You're new to Hearthstone and still don't have all the big legendaries and epics? Fret not, you can still build a cheap deck that yields results. Here's how.
GosuCup SEA is coming into its eleventh week. The tournament, which was started in November to help build the South-East Asian scene from the grass roots, adopted an old practice that we used to have for the original GosuCup tournaments back on the European servers - budget cups.
The idea of the budget cup is simple - players are allowed to build decks of any class, as long as they don't use epic and legendary cards. While this restriction could be seen as hurtful towards the metagame - in the end, it tilted the decks towards the aggro archetype as they are traditionally cheaper to assemble - it wasn't always the case. In fact, players in the past were seen using midrange, or slower, decks like Priest and Shaman to become GosuCup champions, not even resorting to what were considered the top budget dogs, i.e. Hunters and Zoos.
Additionally, these budget cups gave us an additional source of content. Hearthstone is a new game but already there are more than 500 cards in existence and while this is but a fraction of what decades-old games like Magic: The Gathering possess, it can still be overwhelming for new players. After beating the tutorial, the Hearthstone newbie rarely has any idea where to go from there. He/she often doesn't know where to start, what decks and cards are good to craft/learn for beginners and similar Hearthstone fundamentals. The budget cups, featuring decks costing around 1,000 dust were thus perfect for us to help the newcomers on their first steps into the game.
Cost: 1180 dust
Mech is a common theme in budget decks in the GvG days. The new tribal introduced with the expansion is centered around several value cards like Mechwarper, Spider Tank, Tinkertown Technician and Piloted Shredder which are all commons (40 dust each). You will see this same core of cards translated to other mech builds for different classes, which is why starting to build your own mech deck is very easy, compared to other builds. You take the subset of great mech cards, add the best cards the class can offer and suddenly you have a cheap yet strong deck.
This is what we have here: a mech core entwined with bread-and-butter Druid cards like Innervate, Keeper of the Grove, Swipe and Druid of the Claw (which, honestly, you want to play in every Druid deck regardless of archetype). What's interesting is that while most mech decks would prefer to go 100% on the aggressive, this one has a defensive curve past the 5-drops with Ironbark Protectors, Sludge Belchers and Antique Healbot for healing up.
Cost: 840 dust
Druids may have gone all fancy with the new mech but Hunter has remained the same old Undertaker and Savannah Highmane lover. In fact, the only thing this build has taken from GvG is the two Glaivezookas which aren't even that necessary but if you can have an extra attack power early on, why miss on it?
Cost: 1300 dust
Mech Mage is all the rage (sorry for the poor rhyme) right now as pro players are using it everywhere, with great effect. In fact, if you want to climb the ladder quickly and you are ashamed of using Hunter and Undertaker, this might be the deck for you (although you will still be hated by the general population).
The mech Mage relies on that core of mech cards we talked about at the start of the article, but it's way more aggressive than its Druid counter-part. While the Druid deck has ways to protect its hit points through big taunters, the Mage doesn't care about that at all. Instead, it relies on class' burst potential with cards like Fireball and Frostbolt and actually uses the explosiveness of the mech archetype to reduce the opponent within burn range. This is why it's way heavier on early-game drops like Clockwork Gnome and Cogmaster compared to the Druid.
Cost: 1520 dust
I play a lot of Hearthstone but I am yet to see a mech Priest. Yet here it is now, rocking GosuCup in style with Shadowboxers and all the cool Priest antics.
This deck uses a smaller subset of the mech core. It has no Mechanical Yetis or Piloted Shredders, having replaced them with new class acquisitions such as Light of the Naaru and Velen's Chosen. Which, by the way, are cards I personally adore. Light of the Naaru works great with Injured Blademaster while Velen's Chosen is a good way to trade up - something that can win minion-based match-ups.
Cost: 1000 dust
Finally, we arrive to a championship deck that's not mech focused. This was played by WaningMoon, the only two-times GosuCup champion in the history of the tournament, and went 14-2 last Saturday against the best from the SEA region.
There isn't anything fancy about this deck: it's just solid, mid-range build that will teach you how to play the class correctly. It has all the value removal spells and tempo cards like Feral Spirit and a singleton Bloodlust to kill enemies when they least expect. If you want to start playing Shaman, this is one of the best decks to do so.
Cost: 1300 dust
And there it is, the father of all cheap aggro decks: the infamous Zoo. Whether you're playing in the lowest or the highest ranks of the ladder - or just playing in casual - chances are you encounter this all the time.
At first sight, the deck looks simple: empty the hand, Life Tap it back, make favorable minion trades and win. Contrary to the popular belief that it requires no skill to master, however, Zoo actually demands lots of attention towards minion positioning and choices between trading and going for the face, making it a demanding deck. Well, maybe not as demanding as control decks, but certainly not an auto-pilot one.