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 many students achieve the same.
After finishing our Basic deck series, I received many requests for decks that could be constructed with cards from the Naxxramas set. In terms of value, the Naxxramas expansion will pretty much guarantee you the best value for your gold or cash. It’s not surprising that many newer players — even those without many Expert cards — have chosen to unlock the Naxxramas set first. This is a Basic + Naxx Mage Hearthstone Deck.
As Mage is what I consider to be the strongest Basic class, I was interested in seeing how far a Mage deck with Naxxramas cards could get on the ranked ladder. In the middle of the season, I was able to play around Rank 10 before hitting a wall. While the deck I’m introducing today won’t take you to legendary, it’s a lot of fun, and competitive enough to compete with 90% of the players out there.
The inclusion of several Naxxramas cards allowed us to fill in several gaps we had from the original version this deck, and also allowed us to improve the overall efficiency of our minions. Take a look!
Minions – 20
- A wonderful minion for early pressure. While his deathrattle is a drawback, the objective is to establish board control with zombie-chow early, trading him for something more valuable while your opponent is already at high health.
- Basically the best 2 mana minion in the Basic card set. His 3/2 body for 2 mana passes the Vanilla Test, and his battlecry is useful against more than half the classes in the game (Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior).
- 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 our shattered-sun-cleric.
- The Naxxramas card set gave us several neutral 3 mana minions to consider. At the end of the day, I went with the Shade because he has the least number of drawbacks. deathlord looks formidable, but is an easy target for a shadow-word-pain or stampeding-kodo. dancing-swords looks like a card that can trade 2 for 1, but ends up drawing your opponent a card, nullifying its advantage. The Shade is also nice, because when left untouched, he’ll gain one attack and one health each turn, making him more and more valuable.
- Her battlecry is great for tempo on turn 3, if you can mana to buff one of your minions to trade up, or to survive what would have been an even trade. She leaves behind an attractive 3/2 body as well.
- The best 4 mana minion in the Basic card set. His stats allow him to trade with three 2/4 minions, or two 4/4 minions. This means that on turn 4, he’ll help you reestablish the board if you’re behind, or put you further ahead if you already have an advantage.
- 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.
- loatheb is consistently rated as one of the best cards from the Naxxramas set. To the beginner it can be hard to see why. 5 mana for 5/5 is a statline commonly seen in many other cards that are Common, so what’s the big deal? Frankly, his battlecry is what makes him so good. Many decks in constructed rely on spell combos, and this throws a wrench into that system. If you can predict that your opponent will play a holy-nova or flamestrike the following turn, this card can make that play impossible, forcing your opponent to skip their turn, or dump minions on the board, giving you an extra turn to trade for more value before the expected board clear.
- sludge-belcher is basically a senjin-shieldmasta combined with a goldshire-footman. The great thing is that the 1/2 token with taunt spawns immediately after he dies, forcing your opponent to use at least one more minion to get rid of it. This is especially good against Hunters who like to unleash-the-hounds.
- The best 6 mana minion in the Basic card set. His stats allow him to trade with three 3/6 minions, or two 6/6 minions. It’s also nice that he’s a plain 6/7 because he’s not susceptible to big-game-hunter or the-black-knight.
- Unlike loatheb, kelthuzad is a card that beginners look at and think “wow, that card is incredibly broken”. In situations where you have board control over your opponent, he is indeed amazing. However, without board control, he’s a 6/8 for 8 mana, which is inefficient for its cost when dropped onto an empty board. The nice thing is that if you can utilize his passive ability to respawn your minions even once on the turn he comes out on, he’s worth it.
Spells – 10
- 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.
- Instant card advantage, instant tempo generation… well… not always! Playing arcane-intellect means that you’ll most likely be giving the tempo advantage to your opponent. arcane-intellect is a card that is best played later in the game when you have more mana.
- 4 mana for 6 damage is amazing value. Use to remove minions with up to 6 health, or to finish your opponent off.
