Hearthstone Help: Basic Decks Guide

Philippa Warr

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Just starting out in Hearthstone? Then you might find yourself staring at those basic cards you've managed to unlock and wondering how to compose your first decks, especially when you feel like you're missing so many signature cards and combos. If your own attempts have left you nursing an exploded hero and an inability to climb even a couple of ranks on the ladder, don't panic, we're here to buff your decks up.

Poyo–the resident deckbuilder over at Icy Veins –has crafted a set of super solid basic decks for each class. In this week's installment of Hearthstone Help he guides us through the contents of each one, before finding out how to start adapting them once you've got more cards in your arsenal.

Druid

Hunter

Mage

Paladin

Priest

Rogue

Shaman

Warlock

Warrior

Basic Druid

2x Innervate

2x Claw

2x Mark of the Wild

2x Wild Growth

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Novice Engineer

2x River Crocolisk

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Wolfrider

2x Chillwind Yeti

1x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

1x Gnomish Inventor

2x Swipe

2x Starfire

2x Boulderfist Ogre

2x Ironbark Protector

How does it work, then?

The idea here is to gain a mana crystal advantage via cards like Innervate and Wild Growth. This means you'll be able to play your more powerful minions earlier in the game and thus put more pressure on your enemy as they're forced to deal with them. Swipe offers you a board clearance option and Starfire provides a whomp of 5 damage to a target before offering you a lovely card draw.

Tip

The Wild Growth will be at its most useful when played early on in the game. It essentially puts you a turn ahead of where you should be for the rest of the game so getting one in your starting hand is hugely useful. If you don't unearth one until you've reached the ten crystal limit you can play it to get the Excess Mana card which grants you a card draw.

Poyo says:

“When you're making a Druid deck you want to have Innervate because the mana acceleration can throw your opponent completely off balance. It can cause a lot of problems. If you get a first turn Yeti down it's harder to handle it than if you get it on turn 4. [You get a first turn Yeti by using Coin and Innervate to meet the 4 mana crystal requirement]

"Then you're running a lot of removal, like you can run Wrath or Claw or any other solution for those annoying drops with one or two damage and one or two health that can do a lot of damage if left unattended. In mid-game if an opponent shits all over your board with several minions you've got Swipe to clean the board. Then there are several strong minions like Yeti and class cards like Keeper of the Grove, and the cards which come at 6 and 7 are usually really powerful cards that are going to pull you ahead.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Druid Aggro Deck

Basic Hunter

2x Hunter's Mark

2x Arcane Shot

2x Elven Archer

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Starving Buzzard

2x River Crocolisk

2x Novice Engineer

2x Animal Companion

2x Kill Command

2x Ironforge Rifleman

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Multi-Shot

2x Houndmaster

1x Oasis Snapjaw

2x Tundra Rhino

1x Stormwind Champion

How does it work, then?

Hello aggression and hello lots of little beasties. Hunter decks revolve around beast cards and manipulating the synergies between them. Adding beasts to the board can improve your card draw thanks to Starving Buzzard. It can also soup up Kill Command from 3 to 5 damage while Houndmaster's ability to offer +2/+2 and Taunt to a beast is a useful option throughout.

Tip

When it comes to Starving Buzzard play it on a turn when you know you can play at least one more beast onto the board otherwise you're wasting valuable resources. This is a basic deck so it doesn't contain the recently nerfed , but still useful, Unleash the Hounds (notorious for its ability to combine with Buzzard), but Buzzards will get removed fast regardless, so you'll want to make sure you get that extra card draw. The same goes for any card: avoid playing unless you know you can get value from your Battlecry, buffs and other abilities.

Poyo says:

"Hunters are extremely hard to play on a high level because the problem for the Hunter is card advantage. It's extremely hard to maintain it. Hunter is, in general, an aggressive class and it excels at pushing your opponent's health low. Any player can do that. Any player can unload their entire hand on the board and push, but eventually the opponent gets it under control, makes a boardwipe with a card like Swipe, and you've lost the game.”

