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I've been playing a bunch of games against Spell Hunter (i.e., the Hunter deck that has no minions). I use a Keleseth Zoolock deck. What is the best strategy to beat Spell Hunter, when playing zoolock?

I'm most especially interested in how I should play in the early turns. Typically, the Hunter is playing a bunch of secrets, then playing the Greater Emerald Spellstone on turn 5 to play four 3/3 wolves. Sometimes, the Eaglehorn Bow comes out, or they play a Flanking Strike. What's the most effective strategy while that is happening? Should I keep attacking the enemy Hunter's face, even though that triggers the secrets? Should I play minions and build a board without attacking or triggering the secrets? Obviously I need to prepare for their big turn 5; how should I approach that?

  • Do you have a specific deck you're playing or are you looking for certain cards you are trying to tech in? This is a little broad if you account for all of the meta decks in any given time. – FoxMcCloud Jan 30 '18 at 18:44
  • Have you looked on hearthpwn.com for some example decks? You should be able to find something suitable for you that beats spell hunter. But that might turn out to be bad against other decks. ;-) – plocks Jan 30 '18 at 20:54
  • @FoxMcCloud, I was thinking there might be some general strategies that aren't specific to my deck. I'm currently playing Zoolock. If this would be a better question to focus on how to beat Spell Hunter with Zoolock, I can edit the question accordingly. What do you think? I'm not looking for tech cards or to change my deck; I'm looking for the strategy in the mulligan and the play. – D.W. Jan 30 '18 at 21:25
  • @plocks, thanks, but I'm not looking for a different deck with a better matchup against Spell Hunter. Rather, I'm looking for the strategy to use after I have already picked my deck. – D.W. Jan 30 '18 at 21:26
  • I would risk saying that there is just one general strategy: analyse the deck and understand (a) how it is dealing damage (b) how it is protecting from damage and from that you infer what you need to do (both in terms of cards and timings) to break its cycle. Anything more concrete will depend on the particular deck you are playing with, so the question imo should be amended including the deck you mentioned or any other you are trying to use. – Gnudiff Jan 30 '18 at 22:08
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The difficulty in their deck would be their explosive trap clear on you or as you pointed out, flanking strike, or eaglehorn bow. If they clear your board you have a high chance of losing (like vs any other deck).

I would mulligan aggressively for Prince, voidwalkers, and Malch's imp. If you have these then I would keep a councilman as well. Prince's reasons are self evident. The other cards are because of their high health/low mana that helps them survive at least one explosive trap and you can set them off without sacrificing another high value minion to proc the secret (though this does not help in the case of snipe). Playing around their secrets while still being aggressive is key for winning the match-up. For example, attack with a voidwalker to proc an explosive or freezing trap before dropping a flame imp. I would not keep soulfire in case it procs cat trap, but it can be used as a finisher if drawn. Snipe and Wander Monster cannot really be played around so you will just need to suck those up.

A zoolock's deck's strength is in going face and overwhelming before they can stabilize. You need to have sticky minions that can constantly apply pressure and do repeated damage early because those early points will add up in the end when you finish them off with a doomguard or soulfire.

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