Best Duels Starter Decks For All Classes – 12 Wins Deck Lists (United in Stormwind, September 2021)

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 players 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 still in “Beta” and we are supposed to get new Heroes, treasures etc. every now and then. The game mode was supposed to be updated with new Hero Powers very commonly, but it looks like Blizzard has dropped those plans. Still, we’ll try to keep this list up to date after every expansion and major patch.

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)

When it comes to Demon Hunter, the class has a few distinct possibilities and they’re all playable, but sadly none of them is really great right now.

The first build is a Burn deck with an added twist. It uses the new Stormwind Questline card – Final Showdown. Ideally, you want to get a Fireshaper passive, which will add a lot of damage to your combos. Now, the goal is to cycle through the deck and play all the burn cards you have. The deck is capable of doing tons of damage, and also drawing it quite easily. You don’t expect to really finish your Questline in your first games, so don’t worry about that – the discounts you get from step 1 and possibly step 2 just mean that you will be able to burn your opponent down faster. For the most part, ignore their board and hit them in the face.

Second one is token – it relies on summoning lots of small tokens and then “sacrificing” them for some extra effects. When it comes to token generators – the most basic one is your Hero Power. You can summon 2x 1/1 with Rush any time for 2 mana, which isn’t the most efficient way to get them out, but it’s a solid way to build up a board and get some trades. Then you have cards such as Coordinated Strike, Command the Illidari and Expendable Performers. As you can see, they scale up quite well. But they would be pretty bad without pay-offs – cards like Feast of Souls, Wrathscale Naga or Blood Herald make you summoning and/or killing off multiple small minions much stronger. Your Treasure is one of your biggest win conditions – since you’re killing off a lot of small minions every turn, it often becomes 5+ damage for 3 mana and you can keep reusing it as long as you cast it from Outcast position. For example, Expendable Performers + Treasure often becomes a board clear and 10+ burst damage.

Druid (Forest Warden Omu)

Druid has only one truly viable way to play and it’s tokens. Luckily, the strategy got a big boost in Stormwind, so if you’re into this kind of playstyle, it’s a solid choice! Harvest Time! Hero Power is by far the best one, thanks to its flexibility. You can either use it to develop your own board, while possibly triggering Deathrattles at the same time… or to neutralize your opponent’s big threats. When you play this deck, your opponent’s biggest minion will always be 2x 2/2 if you choose to, and that’s way easier to clear than e.g. an 8/8. Other than that, you play it like a regular Token Druid – you want to create a big board presence, then throw in some AoE buffs and hopefully finish the game with attack boosters, such as Savage Roar or Arbor Up (which is excellent even if you don’t finish your opponent with it). This build in particular runs one extra win condition – Greybough. The card can be really strong if your opponent has no way to neutralize its effect (e.g. through silence or transform).

If Tokens aren’t your thing and you still want to play Druid, I put in a second build – Taunt Druid. The problem with slow Druid decks is that they often die early and can’t get far into the run because they don’t do much for the first X turns. In this case, the deck’s author decided to rely on Taunts in order to survive the aggression. You can have a consistent Taunt curve starting with Turn 2, and then possibly revive a bunch of them with either of N’Zoths. Sadly, if you don’t encounter aggressive decks, you can run into builds that outvalue you or win through other ways, and defensive Taunt minions aren’t best at putting pressure. Still, it’s an option.

Hunter (Professor Slate)

