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Hearthstone Duels

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I am new to Duels! Many thanks to the people who have helped me improve this page, including...

Welcome! This page has my notes about Hearthstone Duels.

tavern pass 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. Duels can also get gold from a Tavern Pass from the rewards track that you are not sure what to do with.

This page tries to list the heroes from most to least reliable for those 3 wins needed for a beginner at Duels to leverage their gold compared to simply buying packs. This is a different hierarchy from which heroes are the most likely to "go infinite" with 7 wins, or to complete 12 wins.

Below are descriptions of a the decks I use. I use brown-bold for the starting hero power and card. Cards from your collection are in italics with color-coding to show the rare, epic, and legendary cards.

You may be surprised how little card crafting is required to become fully competitive in Duels, especially after patch 21.6. Although most wild cards are allowed in Duels, only a few epics are important and you need only one copy of those. Also, at the start of a Duels run 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 the ten hero choices.

Duels icon

For meta deck lists check Hearthstone Decks and Out of Cards, and the Duels subreddit. Be warned that the type of deck that once achieved 12 wins might not be the type of deck most reliable for getting 3 or 4 wins to leverage your gold.

(Personally, I find Duels most enjoyable when the options for new cards between matches synergize with my deck. My long-term goal is to play decks that reliably get 4 wins and always have new card choices that feel good. For me this is more fun then a meta deck that has a better chance at 12 wins but, for example, has a starting deck with only spells that feels lousy if all the new card choices synergize with minions.)

Some budget decks are provided in a video by AgentCroque. He and TeamAmerica are the most prolific Duels YouTubers.

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 and your opponent have fewer games with poor card synergy, spending a few minutes watching minions stumble around like little kids playing jungle ball. Both experiences can fun in a different ways.


Priest

Shadow Priest

Priest heroPriest power and card

Priest is much different from Constructed play. The Mind Tether hero power almost guarantees winning your first few games. The Shadow Word: Void card is one of the two strongest starting card options among all the heroes, and also nearly guarantees early wins. No wonder Shadow Priest is considered the strongest archetype in early games, and a reliable way to get at least 3 wins

The spell Palm Reading discovers a spell and then reduces the cost of all spells in your hand. The minion Radiant Elemental causes spells to cost 1 less while it is on your board. These allow you to prepare a turn with a lot of spells played.

That big turn begins with Embrace the Shadow making that turn's subsequent healing instead cause damage. Then Desperate Prayer causes 5 damage to both heroes and Flash Heal can cause more 5 damage only to the opponent. Extra copies of those spells can be obtained using Shadow Visions and Thrive in the Shadows. Remember that your special hero power makes each of these spells also damage the opposing hero.

The spells Void Shard and Holy Fire are too expensive to include in your big turn, but also directly damage the opposing hero.

The minion Twilight Deceptor and spell Power Word: Shield provide you with more draw. But you don't need much because of all the discovering.

The deck deals with enemy minions using Holy Smite and Shard of the Naaru.

The minion Psychic Conjurer is included because it does so many small things: a small body on the board, a small amount of tempo, and interaction with battlecry treasrues.

For the final card I use is either Devout Dungeoneer for more card draw or Regenerate for more direct damage. Some meta decks include Xyrella for more board clear, but she is not needed and Condemn might be better anyway if your main goal is to reliably win 3 games.

Mulligan

Keep Shadow Visions and Thrive in the Shadows to discover more copies of your combo. (Do not keep the combo cards, so copies can be discovered while they are in your deck.)

Keep Palm Reading to discount your hand. If you include Psychic Conjurer, keep it too.

Playing Against Shadow Priest

Heh, good luck. Avoid playing high health minions early: even with taunt these are not defensive but merely fodder for Shadow Word: Void.

If your deck has a board clear for two-health opposing minions, such as the Warrior's Rancor or the Mage's Fire Sale, keep it in your mulligan.

The players Nevermore and Chrome575 popularize this archetype.

