Best Duels Starter Decks For All Classes – Duels Season 1 (Wizard Duels) 12 Wins Deck Lists

Duels is one of Hearthstone’s game modes, released back in October 2020. For many expansions now players have asked for a new version of Dungeon Run, and we’ve finally got it… sort of. Instead of the usual routine of facing AI bosses, in Duels player will get to experience a Dungeon Run-style gameplay against other players.

In this article, we’ve compiled some of the strongest Duels decks for each class. If you’re looking for a way to get 12 wins in the format – this post should be a great first step. While starter decks aren’t everything, things like draft buckets or Passives / Treasures offered are also very important too, a good starter deck ensures a smooth start and a good foundation to build upon. Since the buckets offered are based on the cards already in your deck, a good starter deck also ensures a better drafting experience.

Keep in mind that Duels is a new game mode and it’s still in being worked on. We’ll try to keep this list up to date after every patch. Additionally, Duels should be updated with a completely new set of Hero Power & Treasures every expansion – so expect major changes after every new set launches.

Table of Content

Click on the class you want to get to the decks more quickly!

And here are out other Duels resources:

Demon Hunter (Star Student Stelina)

Despite the nerfs, Outlander is still the most used Demon Hunter Hero Power for one simple reason – it can get you through the early stages of your Duels run easily by dealing a lot of extra damage. However, now that it’s not a passive, you need to think twice before using it – if you don’t plan to use many left-most or right-most cards, then it’s not worth spending 1 mana on it (however, realistically even 1-2 damage for 1 mana is already good enough).

This build uses the new Signature Treasure – Blade of Quickening. It’s a nice mix of offense and value – after all, 4/2 weapon is quite valuable in a deck that wants to kill the opponent as quickly as possible, but it’s the extra card draw that makes it a great Treasure. Drawing multiple Outcast cards can lead to some insane late game plays, where you activate your Hero Power and then drop 3-4 cards while activating their Outcast effects. Or play Altruis the Outcast and then unleash your entire hand, usually just sealing the game.

Druid (Forest Warden Omu)

After the introduction of new Hero Powers & Treasures in Darkmoon Races, Druid decks have mostly shifted focus towards Token builds. The new Harvest Time! Hero Power has two main uses. The first, although much less used one, is removal. If your opponent plays a big minion, you can turn it into 2x 2/2. Since you can’t easily answer huge minions, it can come handy to either get rid of something like Warlock’s Killmox, the Banished One or maybe a big Taunt that ‘s standing in your way. However, you will target your own minions with the Hero Power much more commonly. For example, on Turn 1 you can play Tour Guide and Hero Power it to end up with 2x 2/2 on the board. You can also use it to trigger your Deathrattle minions, such as Nerubian Egg – not only you get 2x 2/2 for destroying it, it also summons a 4/4 minion. And in the worst case scenario, you can just turn a single 2/2 into two 2/2’s – so it’s essentially a 2 mana Hero Power that summons a 2/2 minion.

In a regular Token Druid fashion, you want to flood the board and then finish the game with some AoE buffs like Power of the Wild, Savage Roar or the new Arbor Up. Another way to win would be creating a big board and dropping Soul of the Forest so that your minions can persist through AoEs and then just smack your opponent with whatever you have. Or, technically, you could do both. This strategy is especially good against decks with limited means of clearing the board, then you can kill them out of nowhere with your massive burst.

While it no longer sees much play, I’m still leaving the older, slower build in case you want to try it out instead. The main goal of that build is to use Invigorating Bloom a couple of times to discount your expensive cards. This way you sacrifice early/mid game tempo to drop a massive push around turn 5-6. The best case scenario is playing Survival of the Fittest into a buffed Strongman and then dropping either Guardian Animals or a Corrupted Carnival Clown the turn after. While it’s slow and requires a lot of setup, if you stumble upon a matchup that allows you to do it, it’s a nearly guaranteed win.

Hunter (Professor Slate)

Even though both Death Games Hero Power and Bonecrusher Signature Treasure got nerfed, Hunter’s basic strategy didn’t really change much. It just switched the nerfed Bonecrusher for another Deathrattle-based minion – Deathstrider – and a nerf to Hero Power is not that big of a deal. The only real difference is that Deathstrider builds want to run some Deathrattle minions that don’t summon anything – otherwise you might run into board space issues after playing it in later matches (after it’s already upgraded). That’s why you see less minions like Kindly Grandmother or maybe Savannah Highmane and more stuff like Mad Scientist or Darkmoon Tonk (which, by the way, can lead to some really crazy burst turns later in the game).

