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 Midrange Druid is an extremely flexible deck that is built around the efficient mana-acceleration of cards like innervate and wild-growth. With this extra mana, a Druid is able to play mid-game threats early, making it extremely difficult for opponents to catch up.
- Unlike Ramp Druid, where the objective is to bring out ever larger threats while taunting up, Midrange Druid is capable of threatening lethal at almost any point in the game, as sticky minions like haunted-creeper, shade-of-naxxramas, and piloted-shredder can all be buffed by savage-roar for a surprise lethal.
- After controlling the board early, our goal is to draw into our Spells like savage-roar, swipe, and starfire to help us finish off opponents.
Minions – 19
- The Acidic Swamp Ooze’s purpose in our deck is to serve as tech against classes with weapons. Because we only run one copy in our deck, be sure to save him for weapons played from your opponent’s hand instead of clearing a 1/1 dagger from a Rogue.
- Haunted Creeper lets us contest the board early and serves as fuel for savage-roar later in the game when its spectral-spiders can do 3 damage each.
- Shade of Naxxramas is a card you want to play as early as possible to reap the benefits of its passive +1/+1 growth each turn. You generally want to keep him stealthed until he’s large enough to survive your opponent’s cheaper removal spells. For most classes it’s safer to attack with the Shade when he’s at five health.
- Letting him sit stealthed can sometimes outright win you games against decks like Handlock that sometimes require a large amount of burst in one turn to play around cards like molten-giant.
- Keeper of the Grove is an incredibly versatile minion whose Battlecry should almost always be used to gain tempo on the board. If you have other options on turn 4, save Keeper of the Grove until he can silence or clear something with his Battlecry.
- An incredibly sticky minion whose purpose is to trade multiple times with our opponent’s minions. Positioning is an especially important consideration when playing with and against the Shredder as it’s possible for cards like dire-wolf-alpha and flametongue-totem to be spawned where the Shredder dies.
- Unless you’re playing around a Hunter’s explosive-shot or a Rogue’s betrayal, I recommend playing the Piloted Shredder in the middle of your board to benefit from the small chance you’ll spawn something that will buff your other minions adjacent to it.
- Sen’jin Shieldmasta is an incredibly useful tool against decks that seek to populate the board with small but low-health minions. He’s mana-efficient for his casting cost and works as a second taunt in our deck.
- Azure Drake is an incredibly synergistic card for us. He allows our swipe to become a much better consecration, and gives our wrath the ability to cycle while dealing 2 damage. In addition, he’ll give us two cards from his Battlecry if chromaggus is on the board.
- Like the keeper-of-the-grove, Druid of the Claw is an incredibly versatile card. You can utilize him to charge an opponent for lethal, or to take out a minion that needs to die, or simply taunt him up as a 4/6.
- Loatheb is a mana-efficient minion that will almost always shut down your opponent’s spells the following turn. He’s generally best played right before your turn for lethal to prevent your opponent from clearing your minions with spells.
- Emperor Thaurissan makes all of our cards cheaper, and with innervate and wild-growth we can play him sooner than most decks, allowing us to reduce the cost of our combo pieces like savage-roar.
- One of our primary win conditions in this deck. Chromaggus is a big awesome Dragon who kindly duplicates every card we draw. This ability is incredibly synergistic with most of the Spells in our deck, and when left alone for a single turn, can snowball an entire game.
- Another win condition for our deck, Kel’thuzad, like chromaggus is a 6/8 minion that needs to be answered immediately. If you have any semblance of a board before you play Kel’Thuzad, he can help you clear your opponent’s board and then spawn your minions back to full health. This is especially incredible when paired with Deathrattle and Taunt minions. Infinite sludge-belchers anyone?
Spells – 11
- Innervate is a key spell that allows us to play our bigger minions much sooner than other classes. The theory behind Innervate’s inclusion is that while it costs us a card to play, whatever minion we play along with it will allow us to make up for our card deficit by trading two for one or better.
- Similar to innervate, Wild Growth’s purpose is to allow us to play more expensive cards much sooner than other classes. Unlike innervate, the effect isn’t immediate. Thus, it’s always best to play wild-growth earlier on, when you can benefit from the additional mana in future turns.
- A very versatile spell that can kill off 3 health minions, or can cycle for 1 damage to help us draw into cards we need.
- While most Midrange Druid decks include two Savage Roars, our Budget Druid Deck only includes one because we don’t have any force-of-natures to combo with.
- Thus, this eliminates the chance we’ll have two Savage Roar stuck in our hand at the same time early in the game. With this said, Savage Roar is still an incredible tool for clearing a board or piecing together lethal.
- The best Druid removal spell. Swipe keeps us in the game against Paladins, Hunters, and other very aggresive decks keen on flooding the board with tokens. Swipe can also be used on your opponent’s face for lethal damage.
- Starfire is a substitution for force-of-nature in most Midrange Druid decks. Its purpose is to provide us a way to deal with larger threats, and to provide enough reach to burn our opponent down. The card draw also synergizes with chromaggus quite nicely.
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.
- 2 Mana: acidic-swamp-ooze, haunted-creeper
- 3 Mana: shade-of-naxxramas
- 4 Mana: piloted-shredder, keeper-of-the-grove, senjin-shieldmasta
- Consider keeping these if you have the-coin, innervate, or wild-growth.
- 0 Mana: innervate
- 2 Mana: wild-growth, wrath
- 4 Mana: swipe (against Paladin)
- savage-roar + haunted-creeper‘s spectral-spiders.
- azure-drake + wrath, swipe, or starfire.
- chromaggus + excess-mana, wrath, azure-drake, or starfire.
- 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 big-game-hunter for haunted-creeper.
- 2x ancient-of-lore for senjin-shieldmasta.
- 2x force-of-nature for starfire. If you do this replace a haunted-creeper for an additional savage-roar.
- 1x dr-boom for chromaggus.
- 1x cenarius for kelthuzad.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Budget Midrange Druid. For more advanced Druid decks that aren’t constrained by a limited dust budget, check out the Druid 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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