With a single-minded focus on hero damage, Face Hunter aims to defeat the opponent in the early game before they are able to build a defense. As such, it emphasizes unstoppable damage from the Hero Power , and Charge minions like . Face Hunter aims to deal strong damage during the early rounds, before using direct damage, burst, and board momentum to finish off the opponent.
Face Hunter is named for its focus on the enemy hero (the "face"), and not the opponent's minions. Instead of making good value trades, the deck prioritizes attacking the opponent's face, and forcing the opponent make the trade instead. The idea is that the all out damage strategy becomes so relentless, the damage to the opponent's face is "free", as they will be forced to trade back into the Face Hunter's minions. Of course, there are situations where trading is still advised, for instance trading a into a to stop the latter from killing .
The composition of a Face Hunter deck provides little longevity beyond the early game, making it important to capitalize on its potential as soon as possible. With no card draw mechanisms, Face Hunter will usually fail if evaded for too long, or if momentum is successfully halted.
To counter this, Face Hunter uses direct damage to close games. This mainly comes from the Hero Power , a consistent source of damage which the opponent is almost entirely unable to prevent. Cards like provide a more substantial burst of closing damage, while smaller sources of unstoppable damage like help to slowly wear the opponent down. These are effective in closing games even if the opponent has several sturdy Taunts on the board; if they do not, the hunter can use minions (especially with Charge) to burst the opponent down.
Face Hunter is a fast deck that tends to have very short games in comparison to control decks such as Handlock. This can allow successful players to increase their ranking in Ranked mode more quickly than usual.
With its emphasis on face damage, Face Hunter is often characterised as a mindless and extremely simple deck to play. Its rapid victories when successful have also helped to create frustration for opponents, with a sense of helplessness against an opponent who seemingly wins regardless of the state of the board. The Face Hunter is especially powerful against Midrange decks that do not feature early-game stabilizing mechanisms, such as Jade Druid.
With Descent of Dragons, the multitude of Hero Power-based cards like and gave Face Hunter more tools to go face.
One of the strongest counters to Face Hunter is to counter the erosion of the player's Health. The best consistent sources of this are Hero Powers - the priest's and the warrior's . These can allow the player to directly counter , preventing the hunter from wearing the player down to within reach of lethal.
Early Taunts are an obvious block to the Face Hunter's onslaught, although be aware of the potential of the hunter to quickly remove or Silence the Taunts, or simply reach over them with direct damage.
While the above counters rely on opposing the Face Hunter's play, another very effective approach is to play aggressively, attacking the Face Hunter before it can attack you, with an early game deck of your own. Defusing the hunter's damage potential can be hard with so many direct damage and Charge options, so the player might instead focus on destroying the Face Hunter as quickly as possible, emulating the Face Hunter's own strategy.
Face Hunters are generally helpless against the Dragon Priest archetype (due to the ready availability of cheap and effective taunts, board clears and heals), and tends to fare poorly against Freeze Mage and Zoolock.
Wild cards that fit well into this deck type:
- The Face Hunter's popularity has spawned a number of memes and phrases, such as "Always ", "Taste my skill", and "Face is the place with the helpful hardware folks".
- The Face Hunter credo was epitomised by the fan-created parody song "FACE NEVER TRADE" [language warning]. The song's lyrics express the philosophy and strategic stylings of SMOrc, a Twitch emote often associated with Face Hunter, mentioning standard plays such as topdecking exactly the right card, always getting Huffer from , and completely ignoring the state of the board. Its repeated chorus lines "Everybody got faces/Me choose to go face/Me don't need to trade/Everybody got faces/Everybody knows that the face is the place" and "If the face plays Taunt/Me still go face" caricatures the deck's mindless stereotype and seeming unstoppability.
- Whirthun on Twitter. (2015-07-14).