Best Hearthstone Budget Decks – Ashes of Outland May 2020

While having a large collection is useful in Hearthstone, it is by no means necessary to succeed in the game to a fairly high level.

Many streamers have completed free-to-play Legend climbs, where they start a new account and work towards a single top-tier deck and climb to Legend in a matter of days. The current favorite way to do so is to choose the free new player Rogue deck and build from there, and it is indeed the most effective way to reach Legend quickly.

However, my approach is a little different. I climb to Legend with cheap decks from a variety of classes, most of the time without a single Epic card, although some of the classes are only playable if you add a couple of Epic cards in the decks, and some classes cannot be played on a budget at all.

During Ashes of Outland, I have climbed to Legend with budget decks twice: after the first nerf patch and after the second nerf patch. I believe my approach is closer to a genuine free-to-play player experience: playing multiple classes but not having all the cards to build the meta decks for any of them. (I would expect long-term F2P players to be able to build a couple of full meta decks for every expansion, but they would probably still need to play budget decks for some of the classes.)

Ashes of Outland is actually a fairly nice place to be on budget decks. There is, of course, Demon Hunter, which is the strongest budget class ever thanks to a plethora of free cards, but success is not limited to one class. In fact, the majority of classes can reach Legend right now with budget or semi-budget decks.

In this post, I will take a look at a collection of Legend-capable budget decks for multiple classes.

Budget Tempo Demon Hunter (840 dust)

Deck code: AAECAea5AwT5rgPMugPWvgP5yAMNlwb9pwOLugO9uwPXuwPgvAO6xgPHxgPZxgPXyAP3yAP+yAPyyQMA

Tempo Demon Hunter is incredibly powerful and fairly easy to play. My budget version includes the Raging Felscreamer / Priestess of Fury package, but also some actual tempo plays with Questing Adventurer and Mana Burn.

Mana Burn at the right moment is back-breaking and the card is extremely good at protecting your Questing Adventurer. Without access to the expensive power cards – Warglaives of Azzinoth, Kayn Sunfury, and Metamorphosis – the Questing Adventurer package gives the deck the power it needs to succeed.

Gameplay video:

Budget Aggro Demon Hunter (720 dust)

Deck code: AAECAea5AwLMugPUyAMOlwb9pwP5rgOLugPXuwPgvAPWvgO6xgPHxgPZxgP3yAP5yAP+yAPyyQMA

The deck can also be built as a faster version without the Priestess of Fury package. In this variant, controlling the tempo of the game is even more important, and well-timed Mana Burns and Questing Adventurers are the keys to success.

Gameplay video:

Budget Face Hunter (1240 dust)

Deck code: AAECAR8AD6gCyQSIBZIF7QaXCNsJ/gzzpwP5rgP7rwP8rwOiuQP5ugP/ugMA

Face Hunter remains a powerful alternative for climbing the ladder. Thanks to Scavenger’s Ingenuity, the deck also works without Toxic Reinforcements, so it is one of the cheapest ways to climb to Legend with something else than Demon Hunter.

Gameplay video:

Budget Dragon Hunter (1280 dust)

Deck code: AAECAR8AD6gCyQThBJcI/gyKrQP5rgP7rwP8rwPnsAP/sAOFsQOHsQP/ugPZvgMA

Dragon Hunter struggles more on a budget than Face Hunter because giving up on Stormhammer and Rotnest Drake hurts. The upcoming nerf to Priestess of Fury may help the deck a little because then Evasive Wyrm can kill a Priestess.

Gameplay video:

Budget Midrange Hunter (1200 dust)

Deck code: AAECAR8AD6gCtQPJBJYGlwjFCP4M+a4D+68D/K8DorkD/7oD1r4D174D2b4DAA==

This is the deck that I completed my Legend climb in May. The deck targets Demon Hunter and Warrior by playing cards that make them as uncomfortable as possible, including early Enrage minions.

Unfortunately, it has an abysmal matchup against Priest, so increasing Priest numbers may make life difficult for it.

