Hello everyone, I'm Olwen, a priest only player, and as usual, I like building priest decks, here is one that works pretty well in the new standard meta.
Down below, you'll find a detailed guide where I'll try to give you tips on how to play the list, how you can mulligan with it, aswell as some explanations on a few cards, as to why I decided to include them. Furthermore, you'll find a section where I'll suggest some subs, in case you don't have every card ( and it's not a problem, only a few cards are core to this "archetype" ) or want to increase your winning chances against certain matchups. d
12/04/2021 LEGEND Edit : Finally, I've reached legend today, with the list shown below. I did many tries to find a constant combination, trying to achieve the perfect balance between fun and viability. This list isn't really an "auto-pilot" one, you can easily misplay with it, but I believe it's really thrilling to come back games, to try and find the perfect answers with the discoveries etc... Latest changes explained in the part III, and keep in mind that even if priest is the 9th class in terms of winrate at the moment, with the nerfs coming tomorrow, it should be easier to play our good old Anduin ! Have fun. :)
I ) The gameplan
II ) Mulligans and matchup tips
III ) Substitute cards/other options
IV ) Screenshots
I ) The gameplan :
As usual, priest doesn't really have a clear win condition combo, and this list abides this law, so don't expect a "general" rule that you'll apply every game in order to win ! It can be a bit weird to apprehend, but it's also one of the reasons why priest is such a fun class to play.
Think of this list as a midrange/control one, that aims at making value plays.
Midrange, because on some occasions, where you have a very strong early hand, you'll start to snowball the game at turn 3, and if your opponent didn't develop threatening answers by turn 5, he'll never be able to comeback from the value you are generating.
Control, because most of the time, you win by maintaining board control. You'll destroy their minions eventually ( even if you have to tank some dmg in early turns ) and when you take back board control, you start to breath again in the game. You can develop "greedy"/value plays with your Sethekk Veilweaver, drop your drakes discovered with Draconic Studies, play a big Nazmani Bloodweaver turn that will help you make big turns later on etc...
The control gameplay is also highlighted when you are facing an aggro list, on these occasions, don't try to lose a turn and play for value if you have an option that either allows you to kill your opponent's minions or an option to heal that might not be possible next turn, if you can play a taunt or not etc...
Now don't get me wrong, and that's another reason why I think this list is "fun" to play, because even when you are playing against aggro, sometimes you don't have anything better to do than to greed and play for value, by discovering spells, hoping to find a good answer. But what I mean to say, is that against aggro lists, it's usually better to contest the board as much as you can rather than holding your cards in hopes you'll be able to get more value from them later.
Before going into the part II of this guide, I'll give you some explanations regarding cards in the list, in case you are wondering why they are there, and how you should play them.
I included the Elekk for a few reasons. Firstly, it's a good 3 minion drop with his 3/4 body. If you play the list, you'll notice that playing a turn 3 card on curve while having Insight in hand is really good, and the Elekk does that, because he'll be hard to trade for many matchups. Secondly, his effect fits the archetype. Now you need to be a bit wary when playing him, it's obvious but try to play only "good" spells that you'd like to draw in this game ( If possible, try not to play the coin when Elekk is on board for instance ) Sometimes it can get stupidly good and this single card will give you the win. Last, but not the least, I've thought of this minion because of the Tickatus Warlock list. You probably already understood it, but this card helps you mitigate/negate the Tickatus effect ( game will still be hard if he plays Jaraxxus early though ) but the Elekk makes this matchup much more playable in my opinion.
Well, there are many things to say about this card, and I won't be comprehensive. The list is playable without her, but I feel like she gives you access to sometimes really needed plays to win games. It's hard to describe, it's easier to understand while witnessing her plays, but there are a few scenarios where she'll be insane : You have the upperhand, you think you'll be able to setup lethal in 2 turns, you know that you don't have a good answer for your board in your current hand or your deck, then you switch hands and your opponent can't do anything. In other cases, when your hand doesn't allow to develop insane plays, you can drop illucia if your opponent just refilled his hand last turn, it gives you information, delays his curve, and the funny thing is, many people won't understand the best things to play to waste the cards you handed them, even around diamond/legend ranks. Illucia can also be used as a last resort if you think opponent has lethal in his hand, obviously it's not a reliable win condition, but sometimes it will save you and you'll be able to comeback afterwards etc...
This card is a really strong one. In my opinion, its power relies on two things : obviously a good synergy with healing cards of the priest class, playing her in a "normal" combo with a Renew or simply your hero power is usually strong enough to take back the board, and playing her on turn 4 or 5 against many matchups will give you the lead. The other reason is the "bullshit" plays you can make with her : priest is far from being a broken class, but I have to admit that with some setups, you can play really big AOE turns with her, and this is exactly what you'll need to compete with the current tier 1 lists of the meta that can develop really big boards out of the blue, like spell mage or libram paladins. When you have her in hand, it's usually a good idea to keep a cheap healing spell in hand for her, if you think your opponent might try to create a big board in the next turns.
