In the prior preview, we made mention of just how spell heavy the Priest deck is in Hearthstone. Unsurprisingly, that translates to the deck having less creatures than say, Hunter or Warrior. Don’t fret though. The minions it can produce have some strong abilities and, should they survive, they can very much bolster your offensive potential.
The most basic of minions in the Priest deck, Northshire Cleric is a 1/3 for two energy that allows the Priest to draw a card each time a minion is healed. Given how much healing the deck has, this shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. The only major issue is that, realistically, there might not actually be a lot of minions in your deck, given how many great spells there are. Still, for a two drop, this is a worthwhile card to have around. Three health puts it just outside the threshold of a lot of cheap damage spells.
Speaking of two drops, Lightwell costs two energy. It won’t actually be putting the hurt on anyone, but with five toughness and the ability to heal a friendly character for three damage at the start of your turn, it’ll definitely draw fire. If left unchecked, your opponent could absolutely find it problematic, especially if the aforementioned Northshire Cleric is on the board.
This is where the Priest minions get interesting. There are probably circumstances where you just want your healing spells to heal, but in general, being able to convert the multitude of healing spells into damage spells is awesome and will allow you to machine gun damage at your unfortunate opponent. Auchenai Soulpriest will allow you to do that, and also take to the battlefield as a 3/5 for four energy. It will take some serious damage to take this lady down, unless your opponent has a bunch of creatures on the board and you have absolutely no answers. If your opponent has a straight up kill spell, expect to see it used when this minion comes out. If she lives though, you’re in for a good time and will command a much more potent offensive presence.
Cabal Shadow Priest
It’s not difficult to see why Cabal Shadow Priest will be run, but I kind of find myself wondering if this is all that great a pickup. Cabal Shadow Priest costs a whopping six energy, comes in as a 3/4 and takes control of a minion with an attack score of two or less. It could just be me, but I feel like in order for this card to be worth it, the energy cost should go down a bit, the stats should go up a bit, or the attack score requirement should be brought up to three. Regardless, I expect it to be run because there are minions at two attack that are worth stealing and mind control is a popular mechanic with this deck. Test it out, see if it works for you.
If you’re looking for a minion card in the Priest deck that could straight up win you the game, the legendary Prophet Velen is it. For seven energy, Prophet Velen rolls in as a 7/7, and also doubles the effectiveness of your healing and damage spells. Considering the source, this card is incredibly straightforward, and I would personally recommend running it, despite how top heavy the Priest deck seems to be.
Unlike the other decks we’ve talked about, the Priest deck does not feature a true linear kill condition. Warriors will use brute strength to control the board in order to run over their opponents with minion kill spells, the charge mechanic and weapons. Hunters will try and stack buffs to give their kitty cats big, scary claws while attempting to maintain a constant pressure. Shamans will make use of totems to take over the game and position themselves for big strikes with both windfury and elemental spells, while protecting themselves with huge elemental creatures.
Priests are different through. While there is definitely potential to dish out huge amounts of damage with Auchenai Priest and Prophet Velen, a lot of their success later in the game feels like it will hinge upon drawing the right card that allows them to steal a big enemy minion, or make a copy of it. I mentioned it before, but the Priest deck becomes more terrifying with every turn. That said, the deck stands to be run over in the early game if it’s not careful. That’s the major weakness of the deck, along with the general shortage of low energy cards. Fortunately, there’s a lot of reliable healing power, meaning that Anduin Wrynn will have the opportunity to stall unless things get truly out of control.
This is a deck where, moreso than for others, the deciding factor will probably be how you construct your deck. Priests have far more spells than minions, and you’ll have to decide if that’s acceptable. There are some good generic minions that have synergy with the Priest deck, Imp Master being the one that comes to mind immediately. Remember though, each minion is a spell you’re depriving yourself of. Definitely tinker. Figure out what balance works best for you against which kinds of decks.
When facing opponents that have actual kill cards, where the message is pretty much, ‘hey, you’re minion’s dead, sucks to be you’, expect an uphill battle. Priests can heal a fair bit of damage, but they can’t do much against their minions just straight up getting executed. What you can do to combat this is supplement your deck with a couple more annoying minions. Try to game your opponent into wasting spells on less lethal minions so that when you do draw Auchenai Priest or Prophet Velen, your opponent has less solutions in his or her hand.
Ultimately, I get the feeling that the Priest deck is going to be a strong one with the potential for a lot of fun, and that’s what we’re all here for, right?
Be sure to tune in next week as BlizzPro uncovers the arcane mysteries of the Mage deck. Anduin Wrynn’s a badass in Hearthstone. Can Jaina Proudmoore be one too?
If you’ve missed any of BlizzPro’s Hearthstone preview, be sure to check here. As always, your comments and critiques are appreciated!