Hearthstone Budget Decks For Whizbang’s Workshop, Cheap Decks for Laddering in Hearthstone!

One of the big complaints about Hearthstone is the price to pay (to play) when you first start. There are a ton of Legendaries released, and if you are unlucky you may have not received much in the way of playable cards. This is unfortunate, so we’ve gone ahead and created some budget decks that should serve you well if you are in the Bronze or Silver divisions. Some of the stronger builds should be viable throughout Gold and possibly even Platinum if you master them. We don’t recommend those decks in Diamond or to attempt a Legend climb, unless you replace some of the budget cards and turn them into actual meta decks. You CAN hit Legend with some of them, but you would really need to master them and play very well, and by that time you most likely will have enough resources to build a full version anyway.

The game is in a better state than it was a while ago. The new free Core Set, as well as the current rewards system, are both pretty generous (at least by the old Hearthstone Standard). We’re also commonly getting other free stuff like packs, Legendaries etc. during expansion releases, events and from outside of the game (e.g. Twitch drops). While things have gotten much better for new and F2p players, it’s hard to deny that the game is still quite expensive. F2P players should easily be able to build one or two full meta decks per expansion, but the issue is that they can’t play whatever they want. So once they commit to crafting some cards, if they want to switch to another class – tough luck! That’s why we think that those budget decks can come really handy. No matter if you want to do Daily Quests for another class, test a deck before crafting a full version or just play around with different options, they should be a good option for new and F2P players alike.

Defining a Budget Deck

We’re trying our best to keep the budget decks as cheap as possible while making them as strong as we can. Overall, there’s no hard cutoff, but we try to keep the decks within the 2-3k Dust range (Dust cost listed next to decks below isn’t always accurate, since it includes cards that are given away for free). However, their real cost is usually much lower, because players tend to own a lot of Commons / Rares used in them already.

When it comes to Commons & Rares – it’s simple, all of them are allowed. It’s very easy to get a full Common & Rare collection (doubly so with the recent addition of Catch-Up Packs), and even if you’re missing some of them, they’re cheap to craft.

As for the Epics – if it’s not possible, we try to not include them. If a deck can be built with no Epics at all, that’s great. However, that is sadly quite rare. Epics are often key cards in a given build, so removing them is either impossible or would drop the deck’s win rate by a lot. Even in the worst-case scenario, we try to keep it down to a few Epics, but if choosing between a deck that has to include four Epics and a completely unplayable deck, we’ll choose the former. Playing a deck that virtually can’t win any games is just not fun.

Legendaries are completely excluded UNLESS they are available for free. This includes all of the Core Set Legendaries, as well as Legendaries that were given out for free in the current Standard rotation (e.g. Pozzik, Audio Engineer – if you don’t have it, all you need to do is buy a single Festival of Legends pack and go to the pack opening screen, you will get the card automatically). For this reason, if you are a new player or you just came back after a long break, you should get at least 1 pack from each Standard expansion to collect all those free Legendaries.

Whizbang’s Workshop Update

Let me start with one simple request – please craft Zilliax Deluxe 3000No matter whether you’re a new player, a returning player, or just someone who stays F2P, CRAFT ZILLIAX. It’s by far the best card from this expansion and probably the most flexible Legendary card released ever. Different module combinations see play in different meta decks, so you’re essentially getting a few strong Legendary cards for the cost of one. Of course, since this is a post about budget decks, I did not include Zilliax in any of the decks, but the truth is that he would fit nearly every single one of them.

But now let’s talk about budget decks in Whizbang’s Workshop. Given that it’s the first expansion of a year, basically every budget deck from the previous compilation went down the drain because so many cards have rotated out to Wild. This made it really difficult to figure out viable decks for a few of the classes, but overall I think the budget situation in the expansion isn’t bad at all. We have a few actually decently powerful decks that are just a few cards away from the meta builds. Those are the decks you can reasonably climb to higher ranks with, assuming you master them. Then we have a few mediocre decks – not terrible, but won’t likely get you far without some serious changes. And, just like always, there are a few outliers, decks I wouldn’t really recommend playing unless you really need them for some reason (like finishing a Quest). Overall I rate this expansion’s budget decks as good, but not amazing – we had some better budget expansions, but as you will see soon, some of those decks look quite exciting.

Free Legendaries from this expansion were frankly quite horrible (Colifero the Artist and Li'Na, Shop Manager – neither of which is played in any meta deck right now). However, we had some cool cards rotating into the Core Set, Leeroy Jenkins in particular is still holding up after all those years. It’s a great card in any faster deck that needs extra reach.

Harth Stonebrew is another interesting Legendary we got for free quite recently. In fact, if you fancy it, you can throw him into almost any deck and he will work fine. The quality of “iconic hands” varies drastically. They also often depend on the matchup – sometimes they take multiple turns to set up and if you play against a faster deck they won’t cut it, others don’t have any particular synergy and are just a bunch of pretty good cards. But what’s important is that they are full hand refills, so if you’re running low on cards you can just drop Harth and then you have steam for a few more turns. And some of them can give you a win condition out of nowhere.

Cheap Hearthstone Decks

Deck Import

Death Knight is doing quite well in Whizbang’s Workshop. A build similar to this was very popular in the first days of the expansion. Ultimately it turned out that Handbuff synergies aren’t the strongest Death Knight package and Rainbow build went in a different direction. But for the sake of budget decks, this is the best we have.

The idea behind this deck is quite simple. You play lots of Undead minions and ways to buff them while they are still in your hand. Amateur Puppeteer is an amazing card, because playing both the main one and the mini gives all Undead in your hand +4/+4. If you add Lesser Spinel Spellstone (which is quite easy to pump up to +3/+3), it can really stack up.

Then the deck has a bunch of minions that synergize very well with handbuffs. Both Shambling Zombietank and Nerubian Swarmguard summon extra copies, so they double/triple-dip on handbuffs. Then there’s Darkthorn Quilter who deals more damage with his effect the more Attack he has (again, synergizing with handbuffs). And last, but not least, Hollow Hound has great synergy with Handbuffs, attacking multiple targets, healing you to full life, and most likely still surviving.

Other good synergies include Acolyte of Death or Sickly Grimewalker and Crop Rotation. The first combo draws you 4 cards (and maybe more if you already have some Undead on board you can trade) while the second one gives your 1/1’s Poisonous, meaning that they can bring down some big minions. Grimewalker also combos nicely with Darkthorn Quilter – if you give him Poisonous, his pings will just kill everything they hit.

The deck is missing a pair of Epics (2x Rainbow Seamstress) and quite a few Legendaries. You really want to add Maw and Paw, The Primus and Reska, the Pit Boss. But maybe most importantly Climactic Necrotic Explosion, which is the main Rainbow payoff card. However, if you’re crafting all of those, I would probably recommend dropping the handbuff package which has been a bit underperforming. Handbuff builds aren’t terrible, so if you’re having fun you can stick with them, but they just aren’t optimal. You can find some better Rainbow Death Knight builds here.

Deck Import

Our second budget deck is the current meta tyrant. At the time I’m posting this, Blizzard already announced a nerf to Umpire's Grasp (it will go up from 3 to 4 mana), but the deck should still be the best budget option for Demon Hunter, just not as good as before it.

Your main combo in this deck is Umpire's Grasp + Window Shopper. When you trigger Grasp’s Deathrattle, you draw a 3 mana Shopper. Not only it’s a 3 mana 6/5 minion (which is quite good), but the Demon you Discover is also a 3 mana 6/5. Then you have a 1 mana 1/1 version that Discovers a 1 mana 1/1 Demon. The best part about this combo is that the current pool of Demons is quite small and it includes lots of great options. Magtheridon, Unreleased is probably your best pick no matter what. The card is just insane when you can get it for low cost. It deals 3 AoE damage to every enemy for two turns in a row. Dropping it so early, they will have a hard time establishing any board and it will also basically Fireball them in the face. And there’s no way to deal with it as Dormant minions can’t be interacted with. Other good picks include Illidari Inquisitor, Abyssal Bassist and Mythical Terror (for the initial 6/5) and Observer of Mysteries / Tough Crowd (for the Mini version).

Other than the Grasp + Shopper combo, the deck is mostly high tempo minions or burn cards. In case you don’t draw your main combo, you still need a way to kill your opponent. You want to be as aggressive as possible, drop everything you can on the board, and then try to close the game with straight damage. You can do a lot of burn from hand with Burning Heart, Parched Desperado, Spirit of the Team, Metamorphosis etc. And if a Taunt stands in your way, Kayn Sunfury can also be a very useful tool.

The deck is actually quite close to a full meta build. The only two cards you really want are Zilliax Deluxe 3000 and Red Card. Red Card is there mostly for two reasons – first one is tempo (if you make one of your opponent’s minios dormant for 1 mana you can outtempo them temporarily, and even though it will come back online soon, it might not be enough) and the second one is to play on your Discovered Magtheridons once they wake up (you get two more turns of AoE damage). As for Zilliax, you can either use the Haywire Module + Power Module (4 mana 5/7 that deals 3 damage to your Hero each turn) or Pylon Module + Ticking Module (8 mana 3/5 that buffs your whole board by +1/+1 and gets cheaper with each minion in play). You can find some full builds of Aggro Demon Hunter here.

Deck Import

This is a very fun deck, I really liked it during my playtesting. However, at the same time, it’s not a great deck. Druid in general is not doing great in this expansion, I would argue that it’s the worst Standard class right now. So you can probably imagine that the budget deck of the worst class might be a bit underwhelming.

