GvG – Control Priest (Part 1 – Deck Tech and Sideboard)

Greetings, today I would like to share with you my control priest deck that I have been playing on the ladder this season along with my control warrior!

Introduction

Greetings fellow Hearthstone Players, today I would like to share with you my control priest deck that I have been playing on the ladder this season along with my control warrior. This deck is a great pick if you are facing a lot of control warriors or the dreaded zoo. I usually switch to this deck when I just am not sure on what to play, because priest can take on anything. The recent addition of voljin and lightbomb has made the Handlock match up significantly better. And shrinkmeister + shadow word pain now lets you kill 4 attack minions. The priest decks have been given a significant upgrade from GvG and from being one of the bottom 3 classes Pre-GvG/Naxx priest has once again risen to one of the top decks to beat in Hearthstone.

Meta Analysis

The meta is pretty aggressive right now with decks like zoo, mech mage and cancer hunter while there are also a lot of control warriors lurking around with their big lategame threats. Due to this reason our deck should be able to withstand the fast starts of aggro along with the lategame fighting ability of control. And what class is better than priest for doing so. With synergy between cards like wild-pyromancer and power-word-shield you can get some really nice clears vs aggro decks and with cards like thoughtsteal you get to play with extra cards that give you an advantage in fatigue wars. This makes priest an excellent choice to ladder with in the current meta.

The Priest Class

The Priest class is a really combo dependent class. You rely on various cards working together to give you an advantage in the game. For this reason it is necessary that you have enough cards. If you run out of cards as priest you lose. This is a big weakness of the priest class but also one of its strongest points. There will be games where you didn’t draw that Auchenai Circle combo and just got facerolled and lost, and there will also be games where you just absolutely wrecked that zoo deck by crushing it’s tempo with a turn 4 flamestrike. In order to have good priest games it is important to have a good grasp  on the deck. Remember the fact that you need to save your combo cards and use them when you are getting the maximum advantage to gain a huge lead on your opponent.

Deck Breakdown

circle-of-healing – Circle is a combo card to be used with injured-blademaster or auchenai-soulpriest. It can also be used to draw a lot of cards in combination with the northshire-cleric. This card is very versatile and i can’t think of a priest deck without 2 copies of this card.

holy-smite – It is a good way of activating your Pyromancer and is THE card to have since you are running voljin in your deck so that you can pull the OP voljin + holy-smite combo to kill anything for 6 mana. Holy smite is a card that will only go 1 for 1 so I only play one in my deck.

light-of-the-naaru – This is one of the new cards released with GvG that was greatly overlooked . This card is really great for burst heal as well as to combo with the Blademaster so that you don’t have to waste a circle of healing on your Blademaster in order to heal it up. I really like this card because the lightwarden summoned from this card can be a big threat for your opponent if not dealt with immediately. Don’t use the heal unless you will get to summon a lightwarden if not in very specific situations.

Another really powerful use of this card is to use it as a lightning-board when you have auchenai-soulpriest out on the board.  Doing so will always summon a lightwarden since the target is never healed and shows as damaged. This is one of the main reasons why I run two copies of this card. It is just as versatile as circle-of-healing.

power-word-shield – A great 1 mana cycle that can really affect the board and your trades. It is the perfect trigger for your Pyromancer and lets it trigger again and again as long as you keep healing it and buffing it. I save this card in my hand in order to get value from the extra 2 health unless I really want to cycle it in the case that my hand sucks.

northshire-cleric – Your primary draw engine. Never play her on turn one against warriors, druids and shamans. Always try to play her on turn one versus warlocks, rogues and paladins and hunters. You need draws from this card versus control matchups in order to be able to win. it is not as necessary to draw vs aggro decks since you are not going to have any troubles with having fewer cards. If you have a Circle, a Pyromancer and a Cleric then it is a good idea to save this combo in order to fill your hand at the right moment.

shadow-word-death – This card has changed in count as the meta has evolved. Priest decks went from having 2 Shadow word Pains and 2 deaths to no Pains and 1 Death. The current meta does not have a lot of Death targets and you now have voljin[card] as well. Death is still a great removal for big creatures and is one of the reasons you would wanna play priest. The reason for running one is that you don’t wanna have two dead situational cards in your hands.

