Note: This guide is rehosted with permission from Mana Crystals / Hearthstone Players. Full link and credits to the original writer - Sheng.
Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.
I’m back with another Beginner Hearthstone Deck Tech. Today we’ll be looking at the fearsome Warrior class. Because this deck is completely crafted from Basic cards, it’s not meant to carry you to the lowest ranks of competitive ladder. For that, there’s an Upgrade and Paths to Legend section that you can look at towards the end of this guide. The goal is to introduce you to this class, and as you expand your card collection, you’ll be able to plug in better Expert cards to improve this deck.
If we look at Warrior’s Basic card set, we can see a theme built upon charge minions and weapons. Garrosh Hellscream’s hero power, Armor Up!, allows you to gain two armor every turn late game, something crucial if you’ve sacrificed too much of your life using weapons. This deck’s aim is to take advantage of all these strengths.
22Fiery War Axe
22Acidic Swamp Ooze
32Shattered Sun Cleric
2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2 mana for a 3/2 body is great. When played on turn two, the Ooze has the capability of trading with most 3 mana minions.
- A battlecry that destroys enemy weapons is outrageous. Playing this at the right time against a class with weapons can single-handedly swing games in your favor.
2x Bloodfen Raptor
- An Ooze without the battlecry. We include him for the potential to trade with 3 mana minions. I spent time testing cards like Haunted Creeper and River Crocolisk at this slot, but I found the 3 attack is especially useful later in the game, when it has the potential for killing 3 health minions.
2x Ironfur Grizzly
- 3 mana for 3/3 is fair, and the taunt will sometimes protect your weaker injured minions.
- Having at least 4 minions at the 3 mana slot is pretty important, as you won’t want to drop Shattered Sun Cleric onto an empty board.
2x Shattered Sun Cleric
- 3 mana for 3/2 isn’t mana efficient, but the battlecry more than makes up for it. The downside is that if you don’t have a minion on the board, this card suffers.
- The ideal scenario is to play this on the same turn a minion you control can trade with something equal in value and survive, or can trade up to kill something more expensive.
2x Chillwind Yeti
- A plain 4 mana for a 4/5. Even without a battlecry, the Yeti is considered to be the best neutral Basic at 4 mana. With 5 health, this minion will often force your opponent to trade two of his cards to get rid of him.
2x Gnomish Inventor
- 4 mana for 2/4 isn’t great statswise, but a 2/4 isn’t awful.
- Primarily we want to play her for her battlecry that draws a card later in the game when we’re low on cards. By playing her late, she gives you the potential to play her and whatever she draws on the same turn.
2x Kor'kron Elite
- 4 mana for a 4/3 with charge is great value. Bluegill Warrior and Wolfrider both have one health, and are much less durable.
- Kor’kron will 2 for 1 against 2/3s, and can be used to finish off your opponent.
2x Sen'jin Shieldmasta
- 3 mana for 3/5 is fair value, but it’s the taunt along with the 5 health that makes this minion key against aggro decks.
2x Boulderfist Ogre
- The ogre is a plain 6 mana for 6/7, but that’s why we love him. He’s not suspect to silence and cards like The Black Knight or Big Game Hunter, and will kill other 6/6 minions without dying.
- Avoid buffing him to 7 attack unless you absolutely need to. You want to keep him out of Big Game Hunter range.
- Primarily used to enable Execute and clear 1 health minions from aggro decks like Warlock Zoo.
- Used in conjunction with Cleave, you can do 3 damage to 2 minions on your opponent’s board.
- This card looks seemingly overpowered, but it can be quite difficult to enable if you don’t have board control.
- Execute is especially weak to divine shields, but when used under the right conditions can remove extremely expensive minions for 1 mana.
- 2 damage to 2 targets. The downside to this card is that it requires 2 or more minions on your opponent’s board. It won’t activate if your opponent controls only 1 minion. Can sometimes be a dead card in your hand, but against aggro, this is very effective.
2x Heroic Strike
- A very useful card that can be used for unexpected burst, or to remove 4 health minions when you’re out of weapons.
2x Shield Block
- This is card is particularly useful later in the game when you can play whatever it helps you draw. It also keeps you alive if you’ve used your weapons a lot during the game to maintain board control.
2x Fiery War Axe
- An extremely efficient card that’ll give you card advantage. 2 mana to kill two 3 health minions is incredible value.
2x Arcanite Reaper
- Not as good as the Fiery War Axe, due to its 5 mana casting cost, but still great nonetheless. Can be used in conjunction with Heroic Strike to deal 9 or 14 damage in one turn.
The mulligan is the stage of the game where you decide whether or not you want to keep the cards in your opening hand. The purpose of the mulligan is to find the set of cards that will give you the strongest opening against the class that you face. I’ll describe which cards you’ll be looking for in this section.
