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Hey guys Sigma here, a multiple-legend player, deck Architect & guide writer from Serbia! Today I present to you my take on the Control Priest that has been around for a while so the concept behind this deck is by no means mine, but these are my techs that helped me greatly in reaching Legend. This deck was one of my three decks that I reached legend with in season 16, but still highly appreciated and used decks of mine, the other two being my variation of the Midrange Hunter and the other one being my OTK Shadow Art Crusher.
As general control priests go, this one also consists of controlling the early game with the Northshire Clerics, Wild Pyromancers and Deathlords, while trying to get as many cards possible for later where the Injured Blademasters and the Holy Champions rule with other present minions while getting buffed by many lovely buffs like Velen's Chosen and Power Word: Shield. End game should be controlled heavily by Sylvanas Windrunner, Chromaggus and Ysera while getting the cards from the Dream Realm like Dream, Nightmare, Emerald Drake and the almighty Ysera Awakens.
If this deck reaches 50 upvotes I will write out a full guide on it including mulligan, two types of strategy and card explanations! As of 10.08. this deck has a detailed guide! Check it out below!
As of 28.08. this deck is updated and ready for TGT! THE GUIDE HAS BEEN UPDATED AS WELL!
TGT EDITS EXPLANATION: So I basically put one more Auchenai Soulpriests in as I really neeeded the combo with the Circle of Healing so many times against aggro decks including Grim patron and I decided that Thoughtsteal might be too slow. Vol'jin is in, Cabal is out simply because I didn't use her as much as I would like to and as I am not stealing enough minions, getting a 6/4+ minion and destroying one of their ones is much bigger in my opinion than a 4/5 with an average 2/2. Holy Champions are in, Zombie Chow out. This really hurt me, because I really love that Zombie. But it is alas time for us to go our separate ways as we have to make space for Holy Champions, which are in my opinion the best cards for priest in TGT. Boom out, Chromaggus in, and with this this deck is OFFICIALLY BGH FREE. Tried Chromaggus, loved it. Kind of tired of Dr. Boom.
As of 05.08. both decks are on the hot page of Hearthpwn!
As for every deck, before I start explaining anything, the introduction is always the same. Please change the deck to the meta accordingly. In order to reach legend with a deck that isn’t just mindless face, you will have to tweak the deck a little bit or at least change the slot for the TECH CARD accordingly (See Card Replacement section).
This guide will have something that no other guide of mine had - matchups. A lot of you asked for them and I went the step farther to write them out as well, which surprisingly took quite a bit more time than I expected.
The guide will be put in spoilers just so you guys don’t have to scroll for ages to get to a specific part of the guide.
This part will be something new that I will be implementing in my guides from now on as it shows the players who read it what they should expect. Please note that the evaluation that I give is solely based on my experience and some others close to me. I will be noting what kind of a match-up it is with the percentage being the rate of your expected victory them being:
Very bad – 20%-30%, Bad 30%-40%, Average – 40%-60%, Good 60%-80%, Very Good 80%-100%.
I will also be noting the key cards versus every match-up that one should be PATIENT with and drop them at just the right moment as they can turn the game in your favour with no problems. The matchups will also be sorted by class, not the victory rate percentage:
Patron – Average Matchup - 50% – With the Patron Warrior, as long as you manage to establish the game until turn 7 or 8 when he has space to throw out the combo, you should be good to go. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case with the priest, as the deck isn’t quick, but slow.
Key cards: Lightbomb, Injured Blademaster, Holy Champion.
Control (Normal or Dragon) – Good Matchup – 65% - The control warrior is a bit of a tricky one, but definitely not unbeatable. This is where the Control Priest takes on the role of a tempo deck as you should be shooting out minions as much as possible and not let the warrior sum up a lot of armor. You should also try and lure out the Executes so that your Ysera can take you to victory. Be careful of his Sylvanas Windrunner as she can easily get your Ysera and after that it’s game over. Save the Shadow Word: Deaths for Grommash and ALexstrasza if you can, try not to waste them on Shieldmaidens. Also save Vol'jin for bigger targets as it can be pretty awful to deal with if he gets a lot of HP.
