, this minion will attack another one of your minions and die in the process.

There is really no way whatsoever to minimise the impact of Bear Trap, since no matter how you trigger the Secret or what is happening on the board, the outcome will always be the same. The only thing to keep in mind with regards to Bear Trap is that it may be beneficial to save some spells, Battlecries, or minion attacks to help you get through the 3/3 Bear with Taunt before you check for this Secret.

2.4. Dart Trap

Dart Trap is the kind of Secret which you cannot really play around. If you have eliminated the possibility of the Secret used by the Hunter being anything other than Dart Trap, or if you must use your Hero Power anyway, then you will have to risk taking 5 damage.

The only way for you to avoid taking the damage from Dart Trap is to simply not use your Hero Power. This could be the recommended course of action if your Hero's health is very low, or if you have minions on the board that are very valuable to your strategy (especially if they are not also threatened by the Hunter's own minions).

2.5. Cat Trick

Cat Trick is another type of Secret around which it is very difficult to play. Once it is up, you will not be able to avoid spawning a 4/2 Cat in a Hat for your opponent, and you will most likely not have the means to kill it as it spawns.

If you have good reason to suspect that this is the Secret in play, you could simply hold off from using spells to trigger it until the board state is favourable enough to allow you to deal with the Cat in a Hat. Alternatively, you could trigger the Secret when you know you can kill the Cat in a Hat while in Stealth (such as through an Explosive Shot, Explosive Trap, Blizzard, etc).

3. Using Hunter Secrets Efficiently

How to best use your Secrets as a Hunter depends greatly on the situation in which you find yourself.

We will go through each of the Secrets and give you the best uses for them, but again, remember that you are always going to take some risks when playing a Secret, since you never know for sure what actions your opponent will take. Experience with the game and knowledge of your opponent's mechanics will go a long way to ensure that you get more benefit from your Secrets.

3.1. Bear Trap

Bear Trap is a fairly straightforward Secret to use. You gain a 3/3 Beast with Taunt for the 2 Mana cost of the Secret. Its effect will usually be to slow down your opponent and grant you more map presence. On rare occasions, it will also give you a Beast that may synergise well with the rest of your deck, but this is difficult to plan for and play around.

All in all, Bear Trap is a Secret that should be played whenever possible, assuming you have no better alternative plays.

3.2. Dart Trap

Dart Trap fits well into the offensive Hunter kit, and it is a Secret that cannot ever really be wasted. Its effect will either serve to remove (or help remove) an opponent's minion, or it will add even more damage against the opponent's Hero. This means that it almost always fine to play Dart Trap.

3.3. Explosive Trap

Explosive Trap is best used to clear the board of enemy minions. This means that putting the secret up when your opponent has few (or no) minions up is generally not a good idea. In general, playing Explosive Trap within the early and mid game is preferable, since this is when the minions' health is low enough for Explosive Trap to actually kill most or all of them.

If you have no minions on the board, and your opponent has many low-health minions (such as a group of Murlocs), and you put up Explosive Trap, it is best not to play any other minions until Explosive Trap triggers. The reason for this is that if there are no minions on your side of the board, then your opponent has no alternative but to either not attack with their minions (during which time you can damage them with your Hero Power), or to sacrifice them to Explosive Trap. On the other hand, if you play a minion, then your opponent can just send all their small minions against it, killing it and losing the minions in the process, thus reducing the impact of the Explosive Trap greatly.

3.4. Freezing Trap

Freezing Trap is most useful if it is triggered by a powerful and expensive minion. Sadly, it is often easy for opponents to waste your Freezing Trap by attacking with a low-costing minion first, so if your opponent has many minions on the board, some of which are very dangerous and some of which are not, then using Freezing Trap is unlikely to be beneficial.

The best time to use Freezing Trap is when you have a strong reason to believe that a minion that is important to your opponent's position will be the first to attack (such as when that minion is the only one on your opponent's side of the board). With that in mind, the best use of Freezing Trap is likely to be either late in the game, or possibly very early. For example, if your opponent uses The Coin to play a Raging Worgen on turn 2, then having that minion returned and its cost increased will probably net you a significant early game advantage.

