Hearthstone Budget Decks (United in Stormwind) – Cheap Decks for Laddering in Hearthstone! – August 2021

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. 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 (don’t pay attention to Dust cost listed next to decks below, 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. Mankrik – if you don’t have it, all you need to do is buy a single Forged in The Barrens pack and go to the pack opening screen). We might be offering alternate versions that include a single Legendary if they are much more powerful than a fully budget version, but still quite cheap overall. 

Cheap Hearthstone Decks


Deck Import

Deathrattle Demon Hunter is one of the better decks you can get on budget. You don’t need any Epics or Legendaries to play it and it’s quite close to the full build.

In the early game, you rely on tempo swings caused by your Deathrattle minions summoning more minions. Razorboar, Razorfen Beastmaster and Persistent Peddler are all amazing, because they cheat out a lot of stats into the board at no extra cost after they die. In the best-case scenario, you can get a 3/2 -> 3/3 -> 4/3 -> 4/3 minion for just a single, 2 mana investment. Between those and other minions that summons tokens on death (Devouring Ectoplasm, Renowned Performer) your opponent should have a hard time clearing your early game boards.

However, that’s usually not how you end up winning the games. Your best finisher is Illidari Inquisitor, which you can use to clear a minion AND attack face in the same turn (it’s best to have Tuskpiercer pre-equipped if you plan to drop him on curve). Between two of them, that’s guaranteed 16 damage, and much more if opponents can’t clear them.

The card you’re missing most is Death Speaker Blackthorn, a great mid-late game tempo push and a solid way to thin your deck. If you replace Wandmaker with it, you’re going to have a full meta deck. If you’re facing mostly decks against which you play the aggressive part, you should consider replacing Eye Beam with Felsteel Executioner too.


Deck Import

Sadly, in this case using an Epic card was necessary – it’s impossible to build Token Druid without Glowfly Swarm. Bad news is that you’re still missing another important Epic card – the new Composting, so if you already own it, it would make the deck much better. Bad news is that despite all of that, Token Druid doesn’t perform the best in current meta. Your goal is to flood the board with minions and then keep buffing them while hitting your opponent. Hyper Aggro decks will usually kill you before you can take off, while Combo decks are generally well-equipped to deal with your wide boards and you can’t drag the game for too long. Still, if you want to play Druid on the budget, it’s your best option – and it’s definitely not the worst budget deck available.


Deck Import

You can always count on Face Hunter when you’re looking for a good budget option. Those decks never really require any Legendaries – and even if they improve your win rate, you can still easily play the deck without them. And your situation is pretty much the same here. When it comes to Epics, I think that Warsong Wrangler is just too good to pass up, but you technically CAN play the deck without it – you could e.g. put two Knife Vendors in their place. But I’d say that a way to guarantee a buffed Trampling Rhino on curve is just worth the extra Dust you have to spend on it.

Your strategy is quite simple, really. In the early game, you want to focus on creating a powerful, wide board and dealing as much damage with minions as you can. The truth is that you CAN deal a lot of damage from hand, but you still usually need some early pressure to get your opponent into range. Then, depending on the matchup and your hand, you want to start building more board while weaving in Hero Powers every turn to soften your opponent, or go all-in on burst strategy and just throw everything you have at them over 2-3 turns. The addition of Aimed Shot made your burst plan much more compelling, since the card basically deals 5 damage for just 3 mana (since your Hero Power is something you will be using anyway) and that’s a lot.

When it comes to how you can improve the deck – you definitely want to add Barak Kodobane (drawing 3 cards and potentially triggering Mankrik‘s wife) and Rinling's Rifle (more burn from weapon hits + you can potentially pull a game-winning Secret). After that, you’ve got yourself a full, viable meta deck.