Not a mandatory card ( although it's a free legendary now ) but I've added her along with my latest changes with the two Educated Elekk The synergy between those two cards is rather obvious, but Malygos also works with the rest of the list. You don't need to try to direct your plays towards playing on turn 9 or as soon as you can every time you draw him, but think of it more like a possibility. With specific setups, you'll be able to play stupid combos with him and Nazmani Bloodweaver and it's simply a strong card to maintain pressure in turns 10 and beyond.
II ) Mulligans and matchup tips :
As a general rule, you want the cards you want to keep are your low mana cost ones, that don't need setups to get value. Typically, you should always keep Wandmaker and Palm Reading ( For this spell, even if you don't have other spells in hand after your mulligan; which is quite unlikely; there is still a chance you'll draw some by turn 3 )
( LEGEND UPDATE : I'll write new tips that are coherent with the updated list )
To conclude this section, I'm going to give you some tips against the classes that I've faced the most since the beginning of the latest expansion, but I won't talk about every class because I haven't played enough games against the least played ones.
- Mage or Jaina shennanigans
This matchup can get hard, because like every other list in the current game, my list won't be able to withstand the mage spell highroll when they play deck of lunacy turn 1 or 2 and get the best combos possible, along with drawing cards in early. However, it's still possible to beat them, even when they play lunacy turn 2. The thing is, mage is a bit "slow" before they can get threatening, meaning that you have the opportunity to develop your own plays in the first turns. No specific mulligan here, but keep in mind that against this matchup, discarding the cost of your cards will be really useful, playing Nazmani Bloodweaver on turn 4 with 2, 3 or even more spells is possible against Mage and should give you the lead. Watchout for their dmg burst with their Fireball , Apexis Blast or Mask of C'htun, for this last one, always try to flood the board with big drakes discovered with the studies. Mindrender Illucia is a pretty good card in this matchup, because her effect has a double value here, often allowing you to play their low mana spells, but the information taken on their hand is huge, and should allow you to play around them if possible. ( You can see how much burst they have, do they have useful spells, or do they have a dead hand at the moment with spells they can't use etc... )
- Paladin or Uther bullying you with " Hey loser ! "
Those lists are probably your worst matchups. I don't know their numbers, but I've seen a few different paladin lists, some of them are more "classic" and are similar to the libram paladin from last expansion, those ones are balanced matchups for you, but the kind of "aggressive" lists that play early minions like the 1/4 murloc, with Blessing of Kings are really tough to handle for you. The main reason they destroy us is the secret package every list plays. You are forced to play around Oh My Yogg! every time a new secret is played, and that will mess up most of your turns since this list relies on spells to control the board. For this reason, I strongly advise you to try to always keep a low mana spell ( 0 or 1 ) in hand that you generated or reduced cost as long as you can, to be able to use it first if you really need to clear the board during a precise turn. There'd be many things to say, I can't really cover all of them, if you managed to survive until turn 7 ( and his board is not threatening lethal for next turn... ) I'd say you faced the worst, and from now on, you should be able to outvalue him, the good thing is libram paladin is quite predictable, meaning that it's "easy" ( lol ) to play around them, you know what spells you need to discover according to which cards they have left.
For Mulligan, I think it's one of those matchups where you'll want to find your removals early, you should always keep Hysteria , Condemn , Holy Smite and I'm not sure if it's that good, but I also keep Xyrella in hopes I'll get acces to a way to heal myself for 0 by turn 4 or 5 if needed. Acidic Swamp Ooze is a good card to keep aswell.
- Rogue or Valeera drawing & fireballing
Might come back to this later, I haven't faced that many rogues. So far, I think there are 3 main different lists : A ) Rogue playing the watchpost synergy // B ) Rogue Miracle with the new 3/2 and 1/4 rogue minions // C ) Rogue aggro with the 2 different weapons aswell as many poison spells
They are ranked by levels of difficulty, in my opinion you'll be able to easily handle the A list, B list is a bit harder if they have very good early draws to develop their plays, but it's still winnable, especially considering that rogue doesn't have that many removals for your big minions if you can take control of the board. However, the C list is a really bad matchup, you can't allow yourself a single dead turn, they have tons of dmg, and if you can't find healing spells/synergy while discovering, you're going to have a bad time.
- Warlock or the one who'll make you understand what " You face JARAXXUS " means
In the first versions of my list, Tickatus Warlock was a really bad matchup, but ever since I've added Educated Elekk ( you should keep it for this matchup ) the games are much more balanced, might even be a bit in your favor.