[card]thoughtsteal – Believe it or not this card is one of the win conditions in your deck. It is going to help you out a lot in control matchups by giving you extra cards to play with. Thoughtstealing a legendary always ends up giving you a really big advantage over your opponent due to the value it can provide. Thoughsteal by nature will give you a 2 for 1 since it is giving you 2 cards outside of your deck so you will always have a fatigue advantage.

dark-cultist – The most broken 3 drop in the game. It will 2 for 1 your opponents 2 drops and can give you great trades if you can buff something with its deathrattle. He really helps out the aggro match ups.

auchenai-soulpriest – Arguably the best 4 drop in the game on the basis of her ability. The sheer amount of versatility she provides is actually amazing. She will convert you Circles to 4 damage nukes and you Lights of naarus to 1 mana Lightning bolts that summons Lightwardens. I recommend saving at least one Auchenai in your hand as long as you have Circles in your deck, i.e. not to play them both out without combo-ing them with a circle. Except in control matchups where the AOE doesn’t really matter that much. Against hunters it is important to not play her if you are low on health since sometimes they will take advantage of the fact that you can’t heal and kill you.

holy-nova – Holy nova is not too good right now but it isn’t bad either so I run 1 copy of it. It is pretty good in combination with the Pyromancer letting you deal three damage to everything that is 2 and then one. This will kill haunted-creeper‘s spectral-spiders as well since the Pyromancer triggers after the Nova. It also helps to Activate voljin in case you don’t have a Smite. Nova’s problem is that it costs too much. And it isn’t as good when compared to the Circle combo. However the heal from holy nova sometimes comes in pretty handy.

voljin – And finally we come to the new priest legendary, voljin. This card is absolutely nuts. It is a hard removal that gives you a huge body on board. The thing with voljin is that you either need a spell or something on the board so that you can get full value from him. This is what makes him not so great of a topdeck. However as I discussed earlier, if you fall behind on cards as priest you lose. Vol’jin significantly improved the matchup against Handlocks and Warriors. Even druids, they are going to have a tough time dealing with a huge voljin if they don’t have a keeper. Overall I am really loving this guy so far and has really helped me out in a lot of situations.

cabal-shadow-priest – I remember the times when people used to say this is the worst card and nobody played her. She went from being unplayable to good to I must have two in all my priest decks. It’s amazing how this card has risen in popularity ever since Naxrammas. The number of creatures that can be stolen with this girl have gone up significantly over the past few metas. The combo with shrinkmeister seems almost broken letting you steal 4 and 6 attack minions. She is also really good against control warriors because you can steal their Acolytes and armorsmiths and deny all value to them.

mind-control – The ultimate Anti-Control Card. It is a faceless-manipulator + assassinate all in one card. This card is capable of winning you the game all by itself and is guaranteed to 2 for 1 your opponent. The effect of stealing something has a really huge impact on the board. Mind controlling your opponents win condition is GG then and there. The current meta has a lot off good stuff that you can mind-control most notably sylvanas-windrunner. You opponent is usually gonna play her when he is behind on board and wants to seize back board control. However if you Mind control your opponent’s Sylvanas then there is no outs left for them and they end up losing the game since their last resort ended up failing. The amount of control matches this card has won are countless. This is card is a win condition in your deck. Only use it on minions that are worthy of being one.

wild-pyromancer – Your bread and butter for board clearing shenanigans. Wild pyromancer just has so much synergy in priest, You can buff its health, you can heal it up with you hero power, while other class can only take advantage of him for 2 spells you can keep going as long as you can heal him. This card is just so good vs aggro decks, especially with the coin. I usually look forward to keeping one in my opening hand so that I can easily respond to aggressive openers. Try to save your power-word-shields for this guy if you can.

injured-blademaster – The fact that we have 2 circle of healing in our deck makes it a no-brainer to include this guy as well. A turn 2 or 3 4/7 is just game ending vs Druids and zoo. These decks can;t possibly be able to deal with such a huge minion this early in the game. He will trade with every 1, 2 and 3 drop and definitely live. He is also a great combo with light-of-the-naaru which leaves you with a 4/6 and a 1/2 that can be buffed on the board. This board can snowball pretty quickly if not dealt with immediately. The 4/7 will trade into your opponents stuff and the lightwarden keep providing more damage output.

