One of the big complaints about Hearthstone is the price 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.
Luckily for new players, Blizzard has been giving out quite a lot of freebies recently – we’ve been getting free packs, Legendaries and other goodies during expansion releases and events. Plus, the game got cheaper when no duplicate rule was applied to other rarities besides Legendary. Still, it’s hard to deny that despite that, the game is 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.
Budget Deck Rankings
Here’s how I would roughly rank those budget decks. Of course, their strength heavily depends on your own skill (some of them are easier to play while others are more difficult) and the meta you face at your rank.
Defining a Budget Deck
We’re trying our best to keep the budget decks as cheap as possible, while making it as strong as we can. Overall, builds should be within 2.5-3k Arcane Dust range.
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 rules across all rarities), and even if you’re missing some of them, they’re cheap to craft.
As for the Epics, we try to keep as little of 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 try to keep a limit of 2 Epics per deck to keep them cheap.
Legendaries are completely excluded, UNLESS it’s a Legendary that was recently given out for free. Right now, it’s Kael'thas Sunstrider, whom all players have received before Ashes of Outland, as well as Galakrond cards, which were all free.
Cheap Hearthstone Decks
Be sure to click on the deck name at the top of each deck for a full guide! It includes mulligan, strategy, as well as upgrade paths for each of the decks.
Demon Hunter is the new class added in Ashes of Outland expansion, and it has quickly wrapped the entire meta around itself. While it was already nerfed, even after four of its cards got changed, it’s still arguably the most powerful deck in the game right now. And luckily for budget players, it’s also an amazing class to build for cheap. Its Basic & Initiate sets were given out for free, and many of the Common & Rare Ashes of Outland cards are very powerful.
Tempo Demon Hunter is an aggressive, heavily synergistic deck. Most importantly, the deck synergizes with Attacks your Hero makes – cards like Battlefiend or Glaivebound Adept get significant bonuses when your Hero attacks. The deck also ha some powerful Outcast cards, with Altruis the Outcast to make an even better use of them.
Ultimately, the budget deck is pretty close to the full-fledged build, which means that it’s probably the best budget deck available in the game right now. Since it’s only a few cards away from a Tier 1 meta deck, it’s almost a no-brainer for someone who looks for a competitive and easily upgradeable deck.
Spell Druid is a new archetype introduced in Ashes of Outland, but the general idea behind it isn’t exactly new. It’s kind of a spiritual successor to Token Druid decks. Your main game plan is to flood the board with minions, make them stick and then kill your opponent with attack buffs. However, the way you do it is very unique. Instead of trying to establish board control from the first turns, you usually skip them or draw more cards / ramp and only really start playing in the mid game.
Thanks to the mana cheating of Kael'thas Sunstrider, the deck has some really explosive mid game turns. In some cases, you can have a 30+ mana turn starting with a mere 7 mana crystals. Of course, things don’t always work that way, but if you pull it off, it’s just an instant win.
This build is basically a meta version – and given that it’s pretty strong if you learn how to play it correctly, you should easily be able to climb ladder with it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this build is even Legend-capable.
Descent of Dragons was an expansion, which pushed Dragon decks into the mainstream once again. And by far the biggest winner of that push (including Galakrond’s Awakening adventure) was Dragon Hunter. While Face Hunter was all the rage in the early Descent of Dragons, Dragon Hunter has mostly phased it out after a while.
Dragon Hunter is a very powerful Aggro deck. It balances very well between controlling the board and pushing face damage. Corrosive Breath is a great mix of both, and I honestly believe that Stormhammer is one of the strongest cards in Standard right now and it absolutely carries the deck. That’s the reason why I’ve decided to add two of them. While you COULD build it without any Epics (and replace Stormhammer with Eaglehorn Bow), I truly believe that your win rate would go down by a few % just from that change.
Overall, it’s a solid meta deck and one of the best ways to play Hunter right now. On budget, it’s capable of getting to Platinum, possibly even Diamond if you try harder, but before attempting a Legend climb I would replace a few cards with non-budget options first.
In terms of budget decks, things aren’t looking too bright for Mage. You basically have two options – the usual Secret Mage (which was our budget choice for the last… I don’t even remember how many expansions) or a slightly gutted version of Spell Mage. Secret Mage is, let’s just say, not a great deck. You can build it without using any Epics or Legendaries, but it will only be usable in low ranks. Spell Mage is still not a high tier meta deck, but it’s been performing quite fine. However, the problem is that we’ve decided to stick to two Epics at most per budget deck, so we had to choose between Apexis Blast and Power of Creation. The choice here is simple – who doesn’t want to have a 5 mana Firelands Portal in their deck? However, Power of Creation is also a staple, so losing it hurts. That’s why if you have a slightly higher budget, I would recommend getting it in the first place.
Still, after testing the deck for a bit, it’s actually not that bad. You can still perform your main game plan, the deck still feels quite the same, the only big issue is that you have less ways to close out the game with minions (for obvious reason). If you like a more “solitaire” gameplay, the deck is mighty fun too. Most of the time you will be either removing or freezing your opponent’s board and trying to sneak in some damage here and there. If that’s not your style, however, I’ll still showcase the Secret Mage list at the bottom if you prefer a more proactive style.
Let me start with one thing – Murloc Paladin is a better deck than I’ve expected. After the upcoming round or nerfs, it might actually become more popular and make a bigger impact on the meta. However, this budget version is missing a few key cards. I had to adhere to our own budget rules and limit myself to two Epics, no Legendaries and no Adventure cards, making the deck much weaker. Good news is that even the full build is not very expensive. You should be able to build it within 5k Dust (+some gold/real money for 3rd wing of Galakrond’s Awakening).
