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October 28, 2016

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In-Depth Turn Analysis: I Will Hunt You Down!


In-Depth Turn Analysis is as series started by Smashthings back in 2014. Since he quit Hearthstone, it was discontinued and forgotten. I’ve decided to pick it up, because it’s really interesting and fills a niche between articles for beginners and more competitive ones.

If you aren’t familiar with the series, don’t worry – it’s quite easy. Just imagine you’re in an interesting or difficult spot in one of your matches. What if, instead of having 75 seconds to analyze everything, your time would be unlimited? Decisions in Hearthstone are often very chaotic. You might be driven by intuition (which isn’t always right), you might miss something, you might make a big misplay, because you didn’t have time to think about every possible outcome.

In order to take most from the series, before checking out my analysis, you should think about the scenario yourself. What do you think is the best play? Comparing your answers to my analysis can then teach you something or even spark a discussion if you disagree with my points. Feel free to comment if you do!

So before I start, I have one request for you guys. If you stumble upon such a scenario during one of your games, please make a screenshot and send it to me ( and it get featured in next episode of the series!

Secret Face Hunter vs Tempo Mage

Screenshot was taken on the Tylerootd’s stream, but he was spectating another high Legend player at the moment – Rage.

A quick overview of the situation before starting the analysis. The matchup is between Secret Face Hunter and Tempo Mage. We don’t know neither list, but I’ve created a rough Hunter’s deck list based on the few games I’ve seen on the stream (it can be 1 or 2 cards off) – Rage’s Secret Face Hunter. When it comes to the Tempo Mage, we don’t know his exact list, so I’ll give you an example one if you didn’t face one in a while: Cydonia’s Tempo Mage. When it comes to the Mage, we have some extra knowledge – Rage is facing that guy 2nd time in a row, so we know that he runs a list with 2x Water Elemental and that knowledge might be useful when thinking about the correct play.

It’s very early in the game, so you can still see every card played so far on the right – Mage passed t1, Hunter opened with t1 Argent Squire, Mage played Sorcerer's Apprentice on t2, Hunter killed it with Quick Shot on his t2 and now Mage has played Flamewaker.

When analysing this piece we have to take a few things into consideration. First of all – how badly we need to kill the Flamewaker here? I could see someone ignoring Flamewaker in other case, but not here – there is just no reason to not kill it, because there are few different ways to do so and leaving it is a play with high risk, but low reward. So since we do have to kill it – what kind of play is the best one, taking things like mana efficiency, potential future use of the cards in the hand and your game plan into account.


Play #1

Hunter’s Mark + Hero Power

Flamewaker is not the best target to use Hunter’s Mark on, since we already know that enemy runs double Water Elemental. But it’s still a solid value – 3 damage for 1 mana and later we might not have Argent Squire on the board to finish a target cleanly. Hero Powering fills the rest of the turn and starts pushing for some damage.


  • Flamewaker is dealt with cleanly.
  • Play is mana efficient.
  • Weaving in Hero Powers is important when playing Face Hunter.
  • We save the Coin, which might be useful next turn.


  • The play only stalls the game for one turn, it doesn’t give any tempo advantage, we’re still left with only a 1/1 on the board.
  • We use Hunter’s Mark that might be more useful later.
  • Hunter’s Mark combos nicely with Unleash the Hounds, which is already in the hand.

Play #2

Hunter’s Mark + Coin + Argent Horserider

Play that is similar to the last one, but is not as passive. It trades the Coin for more tempo on the board. Both plays push for 2 damage, while this one also leaves a 2/1 body on the board.


  • Compared to the previous play – you’d probably want to play Horserider next turn anyway, and this way you will have more mana next turn to do other stuff.
  • This is a heavy tempo play. Now Mage has to options – either he ignores the board and plays a minion, meaning Horserider will push for at least 2 more damage – or kills the Horserider while probably wasting the whole turn.


  • While unlikely, play can get punished by second Flamewaker + a cheap spell. You might not have a way to kill it and Flamewaker is one of the strongest minions in this matchup.
  • Horserider is great at killing the 3/2’s Mage runs and not taking advantage of the Divine Shield immediately might get punished by e.g. Arcane Missiles.
  • Hunter’s Mark combos nicely with Unleash the Hounds, which is already in the hand.

Play #3

Quick Shot

Hunter’s Mark has a potential to deal more than 3 damage, while Quick Shot will always deal 3 damage. It might be possible to cycle it in the future, but considering how the current hand looks like, it’s not that likely (Unleash the Hounds or Kill Command might get stuck in the hand for a while).


  • You kill Flamewaker quite cleanly.
  • If enemy drops Water Elemental next turn, you have a great way to kill it with Hunter’s Mark.


  • You won’t cycle your Quick Shot, and with one already gone on t2 you might run out of steam.
  • You don’t develop anything else, having only 1/1 on the board as a Hunter is not good when enemy is still so high and you have to deal quite a lot minion damage before killing Mage with the burn.
  • The play isn’t mana efficient – while it’s possible to Coin out the Hero Power, it’s far from perfect.
  • Quick Shot can be used as a burn later in the match.

Play #4

Kill Command

Killing Flamewaker with Kill Command might not seem the most optimal thing here. After all, Kill Command is a potential 5 face damage. But it might be arguably better move than Quick Shot – it’s more mana efficient, less flexible and right now the only activator in your hand is Unleash the Hounds, which might not be useful if Mage has spell heavy hand.


