So, you guys love my Control Priest articles, every one of them, today I decided to give Control Priest even more love by making all the Control Priest Matchup Analysis! Yap, you guys will be getting to know first hand how to deal with every single Control Priest matchup as I will try and give you guys all the knowledge regarding the hardest deck to play in Hearthstone.
Just as a heads up, the Matchup Analysis series is all about how to play that one specific matchup and not a full deck guide. However, there is nothing as detailed as a full MUA series.
I wrote, awhile back, a Full Renolock MUA, and this is going to be my second MUA series, enjoy!
Control Priest is a deck filled with tools to deal with all the different types of strategies there are in this game.
As of right now, no deck is more armed to deal with everything that is thrown at them, and Control Priest is the most Control-ish of the decks.
This is a standard Control Priest list, without any clunky options such as injured-blademaster which is sporadically added to the deck to make use of otherwise useless circle-of-healing, light-of-the-naaru and flash-heals that are part of the deck. However these cards already have their uses and the only reason such a card is used in Control Priest is to make the deck seem more consistent. This deck also contains no Light of the Naaru or other inconsistent tools.
Control Priest became a strong deck after League of Explorers, which added both museum-curator and entomb to the Priest class, allowing the deck to play a full anti-aggro setup while still maintaining a very strong anti-control arsenal.
Because of these additions, Control Priest has had its Control Matchup heightened greatly, making it the strongest Control Option as of now.
Freeze Mage is an intriguing matchup when it comes to mulligan, because you’ll always be mulliganing as if you were playing against a Tempo Mage.
I know it might feel wrong, but keeping those Wild Pyromancers might save your skin whenever you’re actually facing a Tempo Mage instead.
Thinking about this, the cards you’ll want to keep in this matchup are:
- northshire-cleric, zombie-chow, power-word-shield, museum-curator and deathlord – These are the cards you’ll always want in every single Control Priest Matchup. There is no reason not to pick these cards in your mulligan regardless of matchup.
- wild-pyromancer – A decent card in the Tempo mage matchup, not so good in the Freeze Mage matchup but it does have a couple of uses like making the Freeze Mage overdraw with his acolyte-of-pain.
- auchenai-soulpriest and circle-of-healing – Other card that you’ll only be keeping because your opponent might be playing Tempo Mage. However, here you’ll only want to keep these cards when combined. You’ll also want to keep Circle of Healing in case you have both Wild Pyromancer and Northshire Cleric to do big draw turns during the Mid-game.
How to Win
This is an intriguing matchup, because there are ways for you to win and ways for you to lose and they all work around you knowing how to use your cards and the Freeze Mage knowing how to use his.
What I mean is that this is mostly a skill test than anything else, but luck also comes into play here as some factors that will be discussed later on have a big impact on the game.
Basically, the Priest has enough healing to live through the whole Freeze Mage burst after alexstrasza most of the times, but sometimes the Priest won’t have enough time to draw into the healing spells as the Mage will draw more cards than the Priest. Before League of Explorers and Control Priest, back when Priest players were all playing Dragon, this matchup was a complete nightmare for the Priest but as of right now I believe it to be even.
Early Game Strategy
The Freeze Mage will start off like they always do: mad-scientists, arcane-intellects and acolyte-of-pain to draw a lot of cards, in order to be able to burst you down. Meanwhile you’ll be doing your own thing, putting some board presence and applying pressure while drawing cards.
Don’t misread me when I say that you’ll be able to constantly apply pressure on the Freeze Mage, because you will.
At some point the Mage will start Freezing your board and dropping doomsayers, remember that whenever this starts happening you should note that you always want to have responses for archmage-antonidas, which is the only way the Freeze Mage can win whenever you’re able to heal yourself back up past their burst range. In case you have more than one response for Archmage Antonidas, casting entomb on opposing Doomsayers is more than justifiable, because you’ll be basically paying a card to keep your minions on the board, which (mostly) can only be killed by a full AOE, otherwise you’ll just heal your minions back up.
Mid to Late Game Strategy
You are close to popping his block but not quite, there are ways for you to win here and it all depends on how the game went.
You are either pressuring him enough that you can pop his block, or you’re playing the defensive game and you’ll want to use your healing spells to get yourself back up.
If you are pressuring your opponent and you can use your flash-heal to pop the Mage’s ice-block combined with an auchenai-soulpriest, you should surely do so – Popping a Mage’s Ice Block means he’ll have to re-play it the following turn, that will stop him from doing damage to you as he will be using his mana defensively.
In case you are playing defensively and responsive, the way you should be playing is to, first, have enough damage on board (with minions!) to kill his alexstrasza, because you’ll then have the full 10 mana to justicar-trueheart yourself Hero Powering yourself twice for a total of 6 healing, then you’ll proceed to Flash Heal yourself combined with your (now buffed) Hero Power, and don’t forget your holy-nova works as a 2-healing spell for 5 mana, which although this seems weak, can be the difference between life and death. Yes, you read it right, it is nice to only Justicar Trueheart after you’ve been breathed by Alexstrasza in case you can deal with “Alexs” just with your board. However, popping the Ice Block and dealing with Alexstrasza seems like a good idea as well, so in case you can do just that (while healing yourself up!) you should definitely do it, saving your Justicar Trueheart for a later turn.
Important Things to Note
- On an ideal world, the value the Mage is able to get from Archmage Antonidas is the difference between winning and losing the game.
- Getting good thoughtsteals are alternative ways of winning this matchup.
- Later in the game, whenever there isn’t much you can do and the board is still empty, dropping a doomsayer you Entombed earlier on to have a “time walk” is a very strong play, because you’ll then keep them from playing one of their game-winning minions (Thaurissan, Alexstrasza and Antonidas) that turn.
- Wild Pyromancers can make the mage overdraw by doing excessive damage on their acolyte-of-pain while healing it back up to make sure the Mage keeps overdrawing. This is huge in this matchup, bigger than in any other matchup for this matter.
The Control Priest vs Freeze Mage matchup is a very complex one, and the best to play this matchup is completely knowing your opponent’s deck. In the Freeze Mage’s case it is very unlikely that they’ll know your full deck and even when they do, it is very unlikely they’ll know how your whole deck operates, so I like to think that Priests have an edge in this matchup despite being an even matchup on paper.
And this is it for the Control Priest vs Freeze Mage MUA, I hope I was able to pass all the information regarding this matchup to you guys!
Is there any other Control Priest MUA that you would want me to write about? How about other classes MUAs? Please let me know everything you’re thinking in the comments below!
I love you all,
See ya around,