Gameplay video:

Budget Spell Druid (2260 dust)

Deck code: AAECAZICBP0C05wDsawDrroDDf4B9wPmBcQGuZQD4p8D3KID26UD5boD6LoD7LoD7roD77oDAA==

I played the same Spell Druid list in April and in May and had excellent results both times.

Without access to Rising Winds, I have opted to ditch Moonfires (not enough reliable draw to use them) and went for Worthy Expeditions instead. This gives the deck access to surprising tools, or sometimes just Rising Winds.

Gameplay video:

Budget Galakrond Priest (2700 dust)

Deck code: AAECAa0GAvYHyMADDh7cAZcCyQbTCpmpA5+pA9qsA/KsA/6uA82vA5O6A5u6A6+6AwA=

Galakrond Priest is known for its plethora of Legendary cards, but it is actually possible to play the archetype without any, apart from the free Galakrond, of course.

The budget version is a bit more control than the full-cost version because it cannot steal the opponent’s win conditions as quickly.

Sethekk Veilweavers give the deck access to surprising resources and provide the needed power to push through when you don’t have your Galakrond.

Gameplay video:

Budget Galakrond Rogue (1440 dust)

Deck code: AAECAaIHAs0Dy8ADDrQBlwaIB90Ij5cD9acDua4D/q4Dqq8Dzq8DgrEDubgDu7gD1r4DAA==

I struggled with Budget Rogue a lot. The Secret package without Hanar just did not seem to be good enough and eventually I moved to a vanilla Galakrond Rogue with Questing Adventurers and Cursed Vagrants as win conditions. Cursed Vagrant has proved to be hilarious, because most decks have no good way to deal with it. Except Priest. Sadly, the budget version is far worse than the full-cost version against Priest.

Gameplay video:

Budget Spell Mage (2480 dust)

Deck code: AAECAf0EAk3CoQMOuwLJA6sE7QSWBZ+bA/+dA7+kA/SrA/GvA8G4A4y5A4G/A97EAwA=

Spell Mage has been surprisingly good on a budget. Lots of direct damage and stall give me some Freeze Mage vibes when playing the deck.

There are three Epic cards in the deck: two copies of Apexis Blast (the archetype payoff card) and one Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron. If you run out of options, Box can always bail you out.

Gameplay video:

Budget Warlock Zoo (1040 dust)

Deck code: AAECAf0GAA8woQKIBeMFzgfCCIidA/2kA/2nA/muA7W5A7a5A8e5A96+A9++AwA=

Zoo is already a cheap deck to build, you only need a couple of Magic Carpets. Nonetheless, I decided to experiment with Carpetless Zoo, and the charge variant turned out to be playable even without the Carpet. I went 10-6 with this deck, but I only won games where I had the Scrap Imp by turn six at the absolute latest, so I don’t know how I really feel about the deck. Nonetheless, it is another option for a budget player.

Gameplay video:

1200 dust Legend Budget Midrange Hunter – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland

Hunter is an extremely versatile budget class in Hearthstone’s Ashes of Outland expansion. Face Hunter and Dragon Hunter can both be built on a budget, and there may be even more options.

While working on the Budget Dragon Hunter, I found myself asking whether the Dragon package is worth it without Rotnest Drake. Sure, Corrosive Breath is great, but what if I just take out the Dragons and put in some good cards for the meta to replace them.

That brought about this unique deck that I played to Legend in May 2020: a 1200 dust Budget Midrange Hunter.

HSReplay categorizes the deck as a Face Hunter, but that is not how I play it at all. I play it like an old-school Midrange Hunter. Midrange Hunter was always very aggressive, but it did not give up the board right away like Face Hunter does. Instead, it was happy to fight for the board as needed and push when an opportunity presents itself. That’s the way I play this deck too, and it got me to Legend with a 12-5 record.

