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Introduction


Hello friends, I’m Shudogin! Today I am analyzing one of the newest incarnations of Priest: Chinese Lightbomb Priest. This deck is characterized by relentless board control and hard snowballing minions. Traditional Control Priest tends to be one of the most combo-reliant classes in Hearthstone. It could be argued that this reliance on multi-card combos is the reason why Control Priest struggles to deal with other more efficient decks. Lightbomb Priest replaces some of these relatively clunky combos with cards that completely shut-down the opposition. This fresh take on Priest works – first seen in the NetEase China vs. Europe tournament earlier this month, Lightbomb Priest was soon one of the highest ranking decks on the North American ladder. Eventually Savjz piloted this deck to top 5 legend this season.

Lightbomb Priest offers excellent match-ups against many of the popular decks on the ladder. This deck combines the huge Taunt minions that wreck aggro and combo decks and the pressure that causes control decks to fail. In addition to snowballing over the classes that Control Priest traditionally does well again, Lightbomb Priest improves the match-ups Control Priest struggles with. The inclusion of double Lightbomb

and two Shadow Word: Death
starkly improve Priest’s odds against Handlock, Demonlock, and Rogue. That isn’t to say these match-ups favor the Priest, but they bring these previously terrible match-ups into a possibly winnable scenario. By the end of this guide, it is my goal to give you the insight you need to be a master in both the theory and application of Lightbomb Priest!


Overview


Lightbomb Priest is about constantly building pressure. During the first three turns we want to establish a board presence. This is accomplished through cards like Zombie Chow
, Gilblin Stalker
, and Deathlord
. These early cards are excellent targets for our Hero Power, allowing us to tilt early trades in our favor.

In the next turns, we want to bully our opponent off the board. Cards like Velen's Chosen

and Power Word: Shield
give us the edge we need to push our opponent off the board. Northshire Cleric
, and Thoughtsteal
(to an extent), give us the fuel we need to continually pressure the board. The rest of the game is about maintaining board control, and pushing damage into our opponent. This is where the double Lightbomb
and double Shadow Word: Death
shine. This variation of Lightbomb Priest incorporates a single Shrinkmeister
, which allows various shenanigans with Cabal Shadow Priest
and Shadow Madness
. I find that including a single Shrinkmeister does not hurt the early game consistency of Lightbomb Priest, while greatly increasing the late-game potential. Through these tools, Lightbomb Priest excels at maintaining board control and eventually overrunning the opponent.

What I really think makes this Priest deck unique is the inclusion of 2 Deathlord

. Deathlord is a spectacular answer to any minion-centric aggressive deck, or combo deck. Deathlord will almost always get incredible value versus these decks. Priest is uniquely suited to playing Deathlord, largely due to Priest’s ability to prevent the Deathlord from dying. At first glance, it appears that Deathlord is a game-losing card against many control decks. I certainly cannot disagree that occasionally Deathlord will pull our opponent a great, game-winning card. The trick to playing Deathlord effectively against control decks is ensuring that our opponent has no easy way to deal with it. I will go more in-depth as to when it is safe to play Deathlord versus certain classes in my match specific section. Ultimately, I believe Deathlord has single handedly won me many more games than it has lost me. Even against decks like Control Warrior, Deathlord can be a game-winning card.

Let’s look at some of the specific card choices that makes this deck so strong!