Your main win condition with this deck is, as the name suggests, Hero Power. You run the old Festival of Legends package of Free Spirit + Groovy Cat, buffing your Hero Power. As you can probably imagine, you want to play them as soon as you can, that’s why you also run a lot of card draw. Peaceful Piper in particular always tutors one of them because they are the only Beasts in your deck. Bottomless Toy Chest is another great way to get them, you really want to have Spell Damage when doing it (usually from Magical Dollhouse) so maybe you can get one extra copy. Of course, the Spell Damage is useful not only for extra Discovers, but also for your Swipes (both regular and the ones from Malfurion's Gift) and Jasper Spellstone. Swipe in Particular is a great card now that it costs 3, with +1 Spell Damage (which is very easy thanks to Dollhouse)

But your real win condition comes later. Once you buff your Hero Power, get Attack to 5 in particular, you can do some serious mid-late game damage. The idea is to play Sing-Along Buddy, Hero Power (10 damage) and then refresh your Hero Power with Popular Pixie and do it again (20 damage). Between your earlier Hero Powers, Swipes etc. that’s often enough to just kill your opponent. Of course, you’re out of luck if you play against Warrior, because they can outarmor any damage you can deal, but there’s sadly nothing you can do about it.

Alternatively, if the combo fails to win the game or you can’t find it, Harth Stonebrew is always an option. Maybe he will give you another win condition.

If you want to improve this deck, you should probably add one copy of Joymancer Jepetto, which increases your late game potential and actually gives you a way to win vs Warrior (sometimes). He gives you back both copies of Free Spirit and Groovy Cat, which in turn can buff your Hero Power up to +9 Attack and +9 Armor. That’s often enough to just power through the Armor, especially since the combo that dealt 20 damage now deals 36 damage. At the same time, the deck is painfully slow to get rolling, so if you have a choice, I would rather work towards Dragon Druid or Reno Druid instead if you really like the class. But as I’ve said in the beginning, Druid is just not doing that well at the time I’m writing this.

Deck Import

Face Hunter, on the other hand, is actually quite powerful. Ever since the expansion’s launch, it’s been consistently one of the strongest classes. Doubly so at lower ranks, which I imagine is where you might want to play a budget deck. While this version is still missing some cards, it’s not actually bad and it can secure lots of wins on the ladder in this state.

Gameplay of this deck is quite simple – make big board, go face, repeat if cleared. You’ll be the one putting pressure on your opponent most of the time, so take advantage of that. Try to force them to trade instead of doing it yourself (unless the trade is really good, of course), make your boards awkward for your opponent to deal with. Jungle Gym works really well as either removal (especially vs multiple smaller minions) or burn damage. You can easily get off at least like 4-5 pings from it (max you can deal is 7, which usually happens after playing Rampage), and then repeat it two more times. Then you can try to finish your opponent off with the mix of your Hero Power, Kill Command and Leeroy Jenkins. The deck is more board-focused than a classic Face Hunter, but it still has plenty of reach.

Two main ways to improve it is by adding Saddle Up! and – of course – Zilliax Deluxe 3000 (Pylon Module + Ticking Module). As for the Saddle Up, I had to pick between it and R.C. Rampage because of the Epic limit, but it’s just a great card in a deck that creates a wide board over and over again. Zilliax is great for the same reason – wide board means that you can play it for cheap and then buff your entire board. Dropping Zilliax on Turn 3-4 can often just win you the game, because it pushes so much extra damage and makes your board extra resistant. Other than those two cards, one more you can add is Aggramar, the Avenger – it’s not necessary, but it makes closing down the games easier. Giving the weapon +2 Attack makes it a 5/3, often providing more than enough burn. Alternatively, if you’re not close to winning yet, it can give you some extra card draw instead. You can find some full lists here.

Deck Import

This deck almost solely relies on cards released earlier. The only new additions are Triplewick Trickster and Sleet Skater and while they aren’t bad, they did not vastly improve the deck. Elemental Mage still kind of sucks (not as bad as some other budget decks, mind you). So why use this as a budget deck? Well, it’s simple – Rainbow Mage (the only good Mage deck we have right now) needs Legendaries, Mech Mage (what we previously had as a budget) has rotated out, and Mage didn’t really get anything great this expansion. Spell Mage was the main focus of Whizbang’s Workshop and it completely flopped. In fact a full Spell Mage deck has a way worse win rate than this sort of budget Elemental Mage – yep, that’s really bad.

But let’s focus on what we have. The deck is really straightforward – your main goal is to simply not break your Elemental chain. This is extra important in this deck – in the past, you could often afford to skip one turn and then continue playing Elementals again to activate their effects. But not here. I really don’t like this design decision, but Overflow Surger and Azerite Giant, which are some of your main bombs, really need you to keep playing Elementals every turn or else they get reset. Because of that, you can’t really play spells in your deck – waste a turn on a spell instead of another Elemental and you have to start over. That’s why the only spells you run either give you an Elemental too (Flame Geyser) or are often used as burn spells to close out the match, at the time you don’t need to keep up your chain anymore.

And that’s pretty much all there is to your deck. You want to play Elemental after Elemental on curve, then close out the game with some burn damage if you’re close to killing them. The deck can actually deal a surprising amount of burn damage with Triplewick Trickster and Tainted Remnant, while Sleet Skater is a cool stall tool. Azerite Giants should cost like 3-4 mana in the mid game, and Surger should summon a full board of 3/2’s.

If you’re asking how to improve this deck – Mes'Adune the Fractured is honestly the only card you can add (hitting Trickster or Remnant is big, gives you lots of extra burn), but you shouldn’t craft it for the purpose of this deck. I thought about Therazane but I don’t think you should play her, she’s just too slow. You drop her on 7 and by that time you’re usually looking to close out the game and not buff your hand/deck. You rarely have enough minions in your hand to really take advantage of that anyway. If you’re looking for a more viable Mage deck, you might want to try Rainbow Mage instead. But a word of warning – the deck is very difficult to master, it’s good if you really want to stick with the class, but if you just look for a casual way to finish some Quests, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Deck Import

Paladin was a dominant force early into the expansion, but things have quickly shifter after the first balance update. I think that Blizzard overreacted a bit and nerfed one too many cards, pushing Paladin down to Tier 3 instead of the usual Tier 2 you target with nerfs. Still, it doesn’t mean that the class is doing incredibly poorly, especially when we only look at budget decks. There are two ways to build Paladin right now – leaning more towards Handbuffs and towards Aggro. Handbuff is the deck that was punished the most, and it’s definitely the most expensive build, so that’s why I’ve decided to go with Aggro for this budget build.

Just like with most Aggro decks your goal is to, well, kill your opponent. You really have two main ways of doing it. The first one is a very simple early pressure into Crusader Aura. The card is insane if you’re ahead on the board, buffing whatever can attack for 3 turns in a row is very good. And even if your opponent manages to clear the board, you have some ways to immediately utilize this effect, such as Showdown!, Tigress Plushy (and the mini) and of course Leeroy Jenkins, if that’s enough to kill your opponent that is. Don’t underestimate Crusader Aura – sometimes an early board push into Crusader Aura can win you a game by itself.

However, the second win con is probably more interesting. As it turns out, putting 6 minions on the board for 2 mana (Showdown!) has insane synergy with cards that get cheaper with more minions. In particular, this budget deck runs Sea Giants and Prismatic Beam. The best way to utilize this combo is usually against opponent who has a couple small minions on the board already. Then you play Showdown, drop your Giant(s), and clear the entire enemy board with Prismatic Beam. This is an insane tempo push and can often be played as early as Turn 4-5.

If we look at how the deck can be improved, it’s very simple. First, run the other good Epic – Flash Sale. I had to pick between it and Showdown because of the limit and Showdown is just a key card to this strategy. Flash Sale is, however, also great – even if you have just 2-3 minions on the board, it gives them all +1/+2 AND summons a 2/4 with Taunt and Divine Shield. Unlike Aura, you can also combo it with minions that don’t have Rush, so e.g. playing Muster for Battle + Flash Sale is a good Turn 7 combo. And the other card that is – you guessed it – Zilliax Deluxe 3000. Again, the Pylon Module + Ticking Module combo is insanely powerful in this deck. During your Showdown turn, you can usually drop him for 0 mana, so you might not even need Prismatic Beam to make it work. You can, for example, do something like Showdown + Zilliax + Flash Sale on Turn 6 and then just trade your Rush minions into their 3/3’s. Other than that, you have a full meta deck. However, if you have some more Dust to invest, I would look towards Handbuff Paladin instead, because it’s still performing slightly better despite all the nerfs.

Deck Import

Please don’t play this deck. I really, really tried to make Priest work on the budget, but it’s just impossible. This is like a 35-40% win rate deck even in its full form, and I had to cut so many cards to stick to the budget. That’s why below I’ll present a semi-budget deck running a single Legendary – Timewinder Zarimi. Right now it’s the only card that keeps the Priest class afloat, so if you want to play Priest, you just need to craft Zarimi.

If you really want to try it out, you have two win conditions (well, three if you count Harth). The first one is Automatons – you play them, copy them, they grow bigger. But it’s just too slow. In the current meta people can often effortlessly drop huge minions on Turn 4-5 and you need to work really hard to make your Automatons big. The second win condition is simply Ignis, the Eternal Flame. Instead of copying Automatons, you can copy Ignis if you draw him. Start with 5 mana weapon to gain some momentum and then pick some good 10 mana weapons and hope that they will carry you. And yeah, there’s also Harth, which might work if you get lucky with the iconic hand you get.

But the deck is still missing multiple key expensive cards and I really don’t recommend crafting them for this deck specifically, it’s just bad.

Deck Import

So here we are, I consider this the real budget Priest deck even though it’s not really budget. I still had to cut a few Legendaries from the full version but this deck is actually playable. Not only playable – it’s pretty good (not as good as full version, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers).

The idea behind this deck is that getting extra turns is probably the most overpowered mechanic ever printed in card games. Extra turns means that you can do things while your opponent keeps sitting around not being able to do anything. In this case, Blizzard was smart enough to put “once per game” limit on Zarimi, but even a single extra turn is big. Especially if you consider how minions work in Hearthstone – they can’t attack the turn they are summoned. But if you can summon a bunch of them AND gain an extra turn, you essentially give them Charge. And that’s the main strategy of this deck.

Your first goal is to draw cards and simply survive. Use Crimson Clergy with Funnel Cake and Dreamboat to get extra cards. Play Scale Replica to draw your Zarimi. The next step is to play the required 5 Dragons to activate Zarimi. This shouldn’t be very hard, because even if you count Whelp Wrangler as one Dragons (even though it will sometimes stick around to give you more), you run 8 in your base deck. Then there’s also Celestial Projectionist and Power Chord: Synchronize to get more if you’re missing some. While it will usually just come naturally by playing the match, getting Thirsty Drifter to 0 mana is also important.