Dragon Priest

I have never seen this weaker archetype used. Sometimes I see deck lists online, which always include the card Twilight Acolyte that I do not own.


Paladin

Legendary Paladin

Paladin heroPaladin power and card

Paladin has the single best special card, the Royal Greatsword, which should always be kept in the mulligan and usually wins the game if played early enough. A huge weapon hit and multiple zero-mana legendary minions is overpowered it makes this archetype the second-strongest in Duels.

The special hero power From Golden Light is much less significant but can help secure the game when our deck includes minions that are worth resurrecting with only 1 health.

So, which legendary minions do we include to work with that greatsword? Everyone includes Tirion Fordring and Taelan Fordring to help draw him. Sometimes Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound is included as a "third chance at Tirion".

A popular pair are Cariel Roame and Overlord Runthak because rush works so well when summoned for free, and can synergize later with your special hero power.

Also popular are Lord Barov and/or Mankrik.

The rest of the deck is a variety of predictable Paladin stuff. Most deck lists include the minions Argent Squire, Righteous Protector, and Goody Two-Shields. Also popular are Stoneskin Basilisk, Annoy-O-Tron, and Argent Commander.

The spells Blessing of Kings and Consecration are unsurprisingly also regularly included. The spells Blessed Goods and Snack Run are often included because discoveries are stronger in Duels than in other modes.

The filler varies a lot. The spells Redemption and Barricade are often used. Faster decks include the minions Sneaky Delinquent and Darkmoon Dirigible. Defensive decks include the minions Benevolent Djinn and Death's Head Cultist. Sometimes Selfless Sidekick is included to help get that greatsword in play.

Mulligan

Hard mulligant for the greatsword.

If you have it, look for the early game cards appropriate to your variant below.

Playing Against Legendary Paladin

Hope they don't draw their greatsword. Their tiny amount of healing and taunt means you can kill them if you are quick enough.

Unfortunately, there are too few weapon-focused decks in Deuls for a weapon destroying card to be worth including in your deck. (Perhaps the new Diablo hero will change this?)

The player NoLeafClover popularizes this archetype.

Divine Shield Paladin

This variant of the Legendary archetype leverages the inexpensive divine shield minions by including the minion Highlord Fordragon and the spell Call to Arms. That spell helps thin the deck to make drawing our greatsword more reliable.

Handbuff Paladin

Another variant of the Legendary archetype leverages the inexpensive divine shield minions differently by focusing on handbuffs. It includes the minion Alliance Bannerman, the spells Conviction and First Day of School, and the weapon Prismatic Jewel Kit.

Rally Paladin

A third variant of the Legendary archetype focuses on consistent early pressure by including the secret Redemption and the spell Rally!. It includes Far Watch Post and Nerub'ar Weblord as additional 2-cost minions that slow down the oppoent's early game.

Dragon Paladin

A fourth variant of the Legendary archetype sacrifices early momentum for late game power by including Redscale Dragontamer, Onyxia the Broodmother, and Deathwing the Destroyer.

Perhaps the new minion Mr. Smite means we can improve this version's early game by also including Nightmare Amalgam and Circus Amalgam?


Warrior

Bomb Warrior

Warrior heroWarrior power and card

Bomb Warrior works because of the Magnetic Mines hero power. Armor is good. Armor that also does damage is amazing in the early games when heroes have lower starting health. This archetype is not likely to reach 12 wins, but is very likely to reach 3-4 wins.

The signature trasure Scrapmetal Demolitionist fits the theme.

Naturally, you need cards that provide armor. The spell Shield Block is great. The best ninions for this are Shieldmaiden, Armor Vendor, and Cargo Guard. The spell Rancor is crucial because Duels games so often involve an opponent's board full of two-health minions. Lord Barov provides more board clear.

Your hero power does not by itself causes enough damage. The minions Sword Eater and Mankrik compensate.

The minions Kresh, Lord of Turtling and Overlord Saurfang provide double turtle power in the later game.

Coldlight Oracle is usually enough extra card draw for your opponent. Also include Cult Neophyte to slow down your opponent since you are giving him extra cards.

The spell Athletic Studies is included for flexibility. Remember that discover cards are extra strong in Duels.

The remaining three cards are flexible. Anything that provides armor or creates bombs makes sense.

Mulligan

Look for cheap things that give you armor early in the game.

Playing Against Bomb Warrior

Only the obvious: try to remove their armor while taking some consolation knowing they probably will loose steam after a few matches.

Legendary Warrior

Warrior power and card two

The Legendary Warrior archetype is less reliable in those 3-4 first matches, but has a much better chance to go farther. The hero power Bruising can be used every turn with appropriate minions, including the Auto-Armaments signature treasure, Bumper Car and Stonemaul Anchorman.

Unfortunately, the other appropriate minions are strong legendaries: E.T.C., God of Metal, King Mukla, Lord Barov, Mankrik, Rokara, Loatheb, Overlord Runthak, Taelan Fordring, Kresh, Lord of Turtling, Overlord Saurfang, and Grommash Hellscream.

The last cards are two of Moonfang, Mutanus the Devourer, or the spell Conditioning.

The spell Athletic Studies is included for flexibility. Remember that discover cards are extra strong in Duels.

Mulligan

Try to set yourself up to play on curve.

Playing Against Legendary Warrior

?

The players Persia and Avalon popularize this archetype.

Rush Warrior

This is actually a version of Legendary Warrior with fewer legendary minions and more rush minions. I do not yet understand it well enough to comment. You can see an example deck list here.

Taunt Warrior

I have never seen this archetype in the meta deck lists, but it might be useful to reliably secure 3-4 wins. It uses Fire Plume's Heart and minions with taunt to create a board that most opponent's early decks cannot handle.


Druid

Token Druid

Druid heroDruid power and card

Token Druid benefits from the Harvest Time! hero power that turns small minions into a pair of treants.

There are two versions. 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 card draw from Composting to replenish the board instead of making the board "sticky".

This archetype has balance. It is not almost as reliable for early wins as Armor Warrior, while having more strength in later matches.

As with all token decks, the goal is to quickly create a wide board, then with at least three minions on the board buff them to deal lots of damage.

Solar Eclipse is an important card. It can create tempo with a token creating spell or turn a buff spell (Sow the Soil, Power of the Wild, Savage Roar or Arbor Up) into a game winning play.

Nature Studies is usually included as a useful card that smoothes your mana spending and takes advantage of how strong discover cards are in Duels.

The treasures Spreading Saplings and Greedy Gains favor token creating spells over small minions. So we include Adorable Infestation, Thorngrowth Sentries, and Runic Carvings. We want only cheap minions such as Desk Imp, Wisp, Gibberling, Druid of the Reef, or Runic Egg.

The spells Innervate and Lunar Eclipse are so useful they are usually included as filler.

Because this deck is one of the few Duels decks that avoids battlecry minions it often includes Nerub'ar Weblord.

Mulligan

Look for Solar Eclipse and Arbor Up.

Playing Against Token Druid

Only the obvious: try to keep their board as empty as possible.

The players AgentCroque, Mata, and Armogleden popularize this archetype.

Big Druid

Tangentially, if you already prefer the archetype Big Druid then you probably have the cards to make it work. Example decks are here and here.


Shaman

Elemental Shaman

Shaman heroShaman power

Elemental Shaman starts the match by using the minions Kindling Elemental, Fire Plume Harbinger, and Granite Forgeborn to create an early flood of minions. The weapon Auctionhouse Gavel is a backup plan for getting many minions on the board promptly.

Nice elementals include Cagematch Custodian, Menacing Nimbus, Arid Stormer, Gyreworm, Hot Spring Guardian, Earth Revenant, Fire Plume Phoenix, Lilypad Lurker, Servant of Kalimos, and Fire Elemental.

