Our Budget Face Hunter deck list guide for the Descent of Dragons expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Face Hunter
After Mech/Bomb Hunter being the most popular and strongest aggressive Hunter build for the first two expansions of this year, Face Hunter has made a big comeback in Descent of Dragons. I don’t think that I need to introduce this deck to any oldschool player, but if you haven’t played Hearthstone back in its good ol’ days, then you should know that for a long time it was one of the most notorious Aggro builds in the entire game. Between being very cheap to build, pretty easy to play and quite powerful, it was common on the ladder, and everyone had to tech in healing or Taunts to play around Turn 5-6 lethal.
Face Hunter is, like the name suggests, a hyper-Aggro deck that aims to hit the opponent’s face as much as possible. While it won’t completely ignore board in every single scenario (which is common misconception), like in the aggressive mirrors, you COULD in theory just do nothing but hit face and still win a bunch of games with it.
One thing I have to mention is that one of the big reasons why the deck is so good on the ladder right now (at the time I’m writing this it’s one of the highest win rate builds) is Toxic Reinforcements. Since it’s an Epic, I obviously had to exclude it from this budget list. However, if you can spare some Dust and want to play Face Hunter, I really recommend crafting it!
Budget Face Hunter Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- 1-drops – Dwarven Sharpshooter / Leper Gnome – Since it’s a very aggressive build, you obviously want to open with a 1-drop. If you won’t get one, it’s not the end of the world, but it makes the early aggression easier. Dwarven Sharpshooter is better in faster matchups, because it has better stats and his effect might let you snipe some minion on Turn 2. Against slower decks it doesn’t really matter, but I guess that Leper Gnome might be slightly better.
- 2-drops – Phase Stalker, Spellzerker, Kobold Sandtrooper – Curve is important, so you really want to have something on T2. If you skip T1 AND T2, that might be a real problem. When it comes to your 2-drops, Phase Stalker is by far the best one. Good stats and if it sticks you can also have an amazing Turn 3 play if you combo your Hero Power with a 1-drop. Spellzerker is also okay, while Sandtrooper should mostly be kept vs slower builds, where damage is more important than stats (against faster decks it’s too easy to lose board control if you don’t put enough stats on the board early).
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Rapid Fire – Keep vs other Aggro decks that run lots of 1 health minions. In Aggro mirrors, board control translates to more damage in the long run, so having a cheap and efficient way to either deal with their minions outright or at least make your trades better is good. You can also try keeping it with Spellzerker – if you hit something with Spellzerker and trigger its Enrage effect, then Rapid Fire deals 3 damage per shot = 6 damage for 2 mana in total, which is amazing.
- Tracking – Only if you don’t have another 1-drop in your hand. In general, Tracking is better to play later in the game when you’re looking for a specific card, such as Unleash the Hounds or Kill Command to close out the game. However, it’s better to play it on T1 to find a better curve than to skip it if you don’t have a 1-drop.
- Eaglehorn Bow – Keep with a good early game curve (like 1-2-3). Bow is solid even as a 3/2 weapon, but you should often be able to get one or two more hits out of it thanks to the Secrets. However, early game minions are just more important, so if you don’t have those, don’t keep bow. Also, do not keep Secrets – it’s just not worth it.
Budget Face Hunter Play Strategy
“Face is the place” – that’s your motto when you play Face Hunter. While the goal of every deck is to kill your opponent, in case of Face Hunter the goal is to do it as quickly as possible. Your entire deck is optimized for that one purpose – fast minions that either hit the opponent immediately or deal damage on Deathrattle, weapons, burn cards, mostly 1-3 mana curve. You want to play fast and close out the game around Turn 5-7 before your opponent can stabilize and turn everything around. Because if you take too long, there’s a much higher chance that they will heal, gain Armor, put up a big Taunt in your way or just develop their own board and kill you with bigger minions while you’re in topdeck mode.
But, contrary to a popular belief, you should not always hit your opponent’s Hero. The deck has a healthy amount of decision making. Of course, the goal is always to ultimately deal as much damage to the opponent as possible, but the trick is that sometimes killing a minion will give you more face damage over the long run. And that’s where the deck’s main difficulty comes from – knowing when to trade. There’s no simple strategy to that, in lots of cases you will need to just get more practice with the deck. But the general rule is that, if it will keep your minions alive for longer, you should use your weapons & burn cards to clear opponent’s minions. Here’s the thing – if you save a 2 attack minion with a 2 damage burn, then after that minion gets in just a single more hit, you’re even on damage dealt to the opponent, but you cleared one of their minions, so they can’t buff it, can’t use it to trade well and so on. Now if your minions gets in a second hit, you take advantage of its effect etc. you’re ahead on that trade. The reason why you’d rather use your weapons/burn to clear board rather than minions is because they are one time use, while minions that stick around can hit many times and put in a lot of damage over multiple turns.
