The new Hearthstone expansion, Rastakhan’s Rumble, released earlier this week, and with it came a strong wave of spell-centric Hunter decks. Spell Hunter and Secret Hunter were already established archetypes before Rastakhan released, but now they have a new-late game, hyper synergistic card that pushes them over the edge: Zul’Jin.
Zul’Jin really gives Spell and Secret Hunter a whole new win condition and functions as a very powerful value card that can turn losing games into stout, convincing victories. Essentially what happens is this: The Hunter player will play their deck as usual, using cards like Flanking Strike, Emerald Spellstone, and a plethora of Secrets to control the early game board presence while they chip in face damage with their creatures and trait. Then if they don’t draw Rexxar and its getting into the late game where they begin to run out of gas… they play Zul’jin. He instantly replays every removal spell they played all game, alongside every summon spell and every Secret. Suddenly, their poor board state turns into a massive field of 3/3 wolves, random Animal Companions, and a metric ton of Secrets lighting up their hero portrait like a Christmas tree.
So what do you do? How do you counter this?
Control decks like Big Spell Mage, Control Warlock, Control Warrior, and whatnot have board wipes they can use to answer the large number of creatures generated by decks that have played Zul’jin. However, even if they can clear the board, they’re left to deal with up to five Secrets just waiting to slow them down, so the Hunter player can get back into the game with Rexxar, face damage, or just good draws. You need to deal with the Secrets on their side of the board if you plan to win through creature beats.
This is where I introduce what are called “tech” cards. These are cards that are specifically in your deck to hate on and counter specific other decks in the meta. Right now, according to HSReplay (image below), Spell Hunter is a massive portion of the meta, so you may consider running a couple of these tech cards in your decks in anticipation for this matchup.
You don’t have to run these cards to beat the Hunter decks; you really don’t. But if you are looking to have a competitive edge climbing up Hearthstone ranks, then there may be something to consider since Hunter is being heavily played right now. If you play 10 games a day and four or five are against Hunter variants, you have cards that will absolutely give them a bad day. That’s four or five wins that should be a lot easier just because you were ready for the huge mass of Hunter decks in the meta at the moment.
Thank you all for reading. Please let me know what you think in the comments! I’ll see you all around the Hearth!
I’m Brett, working in association with Daily Esports to cover Magic the Gathering and gaming news.