Deck Import

This deck looks really weird at a first glance, but trust me, it actually makes a bit more sense than it might seem. The idea is to play a huge Grand Finale – most of the decks have no way to clear all the 8/8’s – and then either kill your opponent on board or drop Battleground Battlemaster to finish the job. The deck runs a lot of cycling (Tradeable cards), as well as targeted spell draw, so you’re nearly guaranteed to get your Hot Streak and Grand Finale by Turn 6. If you also find your Mailbox Dancers, you can even do your combo as early as Turn 4, although Turn 5 is more likely. Now, the turn before Grand Finale, you wan to play as many Elementals as you can. Even 1 is enough, but 2-3 are preferable (so you get three or four 8/8’s). Confection Cyclone is your best friend here, because it’s a single card generating 3 Elementals.

And that’s honestly your whole goal – put a big Grand Finale and hope that your opponent can’t clear it. If he can – well, you most likely lost the game. But you can steal a lot of matches from decks that don’t suspect it or simply aren’t prepared to deal with it at all.

Still, given that Questline Mage is actually a rather cheap deck, if you’re looking for an actually viable alternative, that’s the one I would recommend (see below).


Deck Import

Yeah – Questline Mage is hated by many players, but it’s viable (even after the Incanter's Flow nerf), fun and actually cheap to build. You only need a single Legendary – Questline. You also need two Epics – you can’t really play the deck without Ignites – but it still puts the total cost of a deck at around 3.5k – even less if you already own most of the Commons/Rares.

The goal of the deck is to cycle between different spell schools – Arcane, Fire and Frost – to finish the Questline. You need to play one of each Spell School three times in total. After that, you get a 7/7 that permanently increases your Spell Damage by 3. I probably don’t have to explain how powerful it is, but here we go. First Flame and Brain Freeze now clear most of midrange minions, Fire Sale becomes a 6 damage AoE, Ignites and Runed Orbs become viable burst options and – maybe most importantly – your Cram Session draws 4 cards by default. It makes cycling through the deck and burning the opponent down while keeping the board clear every easy. The best part is that Ignites are “infinite”, so you can’t really run out of damage. If you’re afraid of dying, you can use some of your burn spells to clear the board and then still come back with 10+ damage Ignites after they’re the only cards remaining in your deck.

The deck might be a bit tricky to pilot for new players, but it’s by far the best deck for Mage right now and it would be a shame to not include it here just because it has to run a single Legendary.


Deck Import

Handbuff Paladin, on the other hand, is one of the decks that would love to run some Legendaries, but they aren’t absolutely required for it to function, so we excluded them. It was actually a dominating force in the meta before both Conviction (Rank 1) and Battleground Battlemaster got nerfed, but even after those nerfs it’s still pretty solid. As it turns out – handbuffs are actually good if the handbuff cards are efficient or do something on top of handbuffing. For example, remember old Smuggler's Run? Now we have Prismatic Jewel Kit, which for the same amount of mana can give you up to three times more handbuffs. Yes, it has an extra condition, but those are quite easily met in the deck, and by the mid game you should have a full hand of buffed minions. Or Alliance Bannerman – a 2/2 that gives your entire hand +1/+1 would be mediocre, but it also draws a minion on top of that (and buffs it immediately), making it one of the best cards in the deck.

Your goal is simple – you try to curve out and hopefully put as many handbuffs as possible, then start dropping your big minions in the mid game. Minions that your opponent will have harder time clearing. Even a simple Righteous Protector becomes scary once it’s a 4/4. One of the key components of the deck in current meta are Robes of Protection. Decks are rather light on AoE clears and rely on single target removals – which become useless with Robes in play. Just try to hide it behind a Taunt (to play around Rush minions), possibly put it out of AoE range with handbuffs, and you often seal the game just by dropping it on the board. And if that plan doesn’t work, you still have your burst plan. Sadly, since it’s a budget deck I couldn’t afford to add Conviction, but Battleground Battlemaster is still good despite its absence. Drop Battlemaster next to handbuffed minions and you can deal 10+ extra damage out of nowhere, often closing out the game.

Sadly the deck is quite far away from a full build. You want to add cards like Conviction (Rank 1), Cariel Roame, Blademaster Samuro (those three are probably most important), and possibly more such as Murgur Murgurgle, Cornelius Roame, Highlord Fordragon and Varian, King of Stormwind to fill your high-end curve. As you can see, the full build is REALLY expensive. But luckily, none of those cards is absolutely necessary – that’s why the budget version is still okay-ish, and then you can slowly build your way towards a full build once you open more packs.