Budget Midrange Hunter decklist

Deck code: AAECAR8AD6gCtQPJBJYGlwjFCP4M+a4D+68D/K8DorkD/7oD1r4D174D2b4DAA==

The key innovation in the deck is to use Scavenger’s Ingenuity to tutor for Phase Stalkers (and therefore Explosive Traps) and Burrowing Scorpids. Most current meta decks cannot handle an 8/5 Stealth minion, so Scorpid threatens to push a lot of damage and it also activates Kill Commands while it is on the board.

The rest of the deck is Dragon Hunter without the Dragons and good tech cards for the meta. Frozen Shadoweaver is excellent against Demon Hunters and Warriors, and Bonechewer Brawlers and Amani Berserkers are a puzzle for those classes as well.

Deadly Shot can deal with a Priestess of Fury in a way that Evasive Wyrm in Budget Dragon Hunter cannot.

Budget Midrange Hunter mulligan

Mulligan for your early game.

Blazing Battlemage and Dwarven Sharpshooter for a one-drop and then ideally Imprisoned Felmaw or Scavenger’s Ingenuity for a two-drop.

Bonechewer Brawler is often also a good keep as is Phase Stalker.

You can consider Explosive Trap against Demon Hunter if you don’t have Phase Stalker.

Budget Midrange Hunter gameplay

Here is a gameplay video of my Legend climb with this deck. It showcases the effectiveness of the Burrowing Scorpids and how the card choices in the deck can make things rough for some of the main meta decks.

Budget Dragon Hunter – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland May 2020

I have built several Budget Dragon Hunter lists after the release of Galakrond’s Awakening. Most of the time, a Dragon Hunter without Rotnest Drakes and Stormhammers has still been doing fine, but in the current meta – after the second balance patch of Ashes of Outland – I found myself struggling with the archetype.

Eventually, I was able to build a list that wins roughly half of the time, but it is still not a great deck for climbing. I figured I’d post about it anyway, because it is playable, and one key innovation in the list ended up working in another budget Hunter deck I built afterwards, which I will showcase in the coming days.

That key innovation is combining Scavenger’s Ingenuity not with Stonetusk Boar, but with Burrowing Scorpid. There are very few decks in the meta that can handle an 8/5 Stealth minion – ironically, the full-cost Dragon Hunter with Rotnest Drakes is one of those decks though.

What would be interesting, and yet untested, is whether Burrowing Scorpid could also improve the full-cost Dragon Hunter deck.

Budget Dragon Hunter decklist

Deck code: AAECAR8AD6gCyQThBJcI/gyKrQP5rgP7rwP8rwPnsAP/sAOFsQOHsQP/ugPZvgMA

This is where I ultimately ended up. Scaleriders are back to ping away early-game minions, and Scavenger’s Ingenuity now tutors for either Phase Stalker or Burrowing Scorpid.

You may also notice that I have cut Primordial Explorer. After reviewing my games and stats, I noticed that Primordial Explorer was underperforming without Stormhammer: with the hammer, it provides you with a sweet stream of Dragons to keep hitting, but without the hammer, it is such a low tempo play that it hinders the deck more than it helps it.

Budget Dragon Hunter mulligan

Mulligan is the same as before: Dwarven Sharpshooter, Blazing Battlemage, Scavenger’s Ingenuity, and Phase Stalker.

Faerie Dragon can work against Rogue or slow decks.

Budget Dragon Hunter upgrade path

The deck is now somewhat different from the main meta version.

The straightforward upgrades are still there: Stormhammer to replace Eaglehorn Bow and Rotnest Drake to replace Evasive Wyrm. Now you’d probably also want to reintroduce Primordial Explorer to the deck instead of Big Ol’ Whelp, when you add the Stormhammer.

Scaleriders are typically replaced with Imprisoned Felmaws (or one Felmaw and a Dragonbane) and Burrowing Scorpids with Stonetusk Boars, although I’m not sure whether the latter is an improvement.

Budget Dragon Hunter gameplay

Finally, here is a gameplay video of the deck that showcases how to draw and play some 8/5 Stealth minions for four mana.

