Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com 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:
Reach Level 10 to unlock all of the Basic cards for this class.
Have 1520 Dust available for crafting cards you may not have from this deck.
Zoo Warlock is a classic deck that utilizes the synergy between cheap minions and buff spells. With Warlock's Life Tap Hero power, Zoo is a deck that doesn't have to worry about running out of cards.
Unlike Aggro decks, Zoo plays more of a Midrange style. It's goal is to establish board dominance before overwhelming opponents. It's key to not overextend when you are ahead, as board clears like Flamestrike can completely swing a game in your opponent's favor.
Minions - 26
2x Abusive Sergeant
- A really flexible card that can be played on turn 1 if you have no better options. You can either use him to trade a small minion up for a larger one, or to deal an extra two points of damage to your opponent's face for additional reach.
2x Argent Squire
- A sticky minion that helps us establish a board presence early due to its Divine Shield. A great target for Defender of Argus or any buff.
2x Flame Imp
- Great for tempo early game. Mana-efficient. We look to kill our opponent off quickly, so taking 3 damage early is not a big deal.
2x Possessed Villager
- It's almost like a second copy of Argent Squire, and allows us to stay on the board after making a trade. Synergizes really well with cards like Dire Wolf Alpha if you have proper board positioning and Sea Giant (an upgrade).
- Generally Voidwalker’s value is from preventing face damage from large minions when we race our opponent for lethal.
2x Bilefin Tidehunter
- A cheap minion that generates two tokens. The taunt can be annoying for opponents to deal with, making it hard for them to make the most efficient trades on the board.
2x Dire Wolf Alpha
- Dire Wolf Alpha is included in our deck due to the sheer number of cheap token minions we can spawn. This card has great synergy with most of the minions in our deck, along with Forbidden Ritual, and helps us make our minions worth more than the sum of their parts.
2x Knife Juggler
- Even though Knife Juggler was nerfed from a 3/2 to a 2/2, it's still a very playable card and has crazy synergy with Forbidden Ritual.
2x Darkshire Councilman
- Darkshire Councilman is almost like Warlock's version of Tunnel Trogg, except with much greater survivability due to its 5 health. Once this card comes out on the board it becomes an immediate high priority removal target due to its synergy with Forbidden Ritual.
2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- Shattered Sun Cleric allows us to buff a minion so that it can trade more effectively. A minion like a 3/2 can be buffed to a 4/3 to trade with a 2/3 without dying. She has the most beneficial effect when played on curve.
2x Dark Iron Dwarf
- Dark Iron Dwarf has a decent 4/4 body, but its Battlecry allows us to trade proactively on the board with our Tokens. Never feel bad about buffing a minion just to attack your opponent's face for 2 extra damage.
2x Defender of Argus
- We'll almost always have a board, so Defender of Argus provides a lot of value.
- One of our primary win-conditions. Due to the low cost of most of our cards and Warlock's Life Tap Hero Power, we can minimize the negative effects of Doomguard's Battlecry.
Spells - 4
2x Forbidden Ritual
- What the heck? I thought Imp-losion was removed from the game! While Forbidden Ritual isn't exactly Imp-losion, it has much of the same effect, in its ability to the tempo of the game into your favor. This card has insane synergy with Knife Juggler and Darkshire Councilman and isn't a bad play by itself later in the game when you have 7+ mana and need to refill your board.
2x Power Overwhelming
- Provides reach to help us win games, or allows us to trade an inferior minion into a much more expensive one.
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: Argent Squire, Flame Imp, Possessed Villager, Voidwalker
- 2 Mana: Bilefin Tidehunter
- 3 Mana: Shattered Sun Cleric, Darkshire Councilman
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.
- 2x Bilefin Tidehunter → 2x Dark Peddler
- 2x Shattered Sun Cleric → 2x Imp Gang Boss
- 1x Dark Iron Dwarf → 1x Sea Giant
- 1x Dark Iron Dwarf → 1x Gormok the Impaler
If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world.
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I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comment sections below.