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, builds should be roughly within the 1-2k Arcane Dust range (Dust cost listed next to decks below isn’t always accurate, since it might include Legendaries that were 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 (especially with the no duplicate rule across all rarities), and even if you’re missing some of them, they’re cheap to craft.
As for the Epics, we try to not include them as possible. If a deck can be built with no Epics at all, we don’t add them. However, if some Epics are key cards and you can’t make a deck without them, between building a different, much weaker deck and adding Epics, we’ve decided to go for the latter. We still have a hard limit of two Epics (usually two copies of the same card) per deck to keep them cheap.
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 current Standard rotation (e.g. Blademaster Okani – if you don’t have it, all you need to do is buy a single Voyage to the Sunken City pack and go to the pack opening screen, you will get the card automatically).
Festival of Legends Update
First of all, I’m terribly sorry about putting this post out so late. Usually, I try to target it two weeks after the launch and not a whole month. But between being busy with some real-life stuff, having to handle a lot of internal website updates, and catching flu… twice, the last month was a mess. I’ll try my best to cover them quicker next time.
Between the rotation and the Core Set update, I had to remake all of the decks from scratch, the previous ones were basically unusable. If I had to rate the current rotation for budget decks, I’d say that it’s 50/50. There are some decent choices that you can actually turn into full meta builds by just adding a couple of Legendaries – or even play in the budget form all the way to higher ranks if you master them. On the other hand, some classes were a real nightmare to build. With no Legendaries available and limited to only two Epics, you simply can’t build even a remotely viable deck for some classes. In some builds, I had to make so many replacements that I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find cards that would even fit.
The good news is that the new free Legendary from the set – Pozzik, Audio Engineer, also turned out to be a real solid option in many builds, since they are generally on a faster side. It’s not always optimal choice in a full, meta version of the deck, but the bar is much lower in budget builds so it’s included in many of them.
Cheap Hearthstone Decks
Unholy Aggro Death Knight is probably the best deck in the game right now, and it’s actually pretty budget-friendly. While you miss some cards like Blightfang, Sylvanas, the Accused, Astalor Bloodsworn and School Teacher (to stay within our budget limits, I had to pick between Teachers and Hawkstriders, and I feel like the latter is slightly better). Vrykul Necrolyte and Construct Quarter are the cards you want to replace if you own some of those.
The deck’s gameplay is rather straightforward. You have two main win conditions – board flood/buffs and Lord Marrowgar. For the most part of the game, you’re trying to go for the first win con. Hawkstrider Rancher into Nerubian Swarmguard or just a general board flood (like with Battlefield Necromancer surviving a few turns) into Grave Strength are some of the best ways to win in the mid game. In the meantime, you’re gathering tons of corpses from all the minions you play, so if that plan doesn’t work out, you can drop a big Marrowgar. If you play against a deck without good board clears, that’s often enough to close out the game. Just, preferably, have a few minions on the board before you play Marrowgar so your corpses don’t get wasted on a 1/1 and instead go into +2/+2 buffs on a lower number of minions (so they’re harder to remove). If the Marrowgar plan doesn’t work, you try to go back to the first plan by just playing more minions whenever you can. Thanks to Famished Fools you can actually stay in the games for quite long without running out of resources.
I was quite surprised when I learned that Big Demon Hunter is a pretty budget-friendly deck. And the best part is that it offers playstyle that’s way different than your average budget deck (which tends to be Aggro), so it might be an interesting option. Sadly, the budget build is REALLY missing one Legendary – Xhilag of the Abyss. But once you add him, it’s almost a full build at this point. If possible you’d also like to add Felerin, the Forgotten but he’s not really a vital part of the deck, more like a “generic good card”. In order to fit those, you can replace SECURITY!! or Chaos Strike.
As for the deck’s game plan, it revolves around Felscale Evoker and then All Fel Breaks Loose. The idea here is to mulligan hard for either Evoker or Crushclaw Enforcer to draw your Evoker. Then activate and play it on curve, summoning another big Demon from your deck. This is your first big push – many decks will actually fold at this point if they have no way to remove your threats. If they do – that’s alright, because you still have plenty to do. You can just play more of your big demons or revive the ones that already died with All Fel. Both Illidari Inquisitor and Brutal Annihilan can deal some immediate damage – for Inquisitor you need to attack face with your Hero (which isn’t hard – even on your Evoker turn you can just use Dispose of Evidence) while Annihilan wants to hit some big minions and survive the damage in order to maximize the damage output. Xhilag, which is a great source of damage too, is missing from the deck, but you should consider crafting it if you enjoy the build.