Can you play Zoo Warlock without Magic Carpet? Hearthstone Ashes of Outland

Zoo Warlock is almost a budget deck right out of the box: Magic Carpet is the only Epic card that is strictly mandatory for the standard builds, and then you can tune it up with the Legendary cards Zephrys the Great or Kanrethad Ebonlocke if you like, but they are not mandatory.

However, I have wanted to find out just how mandatory the Magic Carpet is, and while it does indeed seem mandatory for the most common version of Zoo, the Charge variant seems promising even without it: if your minions can do things immediately even without the Carpet, the Carpet might not be as necessary for success.

Therefore, I built this Carpetless variant of Charge Discard Zoo, and was actually able to climb with it with a 10-6 record from Diamond 4 to Diamond 3.

Carpetless Budget Zoo decklist

Deck code: AAECAf0GAA8woQKIBeMFzgfCCIidA/2kA/2nA/muA7W5A7a5A8e5A96+A9++AwA=

The dust cost of this deck is just 1040! Now, that’s one cheap deck.

You really want your Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan to buff up your minions and draw lots of cards by discarding Hand of Gul’dan with Expired Merchant or Nightshade Matron.

The deck comes with the full suite of Charge minions: Stonetusk Boar, Bluegill Warrior, and Wolfrider. Sometimes you may have to use them for removal, but their main function is to get buffed up and go face.

With no Magic Carpet in the deck, Rocket Augmerchants can give your other minions Rush to enable trading, and EVIL Genius can provide you with Lackeys that can also be proactive by giving other minions Rush or by dealing direct damage.

The deck is extremely dependent on Imprisoned Scrap Imp: I did not win a single game where I did not find it. The more aggressive the matchup, the earlier you need it, but it is not absolutely mandatory to have it on turn two. Scrap Imp on three or four can still win games against many opponents, and sometimes it can be even later because you have so much potential charge damage from hand.

I am still evaluating the performance of multiple cards in the deck. Flame Imp, EVIL Genius, and the full package of four Augmerchants are all choices that I am not yet fully confident about. What I am confident about is that a Discard Zoo without Magic Carpet has to be built around the full Charge package: Carpet builds often run only Stonetusk Boar as a Charge minion.

I will post about the deck again if I find a better list, but I wanted to share this version already because it has felt playable and gives budget players some more alternatives.

Carpetless Budget Zoolock mulligan

You mulligan hard for Imprisoned Scrap Imp and Hand of Gul’dan in every matchup. If you have Hand of Gul’dan, you can keep Expired Merchant. That’s it.

Carpetless Budget Zoolock gameplay

Finally, here is a gameplay video of the deck in action. I hope it showcases how to pilot the list.

Galakrond Priest deck guide – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland

If you’re looking to play a control deck in Hearthstone Ashes of Outland, Galakrond Priest is one of the few options available to you. It is a deck full of removal and healing that just keeps destroying everything thrown at it and then using the Hero Power of Priest’s Galakrond to generate an infinite stream of threats to win the game – if the opponent has not conceded by then.

In Priest’s new class identity, their weaknesses are card draw and burst damage. Galakrond Priest attempts to overcome the lack of card draw with card generation, often as copies from the opponent’s hand or deck. As for burst damage, well, that one it cannot do too much about, ending the games is a grind.

Galakrond Priest decklist

Deck code: AAECAa0GCtwB0wrrmwOfqQOFrQOOsQPjtAPIvgPpvgPIwAMKHskGmakD16wD2qwD8qwD/q4Dza8Dk7oDr7oDAA==

I like this Galakrond Priest list in the current meta. Double Apotheosis can keep you in games long enough to gain control.

Murozond the Infinite is sweet against Rogues: ideally, you want to copy their Wondrous Wand turn for free card draw and swing back even harder than their original swing turn.

Mo’arg Artificer can boost your Penance to destroy major threats and heal you a lot at the same time.

