Our Budget Handbuff Paladin deck list guide for the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will teach you how to play this Midrange Paladin list. This Budget Handbuff Paladin guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Handbuff Paladin
From the release of Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, Handbuff Paladin has been on the fringe of the meta. The deck came close to competitive play thanks to synergy with the Elemental tribe in Journey to Un’Goro. Deeper into the Year of the Mammoth, Handbuff Paladin gained some useful new minions that improve the deck’s consistency and competitive potential.
In particular, Saronite Chain Gang and Righteous Protector both provide quality targets for handbuffs. The Taunt each of these minions provide helps stave off aggression and protect Grimestreet Enforcer for multiple rounds of buffs. Cobalt Scalebane provides a beefy body that continues improving the stats of minions in play. More so, Bonemare provides massive swing turns with its immediate effect on the board.
In Kobolds and Catacombs, Handbuff Paladin shored up two of its biggest weaknesses. Drygulch Jailor makes it possible to quickly refill an empty hand with minions to receive buffs. Meanwhile, Lone Champion can flip the board in situations where you get behind in the early turns.
This budget version of Handbuff Paladin still has more than enough powerful tools to be a viable option on the standard Ladder. As your collection grows, adding some of the cards from the recommended replacements will strengthen the deck even further.
Budget Handbuff Paladin Mulligan Guide
High Priority Keeps
- Smuggler's Run – Not always a good turn 1 play, but Smuggler’s Run is an important part of this deck’s game plan. Keep it and try to get buffs on as many high-value minions as possible.
- Grimestreet Outfitter – Outfitter usually wants to be played on turn 2 with a handful of minions to get the buffs rolling early.
- Righteous Protector – Righteous Protector curves well into Rallying Blade, but has much more value later in the game with buffs. The card is still a quality keep but may be worth holding off on playing in some matches.
- Fire Fly – Fire Fly is your best turn 1 play because of its ability to replace itself in your hand.
- Rallying Blade – Even without Divine Shield minions in play, Rallying Blade is critical for fending off early game minions while you seek turns to take advantage of your buffed minions.
Low Priority Keeps
- Drygulch Jailor – Without minions in hand, many of the cards in this deck do very little. Drygulch Jailor offers incredible (and very welcome) hand refill in a deck that very much needs it.
- Golakka Crawler – Given the prevalence of Pirates in the current metagame, Golakka Crawler can help swing the board in your favor.
- Lone Champion – One of Handbuff Paladin’s biggest weaknesses is not gaining control of the board early. Should this be the case, Lone Champion can help you regain a stable position.
- Stonehill Defender – Like Fire Fly, Stonehill replaces itself in hand and offers several high-value options in Paladin.
Budget Handbuff Paladin Play Strategy
Handbuff Paladin is a deck that revolves around a fairly slow build on board into huge power swings by dumping a pile of stats into play. Typically, in the early turns your want to get the buffs rolling. This makes both Smuggler's Run and Grimestreet Outfitter dramatically more valuable in the early game when your hand is likely full of minions.
In later turns, protecting a Grimestreet Enforcer on board for multiple rounds of buffs can be game-wining. This can, however, be a value trap. Maintaining board presence is still priority number one for this deck.
Handbuff Paladin relies heavily on the timing of thebuffs, so maximizing their impact is crucial. Fortunately, several of the minions in this deck replace themselves in hand and, compared to past iterations of the archetype, it’s not terribly difficult to get buff value.
Budget Handbuff Paladin Future Card Replacements
- 2x Lone Champion > 2x Corridor Creeper – While Lone Champion can help you if you get behind on board, he’s not great when you’re already ahead. Corridor Creeper is a strict upgrade in either situation and receives buffs very well.
- 1x Stonehill Defender > 1x Wickerflame Burnbristle – Wickerflame is a premium target for hand buffs because of how well Lifesteal scales. The deck functions without him, but he is one of the biggest losses when running a budget version.
- 1x Stonehill Defender > 1x Tirion Fordring – If you had to pick the best card in the game, Tirion would be up there. Like Wickerflame, he can be Discovered from Stonehill Defender but having one in your deck is always preferred.
- 1x Cobalt Scalebane > 1x Val'anyr – This Legendary Paladin weapon fits nicely in the Handbuff gameplan. Not only does it buff up minions, the Deathrattle recycles the weapon and offers a lot of staying power.
- 1x Cobalt Scalebane > 1x Leeroy Jenkins – Charge minions scale extraordinarily well with the handbuff mechanic. Few charge minions can close out the game like Leeroy. If you have him, he would be a welcome addition as a burst finisher.
Budget Handbuff Paladin General Replacements
Here’s a list of cards you can add to this deck if you happen to be missing anything in the list.
- Tar Creeper – An efficient taunt minion, Tar Creeper can protect your Grimestreet Enforcer, which is often critical to this deck’s win condition.
- Corpsetaker – If you have Wickerflame included in your deck, Corpsetaker can provide an immense amount of value with a few buffs.
- Hydrologist – A solid two-drop minion that can be considered for inclusion in just about any Paladin deck.
About the Author
A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception. Follow him on Twitter or check out some of his articles on Roffle.net.