Now that you’re at 5 Dragons it’s time to play Zarimi. Of course, sometimes the turn you get to 5 Dragons will be the same turn you play Zarimi, but it really depends on the game. The idea is to try to drop as many stats as possible on the same turn as Zarimi. For example, you can play Zarimi + Thirsty Drifter + Celestial Projectionist on Drifter to get the second one. That puts 15 damage on the board. Then the next turn you might finish it off with Leeroy Jenkins or Glowstone Gyreworm for even more damage. Even this kind of basic combo can often deal 20+, but there are still ways to increase it. Having any minions on the board prior to the combo turn, dropping an extra Drifter, maybe waiting another turn to e.g. get a Giftwrapped Whelp on the board (if it hits Zarimi then you get extra 4 damage on your combo turn).

Against decks that don’t run big AoE removal, you can try playing Zarimi as soon as you can. Since you don’t have to worry about them clearing your whole board, making a big Zarimi turn with multiple Drifters is often enough to win the game even if they are out of reach. Sometimes tempo is king and you don’t need the combo.

The amount of stats you can put seems a bit low, but that’s mostly because this is a budget version and budget version doesn’t run Zilliax Deluxe 3000 (yeah, this card again). Pylon + Ticking Module version of Zilliax is insane in this build. Not only you can often play it for free during your Zarimi turn, it buffs your whole board for more damage, but you can also often copy it and play it a second time to get an even bigger buff. Other than Zilliax, full version runs a few more Legendaries. Pip the Potent is great because you have so many good 1-cost cards, and it makes discounting your Drifters to 0 mana much easier. You also want to run Aman'Thul simply because it’s a good card, especially the removal bit. You might stare at a board you normally can’t deal with and Aman’thul can usually answer it by removing the two biggest minions. And finally, Magatha, Bane of Music – it’s not a must-have, but this deck might struggle if you hit a few dead draws and don’t get Crimson Clergy to cycle. While it will often give a couple of spells to your opponent, all of your key cards are minions to you don’t have to worry about that.

Deck Import

Rogue is also not doing great this expansion. It’s not unplayable, but it doesn’t have a really strong, standout deck. The best you can do is Draw/Shuffle/Miracle Rogue (however you want to call it), and it’s not even that expensive, but it runs multiple Epics that are just 100% necessary to play it, so I couldn’t fit it within the budget rules. Then there’s Zilliax Rogue, but as the name suggests, your main card is Zilliax Deluxe 3000, so again not possible on budget. But guess what, there’s a deck you can actually build for cheap, and it’s one that made a return after so many years. I’m talking about Spectral Cutlass Rogue.

Your main and basically only win condition (again, other than Harth, but I always count him as a backup because some hands simply don’t win you the game) is Cutlass. The idea is to draw it as soon as possible (you have a lot of natural draw, but also Instrument Tech and Raiding Party to tutor it) and then keep attacking your opponent every turn while buffing it. There are two ways to buff the card. First, you want to get its Attack up because a 2 Attack weapon isn’t killing anyone. You have Deadly Poison, Valeera's Gift for more Poisons, Harmonic Hip Hop and Mic Drop. Throughout the match, you should be able to get your weapon up to 10+ Attack, and that gets into the threatening territory.

Then you want to buff the weapon’s Durability to keep it alive for as long as you can. You do it by simply playing cards from other classes. You have plenty of ways to get them (Swashburglar, Stick Up, Kaja'mite Creation, Thistle Tea Set), so it shouldn’t be a problem. Then in the late game, you can also use Tess Greymane to repeat all of the cards from other classes. It’s not amazing since you are usually picking cheaper stuff to be able to play them each turn, but you can sometimes get a banger or two. Plus she also repeast cards from Harth if you get a hand from different class (which is very likely).

Of course, the main issue with the deck is that before you get your Cutlass rolling, you’re doing almost nothing. So any faster deck can easily outtempo you with better draws. So then it’s the question of whether you can come back thanks to Lifesteal or was their push enough. This deck also suffers a bit as a collateral damage of Aggro Demon Hunter being so popular – many players are teaching in Freeze cards (such as Glacial Shard) and they are very powerful against Cutlass Rogue too.

There are two main ways to improve this deck. First, and most important one is Sonya Waterdancer. She makes your Deadly Poisons and Gifts so much better. You can double dip on Deadly Poisonous and quadruple dip on Gift. Yep – a single Gift with Sonya is 4x Deadly Poison for only 2 mana. It makes buffing your weapon to high values so much easier. The second card is Velarok Windblade, which works well with your “Thief” package. But, in all honesty, even if you build a full deck it won’t be the best performer. So unless you really want to play it because you find it fun, I would recommend trying out Draw Rogue or Zilliax Rogue instead. They aren’t the strongest meta deck but they are still better than Cutlass build.