As a result you'll want to build with cards that will steal back card advantage where possible. On the subject of the hated Hounds-Buzzard-Timber Wolf combo, Poyo says: “It will still be viable in certain scenarios, however most decks will have their metagame potential diminished a lot by the nerf.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Hunter Aggro Deck

Basic Mage

2x Elven Archer

2x Arcane Missiles

2x Frostbolt

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Novice Engineer

2x Arcane Intellect

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Water Elemental

2x Gnomish Inventor

2x Fireball

2x Polymorph

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Gurubashi Berserker

1x Archmage

1x Stormwind Champion

2x Flamestrike

How does it work, then?

Being a Mage is equal parts "cost/benefit analysis of your cards" and "being that jerk everyone hates because you've turned their souped-up minion into a daft-looking sheep and then smashed their hero in the face with a fireball".

Tip

Arcane Missiles introduce a note of randomness to the deck but can be deployed effectively against low-health minions early on in the game where the chances of scoring a card removal will be higher. If the enemy side of the board has already been cleared it also provides a reliable 3 damage to the opposing hero.

Poyo says:

Discussing potential Mage decks, Poyo gives an example deck construction built with using the Legendary Archmage Antonidas card in mind–the explanation includes a standard Mage minion base:

“It's a fairly late-game card, it's extremely dependent on what you have in your hand, and it requires a certain level of aggression throughout the earlier stages of the match to push your opponent low enough so it can be a finisher. You would probably decide to go with a standard Mage minion base–Mana Wyrm, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Frostbolt. You don't really want to trade minions if you want to do damage so you can put in Mirror Images and Arcane Missiles which delay or act as potential removal.

"After that you make sure you have some sort of card advantage so you add a few cards like Loot Hoarder and Arcane Intellect. In mid-game you want to have good minions–Water Elemental or Chillwind Yeti, even Harvest Golems. You've got your minion base sorted. Polymorph and Fireball are going to be a great solution to mid- or even late-game threats. Then I'd want some sort of control for when the board gets out of control. In the Mage's case, that would be Flamestrike.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Mage Control Deck

Basic Paladin

2x Hand of Protection

2x Novice Engineer

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Razorfen Hunter

2x Truesilver Champion

2x Consecration

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

2x Hammer of Wrath

2x Blessing of Kings

2x Stormpike Commando

2x Frostwolf Warlord

2x Guardian of Kings

2x Stormwind Champion

How does it work, then?

You're aiming for board control with this one, buffing and protecting minions with the likes of Hand of Protection and Blessing of Kings. You're also able to squish enemy minions one-on-one with Truesilver Champion, or en masse using Consecration as it chucks two points of damage at all enemies.

Tip

Some find the basic Paladin options can leave you in a bit of a pickle (or, y'know, dead) in the early game if you don't get those low mana card drops. Don't be afraid to mulligan your starting hand aggressively to try to unearth the more helpful options lurking within the deck.

Poyo says :

“Paladins struggle with card drawing. Either they have to be completely aggressive, and rely on Divine Favor, or be more control-orientated and get their card advantage from several mid-range cards–perhaps Lay on Hands in the late-game. Once you extend to Ancient Watchers and full blown Sunfury/Argus combos, you might also want to consider including a Twilight Drake, which can be really good defensive value if you can tend to have a rather big hand size. In other words, your early game can potentially be Loot Hoarders or only hero power–perhaps a Wild Pyromancer and Equality combo. Once you have a bigger hand size, you can often find synergy with Mountain Giant. Molten Giant should be considered against most aggressive decks, however this becomes a dependency which will often lead to a dead card in your hand.

“If you're aggressive and play around cheap minions and Divine Favor, early game obviously won't be an issue, but if you're leaning towards mid-range or control, you will most likely take charge once Truesilver Champions and Consecrations start hitting the board. Perhaps a healing spell or minion such as Earthen Ring Farseer could help you sustain yourself against aggressive decks until you can bring your more offensive mid-range approach to the board at the 4+ mana mark.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Paladin Control Deck

Basic Priest

2x Power Word: Shield

2x Holy Smite

2x Northshire Cleric

2x Shadow Word: Pain

2x River Crocolisk

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Novice Engineer

2x Shadow Word: Death

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

2x Gurubashi Berserker

2x Holy Nova

2x Boulderfist Ogre

2x Mind Control

How does it work, then?

The idea here is for the Priest to keep their opponent at bay by swatting down enemy minions for board control and using cards with draw power to create card advantage. By the time you hit late-game your foe should be pretty starved of card options while the board has become your oyster. Just be careful of that Northshire Cleric/Holy Nova combo. Once you're out of cards you'll start taking fatigue damage and that can be deadly.