But besides that, the main goal of the deck remains the same. In the early game, you want to stick one of your Deathrattles – particularly the ones that summon bigger minions (Nerubian Egg, Bloated Python) and keep triggering them with your Hero Power. The best thing about it is that even if you just drop them on curve, your opponnent will be forced to deal with them so you don’t gain a lot of tempo & value from your HP. Still, ideally you want to wait until you can play one of those alongside a Hero Power to get something immediately. Tour Guide and Carrion Studies help with that tremendously. With Tour Guide, you can drop it on T1 and then have HP ready for when you play one of the aforementioned minions (or even something else like Kindly Grandmother – that 3/2 is good enough). Carrion Studies is not as good for that role, but it still makes the combo 1 mana cheaper, so you can e.g. play a 2-drop and Studies on T3 and then Python + HP on T4.

If you don’t win in the early game, you always have late game Darkmoon Tonk gameplan. Sometimes playing Tonk + Hero Power is good enough to finish the game – and if it sticks on turn you can drop another Hero Power + Deathstrider + attack with it, providing you with A LOT of burst damage. Because of Animated Broomstick addition, your board control is also slightly better now – you can e.g. drop a few minions and give them Rush to trigger their Deathrattles immediately. Or you can trigger a Deathrattle of your Egg/Python and give the 4/4 Rush to clear something in the early game, establishing board dominance.

Mage (Mozaki, Master Duelist)

Mage seems to be the most consistent class in Duels right now, performing really well after Darkmoon Races. While previously Wyrm Bolt was a basic, go-to Hero Power, it changed and now nearly every build plays Frost Shards instead. Not only it’s 1 damage for 1 mana (which can also target opponent’s Hero), but whenever you play it, you add a 1 mana 1/1 that Freezes on attack to your hand. The Hero Power is very efficient – not only it can fill your your awkward turns during which you would float 1 mana, but the Ice Shards can do exactly the same thing. Them Freezing whatever they hit makes it a bit awkward for the opponent to deal with them – and you can use them to stall bigger minions from attacking you. Additionally, they’re Elementals, which is very important for any kinds of synergies – such as Grand Finale, now basically an auto-include, as it can easily summon multiple 8/8’s as a finisher (just play a few Ice Shards one turn and then Finale the turn after).

As for the Signature Treasure – there’s no single one that’s universally considered to be the best. I feel like Embercaster is the best one because of its value / burn potential (e.g. playing it with Fireball adds three more to your hand, meaning that you can usually burst your opponent down over the next two turns). Another good combo is playing it with Ring Toss and then having Secrets for days (which you can turn into cards with Sayge, Seer of Darkmoon). However, I’ve seen literally every single Treasure used in similar builds, so the choice is up to you.

The second build is an older Secret Mage, which is… still sort pretty viable, if you want to try something different. Previously, Secret Studies was really useless at 2 mana – now at 1 mana it’s much more interesting. Not only drawing card for 1 mana with HP is already good, but you specifically draw cards that synergize well with your deck. The deck’s main strength is value – later in the game, as you draft more Secrets, you can keep using the Hero Power and basically never run out of cards. Even once you run out of them, Sayge, Seer of Darkmoon can probably draw the rest of your deck in one go. As long as you get some extra Secret synergies, it can really work wonders. And the best thing is that you don’t need to worry about fatigue thanks to Infinite Arcane Treasure – normally you would run out of cards very quickly in the first matches, but with that Treasure you can go for as long as you need.

Paladin (Turalyon, the Tenured)

Sadly, despite multiple buffs, Paladin still seems to be the weakest Duels class. It’s hard to find a single 12 wins run online, so I had to settle on 11 Wins build – which of course could as well get to 12 with a bit more luck.

The first build is new, taking advantage of the Modest Aspirations Hero Power. What’s good about is it that it’s pretty flexible. It’s essentially Dark Conviction you can use every single turn without a card, which is actually not bad. It has two main uses – buffing your own minions and debuffing your opponent’s. As for the first application, it works best on small minions with some sort of extra effect – e.g. Argent Squire (turns it into a 3/3 with Divine Shield) or Nerubian Egg (it’s easy to trigger the Deathrattle now that you can attack with it). The second use is to get rid of your opponent’s big minions. The Hero Power means that whenever they drop something huge, you can deal with it – e.g. turning an 8/8 into a 3/3 for just 2 mana is a really good deal. Other than that, the deck relies on Royal Greatsword for damage and pulling out big minions, including Ragnaros, Lightlord and Tirion Fordring.

The second deck relies on Drocomurchanicas, which works best with “Menagerie” style of decks, preferably those running N'Zoth, God of the Deep. Dragon itself is probably the best part of the deck – 4 mana 4/6 that draws 3 cards is already insane, but when it discounts all the drawn cards it becomes even better. Of course – during the early matches it might miss some draws because you only run a couple of each minion type (Circus Amalgam fills any gaps, but you might also draw it before Droco), but even drawing 2 is good enough. N’Zoth is your biggest threat and finisher – you should be able to revive at least 3-4 different minions, including some Taunts, making it quite good option to stop the aggression (as long as you survive until T10, that is). Later in the game, reviving Droco provides even more value in case N’Zoth won’t do the job.

But of course, there’s still your Hero Power alternative win condition, which comes handy especially during the first couple of games. If you draw Goody Two-Shields or possibly Darkmoon Dirigible and it dies, then you can keep reviving it with Hero Power for 2 mana. Both are strong because of Divine Shield – getting a 3/1 or 4/1 with Divine Shield for 2 mana every turn can get you through the mid game while you start making some preparations for N’Zoth play.

Priest (Mindrender Illucia)

Priest’s gameplay hasn’t really changed ever since Duels was released. The class toolkit promotes Control play style – other kinds of synergies aren’t available for the class in the current rotation or simply don’t work. However, if you like the slow, grindy games, then Priest is going to be a great option. The gameplay is basically the same thing you’re doing with Priest in Standard – removing everything your opponent plays (and possibly stealing some minions), generating a lot of extra resources and staying alive. With C'thun, the Shattered in your deck, the goal is to outlast your opponent and then possibly drop C’Thun on them. Healing from Hero Power comes handy against more aggressive opponents, but the biggest downside is limited AoE board clears. While you can do some work with Wild Pyromancer & Holy Nova, you have no way to deal with bigger boards of 3+ health minions (other than stalling with Wave of Apathy). So your goal is to not let that happen and try to keep the board in check all the time.

Out of the two builds posted here, the one running Joras Thuldoom actually has a proactive win condition thanks to it. The goal is to drop it and then heal yourself up / inflict self-damage (e.g. with Pen Flinger) at least two times. A single Joras turns into 2, 2 turn into 4 and 4 fill the entire board. Triggering it twice means that you have 4x 4/4 on the board and any of them surviving means that you can keep copying them. Sometimes you can also revive it with Rally! and do the same thing again,

But truth to be told, either build can also run Fractured Spirits or Droplet of Insanity – the gameplay will vary slightly, but your end goal will be similar.

Rogue (Infiltrator Lilian)

Most of the Rogue builds used to run Connections Hero Power, but it got nerfed a while ago. Then, the new Hero Power isn’t particularly good, so players all went back to Roguish Maneuvers. And since that Hero Power combos best with Deadly Weapons 101, despite some people testing out different Treasures, Maneuvers + Deadly Weapons is the go-to Rogue combo once again.

The deck looks quite similar to the Constructed Aggro Weapon Rogue, and your goal is the same. Because of Hero Power and weapon buffs, you can build a big weapon – and the best thing is that weapon removal isn’t very popular in this format. Getting a massive weapon is quite easy given that you always have access to 2/2 weapon for 1 mana thanks to the Hero Power. Slap in +2/+2 buff, possibly add Nitroboost Poison / Deadly Poison / Vulpera Toxinblade and now you can get benefit from other synergies, such as 0 mana Dread Corsair, Steeldancer summoning a random big minion or Cutting Class 0-1 mana etc. You want to pick as many ways to buff weapons and cards that synergize with big weapons along the way.

But the best thing about a high Attack weapon is that it can really carry you through a few first matches. Just your Hero Power + Deadly Weapons 101 is a 4/4 weapon, 16 damage in total ignoring everything else. It’s really easy to just kill your opponent over a few turns. As health pools grow, it’s much harder to just kill them with weapon alone, but it’s still a massive chunk of damage that your opponent might have a hard time dealing with (again, weapon destruction is uncommon, so Taunting up is the best thing they can do most of the time, and you should find some ways to deal with those too).

Shaman (Instructor Fireheart)

After Shaman’s dominance early in Duels, when Totemic Power Hero Power summoned two Totems at once, the class has fallen out of favor… until recently. Darkmoon Races has brought it back big time with the new Hero Power + Treasure combo – Stormcatcher + Chaos Storm. The former means that you can’t ever Overload, making all Overload cards way, way more effective. Even the bad ones like Forked Lightning or Earth Elemental, which normally suffered from way too high Overload cost, are now totally playable. And the second one – Chaos Storm – benefits from having a deck full of Overload cards and can be a massive source of value. The synergy between those two is extraordinary.