One version of this deck uses all those elementals and either Al'Akir the Windlord or Kalimos, Primal Lord to attempt victory with minions.

A second version includes two fewer elementals, and after the initial flood of minions fades transitions to weapon smacks to the face. The weapon Tempest's Flurry is delightful. Your hero power Ferocious Flurry doubles the effectiveness of Rockbiter Weapon and Stormstrike, and the minion Dilligent Notetaker can also double those spells. You might also pick up the treasure Enrage that costs 3 mana and provides +6 attack that turn, or Doomhammer in a card bucket.

Both versions feel a lot like Constructed play. They do a bit of everything, have fun synergies, but have nothing blatantly overpowered.

Mulligan

Hard mulligan for Granite Forgeborn. If you have it, look for Fire Plume Harbinger.

(I am experimenting with including Lightning Storm to clear Voidfiends. Those might be worth keeping when facing Priest.)

Playing Against Elemental Shaman

?

The player Dsorrowya popularizes this archetype.

Murloc Shaman

https://hearthstone-decks.net/hearthstone-duels-12-win-shaman-lttultimate-ferocious-flurry-payload-totem-specialist-3/

Rogue

At the time I am writing this, Duels does not include all of the wild expansions. Because it lacks the Ashes of Outlands cards with "augmerchant" in their name, we cannot yet use the archetypes "Field Contact Rogue" or "Garrote Rogue" in Duels.

Spell Rogue

Rogue heroRogue power

Rogue has nothing too amazing except being Rogue. The Roguish Maneuvers hero power is a slightly better weapon, and the Ace in the Hole treasure is strong but not overpowered.

However, going face with the ability to remove a key threat can usually get those 3 or 4 reliable wins, and Rogue does this very well.

The Spell Rouge archetype has lots of face damage spells:Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, Garrote, Razorpetal Volley, Wicked Stab, and Headcrack. The damage from SI:7 Extortion might go face but probably will clean up an opponent's minion.

To make the deck reliable we include Preparation, Secret Passage, Shiv, and Mimic Pod.

The deck traditionally includes Sprint but I suspect Edwin, Defias Kingpin might now be better for reliability with early wins even thought it loses synergy with the Ooops, All Spells! treasure.

For the final three cards, Fan of Knives helps with board clear, Yoink! can vaguely help reliability, and Vanish can keep us alive.

Mulligan

?

Playing Against Spell Rogue

?

Weapon Rogue

The the Weapon Rouge archetype replaces some spells with the cards Deadly Poison, Paralytic Poison, Silverleaf Poison, Cloak of Shadows, and Cutting Class.

One version of includes Self-Sharpening Sword. The other version replaces this with Evasion.

To bypass taunt minions, the face damage spells Sinister Strike, Eviscerate, Garrote, and Wicked Stab are retained from Spell Rogue. For reliability and safety we also retain Preparation, Secret Passage, Yoink!, and Shiv.

Mulligan

?

Playing Against Weapon Rogue

?


Hunter

Quest Hunter

Hunter heroHunter power and card

Quest Hunter focuses on spells, but can fit with the Survival Training hero power and treasure Slate's Syringe. Like all aggro decks in Duels is reliable for its first few matches and then gets weaker.

The core of the deck resembles the version of Quest Hunter in Constructed play. The quest Defend the Dwarven District uses the direct damage spells Arcane Shot, On the Hunt, Wound Prey, Quick Shot, Aimed Shot, and hopefully more direct damage from Wandmaker and Venomous Scorpid. Tracking helps consistency, Explosive Trap helps defensively, and Ringling's Rifle provides secrets.

Include Unleash the Hounds to help with board clear, and Kill Command because you now have enough beasts. I am not sure if Defias Blastmaster should be considered, to possibly combine with hounds for board clear when facing Shadow Priest.

Include Entrapped Sorceress and Flare to take advantage of how discovering is strong in Duels and deal with your opponent's secrets and stealth.