There’s also a similar story to minion vs minion trades – trading is worth it under certain circumstances. First and most importantly – when you play in Aggro mirrors. Getting in more damage immediately on Turn 2-3 is not likely to win you the game, but gaining control of the board might just as well. When playtesting the deck, I had some matches in which I played against another Face Hunter who just hit my face ignoring everything. Even though they were playing a fully fledged deck, they still lost every time, because while they got in 10 extra damage or something, I created board strong enough to gain an even bigger damage advantage very quickly just because I was trading correctly. Even in slower matchups, it’s sometimes worth to do a trade – your opponent having a high priority target is one example (e.g. Eternium Rover – you want to clear it in one hit if you can, otherwise Warrior will get lots of Armor and possibly Magnetize onto it), but another is just saving your other minion. Let’s say that you have a 4/2 and a 1/1 on the board. Your opponent has a 2/1. Trading that 1/1 into 2/1 is the best course of action, simply because it saves your 4/2 from an easy trade. That 4/2 might still die, but your opponent will now have to use extra resources, such as a mana and a removal from hand, which he now won’t have to clear something else. And if he can’t clear it – that 4/2 getting in another hit is often a difference between winning and losing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty straightforward. If you do nothing but go face, you will still win a bunch of games. But in order to maximize your win rate, you need to think about those little things. At the same time, you need to know when to NOT trade or NOT use your burn spells to remove minions. Calculate your available damage vs your opponent’s health all the time. If you have enough and you can deal with any common health gain your opponent might have (such as Zilliax), then try to maximize current damage instead of worrying about future turns. Like I’ve said before, you can’t play for too long, because at one point your opponent is going to turn the game around. If you feel like your opponent is gaining board control, stabilizing, then drop everything and just make one last push. Go all in. Yep, it might turn out that they have an AoE clear for example and remove your entire board. But it’s still better than slowly getting them get away with the game. Face Hunter is a deck in which you might be at full health, have board advantage, and still lose the game just because you were 1-2 damage short from killing your opponent in time. If your situation is good and you’re ahead, you can play a bit more safe and do the trading I’ve told about above, but if you’re falling behind, then drop any slow plays, trading, removing and just hit them with everything you have – hopefully that will be enough to win.
One last important thing I want to talk about when it comes to Face Hunter is Hero Power. That’s the main reason why Hunter has always been one of the best aggressive classes. You have a built-in burn tool which will help you finish the games tremendously. Knowing when to use it is another key aspect. Because the truth is that you HAVE to use it, but it’s not as simple as “use it every turn no matter what”. Like I’ve explained already, you need to think about the plays that will maximize damage in the long run. If you Hero Power on Turn 2, then you just deal 2 damage. If you drop a 2/3 minion, on the other hand, there’s a high chance that it will deal more than 2 damage, or deal 2 damage and also force your opponent to waste mana on removing it instead of developing etc. That’s why in the early game, unless you really have nothing else to do, do not press that Hero Power – drop minions instead.
Also, prioritize Hero Power over burn spells. For example, Arcane Shot + Rapid Fire is more mana efficient – it’s 3 damage for 2 mana, compared to 2 for 2 from HP. But you can use HP once per turn, so if you “waste” an opportunity to use it, you won’t be able to use it an extra time next turn, while burn spells will still be there and won’t go anywhere. That’s why your strategy in the mid/late game should be Hero Power + either develop something if you still have, or drop a burn spell on their face. I think that you should Hero Power every turn from T4 unless you need mana to make a really good play. Play burn spells over Hero Power only if that will set up lethal. For example, if you can put your opponent on 5 by ignoring Hero Power, and then finish them with Kill Command next turn, it might be worth it. But those situations come only when your opponent is really close to dying.
Future Card Replacements for Face Hunter
Even a full meta version of Face Hunter is pretty cheap, but there are two Epics that you REALLY want to add, which will make your win rate higher:
- 2x Dwarven Sharpshooter or 2x Leper Gnome -> 2x Toxic Reinforcements – I underrated this Sidequest, thinking that Face Hunter won’t be a thing – oh how wrong I was. Since you Hero Power a lot, finishing it is not difficult, and the reward is perfect for this build. Assuming no Silence, 3x Leper Gnome is 6 damage at the very least. But the best thing about them is that your opponent often won’t want to kill them and they get in some hits first before dying anyway to deal the aforementioned 6 damage. It really makes the deck much more scary and adds a lot of reach. You want to remove one of those to fit in Toxic Reinforcements. Which one you remove depends on the meta you face – like I’ve said in the guide, Sharpshooter is better vs fast builds and Leper Gnome is better vs slow builds.
- Misdirection -> Snake Trap – While both are played in full meta versions, I think that Snake Trap is a bit more powerful. You can also play 2nd Snake Trap instead of Freezing Trap.