New Changes 6/30 - Leeroy is back! Also, I'm back to 4 weapons. Finally, I added in another 1 drop. Cuts had to be made and these days Unleash the Hounds has been too situational. While I love Quick Shot something had to go, and 1 Quick Shot is probably enough. Finally, I subbed back Leeroy in over Arcane Golem.
Flexible Slots - The more I play face hunter, the more I am convinced that this is about a 33 card deck that has to find a way to get down to 30 cards. The addition of Quick Shot has made the deck a bit more flexible. In my estimation the flex cards are 2 Worgen, 1 Quick Shot,1 Owl, 1 Glaivezooka, 1 Eaglehorn Bow, 1 Animal Companion, 1 Unleash the Hounds, 2 Golem, 1 Leeroy. Essentially, out of those cards you have to leave out 3 and take the rest. In the past, I have gone to 1 Owl and I think that is usually a mistake as there are too many targets for it. I also think while Animal Companion can have it's rough moments, 2 is almost always correct. As for the rest, I'm still experimenting. But I will say every time I take out Leeroy, I regret it and he makes his way back into the deck.
I am still experimenting with how Quick Shot best fits into the list. For now I have pulled out a Haunted Creeper, Animal Companion, and Glaivezooka. Originally I had removed Leeroy, but I think he's just too good. Let me know if you are having success with the updated list.
This is my version of Face Hunter that I hit #17 NA with a few days ago (PROOF). I realize it is quite similar to other Face Hunter decks, but I didn’t feel like there was a comprehensive guide available, so I’m hoping to fill that void. I streamed a bunch of games over the last 2 days at http://www.twitch.tv/tinygrimes.
Let me dispel one oft told, and truly false, statement: “face hunter is for newbs.” This statement is simply false. Face hunter is actually quite difficult to play well. Perhaps difficult is not the correct word, but it is not a deck a new player can just load up and start going to the face with much hope of winning. Face hunter is all about looking 3 moves ahead at the amount of damage you can do. It is about maximizing every bit of damage. In fact, one missed point of damage can mean a loss. Unlike other decks, face hunters have less decision points. However, these points are magnified greatly. Many losses can be traced back to an incorrect turn 1 play.
Substitutions and Flex Slots
Leeroy Jenkins - Okay this is a tough one. Leeroy got nerfed, everyone got full value DE, and no one wants to recraft him for this one deck. Believe me I understand that perspective. I don't have him on my EU account. Having said that he does add a lot of reach to the deck. But if I were to remove him, I would add in early game consistency over less efficient late game cards. My card of choice has been Worgen Infiltrator. I could be convinced to try Tracking as well.
Most of the rest of the cards are cheap and essential. However, I could be convinced to remove one Glaivezooka and 1 Animal Companion, if you are in the mood to experiment. Four weapons is pretty amazing, especially since Glaivezooka provides a buff. However, it could be viewed as overkill. Animal Companion is interesting. If you roll Huffer, it's flat broken good in this deck. However, depending on the board state, if you miss Huffer it doesn't do much. For now I'm sticking with 2, but I wouldn't have a stroke if you took one out. Let me know what you've been experimenting with, nothing is more powerful than that surprise card in a netdeck.
Okay now that you are done rolling your eyes let’s move on to how to play face hunter. Perhaps some basic rules are in order.
1.) You are the beatdown (Agressor) !! I cannot stress this enough. Do not be the trader with face hunter. Now there will certainly be times where you have to trade minions. But your goal is to put the pressure on so that your opponent has to do the trading.
2.) You need to have balls. With face hunter you have to play to win rather than playing not to lose. What I mean is you need to set yourself up for lethal early. If you have the choice between preventing the opportunity for a turn 9 Druid combo and not setting up lethal, you need to set up lethal. That way your opponent has 1 turn for combo. Now in a world where you can set up lethal and prevent combo you do that. But there will be many opportunities for you to jump at shadows. You must resist this and apply pressure. Remember if the game goes on too long, you will lose as your opponent finds more answers.
3.) You must be in the mood to be detail oriented. With most decks you can autopilot them and toss cards out and trade. With face hunter, every play must be carefully calculated. As I said before a single point of damage missed can lose a game.
4.) You must have a deep understanding of the meta game. Remember I said before, face hunter is not for the new player. It’s critical that you know what the break points are in the meta game. Should you play the wolf rider or the kill command on turn 4. Well if the deck you are facing runs Sludge Belcher, most likely you should play the wolf rider and save the Kill Command even if it means giving up a damage or two. You also need to know how many turns you have left. You need to understand that oil rogue does X amount of damage in any given spot based on how much mana and cards they have in hand. These are just some of the critical pieces of information that any good face hunter player needs to have at their disposal.
5.) Be smart but not scared about Arcane Golem. Arcane Golem is a critical piece of your arsenal. It can be terrifying to give your opponent an extra mana, so it’s important to understand when he fits best. First, you need to know which matchups are going to end quickly, when giving you opponent an extra mana doesn’t matter much. Second, you need to know the break points for each deck. For example, if you are playing against druid do not play Arcane Golem if it will jump them to 5 mana. That is just asking for them to put a taunt down. Additionally, bumping them to 7 is dangerous because of Anceint of War and Lore. Finally, don’t give them the extra mana to get to 9 unless you are out of combo range. Take your detailed meta information and apply it to each deck. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions about break points for other decks.