As you can imagine, in a world without Overload, a big part of your deck is made of Overload cards. While there are a few ways to build it, cards like Lightning Bloom (which is now a pre-nerf Innervate without any downside) or Flamewreathed Faceless (4 mana 7/7 which doesn’t make your next turn weaker) are simply auto-include. You can curve out with something like 2x 2/3 Taunt on T3 into 7/7 on T4 into 7/8 Taunt on T5, and then possibly burst your opponent down with Doomhammer, Lightning Bolt or Lava Burst. While it doesn’t have as high potential as some other Hero Powers/Treasures, the build’s main upside is consistency. Since Hero Power is passive and improves ~2/3 of your deck, you will see its constant benefits every single game.

Warlock (Archwitch Willow)

Despite the nerf to Killmox, the Banished One (which now gets “only” +1/+1 per Discard instead of +2/+2) and the introduction of new Hero Powers / Treasures, Discard Warlock is still for the most part a way to go. The nerf didn’t seen to do enough and it’s simply the most consistent way to play the deck because of the constant cycling / card draw. Killmox, while being a strong card, is not the only reason why the class worked so well in Duels. The fact that you get a targeted Discard + Draw for 1 mana as your Hero Power means that all kinds of Discard synergies (Malchezaar's Imp, Boneweb Egg, Silverware Golem) get MUCH stronger. And Killmox still helps with the same thing – it’s a Discard outlet, you can constantly pick it and buff it while drawing extra cards. Yes, it grows slower. For example, instead of 17/17 it will now be a 10/10. But the thing is that a 10/10 with Rush and Lifesteal is still good enough most of the time.

As for the specific build – it’s really standard, there are a few variations, but they differ by 1-2 cards at most. Discard syneriges + some Soul Fragment generators / synergies (with low decks and a lot of cycling, Soul Fragments are great just to heal up against Aggro decks), some removal and finally a C'thun, the Shattered, which adds an extra win condition and 4 extra cards to the deck so you don’t get to fatigue as quickly. Nerfs didn’t impact the deck list itself, only made it SLIGHTLY weaker.

However, if you’re already bored of Discard Warlock and you want to try something else, I’ve posted an alternative build – but keep in mind that it wasn’t tested at 12 wins (at least as far as I know). That build is based around Soul Fragment synergies with Hero Power that adds a lot of extra tempo to drawing them. Summoning a Flame Imp every time you draw one combined with multiple ways of shuffling them as well as solid card draw to cycle through your deck. Then, Joras Thuldoom can also lead to some high-rolls – e.g. if you combine it with Backfire, the chances are that you will end up with a full board (first trigger from Backfire, then possibly two more triggers from drawing Soul Fragments). Your alternative win condition is Envoy Rustwix shuffling three random Primes into your deck – it works best during your first few matches when your deck is still small and you have a very high chance of drawing Primes (which are obviously much more powerful than your average draw).

Warrior (Rattlegore)

Right now, there are two basic ways to play Warrior in duels. The first one is a good, old, trusted No Guts, No Glory + Auto-Armaments combo. Those two synergize together nicely, you can immediately activate it (drawing a card) and make it a 4/5 for just 1 extra mana. Now, there is no one single “best” deck list and different players prefer different things. Most of them run some sort of “Enrage” synergies, since you can damage your own minions, making cards like Armorsmith, Frothing Berserker or Grommash Hellscream more useful. Your goal is to play quite aggressively and then finish the game with Grommash burst.

Alternatively, the Hero Power can also be used to control the board – pinging opponent’s minions when they’re at 1 health also gives you extra Armor. This is particularly powerful against aggressive decks running 1 health minions, or something like Mage’s Frost Shards Hero Power (your Hero Power gives you a nice way to clear them off).

The second, new way to play Warrior is Bomb build. While no actual, Bomb generator cards (Wrenchcalibur, Clockwork Goblin) are available in Duels, the new Hero Power simply shuffled the Bombs into your opponent’s deck passively (Magnetic Mines) – as long as you have Armor. It’s a really powerful, long term win condition, because if you build a Control Warrior deck you usually end up shuffling a Bomb every turn – essentially dealing a delayed 5 damage while doing nothing. The Signature Treasure that combos with it incredibly well is Scrapmetal Demolitionist. Not only it shuffles Bombs itself (starts with one, but upgrades as you get further into your run), but it also gives you Armor, guaranteeing another Bomb from Hero Power. Neat! As long as you control the board and keep at least some Armor, you will win the game in the long run.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply

22 Comments

  1. JoyDivision
    February 17, 2021 at 4:29 am

    Regarding Priest:

    ‘…you have no way to deal with bigger boards of 3+ health minions (other than stalling with Wave of Apathy)…’

    Shadow Word: Ruin is in the 2nd Priest deck!?

