Hearthstone Budget Decks In Voyage to the Sunken City, 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, 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. 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).

Cheap Hearthstone Decks

Deck Import

Between some cards from the last expansion, buffed Feast of Souls + Wrathscale Naga in Core Set and a couple of new cards, aggressive Token Demon Hunter is actually a quite viable deck. And the good news is that the deck is quite cheap.

The goal is to flood the board with multiple minions and then take advantage of your token synergies. For example, you can drop Flag Runner or Wrathscale Naga before making multiple trades and then play Feast of Souls to refill your hand. The deck is, of course, quite aggressive, and you have some reach from your hand. Between Fury (Rank 1), Multi-Strike and later Bone Glaive, you can deal tons of damage just like that. Wrathscale Naga can also lead to some insane burn turns, but here you will usually need to get a bit more lucky, e.g. your 3 damage hits going face instead of clearing board (you generally prefer face damage in slower matchups).

If you have Drek'Thar, you should definitely add him to the deck, but if not, it should still be okay as a budget build.

Deck Import

It’s a pretty weird mix between Aggro Taunt Druid, Token Druid and Beast Druid builds, because neither can be really built completely on budget. In this case I decided to use the Epic card limit on Composting – the choice was mostly between Composting, Oracle of Elune and Frostsaber Matriarch, but I feel like out of those three, drawing more cards is most important in this build (Oracle of Elune would probably be better if you could ALSO run Matriarch, but that’s too expensive).

With Arbor Up gone, Aggro Druids needed to find a different way to close out the games. In this case, you have other AoE buffs – Sow the Soil, Clawfury Adept, Heart of the Wild. So just like with the old versions, your goal is to flood the board, then buff your minions’ attack and kill your opponent that way. Azsharan Gardens is an interesting addition – the card is only okay by itself, +1/+1 handbuff is solid, but sadly it doesn’t affect tokens you summon from spells. However, if you combine it with Aquatic Form, you can immediately draw Sunken Gardens, which now buffs all the minions in your hand, deck and on board, and that’s obviously a very powerful effect.

Since the deck is quite good at flooding the board, Sea Giant seemed like a solid choice. It’s a key card in more tempo-oriented matchups and you usually tend to drop it on Turn 5, after playing Flipper Friends. That alone reduces his cost to 4, which means that if your opponent has at least 4 minions on the board, it will cost 0.

The deck would really benefit from running a few more Epics, like Oracle & Matriarch I’ve mentioned, so if you have them – you should probably just play a full Beast Druid build, because that’s the best version of cheap-ish Druid deck (Ramp Druid needs too many expensive cards to run on budget).

Deck Import

While the theme of the deck changed a bit, the idea hasn’t. Face Hunter is still Face Hunter and even though you now run some Naga synergies, your goal is to get on the board early, deal as much damage as you can with your minions, and then finish things off with burn spells.

When it comes to best Naga synergies, the two cards that are worth mentioning are Vicious Slitherspear and Twinbow Terrorcoil. The first one is an amazing 1-drop, while it’s technically a 1/3 minion, it will often be a 2/3 or even 3/3 since you play a lot of spells in this deck. The second one has a lot of burn potential – combine it with Aimed Shot or Piercing Shot for some insane damage. Double Aimed Shot is 10 damage (if you count the extra damage from HP) and the second Piercing will deal full 6 damage assuming the first hit killed the target (so e.g. hitting a 2 health minion is also 10 damage in total).

When it comes to cards you really, really want to add, Raj Naz'jan is definitely one of them. If left unchecked, the card can give you so much extra damage. Drawing it later is also not a bad deal, because it can easily turn into 2 mana to deal 4-5 damage while leaving a 2/3 body your opponent absolutely has to kill. Barak Kodobane is also quite useful, because spells are even more important in this build than in the old ones.

Deck Import

Mech Mage was a menace during the first few days of the expansion, and it still is quite prevalent in the lower ranks. While in reality it turned out to not be as strong as initially suspected, it’s still a very solid deck. The budget version is a bit weaker, but still decent enough.

The deck is kind of a mix between Tempo and Combo. You can play it as a tempo deck and get on the board with discounted Mechs, flood the board over and over again, discovering new stuff as you go. However, probably a more interesting way to play it, at least in slower matchups, is setting up a Mecha-Shark combo. If you draw your two Mecha-Sharks, possibly discover a third one, you can drop them on the board and flood the rest with cheap minions, potentially dealing over 30 damage from hand. Yes, it doesn’t always work that way, and sometimes doing it with one Shark is good enough, but the point is that you can deal a lot of damage out of nowhere.