- Whirlwind - A card I generally mulligan away, unless I suspect I’m playing against something really aggressive. Being able to sweep away multiple 1 health minions on turn 2 or 3 is amazing, but in most other matchups, these conditions won’t be met, so it’ll be a dead card until much later.
- Acidic Swamp Ooze - An important card when facing other classes that have weapons (Rogue, Warrior, Shaman, Hunter, Paladin). Against weapons classes, if I have another 2 mana minion or a Fiery War Axe in my opening, I will throw this back, so I can draw into it later.
- Bloodfen Raptor - A great drop on turn 2, and will trade up to kill many 3 mana minions.
- Fiery War Axe - The best 2 mana card in this deck. Being able to kill off two 3 health targets for 2 mana is extreme value. I’ll always keep this in my opening hand if I get it. If you end up with the axe and another 2 mana minion after your mulligan, prefer playing the minion instead of the axe, unless you can kill something with it. This is to protect against the possibility of a Acidic Swamp Ooze destroying it. This isn’t a completely aggro deck, so save your charges and use them only when you have another weapon you can play next turn or if you can eliminate an enemy minion.
- Cleave - I’ll keep one copy of this in my opening hand if I suspect that I’m playing against something really aggressive. Because it only hits when at least 2 minions are on the board, it’s a very reactive card, and can be a dead card if the right conditions aren’t met.
- Shattered Sun Cleric - I’ll keep this if I have a 2 mana minion that I play before her so that it’ll be able to get buffed.
- Ironfur Grizzly - I’ll keep this over the Shattered Sun Cleric if I get both, and there’s no 2 mana minion in my opening hand.
- Chillwind Yeti, Sen'jin Shieldmasta, Kor'kron Elite - All of those are fine plays on turn 4, but avoid keeping Gnomish Inventor as his stats are inferior, and we really want to draw into him later so we can play him and whatever card he draws for us on the same turn.
Everything I wrote about in the Going First section applies, just remember that you can discount the cost of a card by 1 with the coin.
- Look for an opening hand that will let you play a card on turn 2, 3, and 4.
- Throw away any cards that cost more than 4 mana.
- Favor minions over conditional removal cards like Execute, Whirlwind Cleave, Heroic Strike. They’re reactive, and become dead cards when the board conditions don’t allow you to use them effectively.
How To Play
This deck’s strategy is relatively simple, but can be hard to execute properly unless you understand the role of the removal cards available in the Warrior’s Basic card set. While cards like Fiery War Axe, Arcanite Reaper, and Heroic Strike are relatively straightforward to use, other cards like Cleave, Whirlwind, and Execute require certain conditions to be met before they can be played effectively and should be swapped out for more consistent Expert cards when you have them.
Until then, here’s a description of each conditional spell, and how each should be used within the context of this deck.
Best case scenario: Kills two enemy minions.
Worst case scenario: Your opponent only has 1 minion, or so many minions that you can’t predict what it’ll actually hit.
Proper usage: Make sure to eliminate the enemy minions that you don’t want Cleave to hit before you play it (if you can). This reduces the randomness of the card. You can also trade smaller minions into larger enemy minions to bring them into range for Cleave to kill it off.
Best case scenario:
- You’re playing against a Zoo or Token deck that has many 1/1s on the board. If you don’t have any minions on the board, this acts like a mini Consecration for 1 mana.
- There’s something huge on the board like Ironbark Protector, and you don’t want to use your weapon to attack it to trigger Execute.
- Using Cleave after Whirlwinding two of your opponent’s 3 health minions into range.
Worst case scenario:
- You have multiple 1 health minions on the board that would just die if you cast this spell.
- None of your opponent’s minions have exactly 1 health.
Proper usage: Keep this in your opening hand only if you suspect you’re playing against Aggro, Token, or Zoo decks that will allow you to get value out of it early, otherwise throw it away, so you can draw into it later. What you’ll want to do before you play this is to bring as many of your opponent’s minions into 1 health range before casting it. You can do this by utilizing Cleave, your weapon, or trading smaller minions to accomplish this task. You’ll also want to use Whirlwind to deal with large minions later in the game when you have Execute in hand.
Best case scenario: There’s something huge on the board, and it’s already damaged, and you can just kill it off for 1 mana!
Worst case scenario: There’s something huge on the board, but it’s not damaged at all, and you have no way of doing damage to it (without inflicting a lot of pain to yourself through a weapon), and you can’t kill it off for 1 mana.
Proper usage: Hopefully you’ve saved your Whirlwind for situations like this. Otherwise you’ll want to trade off a smaller minion into a larger one and then Execute it. This card is balanced because it often requires two cards to get rid of one, but the inclusion of it in this deck is because Basic Warrior doesn’t have any way to deal with those big beefy late game creatures, so any solution is a good one.