Hunter has only one basic strategy and it hasn’t changed in months – Deathrattle. Death Games is by far the best Hero Power of the class, for just 2 mana you can get some really crazy Deathrattle effects. Even in the early game, Nerubian Egg or Devilsaur Egg are great examples of big tempo wins. Triggering them one extra time is already a big deal, and it just gets better as the game goes by. Previously, you played Bonecrusher, but after it got nerfed you run Deathstrider instead, which is also pretty solid, maybe even better in some cases. It’s like your Hero Power on steroids – if you stick a strong Deathrattle and then drop Strider (especially a buffed one, because it starts with 1 trigger, but gets stronger later into the run), you can win your games without them ever getting to late game because of a massive tempo win. The best thing about Deathstrider is that you can trigger the same Deathrattle multiple times, so e.g. coining out Egg on T1 and then dropping Deathstrider on T2 can mean an instant game win later into the run. And that’s your strategy throughout – try to stick Deathrattles and then trigger them with HP and your cards. Opponents will be forced to kill them if possible, often wasting resources, and you will still get their effect anyway. For example – if your opponent is forced to use removal on your 0/2 Egg, then it’s still good for you – they wasted resources and you got a 2 mana 4/4.

Mage (Mozaki, Master Duelist)

When it comes to Mage, the class strategies are all over the place, but sadly none of them is working incredibly well.

It looks like the most consistent one is the new Questline Mage – since your starting deck has a pretty small pool of cards and you can thin it even further with your Hero Power, finishing the Questline becomes relatively easy. Once you do that, closing out the game becomes pretty easy thanks to Ignite. While it starts slowly, it builds up every time you play it. It also makes your deck infinite, which means that you don’t have to worry about running out of burn. Later in the run, once health pools become bigger, you can help yourself with Embercaster – copying a burn spell while you have permanent +3 Spell Damage from Questline can add A LOT of damage to your strategy. Alternatively, you can try copying Cram Session (2 mana to draw 4 after Questline) or and just drawing through your entire deck.

The second build hasn’t been updated for the new expansion, but it should still be working quite alright. The goal here is to run Open the Waygate Quest, finish it, and then drop Embercaster + Time Warp (Quest’s reward). You get an extra turn… and three spells that give you another extra turn in your hand. With so many turns at your disposal, any kind of board presence can easily turn into a game victory. Even the 3/3 Embercaster itself will deal 12 damage over those extra turns, assuming your opponent doesn’t have any way to prevent that. Those 4 extra turns aren’t enough? No worries, you can get another copy of Embercaster with Potion of Illusion and get 3 more turns. In other words, after you get your Embercaster + Time Warp combo, you’re nearly guaranteed to close out the game, with some incredibly rare exceptions. Most of your efforts should be directed towards finishing the Quest – which is actually quite difficult to finish, mostly during your early matches, and that’s why the deck might crumble before it even takes off.

Paladin (Turalyon, the Tenured)

Paladin build featured here is your classic From Golden Light + Royal Greatsword combo, but with some added handbuff twist. Divine Shields naturally combo very well with your Hero Power – reviving a minion at 1 health is not that great, but if you add Divine Shield, it suddenly becomes much harder to clear. Now, if you add the new Legendary card – Highlord Fordragon – your Divine Shields suddenly become way more menacing. Trading them off means that minions in your hand (usually also with DS) will become huge. Handbuff from Overlord Runthak also works very well with your general strategy. Royal Greatsword lets you deal lots of damage while pulling your strongest minions very consistently.

Priest (Mindrender Illucia)

Priest is doing very well right now mostly thanks to the Mind Tether Hero Power. Your main goal here is to basically combo your opponent down by spamming spells and letting them take damage from Hero Power (and possibly Fireshaper passive if you manage to pick that up too). Voidtouched Attendant is the MVP of this deck, since it doubles the damage of your HP – now every spell you cast deals 2 damage instead of 1. Thanks to that, you can easily set up OTK combos just a few turns into the game (with the right treasures, it’s even possible to do it on Turn 1).  Embrace the Shadows is also a strong tool, since it lets you play your cheap healing cards as burn damage – Desperate Prayer and Flash Heal both become 6 burn damage each (5 + 1 from HP), this 3 cards, 3 mana combo is 13 damage in total. And if you run out of spells to play and your opponent isn’t dead yet – there’s always Lyra the Sunshard to generate more.

