Duelist Guide: Tips for Duels
Here, we’ll go over the potential that each class is capable of. Since there are so many more possibilities with newly added Hero Powers, Treasures, and available expansions**, this guide will discuss everything you should consider when making your starting deck. Which treasures you should draft will depend on what route you decide to take your deck. While all Treasures and Hero Powers have their uses, some are more useful than others. Not because they’re better, but because some are good in general and others are more specific in their uses. We’ll go into more detail below!
** = Available Sets are: Core, Legacy, Curse of Naxxramas, One Night in Karazhan, Journey to Un'goro, Whispers of the Old Gods, Scholomance Academy, Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, The Darkmoon Races, and Forged in the Barrens.
Most of the update consists of the addition of new treasures, and more sets you can use to create your starting deck. Since many Hero Powers and Treasures remain unchanged, the newly added strategies will be highlighted in their own section.
Hero Powers: All of Demon Hunter’s Hero Powers are useful for the same reason, damage. However, they have their distinctions where they’re better with different cards. Infernal Strike is great at building up burst damage as you trade with minions little by little. Outlander excels in decks that play and draw lots of cards to passively gain damage for only 1 mana. Illidari Strike deals 2 damage to a minion in the form of two 1/1s. If only one is needed to kill the target, the other can still attack a different minion.
Starting Treasures: Even though the Hero Powers are amazing in many situations, the Treasures are more specific in their uses. Summoning Ritual only really works if you have Demons with at least decent stats in your deck. Gift of the Legion wants your deck to have plenty of cards that summon minions, preferably with Rush. Mo'arg Outcast is probably the best Treasure if you don’t wish to build a deck around the other two, but works more when your deck has cheap cards you can cycle through. Binding Chains is a great stalling tool to continue an aggressive assault. Since Demon Hunters don’t have any hard removal or strong AOE, this is a good choice if you want that weakness covered. Traktamer Aelessa is extremely impactful when played early if you have one of the Hero Power that gives you attack. Blade of Quickening is a fair weapon for its stats, but even better at reloading your hand, and even discounting the cards!
Notable Strategies: Aldrachi Warblades and Blade Dance both function extremely well alongside the attack-giving Hero Powers. When taking Summoning Ritual, Hulking Overfiend is one of the best cards to start with since it can act immediately when it awakens. Mo’arg Outcast doesn’t have any direct synergy, but works especially well with the Infernal Strike Hero Power since it can double the damage of all your Second Slices. Expendable Performers gives Gift of the Legion maximum potential if all Illidari die, giving you at least 14 damage! Blade of Quickening is amazing in a deck with a lot of cards that can be played very quickly. Since you don’t have too many Outcast options to start with, you can maximize the value by drafting more.
New Strategies: Demon Hunter was given a new Deathrattle archetype, which is a pretty good set of cards to bring as your initial 15. While none of the starting treasures synergize directly with Deathrattles, plenty of the passive treasure you can draft later do. Unfortunately, Demon Hunters do not benefit from the recent availability of Un'goro cards.
Hero Powers: Omu’s Hero Powers are all capable of giving some of your cards extra tempo. Nature's Gifts goes well with any spells that deal damage, especially AOE. When you don’t have one on hand, you can still use it for damage by gaining Attack. Invigorating Bloom incentivizes you to have multiple expensive cards in your hand so you can play them much earlier than usual. Discounting more than 2 cards is pure value when spending 2 Mana on your Hero Power. Having a destroy effect on a Hero Power makes Harvest Time! extremely potent, especially since Druids have rarely had access to such forms of removal. You can either replace one of your minions with a pair of 2/2 Treants, or give them to your opponent by completely killing even one of their strongest minions.
Starting Treasures: Warden's Insight is still a good general option when you have no specific deck in mind. Moonbeast is capable of big spell-based plays when you bring eclipses and draft more. Any Beast with good value will love getting copied with Herding Horn. Just remember, attacking with your Hero will waste its durability. Marvelous Mycelium can function on its own, but is amazing when played along side any other Choose One cards you may have. Awakened Ancient is an awesome hand reload that also generates tempo and protection. If you're bringing larger spells, take Zukara the Wild with you to double their value. Most big Druid spells don't care about the random target aspect of it.
