Update: When this deck what first created it was a very fast Priest built to shine in mid-game, with the focus of buffing and healing your minions. The meta has changed and gotten much faster over the past week. The build is sound, and if played efficiently works well, but can not be as competitive as it once was. If the meta does slow back down in the next few weeks, it might be viable again. Thank you all who played it at the start and had fun. If your interested, I recommend reading the guide and giving it a try.
--------------------- Mid-Range Holy Priest --------------------
This is my personal Priest deck that I want to share with you. I have always loved the Priest as a class, so I set out to create a new GvG Priest that didn't have the same shortcomings and flaws as its predecessor. The new cards we received were not only good, but they fill roles that no other cards could.
Just to clarify, this is a Control deck at it's core, but not limited to only that. It is more of a hybrid, using strong and sturdy minions, with your heals to make you extremely efficient and consistent. With a much faster rate of play than the standard control Priest, you now have options for early game. Meaning your not at the mercy of the luck of the draw. Thus the "Mid-Range Control Priest" is born.
I encourage you to leave a comment, and I will take any suggestions or questions you have seriously and do my best to respond. If you like the deck, be sure to give me an up-vote / +1.
The Core Mechanics:
If your familiar with playing Control Priest it shouldn't be too hard to grasp, however if your inexperienced with this with this class, don't worry... I will outline basic mechanics here.
If you have never played a control Priest before, be prepared. Its a class anyone can play decently, but is quite hard to master. As with most control decks, it isn't as much about the strength of your minions on the board. It's about the way you can manipulate the board to make those minions stronger.
This deck is played a slightly bit different than usual. It's about using all your forms of healing and stat buffing, to get the absolute maximum value from your minions. Ideally you want to buff your minions health via Velen's Chosen, Light of the Naaru, your Hero Power, and Dark Cultists Death-rattle. Then, you can trade into their minions, live, then heal them back up to fight another day. The goal is to try to take out 2 or more of their minions for every one of yours. Aside from these minions, you have numerous spells that can take out any threats that wouldn't be favorable to trade your minions into. Quite often I end up dealing with their cards so effectively that they lose because I've forced them into having to top-deck, with no combos.
Deck Lineup Changes
12/11: -1 Defender of Argus -1 Mind Control / +1 Jeeves +1 Harrison Jones
As for the 2x Defender of Argus... They are yet another buffing minion, and can help protect your Lightwardens, Vol'jin, or Troggzor the Earthinator. But the best use it taunting up a Dark Cultist so that you are pretty much guaranteed his Death-rattle buff.
You keep all the core cards, but really add onto an already strong class.
Key Cards and their uses/synergys :
Shrinkmeister : Just an obviously good minion, 3/2 body and can help you make more favorable trades and can allow you to Cabal or Shadow Madness higher attack creatures. Don't save him forever trying to get the perfect combo, more often, just use him for a good trade or just to use as a 3/2.
Velen's Chosen : This is such an amazing card, used early game on a Northshire Cleric, Dark Cultist, or Injured Blademaster provides a very scary high health minion. For example a turn 1 Northshire Cleric into a turn 2 Coin + Velen's Chosen for a 3/7 on turn 2, its value it just outrageous.
Light of the Naaru : A very cheap heal, that summons a minion that is buffed very easily due to our many heals + Hero Power. It can be used on your hero if you really need to spawn the Lightwarden, or on Injured Blademaster instead of blowing the highly prioritized Circle of Healing.
Lightbomb : This card can have many uses, either as yet another board wipe vs aggro, or as a high attack minion killer (think Handlock Giants or Rag). This card it a little more situational so at this point is a 1'of. Another function is that all of your minions have higher Health than Attack, so you can use this even with your minions out, kill the enemy off, then (with a Northshire Cleric out) use a CoH, drawing 3-4 cards while also buffing your Lightwardens.
Vol'jin : An almost auto include, good attack for 5 mana, but the fact you can basically set your own health, and reduce any minion they have to 2 health.
Troggzor the Earthinator : This minion has a decent body, but the true value comes from it's effect. It's the new Loatheb. Makes your opponent think twice about using any spell, and even if he gets removed by a spell, you still get a 3/5 minion.
Mass Dispel : With the whole new array of deathrattles and buffing minions, I see this card becoming very viable once again. The mana cost is slightly high, but the risk vs reward seems quite worth it. Cycles itself, and can remove all those pesky deathrattles. These 2 cards aren't mandatory, and can be replaced with whatever you feel necessary. (Silence, Smite, SW:P/D, Shadow Madness, Holy Fire all good options)
Defender of Argus : These guys are yet another nice buff to your creatures, and can help you protect your Lightwardens and Troggzor. But the best use is to taunt up your Dark Cultists so that you are pretty much guaranteed to get the Death-rattle bonus.
Jeeves : Jeeves is there to help in the transition from mid-late game, he is situational, and can backfire. So be careful when using him, and do not play him if your opponent is going to get more use from him than you are. If your doing fine on card draw (efficiently using your minions) feel free to remove him and add in Mass Dispel or Mind Control.
