Beginner Hearthstone Deck Tech: Basic Priest

Sheng here with a basic tech guide for the Priest class in Hearthstone! New to the game or have friends just starting out? Highly recommended!

Editor’s Note: You can find this deck guide updated over at our partner site – Disguised Toast.

If you’re looking to expand your collection, highly recommend going for the Classic set and Whispers of the Old Gods (Standard Format). And here are budget guides, also from Sheng, to get you started!

Introduction

Greetings, I’m Sheng, a Legend rank constructed and 7.5 win-average arena player. I run HearthstoneCoaching.com where our coaches have helped many students achieve the same.

Basic Priest is one of the best Basic classes to play. Its power stems from the variety of cheap removal spells in the Basic Priest card set, along with the card draw engine powered by northshire-cleric, which helps you maintain card advantage over your opponents late in games.

This deck is almost identical to another Basic Priest deck called “Doctor Draw”, which has been around for several months. The only difference between this deck and “Doctor Draw” is the inclusion of a single mind-control over a second ogre-magi. I find that this change helps a lot with big late game threats that you can just steal and use against your opponent.

The deck is remarkably strong when you have board control. The Priest’s Hero Power will help you heal up weaker minions, giving you the edge in every trade.

However, Priest has trouble dealing with 4 attack minions, as both shadow-word-pain and shadow-word-death have no way of dealing with them. Smart players will abuse this to their advantage, making those spells unplayable. With the inclusion of Expert cards, you can mitigate this weakness.

Minions – 19

2x northshire-cleric

  • The card that this deck is built around! She’ll be our primary way of drawing cards late in the game. Synergizes well with our Hero Power, darkscale-healer, and holy-nova.

2x acidic-swamp-ooze

  • The best two mana minion in the Basic card set. With a weapon destroying battlecry, an acidic-swamp-ooze played at the right time can swing games.

2x bloodfen-raptor

  • A plain 2 mana for a 3/2. He’s chosen over other 2 mana minions in the Basic set because 3 attack allows him to kill most 3 mana minions.

2x ironfur-grizzly

  • Having two options at 3 mana slot is pretty useful. While shattered-sun-cleric is generally better, her value comes from having something already on the board to buff. In situations where that isn’t possible, it’s better to play our 3/3 ironfur-grizzly with taunt.

2x shattered-sun-cleric

  • An amazing card for tempo if you can utilize her battlecry to buff a smaller minion to trade against a larger one, or when you can increase the health on a minion so it doesn’t die in what would have been an even trade.

2x chillwind-yeti

  • The best 4 mana minion in the Basic card set. While he doesn’t have any special abilities, his 4/5 base stats allow him to trade with two 2 or 3 mana minions, and even some 4 mana minions.

1x ogre-magi

  • A key minion for his spell power bonus. All the spells from our deck can benefit from an ogre-magi being on the board. A 4/4 body is not bad either.

2x senjin-shieldmasta

  • 4 mana for a 3/5 with taunt is pretty good value. We need him to stabilize the board when we’re faced with aggressive decks with many small minions.

2x darkscale-healer

  • darkscale-healer can combo amazingly well with northshire-cleric to draw you multiple cards. Be careful not to draw over ten cards; when your hand is full, any cards drawn will get discarded.
  • She gains the most value when we can use our minions to clear our opponent’s board, and then heal them back up by playing her afterwards.

2x boulderfist-ogre

  • A plain 6 mana for 6/7. This is exactly what we want at this slot. A big guy who will trade with two other big guys. He’ll trade with two 6/6 minions, and is out of big-game-hunter and fireball range.

Spells – 11

2x holy-smite

  • Great cheap removal. 1 mana for 2 damage is great for protecting your northshire-cleric from 3/2 minions on turn 2.
  • In conjunction with ogre-magi, you’ll be able to do 3 damage for 1 mana.

2x power-word-shield

  • Gives 2 health to any minion for 1 mana, and draws you a card. Ideally, you’ll want to play this on a minion that would have died in a trade without the extra health. Make sure to play this first before your other cards, as the card you draw from it might be useful.

2x shadow-word-pain

  • A pretty efficient card. The dream is to use this against hard to remove minions like water-elemental and fen-creepers. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t work around battlecries and deathrattles.
  • Neither this nor shadow-word-death affect 4 attack minions, making Priest weak against 4 attack cards.

2x shadow-word-death

  • A great card to draw into late game to eliminate your opponent’s late game threats. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t work around battlecries and deathrattles, so using this on your opponent’s sylvanas-windrunner will still have her steal one of your minions.
  • Neither this nor shadow-word-pain affect 4 attack minions, making Priest weak against 4 attack cards.

2x holy-nova

  • Priest’s primary board clear card. Works well in conjunction with our northshire-cleric to draw cards and heal our minions after clearing your opponent’s board.

1x mind-control

  • Oftentimes the best way to kill your opponent is with your opponent’s own minions. Especially if they’re late game win conditions like ragnaros or gruul.
  • Because this deck is consisted of only Basic cards, we often times lack the finishing power to end games. This card helps by eliminating a threat, and putting it into play against our opponent.
  • We only play one copy of this card because of its ridiculous casting cost. Having two copies of this card in your hand early in the game will kill your early game tempo.

Mulligan Guide

In general, you want to mulligan for a set of cards that will let you play something on each turn. Good cards to keep:

  • 1 Mana: holy-smite, northshire-cleric
  • 2 Mana: acidic-swamp-ooze, bloodfen-raptor, shadow-word-pain
  • 3 Mana: ironfur-grizzly, shattered-sun-cleric
  • 4 Mana: chillwind-yeti, ogre-magi, senjin-shieldmasta

Note that if you have the-coin you can subtract 1 mana off the cost of one of your cards in your opening hand. Once you have something at a particular mana slot, try to mulligan for something else so you can play something on each turn.

