Basic Hearthstone Decks – Starter Lists and Tips for Hearthstone

Starting your Hearthstone career can be a bit difficult, especially if you’ve never played a card game before. I recently started playing on my EU account, and came across a lot of players that were playing bad cards that were causing them to lose games they could have won. This post should point you towards some quality basic Hearthstone decks that will get you started on a path to victory!

I am going to lean on Trump’s deck building expertise, because when I started to build my own decks they inevitably ended up being close copies of the ones he built. He also has great videos that I will include along with each starter deck so you can learn how to pilot them efficiently.

Bad Cards

One of the things I noticed as I ranked up from early levels is that people played some bad cards. I will go ahead and list them here and briefly explain why they’re bad.

Shieldbearer

While Shieldbearer has pretty good stats for a 1 mana cost minion, he usually does nothing more than absorb 4 – 5 damage. New players tend to overvalue the Taunt ability which usually comes at a cost. In this case, the cost is a minion that has no Attack stat, and requires the help of another card to allow it to take advantage of its stats. While this card was okay in a very particular deck early on in Hearthstone (Warlock Zoo) the card is now considered bad.

Silverback Patriarch

This is another card that usually just gets eaten up by better minions and is seemingly valued because of the Taunt and high Health. Compare Silverback Patriarch to Shieldbearer – for 2 extra mana you get 1 attack stat. While if you were to play Sen'jin Shieldmasta for 4 mana, you get an additional 3 stats!

Good Cards

Why are you seeing a lot of the same cards in these decks? Solid stats for the cost is the most general answer, but maybe we should go deeper.

Shattered Sun Cleric

This card used to be a 3/3 which made it absolutely bonkers. Now it doesn’t see much play in top tier decks, but it is still a very solid card. The power of this card is its ability to allow minions to “trade up.” Trading up is using a lower cost minion to trade with a higher cost minion. Say your opponent was playing one of those unfortunate Silverback Patriarch on turn 3 against your turn 2 Bloodfen Raptor. On turn 3 you play Shattered Sun Cleric and buff your Raptor and take out the Patriarch. You now have a 4/2 and a 3/2 and your opponent has nothing on board. That leaves you in a dominant board position and your opponent will be stuck playing from behind.

Chillwind Yeti and Boulderfist Ogre

There’s something called the “vanilla test” which compares the stat values to the mana cost. A card passes this test by having equal mana, attack, and health stats. Chillwind Yeti and Boulderfist Ogre pass that test but also have a bonus health stat. This allows the cards to survive trades with lower and equally costed minions. Chillwind Yeti trades and survives a battle with a 4 drop like Dark Iron Dwarf, but also beats out just about all cards below 4 mana as well (where a 5/4 would lose out to something like Kirin Tor Mage). Boulderfist Ogre beats just about all other 6 drops in the stat department and has the benefit of 6 attack stats which protects it from Big Game Hunter.

Now you might be saying to yourself: “Why aren’t these cards played in top tier decks?” As you move up in the game the requirement of a card moves passed just stats. Chillwind Yeti is outclassed by Piloted Shredder due to its ability to be hard to remove. Cards that are “sticky” are usually more valuable than cards that just have good stats. While Yeti saw some competitive play, Boulderfist Ogre has never really been used. The card is just not as good as other popular 6 drops: Fire Elemental, Emperor Thaurissan, Sylvanas Windrunner, Cabal Shadow Priest, Savannah Highmane, and Shieldmaiden.

Basic Hearthstone Decks

Mage

I’m going to start with Mage because this is the class most people start on. Mage has a lot of great class cards, and you can actually go fairly deep into the ranks with a deck full of basic Mage cards.

Standout Basic Mage Cards

Frostbolt, Water Elemental, Fireball, and Flamestrike.

Basic Mage Tips

Don’t become obsessed with your Hero Power. You do want to take advantage of the fact that you can take out a minion with one health, but you don’t want to allow your opponent to always be the one taking the initiative. You generally want to use your Hero Power while playing a Minion. If you have the option of playing a 4 mana cost card or picking off a 1 health minion with nothing to play afterwards you likely play the minion (unless it trades directly with the 1 health minion).

