Hearthstone: Boosting your Hunter

Hearthstone is out now on both PC and iPad. With new players joining the battle each day, Shacknews is closely examining each of the game's nine classes and learning how to play with all of them from the perspective of Chatty. And to wrap up our feature, we look at Rexxar, the Hunter.


If you've played Hearthstone for even a short amount of time, you've seen him. You know who he is. And you've likely grown to hate him. He's Rexxar the Hunter, the character that has a strategy and a counter for just about anything. Using his 'Steady Shot' Hero Power, the question isn't so much if Rexxar will beat you, but rather how quickly?

Why the Hunter?

Months have passed since Hearthstone's final version has released and, at this point, the question should be... why not the Hunter? The Hunter is one of (if not the) most versatile and powerful classes in the entire game. It's so powerful that even Blizzard has had to give it a few second looks. He literally has a strategy and counter-strategy for just about everything, making him infuriating to play against. Many players have been enraged by Hunters to the point that they've nearly thrown their nice, expensive iPads against a wall. But for that same reason, Hunter is also among the friendliest classes for newcomers to the game. One of those newcomers is Chatty's wtf242.

"Hunter is really fun to play," he said. "I feel like I can just randomly pick beast cards and end up doing pretty damn well. I think it's probably the most noob-friendly class."

Yes, Hunters can summon a random beast by using the Animal Companion card for a mere 3 mana. The advantage here is that no matter what beast is summoned, it's often pretty powerful in its own way. It's why Degenerate is happy to play the card whenever possible.

"I play Hunter because it was my favorite class in WoW, plus I am SUPER unimaginative so the 'keep throwing beast cards' strategy works well for me."

But there's far more to Hunter than playing random beasts, though that's ultimately what many of his strategies will revolve around.

Notable cards/combos

Unleash the Hounds! Unleash the Hounds! Unleash the Hounds! Need I say more?

Indeed, Unleash the Hounds was one of the first Hearthstone cards to receive a major nerf, seeing its cost increase from 2 to 3 mana. However, it remains one of the most powerful spells in the entire game, summoning a 1/1 hound for each opposing minion on the field and giving it Charge. But it isn't UTH by itself that hurts, as much as its potential combos, which we'll go into shortly.

This isn't all that Rexxar has at his disposal, though. Think you can fill your side of the board with low-level minions? Rexxar will simply wipe them out with an Explosive Trap or Misdirection Secret spell. Think you can build up a lower-level minion and hide it behind a high-health Taunt partner? How about an Explosive Shot to destroy them both? Thinking of laying down two mid-level minions? Multi-Shot will dispose of them quite easily. Want to lay it all on the line with one high-powered minion? Sorry, but Deadly Shot will likely put an end to its day and leave the Hunter with plenty of mana to spare. But surely you can fix Rexxar by laying down Stealth minions and Secrets, right? Wrong! Flare will put a damper on that strategy and, in fact, is the only card in the game that can successfully undo Stealth or Secrets. Rexxar pretty much has an answer for everything.

Animal Companion has already been discussed, but it's particularly deadly when combined with Tundra Rhino, which gives all beasts Charge right off the bat. Beast cards have such synergy with one another that they often make short work of opponents. But again, we'll get into that shortly.

There is one other beast that opponents should be wary of and that's Savannah Highmane. As Pandilex explains, this card is powerful on its surface, but moreso with its Deathrattle effect. In fact, he notes that the best way to counter it is with either Hex or Polymorph cards.

Deck strategies

As one would imagine, the major deck strategy revolves around Unleash the Hounds and its immense versatility. That's deinitely why Chatty's BlackCat9 gets such use out of this class.

"Hunters have gone in and out of popularity in the meta of Hearthstone since it launched, receiving many nerfs to combos that were too powerful," he explained. "But the fundamental truth of Hunter decks is that as long as you fill it with beasts, you can't go too wrong. It's really easy to see the synergies that you can get from each minion of the beast type giving or receiving benefits from each other. And since you have so many combinations, it rarely matters much if your opponent takes out a really great card in the first two or three turns. Unleash the Hounds is undoubtedly the central card of any hunter deck right now and for the foreseeable future, even after having already been nerfed to the point where people quickly wrote it off as useless. For 3 mana, you get a 1/1 beast with charge for every minion your opponent has on the table. With a couple of free Hunters Marks, it becomes an easy and affordable way to break through your opponent's defenses. With a Timber Wolf or Leokk from Animal Companion, each one you summon becomes twice as valuable. With Scavenging Hyena, you can sacrifice each of those hounds into your opponent's big guy to buff the hyena by twice as much damage as you're losing and one hit your opponent's face. With Starving Buzzard, each of those hounds puts another card in your hand."

What's most insane is that many of these combinations will only run for about 5 or 6 mana, so BlackCat9 adds that there's still room to bring out some Multi-Shot or Kill Command spells. In fact, a Hunter player can even deploy Leeroy Jenkins, if necessary.

Indeed, Rexxar's cards are versatile and dangerous and a pain to run up against. Pandilex perhaps sums him up best.

"Hunters just annoy me because playing them feels like you're playing uphill, like when you play a single player game vs. AI that has some kind of 'cheat' built into it to make it harder."