Notable Strategies: Swipe and Starfall remain the best spells to combo with Nature’s Gifts. Invigorating Bloom and Zukara the Wild both synergize really well with big spells, but make sure your deck isn’t too reliant on expensive stuff because sometimes you’ll need to do something other than trigger Hero Power early game. Herding Horn can work in Guardian Animals decks for when you draw your Beasts before you summon them from your deck. Ultimately, the bigger the Beast the better. Warden’s insight is best played late game. Which effect you choose depends on whether you have a (7) followed by a (10) Mana play, or cards that largely supports token strategies.Marvelous Mycelium incentivizes any Choose One card to double its value. Moonbeast only works for exactly 3 cards, but it does an extremely good job at it. Combining two eclipses can do something like deal 6 damage and discount your next spell by (4) for free!
New Strategies: Forged in the Barrens offers Druids new Taunt support, which can benefit from a couple of the new treasures like Hold the Line and Endurance Training. Since Awakened Ancient also has Taunt, you could also use Mark of the Spikeshell to give yourself an easy extra copy. Druids can also use the passive treasures that revolve around Nature spells (Mending Pools and Spreading Saplings).
Hero Powers: If you decide to go for Deathrattles, then Death Games is your best friend. Being able to trigger any of your Deathrattles for 2 Mana can bring out some crazy tempo if your opponent can’t deal with them all. Any deck that isn’t Deathrattle centric would prefer Survival Training. It does what Hunter is best at, damage face. If you plan on using this Hero Power in a turn, remember to use it before attacking with your minions to get that extra damage in. Savage Secrets is a passive value engine that gives you a steady supply of small Beasts in Secret heavy decks.
Starting Treasures: Since almost every Hunter deck will have at least a few Beasts, Slate's Syringe is a pretty useful tool to get a cheap 6/6 stat swing. Bonecrusher or Deathstrider are clear choices for Deathrattle deck. The same applies to Stalking Pride with plenty of Secrets. If you're running a big Beast board style strategy, Carrot on a Stick is your best friend. Traktamer Aelessa provides the aggression Hunters like to have when you're attacking with a weapon.
Notable Strategies: Death Games, Bonecrusher, and Deathstrider are fantastic starters in any deck with a decent number of Deathrattles. While big Deathrattles are great for them, even cheap ones like Nerubian Egg and Bloated Python can be powerful. If they survive multiple turns, they can easily become 4/4 minion factories. Even with such strong potential, Survival Training is still a good Hero Power. You will always have a way to damage your opponent, this being even better since most Duels decks don’t have the consistent healing or armor effects that control decks in normal Hearthstone usually do. Slate’s Syringe and Carrot on a Stick can go into several kinds of deck that runs some good Beasts, as the effect is simultaneously controlling and aggressive. Trampling Rhino works well with both since it can use those stats more effectively than other Beasts. Savage Secrets and Stalking Pride are rather difficult to use unless you play a deck with plenty of Secrets. There is however a potential board refill for one 7-cost card. The results vary wildly since ANY Beast can be summoned, but that allows it to be capable of some things the other treasures aren’t, especially if one of those Beasts is Tundra Rhino.
New Strategies: Hunters finally gained access to Terrorscale Stalker, one of their best Deathrattle support cards. This fits in nicely with any deck that utilizes Death Games to its maximum extent. From the core set, Selective Breeder and Dire Frenzy can generate extra Bonecrushers or Deathstriders to further abuse Deathrattle strategies.
Hero Powers: Wyrm Bolt remains an amazing Hero Power being able to deal damage and generate a fairly decent minion. Secret Studies is far more specific, but it can draw out specifically a Secret to get the value out of your Secret synergies. Frost Shards supplies your with cheap damage and Elementals to help support strong Elemental decks.