However, if you don’t like the Combo version, you can try and play a more classic Control build. Sadly, this one is from last expansion, but we couldn’t find an up-to-date version. It looks to win games by simply outvaluing the opponent. Thanks to its Hero Power, it’s hard to run out of value, so you will usually win the long game. And even if you can’t win in value, you always have C’thun as a back-up. What’s interesting is that there’s Mutanus the Devourer, which works incredibly well in those slow builds. It can disrupt your opponent’s game plan – many of the Duels Signature Treasures come in form of a minion, and eating it gives you a huge advantage. Then, there’s Joras Thuldoom providing an addition win condition, especially against decks with no board clear. It’s similar to the old-school Grim Patron, unless your opponent kills all of them, they will keep multiplying on your turn (it has amazing synergy with Devouring Plague, since the combo fills your entire board).

Rogue (Infiltrator Lilian)

Rogue is right now one of the worst classes in Duels, but you can still find some wins using the right starter decks and getting good passives.

The first option here is a Quest Rogue. Not Questline, not Uldum Quest, but going back all the way to original Un’Goro Quest. The deck has been notorious in Constructed and nerfed a few times, but interestingly enough – recently the nerfs have been reverted and you can now finish it much more easily. It’s still bad in Wild, but it actually made it playable in Duels. Here, your goal is very simple – you want to play four copies of the same card as quickly as you can. The card doesn’t really matter – there are some better and worse cards to finish the Quest with, but you want to grab any opportunity you can. Do it by bouncing it back to your hand and replaying or getting extra copies of it with Nobleman/Zola. However, the easiest way to do it is with your Signature Treasure – Ace in the Hole. If you play just two copies of a card (e.g. play a card, Shadowstep it, play it again) then next turn you can Ace in the Hole and play the last two copies, finishing the Quest. Later in the game you can use it to copy your most important cards such as Sonya Shadowdancer or just get more resources. Talking about resources, after the Quest is done, every turn you’ll get a 1 mana 5/5 in your hand with your passive, so you’ll always have something to put pressure with.

The second deck is from the last expansion (again, I haven’t seen an updated version) and it relies on Battlecries – you really want to get the some Battlecry-related passive (doubling them or making them cheaper). Here, your basic goal is tempo – play all your Battlecry minions, hit your opponent with Hero Power, close out the game with your big threats like Edwin, Jandice or Alexstrasza. If your opponent plays something big, jump it back to their hand with Tortollan Shell (which is for the most part a much better Sap – costs only 1 and can return multiple minions later in the run). The deck is quite straightforward and should be easy to pilot, but heavily relies on the right passives/treasures.

Shaman (Instructor Fireheart)

Shaman is doing quite well in Duels and it has two most popular options right now – Elementals and Murlocs.

The first build featured here is an aggressive Murloc build that is meant to rush down the opponent. You want to quickly get onto the board and drop Murloc synergies, summoning strong minions, buffing them etc. Some of the new Murloc additions have really made it a viable option. Some strong new cards include Firemancer Flurgl and South Coast Chieftain giving you more burn / board control, Lushwater Murcenary, letting you come back from behind by giving all your Murlocs Rush and buffing them, and – of course – Nofin Can Stop Us, which is a massive, board-wide +2/+2 buff on your Murlocs, meaning that sticking just 3-4 of them can make you run away with the game. If you stick some board, going for a big Gentle Megasaur can mean make over. Picking +Attack or Windfury can close out the game on the spot, while getting Divine Shield can make your board incredibly difficult to get rid of. Murlocs are notorious for having a hard time finishing the game, but thanks to the extra damage from Hero Power you might be able to deal the last necessary damage points even after your board has been cleared.

The second build is created around Elementals. There has been a lot of solid ones added to the game lately – Wailing Vapor, Granite Forgeborn, Arid Stormer, Lilypad Lurker and Gyreworm just to name a few. Then if we add all the ones from Un’Goro, which is also in the rotation, the deck comes together really well. You usually want to start by curving out with your small ones and keeping the board control, then you usually start outtempoing your opponent thanks to your 2 for 1 plays – e.g. Earth Revenant, Lurker or Fire Elemental, which can clear your opponent’s board (or at least a part of it) while putting a body on the board. Thanks to the Hero Power combined with Rockbiter & Stormstrike, the deck also packs a nice punch to finish the matches.

Warlock (Archwitch Willow)

Warlock used to dominate the meta with Discard decks, but after getting nerfed at least 3 times it settled for different builds and is now in the middle of the pack. This Duels Warlock deck is built around Soul Fragments – the Hero Power makes this option quite compelling. Whenever you play a card shuffling Soul Fragments into your deck, you also summon a 3/2 Imp. Normally, Soul Fragment payoff is rather slow. You first need to shuffle it, then you need to find a card that takes advantage of it and play it too. But with this Hero Power – pay-off is immediate. For example, Spirit Jailer now becomes a 1 mana 1/3 that summons a 3/2 AND shuffles Fragments into your deck. Soul Shear can clear something and still generate a minion on the board. With the right curve, you should be able to nicely outtempo your opponent. Of course, the great news is that you still have all the Fragment pay-offs unaffected, so now both your generators and pay-offs create powerful turns. The basic idea is to pick as many Soul Fragment-related buckets as possible now. The deck is also built in a way that makes it more likely to get a one of the Battlecry passives, which either gives you more value (double passive) or more tempo (costs 1 less passive).

Warrior (Rattlegore)

Warrior is probably the strongest Duels class right now and you can get some pretty consistent 12 wins runs using this deck or different variants of it. The goal here is simple. You play an aggressive Pirate build and rush your opponent down, but if that strategy doesn’t work, you have an amazing mid-late game backup plan – Questline. Raid the Docks is pretty strong and relatively easy to finish. After you complete it, you get board presence, a random weapon and some extra damage every turn. Even if your deck is quite weak at this point (because you focus on the early game), Juggernaut can easily carry you and close out the match. If you manage to snatch a passive that makes your minions cheaper and some extra card draw, you can actually finish your Questline and play the reward on curve – and that’s more pressure than most of opponents can handle (assuming they don’t die early to your Pirates & weapons).

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

34 Comments

  1. Shadowist
    March 20, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Is this article going to be updated?

  2. Nerose
    September 10, 2021 at 3:57 am

    Yes!!! My favorite article. I’ve been really curious about the best mage and priest build. I’ve already got 12 wins with half the classes, and im struggling with the other half.

  3. Sbud78
    July 16, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    Why would Kazakus be a good fit for the warlock deck? it already gets deactivated by Demonizer and will definitely get killed by a subsequent 4 drop getting picked up later

  4. Foom
    May 26, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Trying to paste the deckcode for the second warlock deck into the client on iPhone and it’s not working. Anyone else having this issue?

    AAEBAYkGD6zLA7jOA//OA+zRA8zSA83SA87SA8/SA4vVA5PeA5XeA/XjA+/tA+fwA4WgBAAA

  5. Gsofficial
    May 21, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Brilliant, only the most obvious possible decks for each class.

  6. Roadgame
    May 20, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    You should change the warrior deckd, because people do actually craft missing cards… like senseless legendaries. Great dislike!

  7. HewaT
    May 19, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    The Duels meta with any deck full of legends with low atk and high def is awful.

  8. Nerose
    May 3, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    Can’t wait for the update!

  9. Coldwhiskeyman
    April 28, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    Will there be a barrens update?

  10. 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?

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

    that rogue deck fells like garbage

  12. 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.

    • Goblinta
      May 20, 2021 at 5:22 am

      Give Stonehill a break here.

      Blizzard has given him lots and lots of more Hearthstone variants to cover plus ever more frequent updated changes.

      The work has quadrupled or quintupled.

      The size of the Hearthstone Top Deck staff has not quadrupled or quintupled.

      Those poor guys are dying from overwork.

      Be grateful Stonekeep stays in this business

      Or we all would be screwed.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

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

  16. 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).

  17. 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.

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

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

  19. 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 🙂

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

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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.