In our last article, I introduced you all to my latest legendary deck: The Control Priest. That deck was updated over and over again until I was ready to play it on a high win percentage. In case you missed the Legend Priest deck article, view it here.
In this specific article I am going to discuss with you the strategy, mulligan and play style behind the different match ups on the ladder. Articles like this are necessary because often players are given deck lists but are not told how to play them properly, that usually causes in posts like “This deck does not work” and so. Priest is not like Hunter: it’s not a class everyone can get the lists and play it right away. Priest demands knowledge of the play style, and even after this article you will still have much to learn regarding the class and its mechanics, most of the mistakes played during the games are so subtle, that you may not realize it and that is the beauty of the class: It’s difficult.
But fear nothing, I will try to guide you as best as I can thru this path. Let’s get right into the action!
There are some old habits that you, as a priest player, will have to let go.
Mulligan for the early game only, stuff that do not belong on the early curves such as cost 4+ cards are to be thrown away, yes: even your auchenai-soulpriest!
Cards you always want to see in your opening hand:
- circle-of-healing *This card is only keepable in case you already have northshire-cleric in your hand, otherwise mulligan this out!
These are the standard choices, there are different cards you should pick according to each matchup, but those will be discussed in our next section.
Every Warlock you see must be mulligan’d as a Zoo, unless you know for sure you are playing against a Handlock. The Zoo mulligan is nothing less than the Standard Mulligan build, but there is one exception: In case you have both auchenai-soulpriest and circle-of-healing in your opening hand, you should keep both.
This is the easiest matchup by far for this deck: you have a strong early game, 4x 1-drops, 2x 1-cost removal, and 6 different ways to wipe out their entire board: wild-pyromancer combos, auchenai-soulpriest combos, and holy-nova. And if that is not enough, you have 5 and 6 drops that not only get instant value on the board against them, they trade 3 or even more for 1. cabal-shadow-priest is just a game finisher.
The way you play this matchup is extremely defensive:
- Never opt to go for face over trading unless you have lethal.
- 1-for-1 trades are fine sometimes, always go for the best trades.
- It’s fine to drop northshire-cleric on turn 1 unless you are going second and the opponent just casted a flame-imp and you can not holy-smite it.
- Do not throw your wild-pyromancer on the board for no reason unless you already established board control.
- Whenever you get board control but are low on health, feel free to holy-fire his face or that small leftover minion on his side of the board so you don’t have to trade.
Every warrior you face must be mulligan’d as a Control Warrior matchup, once again: unless you know for sure he is playing something different. In the Control Warrior mulligans you should not keep holy-smite and you should keep thoughtsteal. The reason behind that is that you don’t want the possibility for your Thoughtsteal to be at the bottom of your deck, since he will end up in fatigue faster than you. Also getting his cards means you have a stronger mirror matchup.
Generally, it’s a resource matchup, which means you have to pay attention to what you have and spend your removal properly:
- Try to save shadow-word-death for threats like ragnaros-the-firelord, grommash-hellscream or alexstrasza.
- Unless its turns 1 or 2 and you can cast it and buff it with power-word-shield, try to save your northshire-cleric on your hand until the moment you can heal something.
- Save your cabal-shadow-priest to steal their armorsmiths and acolyte-of-pains.
- Remember to make favorable trades, do not over commit to the board unless he already cast a brawl.
- Do not try to save harrison-jones for a possible gorehowl: most warriors are not using it anymore.The best value you can get from it is to destroy a 2-charge weapon, but getting a 1 charge weapon is just fine as it kills his tempo and mess up his plans while giving you card advantage in the process.
- Remember to pay attention to your draws: you do not want to be on fatigue faster than he does, later in the game, whenever there are 5 or fewer cards left in his deck feel free to proc his acolyte-of-pain a little to give him some extra card draws, even heal the Acolyte if you feel like it!
- Remember: This is a fatigue game, unless someone gets really bad luck and/or mess up with their resources.
The most played deck in the class, you will most likely be facing this little guy in about half of your games, which means you must be prepared for this game more than anything. The mulligan here is just the standard: no exceptions.
The way to not lose this game is to control the board early in the game:
- Dropping northshire-cleric on turn 1 is fine if you have the coin, otherwise don’t.
- Dropping northshire-cleric combined with power-word-shield is always fine, no matter if the situation is turn 1 with the coin, or turn 2 without the coin.
- Stealing mad-scientist with cabal-shadow-priest is fine. You will be making it so he gets less secrets in play.
- Remember wild-pyromancer combined with holy-smite kills both haunted-creeper and the 2x 1/1 spiders that pops out of it.
- If he has eaglehorn-bow equipped do not trigger his secrets unless you feel safe doing so. Eventually you’ll have a better board than he does, or mister Jones lands in your hand!
- Do trigger his secrets whenever he does not have a bow equipped.
- Cast your Harrison-jones the first eaglehorn-bow you see regardless of charges, if you can pop a secret to make it bigger before eating it, do it!
- Do not feel sad getting 2 or 3 for 1 with their savannah-highmane, it’s the only value card they have, you have over 10 cards that 2-for-1 theirs or better.
- Keep in mind this is an extremelly RNG-based matchup due to the huge number of positive RNG Hunter Midrange has in its deck, therefore you can lose some games here and there, not a big deal because at the end of the day you will be winning more than loosing.
- Oh, before I forget: Do not feed the starving-buzzard+unleash-the-hounds combo! Control your board size!
- Feel free, near the end of the game, to holy-fire his face just to heal yourself, he is still a hunter and can still pull miraculous damage in 1 turn, watch out!
- cabal-shadow-priest is nothing but a removal in this matchup, do not wait for stronger minions with less than 2 attack to come into play to steal them, stealing a 2/2 Hyena is fine enough!
This is the first part out of 3 from the “How to play it” series I am writing about my latest Legendary Control Priest deck, released today, the following articles can be found here:
I hope you have fun reading all of this, and I also hope I can pass you as much knowledge as I can through these series!
Wanna find me somewhere else other than this website? Here are some links!