Editor’s Note: With the new Standard Format in 2016 for Hearthstone, we highly recommend going for cards in the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). Here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started!
- Budget Standard Standard C’Thun Druid
- Budget Standard Midrange Hunter
- Budget Standard C’Thun Mage
- Budget Standard Aggro Paladin
- Budget Standard C’Thun Priest
- Budget Standard C’Thun Rogue
- Budget Standard Midrange Shaman
- Budget Standard Zoo Warlock
- Budget Standard Combo Warrior
Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped students around the world reach many of these same achievements.
If you’re new to Hearthstone, or just have a limited collection of cards—I feel your pain. It is often difficult to find cheap but viable decks to play on the Hearthstone ladder. Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by creating budget decks for each class.
- Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.
- Complete the Naxxramas, Blackrock Mountain, and League of Explorers expansions.
- Tempo Mage is a tempo-oriented deck whose goal is to out-value opponents through the course of the game using efficient minion trading and weapons.
- When effective, this style of play snowballs to card-advantage in the late-game, which can overwhelm opponents. Tempo Mage is the most powerful of our League of Explorers adventures decks as it utilizes some of the most mana-efficient minions available. In addition, all of the removal spells in this deck double as direct damage that can be used to burn our opponents down.
Minions – 19
- The Zombie Chow is strictly an early game minion used to pressure your opponent’s board early. The goal of casting a Zombie Chow onto the board early is to trade with your opponent’s more expensive minions before its deathrattle becomes a liability. There’s very little downside to killing off your own Zombie Chow when your opponent is close to full health, but playing him later in the game might just put your opponent out of reach if he has a way to deal with it.
- The Ooze is a great little card that has an incredible battlecry against more than half the classes in the game (Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior). His 3/2 body for 2 mana passes the Vanilla Test, and there’s no downside to playing him even if the battlecry doesn’t destroy a weapon.
- This spider is our counter to aggressive decks that like to drop multitudes of 1 health minions. He’s a mini harvest-golem that spawns two 1/1 tokens instead of a single 2/1 token. The spawned tokens become nice targets for buffs.
- Flamewaker is just an amazing upgrade over shade-of-naxxramas[card] that used to be in this slot. It passes the Vanilla Test, trades with two 3/2 minions, and has a great passive that can be extremely helpful against aggro or token decks. Not much is more fun in this deck than laughing while having [card]flamewaker finish your opponent off for lethal.
- The Yeti is the benchmark on which all other 4 mana minions are compared. Not only does he pass the Vanilla Test with flying colors, he trades favorably with most other 2, 3, and 4 mana minions. The Yeti has no downsides and is a welcome sight whether you’re behind or ahead in the game.
- water-elemental is arguably better than the chillwind-yeti. This minion has 3 attack with a 6 health body AND freezes whatever it touches.
- He’s especially potent against classes with weapons. With board control, your opponent will never be able to use his weapon.
2x ethereal-conjurer — New!
- Ethereal Conjurer is an incredibly fun card to play. Mage has a plethora of amazing spells in her arsenal, and the Ethereal Conjurer can provide you reach to finish your opponent or an answer to your opponent’s board. In addition, taunts in your deck can protect the 6/3 from dying too easily.
- Loatheb is an amazing card… when played correctly. 5 mana for a 5/5 is fair, but it’s Loatheb’s ability to shutdown opponent’s spells that makes him so valuable. Play Loatheb on turn 6 before a mage can cast flamestrike on turn 7 and he’ll win you the game.
- If you thought the senjin-shieldmasta was good, well just wait until you see his bigger brother, the Sludge Belcher. Sludge Belcher is an extremely annoying card to deal with, because when he dies, he leaves behind a smaller taunt. This effectively shuts down very aggressive decks, that are generally forced to use silence to get around him. Another benefit to the Sludge Belcher’s deathrattle is his synergy with kelthuzad. Good luck getting past that wall of taunts when both are on the board at the same time!
- While at first glance the Emperor seems overpowered, he’s only truly valuable in decks that have relatively large hand sizes to allow him to reduce the cost of multiple cards on the same turn. When you can tuck him behind a taunt or two, he’s almost impossible to get to and can seriously snowball games for you. The weakness to the Emperor is in situations where you don’t have many cards in your hand and don’t have a board to protect him with, so play him wisely.
