There are new free decks up for grabs in Hearthstone: players who graduate to the main ladder from apprentice ranks receive a free deck as do any players who log in to Hearthstone after being away for 120 days (4 months).
The free deck program was originally not updated for Ashes of Outland, but on July 30th the decks will receive a number of Ashes of Outland cards and some of them change drastically. Most notably, the Mage deck that used to be one of the top recommendations will be by far the worst deck to pick!
In this article, I will go through all the new player decks and help you decide which one to choose.
If you prefer to listen to the review, you can also find it on my Youtube channel:
Free Druid deck: Big Druid
The free Druid deck has changed from Token Druid to Big Druid. Both are mediocre right now, as Druid generally struggles a little in the current meta.
There are some interesting cards in the deck, especially Ysera, Unleashed, which is arguably the strongest Druid Legendary card at the moment. The deck also includes Winged Guardian from the first chapter of Galakrond’s Awakening, so if you are not planning to buy the adventure, this is the only other way to get the card.
Nonetheless, Druid is a mediocre choice at best.
Free Hunter deck: Highlander Hunter
Highlander Hunter is the best deck in the game right now, and this free version comes with several powerful Legendary cards, two of the Neutrals!
Zephrys the Great, Dragonqueen Alexstrasza, and Dinotamer Brann form the core of Highlander Hunter, and this deck is both valuable and powerful.
There are some weaker cards in the list, such as Unleash the Beast and Marked Shot, but the deck is strong out of the box and easy to upgrade with some cheap powerful cards such as Bonechewer Brawler.
Free Mage deck: Spell Mage
Mage went from best to worst in an instant. Dust-wise, this Spell Mage list is the lowest-value deck available and its cards are not too awesome to use either.
Sure, you get many of the Spell Mage staples such as Font of Power and Apexis Blast, but the only Legendary card you get is Evocation, which is OK, but nothing too great. The deck would need The Amazing Reno (Legendary) and Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron (Epic) to be viable and it’s a shame that those have not been included, considering how the dust value of the deck is far below all the others.
Do not pick.
Free Paladin deck: Pure Paladin
Pure Paladin has improved throughout Ashes of Outland as other decks have been nerfed. It is currently a fine deck, not exactly tier 1, but easily playable all the way to Legend, and this free version has all the goodies: full Libram package including Lady Liadrin (Legendary) and two copies of Libram of Hope (Epic), two copies of Lightfoged Crusader (Epic), and even Shotbot from Galakrond’s Awakening adventure.
As a downside, it is all Paladin class cards, so you cannot use them anywhere else, but this is a great starter deck for a Paladin fan.
Free Priest deck: Resurrect Priest
Resurrect Priest is not really part of the meta now, the main Priest variant is Galakrond Priest, so it is surprising that the free deck is still a Resurrect Priest. The list has been improved from the previous one and it includes the main expensive Resurrect Priest cards apart from Soul Mirror, but the archetype itself is mediocre and not easily upgradeable to a meta deck.
Free Rogue deck: Galakrond Rogue
The free Rogue deck is still a Galakrond Rogue with some minor modifications: Edwin VanCleef has been dropped from the deck in favor of Flik Skyshiv. This makes the deck slightly weaker, but it is still a strong option that comes with several staple Rogue Legendary cards and the Neutral Galakrond synergy Legendary card Kronx Dragonhoof: you get all five Galakrond cards for free when you open your first Descent of Dragons pack, so Kronx can help fill up several different decks.
The deck is Edwin VanCleef (Legendary) and two Questing Adventurers (Rare) away from a viable meta deck. A strong choice with many valuable cards, mostly for Rogue but also a little for all five Galakrond classes.
Free Shaman deck: Galakrond Control Shaman
Galakrond Shaman sees some play on the ladder, but it is a faster, more Evolve-based variant. This control version does not see any play.
The deck comes with Kronx Dragonhoof, which is good news for all of your Galakrond decks, and it also includes The Lurker Below, which is perhaps the strongest Shaman Legendary card, but overall Shaman is a sub-par pick.
Free Warlock deck: Galakrond Zoo Warlock
The free Warlock deck has not changed much, it is still a Galakrond Zoo Warlock with the Lackey package supported by Dark Pharaoh Tekahn.
This is sort of an amalgamation of two meta decks: Lackey Zoo with Tekahn sees some play, as does a slower Galakrond Warlock, but combining the two is a little mediocre.
There are lots of parts for multiple Warlock decks as well as Kronx Dragonhoof, the Legendary Neutral Galakrond synergy minion, so the deck is not a terrible choice although it is rather mediocre.
Free Warrior deck: Pirate Warrior
The free Warrior deck has not changed much either, it is still a Pirate Warrior, the purest aggro deck of the bunch.
It is a fine deck, capable of reaching Legend, and it comes with several good Warrior cards, such as Ancharrr and Livewire Lance, both of which see play in a wide variety of Warrior decks.
The problem with switching to a different Warrior archetype is that they are all built around Risky Skipper, which is from the Galakrond’s Awakening adventure, so without that you can only play this one Warrior archetype.
There have been some improvements to the free decks, but also some strange changes.
Hunter is now perhaps the strongest deck out of the box and it also includes the most valuable Neutral Legendary cards. Highlander decks can be expensive to build though, so you might not have the tools to fully take advantage of them. Still, Hunter is an excellent choice.
Rogue remains powerful. Probably the second-strongest deck out of the box and includes most of the staple Rogue Legendary cards. Another excellent option.
Paladin and Warrior are also strong decks immediately. Their upgradability is weaker: Paladin is just Pure Paladin and does not give you any Neutral cards and Warrior needs Risky Skipper from Galakrond’s Awakening to become anything other than the aggro deck it is. Nonetheless, both are good options for class enthusiasts.
Warlock deck is OK: decent performance and a bunch of pieces to build two different Warlock archetypes. It is behind the top four decks though.
Druid, Shaman, and Priest are mediocre at best, and Mage is bad.