This budget version is quite close to a full build, but one card that you really, really want to add is Gaia, the Techtonic. Colossal and Mech Mage are a match made in heaven, even more so if you discount it by 1-2. Dropping it with 2-3 Mechs already on the board can lead to a massive swing, clearing your opponent’s whole board and establishing one they can’t remove. Other cards you can consider adding are Kazakus, Golem Shaper (since your 4 mana slot is empty anyway, the card is “free”) and Ini Stormcoil (not necessary, but a nice addition).

Deck Import

Mech Paladin is another deck that seemed a bit better than it actually is early in the expansion – probably because they are very easy to build and players came up with pretty much optimal builds on Day 1. And it’s another solid budget option.

However, unlike Mage, you have basically one way to play it – you NEED to play for the tempo, get on the board and try to kill your opponent that way. The deck has no burn damage, nor any catch-up mechanics, so if you fall behind by too much, that’s game over.  Keep that in mind when doing your plays – sometimes it’s better to not get too greedy like skipping T1, playing Radar Detector on T2 and Alliance Bannerman on T3 to get the maximum value of your handbuff. Sure, it’s a good play, but if you face an Aggro deck and all you have on the board by T3 is a 2/1 minion, you’ll probably lose.

To fill the gaps that would normally be filled by Epics/Legendaries, I decided to add a small Secret package to the build. Sword of the Fallen is still a great card, Northwatch Commander lets you refill your hand while keeping up with your opponent in terms of tempo, and Galloping Savior is actually pretty good in this meta, since we have a bunch of deck that want to play multiple cards in the same turn.

In order to turn it into a full-fledged deck, I would cut the Secret package and add card slike Amalgam of the Deep, Ini Stormcoil, Mr. Smite, Lightforged Cariel and – of course – The Leviathan. As you can see, the full build is pretty expensive, but if I would pick any priorities, Amalgam, Cariel and Leviathan are probably most important out of those.

Deck Import

Yes, I know. People absolutely hate the deck. But sadly I can’t help that it’s the best thing Priest can play on the budget. The deck requires zero Epics and Legendaries (other than Core Legendary), so it’s a natural budget choice. And funnily enough, it performs better than many “full decks” (but even if it didn’t, those can’t be built without Legendaries).

The goal of the deck is to not draw any of your minions, but draw Switcheroo. After you do, you put 2x 12/12 with Taunt on the board, which is more than enough to win against most of the decks. Yes, they can still kill them switch some techs, like Smothering Starfish, but that’s a risk you need to accept. It would normally seem that with two minions and two Switcheroos, it’s a 50/50, but it’s not. You have mulligan, Dredge effect (Illuminate) and Thrive in the Shadows in your favor, so you should draw Switcheroo more often than you draw minions, and that’s the whole point of the build. Drawing either minion means that you can just concede.

If you don’t like Switcheroo Priest and can afford a few epics and Legendaries, you should check out Shellfish Priest instead. The deck is still not the most expensive in the world, but it will easily cost you over 5k Dust.

Deck Import

Rogue always had some Pirate synergies, but rarely enough to build a full-fledged Pirate deck. Until now. Current Pirate Rogues can dish out some serious pain, and while mostly outclassed by Warrior, the deck has a few advantages over Garrosh.

The strongest card in the deck is definitely Swordfish. Not only you Dredge, but you also – more than likely – equip a 4/3 weapon. That’s 12 damage even if we don’t count any buffs (like Buccaneer or Deadly Poison). And 12 damage is a lot, combine it with some extra burn damage from your hand, some Pirates in stealth and you can often threaten lethal around Turn 5-6. Another good combo is Azsharan Vessel + Gone Fishin'. Or well, honestly just playing Preparation + Vessel on T3 is amazing. Not only do you get a lot of immediate tempo on the board, but you run enough Dredge effects to put the second part on the top quite easily. And last, but not least, Pufferfist + Plague Scientist. Giving Pufferfist Poisonous means that every time you swing, you clear your opponent’s whole board (barring some stuff like Divine Shields). That’s quite insane and wrecks decks like Druid – they could have put 4x 8/8 on the board, but you just clear them all in one swing.

