Spell Hunter Deck List Guide (Rastakhan's Rumble December 2018)
When Rhok'delar and To My Side! were first revealed, Spell Hunter was immediately dismissed by the Hearthstone community at large as a laughable archetype. Hunter spells were ranked among the lowest of the game's 9 classes, while its minions were ranked among the highest. To the surprise of many, Spell Hunter quickly emerged as a powerful choice for the competitive ladder, and has remained one of the most relevant decks in the game since the Kobolds & Catacombs.
The Rastakhan's Rumble expansion has been generous to the Spell Hunter archetype. By offering immense value in a single card, Zul'jin, the deck has gained a huge boost in strength, along with a new win condition.
1. Spell Hunter Card List
This Spell Hunter deck costs 6,640 and it is made up of the following cards.
|Hunter Cards||Neutral Cards|
2. Spell Hunter Mana Curve
3. Aim of Spell Hunter
Spell Hunter is a midrange deck which can assume the role of the aggressor or the control player as the matchup demands. Against aggressive decks, Spell Hunter looks to control the board with early Secrets and Weapons to set up powerful turns in the midgame with Emerald Spellstone, To My Side!, and Deathstalker Rexxar. Against control decks, Spell Hunter can turn up the aggression to end games quickly with burst damage, or grind things out as the game goes long with the Deathstalker Rexxar's Build-a-Beast Hero Power.
4. Spell Hunter Mulligan
The most common "Plan A" for Spell Hunter is to power up and play an Emerald Spellstone as quickly as possible. An early Greater Emerald Spellstone leads to many "free" wins for Spell Hunter, as most classes (especially Rogue) are not capable of efficiently answering 12/12 worth of stats spread out over different minions. This makes Lesser Emerald Spellstone a universal keep against all classes.
You will need some Secrets to power up your Spellstones, so it is generally wise to keep at least 1 Secret in your opener if you already have a Spellstone. Secret Plan's versatility makes it a smart keep in any matchup, while Wandering Monster is the most generically keepable of the 3 Secrets in the dark. Explosive Trap is worth keeping against aggressive decks, while Freezing Trap is excellent decks that play big minions in the early to mid game (such as Even Warlock).
Deathstalker Rexxar is one of the most powerful cards in all of Hearthstone. His Battlecry is strong against aggro decks and his hero power is often necessary for beating control decks, which makes him a smart a keep in the vast majority of matchups. Tracking and Candleshot are also widely defensible keeps, especially if you are unsure about which deck your opponent is playing.
Against aggressive decks, Flanking Strike and Eaglehorn Bow are perfect for establishing board control in the early game. Against go-wide aggro, Explosive Trap and Deathstalker Rexxar will often be necessary for surviving into the late game. Though Hunter's Mark is typically a weaker card without a Candleshot to join it, one copy of Hunter's Mark is often necessary for beating Mountain Giant decks.
5. Spell Hunter Strategy
5.1. Spell Hunter Against Fast Decks
Cards like Candleshot, Eaglehorn Bow, Explosive Trap, and Flanking Strike give Spell Hunter the ability to create card advantage in the early and mid game while controlling the board. These cards can frequently be used to generate 2 for 1s against aggro decks in the early game, putting Spell Hunter players in a position to overwhelm their aggro opponents with superior resources in the mid to late game.
An early Greater Emerald Spellstone is just as powerful against aggro decks as it is against control decks. Going for big a Spellstone on turn 5 against aggro decks (or turn 4 with The Coin), will often be much stronger than attempting to high-roll with Animal Companion and play to the board early.
Without a Spellstone to craft a game plan around, you should use your resources aggressively in the early game to keep your opponent's board clear and your life total high. As the game goes late, Spell Hunter should be able to generate much more value than a typical aggro deck thanks to Deathstalker Rexxar and Rhok'delar, but only if it is able to survive to the stage of the game where these cards can be played safely.
5.2. Spell Hunter Against Slow Decks
Spell Hunter has two primary paths to victory against slower decks: fast Emerald Spellstones, and Deathstalker Rexxar's Build-a-Beast Hero Power. Each plan has its own strengths and weaknesses in every matchup, but the two plans are not mutually exclusive. If your Wolves end getting swept away by a Hellfire or a Dragon's Fury, you can always play your Deathstalker Rexxar afterwards.
