Design, Hearthstone

You Activated my Trap Card! – Hunter’s Secrets Exposed

Hunter’s Secrets and How We Deal with Them

Hunter’s secrets are all 2 mana spells. The basic idea of dealing with secrets is pinpointing what secret is played by reading your opponent’s actions, or knowing what type of deck your opponent plays and then executing the right counter.

Revealing the Secrets:

Bear Trap

beartrap

Tells:
A common trap to see, as the aggro and the midrange decks can be interesting in playng something like this. And most of the time, it is a 2 mana 3/3 taunt minion. So the Hunter will play it whenever he has the mana too.

Best Approach:
Order your attacks appropriately to have your minions less than 3 attack to deal damage, and to have a way to get rid of the 3/3 bear that follows.

 

 

Dart Trap

darttrap

Tells:
A rare trap to see. Only a few aggro lists will run one of these. There isn’t very clear tell, since the effect of the card is random. The Hunter will most likely play it whenever they have the mana to.

Best Approach:
Due to the random nature of the card, the best defense is just playing many minions, to minimize the losses. But if you want to take the damage to the face to protect your minions, you can always try using your hero power when there are no other minions on your side of the field.

 

Explosive Trap

explosive

Tells:
This trap falls in and out of playability as people build against / play around it but it is an important secret to always keep in mind. In arena, it is more often picked. The strongest tell is your opponent lowers your minions’ health down to 2 or less and then play a secret and pass the turn. Otherwise, it always a possibility when you have minions with less than 3 health.

Best Approach:
The best way to play around this is to prepare before the secret is even played, by trading away 2 health minions when it is favorable. If you have minions with more than 2 health, this trap is not an issue, so let’s assume you have a couple of minions with 2 or less health. When the secret is played, remember since it only activates when you attack the hero, you should trade off those minions if possible. Otherwise if your opponent’s field is empty, you have two choice: just activate the secret and take the losses or wait. If it would result in an even trade (my minion for the secret), I would usually just activate the secret. But it is not wrong to wait. You can always trade away those minions on the next turn if your opponent plays anything. Judging when to wait it important. If you a Warrior or Priest, the waiting game is good for you, since your Hero Power negates theirs.

Freezing Trap

freezingTells:
Despite it doesn’t gain any card advantage, it is a common trap to see play because it is so easy to activate and the tempo set back you can do to your opponent. The best case for your opponent is to play it when you only have one big minion on the field, that doesn’t have a battlecry.

Best Approach:
Being able to predict this trap is a big help, because if you know it is there, you can just wait, don’t attack and just play smaller minions that you can use to clear the trap next turn. Allowing the trap to activate on a big minion is a huge setback. If you are a Paladin, this is an easy trap to deal with. But sometimes, you just have to deal with. It is the worst trap to face as Ramp Druid. Once again, I would say the best way is to prepare beforehand, by trying to keep two minions on the field.

Misdirection
misdirection

Tells:
Not a very common secret unless the Hunter deck is very aggressive, as in completely focusing on face, and having charge minions. At best, the opponent plays this when you have two minions, and both minions can deal enough damage to each other to kill each other.

Best Approach:
Due to the randomness of this card, it is not much you can do against this card. I would just recommend attacking with the weakest minion you have. If you have a weapon attached, the weapon will deal damage to the redirected minion but not use durability.

Snake Trap 

snaketrapTells:
Another trap that falls in and out of favor. Currently it is very popular just having beasts on the field is very important to activate Houndmaster or Kill Command. The most obvious tell is when your opponent plays a secret along with Knife Juggler or Starving Buzzard. It is a simple bait to get you to trigger the trap.

Best Approach:
The best way to deal with the above situation is to get rid of the priority minion with a spell. Even if you can’t clear the entire field, getting rid of Knife Juggler or Starving Buzzard is crucial before triggering the trap. If you cannot, depending on the minion, I would just attack the face. If there isn’t a priority minion, and you have an easy way to clear all the snakes (Whirlwind or Fan of Knives), you should trigger the trap and get rid of all the snakes.

Snipe

snipeTells:
The least played secret in the Hunter’s Arsenal, it is a secret that gets outscaled as more expensive minions have more than 4 health. So keep it in the back of your mind during the early stages of the game.

Best Approach:
It is okay to just trade a minion one for one in the early game. Once you had narrowed it down to being this trap, it is all about finding a minion to sacrifice to it or a minion to tank it. Do remember that this card will take in account of the present spell damage when it activates.

 


Checking Secrets:

Let’s say tells aren’t very helpful or are so vague that it is too unclear to make a good decision. First, let’s review what the triggers for the secrets are.

Bear Trap: Attacking Hunter
Dart Trap: Using your Hero Power
Explosive Trap: Attacking Hunter
Freezing Trap: Attacking with minion
Misdirection: Attacking Hunter
Snake Trap: Attacking Hunter’s minion
Snipe: Summoning a minion

As you can see the majority of these secrets trigger on attack. To check effectively, you want to have as many minions on the field if possible. Of course, that is not always possible for some decks and in some situations.

Certain traps only do well again certain decks. Freezing Trap only hurts Midrange / Control decks but don’t matter as much against aggro decks. Explosive, Snipe and Misdirection aren’t great against Control deck but go against the aggro decks. Knowing what deck you are and how to avoid the worst situation is the best approach.

The process of dealing with traps to mainly attack or don’t attack. If you chose not to attack, you only have to worry about Snipe or Dart Trap. Reasons for not attacking is mainly because you don’t want to trigger Freezing Trap, or the field is empty, and you don’t want to trigger Explosive Trap or Bear Trap. If you do chose to attack, you have the choice of either attacking the Hunter’s minion or the Hunter himself. Due to the playstyle aggressive playstyle of Hunter, it is probably best to clear the minions first. Just keep in mind of Freezing Trap and Snake Trap.

Multiple secrets can also activate in one attack. Multiple secrets are activated first depending on the order in which they are played. So if Freezing Trap was played before Explosive Trap, and you attack your Hunter opponent in the face with a minion, attacking will trigger Freezing Trap, returning the monster into your hand, and then Explosive Trap will trigger. Note in this example, the returned minion takes no damage. If Explosive Trap was played before Freezing Trap, the Explosive Trap triggered first. If the minion survives, Freezing Trap will trigger and return it back into your hand. Otherwise, Freezing Trap remains hidden. Thus when dealing with multiple traps, you can’t rule out certain secrets after the initial check.


Hunter’s Friends

eaglehornbow
Eaglehorn Bow

A very common equipment that you will see Hunters play regardless of whether they have secrets or not, because it is a good deal of damage for 3 mana. My advice would be not to let this card deter you from triggering the Hunter’s secrets. Hunters thrive on putting you on a clock, and for some decks, just sitting around and waiting too long will cost you the game. Only for the control decks are you allowed the option to not feed the Eaglehorn Bow.

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