Soul Mirror is simply insanely good and often a card that you want to pick up from Renew as well.

Galakrond Priest mulligan

You always want Disciple of Galakrond in the mulligan. Getting on the board on turn one is always a good start to a game of Hearthstone.

Beyond that, it depends.

Penance and Breath of the Infinite are good, generic keeps against aggressive decks. Holy Nova is a bit more specific in its power against Demon Hunter.

Thoughtsteal is often a useful card against midrange decks.

Galakrond is your go-to card in the slowest matchups, especially the mirror.

Galakrond Priest gameplay videos

Here are some gameplay videos of the deck in action.

Priest mirror:

A couple of unfavored matchups: Highlander Hunter and Galakrond Rogue:

I hope these showcase how to pilot the deck.

Galakrond Secret Rogue deck guide – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland

Galakrond Secret Rogue has become one of the top meta decks in Ashes of Outland after the second balance patch. It is largely Galakrond Rogue business as usual from Descent of Dragons, with a small twist brought about by the new Rogue Secrets, Shadowjeweler Hanar, and Blackjack Stunners.

The main plan is still to invoke Galakrond, draw free cards from that and from Wondrous Wand from Heistbaron Togwaggle, and either kill the opponent with all of those free resources or, if that fails, slowly outvalue them with tons and tons of random stuff from Lackeys.

There is of course also Edwin VanCleef in the deck, so that you can just make a huge Edwin in some games and just win before the game goes much further.

Now there is an opportunity to get even more random stuff with Shadowjeweler Hanar giving you access to Secrets from all classes. If Hanar lives, the endless Secret train can make life miserable for the opponent.

However, do not get too fond of Hanar and trickstery, remember that you also have a game to win! I occasionally see players play endless Secrets and forget to apply pressure and then lose when the opponent just goes face and ignores all the Secrets. Get value from Hanar, but be ready to let go when just playing more Secrets does not advance your main goal of winning the game.

Galakrond Secret Rogue decklist

Deck code: AAECAaIHCLICkpcDwa4D47QDzrkDub4Dy8AD+8QDC7QBiAePlwP1pwO5rgP+rgOqrwPOrwO5uAPMuQPQuQMA

This list is just your regular Rogue list, nothing too special about it. It is the currently recommended list from Vicious Syndicate.

The most interesting thing about this list is that it includes four Secrets in it. Determining the optimal number of Secrets to include for your synergies – the Secrets themselves are not too interesting – is difficult, but Vicious Syndicate claims that their data analysis has determined four to be the optimal number to include.

Once you settle on the number of Secrets to include, it is easier to look at various statistics and see that Ambush is the best-performing Rogue Secret and Bamboozle and Dirty Tricks are quite even in performance. Hence, two copies of Ambush and one copy of the others seems like a good package.

This list includes four one-drops as it includes both the Pharaoh Cats and the Spymistresses. That is strong against aggressive decks such as Demon Hunter and Hunter.

There are no Shadowsteps, as Leeroy Jenkins is no longer available in Standard.

Galakrond Secret rogue mulligan

There are three cards that you want to keep in every matchup: Shadowjeweler Hanar, Pharaoh Cat, and Spymistress. If you have Hanar, you want to keep a Secret, but you do not want to keep Secrets without synergies.

Against aggressive decks, you also want to keep Backstab.

On the Coin, you want to keep Edwin VanCleef. Edwin is not strong enough to keep when going first.

Galakrond Secret Rogue gameplay

Finally, here is a gameplay video of the deck that showcases how it can overwhelm opponents.

Galakrond Warlock deck guide – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland post-nerfs

Galakrond Warlock had a strong run in Descent of Dragons and it continued in early Ashes of Outland because the deck happened to naturally run the best card against Demon Hunters, Sacrificial Pact.

However, after Sacrificial Pact was nerfed to only target friendly Demons, so you can no longer eat the Demon Hunter’s Demons for free and heal while doing so, the matchup flipped and became favored for Demon Hunters. This pretty much destroyed Galakrond Warlock as a top tier deck.