Card Choices


    • Power Word: Shield
      is a staple in any Priest deck, allowing us to cycle our deck, and buff a minion. I find that when I play Lightbomb Priest, the majority of the time I use this card as a pseudo-heal that has a card draw attached for free.
    • Northshire Cleric
      : What could be better than a cheap minion that gives us cards for utilizing our already great hero power? When playing versus aggressive decks, the 1/3 body of Northshire Cleric deals nicely with many deck’s 1-drops. When playing versus control decks, swamping our opponent with card draw from Northshire Cleric is very often a win condition.
    • Zombie Chow
      is a perfect example of a value-packed minion. This minion obviously trades favorably with other 1-drop minions, and can usually be healed back up to 2/3. The downside to Zombie Chow is that it heals our opponent for 5 health. This can actually be manipulated into a huge upside for Lightbomb Priest. We often need a target for Velen's Chosen
      and Power Word: Shield
      . Both of these spells are hard-countered by Silence effects. The tricky part about buffing Zombie Chow is that if our opponent elects to Silence this minion, they actually lose the 5 health attached to killing the Chow. Therefore, Zombie Chow is one of the best minions in our deck to use buffs on aggressively.
    • Gilblin Stalker
      saw almost no play in constructed prior to Lightbomb Priest. If traditional Control Priest fell behind in the early game, it was common to have no minions to receive buffs from cards like Dark Cultist
      . Gilblin Stalker solves this problem. This dude can hang out in stealth until we either need him to trade, or until we buff him. This reduces the awkward times we have buffs and no minions to play them on.
    • Shrinkmeister
      is another flexible card. Many people primarily think of Shrinkmeister as a fancy late-game combo card to use in conjunction with Cabal Shadow Priest
      , Shadow Word: Death
      , and Shadow Madness
      . While these are all good uses, particularly when playing against a slow deck, Shrinkmeister can also be used in the early game to keep our key minions alive.
    • Shadow Word: Death
      is one of Priest’s strongest cards. Particularly in Lightbomb Priest, it is important to keep our minions alive. This means that if we will not be able to trade 1-for-1 or better, we should avoid the trade. Therefore, Shadow Word: Death is the perfect response to many large minions, particularly when it is not practical to Lightbomb.
    • Thoughtsteal
      : Nothing is quite like being killed by a Priest using Crackle
      . Beyond the obvious fun/BM reasons to run Thoughtsteal, I would argue that Thoughtsteal is a critical card in this Priest deck. Particularly when playing against control decks, Thoughtsteal can give us the final bit of reach we need to finish off our opponent. There will always be the times that this card brings back a Shield Slam
      or Deadly Poison
      , but the majority of the time we will gain decent cards. Another lesser known aspect of Thoughtsteal is that it gives us information into which cards our opponent has not yet drawn. To go back to the Warrior example, if we Thoughtsteal an Execute
      after one Execute has been used, we know we do not have to play around an Execute in our opponent’s hand. This information gained from Thoughtsteal, as well the cards, can be game changing.
  • Dark Cultist
    is one of the best 3-drops in the game, provided its Deathrattle has a minion to buff. Even without its Deathrattle, Dark Cultist is simply a souped-up Spider Tank
    . This added value makes it a great minion in Lightbomb Priest. Only one copy of Dark Cultist is ran largely because this deck includes quite a few 3-drops. If you feel like you are not facing many slow decks, replacing a Thoughtsteal with a second Dark Cultist might be a viable option.
  • Deathlord
    is one of the most unique cards in Lightbomb Priest. Deathlord is a tricky card to play – a well-timed Deathlord is almost impossible to deal with, whereas playing a Deathlord into hard removal can lose us the game. When played properly, Deathlord will generally offer incredible value. I’ll cover how to utilize Deathlord to its maximum potential in my Class Specific Match-up section.
  • Shadow Madness
    is another great means of controlling the board. Shadow Madness can be used to turn our opponent’s minions upon themselves, to allow us to bypass a pesky Taunt minion, or to claim a tasty Deathrattle effect. With the prevalence of cards like Sludge Belcher
    , Mad Scientist
    , and Haunted Creeper
    , it is not difficult to get great trades with Shadow Madness. When a minion dies on our side of the board, we get to collect its Deathrattle. This applies even if the minion was being effected by Shadow Madness! Don’t forget to combo with Shrinkmeister for extra shenanigans!
  • Piloted Shredder
    is another weird card to find in a Priest deck. Piloted Shredder was included in this deck primarily because, like Gilblin Stalker
    , it is hard to remove. With Piloted Shredder’s Deathrattle, we have two potential minions to receive buffs. Beyond simply soaking up buffs, Piloted Shredder offers great protection from board clears. This card replaces Control Priest’s Injured Blademaster
    . While it is true that a 4/7 Injured Blademaster may be harder to remove than the Piloted Shredder, Injured Blademaster requires at the minimum a two card combo to become scary (Injured Blademaster plus either Circle of Healing
    or Light of the Naaru
    ). I’ve found Piloted Shredder to be an excellent replacement for Injured Blademaster in this deck.
  • Holy Nova
    is the ace up our sleeve against aggressive decks. A well-timed Holy Nova completely stops the early aggression that is so prevalent on the ladder. Additionally, because Lightbomb Priest tends to have a strong board presence, Holy Nova can be a great way to proc our Northshire Cleric. Keep in mind that Velen's Chosen
    increases the damage dealt by Holy Nova, but not the healing given to our units.
  • Sludge Belcher
    is another card that gives Lightbomb Priest a huge advantage versus aggressive decks. While many Priest decks elect to utilize two Sludge Belchers, Lightbomb Priest sticks with a single Sludge Belcher. This once again has to do with Velen’s Chosen. Because buffing Sludge Belcher would push it into Big Game Hunter
    range, it is usually better to have a Sludge Belcher as a last means of defense in Lightbomb Priest.
  • Antique Healbot
    is critical to winning match-ups versus face decks. When playing versus face match-ups, Antique Healbot and Holy Nova
    allow us to stall the game until we are in position to win. Even when playing against slower decks, Antique Healbot allows us to focus our hero power on healing our minions instead of our face. While I was initially hesitant to use this card in a Priest deck, Antique Healbot has single handedly improved so many match-ups that I’ve reached a point where I can’t imagine not using it.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner
    is another of our removal mechanisms. Sylvanas forces good trades in both control and aggressive match-ups. Often our opponent is forced to use multiple cards to effectively remove Sylvanas from the board. Sylvanas can also be combined with Shadow Word: Death
    on turn 9 to become a home-brewed Mind Control.
  • Lightbomb
    : Essentially a powered up Holy Nova
    , Lightbomb gives us another incredible answer to both aggressive and control decks overextending. When played correctly, Lightbomb will almost always clear our opponent’s board. Additionally, because many of the minions used in our deck have more health than attack, our minions usually survive the Lightbomb. I’m shocked at the lack of attention this card has received prior to Lightbomb Priest, I have found it to be one of the strongest one card board clears in the game. When playing with Deathlords in the deck, Lightbomb also functions as “insurance” against a worst case scenario. In fact, with Lightbomb, we can actually use a Deathlord to force our opponent to overextend into a huge AoE clear. Ultimately, this is another high skill cap card that makes this Priest deck incredibly powerful.
  • Cabal Shadow Priest
    allows us to wreck aggressive decks as the game goes on. The only thing more satisfying than denying our opponent their minions is using their own minions against them. Shrinkmeister adds a very scary combo when used to zap a minion into Cabal Shadow Priest range. When playing against aggressive decks, we should try to steal key threats from them, such as Mad Scientist
    , Webspinner
    , Acolyte of Pain
    , etc. These tempo swings combined with a 4-5 body on the board allow us to further snowball the game in our favor.
  • Mind Control
    is arguably the strongest tempo-swing in the game. While not offering as much value against an aggressive opponent, Mind Control gives us a chance to outplay many other control decks. Even though most card choices in this deck focus on the aggressive opponent, Mind Control is strong enough to give us the upper hand in longer lasting games.

