Recruit Hunter Card Choices
Recruit Hunter card choices can be assigned to four distinct categories: Secret Package, Minion Cheats, Big Beasts, and Utility Cards.
- Explosive Trap – With little early game tools, Recruit Hunter can be susceptible to aggressive strategies. Explosive Trap can help clean up token minions while ramping up your Spellstones.
- Freezing Trap – In contrast, Freezing Trap can deal with a single, large minion on the board buying you enough time to realize your game plan.
- Wandering Monster – A standout Hunter card from Kobolds and Catacombs, Wandering Monster can protect your face from attacks and develop the board at the same time.
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone – Even without playing Secrets, summoning two 3/3s for five mana is good value. When you start upgrading this Spellstone, however, the amount of stats you can bring into play gets downright nutty.
- Play Dead – As a deck that relies on Deathrattle minions, triggering these abilities without killing the minion can create huge board swings in many situations.
- Carnivorous Cube – Like Play Dead, Carnivorous Cube triggers Deathrattles. While you do lose the minion in the process, you get a favorable return on that investment once the Cube is popped.
- Kathrena Winterwisp – The main engine that this deck revolves around, Kathrena Winterwisp can get insane value by summoning huge beasts from your deck. Pair with some of the Deathrattle enablers listed above and she can create some ridiculous board states for opponents.
- Witchwood Grizzly – In many matchups, you’re bound to get behind in the early game. Fortunately, cheating a Witchwood Grizzly into play can bring 15 stats onto the board that creates a frustrating roadblock for faster decks.
- Charged Devilsaur – When Recruited into play, the Charged Devilsaur’s limitation is lifted, allowing this big beast to freely smack the opponent in the face.
- King Krush – This long-forgotten Hunter Legendary is finally getting his chance to shine. When paired with Kathrena, his biggest limitation–mana cost–is far less relevant.
- Tracking – Finding the right cards to shore up some potentially awkward early turns can make a big difference in the outcome of a game. Tracking allows you to find additional Secrets to ramp up your Spellstone or curve out nicely into your late game.
- Animal Companion – As a Hunter, you still want some mid-game Beasts. Fortunately, being a spell, Animal Companion can provide a quality turn three without diluting your Recruit pool.
- Deadly Shot – Hunter has long had trouble removing large minions. If you can isolate something big on your opponent’s board, Deadly Shot trades card-for-card with the biggest of minions.
- Eaglehorn Bow – While technically part of the Secret Package, Eaglehorn Bow’s true potential is realized in its ability to take out early-turn minions on your opponent’s board.
- Stitched Tracker – With so few minions in your deck, Stitched Tracker can easily help you find the right card for a given matchup or situation.
- Flanking Strike – With few early-game minions, Recruit Hunter can easily get behind in certain matchups. Fortunately, Flanking Strike creates a huge tempo spike that can keep you competitive long enough to pull some big beasts.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – There are games in which you are not going to be able to out-pressure your opponent. In such cases, Deathstalker Rexxar offers a potent late-game value engine.
Recruit Hunter Mulligan Strategy & Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Tracking – Against aggressive decks, discarding cards is far less important than finding the right tools to stymie pressure.
- Explosive Trap – Against board-centric aggro decks, a well-timed Explosive Trap can buy you a lot of time.
- Wandering Monster – Even the threat of Wandering Monster can force opponents into awkward attacks. Should your minion survive, you may end up with precious board initiative in aggressive matchups.
- Animal Companion – With limited options on turn three, Animal Companion is a reasonable keep against fast decks.
- Eaglehorn Bow – Likewise, Eaglehorn Bow can help reduce repetitive damage from opponents by removing high-priority minions.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone – Counter-pressuring the board can be a good response to aggressive strategies. With a good curve (including Secrets) hanging onto the Spellstone can make sense.
- Stitched Tracker – Despite getting you closer to your gameplan, Stitched Tracker doesn’t provide quite enough stats on board to keep without other early-game cards already in hand.
- Flanking Strike – Though it comes out a bit late, a turn four Flanking Strike can help swing the board back in your favor with enough other early game tools.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – Aside from Explosive Trap, Cube Recruit Hunter has limited AoE damage. Against token decks, when mass removal is critical, it may be worth hanging on to Deathstalker Rexxar.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Tracking – In slower matchups, Tracking can find you mid-game aggression in the form of Spellstone or ensure you get your Recruit engine rolling as early as possible.