Harrison Jones : Lately many classes have been using a lot more weapons than usual, and this deck did have problems dealing with them. Harrison has a strong body to use regardless of the effect, so he can always be useful... and now vs classes with weapons, you have a removal for them, and gain card advantage and that's a win/win/win.
The rest of the deck is pretty self explanatory, this deck is built to be faster, to keep up with the new pumped up MechZoos and other aggro rush decks while also maintaining its core cards for control matchups. Overall I see no exploitable flaws that the priest had pre-GvG. It should be able to keep Aggro decks on the defensive and just enough control to batter down other control decks.
Being a mid-range control deck, there are many early game spells and minions, it can be quite difficult to decide what is worth keeping, and what you should send back for something better.
I am going to break this down into two groups, mulligans vs fast decks and mulligans vs slower decks. It's really impossible to make any kind of more accurate distinction due to the extreme volatility of the current "meta"...
Mulligan Guide vs Fast/Rush/Aggro/Etc Decks:
Your looking for 2 spells, Light of the Naaru, and Velen's Chosen. Either one, or both are good.
Your also looking for 1-3 mana minions. Northshire Cleric, Dark Cultist, and Injured Blademaster.
Mainly wanting to the specific combinations of Northshire Cleric + Velens Chosen, or Injured Blademaster + Light of the Naaru.
Shrinkmeister is generally something you want later in the match, send him back.
If your not able to get these specific combos, DO NOT WORRY, this deck is a mid-range deck. There are plenty of minions and control spells to carry on just fine.
SW:Pain is acceptable to keep if you expect them to have a solid minion played quickly (Like Expecting an Undertaker vs a Hunter) AND you already have at least one of your 1-2 cost minions.
If you get an Injured Blademaster, and a Circle of Healing, it is also acceptable to keep this to pair with coin on turn 3 or regular turn 4.
If your expecting a very strong early game, and do not come across an minion or Velen's Chosen... It is okay to keep an Auchenai Soulpriest and/or a Circle of Healing in hopes for a turn 4 board wipe.
Mulligan Guide vs Slower/Control/Ramp/Etc Decks:
Against slower classes and decks all the same rules from above apply, with a few exceptions...
With the slower decks you have the ability to spend more time on setup. Most importantly, if you draw a Dark Cultist, it is worth also holding onto, or trying for a Defender of Argus. Ideally you want any of your 1-3 minions on board, with your Dark Cultist, then taunt it up. The nice little buff is good, but controlling and forcing your opponent to kill the Cultist first, and in turn giving that buff to your other minions goes a long ways.
I had someone message me and ask a pretty good question, "How does this deck handle heavy aggro without Wild Pyro or other X card/s. This deck is quite a bit different than what were used to, I am posting my reply here, in case anyone else is wondering...
This build is a bit different than how Priest has been being played recently. It's a true healing Holy Priest, rather than controlling the board through Wild Pyros and damage, you now get board presence and don't give it up. Priest now has some really amazing early game minions and spells. Most notably Velen's Chosen, and Light of the Naruu.
Using Velen's Chosen on any of your 1-3 mana minions, creates a very big threat, 3/7 Northshire, 5/8 Dark Cultist, 6/11 Injured Blade master. Every turn a rush deck puts a minion out, you can attack it, lose 3 health, then heal it back up. They really just can't break through something that large. And with a 1 mana 3 health heal that spawns you yet another token that can get buffed really easily, fighting for board control vs aggro isn't impossible now.
By the time they finally do break through your minions, its mid to late game now and you have your Lightbomb, or Aucheni + CoH, or Holy Nova (Also remember Velens Chosen gives spell power so 3 damage Novas) to clear board and from there, they have already ran out of steam and are top decking. The build is so efficient on cards, generally killing 2-4 of their minions with 1 of yours.
And that was just a small portion of the cards you have, don't forget you still have Shadow Madness, Cabal, SW:P/D, Smite and Shrinkmeister that all help in the early game. It's not a standard control deck, it plays out so much faster.
Possible Substitutions :
If the meta does turn out to be a little slower than we are expecting, several of these cards can be changed out for some bigger late game minions.
Kezan Mystic : Could be very useful vs Hunter, and if Mage sees a massive comeback, Pally secrets generally aren't too hard to deal with and offer little threat.
Cairne Bloodhoof : Sticky threat, can benefit from heals and hp buffs.
Ysera : Usually a staple of the control priest, would fit well in this deck, but at the moment I think it will just be too slow.
Sludge Belchers : This deck lacks taunts, which I don't see as a huge issue due to the mass AoE's and the buffs/heals. Your opponent will have a hard enough time trying to wrestle board control from you to even go face. If you feel you need them, take out the Mass Dispels.
Defender of Argus / Sunfury Protector : When using the buffs like Velen's Chosen, you could pair these well to keep you opponent attacking these high health targets or to force them to kill your Dark Cultist for the buff, all while you keep buffing Lightwardens and such.
Be sure to +1 if you like and leave a comment or suggestion.