    ‘… Sometimes you can also revive it [Joras Thuldoom] with Rally!…’

    I don’t understand … Joras costs 4?

  2. Gondanu
    February 16, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    that rogue deck fells like garbage

  3. Doyler29
    February 12, 2021 at 11:05 am

    Any plans to update this? It’s kind of irrelevant after the last update.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      February 17, 2021 at 12:54 am

      Sorry it took so long. With so many things constantly coming to Hearthstone over the last few months we’ve been really busy. New game modes, new formats, regular expansions, mini-sets, progression system update, now the core set etc. There are so many things to constantly update that I don’t know where to start so I have to delay/ignore some stuff and take care of the others first.

  4. Manfredman
    December 23, 2020 at 12:12 am

    It would be nice to be able to play casual and heroic separatedly from another. There would be more experimenting going on if this were possible.

  5. Rickert von F
    December 22, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    I decided to use a pass for a free heroic run. I had literally never played a game with Killmox before (it still said “New” on the selection screen from when I unlocked it), but I’m already 8-1 with this Warlock decklist. The one game I lost was the only game where I didn’t draw Killmox. There was another game where I was in trouble, but then my opponent played something that made us both draw cards, and then I drew Killmox, so I ended up winning after all. It’s completely broken when you have it with that hero power.

    • Joris
      December 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      You are right, I think they should further nerf the combo. It would help to have the hero power “look at 3 cards” instead of 4, which increases the risk of discarding something usefull.

      Though I would be very interested to look at win rate statistics per class + deck + HP + treasure. I hope hsreplay adds it soon, even only to know that warlock is as overpowered as it seems.

  6. DemianHS
    December 21, 2020 at 4:45 am

    This is so good. Thanks for your work guys!! Now i’m excited to play Duels! *-*

  7. NototoHoshi
    November 23, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    When it comes to Rogue using the Nerubian treasure… isnt Secret Passage a no-brainer include? The combo of these two cards basically gives you -2 discount on your entire hand (it doesnt work on the cards you draw, but rather it applies on the cards that return to your hand at the end of the turn).

    • NototoHoshi
      November 23, 2020 at 11:15 pm

      Oh and also (too bad its not possible to edit posts, have to write another one):
      In my experience, the deathrattle hunter deck is really really good with a Tour Guide in it. Usually what you want to do is to play deathrattle minion and immediately trigger it. Tour Guide allows you to set up for some sick turns (like turn 1 Tour Guide, turn 2 Nerubian Egg + hero power).

      • Joris
        December 28, 2020 at 2:11 pm

        The only disadvantage of tour guide is that it is a 1-health minion. There are several hero powers that benefit from killing it (mage, warrior, demon hunter).

  8. Skoma
    November 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    anything i can replace grommash with?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      November 22, 2020 at 7:32 am

      Eh, it’s hard to replace, because the card is AMAZING in the early games with this HP (late game burst for over half of your opponent’s health). But I would probably run something like Kor’kron Elite instead.

  9. Jed
    October 31, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Lets be honest, biggest disappointment with duels is that there isnt a RAAAAAAATTLEGOORRRREEEE emote for warrior

  10. Akyoni1
    October 31, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Warrior says razorgore instead of rattlegore

    • Tharid
      November 2, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Oh, thanks! My WoW Classic inner self got ahead of himself 🙂

  11. Votum
    October 27, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Mistake in Daemon Hunter desk!
    Kayn Sunfury is not available in duels mode.

  12. Aiafa
    October 26, 2020 at 3:25 am

    Devolving missiles works very well with Mozaki’s hero power, especially in the early and mid game.

    • Tharid
      October 26, 2020 at 8:54 am

      It’s a great card to add to the list with early- to mid-run buckets, but I think it’s just not good enough in a 15-card deck!

  13. Zombie69
    October 25, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    A bunch of Hunter secrets and no Mad Scientist? That’s got to be a mistake!

    • Tharid
      October 26, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Nope! I actually think that in this Aggro/Tempo version of a deck, Mad Scientist is kinda too slow for the first few rounds of Duels. And in two of my three rounds with Hunter, I took it in the second or third bucket once my deck was bigger and Tempo/damage didn’t matter that much anymore.