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Spell Hunter Deck List Guide (The Witchwood July 2018)

Last updated on Jul 01, 2018 at 17:30 by L0rinda 7 comments

Table of Contents

Spell Hunter originated in the One Night in Karazhan expansion with the release of Barnes. Hunter specialist Bragi popularised the deck by using Barnes alongside Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound to rapidly put a 10/10 minion into play. With the release of The Witchwood, those two cards rotated out of standard play, and it seemed as if the deck would not survive. However, the nerfs to several Warlock cards and Call to Arms in the middle of The Witchwood meta allowed the deck to find a place in serious play once again.

The Year of the Raven updated version of Spell Hunter concentrates a lot more on early survival and then uses Rhok'delar and Deathstalker Rexxar to win the value game later on. In conjunction with Tracking, the deck can dig to find those two key Legendary cards.

Against more aggressive decks, it can fight back by playing an early Lesser Emerald Spellstone and set up a race situation. The wide range of Secrets in the deck means that your opponents will often find it difficult to play optimally in the early stages of the game.

1. Spell Hunter Card List

This Spell Hunter deck costs 5,060 Arcane Dust and it is made up of the following cards.

Hunter Cards Neutral Cards

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2. Spell Hunter Mana Curve


3. Aim of Spell Hunter

At its heart, Spell Hunter is a Control deck. It aims to survive long enough to safely play one of its two bombs, either Deathstalker Rexxar or Rhok'delar. After playing one of those two cards, the value generated should be enough to wear down most opponents.

As Spell Hunter is unable to play minions, it relies heavily on cards such as Animal Companion for its board presence. Due to there not being enough such cards to really put pressure onto opponents, swing cards like Flanking Strike are used to try to keep control of the board. It can also sometimes generate pressure with Lesser Emerald Spellstone, and even use this card to win a race in some situations.

4. Spell Hunter Mulligan

Against many decks, the early game is all about survival, which means that you will be looking to keep cards that keep you alive. Candleshot is extremely good at slowing down highly aggressive decks and having this in your opening hand can often be the difference between winning and losing.

Against decks that play on curve aggressively, but do not throw out multiple minions, the traps in your deck can be key to early survival. To keep the correct Secret, it is important that you know the likely archetype that your opponent is playing. As well as keeping the correct Secrets, which is discussed later in the guide, you can also hold on to Eaglehorn Bow and Animal Companion, and if you have some of the other cards already, Flanking Strike. If you are keeping a Secret in your opening hand, it can often be correct to keep Lesser Emerald Spellstone alongside it, particularly if you have The Coin. These cards also help you to rapidly switch from defense to attack if your opponent has a slow start.

Against very slow decks, you will want to exclusively find Deathstalker Rexxar. This means that you can often throw away your entire hand other than Rexxar and Tracking.

Against Odd Paladin decks, you can keep Unleash the Hounds.

5. Spell Hunter Strategy

5.1. Spell Hunter Early Turns

During the early turns, you will be looking to gain control of the board. The best way to do this is usually with an early Candleshot followed by a Secret and then an Animal Companion. If you have The Coin, it will often be worth saving it for Lesser Emerald Spellstone on Turn 4, as long as you think you will have played a Secret by that time. It is not essential to have powered the Spellstone up to four Wolves, but summoning at least three is usually important.

After getting control of the board, you will usually be looking to push as much damage to the face as possible and end the game quickly. However, this situation does not come up that often. It is often more important to save your cards and not get wiped out by AoE effects than risk a blowout. Your Deathstalker Rexxar will take care of things later against most decks.

To decide how much damage to push to face, you should try to get a feel for how this game will end. If you have Deathstalker Rexxar in your hand, you will often need to use him to win the game. This is important to understand as you will be giving up your Steady Shot Hero Power when you play Rexxar. If you feel that you can get the job done with aggression, you will need to play accordingly and keep Rexxar in your hand.

The above situation can come up against Aggro when the opportunity arises to race them with your Spellstone. Three or four 3/3 minions can do damage in a hurry, especially when backed up with your Steady Shot. If you are likely to lose that race, however, you should try to identify it early on so that you can use your 3/3s to trade with, and stabilise by using the minions which come from Rexxar.

5.2. Spell Hunter Secrets

The Secrets in this deck are key to the early survival, and so it is important that you recognise the right time to use them, as well as the likely ways in which your opponent will try to play around them. Getting your opponent to walk into a trap can win a game on its own. You should be familiar with the upsides of all of your secrets, and remember that your opponent does not know which one is in play. This can make for situations where you can bluff and stop them from attacking you in some situations. For instance, if you have no minions and your opponent's board is all small ones, you can pretend your trap is Explosive Trap, and hope that they do not attack you.

5.2.1. Explosive Trap

Explosive Trap is very good at wiping out board of small minions. This means that your opponent cannot rush you down early. You can also turn 3 Health minions into 2 Health minions by hitting them with your Candleshot. You should be aware that many players will wait for you to play minions to trade into when you have an obvious Explosive Trap on the board, so although it is a good way of stopping opponents from attacking you, it is not the solution to everything moving forward.

