Welcome to Budget or Fudge It, the Hearthstone article series that forces affordable decks to fight for dominance. Each episode of this series will feature two decks that each build around the same theme with different requirements. One deck will be completely budget-friendly: Only Commons, Rares, and Core Set cards. No Epics, No Legendaries (except for the free ones). The other deck will be mostly affordable, but step outside the bounds of budget to add in a couple of Epics or a single Legendary.

In the last matchup, two Naga Hunter decks fought to a stalemate. For this week's marquee matchup, we've brought to the table two Elemental Shaman decks that both lean on the curve of Un'Goro's favorite minion type, but each with their own touch of spice. It's the moment you've (presumably) all been waiting for: It's time for another Budget or Fudge It Showdown.

The Contenders

Al'Akir the Windlord Card Image

In the blue corner, weighing 1400 Dust, from a land down under it's: "The Furious Winds!" This aggressive deck leans on Elementals for its main gameplan of boosting its damage output with Windfury minions like "The Win Lord" and Arid Stormer with Rockbiter Weapon. It also uses Elemental Cost reduction from Granite Forgeborn and Kindling Elemental to create some swing turns that their opponents can't even conceive of.

School Teacher Card Image

And, in the North corner, hailing from down by the sea and weighing 3040 Dust, it's "The School Bullies!" This tempo terror makes Battlecries its business with discounts from Auctionhouse Gavel, and repeats from Brilliant Macaw and "Brann Bronzebeard." Its main drive is to use these Battlecry boons to boost the blessing of School Teacher and his pupils, but will be fairly happy to settle for doubled Discovers from Amalgam of the Deep.

And there it is: Our introduction to two of the fiercest Shaman decks ever to grace the Budget or Fudge It stage. Which will emerge victorious? Let's find out!

The Core

Granite Forgeborn Card ImageSleetbreaker Card ImageBrilliant Macaw Card ImagePrimal Dungeoneer Card Image

The core of each deck can be summed up, simply, as "all the good Elementals that would fit." This includes not only the Standard fare of Granite Forgeborn, Sleetbreaker, Wailing Vapor, and Arid Stormer, but also old favorites Kindling Elemental and Canal Slogger. Both decks also run Brilliant Macaw to repeat their best Battlecries, and Lightning Bolt because "1 Mana: Deal 3 Damage" will always be a good deal. The decks also runs Primal Dungeoneer as the Tutor of choice, and Wildpaw Cavern because it's very good, even if it interferes with the Dungeoneer's ability to draw an Elemental.

The Budget: Furious Winds

"The Furious Winds" ain't playin' no games (except for Hearthstone), as they're ready to punch you in the face, then punch you again thanks to Windfury. They're also packing old-school Elementals Tar Creeper and Fire Elemental to bring even more pain to the playing field. Menacing Nimbus might lack the reliability of Amalgam of the Deep Discover, but Amalgam of the Deep can't give you Lyra the Sunshard, can it?

Unique Package: Menacing Nimbus, Rockbiter Weapon, The Win Lord

What It's Good At: Swarming the board, dealing damage, generally being a nuisance

What It's Bad Against: Large Taunts, AoE Removal, Board Freezes

The Fudge It: School Bullies

"The School Bullies" are here to let the world know that it's not summer break just yet. Accredited professors Brann Bronzebeard and School Teacher bring the knowledge, and aren't afraid to keep troublemakers in from recess if they don't turn in their homework on time (yeah, that metaphor definitely got away from us). Auctionhouse Gavel will make sure its minions ride the early bus, and star student Brilliant Macaw will parrot all the right answers on the test. But don't think this is the team of all goody-two-shoes: Amalgam of the Deep isn't afraid to copy another student's homework and Snowfall Guardian is always ready to shut things down with a Snow Day.

Unique Package: School Teacher, Amalgam of the Deep, Brann Bronzebeard, Snowfall Guardian

What It's Good At: Finding extra Battlecry value, controlling the board with Freezes, showing up late to PTA meetings

What It's Bad Against: Aggressive starts, Mana cheat, Three day weekends

The Showdown

The Furious Winds get off to a flying start with a Wailing Vapor, followed by a Menacing Nimbus, but the school Bullies aren't far behind, as they answer with a Kindling Elemental and Amalgam of the Deep.

Next turn the Auctionhouse Gavel come down and, while the Bullies follow theirs up with a powerful School Teacher, the Winds' next play is a true doozy: a discounted Granite Forgeborn to pass the discounts down the chain. This could spell defeat for the Bullies: if they don't make a big play soon, they could be buried under a mountain of Elementals!

But wait! Who's that swinging into the ring, and just in time? Why it's Snowfall Guardian! Were you expecting someone else? With a big body on the board and the Winds' aggression on lockdown, it doesn't matter how cheap those Elementals are. The Furious Winds' game plan is just no match for a frozen board, even once the freeze ends and they can start attacking again. A turn or two later, Brilliant Macaw brings another stall to their plans, and it's curtains for the Budget deck.

This match goes to The School Bullies.

(But who's to say what a rematch would look like?)

The Finale

The Fudge It Clan, thanks to the dominance of the School Bullies, jumps to an early series lead--but don't count out the Budget Brigade yet. They've still got plenty of contenders with some nasty tricks up their sleeves, as we will see in the next edition of Budget or Fudge It Showdown.

Were you surprised at the outcome, or did your pick win? Would The School Bullies take a rematch, or could The Furious Winds secure their revenge? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Out of Cards would like to remind you that its cards are trained professionals.

You should never emulate what they do in the ring, unless your friends tell you to.