New Priest card just got released in 3rd wing of League of Explorers. It was probably the one that Priest players anticipated most – Entomb
Even though everyone was running around, testing Sir Finley Mrrgglton
That’s the basic question here. What is the reason to play this card? And not even one, but TWO copies? The reason is that you can play it INSTEAD of big threats. In fast matchups big, slow Legendaries aren’t good anyway. They’re just win condition in slower matchups. So by removing something like Ysera
And now, against Control decks. Removing your big threats might hurt you, but not for really long. You just want to play the reactive game and aim at fatigue. Control Warrior plays Sylvanas Windrunner
The shell is a pretty standard Control Priest deck. I’ve only made a few adjustments that fit my play style and the meta I’ve faced.
The first thing that might strike some of you is the lack of Deathlord
I run 2x Holy Champion
Next thing is Vol'jin
When it comes to biggest minions – 2x Cabal Shadow Priest
Then we have a Justicar Trueheart
And last, I use Confessor Paletress
Mulligan with the deck is rather easy. First thing you need to do is to identify opponent’s class and possibly the deck he plays. While it’s sometimes impossible to know exactly what DECK he plays, you want to base it on the current meta. E.g. if most of the Warlocks in meta are Handlocks/Renolocks, you mulligan for them. If most are Zoo, you mulligan for them etc.
In fast matchups, you want your early game. You prefer to start with a 1-drop – Zombie Chow
When it comes to the situational keeps, there are also a few of those. Power Word: Shield
The idea behind those keeps is to survive the early game. Against this kind of decks the later it gets, the easier it is for you to control the board. You get more removal options, you can start doing your combos, you get the Cabal Shadow Priest
In slower matchups, you don’t need to focus on your early game that much. While you still keep your early drops, you don’t want to mulligan hard for them. Keeping 3-drops or 4-drops is also much easier, you can do that even without having a strong early game. Dark Cultist
Another interesting thing is keeping the Thoughtsteal
I’d also keep Shadow Word: Death
Against slower decks, mulligan part is less important. Slow decks rarely get a high tempo start, they won’t likely rush you down, so it’s not that necessary to have early game plays. It’s still better to have them, because they give you more options AND you prefer to get them in the early game when they’re meaningful than topdeck them later.
- You want to play for the tempo, not for the value. The easiest way to lose the game is them having a strong board lead in the early/mid game and killing you before you can react. Even though you have a lot of board clears, those are: two cards combo that you can not draw (Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing), ineffective against a lot of board states (Holy Nova) or come too late (Lightbomb). That’s why you want to get the smooth curve and drop stuff on the board.
- While getting draws from the is good, don’t go all-in into that. Let’s say it’s turn 3 and you can choose between drawing a card and developing a Dark Cultist. The second option should be better against most of the Aggro/Midrange decks, because Cleric alone can’t really contest anything that opponent is going to play next.
- If you have Wild Pyromancer + a cheap spell or even the Coin, you might keep it for the AoE. Wild Pyro + Coin + PW:S often allows you to clear 2-3 early game drops for free.
- In the early/mid game, unless your health total is under a serious pressure, prioritize healing minions over your Hero. This way you keep the board control and constantly remove opponent’s minions. Heal your Hero only if you’re getting low on life, getting into burn/combo range (like Force of Nature+ Savage Roarfrom Druid) or your board presence is so dominating that you don’t need to strengthen it even further.
- Don’t be afraid to use Entombon something small. If you have a lot of free mana and that’s your only removal option, even using it on a 2-drop or 3-drop is okay. You can also use it as a “Silence” on things like Mad Scientistor Leper Gnome. Entombing Leper Gnome to save 2 life has won me some games against Face Hunter.
- Drop Justicar Trueheartas soon as you can without losing a lot of tempo. If you can steal a Shielded Minibotwith Cabal Shadow Priest, sure, go for it. But if you don’t have really great play, drop Justicar. Getting 4 points of healing per turn instead of 2 is a huge difference.
