Secret Hunter is a Hearthstone deck archetype that stormed its way into the metagame following the release of the One Night In Karazhan adventure way back when, and has varied in popularity ever since. While Hunters have always relied heavily on their collection of Secrets to climb the ladder consistently, this particular deck is absolutely stuffed to the brim with these sorts of spells.
In our Secret Hunter guide we've got the most powerful version of the deck you can play in Saviors of Uldum right now as it tries to establish itself in the new meta. We've also got an overview of the strategy involved, a look at navigating the Mulligan phase correctly, and a breakdown of every combo that exists in the deck.
If the deck continues to bound up the tier list we'll keep updating the deck list, and will also expand on all areas of the guide, so that you have the only resource you need for playing it right here!
UPDATE - DECEMBER 2019
We’re updating Secret Hunter slightly for the release of Descent of Dragons, as a few exciting cards have been added that should really push this deck to its potential.
Secret Hunter deck list and strategy
This is the strongest version of Secret Hunter that we're aware of for the opening of Descent of Dragons. We'll continue updating this over time though, so check back regularly for updates.
|1 x Explosive Trap||2 x Secretkeeper|
|2 x Freezing Trap||1 x Sunreaver Spy|
|2 x Phase Stalker||1 x Subject 9|
|2 x Rat Trap||1 x Zilliax|
|1 x Pressure Plate|
|1 x Snake Trap|
|1 x Snipe|
|2 x Animal Companion|
|1 x Deadly Shot|
|2 x Eaglehorn Bow|
|2 x Kill Command|
|1 x Unleash the Hounds|
|2 x Hyena Alpha|
|2 x Marked Shot|
|1 x Unleash the Beast|
|1 x Veranus|
|1 x Zul'jin|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAR8MyQSfpQPHA64GvpgDxQjbCaeCA6CAA/mWA9iyA5uFAwmeAYcE+68DmPACtQP+DKgCoqUD5pYDAA==
More great Hunter guides:
- 1. Best Budget Decks - Hearthstone: Best Budget Decks for Ashes of Outland
- 2. Tier List - Hearthstone deck tier list (Ashes of Outland)
- 3. Dragonbane Face Hunter - Dragonbane Face Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 4. Beast Hunter - Beast Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 5. Midrange Hunter - Midrange Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 6. Highlander Dragon Hunter - Highlander Dragon Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
- 7. Quest Hunter - Quest Hunter deck list guide (Ashes of Outland)
Secret Hunter is a deck chock full of, er, Secrets, which allow you to keep control over your opponent in the early game. All of these Secrets work to damage and disrupt your opponent’s game plan, either directly through their effects or indirectly by forcing them to make nonoptimal plays in order to play around them.
The deck recently got a big bump in power with Subject 9 from the Boomsday expansion. This not only gives you a more consistent way to get to your Secrets, but also provides you with a lot of value by thinning out your deck. Meanwhile, Rastakhan’s Rumble added Hero card Zul'jin. This powerful card repeats all spells you’ve played during the game – including all those Secrets once again!
Early game: Use your Secrets to control the early game - ideally in combination with Secretkeeper - choosing which ones to play depending on the type of deck you’re up against. Snipe is a safe choice either way, but you’ll want to prioritise Explosive Trap or Rat Trap against aggro and Freezing Trap if you’re facing control. Ultimately, though, whatever you can do to disrupt their early turns is considered a success.
Mid game: Some of your most impactful cards can come down in the mid game. Subject 9 can draw up to five different Secrets from your deck, and considering how many you run here this is bound to get some good value. If you don't get Subject 9, you can get Secrets in play from your deck by playing Phase Stalker along with your Hero Power too.
You also have many very strong removal tools for this stage of the game. Anything your opponent drops can be swiftly batted away by Marked Shot.
Late game: With such a strong mid game you may have already won by this point. Just continue pushing through damage with whichever cards from above you haven’t played yet.
If that doesn’t work you can force your opponent to deal with all of your Secrets again by playing Zul'jin, which gives the deck even more late game reach. It’ll also replay any copies of cards like Unleash the Beast or Animal Companion, giving you a significant board for your opponent to try and deal with once again.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re up against aggro opponents:
- 1. Secrets such as Explosive Trap and Rat Trap are perfect for slowing down their early aggression.