Though your Wolves will typically not be enough to defeat a control deck on their own, they are far too threatening to ignore and will demand an answer from your opponent immediately. If your opponent kills your Wolves with a board wipe, it means they will have one fewer board wipe for your future plays. Since many of Spell Hunter's cards are reactive and not proactive, it is typically best to make proactive plays whenever possible to put your opponent on the back foot and make your future Build-a-Beasts even stronger.
5.3. Build-a-Beast Guide
Deathstalker Rexxar's Build-a-Beast Hero Power makes him one of the most skill-testing and decision-intensive cards in all of Hearthstone. The range of potential play patterns with Build-a-Beast is massive, which means you will need to familiarize yourself with many of them in order to get the most out of Deathstalker Rexxar.
Before we discuss specific combinations of Beasts, it is important to note that the best way to beat control decks is to run them out of board wipes and removal spells by presenting them with must-answer boards over and over again. The best way to accomplish is to begin each turn by immediately using Build-a-Beast. Though there will obviously be some turns where it is necessary to use all 10 of your Mana on Beasts and spells in order to stay alive or assemble lethal damage, you will often need as much time as possible to think through your Build-a-Beast decisions and plan out the rest of your turn.
5.3.1. The Power of Cheap Beasts
The Zombeast created by the Build-a-Beast Hero Power has the combined stats, abilities, and Mana cost of both minions. This makes cheap Beasts like Snowflipper Penguin and Stonetusk Boar especially strong choices for Build-a-Beast, as they can be combined with powerful 4, 5, and 6 Mana Beasts to be played the same turn they were created. You will frequently need to set up turns where you can play multiple Beasts at once in order to apply pressure to your opponent, and the best way to do this is to combine multiple cheap Beasts together to create a low-cost Zombeast. If none of your Build-a-Beast options have the ability you are searching for, lean towards choosing the Beast with the lowest Mana cost.
5.3.2. Answering Big Minions
With just 2 copies of Hunter's Mark for handling large minions, Build-a-Beast will frequently be your best option killing threats like the The Lich King. If you are facing down a large minion on board, or suspect your opponent might play one soon, the best keyword abilities to look for with Build-a-Beast are Poisonous and Stealth. Large Stealth minions are difficult for control players to interact with, while Poisonous minions can frequently be combined with Rush or Charge Beasts to create psuedo-removal spells. Since Vilebrood Skitterer is a potential selection in the second round of Beasts, try to select Beasts which cost 3 or less if you fail to find a Taunt or Stealth minion in your first selection.
5.3.3. Answering Wide Boards
The easiest way to stabilize against a wide and threatening board is to make a large a Taunt minion with Build-a-Beast, but this can sometimes leave you vulnerable to Silence and removal if you are unable to combine your Taunt Beast with a Bearshark. Fortunately, there are several Zombeast combinations that do an excellent impression of a Twisting Nether. Both Cave Hydra and Exploding Bloatbat are potential choices for your in your Beast selection, and can be combined with Poisonous, Rush, and Charge minions to create a surprise board wipe out of nowhere.
5.3.4. Applying Pressure
Stealth and Charge are the best keywords to look for if you are in need of pressure. Large Stealth minions are very likely to stick around long enough to connect to your opponent's face, while Charge minions can be held onto until the board is clear of Taunts. Whenever possible, try to create a Tundra Rhino with Stealth. By keeping a Stealthy Tundra Rhino around, you can enable massive swing turns with Greater Emerald Spellstone and cheap Zombeasts such as Vicious Fledgling.
5.3.5. Winning in Fatigue
As the game approaches fatigue, defensive keywords like Taunt and Lifesteal become your best choices. Even though Spell Hunter does not draw many cards, Tracking will often put you on par with control decks in the fatigue race. You will typically need to get in a few hits with a Lifesteal minion in order to stay out of burn range against decks like Malygos Druid. The best way to ensure your Lifesteal Zombeasts survive is to give them Stealth or to play them in along with a modestly sized Taunt minion. It is also worth noting that Raptor Hatchling shuffles a card back into your deck to delay fatigue, and that this effect could potentially be doubled by an Augmented Elekk.