Try not to use your spells to do damage to your opponent’s face unless you have lethal damage. Most of the time you want to use your spells to continue to maintain your board presence. Spells do damage once, while minions are capable of doing damage every turn. There will be occasions when targeting face is correct, but this is usually reserved for when you are setting up lethal the following turn.

Basic and Free Mage Decks

Druid

Druid is a very versatile class that benefits from cards that feature the “Choose One” mechanic. It is also the feature class for mana boosting abilities referred to as “ramp.”

Standout Basic Druid Cards

Wild Growth, Innervate, Swipe, and Savage Roar.

Basic Druid Tips

Keep Wild Growth and Innervate in your Mulligan (generally one of each). If you draw Wild Growth later in the game you can save it until you have 10 mana and play it to receive: Excess Mana. Wild Growth on turn 2 into a following turn 4 mana cost minion (Chillwind Yeti, perhaps?) is very strong. Or consider the possibility of Wild Growth turn 2, next turn you have 4 mana, Innervate into Boulderfist Ogre! Having a 6/7 on turn 4 is even stronger!

Basic and Free Druid Decks

Hunter

Hunter is a departure from the typical board control play style. Due to the Hero Power doing 2 damage to the face, the class is generally more centered around getting in damage onto your opponent rather than controlling the board.

Standout Hunter Basic Cards

Animal Companion, Hunter's Mark, Kill Command, and Houndmaster.

Basic Hunter Tips

Look to weave in a Hero Power whenever you can for an easy 2 damage. Trade minions when the trade is too good to pass up. Beware of overextending into AOE cards, such as: Lightning Storm, Consecration, Hellfire, and Holy Nova. Remember, if you keep up the pressure your opponent is forced to make the trades, which allows you to continue to go for the face.

Basic and Free Hunter Decks

Paladin

Paladin is generally a Control/Midrange class that uses its Hero Power and class cards to maintain board control and slowly erode their opponents health.

Standout Paladin Basic Cards

Consecration, Truesilver Champion, Hammer of Wrath, and Blessing of Kings.

Basic Paladin Tips

When using a card like Blessing of Kings you generally want to cast it on a minion that can attack THAT turn. If you cast it on a recently summoned minion, and allow your opponent to interact with it, you might end up losing the minion and the blessing without gaining any value. An example of this would be casting Blessing of Kings on a 3/2 minion, passing the turn, then having your newly 7/6 minion get Big Game Hunter-ed. You’ve lost a turn, two cards, and now have to deal with a 4/2 minion on board.

Truesilver Champion is a great card for clearing minions and shouldn’t be wasted on going to the face.

Basic and Free Paladin Decks

Priest

Priest’s Hero Power allows it to keep minions alive which can lead to a dominant board state. Unfortunately, if you have no board to speak of the Hero Power is weak and does nothing to help you regain the board.

Standout Priest Basic Cards

Northshire Cleric, Power Word: Shield, Shadow Word: Death, Holy Nova, and Mind Control.

Basic Priest Tips

Turn 1 Northshire Cleric is generally a bad idea. This card can get you tremendous card advantage, and unless you are against a Hunter or an aggressive deck, you’ll likely want to hold onto the card until you can get at least one draw. You will generally want to target your minions with your Hero Power, keeping them alive and maintaining board control is crucial to your success as a Priest.

Basic and Free Priest Decks

Rogue

Rogue’s Hero Power is both a gift and a curse. It allows for multi-turn use for 2 mana, which is extremely mana efficient. However, it does force you to continue to use your health as a resource, and against classes like Hunter you can quickly find yourself at low health and unable to continue to control the board with weapons.

Standout Rogue Basic Cards

Backstab, Deadly Poison, and Assassin's Blade.

Basic Rogue Tips

Use that weapon of yours to take out minions! You generally don’t want to attack your opponent’s face unless you know for sure you’re about to re-equip your weapon or you’ll be for sure re-equipping it next turn. This also allows you to keep the 2 durability for using a card like Deadly Poison. Backstab is a great card for getting tempo, you take out a minion with it and are able to still play a minion afterwards. This means Backstab is a really good card to keep in your opening hand.

