Chances are that if you’ve spent any time at all on the Hearthstone ladder that you’ve run into a Face Hunter deck — they have tons of small, fast minions, do lots of damage really quickly, and always go for your face. If you play anything that’s not aggro-oriented or have a deck that’s slow to get moving, these decks are the bane of your existence. Plus, because it’s so cheap to make and fast to play, it’s very common on the ladder.
It feels like the game is over before it begins and because Face Hunters often ignore everything you do and just go right for your hero (or “face”); they can be really frustrating to play against. Here are some decks that do well against Face Hunters, plus some tech cards and strategies you can use to improve your matchups against this common and annoying deck.
Decks to Counter Face Hunters
Because of the popularity of Face Hunters, there are several meta decks built specifically to deal with the kind of aggression they put out. Teching too hard against aggro makes you weak to control and other popular decks, so it takes a very particular kind of strategy to beat Face Hunters while remaining strong enough to take on other decks. Here’s a list of some of the most effective.
Grinder Priest (sometimes called China priest), is a variation on the classic Control Priest deck, focusing on more proactive play and cutting some of the more involved combos in favor of cards that can deal with aggressive threats (like Face Hunters). What makes this deck strong against Face Hunters and other highly aggressive decks are the high number of removal cards and the sticky, high-health minions like Deathlord and Injured Blademaster.
Even though this deck drops the Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing combo, it has plenty of board clear with Holy Nova and Lightbomb, and runs a Shrinkmeister to combo with Shadow Madness or Cabal Shadow priest. It’s not the most powerful meta deck, but it’s more than possible to reach Legendary with this deck in the right hands. If you’re tired of getting hit in the face, it’s a pretty good choice.
- Holy Nova
- Sylvannas Windrunner
- Emperor Thaurissan
The classic Freeze Mage has taken a bit of a hit as the meta has changed, since more popular decks are able to counter it and new tech cards have popped up that can be seriously crippling (Kezan Mystic can pretty much win the game if it steals the right secret). That being said, the deck is still very strong in the right hands and performs very well against Face Hunters — and because of just how many there are on the ladder, that makes this deck a good choice even with its bad matchups.
Freeze Mages can easily deal with Face Hunter aggression by dropping one of their many board clears, using Ice Barrier or Ice Block, and by easily removing the Hunter’s minions. They have to play a little differently than vs. other decks and be more proactive, but if the mage can survive to about turn 6 or so, they’ve probably got more than enough of their necessary tools to stave off defeat and crush the opposition.
- Ice Barrier
- Ice Block
- Explosive Sheep
- Frost Nova
- Cone of Cold
Control Warrior and Handlock
Control decks generally work well against Face Hunters, but only if you’ve made a few tweaks to ensure that you survive the early game, so both Control Warrior and Handlock can be good choices in the current meta for taking on Face Hunters. Both decks have lots of removal, taunts, and sticky minions that make it hard for Face Hunters to do what they do best, but they’re also slow, so you’ll never get to the point where you can shut down access to your face without a couple changes.
Both decks benefit from adding one or more Zombie Chows, which weakens them in some matchups but can be game changing vs aggressive decks. Warriors will want to swap in an extra Cruel Taskmaster and possibly an Unstable Ghoul, where Handlocks will want to add removal like Mortal Coil or Darkbomb to ensure they reach the point where they can drop their hefty taunts. The downside is that these decks still aren’t as strong against Face Hunter as some direct counters are — the upside is that they’re better overall in the current meta.
Tech Cards for Beating Face Hunters
You don’t necessarily need to build an entire deck to counter Face Hunters — in some cases, just a few cards swapped out will make all the difference. Here are some useful tech cards to consider using if Face Hunters are giving you trouble.
Face Hunters don’t run many secrets, but the ones they do are crucial to the effectiveness of the deck and can be a serious hassle if they end up on your side of the board, making Kezan Mystic a great tech choice. Stealing explosive trap right before Unleash the Hounds or a Huffer drop can put a Face Hunter on the back foot. Kezan Mystic has the upside of being a strong tech card vs. mages and mid-range hunters as well, so you’ll be teching against much more than just Face Hunters if you throw one in.
This is a classic card for stalling aggro until your deck can come online, and some decks even run two Antique Healbots to protect against early aggression. Eight health is a big swing, especially if you have a way to hold on to it in the form of removal or a big taunt, but make sure you have a plan for after you drop the Healbot, since a 3/3 on turn 5 isn’t going to make a huge difference otherwise.
Depending on the curve of your deck and the types of cards you can part with, adding any number of neutral taunts can help you survive against Face Hunters until they run out of steam. Arcane Nullifier X-21, Sen’jin Sheildmasta, Deathlord, or even Annoy-o-Tron can buy you a little time until your combo or win condition becomes available. Experiment with what works and what doesn’t until you find the right card for your needs — don’t over-do it though. Tech too hard against Hunters and you’ll weaken yourself against other decks.