Deck Import

The general consensus was that Burn Shaman, Nature Shaman, OTK Shaman, however you want to call it, will be dead after Bioluminescence has rotated out of Standard. After all, it was a key part of your combo – giving your entire board Spell Damage to throw in some high damage spells at your opponent. However, the reports of its death were greatly exaggerated. The deck is still alive in kicking – Blizzard even had to nerf it early into the expansion (by replacing Lightning Bolt with Lightning Storm in Thrall's Gift). It’s also less of an “OTK” deck and more of a “burn” deck. Sometimes you win with a single, pop-off turn, but lots of the time you will just chip away at your opponent’s health to bring them down in range.

Think of this deck as of an Aggro deck with a big combo turn potential. It’s not a deck where you want to hold back your pieces, unless you have a really specific hand. Most of the time you want to get on the board and try to deal some damage this way. For example, Turn 1 Novice Zapper is usually a good play, especially if you can follow it up with another 1-drop (especially Flowrider). Play Spirit Claws when you have Spell Damage on the board to soften up your opponent or remove some pressure from the enemy side. If you play against Aggro, you will have to use some of your combo pieces as removal, it’s better to have less damage potential than die. Crash of Thunder is especially powerful – with +2 Spell damage it deals 5 AoE damage which should be enough to bring down most of the big early and mid game threats.

Then, once you either brought your opponent low enough or gathered enough burn pieces in your hand (or both), you want to play Flash of Lightning to set up your combo. Discounting all of your Nature spells means that Lightning Bolt, Lightning Reflexes and Pop-Up Book all cost 0. Lightning Reflexes is the MVP here, because the current pool of Nature spells is so small that you’re almost guaranteed to Discover some burn spell. Crash of Thunder also costs 0 by the time you play it. So the idea is that you want to drop a bunch of Spell Damage minions on the board and then start throwing burn spells at your opponent. 2-3 Spell Damage is usually enough to kill them, unless they are Warrior of course. Remember that Snake Oil from Miracle Salesman can also be used as a source of burn damage – it deals 0 damage, but it gets improved by Spell Damage. So with +3 Spell Damage on board it’s now 3 damage for 0 mana. Not much in the grand scheme of things but can be a difference between win and loss. Overdraft can also be played with Spell Damage even if you have no locked Mana Crystals. Of course by the time  you finish your combo you usually are Overloaded a bit, but even when you aren’t, you can still play it for some extra burn.

As for how you can improve this deck – there are two ways really. The first one is Golganneth, the Thunderer. The card is just great – it can be used as an AoE board clear (plus some extra burn) and heal, it can be used to deal with a single big minion (useful against Warlocks for example) or it can be used to draw 3 cards (the best option against decks that put little pressure). Also, if it sticks on the board, the discount it gives will make your combo turn easier (but it’s not really necessary). It’s just a great Shaman card. The second card you should consider adding is Photographer Fizzle. The card is mostly there against classes that can gain Armor like Warrior and Druid. Just before your combo turn, when you have a really solid hand with lots of burn, play Fizzle. Then even if your combo won’t kill them, you will have another shot after you draw the Snapshot (and Flowrider should Discover it pretty consistently). But even in faster matchups, you can play it before using a few or your burn cards as board clear, for example.

Deck Import

The last expansion was a rollercoaster for Sludge Warlock. First, the deck was weak, then it got buffed, but it turns out that Blizzard overdid it, so they had to nerf it again. By the end of the expansion, it ended up somewhere in Tier 2 – it was a really solid deck, but no longer dominating. Many people thought that it’s going to be very powerful in Whizbang’s Workshop because it lost almost nothing in the rotation. However, it turns out that the power level of the new expansion was WAY higher than people expected, so despite staying intact it was still overwhelmed by new builds. However, one of its biggest advantages is that it’s cheap, so it’s quite easy to play it on the budget. You’re missing a few cards from the full build but it’s still very much playable.

The deck is built around Barrel of Sludge – you can’t add them directly, but they are generated by multiple cards. They are pretty weak if you play them from your hand – 3 mana deal 4 damage to the lowest health character is meh. However, the idea behind them is that they also get played if you Destroy them, Discard them and so on. And that’s what the deck is built around. Your cards add Sludges to your hand and to the bottom of your deck. Then you run Discard cards that get rid of them from your hand and cards that Destroy stuff from the bottom of your deck (so in both cases they play Sludges for free). The strategy hasn’t changed since the last expansion. In fact, the only two “new” cards are a pair of Doomguards that were freshly added to the Core Set. Not only a 5 mana 5/7 with Charge is really powerful, but Discarding 2 cards is often an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

Gameplay is quite simple – play on curve, get as much stuff on your board as you can while slowly generating Sludges. Then play the cards that get rid of Sludges for big tempo gain. Repeat until the game is over, one way or the other. There’s really no deeper strategy here.

