The first set of cards from the Blackrock Mountain adventure released this week, among them two of the most hyped cards in the entire set – Emperor Thaurissian and Quick Shot. While I believe the Emperor is worthy of the attention that he has been getting, I am less convinced that Quick Shot is the Face Hunter auto-include that so many have been claiming. I said as much in my initial review of the card, and after playing with it a bit last night, still feel very much the same way.
While Quick Shot is clearly right in the wheelhouse of what Face Hunter is looking for – damage to the opponent’s face – in order to add any card to a deck, you have to take something else out. What do you remove from a typical Face Hunter list to add Quick Shot?
What do you cut to add Quick Shot here? The one drops are pretty much untouchable. You need to be able to curve out and use your early mana effectively. Both Leper Gnome and Abusive Sergeant can represent 2-4 damage for one mana, and even more if your opponent can’t immediately remove them. Maybe you can replace a Worgen Infiltrator, but curving out with minions is very important to Face Hunter’s ability to generate enough damage to win in time, especially against decks like Priest or Warrior.
Similarly, the block of Knife Juggler, Unleash the Hounds, Haunted Creeper, Mad Scientist, and Explosive Trap give the Face Hunter deck the ability to interact with opponents who are putting up resistance and actually trying to kill them back. I briefly experimented with a version of the deck with no Scientists or Traps and got absolutely demolished by other Hunter decks because Explosive Trap is so powerful in the mirror match. I’ve actually already cut the Snake Trap from this list for another Animal Companion, simply because it’s so important to have significant minions in matchups like Warrior where you need more than 30 damage to kill them.
You could replace some of the equipment, but both Glaivezooka and Eagleborn Bow represent more damage per card (and damage per mana) than Quick Shot, as well as the ability to split up that damage between minions and the opponent’s face, which comes in quite handy against taunts.
Speaking of taunts, Ironbeak Owl is crucial for dealing with them, and I can’t imagine playing less than one copy. The Quick Shot version I tried used one fewer Owl and no Leeroy Jenkins, since I wanted fewer situational/expensive cards that would sit in my hand in order to give myself the chance to use the card draw ability. Leeroy is definitely a possible cut, but it represents so much damage for a single card that it’s often the only way you can win some games.
The most common card I’ve heard people suggest as a potential cut for Quick Shot is Wolfrider, since they see it as replacing a three damage card that can be stopped by a taunt with one that cannot. In reality, though, that’s not really how things play out. Wolfrider doesn’t just deal three damage to your opponent. It deals three damage and then forces them to remove it, or it will deal three more the next turn. That’s a huge difference.
It’s like Worgen Infiltrator compared to Arcane Shot. Often Worgen Infiltrator will only get in a single hit, in which case it does two damage just like Arcane Shot, but it also forces your opponent to use time, mana, and resources removing it before it hits them again. If you were just playing direct damage effects, your opponents could much more frequently just race you with their own minions instead of having to attack yours to prevent themselves from dying.
For as much as people like to hate on Face Hunter as a mindless deck, it certainly isn’t one that just plays out its entire hand every turn, which actually makes the card draw ability on Quick Shot not really come up very often. I found myself frequently holding cards like Unleash the Hounds, Ironbeak Owl, and Kill Command waiting for opportune times to use them, and rarely if ever actually got the empty hand trigger from my Quick Shots. In fact, the best way to play Face Hunter against a lot of decks it to try to get maximum value out of your hero power, which means you very frequently have a full grip of cards. Sometimes, even if you’re trying to empty your hand you can’t because of an Explosive Trap when you already have one in play.
I can certainly imagine different builds of Face Hunter that play fewer situational cards getting value out of Quick Shot more often, but as it stands, I’m unconvinced that it belongs in Face Hunter in its current incarnation at all, except perhaps as an answer to the ever-annoying Zombie Chow. It may have a role in midrange Hunter as a cheap removal spell that can cycle in the late game against control decks, but it certainly isn’t the auto-include Face Hunter card that so many people have been saying.