Welcome! This page is intended to help people begin to play Hearthstone Duels.
Duels can be a great way to leverage your in-game gold. You can play in "heroic mode" for 150 gold to earn a reward. The rewards table shows that even if you only win 3 games (before your third loss ends that run) your reward equals or exceeds simply spending your gold on packs.
You also may have a Tavern Pass from the rewards track that you are not sure what to do with. Playing a Duels run can turn it into rewards.
Below are descriptions of a newbie-friendly deck style for each hero that is effective while minimzing the number of Wild cards that a typical Hearthstone player might need to craft.
Your own card collection is probably close to allowing a strong deck for many heros. Use my notes below to check how close. You may be surprised how little card crafting is required! Remember that the start of a Duels run has you choose one of four heroes to play, so you can enter Duels confidently even if your collection lacks a viable deck for three of ten hero choices.
The descriptions below use brown-bold for the starting hero power and card, bold for treasure cards, and italics for card names.
The few expensive cards that these decks might need you craft will be color-coded to show they are rare, epic, or legendary. Alternatives to crafting these key cards will be discussed, whenever possible. The cards you pick up from the "card buckets" of three cards during the game will not be color-coded to make comparing my notes with your own card collection as easy as possible.
As a final tip, realize that all modes of Hearthstone have their own kind of randomness. In Duels most games are fast. When you get lucky with above-average choices for treasures you spend more time enjoying a strong deck and your rewards are better. When you are unlucky you have fewer games, and neither you nor your opponent have decks with great card synergy. Will your deck become a well-oiled machine, or will you only have minions that stumble around like little kids playing jungle ball? Both can fun in a different ways. Your opponent will be in the same situation.
The secret to enjoying Duels is to accept and embrace doing your best with the current challenge. Keep mindful that the overall experience is more fun than frustrating. Appreciate memorable moments, whether you or someone else make them happen. Savor the rewards. This is good advice for life as well as a game!
Token Druid is already strong in Constructed play. The Standard card Arbor Up is the only expensive card required. The Harvest Time! hero power that turns small minions into a pair of treants makes Token Druid a great Duels deck.
There are plenty of Core and common minions whose deathrattle creates token minions. The Standard cards Vibrant Squirrel and Composting will make your deck stronger if you have or craft them.
Solar Eclipse is an important card. It can create tempo with Thorngrowth Sentries, serve as a backup booster with Sow the Soil, or later in the game turn Savage Roar or the previously mentioned Arbor Up into game winning plays.
This deck is one of the few Duels decks that avoids battlecry minions, so it includes Nerub'ar Weblord.
Nature Studies is usually included as a useful card that smoothes your mana spending.
All Token Druid decks want to quickly create a wide board, and with at least three minions on the board buff them to deal lots of damage. There are two sub-archetypes.
The first uses the signature treasure Zukara the Wild to make the board "sticky" with Soul of the Forest, and includes Pride's Fury as a spell to buff minions.
The second uses the signature treasure Warden's Insight and smaller spells. It skips making the board "sticky" with a spell. Instead it uses Composting and card draw to replenish the board.
Passive treasures that fit this archetype include Crystal Gem or Spreading Saplings to get a wide board quicker, Mummy Magic, Ever-Changing Elixir or Mysterious Tome to make your boards stickier, or any of the treasures that make cards cheaper so you can play your spells quicker. Totem of the Dead can also be strong. The few active treasures that help us have an unfortunately high mana cost.
If you can find a card bucket with Goru the Mightree you are on a roll.
Here is a sample deck code, courtesy of Mata:
Use your mulligan to get that wide board quickly. I personally keep Arbor Up in most matchups.
Deathrattle Hunter works because the Death Games hero power, along with the card Petting Zoo, is what the class needs to mix deathrattle minions and secrets effectively.
The Deathstrider or Bonecrusher signature treasures both mesh well. Decks with more secrets favor the bunny.
The Core set has plenty of nice deathrattle minions, but you might want to craft a few especially nice ones. Most successful decks include three rares from among Devilsaur Egg, Terrorscale Stalker, Bloated Python, Teacher's Pet, and Darkmoon Tonk. Decks with more secrets favor the higher mana cost minions.
Speaking of secrets, those from the Core set are strong, but crafting Cat Trick is a popular addition.
A version of this deck notices that both of the strong signature treasures are beasts, and included Selective Breeder and Warsong Wrangler. This version is not objectively stronger, but can be fun if you already own those two cards.