- Against face rush decks, you can’t take the 100% defensive stance. If you can hit enemy for a lot, do that instead of clearing 2-3 damage. You just give more time for Hunter to draw that Kill Commandor Shaman to get Doomhammer+ Rockbiter Weapon. Holy Championis a great minion to put enemy on the clock. Get him to 7 or 9 attack, hit enemy in the face, put him on 2 turns clock. This way you’re most likely going to kill him before he kills you OR force him to make the trades/use burn spell to kill it.
- Be careful with Auchenai Soulpriest. She blocks your ability to heal and you might not be able to sacrifice her in time. Playing against new Aggro Shaman, he can burn you for 20+ damage over few turns without even putting minions on the board. So be careful and don’t play her if you know that you’ll need to heal soon (or draw cards with Northshire) and you might not have a way to sacrifice her.
- Play for value much more than for the tempo. Priest’s Hero Power is probably the best one when it comes to minion combat and value war. You need to use that fact for your advantage, keeping your minions alive as long as you can means that you can save the resources in your hand (more minions) for later.
- You rarely want to open with turn 1 Northshire Cleric, unless you can follow with something like Coin + Injured Blademaster + Circle of Healing. If enemy has no minions on the board and you have no way to damage your cleric, you’re not likely going to draw any cards. And a 1/3 minion sucks when enemy starts playing his threats.
- There are two ways to win certain control matchups, like Control Priest mirror or games against Control Warrior. The first one is to draw a lot of cards and overwhelm enemy. If you play a lot of minions and enemy runs out of answers, you might kill him before the game gets to the fatigue. I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re not sure that you’ll be able to rush enemy down. One board wipe like Brawlcan completely ruin your plan. The second approach is having fatigue in mind. This time you don’t want to draw too much. Or, I should say, you don’t want to draw more than the enemy. If you face Control Warrior and he’s keeping all his card draws (like Shield Blockor Acolyte of Pain), so should you. But if he draws 2-3 cards, it’s okay for you to do the same. If you have the same amount of cards left in your deck as your enemy, NOT counting the ones you got from Entomb, it should be fine. Entomb will let you draw 2 more cards before getting to fatigue, basically making your enemy take ~15 more damage after couple of turns.
- You can try baiting enemy to play more minions before you use your big board clear, especially if you’re at high health and/or you have upgraded Hero Power. This way enemy needs to put at least ~10 power on the board to really threaten your life total (since you’re healing for 4 every turn, if enemy has e.g. only 6 damage on the board, he just deals 2 damage per turn). If he puts more minions on the board, you AoE them down with Lightbombor Auchenai Soulpriest+ Circle of Healing.
- Wild Pyromancer + Spell + Circle of Healingis an incredibly strong combo in certain scenarios. First, you damage all the minions and then you heal them back. If you have Holy Championon the board, it allows for cool high damage finishers (every minion you heal gives you +2 attack). If you have Northshire on the board, you can draw as many cards as there are minions on the board. If you’re behind on cards it’s a great way to catch up. In a game against Control Priest, making enemy overdraw is a solid win condition too. If enemy plays gets out two Northshire Clerics on the board at once, you can force him to draw a lot of cards, sometimes even instantly getting him to fatigue damage (e.g. Wild Pyro + a spell + 2x Circle of Healing with 6 minions on the board means 24 draws, which most likely means that enemy starts getting fatigue damage, maybe even dies).
- You can have more burst than you and your enemy expects. Opponents rarely play around a huge burst turn from Priest and that’s why you can surprise them. Besides the Holy Champion huge burst turn, there is another way to deal up to 14 damage from empty board. Zombie Chowdeals 5 damage instead of healing for 5 when you have Auchenai Soulprieston the board. Your upgraded Hero Power deals 4 damage. Dropping Auchenai, 2x Zombie Chow, playing Circle of Healing and using your Hero Power can lead up to 14 damage burst. While it’s a pretty niche scenario, one Zombie Chow often lingers in your hand in the mid/late game. Against Handlock you might actually keep the Zombie Chows for this exact combo. It’s very hard to win against Handlock without bursting him, especially if you face the Reno Jacksonversion. Actually, it’s helpful against any Reno Jackson deck. They rarely feel threatened at 10+ health against the Priest, so you can use it to your advantage.
