Our Rastakhan’s Rumble Secret Hunter deck list guide will help you learn how to better pilot this deck. Our guide features mulligan, play, and card replacement strategies!
Introduction to Secret Hunter
Hunter is one of the three, or four if we count Rogue (which only got Secrets in Kobolds & Catacombs) Secret classes, alongside Paladin and Mage. And the class’ Secrets were always in between – not as high tempo as Paladin’s, and not as high impact as Mage’s. However, their versatility, rather low mana cost and Eaglehorn Bow synergy has made them playable in many metas before. That said, until One Night in Karazhan adventure, they were just slotted into Midrange build most of the time, players haven’t seriously attempted to build a Secret Hunter, because it simply wasn’t worth it. And then Cloaked Huntress and Avian Watcher were released – that’s when players first started running a Hunter deck specifically built around Secrets. It had some brief moments, but for the majority of time since then, it wasn’t a viable deck.
However, more recently, Hunter was getting more cards that synergize with Secrets. First Professor Putricide, then one of the most powerful Hunter cards – Lesser Emerald Spellstone, and finally, Subject 9 in Boomsday Project (it’s not really a Hunter card, but it fits Hunter class most). If we add all of those together, a quite interesting deck starts to shape up. Sadly, Huntress is no longer in Standard, but even without her, the deck is still viable ladder choice right now (even though it’s a bit off-meta).
Secret Hunter Deck List
We’ll be updating all of our guides for Rastakhan’s Rumble in the near future!
Secret Hunter Mulligan Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Dire Mole – Great 1-drop in general, but even more in Hunter, thanks to the Beast synergies.
- Secretkeeper – Even though it starts as a 1/2, it’s very easy to turn it into a 2/3, which is already a great tempo for a 1-drop.
- Crackling Razormaw – The best follow-up for Dire Mole, but even without it, you can technically drop it on T2 as a 3/2.
- Wandering Monster, Snake Trap, Venomstrike Trap – those are the best Secrets against Aggro, and you want to keep at least one of them. They have a higher priority with Secretkeeper OR Spellstone.
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone – Talking about the Spellstone,
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Rat Trap – Good keep when your opponent is on the Coin, then it’s pretty likely that he will play 3 cards in a single turn.
- Subject 9 – If the rest of your hand is good. It’s an amazing card in the deck, but it’s a bit slow vs Aggro, so keep it only if you have some early game plays.
VS Slow Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Dire Mole – While 1/3 does not put enough pressure, the damage stacks after a while. You can also buff it with Razormaw or Houndmaster.
- Secretkeeper – It will rarely survive the early game, opponents hate it that much (for a good reason), but if it sticks, it can snowball hard.
- Crackling Razormaw – Just like vs Aggro, ideally you want to drop it into Dire Mole, but you also want to put as much pressure as possible, so keeping it anyway is good.
- Lesser Emerald Spellstone – Spellstone is your main win condition vs slow decks if you can’t rush them – getting 3x or even 4x 3/3 is an amazing refill.
- Subject 9 – Unlike vs fast decks, Subject 9 is absolutely nuts. With 7 different Secrets, you will most often draw 4-5 cards with this guy.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- You want to keep your Secrets ONLY if you have Secretkeeper or Lesser Emerald Spellstone in your hand already. The only exception is Freezing Trap vs slow Warlock, freezing a Giant or Drake or something similar can be game-changing.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – Keep it in the grindy matchups which you won’t likely win through the damage, but rather through the value. Odd Warrior is the best example – T6 Rexxar is a win against Warrior most of the time, unless they get really lucky with their draws and you get bad Beast options over and over again.
Secret Hunter Win Rates
Secret Hunter Play Strategy
Your general play strategy revolves about (obviously) Secrets. Hunter Secrets are really mana efficient, but the problem is that your opponent can play around them – you don’t control the timing they’re triggered, but they do. Explosive Trap is a great example. Paying 2 mana for 2 AoE damage (including face damage) is an amazing deal, the card would be an auto-include in every deck in the game. However, the problem here is that it doesn’t trigger immediately – you give your opponent time. And so, he can answer it by trading minions on the board first, healing them, buffing them up, or even not attack into it at all – just wait until you inevitably play something and then trade the 1-2 health minions into it. Rat Trap is similar – 2 mana for a 6/6 is absolutely overpowered, but this one is even easier to play around – it might take a few turns for your opponent to play 3 cards in a single turn (especially without Coin), and once he realizes that it’s Rat Trap, he might plan his turns ahead so that it never triggers, or triggers only when he can answer it.
However, one of the advantages of this deck is that it play Secrets en masse. It’s easy to play around one once you identify it, it might be much harder to play around 2-3 at the same time, especially since this list runs 5 different Secrets. Identifying which one you’ve just played might take a while, and it might disrupt your opponent’s game plan too. It gets even better when you start getting random Secrets from Putricide, then your opponent has a really hard time doing anything.
However, the deck’s first win condition is aggression (backed up by Secrets, of course). While it obviously doesn’t happen every day, a 1-2-3-4 curve can be insane. Dire Mole into Crackling Razormaw into Animal Companion into Houndmaster is absolutely the best one and it can win you lots and LOTS of matchups just like that. But even something like Secretkeeper into a good Secret into Eaglehorn Bow into Flanking Strike can be good enough to win you the game.