5.2.2. Freezing Trap

Freezing Trap is particularly good at dealing with one large minion. This makes timing the playing of Freezing Trap a bit of an art form. A lot of the time you can treat the card as a removal spell, as your opponent will often not have time to re-play the minion at a cost of two more Mana. Be wary of returning minions with valuable Battlecry effects late in the game.

5.2.3. Venomstrike Trap

Venomstrike Trap is a way of keeping some board presence. It is the worst of the traps inthe deck, and can be replaced by Rat Trap if you want. It is good to use when the board is roughly even and your opponent is about to make some trades that favour them. In general, you can play this trap at any time you have two spare Mana.

5.2.4. Wandering Monster

Wandering Monster is your best defence against early mininons. If your opponent attacks into it with a small minion, they will often lose that minion and give you a minion that survives. Not only that, but they will not know if it is Explosive Trap and often choose to attack into it to try to clear the Explosive Trap.

5.3. Spell Hunter Later Turns

The Secrets in the deck rapidly become less strong, and so it is important to get good use out of them as early as possible. As you transition into the mid game, you should be looking for opportunities to lower your hand size in anticipation of playing Rhok'delar. Many of your spells will help to occupy the board, which in turn will buy more time.

On turn six, you will often have to decide whether you are going to have a longer game using Deathstalker Rexxar, or continue to try to win with your Hero Power. It should usually be obvious when you can close out the game without Rexxar, but if you are unsure, playing Rexxar as soon as possible is usually correct.

5.3.1. Deathstalker Rexxar

Rexxar is a complicated card to play, and you should understand how he functions so as to get the most out of him. Both parts of Build-a-Beast follow certain rules. Firstly, neither of the beasts offered will cost more than 5 mana. Secondly you should be aware that the first choice is always the more complicated, with the second choice providing either vanilla stats, or a simple effect such as a keyword.

You should have an idea of how you intend to win the game each time you use Build-a-Beast. If you are trying to defend, you will be looking for cards with Lifesteal, Rush, or Taunt. If you are grinding out a match against a control deck, you might find that Stealth or Charge can force some damage to your opponent's face. Try not to fall into the trap of making incredibly expensive cards. You will be making one every turn, and your hand will begin to get cluttered if you cannot play your cards.

6. Spell Hunter Single Card Strategies

6.1. Eaglehorn Bow

Your Eaglehorn Bow will often gain multiple charges over the course of a game due to the large number of Secrets in the deck. It is important not to waste the first charge, as you will want to keep the bow around to gain a charge from your Secrets, and if you only have one Durability left, you will not want to attack until a Secret has been triggered.

6.2. Lesser Emerald Spellstone

Lesser Emerald Spellstone is an extremely powerful card which will often produce 4 3/3s in this deck. You will generally be using these minions to remove the opposing board, but as there is quite a lot of direct damage available in the deck, you should always be aware that you might be able to race your opponent.

6.3. Tracking

It is best to wait as long as possible before playing Tracking so as to have the maximum information available before choosing your card. In this deck, Tracking is valuable as a way to get through your cards quickly in your search for Rhok'delar.

7. Spell Hunter Key Cards and Swaps

7.1. Legendaries

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.

Rhok'delar is a strong card, but if you do not own it, you can change it for an extra spell or secret. Remember not to put a minion in your deck, as you will still have To My Side!.

7.2. Epics

To My Side! is not essential to the archetype, and can be replaced by an additional copy of any of the one-ofs already in the deck.

8. Budget Spell Hunter Deck

This deck does not function without Deathstalker Rexxar, but this budget version cuts all of the other expensive cards. It should be noted that without Rhok'delar and To My Side! you could actually play minions, but the idea of the budget deck is often to see if you like the style. If you want to improve this deck and not worry about learning the style, you can add two Secretkeepers to the list.

Hunter Cards Neutral Cards

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This list plays very much like the main list. The key point to learn, specific to this deck, is that you will need to isolate large enemy minions so as to take advantage of Deadly Shot. Flare is largely included to cycle through your deck faster, although against other Secret decks, it can be a fantastic card.

9. Quick Tips and Tricks

  • Remember your opponent does not know what your secret is. Sometimes you can trick them into not attacking.
  • Rexxar's first choice is the complicated one. The second is mainly stats or a keyword.
  • It is fine to use Lesser Emerald Spellstone to produce only 3 Wolves.
  • Always work out if you are comfortable losing your Steady Shot power before playing Rexxar.

10. Similar Hearthstone Decks

If you enjoyed playing this deck, you may also enjoy Big Spell Mage.

11. About the Author

L0rinda has extensive experience with Hearthstone. After starting out with Arena and becoming one of the most prominent streamers in that format, he moved over to Constructed and now primarily spends his time as a caster for Blizzard, Starladder, and Dreamhack.

12. ChangeLog

  • 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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