Murloc Paladin is not a new concept – for some reason, Blizzard likes to give Uther Murlocs and Murloc synergies. It never made much sense, but that’s how it is. Similar decks were viable a few times in the past. It’s a board-centered, aggressive deck which relies on the snowball potential of Murloc tribe. The more Murlocs you play, the stronger other Murlocs become (usually gaining some stats). The deck is rather simple and straightforward, but there’s still some strategy to it, especially with resource management.
Tempo Priest is not the deck you think about whenever that class comes up. And no wonder – Resurrect Priest or Highlander Priest are better options. However, the problem is that they also take more Dust to create. While Resurrect Priest could still be seen as a reasonably budget deck (you could build it for 5-6k Dust), Highlander build is crazy expensive. That’s why for the budget build we’re stuck with is Tempo Priest, which might not be as good, but it’s easier to build using cheap cards. Good news is that the Epic of this build – Psychopomp – is a Preist staple used in nearly every deck for the class, so crafting it is a great investment if you’re using this class.
As for the Tempo Priest, it’s kind of an unique archetype and – to be honest – the closest to Blizzard’s outlined Priest class identity after the Basic/Classic rework. The deck relies on board control, buffing and healing up your minions, cloning them, but all of that without the “unfair” Divine Spirit combo. You want to get onto the board early and stay there all game long, possibly finishing the game with Inner Fire (but again, not in the OTK “combo” way, but simply as a card that gives a minion +6 or +8 attack). The deck is pretty fun to play and I honestly hope that card designers will push Priest in that direction instead of the Resurrect build.
While I (obviously) don’t put any Legendaries into budget builds – Galakronds are an exception, because they are all free. I feel like between that and the fact that a lot of players own Kronx Dragonhoof anyway (because it’s a staple), Galakrond Rogue is a solid choice. I could probably go for some kind of Aggro Rogue, which MIGHT be slightly more powerful immediately, but it would have a terrible upgrade path, so I’ve decided to stick with Secret Galakrond Rogue.
I have underestimated the Secret package – I thought that Galakrond builds will drop it quickly and run Stealth one instead, but as it seems, both are doing quite well winrate-wise, and Secret is by far the more popular one. Galakrond Rogue itself was suspected to be one of the stronger decks in Ashes of Outland, simply because it was Tier 1 in Descent of Dragons and it didn’t really lose any key cards. While the early meta was overwhelmed by Demon Hunter & Warlock, Rogue is looking to be the 3rd strongest class, and things might change after the upcoming nerf patch.
All in all, while the budget version had to cut some important cards (sadly), it should still be good enough in lower ranks. And after that, you will be able to create a powerful meta deck by adding a few Legendaries once you gather enough Dust.
A working Totem Shaman build has been the holy grail among Shaman players for the last few years. People have tried to make it work so many times, and it failed every time. Not enough totem synergies, no way to close out the game, other builds simply being superior in every aspect. But if you were one of the players looking at those Splitting Axes in your collection, wondering when you might be able to put them into use… fear not, for Ashes of Outland has finally made your dreams come true.
While Totem Shaman is still an off-meta build, and it’s most likely not completely optimized, plus the meta isn’t exactly perfect for it, it’s actually working quite well. And what’s even better is that the deck can be played on budget without a problem. The only Epic card you need is the aforementioned Splitting Axe. While adding a Legendary (Vessina) should make it even better, it’s not necessary to play the deck.
Interestingly, the upcoming nerfs should work well for Totem Shaman. Tempo Demon Hunter is the worst matchup, and Altruis the Outcast is the card you hate to see most (so any nerf to DH is a buff to Totem Shaman).
Zoo Warlock is one of the oldest Warlock archetypes, and historically the best way for the class to play on budget. By its nature, the deck is fast, playing lots of cheap cards, which tend to be of lower rarities. Of course, sometimes a Legendary or two is necessary, but not this time around. You can build a Zoo deck using nearly exclusively Commons & Rares. In fact, you could even skip Epics, but I believe that Magic Carpet is quite crucial to the deck’s success given how 1-drops make up half of your deck.
In Ashes of Outland, Zoo Warlock comes with yet another twist. The deck is built around the handbuff idea. Not only you get a great way to buff all minions in your hand for cheap (Imprisoned Scrap Imp), but also a way to draw a lot of cards without spending any extra resources (Hand of Gul'dan). This combination is really deadly if things work correctly. While it makes the deck’s early game slower, once it takes off, it can flood the board with buffed minions multiple times in a row, often adding more stats to the board than your opponent can answer.
It’s a really cool build, which is not the most powerful meta deck, but it’s certainly good enough to climb the ladder with.
Back in the day, Pirate Warrior used to be one of the most scary and dominating builds in the meta, but between a few Pirate nerfs followed by a Fiery War Axe nerf, it finally disappeared from the ladder, and got relegated to a Wild-only build. At the time when it was in Standard, however, it was very powerful – amazing synergies between weapons and Pirates lead to some very, very fast starts and Turn 5-6 lethals. The deck packed so much damage that it was hard to stop even if you teched against it.
It made a slight comeback in Descent of Dragons, but it turned out that Galakrond version was simply better, so for the most part it was merely an off-meta build. Things are looking similar so far in Ashes of Outland. Pirate Warrior didn’t really get any new tools, although most of the ones it had last expansion are still there. There’s another Warrior build, which looks to be stronger – Egg Warrior (also called Tempo Warrior, Eggro Warrior etc.). At first I wanted to build it, but the budget version is missing so many key cards that it would work really badly. That’s why we’re stuck with the good, old Pirate Warrior for better or for worse.
Good news is that Egg Warrior is not the most expensive deck – it can be built within 6-7k Dust, so that’s what you should aim if you have a slightly higher budget.