Tech Choices & Substitutions


With the current decks on the ladder, I believe this form of Lightbomb Priest is the most effective. That being said, I have tried various other cards in this deck with mixed results. Here are the results of a few of my experiments.
  • Shadow Word: Death
    is a great card, but having two in our hand versus a deck that spams low attack creatures can be annoying. One Shadow Word Death could be swapped for Vol'jin
    , if you feel like you can consistently deal with the 2 health minion that Vol’jin leaves behind. I found that without Auchenai Soulpriest
    the remaining minion can sometimes be difficult to remove, thus I leave this tech decision up to you.
  • For a more dust-friendly Sylvanas Windrunner
    alternative, Piloted Sky Golem
    can work. I don’t really like this replacement; Sylvanas is fairly critical to maintaining board control.
  • Some tournament variations of Lightbomb Priest have swapped Gilblin Stalker
    for Shadowboxer
    . Consider this deck tech if you are playing against more aggressive decks.
  • I extensively tested Week 4’s Blackrock Mountain cards in this deck. Don’t try to put dragons in this deck. If you play Twilight Whelp
    , you are forced to play other dragons to proc it. Hungry Dragon
    is simply bad – I ran into the same problem I had with Sludge Belcher, that is, if I buffed the minion with Velen’s Chosen it became an easy Big Game Hunter target. Even worse – the minion Hungry Dragon spawns can be really annoying to deal with. Piloted Shredder is a much better 4-drop in almost every way.