Starting Treasures: Wand of Dueling gives Wyrm Bolt and Frost Shards some extra damage, but has been recently outclassed by Wildfire. Elemental Learning generates tons of resources even without the bonus effect. When the Elementals are discounted though, the spell pays for itself and more. Infinite Arcane is a far less predictable card. Its true value shines when you’ve reached the fatigue stage, blocking fatigue for your start of turn draws. Yogg-tastic Tasties can bail you out of a jam when no other card can save you. If there's a spell you think you'll want duplicated, then Embercaster is the way to go. If you find yourself falling behind on minions, Britz Blazebucket can turn your spells into bodies on the board your opponent will want to spend resources getting rid of.
Notable Strategies: Secret Studies specifically requires a Secret deck to work, but it can make sure that cards like Occult Conjurer and Medivh's Valet trigger. Elemental Learning’s extra effect can be easily activated by generally useful Elementals like Steward of Scrolls and Confection Cyclone. Grand Finale is a great follow up turn with the Elementals. Infinite Arcane works best after you’ve drawn out your whole deck. If you plan on cycling through cards really fast, then this is the treasure to take. Embercaster doesn't have any direct synergies, but is best when used in combination with a spell you can play in the same turn. This is especially effective when duplicating the power of spell treasures!
New Strategies: Mage have great new options for starting decks. Thanks to a ton of newly added and returning Hero Power based cards, you can gain even more value out of Wyrm Bolt and Frost Shards. Mages also have the advantage of being able to effectively use a lot of the new passive treasures that focus on one type of spell, including Fire, Frost, and Arcane. There are even new Freeze based treasures. As an additional gimmick, you could combine Embercaster with Time Warp to gain 5 turns in a row.
Hero Powers: Bring on Recruits adds a minion to both your hand and board. From Golden Light only summons a minion, but it can potential summon something better than a regular 1/1. Modest Aspirations works as both a way to beef up your smaller minions, and lessen the threats of super strong enemies.
Starting Treasures: Royal Greatsword is a powerful weapon that can deal 18 damage total and pull 3 legendary minions out of your deck all for 5 Mana. It’s a strong choice provided you have legendary cards for it. Men at Arms will support anything that summons Silver Hand Recruits. Drocomurchanicas encourages a Menagerie Style deck with Dragons, Murlocs, and Mechs as the three minion types. Favored Racer is in essence a cheap minion with random buffs (primarily stat-based) making it a good treasure regardless of the deck it's in. Humble Blessings is a very tactical treasure that is capable of being extremely powerful if you bring along the right minions to combo with it. Su Leadfoot turns basically any of your minions into damage when you play it.
Notable Strategies: ‘Bring on Recruits’ and ‘Men at Arms’ are at their best when you have a lot of Silver Hand Recruit specific cards like Lothraxion the Redeemed and Day at the Faire. Royal Greatsword pulls out any Legendary minion, so be sure to include ones that have a big impact on the board when they’re summoned. Kel'Thuzad and Turalyon, the Tenured are solid picks, especially as resurrect targets for ‘From Golden Light’. If you include a couple Beasts along with Murlocs, Dragons and Mechs, Drocomurchanicas can also support the existing Menagerie cards. Zoobot, Menagerie Magician and The Curator would all work together since two of them are Mechs. Humble Blessings makes every one of your minions base Attack and Health 3, so its real value depends on card effects. One of the best ways to abuse this is to have cards that summon other minions. Haunted Creeper and Derailed Coaster gain insane value when the minions they summon are 3/3s.
New Strategies: Un'goro brings back some cards that work well with Silver Hand Recruits, the best one being Sunkeeper Tarim. Secret Paladin is also worth considering, it just lacks a treasure that specifically interacts with that game plan. Now that Ragnaros is in Duels, Royal Greatsword has another amazing target. There also 2 new Divine Shield treasures (Righteous Reserves and Avenging Armaments) just for Paladins that are actually pretty good. They're also one of the 2 classes that can use the Holy spell treasures.