Basic and Free Rogue Decks

Shaman

Shaman seeks to control the board and make value trades to keep it. Flametongue Totem is a card that can be used to power the Shaman’s totems and allow for efficient trading. Keep in mind there are 4 different totems, once you have 1 on the board your Hero Power will only summon 1 of the other 3. So when you have all 4 totems on board, you can no longer utilize your Hero Power. This is rarely an issue, there is one other caveat to this rule. If you were to have one of your totems sent to your hand, you will then be able to roll that totem again and play the one from your hand as usual.

Shaman’s Totems: Healing Totem, Searing Totem, Stoneclaw Totem, and Wrath of Air Totem.

Standout Shaman Basic Cards

Rockbiter Weapon, Flametongue Totem, Hex, and Fire Elemental.

Basic Shaman Tips

Use your totems to gain and keep board control. Whether this means utilizing Flametongue Totem, or getting use out of your Wrath of Air Totem. Searing Totem can help finish off minions, while Healing Totem can help save your minions for another battle.

Hex is a great removal spell so save it for high priority target. Keep in mind you can use Hex on your OWN minions. Why would you do this? Say you know your opponent has a card like Leeroy Jenkins in their hand. You have no taunts and are at 6 health. You can Hex your own minion creating a 0/1 Taunt and potentially live for another turn. It’s a rare circumstance, but it’s still good to know!

There are times where you’ll want to play a turn ahead. What this means is potentially trading your Searing Totem into a 4 health minion on turn 5, so you can follow it up with a Fire Elemental and finish the minion off on turn 6.

Basic and Free Shaman Decks

Warlock

Warlock has arguably the best Hero Power in the game. The ability to gain card advantage is always a huge edge for players. This does lead Warlock to having fewer strong Basic class cards. You will notice as you go farther in Hearthstone that a deck like Handlock has very few Warlock cards, and instead utilizes the Hero Power and strong Neutral cards to compete. This doesn’t mean that Warlock has all bad cards, the class currently has multiple deck types spanning all styles of play: Aggro, Control, and Midrange.

Standout Warlock Basic Cards

SoulfireVoidwalker, and Hellfire.

Basic Warlock Tips

If you’ve been watching Trump’s videos you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Life is a Resource” many times. Warlock is the poster child for this type of play. You use your life to gain cards, which will eventually run your opponent out of answers and win you the game. The important lesson is to know that regardless of what your life total ends up being it only matters that your opponent’s ends at 0.

If you’re going to use your Hero Power you should use this ability BEFORE you do anything else. You could draw a card that would fit the situation better, and if you play cards first you might not have enough mana to utilize it.

Basic and Free Warlock Decks

Soulfire has since had its mana cost increased to 1 which is why you see it as 0 in the video.

Warrior

Warrior is the premiere weapons class. It has one of the best early game board control weapons in Fiery War Axe which is available to you right away. You’ll also notice that Warrior tends to revolve around the idea of minions being damaged or already damaged. You can see examples of this with Execute and Slam. Warrior has classically been known as a control class due to its hero power.

Standout Warrior Basic Cards

ExecuteFiery War Axe, Kor'kron Elite, and Arcanite Reaper.

Basic Warrior Tips

Just like in Rogue you should be using your weapons to maintain board control. Fiery War Axe is going to generally keep you stable in the early game, and allow you to increase your board advantage while you use your face to take out minions.

If you’re going to use a weapon to take out a minion, you should do this BEFORE you use your Hero Power or a card to gain armor. Having more armor is better than having health. Your Health is capped at 30, while armor can go well passed that number. Armor is also used for cards like Shield Slam, and having less health helps cards like Battle Rage and Mortal Strike. This also helps against a card like Alexstrasza which can reduce your health but doesn’t change your armor.

Basic and Free Warrior Decks

Feel free to comment below if you have questions or additional tips that I may have missed!

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