With the release of every expansion, Hearthstone players are always looking to try out new cards. As theorycraft turns to reality, the cost of crafting several expensive decks adds up quickly. Worse yet, cards that were predicted to be meta-definers frequently turn into duds.
Instead, I used the expansion release as an excuse to explore some Hearthstone Knights of the Frozen Throne budget decks. While not as flashy as decks packed with Legendaries, several of the most powerful cards in every expansion are always Commons and Rares. Playing low-cost decks provides the opportunity to find these hidden gems in a sea of possibilities.
To mimic the new player/casual experience, budget decks include no Legendaries, Epics, or cards from Adventures (with the exception of Firelands Portal and Enchanted Raven, which are freely available). These decks are intended to be a starting point, but can help you complete quests and climb ranks as you earn more cards. Updating them as your collection grows is recommended to improve your chance of climbing the Standard Ladder in Knights of the Frozen Throne.
My New Player Experience
My experience in testing these decks gave me a newfound respect for the difficulties of a new player in Hearthstone. As an experienced player, it’s not hard for me to scrounge together a deck that met the self-imposed restrictions and perform well with it. However, a less experienced player may have trouble finding the same success.
More so though, the fact that the limitations were self-imposed makes a big difference. Choosing to play suboptimal cards is much different than having to do so. At the end of the day, I could have used my massive pool of hoarded dust to craft several costly cards. Even still, watching my opponent drop exciting Legendaries turn after turn, game after game did cause occasional envy. Losing is never fun. Losing to cards you don’t have access to is far less fun.
In the end, I realized that perspective is important in these situations. Raging at your opponent because he or she has good cards in their deck is much more unfair than the advantage those cards give him or her in the game. Instead, it’s far better to accept your limitations and make the most with what you have.
Knights of the Frozen Throne Budget Decks
Without further ado, let’s look at the decks!
Here, you can find a summary all of the budget deck guides I’ve written for Hearthstone Top Decks. All guides contain a brief explanation of general the deck’s general game plan along with mulligan guides and replacement recommendations.
In the early stages of the Knights of the Frozen Throne meta, Druid seems to be incredibly oppressive. Part of that is due to the Malfurion’s ability to create three competitively viable decks. One of those is a midrange Token Taunt Druid that this budget version is based on.
While lacking Ultimate Infestation diminishes the power of the deck, it does has most of the core of the meta deck intact, making it more than viable. Spreading Plague decreases the concern over losing the board early while ramping and new Taunt synergies make it possible to build a nearly impenetrable wall.
Eventually, this deck does want two copies of the aforementioned [Ultimate Infestion] and would probably benefit from Malfurion the Pestilent.
Secret Mage rose in popularity during the Journey to Un’Goro expansion. The deck proved to be an effective replacement in the hearts of Flamewaker Tempo Mage faithfuls. Improved consistency of Secret synergies from the introduction of Arcanologist is really what enabled the deck’s rise in power.
With Knights of the Frozen Throne, the meta version of the deck gained very little, but powerful budget cards make it possible to climb the Standard Ladder with a few temporary replacements.
New players lacking power cards such as [Medivh’s Valet] and Primordial Glyph will find Freeze synergies as a stopgap to fill the void left by the costly cards Secret Mage typically runs.
Since the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, players have been trying to make Handbuff Paladin work. Unfortunately, it has constantly come up just a little bit short of viable. Knight of the Frozen Throne, however, adds some new tools that might give it enough power to see play.
The deck relies heavily on protecting Grimestreet Enforcers, something that newcomers Saronite Chain Gang, Righteous Protector, and Bonemare do a fantastic job of. The deck’s biggest weakness is an empty hand and Howling Commander, along with Paladin regular Stonehill Defender, helps prevent this.
Rogue may be one of the most difficult classes to find a viable budget version for. In my personal playtesting, I attempted to make several archetype works but this Aggro Stealth deck was the only one that maintained a positive win rate.
The deck relies on dropping fragile, high attack minions hidden in Stealth before buffing them with Shadow Sensei or Bonemare for massive damage turns. Decks playing several Taunt minions are a concern, but this list can catch opponents by surprise.
Like Secret Mage, Evolve Shaman is a deck that rose near the end of the Un’Goro meta and quickly became one of the most powerful decks in Tournament and Ladder play alike. The deck relies on spreading wide on the board with efficient minions before closing the game with Bloodlust burst or a big Evolve swing turn. Fortunately, Evolve Shaman plays a slew of budget minions to accomplish this game plan, making it a prime candidate for a budget deck.
This budget version misses out on Patches the Pirate and Aya Blackpaw, but is still fairly competitive thanks to the swarm of token minions. The new Shaman Hero Card, Thrall, Deathseer may also find a good home in this deck. Aside from that, few sacrifices are made in terms of the meta deck’s power level.
Zoo Warlock is hands down the best deck for new players. Not only does it incredibly cheap to craft, but it also teaches valuable lessons about important Hearthstone mechanics, such as value trading and minion placement.
This particular list is reminiscent of the early days of Zoo Warlock with a plethora of one-drops and several attack buffs to enable efficient trades. Acherus Veteran, Sanguine Reveler, and [Fallen Sun Cerlic] are all welcome additions to the Zoo Warlock repertoire.
Of all the decks included, this is certainly one of the strongest without any substitutions being made. While no specific upgrades are necessary for this list, if you happened to have access to Prince Keleseth you could restructure the deck to include him.
Another flash from the past, this Tempo Warrior sacrifices very little in terms of power level for the sake of budget. New cards added with the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion make it easy to damage minions, trigger abilities, and draw an insane amount of cards with Battle Rage.
Blood Razor is especially critical in enabling this deck. Having two Whirlwind effects in a single card gives incredible value. Token generation from Val'kyr Soulclaimer pairs well with Frothing Berserker turns for massive damage. Eventually, adding Scourgelord Garrosh could allow for more consistent AoE damage.
As you can see, there’s no reason why a limited card pool should prevent you from climbing the Standard Ladder and completing your daily quests. More than anything, these budget decks allow you to have fun and grant easy access to the new content.