6.) Play to your outs. There will be tons of games where you are dead. I mean just dead. However, you can trade off 2 of their guys to allow you to live with 1 hit point and draw a Leeroy to exactly win. Look for these moments. It is quite easy to give up in these hopeless looking scenarios. But instead power through and calculate. Leave yourself as many outs as possible. There is no reason to throw that Owl down to die. Save it back in case you draw the Kill Command and get your opponent to 5. You will steal a lot of games this way. But I must warn you, be ready for the incoming load of salt.
7.) Beware the Kezan Mystic. If your opponent is doing crazy things like trading all their minions to two health and they are running an archetype that you know sometimes has Kezan. Don’t fall for their shenanigans. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but when you do take the alternate path.
8.) Know when to hold em, when to fold em, and most importantly when to walk away. When you see the meta shift to two copies of Zombie Chow in nearly every deck. It might be time to play a different deck. When you see every opponent running Kezan Mystic and Harrison Jones, it's time to fold em. That's right, the most obvious thing you will ever hear: Face Hunter is not always good. I was able to climb so high, so quick, because the meta game was ripe for the plucking. The key to climbing in this game is to find the soft spot and exploit it. If it's not face hunter, don't try to force it. There is nothing more frustrating than ramming your head into a brick wall.
9.) How and when to use your weapons can be quite difficult. You have Eaglehorn Bow and traps. Therefore, when you have a trap down it can be quite difficult decide whether to swing or wait for them to proc the trap. I have fallen prey to the mentality of I will wait for them to proc the trap and been punished. This is a tricky issue because you have 4 weapons in the deck. The odds are decent you will draw a new one. If you do and you skipped a turn, that is damage lost. So it's really about judging your opponent's deck and board. How much will your opponent benefit by dragging the game out. Are there answers that can be found, such as Healbot, taunts, and other health/armor producing cards in the deck. If there are you probably just want to force the issue and swing. If you think you can wait a turn and the game will be going long anyway it can work. But do not fall into the trap of waiting 3 turns to swing just to get another proc on that weapon.
Cool combos and tricks.
1.) Knife Juggler + Unleash the Hounds – This combo is great against a lot of matchups. There is no finer feeling than when your opponent plays a turn 4 muster, and you get to respond with this combo.
2.) Turn 1 coin/Haunted Creeper. Turn 2 Glavezooka. This may be my favorite combo because no one ever ever ever wants to trade minions for a Haunted Creeper. This equals 4 damage on turn 2.
3.) Abusive Sergeant plus charge. I tend to think of Abusive Sergeant as a mid-game card, rather than a traditional 1 drop. I much prefer to save him for great combos.
Mulligans and Matchups
General Mulligan rules:
Coin – Your goal is to coin into a 2 drop followed by a 2 drop. With this in mind you should mulligan most anything that is not a 2 drop. I will keep a 1 drop if I have no 2 drops in hand. Otherwise I will mulligan the 1 drop. A perfect hand would be something like Mad Scientist, Knife Juggler, Eaglehorn Bow, Wolf Rider.
No Coin – You need to have a 1 drop. You should probably mulligan everything for one of your 5 one drops. In the guide below you will see this is not a hard rule as some matchups really want a particular card. In fact, in most I would keep a Mad Scientist even if I don’t have a 1 drop.
Rogue - Against Rogue the goal is to do damage quickly while realizing everything you play will die to spells. Therefore you want to prioritize charge minions, Leper Gnome, and Mad Scientist. Essentially, play minions that do damage without having to live for a turn. Therefore, Knife Juggler is much worse than usual in this matchup. I will never keep it on a mulligan. It can be combed late game with an Unleash the Hounds if your opponent plays Violet Teacher and the spawn doesn’t die to Explosive Trap. I like to mulligan for a weapon, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, and if I’m going first Leper Gnome. Also, save Abusive Sergeant to drop in combination with a charge minion. Finally, prioritize your hero power over minions that need to live. You need to pile on damage quickly to win this one. This matchup should be favorable for you. Make sure in your planning you plan for an Earthen Ring Farseer and the occasional heal. This is a matchup where as it gets later in the game, if your opponent has only 1 minion out, you may want to consider trading for it so a Tinker’s Oil doesn’t ruin your day.
Warrior - Against warrior mulligan for owl in order to silence Armorsmith. This is an incredibly hard matchup. You should assume there will be a turn 2 Fiery War Axe. Therefore, plan accordingly. Do not assume you can coin/Juggler turn 1 into something interesting turn 2. The Juggler will be dead. I like to play stuff like Haunted Creeper and Leper Gnome turn 1. Mad Scientist is less good in this matchup. If your opponent kills a Mad Scientist, they may be able to time the explosive trap to hit a board of something like Armorsmith, Amorsmith, Acolyte. That is a bad deal for you. Like all matchups try to pile on the damage quickly, but be aware this one will go longer than usual. So weave in the hero power more often.
Paladin – Oh how I love playing Paladins. This is a great matchup barring a turn 1 Zombie Chow/ turn 2 Shielded Mini Bot. Even then it’s not too bad. (As I write this I just lost to a Paladin with this start). This is one of the few matchups where you want to start coin/Knife Juggler. Since your opponent will probably make a guy turn 2, you will have a 50/50 shot of playing a 2 drop on turn 2 that kills his turn 2 play. Talk about value. If this happens the game will quickly snowball. Beware turn 4 and the Consecrate. Most importantly, save that owl. A turn 5 Sludge Belcher can really slow you down. Don’t play owl on Piloted Shredder. That play is a trap. It looks like great value until Belcher plops down. Unleash the Hounds plus Juggler is especially good in this matchup. Also Mad Scientist and Explosive Trap will net a ton of value.
Priest – This can be a tough matchup if your opponent draws their key cards. However, if they don’t get a good draw, you are probably in business. This is one of those matchups where an early Juggler can be amazing. It contests the Northshire Cleric like no other 2 drop in the deck. However, it is my theory that if you don’t have a 1 or 2 drop that can kill the Cleric, you play it anyway. Sure you may allow the Priest to draw a few extra cards on turns 2 and 3. But if they do this, they are giving you the board and not healing face. So unless they draw the perfect cards, having plenty of cards in hand and 0 health isn’t all that great. You should be looking for standard mulligans. Find your cheap guys and prioritize Juggler. You must be aware of Cabal Shadow Priest and Shadow Madness. Also, I nearly always save Owl for Sludge Belcher. It’s really the only card they have to stop your momentum once you get rolling. While trading with Face Hunter is usually bad, quite often trading off a pesky Wild Pyromancer is the way to go. With Power Word Shield, they can consistently kill your minions without having to trade, and that does not work out well. While it may seem like there isn’t much in your deck that can be gained from Thoughtsteal, you will be pretty upset when they play an Explosive Trap. This has happened a number of times against me. It’s not something you can really play around, but you should be aware of this possibility when you openly mock their decision to play Thoughtsteal.
Mage - This is one of the more difficult matchups because *gasp* you will probably have to trade. But this is tricky. If you trade to much, you give up your opportunities to win. Also, their hero power insta kills many of your solid creatures like Wolf Rider. Mech mage is quite beatable. I plan to use my owl on Annoy-O-Tron. So much so that if I have a decent hand otherwise I will keep Owl just for it. The problem is Annoy absorbs two hits and kill many of your creatures. The big problem though is that early Mech Warper. If your opponent gets a turn 1 or 2 Mech Warper, you pretty much have to kill it. I prefer killing it with something like Spider into Abusive Sergeant. In fact, Abusive is quite good in this matchup because he will allow your cards to trade up with Mech Warper early. Mad Scientist is great as usual, as explosive trap will usually soften their board up for some great value trading with Unleash the Hounds. Now Temp Mage is a different ballgame. This is a tough matchup. Your opponent is going to remove all your guys immediately with spells. Therefore, I tend to favor cards like Spider, weapons, and aggressive cards. Do not just throw a Knife Juggler down and hope it will live. It will die. You need to combo it with other cards for the knife damage. When doing a mulligan against Mage, I tend to hope for Mech mage and go for the usual suspects. Keep Mad Scientist and Abusive Sergeant. Otherwise go for the early damage like you normally would. If it turns out you are facing freeze mage, well you better win fast.
If I get a few likes on the deck I will fill out the rest of the mulligan guide. Until then enjoy crushing the ladder and making enemies. Feel free to drop me a line in game for questions and check out my stream at http://www.twitch.tv/tinygrimes. I will include some videos as well if there are requests.
This week on Unlegendary we had one Face Hunter who was able to close out a Rogue at 1:08
This week on Unlegendary we had 3 Face Hunter games. There was an Eboladin vs. Face Hunter at 20:38, Facehunter vs. Demonlock 36:45, and Control Warrior vs. Face Hunter 53:49. Check them out for some more Face Hunter games with commentary.
I was on Versus Series this week against Lucky. I was able to win my one game with Face Hunter against Oil Rogue. I have linked to this spot. I was also able to beat my opponent's face hunter with Oil Rogue, so for all of you Face Hunter haters out there, perhaps that will provide you with some insights. Bear in mind this was with my EU account so I did not have access to our good friend Leeroy Jenkins.
13:21 Is when my game as Face Hunter begins.
Aggro Decks and their place in a Meta Game
I decided to add this section as a response to all the salt concerning aggro decks in the comments. It is just a fact of games that aggro decks occupy an important space in card games. They help provide balance to the overall meta game. Personally, I enjoy control decks more, as I feel like I have more control over the game and more nuanced decisions. This gives me more personal satisfaction when playing card games. However, I am as Spike as they come. If there is a deck that targets a weak point in the meta game, I will happily use it. Long story short, I'm not saying you shouldn't be salty about aggro decks, but I am saying you should accept their existence and be ready to deal with them. When you see a guide like this go up, just play decks that crush aggro and smile your big happy soul crusher smile.