3.5. Snipe

It is very difficult to make an informed decision for when to use Snipe, because it is very hard to tell what minions your opponent has in their hand, and in any case Snipe can easily be wasted on weak minions if your opponent has the presence of mind for it.

That said, Snipe will always be at least mildly beneficial, because even if it is wasted on something like a Novice Engineer, at least your opponent has spent mana and lost a minion in the process.

Of course, if you are in control of the game and of the board, and your opponent must make their next turn count, then using Snipe is an excellent option. Your opponent might feel forced to play a strong minion like Tirion Fordring or an Boulderfist Ogre, in which case Snipe would weaken that minion significantly. That said, when you are in control of the game, using almost anything will be devastating to your opponent, so this is not saying much.

3.6. Cat Trick

Since it is very difficult to counter Cat Trick, playing it does not really require precise timing or preparation. The worst outcome possible will be if your opponent can trigger the Secret and kill the Cat in a Hat on the same turn (essentially by using 2 spells, most likely), but you cannot avoid this.

It is worth noting that Cat Trick can be a good way to "counter" The Coin, since you can usually predict pretty well when your opponent will use this spell. Obviously, The Coin will still produce its effect, but your Cat in a Hat will be there to counter the impact of the Mana acceleration.

3.7. Hidden Cache

Given that Hidden Cache does not affect the board in any way (as it buffs a minion that is in your hand), its usage does not have any particular intricacies. Simply play it and benefit from the added stats of the minion it ends up buffing.

3.8. Misdirection

While a certain benefit of Misdirection is that it prevents your hero from taking some damage, it is also worth considering that, with some luck, Misdirection can also cause one or more of your opponent's minions to die. So, if you can manage it, the best time to use Misdirection is when your opponent only has a few valuable minions on the board, and nothing else, while your side of the board is also empty. In this sense, Misdirection is exceptional in that its best use comes when you are in a disadvantages situation.

For example, if your opponent has a Chillwind Yeti and a Boulderfist Ogre on the board, while you have nothing, then there are only a few options. Either the Boulderfist Ogre and the Chillwind Yeti will deal their damage to each other (resulting in the Yeti's death and the significant weakening of the Ogre), or one of the two (which ever one your opponent attacked with) will damage your opponent's hero. In the worst case scenario, your opponent has taken 4 damage while you have avoided 4 damage, while in the best case scenario, your opponent has lost their Chillwind Yeti, and their Boulderfist Ogre has taken 4 damage (while you avoided 4 damage again).

3.9. Snake Trap

When using Snake Trap, it is also good to check the interactions that this has with two of your minions, the Starving Buzzard and the Scavenging Hyena. Since the minions summoned by Snake Trap are beasts, they interact well with these two minions.

If you put up a Starving Buzzard on the same turn as your Snake Trap, then your opponent is very likely to trigger your trap while the Buzzard is still alive and not Silenced, ensuring you draw 3 cards. Of course, your opponent may counter this by silencing your Buzzard, or by killing it with a spell, but it still has a pretty high rate of success.

If your opponent does not kill your Snakes on the turn when they spawn, then you can get great value from them by using them as fodder to buff a Scavenging Hyena if you suicide your Snakes to take out some of the opponent's minions.

Other than this, there is no ideal time to use Snake Trap, so you will just have to evaluate each situation as it comes along.

4. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 07 Dec. 2016: Added Hidden Cache to the list of Secrets.
  • 06 Sep. 2016: Added Cat Trick to the list of Secrets.
  • 05 Jul. 2016: Clarified the order in which Secrets are triggered and cleaned up some confusing sections of the guide.
  • 10 Dec. 2015: Added Dart Trap to the list of Secrets.
  • 23 Aug. 2015: Added Bear Trap to the list of Secrets.
  • 26 Aug. 2014: Added a mention that Secrets can only be triggered on the opponent's turn.
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