Ultimately, this is a fairly cheap deck to craft. I really like the current deck list, but as the rest of Blackrock Mountain is released I may need to make minor adjustments to suit the meta. If you have any ideas on card replacements or deck tech, let me know in the comments!


Playing this Deck


This Priest deck largely comes down to mulliganing correctly, and knowing the correct times to play cards like Deathlord and Velen’s Chosen. One of the more advanced tactics this deck relies on is baiting our opponent into overextending into our huge AoE. A well-placed Lightbomb or Holy Nova can completely shift the game’s tempo. In the following section I will outline the general strategy behind playing this deck against the two most common archetypes in Hearthstone. These are meant to be “quick and dirty” overviews: for a more complete guide refer to the Specific Match-ups section.

Against Aggressive Decks

This deck generally does extremely well against any aggressive deck. Typically, we want to gain a board presence on turn 1-3, completely remove enemy minions on turn 4 and 5, and maintain control from turn 6 onward. This is usually accomplished through creating huge minions and baiting our opponent into overextending. My mulligans against aggressive decks are:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Northshire Cleric
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Deathlord
  • If we have Zombie Chow and Deathlord in hand, we can hold buffs like Velen’s Chosen and Power Word:Shield

Against Control Decks

When playing against control decks, it is important to build up a resilient board while chipping away at our opponent’s health. With this Lightbomb Priest, it is hard to give a “one-size-fits all” strategy when playing against control decks. For example, it would be correct to play Northshire Cleric on turn one against a Priest or a Paladin, whereas the same play would be a huge mistake against Warrior or Mage. The best general advice I can give when playing against control is simply that we want to gain board control early, pressure out their removal spells with our early game minions, abuse our card advantage with Northshire Cleric, and finally finish the game with a series of board clears facilitated by Lightbomb or Holy Nova. My mulligans against most control decks are:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Dark Cultist
  • Deathlord

The largest difference in these two mulligans is that when playing against most control decks, we want to abuse Northshire Cleric’s card draw to get a massive card advantage. Unlike typical Control Priest, we lack the early card draw combo facilitated by Circle of Healing

. This means that we prefer to mulligan for a stronger early game, and draw into Northshire Cleric later in the game when we have more means of drawing many cards. This is particularly key when playing against control decks, because many of these decks will not hesitate to use removal on our Cleric.


Class Specific Matchups


In every deck, Sun Tzu’s most quoted advice (to know your enemy), is key. In Lightbomb Priest, this advice holds as true as ever. Because Lightbomb Priest relies extensively on abusing classes’ weaknesses and avoiding their strengths, being familiar with our opponent’s deck is even more important than when playing other decks.

Zoo Warlock

Zoo is no newcomer on the ladder. At the beginning of this month, the popularity of Zoo Warlock had hit all-time lows. This was revitalized recently with the bug fixes targeted at Bane of Doom

and the debut of Imp Gang Boss
. These cards, along with the popularity of Druid on the ladder, caused Zoo to come roaring back. When playing against a Zoo deck, mulligan for:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Deathlord
  • If you have Zombie Chow and a 2-drop, keep Velen's Chosen

I would rate Zoo Warlock as one of this deck’s best match-ups. Zoo struggles to deal with our huge minions, and has very few mechanisms to swing tempo back in to their favor.
Zombie Chow is particularly valuable when playing against Zoo Warlock. Before turn 4, the only card most Zoo run that can deal with Chow is Knife Juggler

. Most of the time our Zombie Chow can get incredible trades. The same can be said about a turn 3 Deathlord – unless the Zoo Warlock has an incredible board presence there are very few ways for them to respond. To be honest, this match-up does not need extended analysis. Keep your minions alive with your hero power and spells, and this match should be easily won.

