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Hello I'm Xellos, I was a semi-pro Dota1/Dota2 player for quite some time and recently switched to Hearthstone in August 2014: I've been Legend ever since. Before you start throwing rocks at me for this guide, let me explain why I've decided to make it.
Everyone I know and I practice with complains about Face Hunters and it is the same deal on forums where everybody calls this a no-skill deck. I've hit Legend twice with Hunter -- and as a Face Hunter -- I've noticed primarily that most people on ladder have no clue how to play against Hunter. What I'm going to tell you is how to play against Hunter and how to play it properly (just to avoid some of the hate).
How to Beat Face Hunter
The first step is to spot the difference between Face Hunter and Midrange Hunter. Face Hunter's have very specific one drops such as Leper Gnome, Worgen Infiltrator, Abusive Sergeant, and Clockwork Gnome. Some people may run Webspinners instead of Worgen or Clockwerk but this is a bad choice and falling out of favor. Any of the 2/1 one drops are clear tells for a Face Hunter. Some unlucky Face Hunters may not get the one drop in their starting hand and you'll see coin-Mad Scientist or Spider which is a choice for midrange also so be cautious against that open.
The next step is to always be aware of your Health total until you hit a Belcher/Argus/Sheildmasta turn. If you play classes that has weapons -- Rogue,Shaman, Paladin, or Warrior to a lesser extent -- you should always be careful before trading. Calculating the worst case scenario for the next turn should be a step you take before attacking.
As a Rogue, for example, you have Farseer/Healbot as a healing. A decent turn two play against a Face Hunter is Backstabing and Hero Power, Coin- SI:7 Agent, or even Coin-Farseer. Don't be greedy with your removal as Face Hunter's damage becomes more bursty in the late game.
As a Paladin a good turn one or two play is Zombie Chow, Coin-Minibot or Coin-Muster for Battle. Or as a Shaman aim for Zombie Chow or Coin+Totem up if you have Flamtongue in your hand. Earthshock is also good on targets like Leper Gnome or Haunted Creeper if you have Spell Power.
Don't be greedy with your removal! You should always remove whatever the Face Hunter plays so don't keep a Swipe, Blade Flurry, or Consecration just for value. Face Hunter's minions almost all have Charge so cash in your removal now.
While it may feel good to get a big clear, you can't always wait for it.
Taunts -- such as Sludge Belcher -- or Taunt givers such as Sunfury, Argus, and healing effects such as Antique Healbot, Farseer are always the answer to Face Hunter. A Sludge Belcher or Healbot played turn five is pretty devastating for Face Hunter if the doesn't have the Owl or more burst. The first of these effects will give you a big edge and the second can quite often be game.
This Mage is off to a good start with the Taunts...
How to Play Face Hunter
We all hate when we're losing to Face Hunter no matter your rank: myself included. I decided to watch some players I know they are hitting Top 100 with Face Hunter every season and study their play style. Then I decided to play Face Hunter myself and found out is not that easy to play as people think. Two keys to winning with Face Hunter is to know how to split-up your damage between turns and to know how to mulligan correctly. First of all I'd like to talk about how to split up your damage so I'm going to give you some example.
Example 1: Lets say it's turn four and the board is clear. In hand you have Bow, Animal Companion, Kill Command, and Haunted Creeper. In this situation, many inexperienced players would go for a three drop. Yes, Huffer is great here since the board is clear but you're missing out the Hero Power for the turn. The correct play is Haunted Creeper and Hero Power into turn five Bow or Companion-Hero Power. As a Face Hunter, you need to take advantage of your Hero Power since it's your most constant damage.
Example 2: It's turn one and you have Worgen Infiltrator, Glaivezooka, Mad Scientist, Wolfrider, Haunted Creeper, and Coin. Most people would go Coin-Mad Scientist or Haunted Creeper and then the other two drop. This play is correct if you're playing a Midrange Hunter but not for Face. The correct play here is Worgen and pass, turn two Glaivezooka, and Mad Scientist-Haunted Creeper or Hero Power on turn three. Save the coin to get your Hero Power off whenever possible.
This is your best card. Use it --almost -- every turn past three.
Since you are consistently the beatdown deck in every matchup your mulligans will be fairly straightforward. In every matchup you should be looking for a turn one play. Some matchups require you to search for other effects but we'll get into those more in depth with the matchups.
This matchup is also a bit tricky and theoretically the Druid is favored but only if he gets Innervate-Keeper, Innervate-Druid of the Claw, or Coin-Wild Growth into next turn Innervate-Druid of the Claw. Swipe is the best card in his deck if he gets good value. You want to put a lot of early pressure on Druid so your starting hand should have Leper Gnome, Worgen, Scientist, Haunted Creeper, and Knife Juggler. Your best card in this matchup is the double Owls for Druid of the Claw or Belcher. Just split your damage properly and you can win only with damage from hand after turn five.
