If you skim stat aggregation websites like HSReplay.net, Mech Hunter looks formidable. The aggressive mech deck boasts extremely impressive ladder winrates. But dig a little deeper, and things start to look a little shaky. While the deck performs great at lower ranks, it tapers off rapidly. At the highest level, it’s rarely seen at all. What gives? Why does Mech Hunter struggle at high level?
For an aggro deck, Mech Hunter doesn’t run that much burn. Sure, it has a few Goblin Bombs, Leeroy and the Hunter hero power. But the raw aggressive power of the deck doesn’t come from these. And unlike other tempo decks, its cards and minions are not overwhelmingly efficient. Instead, it seeks to push its aggressive gameplan with sticky mechs to land Magnetic buffs onto.
However this gameplan has a fatal flaw against top-tier decks; what happens if you don’t have a mech to Magnetise onto? If your opponent can consistently make sure Mechs aren’t sticking to the board, then the deck loses a huge amount of its power. After all, if you’ve lost the board, Wargear is just another 5/5. Canny opponents recognise this, and both play and mulligan to deny your crucial early Magnetic plays by killing all your mechs.
As well as better counterplay, higher level decks often have better tech options to counter the Mech Hunter’s very limited gameplan. Ample removal and board control options deny their mechs, but there’s a variety of other strong counters. Freeze effects can also shut down the snowballing of magnetic effects, as can big taunts when they don’t have a Magnetic target for Venomizer or Spider Bomb.
However, there’s one tech in particular that shuts down Mech Hunter: Silence. A well timed Ironbeak Owl, Spellbreaker or similar silence-like effect like a Sap can often destroy massive amounts of tempo and leave the Hunter behind for the rest of the game. And in a world of Twilight Drakes, Edwins and Banana-Buffoon buffs, Silence is extremely valuable. So even if Mech Hunter isn’t common, Silence is still there to shut it down.
Skill ceiling differential
Finally, there’s one more major barrier to Mech Hunter’s success at the top end. The current most powerful decks in the meta have an extremely high skill ceiling. Decks like Tempo Rogue and Cyclone Mage have a huge amount of decision-making and difficult gameplay options. This makes them weaker in the hands of newer players but deadly when wielded by pros.
Mech Hunter, by contrast, simply doesn’t have that many options. Its more midrange gameplan does have magnetic decision-making, but its aggressive style is largely straightforward. There are fewer ways for skillful players to exploit the deck to pull ahead.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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