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Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7 win-average arena player. I run where our coaches have helped students around the world reach many of these same achievements.

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 to play on the Hearthstone ladder. Given this dilemma, I’ve set out to help those of you with a limited collection by creating budget decks for each class.


This Standard deck is constructed with only Commons and Rares from the Basic, Classic, and Whispers of the Old Gods card sets. In order to build this deck, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.

  2. Have 880 Dust available for crafting cards you may not have from this deck.

Deck Playstyle

  • C'Thun Mage is a Tempo Mage deck that combines the synergy between C'Thun minions with the spell synergy provided by Mana Wyrm and Sorcerer's Apprentice.

  • Thanks to Mage's cheap and powerful spells, with the proper opening hand, this deck can finish games extremely quickly, even before C'Thun is able to be played.

  • Towards the end-game, C'Thun can provide the reach to finish the game outright, or to clear your opponent's board.

Minions - 19

2x Mana Wyrm

  • An incredible little minion to play from our opening hand. Mana Wyrm synergizes extremely well with the cheap spells we have in our deck, and in conjunction with an early Sorcerer's Apprentice can snowball out of control.

2x Beckoner of Evil

  • A standard 2 mana for 2/3 minion that buffs your C'Thun. What's not to like?

2x Sorcerer's Apprentice

  • Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a key minion in our deck, as she lets us play our Arcane Missiles for free and reduces the cost of all our other spells. This ability, in conjunction with a Mana Wyrm or Flamewaker (as an Upgrade) on the board is incredibly synergistic.

2x Disciple of C'Thun

  • While Disciple of C'Thun doesn't have the strongest body, it's ability to deal 2 damage to any target is extremely valuable. However, you'll want to throw away Disciple of C'Thun for a stronger play on turn 3, as he doesn't provide a very strong board presence. Generally, you'll want to avoid playing him onto an empty board just to deal 2 damage to your opponent's face, unless it's for lethal or to setup for C'Thun on the following turn.

2x Twilight Elder

  • Twilight Elder is an extremely efficient play on turn 3. With 3/4 in stats for 3 mana, he easily passes the Vanilla Test for minions. He also acts as a pseudo-taunt as most opponents will try to kill him quickly to minimize how large your C'Thun can get.

2x C'Thun's Chosen

  • C'Thun's Chosen is an older brother to Scarlet Crusader. The one big advantage to C'Thun's Chosen is the fact he has 2 health instead of 1, meaning he's unlikely to die to a single Arcane Missiles or a Fireblast Hero Power from a Mage after his Divine Shield has been popped.

2x Water Elemental

  • The Water Elemental is still one of the best 4 mana minions in the game, and does tremendous work against any class that has weapons. Its 3/6 body trades evenly with even 5/5 minions, and can be used to freeze a major threat you just can't deal with. An extremely versatile minion like this should be played in every Tempo Mage deck now that Piloted Shredder is gone.

2x Azure Drake

  • A versatile minion that provides card draw and spell damage together. Our damage spells become much more effective with Azure Drake on the board.

2x Faceless Summoner

  • Wow, Faceless Summoner is amazing value. It's almost hard to believe this card is Common. Faceless Summoner provides you an expected 8 mana worth of stats for just 6 mana. I've also had turns where Faceless Summoner gives me a card like King Mukla without having its negative Battlecry that gives your opponent two Bananas. With that said, this card is bananas.

1x C'Thun

  • Thank you Blizzard for providing us with a free Legendary with Wrath of the Old Gods! You'll receive C'Thun and two Beckoner of Evil as a free reward after opening your first Wrath of the Old Gods booster pack. So long as the deck is built around him, C'Thun can win games on the turn he is played with just his Battlecry alone.

Spells - 11

2x Arcane Missiles

  • Synergizes really well with Mana Wyrm and Sorcerer's Apprentice. With upgrades like Flamewaker, Arcane Missiles is even better, and can effectively swing games when it clears your opponent's board early.

2x Frostbolt

  • 2 mana for 3 damage and freeze is great, and synergizes really well with Sorcerer's Apprentice. A common play is to play Sorcerer's Apprentice and Frostbolt together on turn 3 to establish a board and eliminate a threat at the same time.

2x Arcane Intellect

  • 3 mana to draw 2 cards is fair, but this isn’t a card we want in our opening hand. We want to play Arcane Intellect later on the in the game when we run out of cards to gain tempo.

2x Fireball

  • An auto-include into every Mage deck, regardless of archetype. It’ll take out anything with 6 health for 4 mana. One of the best spells in the game.

