In this post, I will take a look at the best budget decks in Hearthstone. These decks can be played all the way to Legend, although you will generally have an easier time with a full-cost list, with perhaps the top three or four decks from this post capable of fully competing with more expensive lists.
Blizzard has been much more proactive with balance changes in the past months than ever before, and it has made building budget decks even more challenging: I can barely test all the classes before a new balance patch is released, and almost all the changes hit budget decks even harder than full-cost decks (Crabrider, First Day of School, Hand of A’dal, Sword of the Fallen, Pen Flinger…). That’s quite a one-two punch for budget players because their best decks are constantly getting destroyed. Spoilers: Gibberling Druid is a great budget deck right now, and I expect it will get rekt in a couple of days with the next balance patch.
Be that as it may, the life of a budget player has been reasonable since the Wailing Caverns mini-set opened up Shaman as a viable class also on a budget. Early in Forged in the Barrens, the relative weakness of the Core set compared to Basic and Classic had made budget life difficult, but the mini-set added crucial cheap cards to be able to create cheap 30-card decks.
I have seven decks that I consider good enough at the moment. You can find even more budget decks on my Youtube channel if you’re looking for some other classes or experiences, even if climbing to Legend may be too tough with those lists.
#7: Face Hunter
Face Hunter is perhaps the most iconic budget deck, but with Forged in the Barrens, Blizzard decided that Face Hunter should be more expensive. Warsong Wrangler, Kolkar Pack Runner, and Barak Kodobane provide a significant amount of power for the archetype, and while it is still possible to build a Face Hunter deck on a budget, climbing to Legend with it is a struggle.
Scavenger’s Ingenuity is still a fine card for tutoring Wolpertingers and Trampling Rhinos, and sometimes you can pull off some sweet surprises with Scrap Shot, but that is practically your only edge against the full-cost list.
Deck code: AAECAR8AD6K5A/m6A/+6A9zMA6LOA4LQA7nSA7ThA4biA8rjA9zqA9vtA6mfBLugBL+gBAA=
Guide video: https://youtu.be/84GUQ3Wc6DE
#6: Elemental Shaman
Elemental Shaman is one of the best decks in the game, but its success is difficult to translate into budget form. Lilypad Lurker is the strongest tempo swing in the archetype and there is nothing that matches it on a budget.
Often, budget decks tend to look for some ways to go under the established versions of the archetypes, to be a little faster, but Elemental Shaman’s midrange nature does not mix well with such a plan (Aggro Shaman is a different matter).
Earth Elemental has been my card of choice to replace Lilypad Lurker, and it has its advantages in aggro matchups. In a mirror, however, you generally just have to slam it down and hope that the opponent cannot answer with a Lilypad Lurker. The whole cat-and-mouse game around that Hex effect tempo swing is missing when you play the budget version, but there’s very little you can do about it.
Deck code: AAECAaoIArCKBICgBA7buAOn3gOq3gOr3gOM4QPg7APh7AOt7gPj7gOU8AOMnwT5nwT7nwTjoAQA
Guide video: https://youtu.be/-SiTvPHIpN4
#5: Deathrattle Demon Hunter
Deathrattle Demon Hunter is a powerful deck, and it is reasonably simple to build on a budget as well.
While the full-cost lists often make use of N’Zoth, a budget version aims to be faster and end the game before N’Zoth can even enter play, hopefully even before Death Speaker Blackthorn can make a difference.
Taelan tutors for Illidari Inquisitors, while Raging Felscreamer makes them cheaper. Fury, Sneaky Delinquent, and Darkspear Berserker give the deck some more punch compared to the full-cost list so that you can play a faster game.
Deck code: AAECAea5AwKoigTUnwQO2cYDh9QDitQDyd0D8+MDmOoDmeoDu+0DvO0D/e0DqO8Dr+8DwvEDgIUEAA==
Guide video: https://youtu.be/17FVsn3RlrM
#4: Aggro Paladin
Rumors of Paladin’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sure, Paladin decks have needed multiple rebuilds after all the nerfs, but the class is still perfectly capable.
Devouring Ectoplasm from the Wailing Caverns mini-set has opened up the option to build a Rally-based Aggro Paladin deck: a full-cost list can be built even without Secrets, but the budget version still has to use Secrets to fill in the blanks. Either way, it is a powerful aggro deck with some potential surprises.
Deck code: AAECAZ8FBNvuA9D3A6iKBLCKBA3KwQO/0QPK0QP74wPM6wPO6wPP6wOo7wOanwTrnwTIoATJoATRoAQA
Guide video: https://youtu.be/doGrZmXkJAg
#3: Rush Warrior
It is finally possible to play Warrior on a budget! Control decks are a bit expensive- not to mention really bad in the current meta unless they’re Priest – but I finally managed to solve Budget Rush Warrior.
Frothing Berserker and Mankrik are here to fill up the otherwise abyssal gap of three-drops, and Guardian Augmerchant and Cruel Taskmaster can both help your own minions and ping down minor threats.
Deck code: AAECAQcG5/ADqIoEqooEsIoEi6AEjKAEDLy5A96+A+LMA6fOA7PeA7XeA7reA8HeA5HkA5jtA9XxA42gBAA=
Guide video: https://youtu.be/Awp7mpmWGIc
#2: Aggro Shaman
Aggro Shaman is good and cheap and works perfectly well without any of the Legendary cards. Thank you, Wailing Caverns mini-set!
Deck code: AAECAaoIAA/buAOTuQOYuQP+0QOn3gOo3gOq3gOM4QPg7APh7AOt7gPj7gONnwT5nwT+nwQA
Guide video: https://youtu.be/zUpUrmlt7Xs
#1: Token Druid
Token Druid has been the one constant in Forged in the Barrens. While it is better if you have Guess the Weight in your collection, the archetype is perfectly viable with just two copies of Glowfly Swarm.
Unfortunately, it looks like Blizzard will nerf this deck this week, so it is uncertain whether a new budget version can be built.
Enjoy it now, but don’t craft the Epics for it anymore at this point until we know more about the next balance patch.
Deck code: AAECAZICAoefBNefBA7lugPvugP5zAObzgO50gPw1AOJ4AOK4AOK5AOM5AOt7AOz7AOunwTZnwQA
Guide video: https://youtu.be/kkffmeKgnp8
Hearthstone is often described as a pay-to-have-fun game. You can build a top-tier meta deck as a free-to-play player, but you cannot keep up with a variety of classes.
Budget decks can give everyone access to more classes, even though they remain a bit poor on the variety aspect: most budget decks are aggro decks with a midrange deck or two sprinkled in out of necessity, as it can be difficult to contest the power of Legendary cards in a longer game.
I hope these decks help you to climb the ladder with little to no dust!
You can always find my latest decks on my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian