Legend Control Priest Guide
Falathar here with a brand new guide on Control Priest, which I think is currently the best Priest deck. The new expansion had a lot of powerful cards for Reno Priest and Dragon Priest, but also Control Priest got some very good new tools to play with. In this article I will give you an in-depth analysis on how to play this deck at the highest level. With the help of this guide, achieving at least Rank 5 with this deck will be an easy task.
Control Priest, unlike other Priest variants like Dragon Priest or Reno Priest is highly favored against Aggro decks, but also against other slower decks like Reno Warlock.
I have chosen to not play Kazakus and Reno Jackson, because I think building Priest as consistent as possible is crucial and the singleton condition makes Priest for my taste way too inconsistent. Having only singletons is a severe drawback and hurts the deck in multiple matchups.
Strategy of Control Priest
When you first glance at the decklist, you will probably miss the deck’s combo. Auchenai Soulpriest, two Flash Heal, two Mistress of Mixtures and Circle of Healing is together with your Hero Power 20 damage from hand. Make no mistake this is not something flashy, it is a combo you can very consistently pull off. During my climb to Legend with this deck I went 12-2 against Reno Warlock and won every single game with burst (against Warlock 15 damage is usually enough , so you don’t need every combo piece).
Due to the flexibility of the combo cards, you have to plan ahead and play your cards accordingly to the matchup. Something as simple as playing a Turn 1 Mistress of Mixtures against a Reno Warlock is a huge and probably game losing mistake. But don’t be overwhelmed, against the majority of decks like Pirate Warrior or Midrange Shaman you don’t need the combo, you can use every combo piece to fight for the board and stay alive. And you also have your second win condition, which is more noticeable.
Resurrecting either Sylvanas Windrunner or Cairne Bloodhoof is already good value. If you bring back both of them it is amazing. N’zoth also resurrects Mistress of Mixtures, which is not too shabby, because it can help you stabilize against slower aggressive decks like Dragon Warrior or Midrange Shaman.
Jade Druid is usually a horrendous matchup for every slow deck, but this deck is fairly even against it, because you can pressure and finish them off, before they overwhelm you with their Jade army and N’zoth helps with that a lot.
This is the list I currently play. In my eyes this is the best possible Priest deck you can currently play in Hearthstone. Dragon Priest is fine, but lacks comeback mechanics. If you lose early board control and find yourself at a low life total, it is almost always lights out for Dragon Priest, whereas this deck not only has more board clears with Wild Pyromancer and Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing, but you also have a lot of lifegain.
I will not analyze every card on the deck list, because the majority of them are self-explanatory. I will instead cover the most interesting ones and the lack of a particular card.
- Lack of Entomb
Dragon Priest very rarely plays this card and for a good reason. It is simply too slow in this metagame and you will also find too few high value targets for it. The Deathrattle minions coupled with Thoughtsteal give you enough card advantage in slower matchups, so Entomb is not really needed in this deck, unless Control decks become more common (not going to happen).
This card is insane and not playing two of them in any non Reno Priest is just wrong. The stats are fine, so even if you miss the Battle Cry and simply play him on curve to contest an opposing minions it is not the end of the world. But oh boy is this card good when you have a target. A 1/6 Northshire Cleric is almost immortal on an empty board or in the early game and will guarantee you some nice card draws. To summarize the card gives a huge upgrade to the decks early game minions and often forces your opponent to use hard removal like Hex on a midgame minion, like Auchenai Soulpriest.
My biggest flaw whenever I build new decks is that I make them very anti- aggressive. My first iteration of Control Priest didn’t have a single card that costed more than five mana. Obviously I crushed aggressive decks like there was no tomorrow, but lost against every other deck that wanted to play a longer game. The last change I made to the deck was adding Thoughtsteal in place of Infested Tauren. The deck is very good against aggressive decks, but needs more gas against slower decks like Dragon Priest or Jade Midrange Shaman. Against aggressive decks Thoughtsteal is also not completely useless, because not only can you find some cheap interaction, but you also have more spells to combo with Priest of the Feast.
Tips on How to Play Control Priest
First of all, this is a control deck. The game plan of this deck in general is to survive the early and midgame and then grind the opponent to death with your powerful midgame minions like Priest of the Feast, Auchenai Soulpriest, N'Zoth, the Corruptor or simply with burst from your hand.
As Control Priest you will have a lot of games, where you essentially do nothing the first four turns, but still win the game in a dominant way. A lot of other decks simply lose if they don’t play any cards the first couple of turns, but Priest has a lot of board clears available:
- Wild Pyromancer combined with multiple spells (you can even kill multiple 4 toughness minions; note that if you want to use Circle of Healing, you have to use it as your first spell!)
- Auchenai Soulpriest and Circle of Healing
- Dragonfire Potion
All these cards or combos make it possible that you don’t need to have initiative to win any given game. There are even a lot of games where the opponent dumps down his entire hand and later simply loses the game on the spot, because his whole board is gone. So board clears are the best way to exhaust the opponent (Trading 1-3 cards for 5 cards from the opponent).
Auchenai Soulpriest (together with Circle of Healing), Wild Pyromancer with the Coin against Aggro. Also Power Word: Shield and Wild Pyromancer can be kept together against Aggro. Shadow Word: Pain against decks with many good targets, like Shaman or Dragon Priest.
I will now give you some tips on how to play this deck:
- With this deck planning ahead is of utter importance. Unlike other decks you don’t need to curve out, because you have a lot of board clears.
- Northshire Cleric is at its best in this deck. Together with Wild Pyromancer and Circle of Healing you can draw an outrageous amount of cards (~6 cards) with very little mana investment, while also killing multiple one or two toughness minions. Whenever you have Northshire and Circle of Healing in your hand, try to wait as long as possible against slower decks and do not play the Northshire Cleric. This deck rewards patience, by letting you draw 6 cards instead of only 1 card.
- Circle of Healing can be transformed into a Whirlwind with Wild Pyromancer, which can be quite useful against blistering fast Aggro decks like Pirate Warrior. Don’t be greedy and simple use it to clear one toughness minions.
- If you plan on clearing the board with e.g. Dragonfire Potion don’t waste Priest of the Feast by playing him on a board, where the opponent can very easily kill him. Use him afterwards to regain a huge amount of life points.
- The Coin is a very valuable resource, because of the synergy with Wild Pyromancer and Priest of the Feast. So try to save it!
Control Priest is a slow deck but it is a very good deck to play in the current metagame and will reward you with a high winrate if you learn to play it. I hope you all enjoyed my guide. If you have any questions regarding this deck, feel free to ask me in the comments!