How to Play

The idea behind this deck is to control the board through efficient trading of minions and removal spells. Priest benefits the most out of all classes from having control of the board because his Hero Power is most effective when used on damaged minions. Late in the game, you’ll want to use northshire-cleric in conjunction with darkscale-healer, holy-nova, or your Hero Power to draw more cards.

Combos

ogre-magi + holy-smite: A pretty simple combo. The extra spell power from ogre-magi lets your holy-smite deal 3 damage instead of 2.

ogre-magi + holy-nova: Playing ogre-magi on turn 4 often will allow you to play holy-nova on turn 5 to deal 3 damage to all of your opponent’s minions.

northshire-cleric + darkscale-healer or holy-nova: This combo will allow you to heal and draw multiple cards at once. Be careful not to overdraw your hand!

Gameplay Videos

Versus Druid


Versus Hunter


Versus Mage


Versus Paladin


Versus Priest


Versus Rogue


Versus Shaman


Versus Warlock


Versus Warrior

How to Upgrade Your Deck

Over time, you’ll collect more and more cards from opening Hearthstone packs. Please follow the guide below before reading the upgrade card list to understand how to incorporate new cards successfully into your deck.

Which Cards Should I Upgrade?

  • Before you start, go through your deck and look at each card and understand its role and function.
  • The easiest cards to upgrade are minions that have counterparts that are complete upgrades. I define a complete upgrade as a card with the same or better stat distribution and a better ability for the same mana cost. A knife-juggler would be a complete upgrade over a bloodfen-raptor. A spider-tank would not be.
  • Replace situational minions or spells that will often stay glued in your hand until the right moment arises with more verstile minions or spells. You can easily replace kobold-geomancer and gnomish-inventor in your deck with azure-drake instead. While azure-drake isn’t a complete upgrade over either card, the fact that it has a better stat distribution, draws a card, and gives you spell-power makes it a card that isn’t situational.
  • After making a list of cards that are potentially upgradeable from the list above, you can move on to the next section!

How Do I Actually Upgrade My Deck?

  • Don’t rush the process! Deckbuilding takes time. Each and every card in this Basic deck was chosen for a purpose, and fills an important function in this deck. You would be surprised how much time it took me to think of each of these decks, and how long the process of tuning them took.
  • Generally, you don’t want to make more than one or two changes to your deck at a time. Swap out cards one or two at a time, and play your deck with the changes. Each time you draw into your “upgraded” card, ask yourself whether or not you wish it was the card you had previously in your deck. If you consistently say yes to this question over several games, then the “upgraded” card belongs.
  • Repeat the testing process with more upgrades until you’re fully satisfied you have the best deck you can make with the cards you have.

Respect Your Mana Curve!

  • While it’s tempting to throw a bunch of late game minions into your deck, it’s a bad idea because you’ll find that without an early game, you’ll never get to late game before your opponent kills you. You want to be able to play on curve, and not have to skip a turn without having something to play.
  • While this isn’t a golden rule for all decks, this is what a general mana curve should look like for a midrange deck. Please keep this in mind as you swap in your shiny new cards.

    • 0-2 One Mana Minions
    • 4-6 Two Mana Minions
    • 4-5 Three Mana Minions
    • 4-6 Four Mana Minions
    • 2-4 Five Mana Minions
    • 2-4 Six+ Mana Minions

Potential Upgrades List — November 2015

Here are a few simple substitutions that will make this budget deck even stronger.

Minions

  • 2x bloodfen-raptor ? 2x zombie-chow
  • 2x acidic-swamp-ooze ? 2x wild-pyromancer
  • 2x ironfur-grizzly ? 2x injured-blademaster
  • 2x shattered-sun-cleric ? 2x dark-cultist
  • 2x chillwind-yeti ? 2x piloted-shredder
  • 2x senjin-shieldmasta ? 2x auchenai-soulpriest
  • 2x darkscale-healer ? 2x sludge-belcher
  • 2x boulderfist-ogre ? 1x sylvanas-windrunner + 1x dr-boom
  • 1x mind-control ? 1x ysera

Spells

  • 2x holy-smite ? 2x circle-of-healing
  • 1x shadow-word-pain ? 1x shadow-madness

Paths to Legend

With the meta still in flux from the introduction of 30 new Naxxramas cards, many of the older Priest deck guides have become obsolete. Thankfully, fellow writer Nuba has introduced a new Legendary Priest guide including many of the new cards. One of the best streamers out there, Amaz, mains Priest. I’d highly recommend new players to check out his stream, as he’s an excellent player and thoroughly explains his thought process behind his plays. Priest is not an easy class to play!

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this guide to Basic Priest. Priest’s strengths are evident in the control style of play, where you survive in the early game, and finish your opponent off in the late game. It’s an extremely fun play-style that requires a lot of thinking and planning ahead. While Priest is often criticized to be a reactive class, I think it’s cards like thoughsteal that make the class fun to play. There’s no greater thrill than thoughtstealing or mind-controlling your opponent’s best cards.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out the New Players section, other Beginner Decks, and our most popular section – Monthly Top Meta Decks.

Coaching Lessons

If you’re interested in reaching Legend rank, or earning unlimited gold from arena, my team at HearthstoneCoaching.com would love to help! We’ve provided over a thousand hours of excellent coaching to students around the world. 

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