harrison-jones – The prevalence of Hunters and Warriors in the meta makes for a really good opportunity to take advantage of Harrison. There are also those times where you get to use Harrison on blood-fury which is just hilarious. I really love Harrison right now because most of the meta is filled with weapons. a 5 mana 5/4 that cycles itself at most and destroys a card from your opponent just screams card advantage. And as priest you are always craving for that sweet sweet card advantage.

sludge-belcher – I think this guy has just become a staple in every competitive Hearthstone deck that has ever been made. It is a 7 health taunt that does not die in one hit. You play this guy and you know that your face and your minions are going to be safe at least for 1 turn. The strength of Belcher is in the fact that he will require a minimum of two attack to get rid of completely. The fact that you can heal him up is just going to be infuriating for your opponent.

sylvanas-windrunner – Ever since the death of miracle Rogue and hearthstone shifting back to its minions based decks, meant that Sylvanas was gonna make a huge comeback. With decks running so many minions Sylvanas is bound to steal something or the other. She is really good especially when your opponent has just developed his board and you drop her. You can even kill your own Sylvanas using Shadow Word Death and steal your opponents stuff. I feel like every priest deck is incomplete without a Sylvanas. The best time to play her would be when:

  • You are behind on board.
  • Your opponent played ragnaros-the-firelord.
  • Your opponent played a Huge threat that can be stolen with sylvanas-windrunner
  • You are combo-ing her with a shadow-word-death in order to steal something.

As cool as the Sylvanas + Death combo is, I recommend not doing this unless necessary because you are using two cards to steal 1 card.

dr-boom – The legendary from GvG that has made its way into every deck, the 7/7 for 7 mana though vulnerable to big-game-hunter has a huge impact on board due to the pesky little boom-bots. This card can provide a lot of damage or help stabilize an out of control board. He is pretty good play on turn 7 by himself as well, thus by not requiring any other cards to get good value this guy is almost an auto-include in most decks that are updated to GvG.

Sideboard

The Priest class has received so many new cards and combs that the same deck can have from 4-5 variants. There are a lot of Tech cards in this decklist and a lot of flexible cards as well that you can replace according to your taste and the state of the meta.

To make your deck more favored versus control decks change the following cards:

Remove:

  • Wild-pyromancer x2
  • power-word-shield x2
  • holy-nova x1

Add: 

  • Shrinkmeister x2
  • Lightbomb x1
  • ragnaros-the-firelord x1
  • shadow-word-death x1

To be more favored versus midrange/aggro decks:

Remove:

  • thoughtsteal x2
  • mind-control x1
  • shadow-word-death x1

Add:

  • holy-nova x1
  • shrinkmeister x1
  • shadow-word-pain x1
  • shadow-madness x1

As of right now the deck is built to withstand both Aggro and Control matchups and will perform well against both. The above replacements are recommended in the case that you are not facing more of just one archetype of decks.

Combos

The priest class has so many combos that it deserved its own section.

  • wild-pyromancer + Spells – Amazing board clears.
  • voljin + holy-smite – Destroy a minion.
  • injured-blademaster + light-of-the-naaru – Get a 4/6 Blademaster and a 1/2 lightwarden
  • auchenai-soulpriest + light-of-the-naaru – 1 mana deal 3 damage and summon a lightwarden
  • sylvanas-windrunner + shadow-word-death – 9 mana mind-control
  • auchenai-soulpriest + circle-of-healing – flamestrike!
  • injured-blademaster + circle-of-healing – get a 4/7 for 3 mana.
  • voljin + holy-nova – Destroy a minion.
  • voljin + sylvanas-windrunner – Weaken your Sylvanas so that she dies to something weak and you can steal an opposing minion.

Conclusion

That concludes the first part my post GvG Control Priest deck guide. I have discussed the key deck mechanics and combos in this part. Also on which cards you can change depending on the meta. I hope you enjoyed reading through this guide. I will be posting the second part soon with the Mulligan guide and Matchup Analysis so keep and eye out for that if you liked this one.

If you have any feedback or suggestions feel free to post them in the comments and I will try to help you out. If you want to add me in-game and need more help on my deck guides you can add me using my battle tag DarkFrost#1991 NA. I hope you have fun and good luck laddering 🙂