Today we're going to focus on hunters. Normally in World of Warcraft, I scoff at hunters. Why? Well, just because I can. I know hunters and priests don't exactly have a rivalry the way mages and warlocks do so no one will really understand it. With Hearthstone, that's a different story. The hunter class is one of the few classes that I main. I run an aggressive beast mastery deck in ranked play. One of the staple cards I use is Animal Companion. This card is also a part of the basic hunter deck so no booster pack luck is needed to draw him. Hunter loyalists can obtain the gold version of this card at level 40.
Playing with Animal Companion
When the card is played, it gives you a 1 of 3 different beasts that correspond with Rexxar's beast companions back during the Warcraft III: Frozen Throne expansion Orc campaign:
Leokk - Of the three beast companions, Leokk provides the most utility. I feel that Leokk is the "weakest" in terms of head to head but if you can play Leokk with beasts on the board, you're in a great position. If Leokk is by his lonesome, he's fairly weak. He'll still do a decent job picking off any of your opponent's low health minions though.
Huffer - Reminds me of Pumba, don't you think? This porky guy is a 4/2 bruiser that can go toe to toe with other 4 health minions at a fairly low cost -- If you're lucky enough to draw into him. Otherwise, he'll serve as a quick 4 damage to the face. Poor Huffer often doesn't last more than a turn or two. With only 2 health, he isn't quite as durable as Leokk or Misha.
Misha - Ah, the bear tank! Can't count the amount of times this lucky guy has saved my bacon. He trades extremely well against other minions often in a 1 for 2 situation. He comes with a taunt and is a 4/4. He'll draw attention and buy you time to set up your board for a favorable outcome.
How many copies of Animal Companion should you play with? Definitely two copies. With Animal Companion being only 3 mana, you can afford it. It does take a bit of luck though and there's nothing you can really do to influence it. All three are considered beasts and are affected by cards like Timber Wolf and Houndmaster.
Playing against Animal Companion
Your best bet against dealing with minions like this with utility is outright removal. A Kill Command with a beast on the board will take out of any of these. Warlock's Soul Fire will also do the job. But in the event you don't have any removal at your disposal, you can opt for silence effects (like Spellbreaker) to at least render their bonuses useless and play around them. Silence Misha, and you'll have a straight shot to your opponent's face. Silence Leokk and he's just another 2/4 body that's just in the way who doesn't have the buff capability any longer. Silence Huffer and... well, nothing really happens.
That's the Animal Companion for you! You'll never know which one you get, but it certainly is bound to help you when you need it!
Check out other previously featured cards!