Hero Powers: Illucia now has a few different ways to play regarding Hero Powers. Shadow Mend is still an excellent source of healing and card draw. Now with Mind Tether, you can also play aggressively with spells. This give Priest direct face damage they otherwise have very little of. As opposed to the other two, Call of Madness can proactively be used on turn 2 to start generating a board. Your opponent will either spend their resources getting rid of the Voidfiends, or have their Health slowly be drained away.
Starting Treasures: Fractured Spirits is flexible enough to be used for generating 2 big minions, an emergency Silence for a big threat, or both. Droplet of Insanity is simply a way to get 2 very good cards as long as you have a spell to combo it with. Scion of the Deep functions similar to Kael'thas Sunstrider, where you’ll want to play 2 cheap spells followed by one big one to cheat put a big play. Shadow Word: Void is not only a cheap removal tool, it fills your board with Health-leeching minions that will continuously eat away at the enemy hero if they don't start eliminating them. Herald of the Scaled Ones generates cost-efficient Dragons. It doesn't need to be restricted to a Dragon themed deck, but it helps that deck quite a bit. Joras Thuldoom can snowball into creating several copies of himself thanks to Priest's tendency to heal their hero.
Notable Strategies: Shadow Mend is mostly just for its standalone value and not to combine with anything, but Raise Dead is a nifty way to make it a little extra useful. If you play Joras Thuldoom before playing Raise Dead then healing your hero, you can create four 4/4s for 6 mana while also getting 3 cards! A spell-based deck is possible thanks to Mind Tether and Scion of the Deep. Any card that generates more spells is encouraged in a starting deck for this. However, a lot of the direct synergies will have to be drafted. Fractured Spirits is usually going to be a counter option for Deathrattles and such since you won’t usually want to Silence your own minions. This and Droplet of Insanity are good treasures for decks that don’t focus on playing tons of spells. Herald of the Scaled Ones can always be a big help to make sure you're holding plenty of Dragons for those kinds of bonus effects.
New Strategies: Forged in the Barrens gave Priest more spell based support. Since Un'goro is also available, they can also pick Lyra the Sunshard alongside those types of cards. Xyrella can make a single Shadow Mend a pretty nifty board clear when you're behind and in need of healing and card draw. Amongst the new passive treasures, Priests can use the Shadow spell ones most effectively (Staff of Pain and Eerie Stone).
Hero Powers: Being able to consistently get a 2/2 weapon with Roguish Maneuvers is fairly useful for both trading and dealing efficient face damage. Connections is also a considerable option for easy value generation. A free source of 1-cost minions makes for easy combo card activators. Vile Concoction is a powerful choice that can turn even the smallest minion into hard removal, being extra strong with Rogue usually lacking in this type of effect.
Starting Treasures: Deadly Weapons 101 can greatly bolster the power of any weapon. If you have cards that generate even more cards, then Nerubian Peddler is a powerful discount tool. Acquired Allies is somewhat more fringe, but it can be used as a bounce back effect for ANY minion. This is good for both your own Battlecries and big enemy threats. Green Tortollan Shell can bounce back several enemy minions that can be difficult to handle. When far into a run, it can wipe out most of the opponent's board for only 1 mana! Ace in the Hole lets you afford to overextend for one turn since you will be able to get every card back the following turn. Since Rogue occasionally suffers from having too many cheap spells in their hand, Britz Blazebucket can turn those otherwise low-tempo cards into a board full of minions.
Notable Strategies: Roguish Maneuvers and Deadly Weapons 101 have a clear interaction, but this can apply to all the other weapon related cards as well. If you were to use this treasure on something like Assassin's Blade, it will become a 28 damage beatstick to distribute however you like. Nerubian Peddler likely won’t survive beyond the turn it’s played, so try to capitalize on it by playing as many cards that Add, Draw, or Discover as you can. Connections creates the cheap cards that you’ll want to play first to activate any of your Combo cards. While giving anything Poisonous with Vile Concoction is good, some minions can abuse it more than others like Wild Pyromancer and Knife Juggler. Acquired Allies is flexible in terms of what it should be used for, but it can also be planned for your minions with particularly useful Battlecries like Jandice Barov to get 3 more uses out of it. Ace in the Hole is not only great resource recovery, it can also return treasures to your hand!