When it comes to Legendaries you want to add, Mr. Smite and Crabatoa are the two you should definitely consider if you have them (Mr. Smite is a safe craft anyway). Blademaster Okani is a free Legendary from Sunken City so it’s a fair game. And that will basically put you at a full build, which is certainly nice.

Deck Import

This one might seem a bit boring, because it runs exactly zero new cards, but what can you do. Elemental Shaman is still your best budget option. While it lost a few cards in rotation, most of the core is intact, and it works really well.

Elemental Shaman is a Midrange deck that focuses on board control and dishing out any extra damage it has from surviving minions. You also have some burn damage in a form of Lightning Bolt + Fire Elemental, but that’s certainly not a lot, you definitely need to win on the board to win the games. An alternate win condition is a Freeze combo from Alterac Valley. Snowfall Guardian + Brilliant Macaw can win you some matchups quite easily. They can lock your opponent’s board for multiple turns while creating bigger and bigger minions on your side. If your opponent can’t answer them – you just kill them. Alternatively, Macaw can also be used to repeat other Battlecries – draw more cards (Primal Dungeoneer), Hex another random minion (Lilypad Lurker) or discount all of your Elementals even further (Granite Forgeborn. The exact way you use it depends on the matchup and your hand.

As for what Epics/Legendaries you should add – to be honest, I wouldn’t bother. Elemental Shaman is a good budget build, but if you want to go for a full-fledged deck, you should explore Burn Shaman instead. That’s probably the best option for Shaman in the current meta.

Deck Import

Oh Murloc Warlock – for a moment I actually thought that it might be a viable option. And well, it’s actually quite better than I initially thought, but it still has a hard time passing the magical 50% win rate barrier. However, it makes for a solid budget deck, since most of the cards it runs are cheap.

Murloc decks always relied heavily on tribe synergies and buffs. The more Murlocs you have, the better cards like Murloc Warleader or Coldlight Seer become. And it’s still the case, but Murloc Warlock additionally relies on handbuffs thanks to Chum Bucket, a new key card (and Sunken Scavenger if you manage to Dredge it to the top). With Chum Bucket, you need to balance your hand vs board right. If you have only a single minion on the board but 6 in your hand, it will give a total of +6/+6. But if you first play another minion on the board before using it, it will give +2/+2 to 5 minions for a total of +10+/10. Play three and you get 3x 4 = +12/+12. You always aim to maximize the handbuff by first playing a few Murlocs on the same turn. Handbuffs synergize very well with Lushwater Scout (buffed Murlocs with Rush can destroy the opponent’s board) and – of course – Twin-fin Fin Twin, which copies itself with all the buffs it has (and having e.g. 2x 5/4 with Rush for 3 mana is really great).

When it comes to cards you want to add, by far the most important one is Gigafin. This Murloc is really strong and it’s your only answer against big boards, e.g. against Druid. It’s a comeback mechanic that let you win the games you wouldn’t won otherwise. Other than Gigafin, Amalgam of the Deep is also good like in any tribe-based deck. Sir Finley, Sea Guide is another solid option – it’s both a Murloc and it lets you redraw a bad hand / find your Sunken Scavenger.

Deck Import

For God’s sake, please don’t play this deck. Maybe if you have some Quests you want to finish but you . This deck sucks, but it’s only a single card away from easily gaining 10% win rate or more – Raid the Docks. Without the Questline, Pirate Warrior is mediocre. Sure, you can win some games with pure aggression, getting on the board with all the Pirates, maybe buffing them with Captain, swinging with weapons etc. But without Questline, you’re going to run out of juice around Turn 6-7 and then… well, game over. If you haven’t killed your opponent by then – and you probably haven’t – then you’re out of luck.

So do yourself a favor, replace one Whetstone Hatchet with Raid the Docks, two Azsharan Tridents with Ratchet Privateers and play the deck like that. Of course, that still won’t be a full build – you should still consider adding a Mr. Smite (the card is incredibly powerful, and doubly so in a deck full of Pirates that summons random Pirates every turn starting in the mid game) and Nellie, the Great Thresher. Amalgam of the Deep is another good option, since it lets you finish the Questline faster. After that, you’ve got yourself a full Pirate Warrior, deck that absolutely dominates lower ranks.


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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

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

    Some of the best budget decks ever.

  8. 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

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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.