6. Spell Hunter Single Card Strategies
6.1. Tracking and Secret Plan
Though it might seem tempting to play your Trackings and Secret Plans on turn 1 to conserve Mana, it will frequently be better to wait on playing these cards until you have more information about the game at hand. You could potentially find yourself in a situation where you will fold to early pressure without a Hunter's Mark or Flanking Strike, and do not want to waste Trackings on a wrong card in these situations.
6.2. Emerald Spellstone
Though we have already talked about Emerald Spellstone a lot in this guide, there are still a few things about this important card which are worth discussing.
The most common mistake I see with Lesser Emerald Spellstone is not playing the card on curve while waiting to draw Secrets. Though it is tempting to wait and make a bigger Spellstone, the 3/3 Wolves get weaker and weaker as the game goes on. If your opponent is capable of playing large minions later in the game which can trade favorably into your Wolves, then it is probably best to Spellstone early even if it is not powered up.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another common mistake is to miss out on opportunities to power up your Spellstone on turns 2, 3, and 4 by playing other cards. Emerald Spellstone is at its strongest on turn 5 (or turn 4 on The Coin), when it is difficult for your opponent to interact with.
7. Spell Hunter Key Cards and Swaps
Deathstalker Rexxar is essential in modern builds of Spell Hunter. If you do not have this card, you will not be able to generate the value required to beat other value-based decks.
7.3. Flex Slots
The build of Spell Hunter listed in this article tilts aggressively, but with a few key swaps, the deck could take a much more controlling approach. Deadly Shot is good at answering big early minions like Mountain Giant, Arcane Shot can help answer aggressive 1 drops such as Flame Imp, while Wing Blasts can come in as an answer to larger threats like Vicious Fledgling and Hench-Clan Thug.
8. Budget Spell Hunter Deck
Deathstalker Rexxar is too essential to cut from the deck, but Rhok'delar could potentially be replaced for budget reasons. After keeping Rexxar and cutting Rhok'delar, To My Side!s is the only remaining Epic or Legendary in the deck. Cutting both To My Side! and Rhok'delar would make make the deck something other than a Spell Hunter, as there would be no cards remaining in the deck which check to see if there are minions in your deck. Seeing as Spell Hunter, is already a very budget-friendly deck, our recommendation for a "budget" version Spell Hunter is to simply to cut the Rhok'delar for a Wing Blast.
9. Wild Spell Hunter Deck
Wild players gain access to the Barnes/Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound combo, a combo that was legal in Standard when Spell Hunter rose to prominence. A turn 3 Barnes on The Coin for a guaranteed 10/10 is one of the strongest turn 3 plays in all of Hearthstone, and a high-roll opportunity which is too good to pass up for Wild Spell Hunter fans:
|Hunter Cards||Neutral Cards|
10. Quick Tips and Tricks
- It will often be possible to bluff Secrets in certain situations to give yourself an advantage. One easy way to bluff Explosive Trap is to put as many of your opponent's minions as you can to 2 Health or less.
- Rexxar's first choice has minions with complicated abilities, while Rexxar's second choice has simple cards with only stats and Keywords.
11. Similar Hearthstone Decks
If you enjoyed playing this deck, you may also enjoy Big Spell Mage.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Removed 2x Unleash the Hounds for 2x Baited Arrow.
- 04 Dec. 2018: Deck updated for the Rastakhan's Rumble expansion. Removed 1x Explosive Trap for 1x Zul'jin.
- 26 Oct. 2018: No changes for Giggling Inventor nerf update.
- 02 Aug. 2018: No changes for the September update.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Rewritten by Aleco to be updated for The Boomsday Project.
- 01 Jul. 2018: Monthly checkup. Deck is up to date.
- 28 May 2018: Spell Hunter Guide added. This deck utilises the power of Deathstalker Rexxar and cards that rely on having no minions in deck.
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