If you need some healing or board clears, Silvermoon Arcanist + Unleash Fel / Eye Beam come in handy. Taste of Chaos is also a great card, but you really want to activate the Finale. Because the pool of Fel spells is rather low right now, you have a very high chance of discovering an extra copy of All Fel = more big demons you revive. And that’s about it, the deck can be tricky to play at times, especially compared to simpler budget options, but it’s really fun to play and it’s actually quite competitive even in this budget form.
Unlike the last two, this deck sucks. I would skip it unless you REALLY need to play Druid, like you have a Quest telling you to do so. Druid’s Token package was gutted in the rotation and you really have to include some quite questionable choices in order. There are no real improvements you can make to the deck – if you have more Dust and want to play Druid, I’d recommend Tony Druid – a deck that also isn’t incredibly powerful at lower ranks (it’s solid in high Legend), but at least it’s playable.
As for the gameplay, the goal is your usual Token strategy. Flood board with minions, buff them. Maybe drop Soul of the Forest to make your board more sticky. Also your Hero Power package can carry some games – if you draw all of the minions, 5 damage + 5 armor per Hero Power is actually quite menacing. It can help you with reach or board clears depending on the matchup. Ideally, you can go into Turn 7 with some minions on the board and play Drum Circle to buff all of them (it’s a very strong buff, but the problem is that it’s so expensive). More realistically, you will probably fall off in the mid game and never get there – but at least you tried!
The biggest problem with the deck is that Unholy Death Knight is doing everything you do, but much better.
It’s pretty common for Face Hunter to be the best budget option for Hunter, and this time is no different. However, unlike many times where Face Hunter is actually a cheap deck, the current iterations tend to be more expensive and require a few Legendaries to work properly. That’s why this budget version is very cut down, focusing on trying to rush your opponent quicker instead of longer games like the full builds. The difference is that full builds run cards like Astalor Bloodsworn, Hope of Quel'Thalas, Hydralodon and School Teacher, sometimes Queen Azshara or even Mister Mukla. All of those let you drag out the mid game and still win – especially the Legendary weapon that buffs everything – your board, hand, and deck. If you want a full version of the deck that’s still RELATIVELY cheap (as in not running literally every single Legedendary I listed), try out this one.
Like I’ve said, this particular build focuses more on the early game (because you need those Legendaries for the late game and you can’t afford them) so you can’t really afford to drag out the game. You want to mulligan hard for your 1-drops, get a solid curve and deal as much damage as you can while you can still reasonably be in the control of the game. After that, you’re entering the burn phase – between your Hero Powers, Dragonbane, Quick Shots, Ancient Krakenbanes etc. you have quite a lot of damage you can deal from hand. So you aim to get your opponent down to 15 health or so until the mid game and then finish them off over the next 2-3 turns. It works best on decks that can’t gain health or Armor, obviously – but with a strong early game start, you can even beat decks like Control Priest or Hero Power Druid despite them gaining a lot of extra life. Sadly, Blood DK is usually out of your reach.
While full meta Burn Mage is a surprisingly solid deck, the budget version is kind of an abomination. The deck runs a lot of Epics and you’re pretty limited by the 2 – I picked Solid Alibi because I feel like it’s the most important one, but you’re really missing the others. By others I mean Prismatic Elementals and especially Volume Up. That card is just insane – not only it lets you refill your hand, but you can often get two copies of Solid Alibi from it. And your opponent really HATES Solid Alibi, trust me. On top of those, you definitely want Commander Sivara (even more copies of your spells) and possibly Vexallus, although the latter is not 100% required. In order to fit those, you want to cut cards such as Flame Geyser, Spellcoiler, Cult Neophyte, and Arcane Intellect.
The deck’s gameplay might seem simple, but you have a lot of decisions to make over the course of the game. Your goal is to stall the game while dealing damage at the same time. Focus on the board control while preferably throwing some Frozen Touches at your opponent’s face whenever you Infuse them. That’s your main source of damage throughout the game – you can of course use them for board control against faster decks too, but you REALLY want to wait until you Infuse them before casting. If you just throw them away uninfused, you might realistically run out of burn before you kill your opponent. Then, when you get to the late game, it’s time to start to fully focus on burn. Ideally you’ve already played your Aegwynn, the Guardian and she died. Now after you draw a cheap minion, you play it and throw some burn (more Frozen Touches, Geysers or Arcane Bolts) at your opponent. If you have high health or your opponent has no board, you can go all in – otherwise stay safe and either play Solid Alibi or split the burn between board clears and face damage. And that’s your game plan – repeat until you kill your opponent or die. If you run a full version, you can hold your Arcane Bolts until you can also drop Vexallus to double their damage. This way you can focus even more on stalling and then kill your opponent in a single turn.
