Up to this point we’ve covered some fairly straightforward Hearthstone decks. Sure, Shaman has some neat quirks, but the name of the game is still as a simple as holding the line while you mow down your opponent with high damage spells and totemic powers. The Priest deck is an entirely different beast. If you’re looking for a high powered setup with lots of crazy tricks, this is the deck for you. It can be a little vulnerable in the early game, but as the game progresses the true power of the Priest will make itself known to your unfortunate foes.
Anduin Wrynn might’ve spent most of World of Warcraft as a boy, but in Hearthstone, he’s a man with some brutal power at his disposal and is the official emissary of the cloth wearing wielders of the Light and Shadow.
What? Hero powers? That’s right, Anduin Wrynn has more than one. The Priest deck features three different abilities based on the use of the Shadowform card. The first ability, Lesser Heal, is fairly straight forward. Despite its simplicity, restoring two health is incredibly handy in most circumstances. It can be used on minions and heroes alike, so if turn two rolls around and you have nothing to play in your hand, feel free to buff yourself back up a few points, assuming you’ve lost any health. If you happen to come across Shadowform, the Priest replaces the small healing spell with a two damage spell, Mind Spike. This is an incredibly solid spell, and essentially the Hunter ability Steady Shot, but better because it can also ping minions, as opposed to just heroes. Finding another Shadowform and playing it will award the Priest Mind Shatter, which now deals three damage for two energy, the same cost as the two prior spells. Shadowform costs three energy, meaning that it’s possible to get the damage dealing hero abilities going as early as turn three.
If it seems like the Priest deck has a lot of spells, it’s because it absolutely does. That’s good and bad. You’ll have a lot of choices when building your deck, but that means that you’ll also need to be a bit choosier. When it comes to healing spells or spells that increase a minion’s health pool, the Priest has options. Six, to be exact. I’d say five are worth running. Divine Spirit, while potentially handy if you fish yourself up something big, it just a bit too circumstantial to run all the time. Power World: Shield, Circle of Healing, Greater Heal, Holy Nova and Penance however all merit running in almost all situations. The Priest deck relies on getting to the later portion of the match, and these stall cards help it get to that point. Moreover, when combined with one of the Priest’s minions, (which we’ll discuss on Thursday) any one of these spells can become a nuke.
Power World: Shield is straightforward. One energy, three health to a minion. This and other healing spells should make Imp Master a compelling card, despite not being part of the Priest set. Circle of Healing costs nothing and restores four health to all minions. That’s nuts. Greater Heal can admittedly be hit and miss, requiring your opponent to have a decent hand in order to truly shine, but it’s still a worthwhile card. Holy Nova, despite its five energy cost is definitely worth running. It’ll give you some crazy turnaround potential in the mid to late game, assuming your opponent is trying to overrun you with a bunch of small to mid tier minions. This card, it’s worth noting, is effectively the anti-Hunter card, something we mentioned in last week’s preview. Oh, what’s that? Turn five? Have all your cool pets out? Holy Nova roundhouse kicks all of your pets for two damage. No pets allowed. Finally, Penance is solid at three energy. The cost could be lower, but it fills a unique niche for the Priest deck, so it’s worth having. Three damage to anything and three health for your hero.
Hands down, the most disgusting thing about this deck is just how much energy efficient damage it gets. Holy Smite? One energy, two damage to anything. Mind Blast? Two energy for five damage to an enemy hero. Mental Collapse? That’s one damage to the enemy hero per card in your opponent’s hand. Two energy for that. Circumstantially awesome. Shadow Word: Pain might not do actual damage, but for two energy it does destroy an enemy minion with less than three attack. None of those cards have higher energy cost than two. Combined with the Shadowform hero abilities, Priest has a bunch of mean spirited tricks. It goes without saying that all of these should be run, as they’re just too efficient to leave out and will offer great protection for you while you’re in your soft, delicate early game stage, effectively Sarah Kerrigan in her Zerg Chrysalis. Yah, you’ll bust out and rain down psionic terror on your foes eventually, but you’ve got to survive to that point first.
The Other Stuff
While cheap damage might be the most effective thing about this deck, the healing and damage spells are just the entree before the main course, the spells that should really alarm your opponent. The Priest deck features a number of mechanics that allow you to copy cards and steal enemy minions. In the late game especially, these spells should prove especially upsetting.
Okay, Mind Vision is not a tough call. It allows you to copy a random card from your opponent’s hand, and that’s awesome. It’s one energy cost is also awesome. That said, you’ll probably want to hold on to this card until later on in the match to ensure you get something geared towards winning the game, and not say, Knife Juggler. Since energy is automated and mana and quest cards are not a thing, there’s no chance that you end up with a quest or mana card, improving the worth of this particular spell by a lot. I love the card and definitely recommend running it.
This card is basically just Mind Control Lite at half the energy of cost of Mind Control, but it’s useful for suiciding an opponent’s minion into another minion they control. It’s especially handy when dealing with a minion protected by taunt, or some other nonsense. It only lasts until the end of the turn, so it’s important to do something useful with it.
Is your opponent running some kind of annoying synergy deck or just buffing their minions to absurd levels? Mass Dispel‘s great when it comes to saying ‘not today, dirtbag’. It’ll undo all those unpleasant buffs and give you another card for your troubles while also silencing all opposing minions. What a guy, that Mass Dispel.
If your opponent is swinging some great minions at you, Mindgames is a solid card to run. Four four energy, the spell will copy a random minion from your opponent’s deck onto the battlefield to fight for you. It’s absolutely a roll of the dice what you get though. You could get some huge legendary, or you could get some turn one filler card. Understand the risks when running this card, and try to lessen them by knowing what your opponent is running.
Okay, if your opponent plays Deathwing, you’re going to want to Mind Control him over to your side to fight for you. It shouldn’t be that hard. Deathwing’s crazy. The energy cost on this card is pretty nutty too. Eight energy is a lot, but with the proper application of the spell, there’s a good chance you could just go ahead and win the game. Unlike Dark Command, Mind Control‘s effect does not end with the turn, meaning whatever you steal is in it for the long haul.
You’ve heard about all the silly things Priests can do with spells and abilities, but on Thursday we’ll look into their minions of choice and also discuss how best to tie all this madness together into one concise, easy to murder with deck.