Key cards: Shadow Word: Death, Vol'jin, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ysera.
Midrange Zoo – Good Matchup – 70% - If kept under control, a very good match-up. As the deck is based on keeping aggro decks under check, if the control is up with the Deathlord, there should be no problems. One has to be patient with the Shadow Word: Deaths as they can also shoot down Doomguards besides minions like Sea Giant and Mal’ganis.
Key cards: Deathlord, Auchenai Soulpriest, Holy Champion.
Handlock – Bad Matchup – 40% - Two words: Lord Jaraxxus. Even the Molten Giants don’t present this deck a problem as there are strong removals like the Shadow Word: Death and Lightbomb to clear them, but from the moment he drops Lord Jaraxxus, especially after using Emperor Thaurissan, you will get overwhelmed by Infernals quite easily. I have won games versus them though, so the 40% is legit. Vol'jin gets HIGH value here almost every time.
Key cards: Lightbomb, Shadow Word: Death, Sylvanas Windrunner, Vol'jin.
Midrange – Good Matchup – 70% - The midrange paladin has never presented that big of a problem for me as the Auchenai + Circle of Healing and the Holy Novas always dealt with the Silver Hand recruits pretty easily. Cabal also helps a lot in stealing the Shielded Minibot.
Key cards: Lightbomb, Holy Nova, Holy Champion.
Face (Ebola) – Very Good Matchup – 90% - The face paladin just doesn’t stand a chance against this deck as they don’t have how to get rid of the Deathlords when they face one unless they use a lot of buffs which is what we want to get out of them as soon as possible. Wild Pyromancers also deal with their minions pretty well as most of them have 1 HP.
Midrange – Very Good Matchup – 80% - The hunters hate priests, and there is a good reason why. Most of them can’t handle minions with high HP unless they get lucky with the Hunter’s Mark so the Injured Blademaster is the key in this matchup as when healed with either Light of the Naaru or even better the Circle of Healing they usually become out of reach pretty quickly. The only problem with this deck is that you need to try not get your key minions returned to your hand like the Blademaster. Use the Freezing Trap in your use though when you are sure it's freezing by taking the HP from your Deathlord with Vol'jin and then returning the Deathlord back to your hand. Ahhhhhh, the value is real.
Face/Hybrid – Very Good Matchup – 95% - They don’t stand a chance. Your healing will make their goal which is burning your face farther away as the game goes on, as long as they don’t get very lucky and you get no cards to play until turn 4. Then you screwed son. In any other case you should be good to go.
Burst/Oil – Average Matchup 40% - The rogue that boosts his weapon to like 10 damage and then stabs you into oblivion with it is a big problem for priest. Rogue has never been a friendly class for the priest and unless kept in check with our midrange cards, and unless getting good Blade Flurries, there is a good chance to win.
Mech – Very Good Matchup – 80% - The mech shaman can be easily held in check if we get something early on that we can contain his minions with. They also usually have no responses for the Deathlords and the Injured Blademaster or Holy Champion hold most of their minions in check properly, especially after having Velen’s Chosen used on them. Make sure you make them suffer before finishing their Fel Reaver with the Shadow Word: Death.
Midrange/Ramp – Good Matchup – 75% - The midrange druid’s main combo weapon being the combo that you can basically have outhealed at all times, they become easy targets for our stronger minions. Tiring them out is easy when you have the Holy Novas and the Injured Blademasters are a very hard minions for them to deal with, unless they spend two removals, which leaves them open afterwards.
Flamewaker – Good Matchup – 60% - Flamewakers can be controlled quite well if the early game isn’t perfect for them. Here, Holy Nova is most important to be used after the Mirror Image is used. They usually have no reply to Ysera, so if there is a window of opportunity to play her, it should definitely be done.
Freeze/Echo – Very Bad Matchup – 20% - This matchup is just awful. Control priest is a very slow deck by nature and the slower the deck is for the freeze mage, the better (excluding the Control Warrior), so the only way for you to win is if he doesn’t get the right stuff and if you actually manage to burn him down on time, which isn’t impossible.
