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Constructed Ladder On a Shoestring Budget

Ladder is finally on the horizon. While it isn’t something that was at the top of my wishlist, there were definitely a number of players out there who have been really clamoring for it. Whether it satisfies the desire for everyday games to have some sort of greater consequence or the ability to be able to measure yourself against the rest of the Hex playerbase, I expect the ladder to make quite an impact for Hexers both new and old. One thing which is particularly interesting is that you could now potentially measure your success with just one particular deck or see how far you might be able to reach while imposing restrictions on yourself. Very few players have access to complete playsets and many consider themselves lucky to be able to scrounge together a top tier decklist. Having your finger on the pulse of the meta-game might be important for high level play but if you plan on casually approaching constructed then Rune Ear Hierophants should be much less common at the lower rungs of the ladder. After a enough time the better players and stronger decks should sift their way through to the top. To that end, today’s article will focus on presenting a set of lists I’ve concocted that are all under $10 and should be easy enough to acquire if you’re hoping to test the waters.

Some notes:

  • I used Hexprice’s 7-day median to determine total deck price. That median may have gone up or down by the time you read this but the decks ought to remain relatively cheap.
  • The longer ladder has been out the further I expect you’ll be able to get with these decks as players with access to larger collections race to higher tiers.
  • In general it is harder to assemble control decks on a budget as they often rely on a few key cards to pull most of the weight, and those types of cards tend to be fairly pricey.
  • I really wanted to have a deck which relied more heavily on a ramp strategy; however, Chlorophyllia has gotten pretty pricey and you could probably assemble these decks for the same price it would take to gather a playset of the wild ramp staple.
  • While building on a tight budget, don’t worry as much about how you’re going to lose (to problem cards like Rune Ear Hierophant / Extinction / Vampires) but rather focus on having a consistent and narrow strategy that can get wins.
  • These decks should all be fairly straightforward and easy to pilot.
  • Ladder looks like it will award packs after reaching various tiers and if you’re starting from scratch it should be pretty easy to recoup whatever you might need to spend in order to build these decks.
  • Anyone could have come up with these lists—they pretty much build themselves. What’s fun is all of them have plenty of room to tinker with morphing into something new along the way.

R/S Morgan McBombus

Cost: 754 Platinum

Troops (12)

4x Embertongue Skarn
4x Flickering Gobbler
4x Thunderfield Seer

Resources (23)

11x Ruby Shard
8x Sapphire Shard
4x Shard of Innovation

Actions  (25)

4x Arcane Focus
4x Burn
4x Combat Training
4x Crackling Bolt
2x Lanupaw’s Sight
4x Seeing Red
3x Time Ripple

I expect that this should be the most consistently powerful of the lists presented. The ability to stick a single troop on the board and turn it into a threat which can quickly churn out damage and end the game if left unattended is not to be underestimated. Gobbler presents itself as an interesting threat in that it can be dealt with by a much smaller number of answers if your opponent gives you an opening exploit it. What I feel like Gobbler-centric decks are missing is a way to punish the opponent for leaving resources open; with that they’d be able to attack from an additional angle and play the tempo game even better. Combat Training can already create quite a bit of value on its own but it should be pretty obvious that buffing it with either Thunderfield Seer or Lanupaw’s Sight is a one-way ticket to value town.


B/W Darkspire Kagulichu

Cost: 718 Platinum

Troops (23)

4x Cottontail Explorer
4x Darkspire Priestess
4x Darkspire Punisher
4x Darkspire Tyrant
4x Moon’ariu Sensei
3x Pactmaker Heretic

Actions (8)

1x Call the Grave
2x Inquisition
4x Kill
2x Rotten Rancor

Resources (24)

11x Blood Shard
9x Wild Shard
4x Shard of Ancients

I’ve had an infatuation with Kagulichu since I previewed him at the 100k. Amongst the lists in this article, this is the “fun” one although I also toyed around with a Servant of Shathak deck that looked like it would be a treat to play. This deck is able to interact with the crypt in an interesting way in that, as the game goes long, Cottontails and the champion power are each providing fuel for having a big Darkspire Tyrant turn. There aren’t any particularly effective ways here to sacrifice your own Darkspire troops for added effect but that could be easily changed with the addition of cards like Necessary Sacrifice or Hop’hiro. One of the more interesting tricks this deck has up its sleeve is to bring back a Tyrant using Rotten Rancor and have it battle a troop that it will lose to just so that it might be able to trigger its ability again.


Fierce Urgnock

Cost: 564 Platinum

Troops (24)

4x Ashwood Soloist
4x Baby Yeti
4x Deadeye Ripper
4x Fierce Warlord
4x Ridge Raider
4x Savage Raider

Actions  (18)

4x Burn
4x Charge Bot
4x Crackling Bolt
4x Crushing Blow
2x Suppressive Fire

Resources (18)

18x Ruby Shard

Easily the most aggressive of today’s lists, this Urgnock build aims to get a large amount of damage through early on before the opponent can stabilize. The most important card here is Fierce Warlord as it can easily swing things in your favor. With the resource curve being so low, you’re going to want to throw away most hands that are heavy on shards while many single-shard hands ought to still be pretty decent and worth pushing. Before you play each card be sure to take a moment to do the combat math and consider how the next few turns might go; every point of life counts and you’re likely to be walking a fine line between victory and defeat. Luckily, games with this deck should be over extremely fast which lends itself well to climbing the ladder early on.


Fuzzuko Swarm

Cost: 512 Platinum

Troops (Total Count)

4x Blossoming Concubunny
4x Bucktooth Commander
4x Cottontail Ronin
4x Feral Ogre
4x Guru of the Wounded Petal
4x Howling Brave
4x Keeper of the Wounded Petal
4x Moon’ariu Sensei
2x Rune Ear Burrower

Actions  (Total Count)

4x Crackling Sprout

Resources (Total Count)

22x Wild Shard

This is another mono-shard deck in the same vein as the one before it. In this case the goal is to swarm the board and overwhelm your opponent with more troops than they can deal with. Note that Blossoming Concubunny can help trigger your Keeper of the Wounded Petal so be sure to sequence your plays properly if you think you’re going to be relying on either of them that game. Also consider substituting in cards like Wild Growth, Pheromones, or Onslaught. Like the deck above it there will be a number of situations where attacking and losing troops in the process will be your best and only option.


And there you have it! For the last couple months I didn’t think I’d be too excited about any sort of ladder but the closer it gets the more interested in it I’ve become. Those plinths are pretty snazzy! If you happen to pick up any of these lists let me know how they fare for you when the time comes, I’d be pretty thrilled to hear all about that.

Funktion became active in the Hex community very early on as one of the first people producing Youtube content. Funktion made top 8 of the July HexTCG Pro Series, and can be caught in draft queues at all hours of the night. You can find him on Twitter Twitch & Youtube

3 Comments on Constructed Ladder On a Shoestring Budget

  1. Nice stuff Funktion. It’s a helpful starting point, and some decks can be a lot cheaper depending on what the market looks like.

  2. Very nice article.
    I’m f2player, with a half decent collection and will build the kagulichu deck, I have a gallow ghasts and I want to put it in my deck, but I’m not sure what would be the best combination of gems, I was thinking the spellshild one and major of cruelty. Any tips on wich woudl be the best?

  3. Nice article. I was wondering if you think a cheap Uzzu deck could work ? With stuff like Midnight Paladin, Sepulchra Bonewalker and Sepulchra Fleshreaver.

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