As for the cards you can use to improve this budget version, there are only two you really need. Trolley Problem is the one I had to cut because of the Epic limit, but it’s just a great card. Not only it’s 2x 3/3 with Rush for 3 mana with no disadvantage the turn you draw it, but later you can usually turn that disadvantage into advantage. If you set up your hand so the lowest cost spell is Sludge, then you can play it and just pop the Sludge from your hand while still summoning 3/3’s. Then we have Pop'gar the Putrid which is a must-have if you want to play this deck seriously. It generates more Sludges, it discounts your  Fel spells (so not only Sludges, but also Crescendo and Chaos Creation), but most importantly – it lets you heal up. It’s often a lifesaver against Aggro decks. Other than those, Symphony of Sins is something you, but it’s not strictly necessary. And, just like always, you can also fit Zilliax Deluxe 3000 – either Haywire + Power Modules or Pylon + Ticking Modules.

Deck Import

Building Warrior on budget is incredibly awkward. When Enrage build was still in rotation, it was way easier, because it wasn’t strictly built around some Legendary cards. However, right now Warriors really only have to viable routes – Odyn, Prime Designate deck and Deepminer Brann deck. And, as you can probably see, both of those are Legendaries. They are also build-around Legendaries which means that if you don’t have them, their respective decks completely fall apart by losing main win conditions. That’s why the only thing I could sort of come up with is this build. It relies on some synergies from Whizbang’s Workshop – mainly Big Mechs and Boom Wrench, but also Chemical Spill to a lesser degree. It might seem like a Control deck at a first glance, but it’s really more of a Combo build.

The basic idea is quite simple. You want to survive the early/mid game, gain some Armor, draw cards, just do anything that stalls the game and keeps you alive. And then, in the mid-late game, you can start doing your combos. You have two ways to win the game – big Mechs or Grom. Let’s start with Big Mechs because they are probably more interesting. Your key card here is Boom Wrench. You want to play it and attack once to set it up for the next turn. Then that next turn you want to play a big Mech, DON’T HIT YET, replace your 3/1 Wrench with the 1/1 mini version to trigger the Deathrattle of the first one, then attack with the second one to trigger its Deathrattle again. This way you can double trigger Deathrattle of any big Mech you play. So you an either deal 16 random damage with Testing Dummy or summon two random 8-Cost minions with Containment Unit. If you can’t afford waiting too long for this combo, you can always use Chemical Spill to summon one of them from your hand for 5 mana instead of paying the full cost (Spill is more useful with Grom, but it’s still a good card with big Mechs).

Your second win condition is Grommash Hellscream. This time when you have Grom in hand, you want to play Chemical Spill. It summons him and deals 5 damage immediately, making him a 10/4 minion with Charge. So you’re paying 5 mana and two cards to get Leeroy Jenkins on steroids. But the best thing is that you can now easily copy him with Battleworn Faceless, so for 8 mana you can summon two 10/4’s with Charge. That’s 20 damage out of nowhere while still leaving two massive minions on the board in case you don’t win.

In reality, you usually have to combine two strategies into one to secure the victory. And even them it will be tough because the deck is just a bit awkward + it’s still missing some important cards.

Well, talking about important cards, by far the most important one you’re missing is Inventor Boom. It makes your Mech combos so much better because after doing all those shenanigans, if your board gets cleared, you can just resumon two big Mechs again – and they get some immediate attacks! If you face some minions, they will probably clear something and if not, they will just hit face (which is also great). Another card you want to add is Wreck'em and Deck'em – it doesn’t work with Grom, but you can use it on one of your big Mechs to get an instant attack and then immediately trigger its Deathrattle. So, for example, playing it on Containment unit will give you 6 damage vs random target + a random 8-Cost minion. Technically you can consider adding Zilliax Deluxe 3000. The best combo is probably Twin + Perfect (2x 6/5 with Taunt, Divine Shield, Rush and Lifesteal) but the problem is that it messes up your Chemical Spill because you don’t want to summon it from your hand. You can consider something like Haywire + Perfect instead, which is 7 mana (so below Grom) and it’s also not a terrible one to summon with Chemical Spill.


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


  1. Zorgrexi
    May 26, 2024 at 8:48 am

    Pozzik, Audio Engineer is obtained by collecting 30 Neutral Festival of Legends cards. ETC is your reward for buying the pack.

    That has been bugging me for a year now, sorry.

  2. Pramadito
    April 24, 2024 at 10:19 am

    That Budget Face Hunter – Whizbang’s Workshop deck got me to legend at NA! thanks

  3. Pat190
    October 16, 2023 at 9:17 am

    Really good work this season. Can you update this based on the mini-set? And perhaps some more budget options for each class that vary in play style. Tall ask on my part, but these guides are really helpful.

  4. Pramadito
    October 4, 2023 at 7:16 am

    Is drum druid good enough for budget?

  5. BIackBear
    September 12, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    Really helpful guide

  6. Sotospeak
    May 18, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    After a year of HS I disenchanted all rotating cards and had 32k dust. Still these guides come in handy, and i made the BIG DH one since i already had Xhillag. It seems fun to play!

  7. Melchy101
    May 15, 2023 at 6:12 am

    Yo, that first death knight deck got me on a 13 win streak. Really good! Thank you for the work you do.

  8. Johan
    December 24, 2022 at 6:15 am

    Which cards out in the warlock budget to add Imp King Rafaam and Sire Denathrius.