As in my other guides, I will divide the mulligan into aggro decks and control decks and with the coin and without the coin as there is where I find the biggest differences in looking for those perfect cards for the beginning of the game. One thing has to be kept in mind with the priest. You want to tire your opponent out and control the board every turn with the help of your buffs and heals, so keep that in mind when looking for cards in the beginning of the game.
Slow decks (Control Warrior, Midrange Paladin, Chinese/Control Priest, Midrange Shaman, Handlock, Malygos Warlock, Combo Druid, Freeze Mage, Midrange Zoo, Midrange Hunter, Oil Rogue, even Grim Patron):
Fast decks (Ebola Paladin, Face Hunter, Hybrid Hunter, Tempo Mage, Mech Shaman, Zoo Warlock, Mech mage, or anything mech):
All of these in italic are to be kept if you have at least two of the cards which aren’t in italic. If you don’t, you can either risk it and ditch them, or you can leave them as they might as well help your early to mid-game to some point.
Velen’s Chosen (vs Control) – Velen’s Chosen is a slow card that can help you make your one minion stronger and more durable like the Zombie Chow, Northshire Cleric, or the Wild Pyromancer. As it can be kept against control decks which are more or less slower than its counterpart, it is included as an exception. Keep it if you have what to put it on, if not, ditch.
Power Word: Shield (vs. Aggro) - PWS is an amazing card against aggro decks, especially when matched with the Coin and Wild Pyromancer, which then turns into a lethal machine against those pesky face hunters. Wild Pyro requires a bit of practise, but when it is mastered, it wins early games no problems. Again keep if you have what to put it on, preferably the Northshire Cleric, Wild Pyromancer or Zombie Chow.
Light of the Naaru – A card that should only if you have an Injured Blademaster already or if you are expecting a LOT of aggression from your opponent, but even then I would consider keeping it. Goes perfectly with the Blademaster, as it heals it and spawns a Lightwarden at the same time.
Holy Nova (vs. Aggro) – Keep this card at your own risk. It is a perfect turn 5 play in most games against very quick decks but can also doom you to wait until turn 5 if you get no other good cards to play before it. I like to keep it sometimes when I already have most of the remaining mulligan that I have written for aggro decks. If you don’t feel safe though, don’t risk it. Ditch it and hope for better cards.
The strategy will be divided into two parts, one covering the chronological aspects of the deck being the Early, Mid and Late game, and other one covering the dynamic strategy aspects of the game, in this case being the Fire the Pyre, Circle of Shadow and H.E.A.L..
The Early Game is usually where the Priest tries to get the most cards in in order to open up more options for the mid game, provided by the one and only Northshire Cleric. Here you would want to try to lure out your opponent’s minions that have less than 3 attack so that you can manage to get at least one card out after hitting the opponent’s minion with the Cleric and healing it. Besides the Cleric, Wild Pyromancer is also a card that should be looked at carefully, and used to the utmost possibilities. That will be explained more in the Fire the Pyre part.
One of the optimal plays let’s say would be: Turn 1 Northshire Cleric, Turn 2 Hit with Cleric & Heal it, Turn 3 Injured Blademaster + Circle of Healing(or Coin into Light of the Naaru), Turn 4 Deathlord + Power Word: Shield on the same.
Optimal play against aggro would be: Turn 1 Northshire Cleric, Turn 2 Wild Pyromancer + Coin + Power Word: Shield, Turn 3 Injured Blademaster + Circle of Healing, Turn 4 Deathlord + Power Word: Shield.