Deck Import

Sadly, it’s impossible to build anything viable for Priest fully on budget, so we’re stuck with last expansion’s Miracle Priest. Most of Priest cards from United in Stormwind support Shadow build, with a few Control tools here and there. And for Shadow build, you HAVE to craft Darkbishop Benedictus – the deck makes no sense with your base Hero Power.

The deck’s basic playstyle relies on discounting your hand with Nazmani Bloodweaver, then generating tons of extra resources with Sethekk Veilweaver and then getting both of those back with Rally!. Sadly, while this strategy might have worked last expansion, it’s way too slow this time around. You might have a pretty hard time against Aggro decks and you sadly don’t have what it takes to close out games against Combo decks.

If you want to play Priest on budget – I would really recommend crafting the deck below instead. It’s actually competitively viable and still pretty cheap.

Again, this is not a full budget deck. Sadly, you CAN’T play Shadow priest without Darkbishop Benedictus – your Hero Power healing instead of dealing damage disrupts your strategy in a big way. But if you can afford this single Legedary and two Epics (Voidtouched Attendant – trust me, they’re crazy powerful in the deck) – you’re really set when it comes to expensive cards.

The goal of the deck is simple – it plays more like a Face Hunter than any Priest deck you’ve probably seen in the past. In fact, the Hero Power is even better than Face Hunter’s, since it can target anything – that part is very useful in more board-control oriented matchups (e.g. Aggro mirrors, where you can’t just blindly go all face). However, unlike with Hunter, most of your damage is minion-based – you can still close out some games with HP + burn damage (Void Shard, Knife Vendor), but you’ll need to deal most of the damage with minions. You want to get on the board early and try to constantly keep pressure. Like I’ve mentioned, Voidtouched Attendant is really powerful, mostly because you can add a lot of damage to a low-attack board, not to mention your Hero Powers are stronger.


Deck Import


Deck Import

When it comes to Rogue, the class didn’t get any new cheap cards that would boost the Aggro gameplan. It has Garrote now, but since we’re limited by the number of Epics we can put in a budget deck, that’s not something we can consider, sadly. Most of the new cards from latest expansion were focused on the SI:7 theme. Which is actually pretty good, but for it to function properly, you NEED Questline.

If you want to play this fully budget deck – your strategy is simple. Go face with minions, go face with weapons and then hope to close out the game with burn damage. Sadly, there are better Aggro options than Rogue right now, so if you want a more viable deck, check out the one below.


Deck Import

Questline Rogue is actually one of the easier decks to build. You simply put your Questline, search for SI:7 and add every single one, and then fill the deck with a couple of good cards, because honestly there’s not much room left.

The goal of the deck is very simple – you play your SI:7 cards, which are not always strong by themselves, but they let you push your Questline forward. After 2 and 4 SI:7 cards played, you get some cheap, powerful tools that should help you regain some tempo. But the biggest push comes after the 6th one. You get 5 mana 7/7 which adds all five Gadgets to your hand. The best part is that you can immediately give it +2 Attack and Stealth – now there aren’t many decks that can clear a 9/7 with Stealth. Then, the turn after, it gives you a perfect target for Battleground Battlemaster – 18 damage + 3 damage from weapon Gadget + you can even return a Taunt minion to your opponent’s hand in case he put it up. That’s your basic game plan, but to be honest, even if you don’t burst your opponent down, all the gadgets will still buy you a lot of tempo, value and disruption (like dictating your opponent’s next draw).

So if you want an actually viable, but still quite cheap Rogue deck – this is your best option.


Deck Import

Elemental Shaman was arguably the best deck in the meta for a big part of the last expansion, and while it’s no longer as dominating right now, it’s still very much viable. And the best part? It can easily be played on budget, it’s one of the cheapest decks in the game right now. In fact, all you need are two Lilypad Lurkers and you’re good to go. Technically you can play the deck without them, but it will be very difficult in the current meta – Questline Warlock with Flesh Giants is one of the strongest and most popular builds, and Hexing those bastards really does help (and it helps twofold – not only you deal with a big threat, but you also pollute their Raise Dead pool with a Frog instead of another 0 mana 8/8).

Elemental Shaman got some nice support in United in Stormwind and it shows. Granite Forgeborn, already nerfed to 4/4, is still an amazing card – a deck-wide Kindling Elemental if you will. In the best case scenario, you can play him on Turn 2 (T1 Kindling, T2 Coin + Forgeborn) and playing it early is how you can win a lot of games. You can just spit out your hand on the board and most of the current meta decks have no way to clear all of that. Another new addition is Canal Slogger, which is an MVP in Aggro matchups. Not only you can clear a threat, but you also heal for 6 in the process. And the best part? If your opponent doesn’t clear it with a spell, you most likely heal for 6 again.

So you just play on the curve, get your opponent low, and then finish them with a mixture of burn from spells, minions and weapons. The strategy might not be sophisticated, but it works very well.


Deck Import

While Questline Warlock is all the rage right now, sadly you can’t play the deck on budget. You could technically build a cheap D6 build by using only Questline + 2x Epic (Darkglare), but I’ll be honest – the deck is not that great anyway and I would NEVER recommend it to less experienced players, they would lose much more games than they would with Zoo. And while the “Handlock” version is way better, the cheapest builds would still cost you north of 5k Dust. If you can afford that – check out our Questline Warlock deck page to look for something.

But when it comes to fully budget options, Zoo is still the only way. The biggest change compared to last expansion is a bigger focus on Demons thanks to the Shady Bartender. The card is nuts if you happen to have even just a few Demons on the board. That’s why the build runs so many Demons – 14 minions + 2x Demonic Assault. Because of that, it’s quite easy to stick at least 2-3 of them, and then dropping Bartender is a big deal – you gain so many extra stats, making your minions bigger threats that are harder to remove. And the best part about Bartender is that when you draw him in the early game and don’t need him, you can just Trade him for something else. Yes, it’s not free, but having that option is always better than being stuck with a dead card.

So your game plan is quite simple – you play your usual Zoo game of flooding the board and trading efficiently, then drop Bartender to create a really powerful board. You might add Wicked Whispers for a good measure and your big board will most likely escape any AoE removal. Then close out games with a big board – and if it gets cleared, just keep tapping and rebuild it.

If you happen to have it, you also want to run Kanerthad Ebonlocke – making most of your deck cheaper is a nice deal. You could also throw in Flesh Giants for a good measure – the deck has a lot of self-damage potential as well as some healing, so getting Giants down to just a couple of mana points (or even free) shouldn’t be that hard.


Deck Import

Let’s be honest, Pirate Warrior has seen better days in Standard. But it has also seen worse days – Blizzard has been pushing the archetype lately and it’s starting to look really solid. It has nearly all the necessary tools already – and the best part is that most of them are cheap, so you can use them in a budget version.

Your main goal is – obviously – to rush down the opponent and kill them before they can take off. You do that with your early game minions and – most importantly – weapons. That was always Pirate Warrior’s strength – those weapons pack a lot of punch and you can usually start swinging with them as early as Turn 3 (Imprisoned Gan'arg or Reaper's Scythe discounted by Bloodsail Deckhand). Not only are they useful for dealing direct damage and some minion removals (although for that you’d rather use your spells like Shiver Their Timbers! and Coerce), but they activate some extra synergies such as Bloodsail Raider, Fogsail Freebooter or Cutting Class.

If you happen to have Raid the Docks Quest in your collection, I would definitely add it to the deck, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to craft it. Questline Warrior has some potential, but it’s not worth the investment in the current meta. Sadly, the problem is that games don’t last long enough for your Questline reward to come into action. It’s amazing in long games, but those just don’t happen right now.

Stonekeep

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

252 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

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

    Some of the best budget decks ever.

  6. 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

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.