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 Control Priest is a deck that utilizes Priest’s ability to heal as an offensive and defensive weapon. The two key minions in our deck are northshire-cleric, which serves as a card draw engine and auchenai-soulpriest which allows us to use circle-of-healing, zombie-chow, and our hero power offensively.
- In the early game, control the board with zombie-chow and combo spells like power-word-shield with wild-pyromancer to clear the board.
- In the mid game, utilize combos with northshire-cleric and auchenai-soulpriest to clear your opponent’s board to draw multiple cards to gain card advantage.
- In the late game, you can steal your opponent’s cards using thoughtsteal to play against them, or steal their Legendaries with mind-control.
Minions – 16
- The Cleric is the primary card draw engine for our deck. Generally, you won’t want to play her early, but rather save her when you can heal a minion to draw a card from her on the same turn.
- Zombie Chow is great for helping us establish the board early against more aggresive decks. When auchenai-soulpriest is on the board, his Deathrattle becomes a 5 damage bomb.
- Many fun combos can be done with auchenai-soulpriest and circle-of-healing to kill off your own Zombie Chows for lethal damage.
- Aside from zombie-chow, the Wild Pyromancer is our second line of defense against aggro decks. A single Wild Pyromancer combined with a spell can clear an entire board of 1 health minions.
- Be careful when using Wild Pyromancer because he also deals damage to the minions on your own board. It’s very easy to forget this and end up killing your own Wild Pyromancer by playing the-coin carelessly.
- One of the best 3 mana minions in the game. Not only is he beyond mana-efficient with a 3/4 body, he buffs a random minion with more health on your board when he dies. Opponents will have to awkwardly trade their board into him to eliminate him before you play other minions for his Deathrattle to target, or live with a minion that trades extremely effectively with other 2 or 3 mana minions.
- I’m really surprised that injured-blademaster isn’t a class card for Priest, because no other class benefits from his damaged 4/3 body than Priest. A common combo is to play an Injured Blademaster and heal him on the same turn with either a circle-of-healing or your hero power. He also synergizes well with northshire-cleric as he’s a target you can immediately heal to draw cards.
- Just be careful playing him against Warrior as execute is an extremely efficient counter.
- A key card that is just as important for us as northshire-cleric. Auchenai Soulpriest allows us to combo with cards like circle-of-healing and zombie-chow, and turns our hero power into an offensive weapon.
- 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 kel-thuzad. Good luck getting past that wall of taunts when both are on the board at the same time!
- Emperor Thaurissan works extremely well in our deck because we can continuously draw cards from northshire-cleric. Thaurissan allows us to gain tempo over our opponent when we have large hand sizes by allowing us to play more cards than we normally would be able to on a single turn.
- Kel’Thuzad is a primary 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 – 14
- The Circle is one of the best spells in our deck, and can be used to draw multiple cards with northshire-cleric or to clear a board with auchenai-soulpriest.
- Gives 2 health to any minion for 1 mana, and draws you a card. Ideally, you’ll want to play this on a minion that would have died in a trade without the extra health. Make sure to play this first before your other cards, as the card you draw from it might be useful.
- Also serves as a cheap enabler for wild-pyromancer‘s passive.
- Shadow Word: Death allows us to deal with larger late game threats in an extremely mana-efficient manner.
- Thoughsteal gives our deck flexibilty by allowing us to play our opponent’s cards against them, and provides tempo in the late game when we run out of cards.
- A pretty broken spell if you can play it onto a minion early on. On turn 2, with the-coin, it can turn a zombie-chow into a 4/7 with +1 Spell Damage.
- When played on a minion, this card makes holy-nova even more effective.
- Generally we want to play shadow-madness[card] when we can use an opponent’s minion to kill off another minion on his board, allowing us to trade one spell for two minions.
- Bonus points for using Shadow Madness on a [card]loot-hoarder or harvest-golem, as the Deathrattle will spawn on your side of the board and belong to you.
- Our primary board-clear outside of auchenai-soulpriest + circle-of-healing. Synergizes well with northshire-cleric and velens-chosen.
- Allows us to steal our opponent’s most dangerous minions to use against them. We only play one copy due to Mind Control’s high casting cost. This isn’t a card we want two copies of in our hand early 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: zombie-chow
- 2 Mana: wild-pyromancer
- 3 Mana: dark-cultist, injured-blademaster
- 0 Mana: circle-of-healing if you have injured-blademaster.
- 1 Mana: power-word-shield
- 3 Mana: velens-chosen
- northshire-cleric, injured-blademaster, or auchenai-soulpriest + circle-of-healing.
- wild-pyromancer + the-coin, power-word-shield, or thoughtsteal.
- velens-chosen + any minion.
- A minion buffed by velens-chosen + holy-nova or auchenai-soulpriest + circle-of-healing.
- auchenai-soulpriest + zombie-chow.
- kelthuzad played onto a board with Deathrattle or Taunt minions.
Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.
- 1x cabal-shadow-priest for emperor-thaurissan.
- 1x cabal-shadow-priest for kelthuzad.
- 1x sylvanas-windrunner for mind-control.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Budget Control Priest. For more advanced Priest decks that aren’t constrained by a limited dust budget, check out the Priest 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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