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.
Midrange Druid is definitely the hardest matchup for Control Priest and the sole reason why this deck isn’t and won’t be Tier 1 at any given time.
And as such, the Midrange Druid is the matchup you should care the most when glancing at the MUA articles.
Starting with the Mulligan, you should be looking for cards that will allow you to stop the Druid from snowballing, which is: doing so yourself.
However, doing so as a strictly-control deck is very hard or problematic, and won’t happen very often:
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.
auchenai-soulpriest – If you have either The Coin or circle-of-healing.
circle-of-healing – Only if you have Auchenai Soulpriest.
flash-heal – only if you have Auchenai Soulpriest.
How to Win
Now, by this point you have already realized that you have only a couple outs in this matchup, and all of them go around a good snowballing board presence early in the game. You can also win by attrition when your opponent’s hand is terrible, but that is not the point we’ll be focusing right now.
Drop Deathlords on board, do good trades, keep them always healed up, don’t let the Druid snowball, try to draw cards from your Northshire instead of just putting it into play, and always set up for that Lightbomb you’ll need.
Good Druid players will always play around Lightbomb – since they can. But that won’t stop you from setting one up.
Play around combo at all times, and don’t let them have good board position.
Early Game Strategy
You’ll start by dropping small minions on the board – with exception of Northshire Cleric, the only possible way you should drop a Northshire in play is if you can heal something up, or if you can buff it with power-word-shield out of wrath’s range.
You’ll want to get the strongest Midrange minion possible out of museum-curator, dark-cultist is the best one that comes to mind but there are other picks depending on the turn you played the Curator, sometimes Deathlord can better (like when you need to protect your other minions from something else) but I overall like the Cultist if the board is empty.
Do good trades, keep everything clear and playaround swipe, try to always have minions on the board and don’t worry about overextending – Do it as you please!
Here is where things get hairy, if the Druid’s hand/start was good, he probably has a good board presence by now, you’ll be removing the Druid’s presence eventually but you need to take care about the Druid’s combo with force-of-nature+savage-roar and try to play around it.
Once you have established board control (you will, eventually, unless you’re dead, then you won’t) try to keep a Taunt up until you have healed yourself out of Combo range (which is 14 damage on an empty board) and if you can, play around Double Roar combo after your Druid opponent dropped his emperor-thaurissan.
A important thing to note here is that in case you can’t play around the Druid having the combo, then you shouldn’t. Meaning you should do the value play if you’ll be dead anyway, for example:
Your Druid opponent has 2 minions on board, you can only kill one but you’ll lose a key minion that would win you the game the following turn, and even if you kill one of the Druid’s minions (given you can’t kill the other, no matter what) you’re still dead to combo – In a situation like this, you should just aim for the value and don’t play to “lose less”.
In a game like this, versus Midrange Druid, you should be prepared to lose. it is really hard to win as a Control Priest because the Druid will eventually just combo you down after a streak of long, consistent pressure that he applied on you, you’ll eventually win games here and there if your Druid opponent was unlucky to have a bad start and you a good one, or if he didn’t have the combo right before he lost control of the board and lost the game when you started to pull yourself back up.
Late Game Strategy
If you got to this point it means you got in one of the “lucky” situations I posted at the end of the last section. In case this happens, you should start playing around Double Roar combo at all times, because the druid might still have innervate (try to take note whenever he uses his innervates so you won’t be playing around something that was already used before).
whenever your health is at the top and you have a decent board presence there is very little a Druid can do to win outside of a big double Roar turn, so that is what you have to play around always taking note at his hand size and what he can do with it – Playing around the worst possible scenario is the best way to win this matchup.
A good card against Midrange Druid that isn’t good against anything else is velens-chosen because it gives the deck a way to get its minions early in the game to be as big as Druid’s minions.
Ok, Velen’s Chosen can be good against other decks, but in Control Priest’s case, it feels like a bad card because the deck often has no minions in play for it to be buffed, however since we’re talking about increasing the chances of winning slightly, adding this card to your deck can give you an increase in the matchup result, but isn’t something I would recommend you doing.
And this is it for the Control Priest vs Midrange Druid MUA.
This matchup is a nightmare and a good reason you should try your best to dodge that Druid in the tournaments.
I hope you guys have been enjoying the Control Priest MUA series!
Coming up next: Control Priest vs Freeze Mage!
Stay tuned for more MUA!
Love you all,