If you don’t like this build, you can try out Mech Mage instead. It’s also pretty budget-friendly, but overall a bit worse than Burn mage right now.
Mech Paladin is back thanks to the latest Core Set rotation and the addition of the Boomsday Mech package. The class itself still has some Mech synergies too, and most of them are cheap, so it’s actually a good budget option. The only cards that you’re really missing are Amalgam of the Deep and The Leviathan. You can also add Ini Stormcoil – she’s good, but not a 100% must-have. In order to fit those, you can cut Sanguine Soldiers and Pozzik, Audio Engineer (then you add either 2x Amalgam + Leviathan or 1x Amalgam + Ini + Leviathan).
It’s a board-based deck. Because of how Magnetize mechanic works, you really want to stay ahead and have some Mechs you can Magnetize into. Cards like Bronze Gatekeeper or Wargear can be played standalone, but they’re simply better when you attach them to something, because a) they can make your high priority cards more sturdy (like Security Automaton into Gatekeeper curve) or let you deal more damage immediately (Wargear is amazing for that – doubly so if you handbuff it first). Radar Detector is an amazing hand refill – with 21 Mechs in your deck, you should draw 3-4 cards from it on average, just for 2 mana. The card also combos very well with Grimestreet Outfitter – handbuffs work much better when you actually have things to buff. Goldwing is also a solid win condition thanks to Windfury. If you play against a deck with no big removal, you can basically go all-in on it. You pump up your Disco Maul with smaller minions, then sacrifice them and drop Goldwing + buff it. Next turn you magnetize something into it and just kill your opponent. For example, with +4/+4 from Disco Maul and then +6/+5 from Wargear, you end up with a 13 attack minion with Windfury. Any time Goldwing stays on board, count lethal because trust me – you’re usually close. Interestingly enough, Pozzik also has some extra synergy with the deck – if your opponent doesn’t play the 3/3’s fist and kills your Pozzik, you get extra value from them because they’re Mechs and can be Magnetized into.
Undead Shadow Priest is another very strong budget option in this rotation. Thanks to Blizzard adding Archbishop Benedictus to the Core Set, you can actually run it in a budget version – something that you couldn’t do last expansion! In fact, what you see here is basically a full meta version of the deck. The only card you’re missing is High Cultist Basaleph and while it’s an important addition, you can definitely play the deck without it. Well, technically Haunting Nightmare is also a good card to have, but sadly it still hasn’t been fully fixed yet. Sometimes the card just doesn’t trigger and that’s why it’s been cut from most of the lists for now. The bug has been around for weeks now and Blizzard hasn’t fixed it yet. But once it’s fixed, you probably want to add it to your deck too. The first cards on the chopping block to fit those are Bone Flingers and Pozzik, Audio Engineer.
The deck is based mostly on the high early game tempo plays (combination of Undying Allies, Banshee, Foul Egg, Shadow Ascendant and Cathedral of Atonement) combined with mid/late game burn to finish your opponent off. Your goal is to first get on the board early and deal some damage that way, and then finish your opponent off over couple of turns with whatever minions you still have alive, Hero Powers, Mind Sear, Bone Flinger, Shadowed Spirit, Rotting Necromancer and Shadow Word: Undeath. As you can see, you have plenty of ways to deal damage from your hand or just damage your opponent often can’t avoid (like Shadowed Spirit – if they don’t kill it, they take 4 damage, if they kill it, they still take 3). This is a very deadly combo – even if your opponent stabilizes after your early game push they are still very likely to die because you will keep damaging them even without your board.
While not the best deck in the game, it’s a pretty decent budget option. In fact, I could see a deck like that hitting Diamond with some luck. I don’t think you can really “improve it” by adding some Epics or Legendaries. If you want to play a better deck, you have to step up and use Miracle Rogue instead (but it’s also quite difficult to play correctly).
The goal of this deck is mostly to play a big weapon – Swordfish – and keep buffing it while hitting your opponent in the face. First, you have some ways to tutor it (Instrument Tech), and then you have some cards to buff its Attack. Deadly Poison, Harmonic Hip Hop and Mic Drop lets you pump it to some solid numbers. Then you can also play Air Guitarist to buffs its Durability. Of course – even if you don’t draw your Swordfish, you can do the same thing with your Hero Power dagger. You really need to start pumping it up fast, so if you don’t have Swordfish on curve you probably should give up on that plan for now and start buffing the 1/2 weapon instead. Then you have some other weapon synergies like Jolly Roger, Fogsail Freebooter, Pufferfist and Dread Corsair. Your whole game plan revolve around weapon – but since there are almost no weapon removal in the meta, you shouldn’t be worried about your opponent suddenly destroying it. While you can use one or two hits in the early game to clear the board, after that you really want to start hitting face. It’s basically a race at this point – can you kill your opponent before a) they kill you with minions or b) they outheal you/taunt up enough to stop your hits? If yes, then congratulations!