- Try to not use your Shrinkmeisterin the early game, unless you really have to. Keeping it for the turn 8 combo with Cabal Shadow Priest is insane. This way you can steal 3 or 4 attack minions too. So instead of getting let’s say a 2/3 minion (which is already good), you can get Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcheror even Ysera. This is one of the strongest swings you can do. You remove opponent’s strong minion, you get 3/2, 4/5 AND that minion on your side of the board and that’s only an 8 mana, 2 cards combo.
Light of the Naaru/Flash Heal
I put those two together, because they fill the same spot and it’s pretty much up to personal preference which one you’d like to play. I’ve seen Zetalot playing Flash Heal, and since he’s one of the best Priest players out there, he surely knows what he’s doing.
Both cards serve two purposes – a way to heal up in Aggro matchups and burst in Reno/Handlock matchups (with Auchenai Soulpriest). Flash Heal
Another card you can put into this deck. I’ve never been a big fan of this card because of how often it can backfire, but Control Priest is probably your best bet if you want to play this card (outside the Mill/Fatigue decks). It’s a very strong card against Aggro decks – playing it on turn 3 usually stops them in their tracks. 8 health is too much to pass through AND you can heal it back up or buff the health with Power Word: Shield
While it’s best against Aggro, it actually has its purpose in slower matchups anyway. The reason fatigue decks use it is that they can get minions out of enemy deck, forcing them to “draw” a card. It puts them ahead in fatigue. And that can be useful while playing this deck too, when you’re going for the “fatigue route” against Control. It’s rarely a turn 3 play, because you risk too much (one Execute
What’s worth mentioning is that enemy getting some minions out on the board from Deathlord might actually be bad for them. Let’s say Warrior – he doesn’t want to get the Justicar Trueheart
A very strong buff, awesome in a lot of Priest decks. While it fits Dragon Priest much more, it’s also good enough in Control version. It didn’t make the cut, because honestly I didn’t know what can I throw out. There is not much to say about it, like in every other deck it allows Priest to make great trades and keep the minions alive. Priest really likes high health minions and Velen’s Chosen can turn pretty much everything into a minion like that. The infamous Northshire Cleric
It’s also another semi-cheap spell to combo with Wild Pyromancer
Another way to steal enemy minions? Count me in! Like I’ve said before, I think it might actually be superior to Confessor Paletress. With Sylvanas, enemy REALLY can’t play any big minions or else they’re just instantly killed or stolen. The good thing about Sylvanas, as compared to an Entomb, is that she can be played proactively. While it’s usually wise to save her until enemy plays a big minion you can steal, just dropping her on empty board is also solid in a lot of cases. You just force enemy to have an answer – Silence or a removal. If he doesn’t, he’s locked out of playing big stuff. You can make opponent’s turns awkward. Like playing Sylvanas on turn 6 usually prevents turn 7 Dr. Boom
Sylvanas Windrunner + Shadow Word: Death
That’s it folks! Thanks for reading through the guide. I’m really enjoying playing the Control Priest this season. Besides doing a few daily quests with other classes, I’ve gone all the way through to Legend with different versions of this list, finishing with 68% winrate (on my PC, I had a lot of games on phone that I didn’t track, but it still should be roughly the same). The list I’m writing about here is the one I had most success with, but it might just be variance. For further reference, you can check out the list Zetalot was playing. It’s slightly different than mine – I’ve tested it, but I had better games with mine. I have talked about the different card he’s using in last section anyway, so if you want to make some changes, go ahead!
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below!