Back in March 2020, Blizzard has added a new feature, which lets players who meet certain criteria pick a free deck for one of the 10 classes (back then it was 10, since Demon Hunter wasn’t included in the first one).
The list is updated every expansion, but notably, it doesn’t feature any cards from the latest expansion. For example, the latest Fractured in Alterac Valley decks won’t have any Alterac Valley cards in it.
In this guide, I’ll show all the decks, explain how to get them and try to help you pick the best one from the currently available pool.
How To Get Them
There are two kinds of players who are eligible for free decks – new and returning players.
New players get to pick the deck when they reach Bronze 10 rank for the first time (which is the rank to which everyone is reset to every season). To get there, they can either play through the apprentice ranks (special ranks reserved for new players) or straight-up skip them. We don’t recommend the latter option, because if you’re a truly new player, playing on those separate ranks is solid training, and even if it’s your other account, then you can still stay there for some extra rewards.
Returning players are those who were inactive for at least 120 days, which is roughly the entire expansion. Before, you had to complete “returning players experience”, but now just logging in is enough to get your shiny, new deck.
After one of those two conditions is met, players get a deck selection screen and can pick the class they want – sadly, it does not display the full deck lists in game, so players are often met with a difficult choice.
Which One Should You Pick
Let’s start with one thing – a new expansion is launching very, very soon. It means that right now we can’t be sure which one of those decks will perform best after it’s live. We can actually be nearly sure that none of them will be played in this form, even if some archetype turns out to be strong in the next expansion, you will most likely need a bunch of new cards to upgrade it.
When thinking about which one of the decks is “best” to pick, there are always two ways you might look at it. You can pick the deck that is strongest or the deck that is most expensive. The “value” approach is safer, because it’s objective and relies on the Dust value – so let’s start with that one.
And ultimately, I can’t take things like the classes or play styles you enjoy into account. The truth is that if you like any of those decks in particular, then you should probably pick it. The game is about having fun, after all, and if you’re a new player or someone who hasn’t played in a long time, you will start at low ranks anyway, where there’s no such thing as a truly “bad deck” – as long as you master it and pilot it correctly, any of the decks listed below will work.
The decks are actually designed to be quite similar in terms of value. The differences aren’t that big – even if Blizzard picks a deck that is normally more expensive in its meta version, they cut it down a bit. And vice versa – if there’s a really cheap deck, they often add some Legendary you probably want to cut from it anyway to artificially increase its Dust cost.
All of that said, the three most expensive decks are Paladin (6,860 Dust), Priest (6,620 Dust) and Warrior (6,600). On the other hand, the three least expensive decks are Mage (5,640 Dust), Demon Hunter (5,800 Dust) and Rogue (5,960 Dust). The rest of them are somewhere in between. As you can clearly see, the differences aren’t massive – but there’s still a ~1200 Dust gap between the most and least expensive. So if the total value influences your pick, here you go.
When it comes to the strength of decks listed below, we do actually have some real powerhouses. They aren’t all exact meta builds, but they are close enough that a couple of card changes can bring them there.
If I had to pick the three strongest builds, I’d go with Warlock, Druid and Rogue – in that order. Questline Warlock has been an incredibly dominating deck throughout the entire expansion, even though it was nerfed a couple of times. There’s a chance for further nerfs in the new expansion, but it might not be the worst thing, as you will get extra Dust from refunds. Druid is the second strongest out of those, but it’s also probably the most straightforward one. Aggro Taunt Druid has been one of the best decks in Stormwind and it actually got a few nice tools in Alterac Valley, so I can see it staying close to the top. And then there’s a Questline Rogue – a deck that has been staying under the radar throughout most of the expansion despite being a solid T2 option most of the time. Lately, after the recent meta changes, it climbed into the Top 5 best decks in the current meta, making it one of the better options to climb with.
On the other hand, we don’t have that many incredibly weak builds in here. In fact, I would say that there’s only one. Questline Mage is by far the worst one on the list – the deck has been #1 deck in Stormwind in terms of popularity by a huge margin. But the thing is that for the most part it was an okay, Tier 2 build – so after receiving a couple of nerfs, it basically became unplayable. Of course, many players would still find it fun, so if that’s what you’re after, then go ahead – but don’t expect a high win rate. However, picking the second-worst build is quite difficult. I would say that Fel Deathrattle Demon Hunter, Big Warrior, Questline Shaman and Shadow Priest are all fighting for that spot – they are close in terms of power level, really depending on the exact meta you face. But they are still Tier 3 decks right now – not very strong, but still somehow playable. And it’s hard to say how the new expansion will treat them.
Other two decks (Hunter, Paladin) are sitting somewhere in between – they’re mostly Tier 2 builds that will work fine, but aren’t the top meta picks right now.
So overall, if you want to pick the deck based on power level, then Warlock, Druid or Rogue are your best choices. However, the rest of builds should also be fine, with one exception – I definitely don’t recommend Questline Mage, as it’s very weak in its current state and it doesn’t look like the expansion is going to change that (they’re pushing Mage in quite a different direction now).