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.
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 that are competitive on the Hearthstone ladder.
When I first started playing Hearthstone, I would often go online to lookup the most popular decks played at Legend rank, and find that my limited card collection would not build them. While it was sometimes possible to substitute less important cards, there would often not be cheap substitutions for a crucial Epic or Legendary that completed a deck.
Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by providing ladder-viable decks for each class that cost 1000 dust or less.
- Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.
- Complete the Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain expansions.
- Have 1000 dust available for crafting.
Before I started this series, I spent a considerable amount of time last season testing the most popular and viable decks played at Legend rank. From my climb to Legend, I devised an algorithm for constructing a budget deck.
- From my data, compile a list of the most essential Commons and Rares for a particular class.
- Calculate the total crafting cost of those cards. If the total exceeds 1000 dust, reduce the number of cards until we reach our budget.
- Fill in the rest of the deck with cards from the Basic and single-player expansion sets.
While this algorithm seems simple, it’s very easy to get Step 2 and 3 completely wrong, as it can be difficult to determine which cards to build around when you’ve exceeded your budget.
In general, my methodology for determining which cards to cut comes from my experience playing these classes in Legend rank, and my own opinion on which cards are best to build around.
In the end, the result is a deck that is considerably stronger than one built soley from Basic and single-player expansion cards, yet cheap enough such that a new player who has played Hearthstone for a month can craft for themselves.
- Budget Aggro Paladin seeks to claim the board early and never put the foot off the gas. The goal of the deck is to play small cost-efficient minions that benefit from each other and to overwhelm your opponent before they have answers.
- In the early game, you want to establish a board quickly. Unlike Face Hunter, the goal isn’t to do damage as quickly as possible, but rather to control and dominate the board throughout the course of the game.
- In the mid game, you want to play cards like raid-leader and frostwolf-warlord that synergize greatly with your muster-for-battle to win games, and begin to aggresively attack your opponent’s face.
- Try to empty your hand before playing divine-favor to maximize the amount of cards you’ll be able to draw.
- Utilize equality and muster-for-battle or ironbeak-owl to deal or bypass your opponent’s bigger threats and taunts.
Minions – 18
- Abusive Sergeant’s primary purpose to allow your smaller minions to trade up against more expensive minions on your opponent’s board. You almost never want to play him onto a board without a target to use his Battlecry on.
- A great little minion to help us establish control of the board early. His Deathrattle is beneficial to us, as our goal after establishing an early board is to aggressively charge our opponent’s face.
- Haunted Creeper helps us establish a board early and synergizes very well with raid-leader, knife-juggler, and frostwolf-warlord.
- Primarly used as a way of bypassing taunts so we can deal direct damage to our opponent in the mid to late game.
- Knife Juggler is mana efficient and synergizes extremely well with muster-for-battle and minions who have been affected by equality.
- While our deck doesn’t have any mech synergy, Shielded Minibot is just too valuable to not include. When buffed, this little guy can trade up against many larger minions and still survive.
- Raid Leader substitutes for a second copy of divine-favor in our deck (a card that we only run a single copy of due to our limited dust budget). He has great synergy with our muster-for-battle and haunted-creeper and is almost like a poor man’s quartermaster.
- Primarily used as 3 points of direct damage later in the game to finish an opponent off.
- One of our primary win-conditions. frostwolf-warlord substitutes for quartermaster in more expensive Aggro Paladin decks. Synergizes extremely well with haunted-creeper and muster-for-battle.
- Loatheb is mana-efficient for its stats. He’s important for protecting our lower health minions from being cleared by spells like consecration, swipe, and flamestrike.
- Loatheb is best played on the turn before your opponent can clear your board, or on the turn before you can deal lethal damage with your minions.
Spells – 10
- Serves both as reach and removal (when played on shielded-minibot).
- Provides a reset button for us when the board becomes too difficult for us to deal with, or when we just can’t ignore our opponent’s minions. Synergizes extremely well with our small 1/1 tokens.
- An extremely important card for refueling our hand after aggressively populating the board early on.
- The primary card on which our deck is built around. Muster for Battle is what enables us to gain value from knife-juggler, equality, and frostwolf-warlord in many situations.
- A situational card, but oftentimes useful for allowing a smaller minion to trade up, or to provide 5 points of reach for lethal.
- Deals direct damage and will often allow you to clear the board when combined with the damage from your smaller minions. Serves as a full board-clear when combined with equality.
- Another situational card. The Hammer of Wrath is an extra bit of reach that can also give us a bit of tempo later in the game if we’re able to play the card it draws us.
Weapons – 2
- One of the best weapons in the game. Truesilver Champion allows us to do 8 points of damage with 4 mana, and heals us at the same time. Extremely useful for controlling the board or for providing the damage needed to kill our opponent later in the game.
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.
- 1 Mana: leper-gnome
- 2 Mana: shielded-minibot, haunted-creeper, knife-juggler
- 3 Mana: muster-for-battle
- blessing-of-might or blessing-of-kings on any minion.
- equality + consecration, muster-for-battle, or haunted-creeper‘s spectral-spiders.
- knife-juggler + muster-for-battle or haunted-creeper‘s spectral-spiders.
- raid-leader + muster-for-battle.
- muster-for-battle or haunted-creeper‘s spectral-spiders + frostwolf-warlord.
Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.
- 1x divine-favor for raid-leader.
- 2x quartermaster for frostwolf-warlord.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Budget Aggro Paladin. For more advanced Paladin decks that aren’t constrained by a limited dust budget, check out the Paladin meta decks on our sidebar. As always, I’d be happy to answer questions from you in the comments section.
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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