  9. Joopiter
    November 11, 2021 at 1:46 am

    Any additions after Deadmines release?
    I bet Mr. Smite can be added to most aggro decks and maybe budget Big DH is better than this budget Deathrattle one?

  10. Sotospeak
    September 24, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I am using Elemental Shaman with Earth Elemental in place of Lilypad Lurker and climbed to D1. Robes of Protection is an interesting tech choice against mage and Quest Hunters too. I just crafted the Pirate Budget too, I had only a Cargo Guard and Anchorman missing, and I won the only game I played with it at D3.

    Great budget decks thank you.

  11. Xanflo13
    July 12, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    It’s a real shame it’s been 3 months and you guys have no updated budget decks.

    • Mush shrap
      August 25, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      They updated their budget decks after 3 months? Better complain about it!

  12. LuKeAA
    April 16, 2021 at 2:25 am

    Face Hunt”er”s again;

    hope you all prefer that to Watchtowers; this trend of “either the games last until T5 or it’s no fun” is so annoying; no adaptation on new expansions, always the same. Between all the nerfs, BOTH watchtowers was the one I was mostly against.

  13. Caimael
    April 7, 2021 at 6:00 am

    I’m very excited to see what the Year of the Gryphon will bring for F2P Hearthstone players. Do you think that the new core set will be better for this expansion’s budget decks, or do budget players now lack some good cards from the basic set? I’m hoping to see a couple of viable budget control decks using some of the new core set dragons, hopefully this could be a possibility this year!

    • Asperkraken
      April 15, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      It’s a better time than ever for budget players. Yeah there are some high power builds out there but all the free Legendaries (many of which are surprisingly decent) have made building budget decks, especially for classes you may not like, easier. I am very happy with the new Core Set. Honestly it was time for a refresh.

  14. Placebo
    August 30, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Do you think that I can toss in my Edwin into the aggro rogue list? And if I can, what card do I replace?

  15. Nerose
    August 25, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Some of the best budget decks ever.

  16. Sunsmith
    August 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    I love the budget decks, they always help me decide where to spend my very limited dust. I would however, caution against dumping your dust into one and expecting to climb much higher than gold 5. The guide makes the claim that the agro Demon Hunter can climb to Legend rank, but unless you’re a far better player than I am, it can’t. So far I’ve found that it gets effectively walled by Druids, Paladins, and Priests that flood the board, clear the board, and use super cheap buffs. Unless you’re lucky to draw very specific cards in a very timely manner, there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done about this.

    Mage also has a very tricky deck that can give them infinite, free spells that exponentially climb in spell power around turn 5-6, and I have not found a way to deal enough damage by then to prevent being burned by *20* damage fireballs.

    • Sunsmith
      August 18, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Does anyone have advice? I’m still walled at gold 5-4, warriors and paladins especially, but not only them.

      • Sotospeak
        September 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm

        I first time climbed last month to legend with face hunter, and in this season Pirate Warrior is giving good success too (at Diamond 4 right now). I have Dragon Bane too and essentially am using VKLiooon’s list for Hunter, and Krastinov 2 Steeldancers and Green Skin in Pirate, so the latter is not actually budget, but is serving well with much damage coming from weapons (Scythe, Ganarg and Ancharr) countering board clears. With Demon Hunter Aggro I have been suffering more, so I would definitely recommend Face Hunter to climb.

      • Isaaccp
        November 30, 2020 at 6:38 pm

        I am using the Demon Hunter deck (with one Stiltstepper) and I got so far to Gold 2, but likely can make it a bit further.

        Take into account that as long as you are winning 51% of your games you’ll eventually climb up 🙂

        For Demon Hunter a thing that helps a lot is knowing the mana cost of the opponent’s early removal and trying to play Mana Burn or Cult Neophyte at the right time to push them one turn further.

        It is definitely game over if a Priest gets to 8 mana though 😀

        • Isaaccp
          November 30, 2020 at 7:34 pm

          Platinum 8 now. FWIW, the Stiltstepper really helps push it in the end if it’s close. Get them if you can afford them 🙂

      • Tungizzi
        December 9, 2020 at 1:52 am

        If u played DH, I would suggest the Altruis variant of the Aggro build. Of course, u have to craft Pokelt; however, Pokelt is a neutral that is quite flexible and is used in Face Hunter, Highlander Hunter, Galakrond Rogue. Most of the aggro DH I encountered in Legend run this variant over the budget build anyways.

    • Gibilan
      December 8, 2020 at 8:52 pm

      You can hit legend with any deck

  17. Bombasticbob
    August 13, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Could you maybe add some cards that you can add if you want to make them better?

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      August 25, 2020 at 7:18 am

      Each deck has a full guide which includes upgrade path – basically cards that you want to add to make the deck better or full deck lists you should be aiming for once you find more Dust 🙂

  18. MajklE63
    April 24, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Your deck guide for Spel Druid inspired me to play and push for the legend for the first time. I reached 24k legend, I used slightly edited version with Rising Winds (minus Treenforcements and minus one Soul of the Forest) on Rank 5 diamond to legend with winrate 28wins and 13 loss. Deck si powerful you can create unkillable boards or just to trade and wait for the right moment to buff, you can reach legend with it quickly.