- 2. If they’re sneaking out into the lead just wait for the right time to play Unleash the Hounds and you can wipe out a wide board fairly quickly.
- 3. Kill Command is best saved for burst damage to finish them off, although it can be used to clear minions in a pinch.
- 4. If the match is going even later, Unleash the Beast is another perfect catch up card as the Rush mechanic will allow you to trade away one of your opponent’s minions immediately.
These tips will help you overcome control decks on ladder:
- 1. As with aggro, disrupt their early turns with Secrets. Freezing Trap is particularly good at forcing a single powerful minion back into their hand, while Snipe can kill or take a chunk of health off bigger creatures.
- 2. Try to save Kill Command for some surprise burst damage, as if you just use it freely there’s a good chance they’ll be able to heal or Armor up to negate the effect.
- 3. There’s a greater chance you’ll need Zul'jin to finish out the game against control, so prepare a big pool of spells ready to be recast as well.
Secret Hunter Mulligan guide
Be on the hunt for these cards during the Mulligan stage:
- 1. Secretkeeper: Followed up with a Secret, this can give you a very tasty tempo advantage.
- 2. Sunreaver Spy: Odds are you'll find it pretty easy to empower this character with an early Secret.
- 3. Secrets: Depending on your opponent, your choice here will differ. If you think you’re up against a Murloc Shaman, you might want a Rat Trap to counter their turns when they play a whole bunch of cards. Snake Trap might be a better choice when you think you’ll be on the board first.
- 4. Animal Companion: Remains one of the strongest 3 cost cards in the game, especially if you get lucky and the right companion comes out at the right time.
Secret Hunter tips combos and synergies
If you want to learn the ways of Secret Hunter then you’ll want to be well aware of these important combos and synergies in the deck.
- Secretkeeper gains +1 / +1 of stats every time you play a Secret, but it's also buffed by Secrets played by your opponent.
- Think about when your opponent might be at a point where they can play three cards in a turn to activate Rat Trap. Aggro decks will be able to do this much earlier, whereas that’s less likely against Control.
- If you've any Beasts on the board, then your Kill Command damage value increases from three points to five.
- When you play Sunreaver Spy, it'll gain an extra +1 / +1 of stats if you've already got a Secret out in play.
- The Durability of Eaglehorn Bow increases by one every time a Secret is triggered by the other player. Try to hold onto a point of this so you gain maximum value from the blade.
- Subject 9 is great for pulling any remaining spells out of your deck and putting them into your hand. This then allows you to keep your Secret train rolling on.
- Zul'jin will recast every spell you’ve played throughout the game when he enters the battlefield, so make sure you have enough space for all the Secrets and minions that will hit the board.
Card choices and substitutions
Secret Hunter is pretty much the same as it has been for a while, aside from the few new additions. Here are the cards you’ll want to keep an eye on:
- Explosive Trap: Perfect for dealing with early game aggression: your opponent will be forced to find a way around it, or sacrifice the small minions they already have on board.
- Freezing Trap: Some more early game delay. If this triggers on the right minion you can seriously disrupt an opponent’s game plan.
- Pressure Plate: Solid disruption for opponents trying to establish a presence, especially on tall boards.
- Rat Trap: More effective against aggro decks that are more likely to be able to afford playing three cards in a single turn.
- Snipe: Can usually kill off an early drop without issue though some players will be clever enough to avoid it.
- Marked Shot: Four mana for four damage is about as baseline as you can get, but the extra spell it generates can also be hugely valuable and it pairs well with Zul'jin.
- Subject 9: Another card that synergises so well with all the Secrets in the deck. You should get a lot of value from the draw effect, but watch your hand size when you play it.
- Unleash the Beast: A good spell that you’ll want to see activated again with Zul'jin. Due to its Twinspell nature, you’ll receive a copy of it in your hand when Zul’jin replays it.
- Hyena Alpha: The fabled 4 mana 7/7 (technically), playing this on turn 4 while you have a Secret active is fantastic for tempo. Something like Rat Trap is a great one to have active, as it’s less likely that your opponent will trigger it too early.
- Zul'jin: The new Rastakhan legendary hero card fits elegantly into Secret Hunter as a way to replay all of the Secrets and other spells you’ve cast throughout a match, for a slightly crazy but hugely valuable turn 10 play.