How to play Kranich’s Secret Hunter (top tier Hearthstone deck)

Secret Hunter is back! Kranich brought this aggressive anti-aggro aggro deck to the Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Spring Playoffs, and piloted it all the way to the top four.

In How to play series, I take a look at interesting decks and provide brief details on how to successfully pilot the deck together with example gameplay videos.

Let’s dive in to the world of Secret Hunter!

The deck

Deck code:

AAECAR8GxwOvBMkEgAexCOTCAgyoArUD6weXCNsJ/gz4sQK5tALEtALquwLrwgKOwwIA

This deck is an aggressive Hunter build. It tops out at Leeroy Jenkins, so there are no nice plays with Tundra Rhino or ultimate value from Savannah Highmane: it’s kill or be killed.

Yet, the deck has some defensive capabilities against aggressive decks in the form of Explosive Trap as well as a comeback mechanism through Unleash the Hounds and Knife Juggler combo.

Mulligan

Getting on the board early is extremely important, as comeback mechanics are limited.

Alleycat and Fire Fly are cards that you always want to keep in the mulligan, with the rest depending on the matchup and the rest of your hand:

  • Crackling Razormaw is OK to keep together with Alleycat, but this deck does not run a lot of early-game beasts so getting that turn two Razormaw is less important than with many other Hunter builds.
  • Cloaked Huntress can be a good keep together with a suitable secret, especially on the coin where you can play it on turn two for an early tempo swing.
  • Golakka Crawler is a keep if you are anticipating Pirates.
  • Eaglehorn Bow is a good card to keep in many matchups as well, especially against Priest and Mage to deal with all the three-health minions coming down early in the game.

How to win

The deck is aggressive, but it is not a pure face deck. It is fine to control the board for the first few turns and chip in the damage to face, but eventually you need to race and go for the face. The deck does not have a lot of value in it, so you will lose a full board-control game eventually, but it also does not have a ton of damage from hand so you need to gain value from your minions.

Always calculate your outs: how much damage can you deal this turn, next turn, over the next two turns with or without the board. If you have a clear route to lethal over the next two turns, go for it. If you know the opponent has no healing capabilities, you can abandon board control when you have sufficient damage to end the game if your opponent cannot kill you even faster.

Remember that the Hunter Hero Power is the most reliable finisher in the game: Counterspell and Taunts are powerless against it. Therefore, if you can unload all of your other damage to set the opponent to one or two health, it is usually the correct play, as your hero power is so difficult to stop.

Against slower Mage decks in particular, you generally want to end the game before turn 9 and the potential Alexstrasza heal. Flare can help you do that, but most of the time it is just damage and popping the Ice Block at two or below so that the Hunter Hero power can finish the job.

Against Quest Rogue it is just a race from the beginning, with a focus on smart trades just before the quest or on high-value minions, such as the Novice Engineer.

Gameplay

Here are some sample gameplay videos that showcase the deck in action!

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