As the Mid game comes by, you should either be pressuring your aggro opponent into crushing his minions into your walls of buffed minions or having a strong Injured Blademaster on the board. If by turn 4 you have 4 minions on the board, which will be quite hard for your opponent to control. If you manage to buff any of your early game minions with a Velen’s Chosen and manage to keep it for more than 2 turns the game will more or less be already done in your favour. The aggro decks can make your mid game turn into hell but there is also another aspect which will be explained thoroughly in the Circle of Shadow. One of our latest additions to the priest deck is the Holy Champion. She is just amazing. She gets buffed from ANY healing, she doesn't care if you heal with a Light of the Naaru, or Circle of Healing, or your Hero Power, SHE GETS STRONGER. She can easily turn into a massive killing machine if left unchecked. Use that. The mid game is where Vol'jin also starts to shine. Be patient with him, don't settle for anything under 4 HP, unless its a face deck although usually against face decks playing Vol'jin is too slow anyway. Also keep in mind that you should try to get the best minion possible with Sylvanas Windrunner and to remove the small minions before killing her off. This is the time when the Thoughtsteals come into play and it is usually the cards from them being played until the late game comes around if nothing better comes from your deck.
By the time the Late game comes around, the aggro decks would have probably already conceded after facing Velen’s Chosen Deathlords, while the control decks you will have most fun with. That’s where Chromaggus and Ysera take over and start rolling in some major tempo for you. Be careful with Ysera though, because if you lose control of her somehow, it will be instant game over for you, as you don’t have a way to kill her, unless removing with minions you most likely won’t be having. That’s also where the Lightbomb starts taking effect and it needs to be taken with care and patience and it can turn the game in your favour easily, while using it too early can result in your quick demise, especially against Handlocks for example.
Also, let’s say it’s turn 9, your opponent plays first, he plays either Ysera, or another turn 9 minion that would basically seal the game if you had it and it remains alone on his part of the board, you can always drop Sylvanas Windrunner and kill her (yes, kill your Sylvanas Windrunner) with a Shadow Word: Death in order to get a solid late game minion.
STRATEGY ASPECT: FIRE THE PYRE
Wild Pyromancer is one of the controversial cards in priest decks, utterly hated by aggro decks, and for a good reason. After every spell it deals one damage to all minions on the board, which can be extremely lethal for decks with a lot of minions with one HP. The thing that one needs to be careful of is not to kill the Pyromancer during using the spells.
One of the best cards that work with him is the Power Word: Shield which can make the pyro into a very strong weapon, especially if he stays alive for one turn when you can heal him and wreck havoc all over again. Especially if hidden behind a Deathlord, you can manipulate him and buff him with Velen’s Chosen and transform him into an extremely good midrange card.
STRATEGY ASPECT 2: CIRCLE OF SHADOW
The Auchenai Soulpriest, the second of which I would most gladly introduce into the deck if the maximum number of cards allowed was to be 31. This card works splendidly with quite a bit of cards in this deck, something which might surprise many. Your hero power turns into being able to deal 2 damage every turn, the Circle of Healing which can serve as a doubled deathrattle of an Abomination, dealing 4 damage to all minions can especially serve to be useful against not only aggro decks but also control ones. One more card that works is the Light of the Naaru, which can serve as instant 3 damage to anything while spawning the Lightwarden, which probably won’t be getting any buffs, at least while the Auchenai is out, but In any case, a free 1 2 is always good. All of these things need to be kept in mind while playing this deck because all of them may show you the path to victory.
STRATEGY ASPECT 3: H.E.A.L.
How Every Aggro Loses.
Healing. While playing this class you are taking the role of the mighty young hair of Stormwind, the human capitol in the Warcraft world, the mighty healer. Use those powers bestowed upon you and heal your ass off.
In all seriousness though, keep that in mind, especially if you have switched to priest from a class who has an aggressive hero power, this hero power is used to preserve your minions and yourself and make you more endurable for the further parts of the game. Against strong aggro decks, a heal a turn somewhere after turn 2 is perfect, especially against hunters as it basically negates their hero power, which they abuse in nearly every turn (if they are any good, that is). Sometimes on turn 4 it’s even better to play a 2 cost minion and heal yourself then play the Auchenai Soulpriest. Keep that heal in mind, it will save your ass.
I do believe that the Circle of Healing, Power Word: Shield, Northshire Cleric, Wild Pyromancer, Velen’s Chosen, Injured Blademaster, Auchenai Soulpriest, Holy Nova Sylvanas Windrunner and Ysera are more or less self-explanatory so I will not explain them, I will rather pay attention to the “unorthodox” cards in this deck which might confuse some.