Please, avoid this deck if you can. It’s bad, and I mean really bad. But sadly you CAN’T build Totem or Menagerie Shaman decks on budget, it’s just impossible. You need a few Epics and Legendaries. But if you want to play an actually viable Shaman deck, you should try Totem Shaman instead.
But if you want to try this one out… well, the idea here is to play Jazz Bass, then play multiple Overload cards until you pump the effect up. Then you play either Al'Akir the Windlord or Ragnaros the Firelord, swing with your weapon to reduce the cost of the Criminal Lineup and play it on your big minion. This way you end up with either four Al’akirs or four Rangaroses (Ragnari?). Alternatively, if you don’t draw your Elemental Lords and Criminal Lineup, you can use your weapon’s discount to get a cheap Pack the House – usually not enough to win the game, but it’s better than nothing. Until your late game combo, you want to try to maintain the board control with your removal spells and minions.
Warlock isn’t doing very well this expansion, so you can only imagine that playing a budget version of an already below-50% WR build is not going to end well. Yeah – while the deck is not THAT expensive, it runs some Epics or Legendaries that you simply can’t cut. But there’s literally no other option for Warlock, as other builds are even more costly. Here, the two cards you’re missing most are Crazed Conductor and Imp King Rafaam. Those are 100% must have if you want to play the deck at any higher level than maybe Silver/Gold. Once you have those, you can also consider adding Dar'Khan Drathir. In order to fit those, you want to cut Imp-oster, Murloculas and Pozzik, Audio Engineer.
Imp Warlock has been a part of the meta ever since Castle Nathria expansion and its basic gameplan hasn’t changed since then. The idea is to flood board with Imps and take advantage of the synergies it gives you. Flustered Librarian gets extra attack, Vile Library gets a bigger buff, Impending Catastrophe draws you more cards. Nofin's Imp-ossible makes your board more resilient. And finally, if you have the full version, Imp King Rafaam lets you revive and buff a bunch of them. The deck really relies on tempo and getting ahead on the board – which sadly is hard to do in the current meta, because your first few turns are relatively slow – much slower than something like Unholy Death Knight, making it hard to take off. Once you get things rolling, you can end up with some really powerful mid/late game combos, but most of the time you just lose in the early game and there’s not much you can do about it.
Enrage Warrior is kind of similar to Imp Warlock. A full deck is already somewhere around Tier 3, staying below or barely passing 50% win rate. And when you cut so many cards from it, well… it becomes even worse. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend playing it in this state unless you have to. Here, the cards you need most are Astalor Bloodsworn, Thori'belore, Decimator Olgra, and Hawkstrider Rancher. The cards you can cut to fit them in include Dredger Staff, Weapons Expert and Sunfire Smithing.
While Enrage mechanic is no more, the goal of those decks remained the same ever since ye olden days. You want to damage your minions and somehow benefit from it. In this case, the biggest benefit is from buffs – handbuffs from Anima Extractor and board buffs from Imbued Axe. The deck is built around those two, basically. You either go for a big Extractor turn and give some minions in your hand a lot of buffs – preferably something that can attack your opponent’s face right away like Crazed Wretch or Grommash Hellscream (or Decimator Olgra in the full build). Or, you damage your whole board with Sunfury Champion (or through some other means) and get a big AoE buff from Imbued Axe. Sometimes you can even combine both, for a very powerful mid-game turn (set up Axe ahead of time, then drop Extractor, Sunfury Champion, another small minon or two, play a Fire spell, swing with your Axe).
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!
Yo, that first death knight deck got me on a 13 win streak. Really good! Thank you for the work you do.
Which cards out in the warlock budget to add Imp King Rafaam and Sire Denathrius.
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?
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.
It’s a real shame it’s been 3 months and you guys have no updated budget decks.
They updated their budget decks after 3 months? Better complain about it!
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.
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!
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.
Do you think that I can toss in my Edwin into the aggro rogue list? And if I can, what card do I replace?
Very good idea. I would drop the Agent for the record.
Some of the best budget decks ever.
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.
Does anyone have advice? I’m still walled at gold 5-4, warriors and paladins especially, but not only them.
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.
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 😀
Platinum 8 now. FWIW, the Stiltstepper really helps push it in the end if it’s close. Get them if you can afford them 🙂
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.
You can hit legend with any deck
Could you maybe add some cards that you can add if you want to make them better?
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 🙂
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.