Hunter

Face Hunter is another match-up that is favored for Lightbomb Priest. Particularly with the inclusion of Antique Healbot, Face Hunter will struggle to deal with Priest’s healing. Mulligan for:

  • Northshire Cleric
  • Zombie Chow
  • Deathlord
  • Power Word: Shield

When playing versus a Face Hunter, we want to drop some threats and establish board control on the first few turns. Unlike many other decks, Northshire Cleric is amazing against Hunter. Because almost every one of Face Hunter’s early minions has one health and less than 3 attack, Northshire Cleric is a convenient way to hold board control and get an early card advantage. Hunters usually try to save Silence for relative large Taunt minions (the likes of which Lightbomb Priest has plenty), therefore Northshire Cleric is usually free to wreck havoc and draw cards early in the game.
Starting on turn 4 or 5, it is important to heal your face as often as possible. If you manage to play a Taunt minion and buff it up, Hunters typically have an extremely difficult time winning this match-up.

If you are facing a Midrange Hunter, the early games plays out very similarly. The primary difference when playing against a Midrange Hunter is that we want to bait out a large Lightbomb, hopefully taking out several large cards. To this means, don’t be overly Shadow Word:Death happy. What I mean by that is simply if our opponent plays a

when we have a large Taunt minion out, and we have both Shadow Word:Death and Lightbomb in hand, wait a turn to see how he plays. At this point we can make an informed decision as to whether we want to play a Lightbomb, or simply Shadow Word:Death.

Mage

Mech Mage is an aggressive match up that favors Lightbomb Priest. Mech decks are typically vulnerable to AoE, and Priest brings a variety of AoE to the table. Similar to the Zoolock match up, once we initially gain control of the board, Mech Mage has few answers. Mulligan for:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Deathlord
  • If you have Zombie Chow and a 2-drop, keep Velen's Chosen

Because many Mech Mage does not utilize removal cards like Polymorph

, our large Taunts typically stick to the board well. Additionally, Cabal Shadow Priest targets run rampant. It is critically important to remove Mechwarper
quickly, otherwise Mech Mage does have the potential to overrun Priest. Similarly to the Face Hunter match-up, Antique Healbot can effectively save our bacon in this match-up.

Freeze Mage is a hard match-up for Lightbomb Priest. Freeze Mage is definitely favored to win. When playing against a Freeze Mage, it is important to not overextend. It is very tempting to just spew our entire hand against the apparently helpless Mage. Don’t give in to this desire! Be aware of the turn 5 Frost Nova

+ Doomsayer
combo. If we want to win this match-up, it is critical to have Antique Healbot for the turn Alexstrasza
comes down. I would focus on using my hero power to keep my board alive; over healing my face before Alexstraza comes down.

Ultimately, beating a Freeze Mage is dependent on triggering their Ice Block

early. Don’t be afraid to use Doomlords liberally in this match-up: Mage has few minions in their deck, therefore we have a decent chance to remove Alexstrasza from their deck and avoid its deadly effect.

Control Warrior

Control Warrior is another favored match-up for Lightbomb Priest. As long as we do not overextend, Control Warrior simply does not have a way to deal with the constant barrage of threats we play. Mulligan for:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Dark Cultist
  • If you have Zombie Chow and a 2-drop, keep Velen's Chosen

When playing versus a Control Warrior, we want to snowball our early advantage. Luckily, Lightbomb Priest has an assortment of mechanisms to do exactly that! Be wary of the Warrior’s weapons. This is one of the match-ups in which is important to get value from Northshire Cleric’s effect. Avoid playing Northshire Cleric in situations where we cannot draw more than one card.
To utilize Deathlord to its full potential in this match-up, it is important to save this minion for late in the game when we have removal mechanisms for whatever minion Deathlord spawns. Better yet, if we use Deathlord after the Warrior has used his removal mechanisms (Shield Slam

and Execute
), Warrior will struggle to deal with the Deathlord.