Mulligan

?

Playing Against Weapon Rogue

?

The player Lazerblazer popularizes this archetype.

Deathrattle Hunter

Hunter power two

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.

However, this archetype is weak during its first few matches. It is not suitable for our goal of winning 3 or 4 matches as reliably as possible.

The Deathstrider or Bonecrusher signature treasures both mesh well. Decks with more secrets favor the bunny.

Popular deathrattle minions 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. Vectus helps with board reload.

The weapon Ringling's Rifle and secret Cat Trick make a minimal secret package. You can include others.


Demon Hunter

Aggro Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter heroDemon Hunter power and card

Aggro Demon Hunter works as expected. Like all aggro decks in Duels is reliable for its first few matches and then gets weaker.

As aggressive cards it always has Demon Companion, Fury, Twin Slice, Chaos Strike. Include one or two more, such asBattlefiend, Fel Barrage, Redeemed Pariah, or Aldrachi Warblade.

For card discovery and draw it has at least Illidari Studies and Spectral Sight. Some versions include two or three of Crimson Sigil Runner, Double Jump, Sigil of Alacrity, or Acrobatics. The quest Final Showdown is not usually included even with all this draw, but has worked for some players.

For control include Consume Magic, Mana Burn, Throw Glaive, and Eye Beam. Some versions also use Sigil of Summoning.

The hero power Outlander and special card Blade of Quickening have synergy but are not too exciting.

Expendable Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter power and card

A second archetype is Expendable Demon Hunter.

This archetype has none of the aggressive cards above. The only discover or draw card used is Double Jump. The three control cards are Throw Glaive, Knife Juggler, and Sigil of Summoning.

Instead a remarkable package of cards fills the deck. The hero power Illidari Strike and card Gift of the Legion reward expendable minions. So does the spell Feast of Souls and the minions Blood Herald and Wrathscale Naga.

Minions that are expendable include Demon Companion and Haunted Creeper.

We also include the weapon Umberwing.

And of course the bulk of expendable minions come from the spells Coordinated Stike, Command the Illidari, Expendable Performers, and Fel Guardians.

There are enough rush minions that Parade Leader is worthwhile as our final card.


Mage

Mage heroMage power and card

The common Mage archetype is an odd twist on Constructed mode's Hero Power Mage. The hero power Frost Shards works with Wildfire and Mordresh Fire Eye.

To duplicate Mordresh we include Youthful Brewmaster, Zola, the Gorgon, and Potion of Illusion.

To compliment the hero power we include Flurry, Flurry, Frostweave Dungeoneer, Reckless Apprentice, and Varden Dawngrasp.

I do not own the proper cards to have experimented with this deck. Nor have I seen it enough to helpfully comment.

A sample deck list is here.


Warlock

Warlock heroWarlock power and card

There are two popular Warlock archetypes.

Soul Fragment Warlock uses the hero power Soulcial Studies and the card Demonizer. You can see a sample deck here.

Discard Warlock uses the quest Lakkari Sacrifice with the hero power Dark Arts, the spells Soulfire and Wicked Whispers, and the minions Malchezaar's Imp, Boneweb Egg, Clutchmother Zavas, Tiny Knight of Evil, and Silverware Golem, and Killmox, the Banished One.

It also includes Bloodshard Bristleback and Barrens Scavenger to help survive early matches in which getting your decks down to ten cards is easy. Lord Jaraxxus helps in the end game.

Both archetypes can get strong enough, but neither is reliable enough during your early matches for me to recommend here.


Diablo

Diablo is still to new to talk about.


Notes

An inferior alternative to Zola the Gorgon is Nobleman.

Go back through each hero to find a board clear against Shadow Word: Void if possible?

Frost Mage might be salvageable?. I lack Varden Dawngrasp

Quest Shaman -- I lack the quest Command the Elements (and cheap Flamewreathed Faceless, and 4 mana 7/7 with overload 2)