New Strategies: The Caverns Below is back at full power, and available in duels. The reward itself is treasure-level power, but does have the downside that it's hard to build your deck to turbo out the effect when you're drafting most of your cards. But if you do manage to pull it off, Connections will constantly supply you with 1-cost 5/5s the rest of the game.
Hero Powers: Totemic Power Lost some of its strength now that it can only summon one totem at a time. But now it’s capable of summoning Grand Totem Eys'or. Even if you choose not to run any totems in your deck, it can make the totems your Hero Power creates much harder to deal with. Ferocious Flurry is nifty removal as well as able to double the damage efficiency of your weapons. Stormcatcher eliminates the downside to your Overload cards, essentially being a passive tempo machine.
Starting Treasures: Fluctuating Totem can upgrade your minions, most notably low-stat ones whose value already came from their Battlecry. Tempest's Fury is a nice removal tool that can also hit face for more aggressive damage. Invoke the Void is simply a 1-card way to get 2 big minions on the board. For Totem decks, Payload Totem Specialist refills your hand since it's pretty easy to run out of easy-to-play Totems. Chaos Storm lets you cycle through your Overload cards without sacrificing card advantage. Zukara the Wild duplicates any of Shaman's bigger spells, which can bring out a huge swing when the right one is used.
Notable Strategies: Totemic Power is a fan of Overload cards and Totem synergies. Since Eys’or can now be summoned, Fluctuating Totem can passively become pretty big for a 2-cost minion. Weapons like Tempest’s Fury and Attack buffs like Rockbiter Weapon and Stormstrike gives Ferocious Flurry the ability to push out extra and faster damage. Since Shamans don’t currently have ways to cheat out multiple big minions, Invoke the Void is one way to get around that as well. Zukara the Wild doesn't have a huge number of Shaman spells to work with, but can still easily dish out massive value with treasures. Chaos Storm works well when paired with Lightning Bloom because it will give you more mana as well as another card for you to continue your Overload chain. Stormcatcher can block any of the Overload you would have by doing so!
New Strategies: Since Shaman got so many new Murlocs, you could reasonably run Unite the Murlocs. Duels typically last longer than normal games (outside of early treasure shenanigans) and card advantage has more impact, so the Murloc quest isn't as hard to use. Shamans can also make great use of Rally the Troops since their class is designed to have more Battlecries than others.
Hero Powers: Dark Arts easily cycles through your deck so you can get the cards you want. Demon Blood is able to weave a cheap handbuff into your turns can let you surprise your opponent with a large Demon with a relatively lower cost. Soulcial Studies only works with Soul Fragment cards, but functions as free minions when using them!
Starting Treasures: Demons along with Impish Aid is basically free stats. Gift of the Old Gods only works with Corruption cards, but gives them their bonus effects right away. Killmox, the Banished One is an amazing Demon that can pull you back into a game where you’re almost out of Health.Demonology 101 is just 1 mana cheaper with the same effect as Twisting Nether, yet also shuffles a TON of Soul Fragmants into your deck. Demonizer is an effective way to load up on Demons when running low on cards, making it a powerful minion generator with or without Demon synergy. Joras Thuldoom can work well with all of Warlock's self-damage cards, turning a cost into a benefit.