As a minor side note, I get giddy whenever a Warrior plays a pre-mature Grommash Hellscream

. By healing Grommash with our hero power, if he has been damaged, we can bring this creature into Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest range. Nothing like convincing Grommash to work for YOU!

Handlock

While the inclusion of Lightbomb definitely improves the Handlock match-up for Lightbomb Priest, it is by no means favored. Even if we get a great Lightbomb off, Handlock typically has more giant (bad pun?) threats to play. This match is not completely un-winnable though. If we manage to answer their initial turn 4 threat, it is possible to snowball our lead into a pre-Jaraxxus win. Mulligan for:

  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Dark Cultist
  • Shadow Word: Death
  • Velen's Chosen

When playing versus Handlock, we must be able to deal with their threats. The best case scenario for us is when they play a Mountain Giant

on turn 4, when we have a Shadow Word:Death in hand. By this point, we hopefully have decent board control. From here, we can brute-force our way to a victory. Be aware of the Molten Giant
+ Shadowflame
combo. Because this combo can single-handedly destroy our entire board, it is important to consider when we want to bring the Handlock lower than 15 health. That being said, we have very little reach in our deck, so we are often forced to just pray the Handlock does not have Molten Giants in hand.

Try to save Lightbomb for cases where we can take out at least 2 Giants. As a final word of warning, once Lord Jaraxxus

is played, there is little Priest can do to win. The constant stream of 6-6 creatures proves to overrun even the best Lightbombs. To this end, it is critical to end the match before Jaraxxus is played. Good luck!

Priest

Control Priest is a match-up that can go either way for Lightbomb Priest. This match-up is all about snowballing over the opposition, before he can do the same to us. Naturally, our AoE gets significantly less value in this match-up, due to the nature of Priest’s minions. Mulligan for:

  • Northshire Cleric
  • Zombie Chow
  • Deathlord
  • Power Word: Shield

When playing against Priest, it is important snowball our advantage, without getting too greedy. This means that is important to always play around cards like Shadow Madness, Shadow Word:Death, and even Cabal Shadow Priest.

Turn one Northshire Cleric is excellent versus Priest. By playing Northshire Cleric, we limit their use of their hero power. After this, it is essentially a race to create the first giant minion. Once a 4-* Injured Blademaster, Deathlord, Zombie Chow, etc. has been created, it is simply that person’s game to win. Make sure to play around tricky combos, Shadow Madness and Cabal Shadow Priest have a plethora of great targets on both sides. Avoid having two Northshire Clerics in play, Control Priest has a nasty habit of using Circle of Healing to make Lightbomb Priests overdraw.

Shaman

Possibly due to the new Shaman Blackrock Mountain cards, I have actually seen an increase of Shaman players on the ladder. This is great news for Lightbomb Priest! Shaman typically play an aggressive board-reliant style – exactly the style Priest counters. In addition to this, Shaman typically play several nice minions to Cabal Shadow Priest. Yes, I’ll take a Flametongue Totem

! Mulligan for:

  • Zombie Chow
  • Gilblin Stalker
  • Deathlord
  • Dark Cultist

Be careful of stacking multiple buffs on a single minion. Shaman have some of the best Silences/removal spells in the entire game. This is definitely a match-up where it pays off to buff cards like Zombie Chow and Deathlord. If the Shaman somehow manages to take you low, be careful of their significant burst. An unexpected Crackle

and Lava Burst
can quickly end the game. As long as we do not over commit to buffing any one minion, this is another easy match-up for Lightbomb Priest.

Conclusion


This deck has proven itself in both ladder and tournament play. I believe it is one of the strongest decks currently available, if played properly. Personally, I piloted this deck to Rank 1 this season. Any time that Zoo Warlock, Face Hunter, or Midrange Hunter is being played, Lightbomb Priest will have favorable match-ups. That being said, Lightbomb Priest does not fix all the problems with classic Control Priest, but it certainly does reduce some of the problems! I greatly appreciate any questions, feedback, or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at shudogin@gmail.com, or comment below! If you enjoyed my guide, consider giving it an upvote! post from sitemap