Tip

You'll want to make the most of your Northshire Cleric so try to play it on a turn when you know you're going to heal another minion. Even if it gets splatted next turn you'll still have got the card draw benefit. For longevity you might also want to buff it using the Shattered Sun Cleric or the Power Word: Shield cards.

Poyo says

“Priest has very bad standing against 4 attack minions for obvious reasons [it's the attack number not countered by Shadow Word: Pain or Shadow Word: Death]. Generally every minion can be countered with another minion, which means that you should seek alternatives. I find Circle of Healing great with Auchenai Soulpriest or perhaps Injured Blademaster

“And since we are talking 4-mana minions, I suppose a vanilla minion such as Chillwind Yeti has Holy Fire written all over it [it deals 5 damage and restores 5 health to your hero], however since Holy Fire is rather expensive, you will often simply have to play a Yeti of your own on turn 4, or perhaps an Auchenai Soulpriest if you anticipate your opponent is incapable of removing it, or maybe even a Sen'jin Shieldmasta.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Priest Circle of Healing Control Deck

Basic Rogue

2x Backstab

2x Elven Archer

2x Deadly Poison

2x Sap

2x River Crocolisk

2x Novice Engineer

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Fan of Knives

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Chillwind Yeti

1x Gnomish Inventor

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

2x Assassin's Blade

2x Assassinate

2x Boulderfist Ogre

1x Sprint

How does it work, then?

Minion removal is this deck's strength, and it's augmented by weaponry. You'll notice that a lot of the standard Rogue combos, spells and minions are missing on account of this being a basic card deck–but being careful with your minion use (a good idea regardless of deck) can offer up control of the board, plus the deck's got decent card draw power.

Tip

Don't forget about those Acidic Swamp Oozes. You're packing a couple in this deck to destroy your opponent's potential weaponry and they might be doing exactly the same for you.

Poyo says :

We asked about how to include silence cards in a Rogue deck: “Many Rogues currently play variations of a Miracle Rogue archetype (a deck that mainly relies on Gadgetzan Auctioneer and a lot of spells with a Leeroy Jenkins/Shadowstep combo as a kill). However if we are discussing silence cards, we are probably referring to a rather different deck type. A simple aggressive Tempo Rogue that has a solid minion base can potentially make good use of silence to negate certain effects or, more likely, to break through a big taunter and go for the kill. This would most likely be an Ironbeak Owl rather than Spellbreaker, as it's cost efficient and you would use it mainly for its Battlecry rather than the actual minion value when going for the kill.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Rogue Aggro Deck

Basic Shaman

2x Rockbiter Weapon

2x Elven Archer

2x Windfury

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x River Crocolisk

2x Novice Engineer

2x Flametongue Totem

2x Hex

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Windspeaker

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

2x Bloodlust

2x Fire Elemental

1x Boulderfist Ogre

1x Stormwind Champion

How does it work, then?

You'll feel the pinch in terms of the basic Shaman deck when it comes to offensive spells. Instead, it's minions that you'll need in order to maintain board presence and control. Rockbiter adds a punch to your totems while survival into the late-game will let you bring out the big guns in the form of Fire Elementals, that Boulderfist Ogre and the Stormwind Champion.

Tip

If the late-game needs a bit of a shot in the arm you could try trading some low-mana minions for extra Boulderfist Ogre or Stormwind Champion cards–those Elven Archers, perhaps.

Poyo says :

“Once Shaman passes the basic deck stage, you will most likely lean towards mid-range aggressive or perhaps a control approach. The majority of your deck is likely to become spell-based. You will certainly have to include cards such as Lightning Bolt, Rockbiter Weapon and Earth Shock to get through early-game and to be able to respond to the most aggressive decks. Hex, Lightning Storm and Feral Spirit are extremely powerful and probably could be considered your signature spells.