2x Polymorph

  • One of the few spells in the game that unconditionally removes a minion. Dodges Deathrattle effects, and negates a lot of the value that N'Zoth decks. You'll want to save at least one of your Polymorphs for sticky Deathrattle minions, win-conditions like C'Thun, and large taunts that are hard to deal with.

1x Flamestrike

  • A board reset that’s very effective against decks like Zoo and Patron Warrior. We only run one copy because having two in our hand early on hurts us.

Mulligan Guide

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 might be a minion like Eater of Secrets to counter classes with Secrets or a removal spell 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. In general, your goal with this deck is to get onto the board as soon as possible. It’s important to dig for an early 1 or 2 mana minion to play so you can begin to pressure your opponent’s life total.


  • 1 Mana: Mana Wyrm
  • 2 Mana: Beckoner of Evil, Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • 3 Mana: Twilight Elder


  • 1 Mana: Arcane Missiles (Against Hunter, Paladin, and Warlock)
  • 2 Mana: Frostbolt (Going Second)

Gameplay Video

Sheng's Budget Standard Tempo Mage


Here are some substitutions that will improve this budget deck. If you’re looking to craft cards to play this class, it’s best to start with the Key Substitutions first before working your way to the Nice-to-Have Substitutions. Unless stated otherwise, you can substitute a single copy of an upgrade card instead of two if you don’t have both.

Key Substitutions

  • 2x Beckoner of Evil + 2x Polymorph → 2x Cult Sorcerer + 2x Arcane Blast
  • 2x Disciple of C'Thun → 2x Flamewaker
  • 2x C'Thun's Chosen → 2x Crazed Worshipper

Coaching Lessons

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I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comment sections below.

Comments (31)

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i have the same question what should i replace azure drake with?

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Azure Drake can no longer be played in Standard. Which card should be replace it?

Thanks for the great guide.

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Well what if i dont have a good starting hand im using this deck and i must say it is amazing (i have only lost to one game in which my opponent top-decked Alexstraza)

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I find that replacing one of the copies of Arcane Missiles with an extra Flamestrike works really well. When you only have one Flamestrike, you almost never draw it at the right time. :(

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I started Hearthstone 2 weeks ago and this is the first and only deck I am using and I became rank 14 just in those two weeks. Is that good? I don't really know since im new to the game. I seem to struggle to make the right decisions sometimes though.

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I’ve been using this deck for a few months. I’ve improved a lot during that time. I peaked at rank 14 using this deck, but haven’t been able to push past that. I assume I’ll improve.

However, after using the tweaks you recommended—specifically, swapping the Beckoners of Evil & Polymorphs for Cult Sorcerers & Arcane Blasts—my win rate has dropped precipitously. With Polymorph, I (almost) always had an answer for bullshit cards like Ragnaros, but Arcane Blast doesn’t offer that versatility. I’ve found it consistently weakens the deck, no matter how I play the Arcane Blasts—if I use them early on for defense against aggro, they aren’t available when I run into some 12-health Legendary monstrosity; if I save them up for when I have to blow up a really big, mean, ugly minion, they’re almost never strong enough to kill said big, mean, ugly minion. I like Arcane Blast a lot, it seems like a really high-value card given how much damage it can do for so little mana, but I question the wisdom of swapping out a guaranteed, no-questions-asked threat remover like Polymorph for the (comparatively minor) benefit of Arcane Blast.

Can you explain this decision? Should I just shelve the Blasts and Sorcerers and stick with the Beckoners and Polymorphs? Or is there a way to axe the Beckoners, but keep the Sorcerers, Blasts, and Polymorphs?

I thought I’d moved past the point of blaming high-price decks for losses, but lately, in most of the games I’ve lost, I really felt as if there was nothing different I could have done.

Thanks for the help.

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Hey Sheng, a heartfelt Thank You! for this deck. I'm a relatively new player, peaked at R16 with an offensive Hunter, but then dropped to R19-18 and never got back up. Maybe I had a lucky evening, but this deck took me to R15 with a straight winning streak and I'm curious how far I can go. The synnergies are amazing and it's incredibly easy and fun to play.

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I would have afforded this, but it's TOO BAD. Faceless Summoner is now called 'Twilight summoner' and costs a whopping amount of 400 magic dust per card. Is there an alternative?

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@Zimited Check the mage tab! It's not a neutral minion, and still only costs 40 dust.

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Iam stuck 19 with this deck...

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I was lucky enough to open Archmage Antonidas. How would you include him in the deck?

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Great deck! I was just wandering what cards you would consider "nice-to-have" in this deck?