2x Light of the Naaru – Some people run 1, I prefer to have two as I actually had some 5+ Lightwardens from it and I like the 1 mana heal against aggro decks. A perfect card to heal an Injured Blademaster with and to be taken out with on turn 4.
2x Shadow Word: Death – I am just simply afraid of what might come out from the Deathlord and before using two of them I cursed the RNG gods so many times for not giving me one while the opponent got a Dr.Boom from my Deathlord. So two are in order.
1x Thoughtsteal – I just love the RNG of this card. It makes the generic priest fun, especially if you manage to pull off some sick combos and make your opponent ragequit. 2 proved being too much so one went out to make space for another Auchenai Soulpriest.
2x Holy Nova – Keeps the aggro in check while healing your minions on the contrary to the Lightbomb which costs more, but damages your minions as well. As you will most likely have some minions on the board to remove big threats with (in case you don’t have SWD of course), the Holy Nova will come as a perfect play.
1x Lightbomb – The same reason as I noted for Holy Nova, a heavy card that also damages my minions, nah thanks, I’d rather go with two Novas, even though they damage for 2 (or even more if Velen’s Chosen is up)
Deathlord – Again one more aggro stopper. Sure, it might result in the opponent getting a strong card, but as a lot of aggro and midrange decks are being played, the chance he might get something that costs more than 8 mana are quite low and with my two SW:Ds, I am ready for even the worst minions popping out.
Chromaggus - Out of the BGH range, and an incredible card draw mechanism, as it stacks with the Northshire Clerics as well (ALL CLONES, GET IN HERE), the opponent usually has a hard time removing him as well so this card is here to stay.
Vol'jin - The one and only Shadow Hunter himself. Here for BIG tempo swings and strong board presence which is outside of the BGH range.
Why no Shadow Word: Pain? As this deck is focusing on getting minions out before turn 4, the minions with low attack should be dealt with with no problem.
Why no Harrison Jones? No matter how much this card fits in this deck, I have seen more use of the ones I decided to go with, just because they have so much impact on the board from the moment they are being played. So far I haven’t had any card draw problems, but if I did I would include this card for sure.
Why no Dr. Boom? Since every control deck runs BGH nowadays, this basically becomes a 2 2 with potential of 8 extra damage for 7 mana, while Chromaggus can offer so so much more. Boom out, Chromaggus in.
Why no Shrinkmeisters? Also one of the most commonly asked questions. I don’t like this card that much as the chances of you actually having the Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest are just so low. This card also works quite well with the Shadow Word: Pain, something that I also left out, and since the remaining Cabal Shadow Priest is also one of the cards that I removed, they are staying out until further notice.
I will not name any non-adventure rare cards and lower, the rest I will try to cover, even though you have to be aware that you really shouldn’t expect the same results as I had if you change a lot of the cards from the original setup.
Lightbomb – > Big Game HunterTech[/card]/Loatheb/Harrison Jones
Deathlord - > Sen’jin Shieldmasta/Shadow Madness/Kezan Mystic
Sylvanas Windrunner - > Piloted Sky Golem/Loatheb/Harrison Jones
Ysera –> Mind Control/Nefarian
Vol'jin -> Cabal Shadow Priest/Emperor Thaurissan
One more card that can be taken into consideration which I haven’t tested yet simply because I don’t have it is Bloodmage Thalnos, who can make your Holy Novas remove much more, which would especially be useful against Grim Patrons.
This guide took me about 5 hours to write, spellcheck and adapt to the website so I hope you guys appreciate it! If you would like to show a bit more appreciation, come by while I am streaming and ask me how!
Here is the proof of the Legend, which is my third time I am reaching Legend in the last 4 seasons:
The Legend Hall of Fame
Season 17 Vanguards:
Moutishake - Rank 80 Legend
FiceT - Rank 118 Legend
Kosmos - Rank 638 Legend
If you would like to refer this or another one of my guides in a video of yours or a stream let me know in twitch private messages or here, I will be more than happy to hear about it or leave my personal opinion on them or leave a podcast.
If you have any other remarks suggestions or comments regarding the deck or the guide, post them in the comments below!