I spent several days working on a post-nerfs version of Galakrond Warlock and was eventually able to partially resurrect the archetype. Yes, it remains playable with minor changes, even though it took a huge hit.

Galakrond Warlock decklist

Deck code: AAECAf0GBsUEzAj8owORsQPjtAPxvwMMowHECJ2pA+WsA+isA+qsA+usA+ysA/6uA6qvA9a+A+m+AwA=

I tried a lot of things to recover some strength to the Demon Hunter matchup after the nerfs. Acidic Swamp Ooze proved to be ineffective because Demon Hunters swing those Warglaives so wildly that there is not much left of them to destroy after the first turn. Overconfident Orc could not stop the scourge either. I had some success with Khartut Defender, but ultimately it was too expensive and clogged my hand and did not allow me to cycle through my deck fast enough. I had somewhat more success against Demon Hunters by cutting Zephrys and Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, but then I started to else in other matchups because I did not have enough threats left in the deck.

Eventually, I ended up with two copies of Mo’arg Artificer and Frozen Shadoweaver. Mo’arg can amplify your healing from Nether Breath: when you cannot stop the damage anyway, at least you can heal back up. Frozen Shadoweaver buys you an extra turn that Taunt minions are unable to do against Demon Hunter by stopping all of Demon Hunter’s attack-based synergies for a turn. Both cards are among the weakest in the deck, but they are the most effective anti-Demon Hunter tech that you can include right now, so they are, unfortunately, necessary.

Against Demon Hunters, you try to keep your head above the water and eventually swing the game in your favor with Galakrond or Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, or even a regular Alexstrasza healing your own face and adding a big minion on the board.

In slower matchups, your gameplan is completely different.

Often, the key cards are Galakrond, Alexstrasza, and Nether Breath. The slower the matchup, the more you want to save Nether Breaths for face damage. When you drop the Alex and swing with your Galakrond weapon or hit with minions on the board, you’re almost there. Alex can be followed up with Kronx and two Nether Breaths from hand for 13 damage. Sometimes you can include Zephrys in the mix or alone for Inner Demon or Fireball or the like.

Sure, there are variations where you win with a big board or with Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, but do not underestimate the amount of burst damage Galakrond Warlock is capable of.

Galakrond Warlock mulligan

You always keep Dragonblight Cultist, it is such a versatile card for every matchup.

Other than that, if you’re looking to defend, you look for Dark Skies and possibly Frozen Shadoweaver or Devoted Maniac.

If you’re looking to be aggressive, keep Galakrond.

Galakrond Warlock gameplay video

Finally, here is a recap of the guide on video alongside several games worth of gameplay with the deck. I hope it illustrates how to pilot this archetype in the post-nerfs Ashes of Outland meta.

Handlock Warlock deck guide – Hearthstone Ashes of Outland

With the nerf to Sacrificial Pact, there is one Warlock card that became viable again overnight: Lord Jaraxxus. Jaraxxus had been unplayable for some time because it could be destroyed by Sacrificial Pact from Zephrys the Great or even from the main deck of most Warlocks on the ladder, but now that Jaraxxus can no longer be destroyed at will, it has a chance to come back.

Jaraxxus is a natural fit into a Handlock deck, so I updated my Handlock theorycraft for the current meta and added Jaraxxus in it, and climbed a good deal in Legend with a 71% winrate.