Overall, you’ll want to utilize your weapons and spells to protect your minions, allowing them to attack your opponent unchallenged. If successful, by late game, you’ll have the many combos you can utilize to finish your enemy off.
Because of Kor'kron Elite and Heroic Strike, you’ll often be able to do a significant amount of damage on one turn. Combine that with the minions you already have on the board, and you might just have lethal! Always be sure to check how much damage you have both on the board and in your hand.
Weapon + Heroic Strike: 7 damage with Fiery War Axe and 9 damage with Arcanite Reaper. This increases to 11 damage and 13 damage respectively if you have two Heroic Strikes in hand.
Weapon + Kor'kron Elite: 7 damage with Fiery War Axe and 9 damage with Arcanite Reaper.
To solidify these strategies, I’ve done something different for this guide. For the first time I’m including gameplay videos to demonstrate how this deck should be played. In the interest of time, I didn’t commentate them (as I wanted to be able to cover all 9 class matchups), but feel free to ask me questions in the comments sections about specifics and I will be happy to answer them.
Note: I initially included 2x Whirlwind and 2x Execute in this deck, but found that the deck was more consistent with 1 copy of each and 2x Shield Block. The videos run this deck without Shield Block.
How to Upgrade Your Deck
Over time, you’ll collect more and more cards from opening Hearthstone packs. Please follow the guide below before reading the upgrade card list to understand how to incorporate new cards successfully into your deck.
Which Cards Should I Upgrade?
- Before you start, go through your deck and look at each card and understand its role and function.
- The easiest cards to upgrade are minions that have counterparts that are complete upgrades. I define a complete upgrade as a card with the same or better stat distribution and a better ability for the same mana cost. A Knife Juggler would be a complete upgrade over a Bloodfen Raptor. A Spider Tank would not be.
- Replace situational minions or spells that will often stay glued in your hand until the right moment arises with more verstile minions or spells. You can easily replace Kobold Geomancer and Gnomish Inventor in your deck with Azure Drake instead. While Azure Drake isn’t a complete upgrade over either card, the fact that it has a better stat distribution, draws a card, and gives you spell-power makes it a card that isn’t situational.
- After making a list of cards that are potentially upgradeable from the list above, you can move on to the next section!
How Do I Actually Upgrade My Deck?
- Don’t rush the process! Deckbuilding takes time. Each and every card in this Basic deck was chosen for a purpose, and fills an important function in this deck. You would be surprised how much time it took me to think of each of these decks, and how long the process of tuning them took.
- Generally, you don’t want to make more than one or two changes to your deck at a time. Swap out cards one or two at a time, and play your deck with the changes. Each time you draw into your “upgraded” card, ask yourself whether or not you wish it was the card you had previously in your deck. If you consistently say yes to this question over several games, then the “upgraded” card belongs.
- Repeat the testing process with more upgrades until you’re fully satisfied you have the best deck you can make with the cards you have.
Respect Your Mana Curve!
- While it’s tempting to throw a bunch of late game minions into your deck, it’s a bad idea because you’ll find that without an early game, you’ll never get to late game before your opponent kills you. You want to be able to play on curve, and not have to skip a turn without having something to play.
- While this isn’t a golden rule for all decks, this is what a general mana curve should look like for a midrange deck. Please keep this in mind as you swap in your shiny new cards:
- 0-2 One Mana Minions
- 4-6 Two Mana Minions
- 4-5 Three Mana Minions
- 4-6 Four Mana Minions
- 2-4 Five Mana Minions
- 2-4 Six+ Mana Minions
Potential Upgrades List
Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.
1x Whirlwind + 1x Execute → 1x Southsea Deckhand + 1x Ironbeak Owl
2x Bloodfen Raptor → 2x Leper Gnome
2x Acidic Swamp Ooze → 2x Abusive Sergeant
2x Ironfur Grizzly → 2x Argent Horserider
2x Gnomish Inventor → 2x Loot Hoarder
2x Boulderfist Ogre → 2x Argent Commander
2x Cleave → 2x Mortal Strike
2x Shield Block → 2x Bash
I hope this was a fun introduction to the Warrior class. While this deck isn’t consistent enough to climb ladder with, it’s something you can build today, and develop over time with the cards you collect. For a deeper look into other advanced decks you can use to climb the ladder, I’d recommend checking out our site’s excellent Warrior section. As always, questions, comments, and constructive criticism are all welcome. I’ll be happy to answer your questions as best I can.
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.
I also run RankOneCoaching.com, where our top coaches will develop a personal plan for you to achieve your dreams in other games. Personal lessons are an in-depth experience and most students improve significantly after just one full session!
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