- On the surface, this card might not seem like much, but it’s actually one of the few cards in the game that will unconditionally remove a minion from the board. This card can be pretty clutch when you play it on your opponent’s Legendary cards with deathrattle like sylvanas-the-windrunner or cairne-bloodhoof. It’ll also eliminate threats that are just too large for fireball to deal with.
- 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.
This deck is an an improvement over the Basic Mage deck I posted a while ago. The general idea is to control the board through removal spells and mana-efficient minions until you have the reach (either through burn cards like fireball or a dominating board) to kill your opponent in a single turn.
The key differences between this deck and the Basic version are the inclusions of
- zombie-chow: arcane-missiles were never cards you’d really play on turn 1 (unless you’re the almighty Dennis of course). While the 5 health deathrattle is a drawback, the key to playing this card effectively is to utilize him to gain board control when your opponent is already at relatively high health. It won’t matter if you can trade your 2/3 into his 3/2 on turn 2 while he’s still at 30 health. When buffed by a shattered-sun-cleric, the Zombie can trade with two 2/3s or 3/2s. Pretty awesome value.
- haunted-creeper: An upgrade over the vanilla bloodfen-raptor. This is a great card against aggro decks that tend to have more 1 health minions. As a bonus, the 1/1 tokens work extremely well with shattered-sun-cleric, allowing you to potentially trade a 2/2 token into a 3/2.
- shade-of-naxxramas: Usually an upgrade over ironfur-grizzly. The only time this is really bad is if you’re playing against a Warrior, and you have another 3/2 minion on the board (imagine cleave in this situation). He’ll gain one health and one attack each turn, making him a “soft-taunt” that your opponent will want to get rid of right away.
- sludge-belcher: An upgrade over senjin-shieldmasta that also filled a glaring hole at the 5 mana slot. I’ve noticed that this card has significantly improved the value of flamestrike, as it can single-handedly stall a turn or two for you by itself thanks to its deathrattle. When you’re behind, he can buy you the time to get back into the game.
- loatheb: A minion that can seriously shut down your opponent’s tempo if you can accurately predict when he’ll play removal. It’s a good play on turn 6 on another Mage so they can’t play flamestrike the very next turn, buying you time to either clear the board, or inch closer to lethal.
- kelthuzad: A win-condition for our deck. He’s safe against big-game-hunter and the-black-knight and can have an immediate impact the turn he is played as long as you already have some board presence. While his stats are underwhelming for the cost, he can be a win condition if you already have a few minions out that you can use to clear your opponent’s board.
Check out the gameplay video at the beginning of this guide to see how this deck should be played. It showcases the deck climbing from Rank 13 to Rank 11. I do make a few misplays along the way, but I do catch them after the fact and explain what I could have done differently. While this deck only contains Basic and Naxxramas cards, it doesn’t play automatically, and requires thinking to play around opponents’ answers.
In general, you want to mulligan so that you can put out minions on your first three turns. If you’re going second, feel free to keep a single 4 mana minion so that you can coin it out on turn 3. Coining out a minion on turn 3 is actually a significant tempo boost, as a chillwind-yeti or water-elemental can be used to trade against at least two lower cost minions.
Cards to Keep
- 1 Mana: zombie-chow
- 2 Mana: acidic-swamp-ooze, haunted-creeper
- 3 Mana: shade-of-naxxramas, shattered-sun-cleric
- 4 Mana: chillwind-yeti, water-elemental
Remember, you want to plan out your first three turns with your opening hand, so if you already have a 1 mana and 2 mana minion, you should mulligan away your remaining card or two to dig for a play on turn 3.
I won’t make an exhaustive list of potential upgrades this time, but knife-juggler for acidic-swamp-ooze, and harvest-golem for shade-of-naxxramas would be strong replacements. knife-juggler is especially useful against with haunted-creeper, and can swing games against aggro decks in your favor, and the harvest-golem is just more durable than the Shade.
While this deck is capable of reaching Rank 10 as is, these changes will make it easier to do so, and only require 280 dust as an investment.
Overall, I think this deck pretty well-balanced and fun to play. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes. As always, I’d be happy to address any questions anyone may have 🙂
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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