Handlock decklist

Deck code: AAECAf0GBsUEiQaJnQPxrAPWuQPuvwMMjQjECNqWA9qbA6GhA+WsA+usA+ysA+6sA7+5A8S5A72+AwA=

The overall idea behind Handlock without Mountain Giants (which went to Hall of Fame) is to use various cards that benefit from having many cards in hand:

  • Dark Skies deals damage based on the number of cards in hand
  • The Dark Portal draws and discounts a card when you have at least eight cards in hand
  • Twilight Drake gains health when you have more cards in hand
  • Abyssal Summoner summons bigger Taunt Demons when you have lots of cards in hand
  • Plot Twist draws more cards when you have more cards in hand

Plot Twist is a natural synergy card for Handlock that enables many things:

  • Fel Lord Betrug and Plot Twist usually clears the board and leaves some Deathrattle minions behind
  • Aranasi Broodmothers heal you when drawn
  • Kelidan the Breaker becomes a Twisting Nether on a stick when drawn the turn it is played
  • If you are missing an answer, it can be just a Plot Twist away

However, I have not included the Quest in the deck. The Quest makes your mulligans weaker, which is a major issue against fast decks like Demon Hunters. The late-game benefits are not sufficient to compensate for that. Jaraxxus already gives you a late-game Hero Power and it does not work well with the Quest.

The deck wins games with big minions, many of which have Taunt as well, so opponents will have a hard time pushing through them all. Demon Hunters with Warglaives giving you trouble? Let them facetank some huge Taunt minions if they insist.

With all the Demons in the deck being so big, Kanrethad Ebonlocke’s Prime version is a huge board in a box.

Lord Jaraxxus can grind out some slower matchups, such as Priests, and as it heals you to 15, it can be useful even against more aggressive decks.

Handlock mulligan

Typically, you mulligan for your early removal, Dark Skies and Unstable Felbolt, and keep The Dark Portal alongside them.

Against slow decks, you can look for The Dark Portal and Twilight Drake for some early pressure and Kanrethad Ebonlocke to get it out of the way of your The Dark Portal.

Handlock gameplay

Here are a couple of gameplay videos of the deck, showcasing various Plot Twist shenanigans and, of course, Lord Jaraxxus.

Best Hearthstone Decks to Climb to Legend – After the Second Ashes of Outland Nerfs

The Ashes of Outland meta has gone through some changes as there have already been two sets of balance changes in just a couple of weeks.

The first set of nerfs was targeted at Demon Hunter alone, but the second set also touched the other top meta decks Spell Druid and Galakrond Warlock.

The winner to emerge from the rubble is, once again, Demon Hunter! Galakrond Warlock was hit the hardest and can no longer be recommended at all, while Spell Druid took a more moderate hit and remains a functional deck, albeit no longer a top-tier one.

When evaluating decks for their ability to climb, the most important matchup is still Demon Hunter. Decks have to be able to hold their own against that menace in order to be recommended, and anyone who can inch their way to a favorable matchup against the scourge automatically makes the list. The list is still short, very short.

If you would like to watch and listen to the top list, here is my video:

And here is the top list in written format:

#5 Dragon Boar Hunter

Deck code: AAECAR8Ch7AD+boDDqgCyQThBIgFlwiKrQOLrQP5rgP7rwP8rwP+rwP/sAOvtwP/ugMA

Dragon Hunter is one of the few decks that feels good to play against Demon Hunter. With Explosive Trap as the only secret and a number of ways to tutor them from the deck (Phase Stalker, Scavenger’s Ingenuity, Tracking), Dragon Hunter can reliably destroy Demon Hunter’s early board.

The deck has a number of weak matchups as well, which prevents it from being the absolute best deck, but it is one of the best options to beat Demon Hunters.

#4 Highlander Hunter

Deck code: AAECAR8eqAK1A8cDhwThBIoHlwjbCfyjA+SkA6alA4SnA4qtA4utA46tA/muA/uvA/yvA/6vA4ewA+ewA/+wA4KxA5GxA9iyA7q2A6+3A4O5A6K5A/+6AwAA

With the previous top decks getting hit with nerfs, Hunter is one of the winners. Highlander Hunter has also been able to find success now: it has a fairly even matchup against Demon Hunter and no major weaknesses.

With Highlander Hunter, you always have a chance, although you can get stuck in a sea of Demon Hunters.

#3 Galakrond Secret Rogue


Rogue is another winner of the nerf patch. It is time to return to Galakrond business as usual, with long games having up to a hundred cards played per side, most of which did not start in the players’ decks.

Rogue can also hold its own against Demon Hunter, and while it has some weaknesses against pure aggro, it can punish slower decks even harder than Highlander Hunter.

#2 Pain Warrior

Deck code: AAECAQcCyAPerQMOFhyQA9QE1AjSpQP1qAPcqQPdrQOktgOrtgO7uQPAuQOcuwMA

NoHandsGamer was the first to build a damage-focused Warrior list with Serpent Eggs, thereby named NoHandsGamer Warrior or Egg Warrior. However, it turns out that the deck is even better without the Eggs, which brings about some naming problems. HSReplay calls this archetype Control Warrior if it does not run Serpent Eggs, which is, of course, ridiculous, as it is not a control deck.

Anyway, the deck is strong against Demon Hunter and has very few weaknesses, mostly Priest.

#1 Tempo Demon Hunter

Deck code: AAECAea5AwSKB8y6A8O8A9rGAw35rgOLugO9uwPXuwPEvAPgvAO6xgPHxgPZxgPXyAP3yAP5yAP+yAMA

Nerfers gonna nerfs nerf nerf nerf nerf, but Demon Hunter shakes it off, shakes it off. Yeah!

The only change the latest round of nerfs caused for Tempo Demon Hunter is that Priestess of Fury is back now that it does not get eaten by Sacrificial Pact anymore. (Next nerf candidate by the way?)

You can play whatever list you were playing pre-nerfs and do fine, but Felscreamer/Priestess package is now in a small lead over the more aggro variant that runs Frenzied Felwing (should it even do so anymore?) and tops out at Skull of Gul’dan.

The nerfs caused every other deck in the top-4 to change, but could not wrestle Tempo Demon Hunter from its rightful place at the top of the world.

Quest Druid in Ashes of Outland – Hearthstone Deck Guide

With the latest nerf patch making the game a little bit slower again, I ventured to the ladder with Quest Druid! Rogues have come out of their hiding places, and Druid is traditionally fairly good against Rogue, so I figured this old archetype might be playable again.

I went 9-6 with this deck in Legend for a 60% winrate, and felt like I could have done better as in the first games I was still looking for the right approaches to matchups. Demon Hunter is unfavored with Quest Druid still despite the nerfs, but I did well against everything else I found on the ladder, including many Rogues.

Just try to survive and complete your Quest and from there you have tons of value packed into every turn. Against Rogue, you need to get your Ysera to get some free dragon boards to overwhelm them because they have almost infinite value. Against most other opponents, your healing and regular minions will get the job done.

Quest Druid decklist


I used this list, which is two cards away from the list that I originally theorycraft for the expansion. The major change here is the addition of two copies of Crystal Power to better contest Demon Hunters.

After you complete the Quest, Crystal Power first deals two damage to a minion and then heals it for five. If the minion has one or two Health remaining, it dies before it would get healed. You can also still heal your face with Crystal Power after completing the Quest: it does not deal damage to Heroes but allows you to target Heroes for the healing effect.

There is a lot of healing in the deck with Crystal Power, Steel Beetle, and Hidden Oasis, so you can come back from difficult positions and stabilize once you have enough mana and the Quest completed.

Ysera and Cenarius are the main win conditions. Archspore Msshi’fn is also playable in this deck as an early Taunt minion and later in the game as a 9/9 Taunt + 9/9 Taunt with Rush. Not that 18/18 stats for 10 mana is that special anymore, but it’s OK.

Quest Druid mulligan

You always keep the Quest and Crystal Merchant.

Against aggressive decks, you want Crystal Power (against Demon Hunter) and Wrath (against everything aggressive).

Against slow decks, you want Nourish. Nourish can also be kept against midrange decks if you have some early game already. Against Demon Hunter, it is too slow.

Quest Druid gameplay video

Finally, here is a gameplay video of me piloting the deck in Legend. It showcases how resilient the deck can be in the face of many, many threats – and how sometimes the opponents can still be too fast for you.