“Now that we've covered a few cards that are likely to end up in any Shaman deck regardless of the playstyle, you might want to consider cards such as Azure Drake and Gadgetzan Auctioneer, since a great portion of your deck now consists of spells, the majority of which deal spell damage. I also forgot to mention Lava Burst–it has dead Chillwind Yeti written all over it.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Shaman Control Deck

Basic Warlock

2x Soulfire

2x Mortal Coil

2x Elven Archer

2x Voodoo Doctor

2x Voidwalker

2x Novice Engineer

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Succubus

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Shadow Bolt

2x Drain Life

2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta

2x Hellfire

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Dread Infernal

How does it work, then?

Two words: Card advantage. You can achieve this by using your hero power, or those Novice Engineers, just be aware that some of these cards have a random discard condition so make sure anything super-valuable is out of your hand otherwise you risk losing it. Oh, and don't forget the hero power card draw has a 2 damage penalty so try to balance card draw with having enough life to survive.

Tip

Hellfire offers fantastic board clearance but as it deals 3 damage to ALL characters, not just your enemies, you'd ideally throw it down when your side of the board is looking pretty empty. If you do need to use it at other times remember to use the attack power of any minion who's about to meet their maker BEFORE you Hellfire them, and to play new minions afterwards to keep them from a scorching.

Poyo says :

Newcomers might be wary of the Warlock hero power which deals damage to said hero in exchange for card draw. We asked Poyo to explain why it's actually a very good thing: “Let's compare Rogue and Warlock. How different is it if your opponent plays a 2/1 minion and you use your hero power to create a 1/1 dagger and attack that minion of his? How different is that to using the Warlock hero power? Your opponent lost a card so you created the same amount of card advantage.

It does force a particular playstyle. Warlocks are either going to be really aggressive or control. You're playing Twilight Drakes, Molten Giants which are affected by your health, Mountain Giants which are affected by how many cards you have in your hand, and so on. In general you play 25 minions and 5 spells and those 5 spells are damage to your opponent's face or maybe taking out a fat minion that comes on the board.

“The general principle is the same. You unload your hand on the board and you go for the face. When your opponent makes a move and puts a minion on the board you simply try to make an efficient trade that would give card advantage. When you have nothing else to do, you draw cards with your hero power and put down more and more and more.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Warlock Control Deck

Basic Warrior

2x Whirlwind

2x Execute

2x Elven Archer

2x Acidic Swamp Ooze

2x Cleave

2x Novice Engineer

2x Heroic Strike

2x Fiery War Axe

2x Warsong Commander

2x Shield Block

1x Ironforge Rifleman

2x Shattered Sun Cleric

2x Kor'kron Elite

2x Chillwind Yeti

2x Arcanite Reaper

1x Stormwind Champion

How does it work, then?

It will come as no surprise that the deck for the Warrior is an offensive one. As well as the weapon/hero power shield combo, minions with charge will come in handy for dealing sharp bursts of damage. For example, Kor'kron Elite offers a 4 damage punch–decent value, plus it's that all important number which helps keep Priests at bay.

Tip s

Don't forget that saving your Elven Archers might be useful with this deck. That point of damage they deal with their Battlecry will allow you to swoop in with an Execute and take down a high value late-game minion. Keep an eye on how many Acidic Swamp Oozes your opponent has popped down too. It's not much fun to lose an Arcanite Reaper thanks to a green goo monster gobbing all over it.

Poyo says :

“Warrior can be great as mid-range or control, and most Warriors actually play variations of a control deck in the current metagame. However, if we're talking about upgrading the basic version of a warrior deck, a player would be better off leaning towards an aggressive playstyle.

“There aren't many cards that would form synergies with weapons. Cards such as Upgrade!, Bloodsail Raider, Dread Corsair, Captain Greenskin and Spiteful Smith can work, however not all of them are useful. Bloodsail Raider and Captain Greenskin would probably be the best choice. Charge minions are a bit situational. Yes, you certainly can use a few minions with Charge, or perhaps the Charge card itself. An aggressive deck that would try to rely on some massive combo with cards such as Warsong Commander will often struggle getting the right cards into your hand at the right time.

“Also, when it comes to aggressive Warriors, card advantage can sometimes be slightly problematic. Mostly you will resort to your weapons and attempt to make them a 2-for-1 card, however there are also some neat synergies available with Acolyte of Pain and various Warrior cards such as Inner Rage, Whirlwind and Cruel Taskmaster. They can be aggressive at no particular card loss.”

Dust's no object, you say?

Take a peek at the Legendary Warrior Control Deck

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