  • It’s mana efficient.
  • You use the second most clunky card in your hand (after UTH, which is less clunky with Hunter’s Mark saved), and it’s better to have a flexible hand.
  • Potential cycle from Quick Shot might be worth more than potential 5 damage from Kill Command.


  • You don’t develop anything else, having only 1/1 on the board as a Hunter is not good when enemy is still so high and you have to deal quite a lot minion damage before killing Mage with the burn.
  • Kill Command is a potential 5 face damage later, so it might be wasteful to use it now.
  • Kill Command might also be a better removal later if you manage to stick a Beast on the board.


Rage has gone for the Play #2 – Hunter’s Mark + Coin + Argent Horserider. He ended up winning the game quite easily and it turned out that Hunter’s Mark never really had a better target. So hit call was good and he was rewarded for it.

I’ll start with the plays I don’t like. The play I dislike most is Play #3 – I hate using Quick Shot here. It’s not mana efficient, you can’t coin out anything meaningful (only Hero Power), you use the most flexible of the removals in your hand and you waste the potential card draw (the last one probably won’t happen, but there is a slim chance). I’d even prefer the Play #4 – using Kill Command here. Sure, it’s still not the best thing ever, but I like it for a few reasons. It’s least flexible removal in the hand and would probably be used as the burn – but you won’t get the opportunity to burn the enemy if you don’t squeeze some minion damage first, so it’s not wrong to use it as a removal. The play is mana efficient and with coin you have up to 5 mana next turn. If enemy plays one of the 3/2’s (Sorcerer's Apprentice or Cult Sorcerer) or a Mana Wyrm, it is possible to play Argent Horserider + Quick Shot next turn. If he plays Water Elemental, you can still Hunter’s Mark it and play Horserider (without using Coin). If he plays second Flamewaker, well, Quick Shot + Argent Squire’s hit kills it and you can still Hunter’s Mark it if you feel like, and Squire doesn’t die, because the Divine Shield wasn’t popped. Kill Command is the play that is probably the best in case enemy drops Water Elemental. However, it’s only my second favorite play in that case.

I like one of the Hunter's Mark moves more. Even though one could argue for saving a Hunter’s Mark for a higher health target, especially with Unleash the Hounds in the hand (that can make a potentially very high tempo swing soon), using it here is good for two reasons. First – you are not sure if Mage drew the Water Elemental. Basically, turn 4 is the only great turn to drop Water Ele in this matchup – later it is often too slow. And Tempo Mage isn’t really known for having high health minions – 4 is about as high as it gets (Flamewaker/Azure Drake). Sure, they sometimes have a or Archmage Antonidas – but once again, two of those are slow/risky and by the time Mage gets to drop them, game is usually over. And second – with Argent Squire on the board, even more – Argent Squire with her Divine Shield still intact, you have probably the best way to finish off the 1 health minion. You might not have that luxury later.

But, one of the Hunter’s Mark plays is clearly better than the other. I think the play Rage made is the best one in this situation, although only marginally better than the Kill Command one. I don’t like Play #1 – Hunter’s Mark + Hero Power, because it’s too slow. When you use a tempo removal like Hunter’s Mark, you want to develop something – you want to get a tempo advantage. That’s the reason you play this card in the first place. While as a Face Hunter you want to Hero Power often, sometimes even over playing a minion, that’s not the case here. You want to Hero Power, because you don’t want to waste damage. But if you end up playing Argent Horserider, you don’t lose any damage. Hero Power does 2 – Horserider also does 2, because of the Charge. The only sure advantage of not playing Horserider here is saving the Coin. But Face Hunter is not a deck that really needs the coin for something + with this hand, you don’t seem like you will desperately need Coin next turn anyway. Another advantage is playing around enemy getting a perfect Flamewaker + Arcane Missiles/Blast that kills both of the minions. But hey, it’s very unlikely that will happen.

But still, by playing Horserider this turn, you end up having much more flexibility next turn. If enemy plays something you need to remove – you play removal. If enemy doesn’t play anything and draws the cards, you might draw another minion or Secret you can play and in the worst case scenario you just Hero Power and push for 5 damage. Enemy dropping exactly Water Elemental is the only real punish for playing Hunter’s Mark before. So I agree with the play Rage made and I think that going for Play #2 was simply the best given the odds and the scenario. I rate other plays in this order: Play #4 > Play #1 > Play #3. 


That’s all folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed another episode of In-Depth Turn Analysis. If you disagree with any of my analysis, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Once I have some free time, I’d be glad to discuss everything with you! And if you want to be up to date with my articles, you can follow me on Twitter.

Good luck on the ladder and until next time!

Previous Episodes

If you’re interested in the series, you might want to check out the previous ones:

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Playing Hearthstone since September 2013. Infinite Arena player. Hitting Legend rank on EU each season, with multiple high Legend climbs during the season and top 200-300 finishes.

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Leave a Reply

  1. harador says:

    No deck?

    • Stonekeep says:

      Hunter deck list? It’s just under the screenshot in the second paragraph. It might not be 100% right, because he didn’t share the deck list anywhere and I had to make a few assumptions.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s linked not embedded in the article. Links for both deck lists are in the second paragraph under the screenshot as stone said.