However, if the absolute early game aggression didn’t work, then most of the time you have to rely on an insane tempo swing provided by Lesser Emerald Spellstone (or rather Greater Emerald Spellstone given how easy it is to fully upgrade it). This deck does not have a hard time activating it – if you draw it early, then it’s nearly always fully upgraded on the curve. And 4x 3/3 minion for 5 mana is amazing, there are no 5-drops that can match it. You force your opponent into one of the three things – having AoE to clear it (and some decks just don’t have it – e.g. Aggro), using lots of resources to clear it (e.g. trading onto the board, swinging the weapon and something else) or leaving it and taking LOTS of damage. And it’s really lots of, 12 damage per turn can often put your opponent on 2 turns clock if you add some Hero Powers / weapon damage / Kill Command. Sadly, with only two Spellstones in your deck, you can’t always rely on winning the game thanks to them. But you still have some others ways to do it.
Another way to win is simply through your Secrets and Secret synergies. For example, dropping Subject 9 and then dropping a bunch of Secrets. Or sticking Professor Putricide and doubling your traps. But probably the best way to actually kill your opponent in the long run is through Eaglehorn Bow. Assuming no weapon destruction (and if they have it, you still have another copy if you draw it), with the amount of Secrets in this deck, you might be able to keep it for multiple turns. Weapon swing + Hero Power = 5 damage per turn. While it might not seem much vs Druid, who can gain 40 Armor per game just like that, in lots of matchups that’s enough pressure to kill them quickly. And they often can’t answer it, because you stall the game with Secrets – Freezing Trap might get rid of their big minion they wanted to push damage with, Explosive Trap can answer a flood, Snipe can clear something midrange etc. You might also get some extra minion damage, and potentially finish the game with Kill Command.
And last, but not least, we have a Deathstalker Rexxar. It’s a great win condition in most of the Hunter decks. Its main advantage is that it lets you win the games that you would otherwise had no business winning. Against Druid that stacked so much Armor that you would never get through, against Control decks that outvalued you, against Aggro decks where they would kill you a turn or two from now etc. The initial Armor + AoE is useful, but its real power lies in the Hero Power. You can Discover a Beast every turn, and since you can combine two of them, there is a very high chance that you will get exactly what you want. Poisonous, Charge, Rush, Lifesteal, maybe some effect like AoE damage, maybe giving your other Beasts more Attack, maybe shuffling something into your deck – doesn’t matter what deck you play against, it will be useful.
That said, playing Deathstalker Rexxar on curve is often a big, rookie mistake. It might be correct against Aggro if you’re clearing the board or you need healing, but against slow decks you’re the beatdown and your normal Hero Power is suited for that role very well. If you still have resources and you CAN try to seal the game with your current hand, or your opponent is low on health, then it’s usually better to keep the damage Hero Power – it puts more pressure. Turn into Deathstalker Rexxar one you’re (nearly) out of cards or when you know that the beatdown plan won’t work – you had a weak start, your opponent has answered your Spellstone, he won’t die any time soon etc. Then just play Rexxar and hope for the best. Probably the only matchup in which Rexxar on curve is correct is Odd Warrior, but that’s still not a given. If you have initiative and other plays in your hand, you might want to keep putting pressure, because losing 6 mana doing nothing immediately is not a great move. However, that’s the only matchup in which your Hero Power just feels completely useless, because Odd Warrior can gain so much Armor that it’s very hard to kill him.
Why the deck doesn’t run Secret Plan? It’s quite easy, actually – it can’t be drawn with Subject 9, and you only can run so many Secrets. 9 Secrets this deck runs is generally more than enough, you don’t need to add more, but you really want to have at least 5 different Secrets, so Subject 9 pulls as many of them as possible.
Secret Hunter Card Substitutions
This Secret Hunter deck is a mid-tier deck when it comes to Arcane Dust cost. That said, the Legendaries it runs are either very difficult or impossible to replace. Still, here’s the list of Epic & Legendary cards in the deck, possibly with replacements:
- Professor Putricide – It’s a part of the Secret synergy package in your deck, but it can be replaced. Houndmaster Shaw is a good option if you have him, and if you don’t, you can try a Spellbreaker, Bearshark or a second copy of one of your Secrets (although that might be a little bit too much).
- Subject 9 – Can’t be replaced. I mean, it can, but the version without it will be significantly weaker, and it makes no sense to run it over other Hunter decks.
- Deathstalker Rexxar – I’d say that DK Rexxar is really necessary in any slower Hunter deck, but if you really want to test the deck out, you can try it without him. Use any of the replacements above.
- Rat Trap & Snake Trap – Since those Secrets are Epic, you might not have them. You probably should replace them with other Secrets, but the problem is that you want to have as many different Secrets as possible for the sake of Subject 9. Misdirection is the only Secret left that’s not played by this deck, and it’s not the best one – but you can try it out for the surprise factor. Alternatively, add second copies of the one-of Secrets (Venomstrike Trap,Explosive Trap, Snipe) or play Secret Plan.