Dragon Priest: A Powerful Tribe Meets Big Spells

Dragon Priest: A Powerful Tribe Meets Big Spells

Dragons enjoy a storied history in World of Warcraft lore. From newcomers like Sindragosa to classics like Ysera and Deathwing, dragons have likewise been asserting their dominance in Hearthstone for a long time — and they aren’t going anywhere.

In the earliest months of Hearthstone, Ysera was a win condition for Control Priest. Blackrock Mountain and League of Explorers introduced many dragons to the set, which players banded together to create powerful Dragon Warrior tempo decks. Since Alexstrasza's Champion and Blackwing Corruptor left for Wild, players have found space for dragons in Highlander Priest and Control Mage, taking advantage of their tribal synergies in control matchups while using their generally formidable stats as leverage in midrange and tempo matchups. And of course, Kibler finds a way to thrill us with dragons no matter the class or meta — piloting Mitsuhide’s #2 Legend OTK deck while climbing to Legend in October.

The bottom line: dragons are a powerful, versatile tribe in Hearthstone. While Patches the Pirate and his ragtag crew have sped up the meta significantly, this hasn’t stopped players from experimenting with non-aggro decks in the month since Kobolds and Catacombs. We’ve seen, for instance, a powerful Control Warlock archetype and the continued dominance of both Razakus and Big Priest at high ranks. For months, in fact, these were the only Priest archetypes to keep in mind at the mulligan phase. But things have changed.


Cheating Mana with Dragons

Enter Dragon Priest — nothing altogether new, but a fun amalgam of powerful dragons, big spells, and Prince Keleseth. The style of deck, first dreamed up by Satellite, currently offers the potential for blow-out tempo swings against aggro and tempo decks alongside the flexibility of a value-oriented gameplan against, say, Control Warlock. The deck aims to use Northshire Cleric, Kabal Talonpriest, and Duskbreaker to maintain a semblance of board control early on, leveraging that advantage into overwhelming plays on turns four, five, and six. Twilight Drake and Cobalt Scalebane should dominate the board on these turns.

The most exciting new additions to the archetype are Spiteful Summoner and Grand Archivist, a duo capable of generating insane amounts of pressure against any opponent. The idea is to include only a handful of spells in our deck — in this case Mind Control and Free From Amber — so that, as with Big Spell Mage, we maximize the value from the Summoner and Archivist. The damage this causes the opponent is difficult for them to mitigate, often putting games out of reach at turn six.

There are two popular variations of the deck floating around out there: a value-focused one with Netherspite Historian, two Mind Control, and one Free From Amber; and a tempo-focused list with Prince Keleseth, one Mind Control, and two Free From Amber. Of course, one is not inherently better than the other. Players will need to analyze the meta at their rank and play accordingly.

One tip, though: Mind Control can absolutely dominate the Control Warlock lists that are so popular right now. Stealing a Voidlord allows you to continue pressing damage, protects your minions from Doomguard, and cheats the opponent’s Death Knight of value. And stealing a Carnivorous Cube does, in fact, give you two of whichever minion it consumed with its Battlecry. Without consistently drawing Duskbreaker, though, this build suffers against Aggro Paladin and other fast decks. To compromise, the Keleseth build could perform well with a Kabal Songstealer tech to answer rampant Voidlords.

Always mulligan for Northshire Cleric, Prince Keleseth, and Kabal Talonpriest. In Control matchups, you can prioritize the Cleric, Keleseth, and Spiteful Summoner. Always toss the spells back to maximize potential value for Spiteful Summoner and Grand Archivist. The control matchups are fun to navigate, because if the tempo gameplan doesn’t quite get you there, you must pivot to prioritize value. Deciding when, if ever, to make that pivot will often decide these games. Against Tempo Rogue and the like, whoever controls the board throughout the early game usually comes away with a win.


Take them by Surprise

In case anyone wasn't aware, dragons are good. Their resilience as the meta changes proves this. While there are still Razakus and Big Priests all over the standard ladder, the new Dragon Priest should be on the minds of everyone (especially those who queue into a Priest expecting a combo deck). Moreover, its versatility against many of the meta’s most popular decks makes it a wise choice, while its blowout potential with Spiteful Summoner makes it fun to play, too — a welcome combination for those hoping to climb ranks. 

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