Those games are all about finding the perfect balance between for each turn, between value and board control, especially in late game turns. If you managed to draw and get value out of the Elekks, you should be fine regarding his Tickatus & Y'Shaarj plays, but it won't be enough to win the game, because Jaraxxus can be a real pain. The way I see it from my experience, by playing this list, you are the one supposed to have the lead during the first turns, at least until turn 7. It means that by this turn, you should already have generated some value, forced the Warlock to start using his removal cards. Afterwards, it'll depend of his hand, you should try to play each turn the best cards you can to "flood" the board and be threatening, so that the Warlock has to make the choice about wether he wants to greed and drop Tickatus/Jaraxxus and give you a "free turn" or not. Try to always discover the greediest cards ( pick the big drakes only with studies etc... )
A good tip is that many Warlock lists play the 5/4 legendary demon that adds 3 primus legendaries in your deck after dying. Therefore, you should keep Initiation if you created him, or pick him while discovering for this target.
Regarding the other classes, I might take the time to write about them later, but we don't see many of them in the current standard ladder.
Druid ~~> If it's big druid, it's a good mu for you, token druid can get tricky but it's an instant win if you have your AOE cards in early, Xyrella can give you a free win depending on the situations.
Shaman ~~> I've seen a Shaman face list that plays the windfury weapon, it's a really bad mu for you, try to draw your Ooze, heal as much as you can, and that's pretty much it.
Priest ~~> Value, value and yet again, value. There are different lists being played by priest players, but it's all about maintaining board control while generating value.
Demon Hunter & Hunter ~~> I think I've litteraly seen 2 hunters during this week, and probably less than 5 demon hunters. Mulligan like you are facing an aggro list ( they can play midrange/combo ones though ) and try to adapt a control gameplay against them.
III ) Substitute cards/other options :
Before giving you ideas for other cards, here are the latest changes made to the list, along with some explanations :
11/04/2021 Changes :
~~> The real problem with the Nazmanis are when you don't draw them early game. The way I see it, they are really good when played on turn 3, or turn 4 if you played Palm Reading during turn 3 as a setup. This precise play is a "good" one, but other than that, they don't do much. :( If you reach turn 10, they are basically dead cards because wasting a whole turn to proc their effect is not worth, if your opponent doesn't trade them, it's because you were ahead anyways, and you should have played something better actually, more threatening, a play that would have given you more value. The Scoundrels are quite versatile on the other hand, it fits with the "discovering" theme of this list, you can sometimes overdraw your opponent, you can "bait" them by picking a card you have the perfect answer for in your hand, it gives you information on which cards are in their deck etc... The 5/5 body is good, and is pretty nice when played on curve.
And the last change was cutting Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate out : It might not be a good decision, you can keep him if you like his effect, but after giving him many chances, he just doesn't seem efficient enough for me. I've added back Headmaster Kel'Thuzad instead but it's not mandatory at all, he was useless aswell in most of my games, I think I'll try to add Ysera the Dreamer in the list and see if it's too greedy or not, because this drake is really good against Warlock & Paladin.
12/04/2021 Legend changes :
As I was winning a bit more in diamond ranks, I realized that I was still losing pretty hard against paladins. That's the reason why I've added the following combo :
This combo is really good against paladin, and it can help you both in early or late game. Besides, this 1 mana spell also has a synergy with Malygos, because you can play it on the same turn as Maly, and allow you this "greedy" move to come back in the game.
I also decided to replace the 2 * Insight by 2 * Thrive in the Shadows because after many games, sometimes you run out of spells in your hand ( it's rare, but can happen ) and most of your minions need spell support to generate value. That's why I believe drawing a spell is better than a minion, but you could play 1 Insight along with 1 Thrive in the Shadows !
In this part, I'll try to give you my thoughts on good substitues, other cards to consider that could fit the list. I've tried most of them, and it's really up to you to pick the best combination of 30 cards that you deem better/funnier to play ! :)
I won't give explanations for every card, I'll simply spread them through different categories, and to keep a balanced list, I'd suggest you to substitute cards according to those categories, but it's just my opinion.
Any cards played as a singleton in the list can be played in two copies. By doing so, you improve your chances to draw them, and therefore, you are directing a bit the list to deal with certain matchups, where playing those cards ( usually removals but not only ) on the right turn will give you the lead.
~~> I want to play more value cards !
~~> I want to play more control cards !
~~> I'm not affraid of greedy cards !
IV ) Screenshots :
Here, you'll find some illustrations of fun plays, insane synergies ( that don't happen that often, but can still happen ! :) )
The midrange aspect, here is my hand at turn 3 where I'll play Palm Reading...
And here is the state of the board, at the end of my turn 4, knowing that it was completely empty at the start of it...
Here is an exemple of an Elekk play that got way out of hand for my opponent, since I had 2 Elekks with 11 spells in their deathrattles.
And when he reached the end of his deck, I had still 35 cards left in mine.
Here, you can see the power of the list at its maximum potential, where I'll be able to play a 3 mana Malygos on turn 8, te draw 9 cards.
And that's about it, thank you for reading, and for the support shown for this list, I hope this guide can give you some hints on how to play the list. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write them in comments, and good luck on climbing the ladder with the best class of this game ! RAISE YOUR ANDUINS :D