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 ranks around 50 – 20. They should also be pretty viable between Rank 20 and 10, but as you get closer to 10, the road road is going to be much more difficult and only a couple of them will manage to continue to climb steadily after that. Some of them, however, might work even up to R5 if you master them and make a few upgrades!
Luckily for new players, Blizzard has been giving out quite a lot of freebies recently – we’ve been getting free packs and other goodies during expansion releases and events. Still, it’s hard to deny that despite that, the game is quite expensive if you want to play multiple meta decks, that’s why we think that those budget lists can come really handy.
Budget Deck Rankings
When it comes to Year of the Dragon budget lists, we’ve got quite a few good options. If I had to rank the budget decks, I’d say that they would look like that:
Budget Decks in Rise of Shadows
Rise of Shadows is the first expansion of Year of the Dragon, which means that we just had a big rotation. Sadly for budget players, we’ve lost A LOT of the amazing Commons/Rares that were backbone of many budget decks. While we had some new cards to compensate, we hope to get a few new cheap, powerful cards over the next two expansions. Luckily, the overall power level has also went down, which means that even weaker budget options have a chance to compete in the current meta.
Whizbang the Wonderful
I’ve seen a lot of mention about Whizbang, and yes you can craft it as a budget option. There’s some disadvantages to the card, you don’t get to choose the deck you get to play and it will take longer for you to learn how to play any particular deck due to the random nature of the card. However, it is a good option if you like the variety and the fun of playing multiple different decks you wouldn’t normally have access to. Check out our Whizbang Deck Recipes List Guide to learn all about him!
Budget Player Goals
I encourage you not to make your goal to go to all the way to Legend. It’s a tough climb even if you have a meta deck, let alone if you are running a budget deck. There’s no real reason to do it, and it will likely make Hearthstone a far more grueling experience than it needs to be (there are no win-streaks which help immensely when climbing). Rank 5 is a fine goal if you are getting close to a meta version of any of these decks, and you get nearly the same rewards at rank 5 as Legend does at the end of the season.
Cheap Hearthstone Decks
Our rule is that we don’t include any budget deck that has Epic or Legendary cards. You might have opened up some, however, and in most cases we list which of these cards can be added to the deck. There is a deck for EVERY class!
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.
Thanks to Savage Roar a top tier Token Druid deck is always lurking nearby, and The Rise of Shadows meta is no exception. Token Druid decks try to get a bunch of cheap, unimpressive minions on the board that can then have their attack buffed to inflict large amounts of damage in a single turn.
Class Meta Decks: Token Druid
Midrange Hunter is one of the oldest archetypes in Hearthstone. It has been a top tier meta deck and is one of the best options for budget players because it requires no Legendaries to play at a high level. This version of Midrange Hunter uses Beast synergy to fight for board and pressure the opponent’s life total. While strong in its budget form, it is also relatively cheap to upgrade, requiring only Master’s Call to transition to a meta deck.
Class Meta Decks: Mech Hunter, Bomb Hunter, Midrange Hunter
Tempo Mage decks use efficient spells and minions to gain advantage on board early, and then finish off the opponent with direct damage spells like Frostbolt and Fireball. While not the staple competitive option it was for budget players prior to the nerf to Mana Wyrm, the deck is reasonable enough to complete Mage quests and grind out wins for the golden Hero portrait by farming opposing board-centric strategies.
Class Meta Decks: Conjurer Mage
Paladin has received a powerful and budget-friendly new Secret package which allows it to take an early board advantage. Mech Paladin aims to keep that advantage with mid-late game Mech synergy.
Class Meta Decks: Mech Paladin, Secret Paladin
Silence Priest had a short time in the spotlight following the release of Journey to Un’Goro, but fell into obscurity shortly thereafter. While it hasn’t seen competitive use in a couple years, Rise of Shadows brings with it a bunch of new tools to work with. The basic strategy is to play overstatted minions with negative effects (such as “can’t attack”) and silence them to gain an advantage on board.
Class Meta Decks: Resurrect Priest, Silence Priest
Tempo Rogue is a deck that has run over opponents since the early days of Hearthstone. The deck makes great use of Valeera’s Hero Power, as well as potent Tempo cards available to Rogues like Backstab and SI:7 Agent to maintain an early lead long just enough to kill the opponent. The Tempo Rogue shell has seen many iterations in Hearthstone history but never seems to disappear from the meta completely. This Budget Tempo Rogue does have to sacrifice a few Legendary and Epic cards that strengthen the deck’s ability to overwhelm opponents, but still has the tools to beat down opponents. With incremental additions to the deck over time, it can slowly grow into a force on the Standard ladder.
Class Meta Decks: Tempo Rogue
Murlocs have been one of Hearthstone’s most prominent tribal synergy strategies since its introduction. Murlocs are typically designed to benefit from each other and begin to snowball exponentially as each one is added to the board. This, along with the generally low mana-cost of the cards, pushes most Murloc strategies to be aggressive. While initially best in Warlock, Blizzard started introducing Shaman support (and Paladin support) for Murlocs in Goblins vs Gnomes. Murloc Shaman would continue to get fairly regular additions as sets came out, but it wasn’t until the Rise of Shadows expansion that it would get cards powerful enough for it to be more than a meme.
Class Meta Decks: Murloc Shaman, Big Shaman, Control Shaman
Because of its low-curve, Zoo Warlock has long been a favorite of budget-minded players sacrificing very little for the sake of keeping costs low. Additionally, the deck has long served as a powerful teaching tool for new players eager to learn about core Hearthstone concepts such as Tempo, trading up, and timing a push for lethal. In The Year of the Dragon, Zoo Warlock can once again return to its roots. Now free of the requirement of including Prince Keleseth–as well as various other powerful, high-curve Neutral minions–the old archetype can once again favor a curve skewed heavily towards one and two drops. This shift gives the deck a familiar feel for anyone returning to Hearthstone after a long hiatus.
Class Meta Decks: Zoo Warlock, Handlock
Rush Tempo Warrior is a tempo/aggressive deck. The intended use of this deck is to complete Warrior quests and grind Warrior wins for the golden Hero on a budget, as top tier Warrior decks are all very dust expensive and look vastly different from this. I wouldn’t recommend this over similar decks from other classes, but it is strong enough to get wins for Warrior if that’s what you need. The reason aggressive Warrior decks aren’t top tier is largely due to the irrelevance of the Warrior Hero Power in decks like this one. If you’ve played Hearthstone prior to the last year or so, you know that aggro Warrior decks have been some of the most oppressively powerful decks the game has ever seen, but Warrior had two things in the past that it doesn’t now: Sir Finley Mrrgglton and pre-nerf Fiery War Axe. Sir Finley solved the irrelevant hero power issue and Fiery War Axe at 2-mana was a contender for the most busted aggro card in Hearthstone’s history.
Class Meta Decks: Bomb Warrior, Control Warrior, Big Warrior