Notable Strategies: Demon Blood and Impish Aid would prefer your deck have as many Demons as possible. If you draft one, you could possibly buff up a Doomguard enough to drop your opponent down to zero right away. Dark Arts has Malchezaar's Imp, Boneweb Egg, and Silverware Golem to start out as direct Discard support. C'Thun, the Shattered is also a popular inclusion because of how fast you can draw cards. Killmox functions well with two of the Hero Powers, but can also be duplicated with Felosophy for an extra massive Lifesteal/Rush behemoth. Gift of the Old Gods goes well with some of the more expensive Corruption cards like Tickatus so you don’t have to go through the trouble of setting them up after you draw them. Joras Thuldoom works with both damaging cards like Backfire as well as healing from things like Soul Fragments. If you're dedicated to Soul Fragments, you can take full advantage of them through Soulcial Studies and Demonology 101 while drafting as many Soulciologist Malicias as possible.
New Strategies: Warlocks can capitalize on the Discard synergies of Un'goro like never before with Dark Arts. This Hero Power can singlehandedly finish Lakkari Sacrifice and you can now start off your deck with a Clutchmother Zavas! While there are Shadow and Fel related passive treasures, Tamsin Roame will be more than happy to give you an extra copy of some of the active treasures that happen to be Shadow such as Angry Mob or Book of the Dead as long as it hasn't reached full discount.
Hero Powers: Warriors still like the self-damage effects it has been able to take advantage of. No Guts, No Glory can proc any related effects by itself. Bruising is a free way to get in an extra trade. If you’re managing the board right, you can trade up frequently. Magnetic Mines is a unique win condition where you stall via Armor gaining effects until the opponent draws enough bombs to die.
Starting Treasures: Auto-Armaments is like an Acolyte of Pain but twice as big, draw specifically minions, and buffs them all at once. Collector's Ire strives to function as the Menagerie Warrior support Darkmoon wanted it to have. Any deck with fairly large Rush minions would like Brewster, the Brutal to pulls it out of the deck without having to pay its cost. Scrapmetal Demolitionist is a neat way to build some defense while also dealing 5 damage to the opponent in the future. Spiked Arms supports minions that like to be damaged, or gives Attack to those that are better for it and don't mind the 1 damage taken. Su Leadfoot can also turn any of Warrior's big minions into big minion removal.
Notable Strategies: ‘No Guts, No Glory’, Auto-Armaments, and Spiked Arms all work with the same type of cards; damage-all effects like Ravaging Ghoul and damage-based ones like Frothing Berserker or Grommash Hellscream. Bruising is a fantastic way to get in that extra trade you might want. Anything with Rush or Charge make more use out of this to get in double attacks on the same turn it’s played. Some even have bonuses while attacking like Doctor Krastinov or even Brewster. Collector’s Ire can bring out the minions drawn with Ringmaster Whatley, buffed with Ringmaster's Baton, and can be resurrected by N'Zoth, God of the Deep. Scrapmetal Demolitionist] produces bombs by itself, but also grants the Armor to allow Magnetic Mines to shuffle another!
New Strategies: There are many new tools Warriors can use to support the strategies they already excelled at. All the Frenzy minions work well in the kinds of decks that use ‘No Guts, No Glory’ as their Hero Power. Rokara can give you bonus stats with 'Bruising'. Rancor is an excellent way to keep your opponent's board low and your armor up! Out of all the new treasures, Warriors can make the most out of Potion of Sparking and Special Delivery since they have more Rush minions than the other classes.
Popular Neutral Minions:
He has appeared in many Duels decks, primarily Warlock. The smaller deck sizes early in the run makes completing C’Thun even faster. Some ways to counter this is by depriving your opponent of at least one of the pieces with cards like Mindrender Illucia and Tickatus.
As a cheap minion with a strong Deathrattle, this can be played within the first couple turns to dominate the early game. You can do this whether you’re triggering the Deathrattle with Death Games or Harvest Time!, or buffing it with No Guts, No Glory or Modest Aspirations.
He's already a solid minion, but having such a small deck size makes him a true force to be reckoned with in the early stages of the run if you summon the 3/10 early enough.
Extremely Powerful Class/Treasure Combos
If you would like to aim for a pair of treasure synergies, here are some suggestions to look out for!
Those are the tips and tricks we currently have for you. If you have your own ideas that you think we left out, share it in the comments so everyone can become better Duelists!