Three legendary cards are useful but not vital. Loatheb is strong in many Duels decks and eventually worth crafting if you decide you love Duels. For more deathrattles Vectus helps, but can be replaced with Savannah Highmane as way to stay ahead in the late game. For more secrets Ringling's Rifle is worth including if you already own it, but can be replaced by another secret.
To summarize, you only need Petting Zoo but can spend a lot more dust if you wish.
Which treasures to get...
Here is a sample deck code:
Use your mulligan to ...
Elemental Shaman becomes great with the battlecry upgrades available in Duels. The key treasures are All Together Now (battlecry minions are cheaper) and Rally the Troops (the first time you play a battlecry minion each turn you draw a card and it costs 2 less). Almost as strong is Battletotem (your battlecries trigger twice).
Important Wild cards you might need to craft are Fire Plume Harbinger and Granite Forgeborn. These, together with those treasures and Kindling Elemental, allow you to get many minions on the board quickly to overwhelm your opponent.
Some versions of this deck include Dilligent Notetaker. It might not be worth crafting, but if you already own it consider using it. A few Duels treasures are bonkers when cast a second time.
After your early flood of minions dies, this style of Elemental Shaman will often go face in the midgame. Your hero power Ferocious Flurry doubles the effectiveness of Rockbiter Weapon and Stormstrike. You might also pick up the treasure Enrage that costs 3 mana and provides +6 attack that turn. You will probably get Doomhammer in a card bucket.
Most versions of this deck include Instructor Fireheart. This card is strong but less important than the two elementals mentioned above. It is used to provide a late game option if your opponent manages to play enough taunt minions to stymie you in late game. Picking up a little direct damage from the card buckets helps too. If you do not have this legendary card, replace it with a direct damage spell you own (such as Lava Burst or Dunk Tank).
The signature treasure Payload Totem Specialist synergizes with the battlecry upgrades you desire.
I like this deck made by Scuba, but with a Dilligent Notetaker replacing his Menacing Nimbus:
Use your mulligan to create that initial flood of minions. The three elementals above that make other elementals cheaper are keepers. Wailing Vapor is the fourth best card, as a useful 1-drop. After you get get Doomhammer in a card bucket keep Menacing Nimbus and/or Primal Dungeoneer to help you draw and buff that weapon.
Armor Warrior works because of the Magnetic Mines hero power. Armor is good. Armor that also does damage is amazing! The signature trasure Scrapmetal Demolitionist fits the theme.
You need cards that provide armor. The Core card Shieldmaiden is used. There are also plenty of inexpensive common cards that provide armor, but they are not as fast and reliable as the Standard cards Armor Vendor, Cargo Guard, Rancor. Unfortunately, this deck really needs all three of those to be competitive. (Hopefully you own some of them anyway because they are Standard.)
Owning those cards will let you get a sense of how this deck works. Unfortunately, it will be a weak deck without some expensive cards.
Your hero power is amazing but by itself causes insufficient damage. Put Sword Eater in your starting deck. Include Mankrik if you own him, or Mortal Strike if you do not.
Of course include Kresh, Lord of Turtling if you own him. Many versions of the deck use him and Overlord Saurfang for double the turtle power. If you do not have the turtle include your favorite weapon instead.
It helps to make your opponent draw more cards. Prize Vendor works, but Coldlight Oracle is significantly better.
Because you are helping your opponent draw cards, you also need to slow down your opponent. The Standard card Cult Neophyte works great by itself, with Mana Wraith being a free but inferior substitute. (Loatheb is too much.)
Your main board clear is a card we already mentioned, Rancor, because Duels games will more often involve an opponent's board full of two-health minions. Also include Lord Barov if you have him, or Brawl as a free but inferior substitute.
Which treasures to get...
Here is a sample deck code:
Use your mulligan to ...
General Note: an inferior alternative to Zola the Gorgon is Nobleman.
Pick from Hunter, Warlock, Shaman, Warrior
Demon Hunter - Fel - I lack Jace Darkweaver
Mage - Frost [salvageable?] - I lack Varden Dawngrasp
Paladin - Divine Shield - I lack Highlord Fordragon (and Potion of Heroism)
Priest - Dragon or Visions [salvageable?] - I lack Xyrella (and Twilight Acolyte or Shadow Visions)
Shaman - Quest - I lack Command the Elements (and cheap Flamewreathed Faceless)
Warrior - Legendary - I have all the cards (link)