- Wandering Monster – Even in slower matchups, Wandering Monster is difficult for opponents to play around. Should the minion survive, it gives you a chance to apply a bit of pressure early in the game.
- Animal Companion – Even when the board is not in need of contesting, Animal Companion is a strong turn three.
- Stitched Tracker – Against slower decks, you’ll typically have the time to play out Stitched Tracker on curve. In doing so, you give yourself the chance to Recruit multiple beasts into play with Kathrena.
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone – Spellstone has the potential to do so much for five mana that it’s worth hanging onto.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Explosive Trap – Explosive Trap may not be the most relevant Secret against slower decks, but it can give you another Wolf from your Spellstone. It’s worth a keep if you already have Spellstone in hand.
- Eaglehorn Bow – Bow can get you some early game chip damage, but is less necessary for contesting board in slower matchups.
- Freezing Trap – Against slower decks that rely on large minions, Freezing Trap can essentially eliminate threats.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – Some grindy matchups are so heavily reliant on Deathstalker Rexxar that its worth a keep in the mulligan.
Recruit Hunter Win Rates
Recruit Hunter Play Strategy
VS Aggro Decks
Due to Recruit Hunter’s rather sparse early game, it can be susceptible to aggressive strategies. In such matchups, your mulligan phase is critical. Dig hard for the few tools you have that can reduce the pressure your opponent is likely to apply.
Much of your defensive options are in the form of turn two Secrets. Explosive Trap and Wandering Monster can put a halt to the aggression and set you up to apply counter pressure with Lesser Emerald Spellstone.
Witchwood Grizzly is included in this deck for these aggro matchups. Unlike some of the other Beasts, this five mana card doesn’t feel terrible to play from hand. If you’re able to play it on curve with a Carnivorous Cube and Play Dead followup, it’s unlikely your opponent will deal minion damage for the rest of the game.
Should you survive the onslaught of early pressure and your opponent is lacking burn, the game is likely yours. As the game approaches the late game turns, your minions typically dwarf those of your opponents. Use this to your advantage to finish off enemies before they can close out the game.
VS Control Decks
Slower, Control decks tend to be the matchups Recruit Hunter is looking for. If your opponent isn’t applying pressure in the early turns you typically have enough time to work towards your end game.
In these games, an unchecked Lesser Emerald Spellstone can apply enough pressure to put you in a position where only one or two big beasts are necessary to close out games.
Do be aware of Silence and mass removal effects available to your opponent. Don’t overextend too far against Priests with Psychic Scream or Mass Dispel, especially. That said, hiding threats in Cubes does give you the ability to create resilient boards if Silence is not a concern.
Recruit Hunter Card Substitutions
- Carnivorous Cube – Carnivorous Cube can make for some huge swing turns, but isn’t absolutely necessary for the deck to function. In fact, some variants of Recruit Hunter swap out the Cubes for Seeping Oozelings. If you’re on a budget, you can get away with the same change.
- Charged Devilsaur – A total of three large chargers give this deck a significant amount of burst, but these dinos can be replaced with Savannah Highmanes if you’re short on Arcane Dust.
- King Krush – Like Charged Devilsaur, King Krush is great, but not necessarily required. Savannah Highmane or Violet Wurm would be a suitable replacement.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – This late-game value engine helps give this deck some longevity, but can be replaced by any of the Big Beasts mentioned above.
Recruit Hunter Variants
As a fairly new archetype, Recruit Hunter has several popular variants on the Standard Ladder right now.
Prince Keleseth variants of Recruit Hunter eschew the Secret Package in favor of a deck-wide buff from avoiding two-drops. Additionally, this version goes all-in on the Recruit mechanic with Silver Vanguard and Seeping Oozeling.
Big Beasts are great, but why not make them even BIGGER with Dire Frenzy? In this version, buffed Beasts are shuffled back into your deck for even more longevity and burst.
Few Hunter decks feel complete without the inclusion of Savannah Highmanes. This variant of Recruit Hunter includes the Classic Hunter minion along with Terrorscale Stalker for additional mid-game power plays.