The Druid matchup is overall unfavorable but only if they get a strong start as seen above.
The mirror can be tricky, if you're facing a Midrange Hunter you're favored. Face Hunter against Face Hunter, however, most of the time comes down to who gets the more value from Unleash. Don't rely too much on Explosive Traps since they can disable it with their Bow. I've also seen some Face Hunters running Kezan Mystic for the mirror matchup and Mages.
The cards that you are looking for in this matchup are Leper Gnome, Worgen, Scientist, Bow if you have Coin, Unleash, and Juggler. A coined Juggler puts a lot of pressure on your opponent and only Glaivezooka can kill it if they don't have a one drop.
Most of the Mages nowadays are Mech Mages so the best comeback combo you can get in this matchup is Juggler-Unleash: this play is your MVP. You need to search for Leper Gnome, Mad Scientist, Glaivezooka, and Haunted Creeper. If you have Coin and you play against a Mech Mages, Coin-Haunted Creeper into Juggler or Glaivezooka pretty much clears the early board a Mech Mages assemble. Remember, Mages usually do not heal so abuse your Hero Power as much as possible.
A class against which you are favored. Muster for Battle plays into Unleash, Hero Power plays into Unleash, and they are a Weapon class with no healing beside Antique Healbot and Lay on Hands in the mid and late game. Juggler-Unleash destroys the Paladin's board and Explosive Trap is also good. You want to mulligan for Juggler, Haunted Creeper, Leper Gnomes, Worgen Infiltrator, and Glaivezooka which can be devastating on a Haunted Creeper turn two if you have coin. You have Owls in your deck save them for the Belchers-Argus.
Another matchup where you are not very favored but it's closer to 50-50. Most Priests run only two Holy Novas to heal beside Hero Power although some variations can occur with Holy Fire-Antique Healbot. This is the only matchup where you want Animal Companion and Bow in your starting hand but Knife Juggler is good as well. Mulligan everything for these cards unless you have a combo like turn one Coin-Creeper into Abusive to clear a Cleric. Northshire Cleric can trade with every single one drop and Wolfriders; therefore, she can be a major problem. Auchenai can be a blessing in disguise for you. If they play it recklessly just ignore her and to the face: they have to get rid of their own minion before they can heal themselves.
You are favored in this matchup unless Rogue gets his perfect draw. Rogues often have to trade with their face to clear the board; and if they don't have an early heal, they should be around 15 Health by turn five. Pressure is what this matchup is all about for Face Hunter. Like every other matchup you want Leper Gnome, Worgen, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, and Bow is pretty insane with Coin. As a Rogue you can't play more than one minion per turn unless you invest a lot of resources or it is past turn seven. Feel free to abuse your Hero Power, therefore, since tempo will usually be in your favor. Violet Teacher is one of their best cards but it plays into Unleash so they must be very careful playing it.
Rogue is going to need to find fast interaction to keep up with Hunter and preserve their Health.
This is a pretty easy matchup, Shaman's Hero Power is very weak against Juggler-Unleash. Shamans also usually don't run heals but some versions now run one or two Antique Healbots. In this matchup you want Worgen, Leper Gnome, Abusive, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, Glaivezooka, and Bow if you have one and two drops. Coining out one drops into two drop into Bow is the perfect curve.
This should be an easy matchup since Life Tap helps you deal a lot of damage. There are currently two versions of Warlocks on ladder, Demonlock and Handlock: I've seen some Zoo also but you are a 70-30 favorite in that matchup. For both of these matchups your best cards are Owl and Kill Command. Since this a slow matchup you can be a bit greedier on the mulligans depending on if you have the coin or not. With the Coin, mulligan for one drops, Haunted Creeper, Knife Juggler, and Mad Scientist. Without the Coin, mulligan only for one drops and throw away everything else. Against Handlock, keep in mind the Moltens and Sunfury or Argus. Prepare for them but only play around them if you have huge hand burst and you can score lethal within two turns. Against DemonLock, keep in mind the Mal'Ganis and if you see a Voidcaller ignore it. Demonlocks will run at least one and sometimes two Antique Healbots. Implosion plays too much into Unleash so don't worry about that.
Every Hunter's worst nightmare. This is why we need to have a kill within two turns of putting them into Giant range.
There is not much to say here since Warrior is hugely favored against Face Hunter. You just have to pray they don't have Fiery Win Axe and early drops. You want to have in your starting hand Knife Juggler, Mad Scientist, Haunted Creeper, Leper Gnome, Worgens and maybe Animal Companion or Bow if you have the Coin. A coined Juggler -- without the Warrior having Fiery Win Axe -- puts out a lot of pressure and is a high-risk high-reward play. Warrior's Hero Power directly counters yours and the Armor from Shielblock and Shieldmaiden is insane against Face Hunter.
I hope you enjoy this guide and now you are more prepared to play against Face Hunters or as Face Hunter if that's your style!