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Good deck! Thanks a lot. My question is is there any space for Doomcaller in this deck? Is it possible to combine it inside this deck?

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I just started playing about 24 hours ago... ground through until I could build this deck, and I like it - if C'Thun doesn't show up it can be hard depending on the opponent, but I decided to start tracking wins and I just won the last 3 for 3. I appreciate a good deck that a beginner can build and understand!

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@Rabbit Actually if you look closer that is not true.

For example, take the 2x C'Thun's Chosen → 2x Crazed Worshipper "Key Substitution". Crazed Worshipper has a taunt and 6 health.

Odds are Crazed Worshipper is going to take two or more attacks for your opponent to get rid of is and each attack will get you +1/+1 at least matching C'Thun's Chosen and it has a better attack as well.

The only issue is if Polymorph is used against it but that is a risk if someone survives a leveled up C'Thun as well.

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Just a question, too - in the "Key Substitutions" section it seems like you're replacing all of the cards that buff up C'Thun with cards that deal damage instead - how does that change the game? Is C'Thun still effective?

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Yet again.. got to 7 mana and totally overun with minions and NO flamestike.. Now minions power exceeding 4 and i will be dead within 2 moves and still no C thun!

Thumb profile sheng

@Sneaky You're welcome :)

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Hy, first of all, i think he is just a troll, dont feed the trolls :) second, its a great deck, helped me a lot, i just started a few days ago. tnx for posting this.

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@Magicalman Hey Magicalman. I'm really sorry you're having so much trouble. What's your BattleTag? If I have some spare cycles tonight, I'd be happy to go through a game or two with you together to see what the issue is.

I'm very open to constructive criticism as well, so if you have suggestions on the deck can be improved, I'd be happy to incorporate those ideas -- granted they have been properly play-tested. :)

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@Magicalman one move later he brings out his C'thun and 30 - 0!!!

I have now played 22 games and lost everyone.. Thats worse than when i was using an unmodified pack

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This deck is probably one of the WORST i have ever used.. yet again dead by mana5 and still waiting for one card to manage the ensuing crowd.. I hope you dont charge for your advice!!!!!

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Tried again.. Wiped out completely before 5 mana... Hmmm.. Maybe because this deck fails when you dont get the cards and you dont get the opening hand you need... Not flexible enough

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I am sorry to rain on your parade but this deck is totally reliant on the right cards coming out in time and usually fails.

There is very little AoE or taunt therefore if the board quickly becomes swamped you need to hope that flamestrike comes out before 7 mana. Even if it does most classes have boosted their minions way over the 4 damage.

Again if the C'thun doesnt arrived kiss the game away

Finally i have tried to get cards under 4 mana in my opening hand and i usually get no more than one.. Having a hand of 4 mana or higher cards is a killer because I have been down under 10 health before even playing one card.

Maybe i am being very unlucky but I believe most of my opposition has way more power or ability to rebuild health and shields way before you can get down to zero.

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Dang, I went on a win streak from 20 to 15 and still going even against decks loaded with legendaries. This deck is a beast even when I have disciples replaced with ironforge rifleman and chosen replaced with loot hoarder and doomcaller.

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@4tizzim0s Thanks for sharing your success! Awesome :)

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great deck sheng! i'm f2p and have been hitting rank 15 with bloodlust shaman before wotog came out but after wotog i've been stuck at 16. have been trying out this deck but i'm still stuck at 16 (1 star away from 15).

my question: i have the 2x cult sorcerers but no arcane blasts. should i leave make the substitutions at all or leave the beckoners in?

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@rank15orbust If you don't have Arcane Blast, I think Beckoner of Evil is better.

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Many thanks for yours budget and beginner guides. i tried this on my NA Account today, which i started Mid April 2016. Went up to Rank 16 in less than 2 hours (Started Rank 19 1 Star). Which is amazing. I only lost to N zoth paladin with more than 4 legendaries and Priest.

Before i tried your Expansion only Builds (Tempo Mage) in eu. Best Rank was 13. Which is amazing for a casual/f2p player :) Again Thank you. You did a nice job on this.

I ll tried out rogue and warlock, as soon i got the dust.

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@Sheng I played this deck this morning... went to Rank 15 :) Which is great and kinda embarassing. Since on my .eu Account, which i play since the beginning f2p, my C'Thun Warrior, that i build myself, (With Twin Emps, Elise and more epics and legendaries) has the same rank...

I Should prolly play this Deck in Europe aswell :>

tldr: Thanks again m8

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@Merrak Thanks for sharing your success! Awesome :)