- Kel’Thuzad is probably the best win condition in our deck. If you have any semblance of a board going into turn 8, he has a good chance of winning the game for you. His value only goes up when you have deathrattle minions on the board that spawn more minions.
Spells – 11
- Synergizes really well with flamewaker and can do quite well against early aggression from Paladins who muster-for-battle. If you have archmage-antonidas which is listed in the upgrades section, this is a cheap way to gain a fireball.
- Mirror Image is remarkably useful when played in conjunction with flamewaker and the-coin on turn 3. It’ll protect your board while providing a cheap spell to trigger Flamewaker’s passive.
- 2 mana for 3 damage and freeze is great. It can be used in conjunction with your hero power to take out 4 health minions, or to kill your opponent.
- 3 mana to draw 2 cards is fair, but this isn’t a card we want in our opening hand. Playing arcane-intellect on turn 3 is weak because it doesn’t affect the board.
- This card becomes a life saver later in the game when it can draw into answers when we’ve run out of cards.
2x forgotten-torch — New!
- While 3 mana for 3 damage doesn’t seem that great, Forgotten Torch creates and stores a 3 mana roaring-torch into your deck, making it much more worthwhile to play. 4 Fireballs anyone?
- It’ll take out anything with 6 health for 4 mana. One of the best Mage cards in the game.
- The scariest Mage spell that every opponent needs to be wary of. If you’re behind, he’ll clear the board to bring you back in the game. It’s up to your opponent to play around this by not overcommitting and putting too many low health minions on the board before turn 7. If you’re ahead, this is the spell that will seal your opponent’s death.
In general, you want to mulligan to setup your first three or four turns. Please note that there is a distinction between going first and going second in Hearthstone, and this should factor into your mulligan choices.
When going first, your advantage is the ability to play first. In addition, you gain mana crystals before your opponent. To take advantage of this, you want to be aggressive in your mulligan to put minions on the board.
When going second, your advantage is mainly the-coin, which gives you tempo over your opponent for a single turn, and also an extra card. Depending on the nature of your deck, whether it’s Aggro, Midrange, or Control, you’ll be looking for different things.
- When playing an aggro deck, you’ll be looking for the same cards going second as you would going first. The objective is to quickly populate the board and bring down your opponent’s life total.
- When playing a midrange deck, you’ll also be looking to get onto the board early, with the caveat that you can keep a single copy of a situational minion or spell that you think may be useful to counter an opponent. This spell might be something like a kezan-mystic to counter classes with Secrets or removal like frostbolt.
- When playing a control deck, you’re looking to save the coin until much later in the game, generally when you can bring out a large late-game threat earlier than usual.
While I won’t make an exhaustive list, these are some of the cards you should consider keeping in your opening hand when playing this deck. In general, your goal with this deck is to get onto the board as soon as possible. It’s important to dig for an early 1 or 2 mana minion to play so you can begin to pressure your opponent’s life total.
- 1 Mana: zombie-chow
- 2 Mana: acidic-swamp-ooze, haunted-creeper
- 3 Mana: flamewaker
- 1 Mana: arcane-missiles or mirror-image with the-coin and flamewaker.
Here are some substitutions that will improve this budget deck. If you’re looking to craft cards to play this class, it’s best to start with the “Key Substitutions” first before working your way to the “Nice-to-Have” Substitutions. Unless stated otherwise, you can substitute a single copy of an upgrade card instead of two if you don’t have both.
- 2x zombie-chow ? 2x mana-wyrm
- 2x acidic-swamp-ooze ? 2x sorcerers-apprentice
- 2x haunted-creeper + 2x chillwind-yeti ? 2x mad-scientist + 2x mirror-entity
- 1x emperor-thaurissan ? 1x archmage-antonidas
- 1x kelthuzad ? 1x dr-boom
- 1x forgotten-torch ? 1x arcane-missiles
- 1x forgotten-torch ? 1x mirror-image
- 2x ethereal-conjurer ? 2x azure-drake
I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have questions, feel free to use the comment sections below. Our team at HearthstonePlayers would be happy to answer them.
If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world.
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