MUA: Midrange Druid vs Priest

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Priest. We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing. Cards To Keep Situational Keep or – with Ramp/Innervate Right now, the Priest deck that is very popular […]

Introduction

This is the matchup analysis of Midrange Druid versus Priest.

Sample Decklist

We’re using this decklist as a basis. Keep in mind there are decklists with slight variations, each one tweaked to the player’s own taste and the meta they’re facing.

Mulligan

Cards To Keep

Innervate Darnassus Aspirant Wild Growth Wrath Shade of Naxxramas Keeper of the Grove Piloted Shredder

Situational Keep

Druid of the Claw or Azure Drake – with Ramp/Innervate

Priest Meta Decks

Right now, the Priest deck that is very popular since TGT is the Dragon Priest. It’s one of the strongest decks to ladder with and you’re going to face a lot of those. The second one, much less popular, but almost as strong, is the Control Priest. There are also some OTK Priest builds that revolve around the Prophet Velen or Malygos + damage spells (e.g. Mind Blast), but that’s not something you have to prepare to play against, because you almost never meet those.

Vs Dragon Priest

Strategy

Even though there are couple of Dragon Priest versions, they are generally very similar to each other. And every one of them is a unfavored matchup for the Midrange Druid. The turns 1 to 5 are most important in this matchup, because that’s where the Priest can really outtempo the Druid. Both of the decks are actually pretty similar in their early play style – both want to drop the strongest threat every turn and overwhelm enemy with them. The thing is, though, that the Druid needs ramp to do that. Druid has to waste turn 2 for Wild Growth or use additional resources and play the Innervate. Dragon Priest doesn’t. All the Priest needs is the smooth curve and Dragon in the hand to activate the “holding a Dragon” mechanic. It means that a game is often decided by the consistency of the Dragon Priest’s early draws. If he gets the Twilight Whelp into Wyrmrest Agent into Dark Cultist into Twilight Guardian, Druid often stands no chance. Priest might have 3 solid minions on the board by the time Druid plays the first one. Druid often finds himself in a spot where he needs to DEFEND against the Priest instead of being the one who pushes, which really sucks. Innervate plays might be very strong in this matchup. 4 attack minions are generally very strong against the Priest, and a lot of your mid game plays have 4 attack. Piloted Shredder can take Priest’s 1-drops and 2-drop for free and trade 1 for 1 with Dark Cultist (while still getting Deathrattle proc). Azure Drake and Druid of the Claw can also get awesome trades. Getting one of those out on the board can snowball the game in your favor. They’re much better when Innervated, because if enemy already has some board presence he might find an answer with e.g. Shrinkmeister + Shadow Word: Pain or the Velen’s Chosen on one of his minions. Keeper of the Grove should be kept for the Silence value most of time. For example, Priest getting the Twilight Guardian to 5/13 is a pretty common scenario (the +3 health from Dark Cultist and Velen’s Chosen). Without Silence, Druid has pretty much no way to get through it. And Silencing it gets a HUGE value, turning it into a 2/6 minion. Mid game should be in your favor, because your minion are generally pretty hard for Priest to kill and they often get 2 for 1. You absolutely need to keep the board control. You want to get some mid game damage while clearing the board all the time. If Priest gets into the late game with board control, that’s the game. You have no answer for [card]Ysera and they can easily Taunt up or heal out of the combo range. It means that keeping the board is most important. Dont overextend, however! A lot of Priests are running the Lightbomb. Double Lightbomb is very unlikely in Dragon Priest, but might happen too. Also, the Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest combos are scary. They might steal your up to 4 attack minions. Not every build runs the combo, but if it steals your Druid of the Claw it might just mean game over. If you put enough pressure in the mid game, you should be able to finish Priest off with combo in the late game. You have a really small window of opportunity, though, because if they drop Ysera and you have no way to kill it, they put you on a really short clock. The easiest way to win against Dragon Priest is him missing the early draws and not getting a lot of tempo. If you can get out on the board first, you should be in an okay spot.

Vs Control Priest

Strategy

Control Priest is much less popular than the Dragon Priest, but you still might encounter it on the ladder from time to time. This matchup is very different than the Dragon Priest one. Control Priest is a very slow deck, it’s mostly reactive and has a lot of answers instead of threats. It won’t likely outtempo you – the only tempo play available for them in the early game is probably the Injured Blademaster + Circle of Healing. And that’s probably the only thing that can stop your mid game progress. Most of the early minions they have aren’t that strong and they mostly want to answer your stuff. The problem is that most of your mid game minions are very hard to answer. Some Priest builds run the Deathlord, but it’s fine most of time. Unless they buff it hard, you should be able to take it with your mid game minions quite easily. Even if it trades 1 for 1, you’re getting one more minion from your deck. While some of them are pretty weak, getting out something like a 5/5 or even a Shredder is a nice swing in your favor. Not to mention that if you manage to get out the Emperor Thaurissan, it’s likely a game over if they can’t answer it. The story of this game is that you play the minions and they try to answer them most of time. Control Priest doesn’t have a lot of proactive threats. On turn 4 they might drop Holy Champion or the Auchenai Soulpriest, but without any follow-up, they’re just 3/5 minions you should be able to kill easily. They run A LOT of removals, but the 4 attack minions are mostly out of range of them. The small stuff can be stolen by Cabal Shadow Priest so remember to not play things 2 attack minions into their turn 6. Don’t overextend, because pretty much every Control Priest runs a Lightbomb and a lot of them even run two. The Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing isn’t as scary, because a lot of your mid game / late game minions are out of range, but it still can do a lot of work. Your card draws are really important. You want to cycle through the deck and draw into the combo as soon as you can. Both of your card draws – Azure Drake and Ancient of Lore – also put a threat on the board, forcing enemy to answer it. You won’t likely finish the game without your combo, because of how defensive Control Priest is. Combo, however, works very well. Once you kill their Taunt minions (Sludge Belcher most of the time) and deal some mid game damage, you should be able to get the combo off. Even one turn when they won’t answer everything you have might mean that you just kill them. Emperor Thaurissan is phenomenal in this matchup. Try to hit 2x Savage Roar or Force of Nature + Savage Roar with it. Since you’re in no rush most of the time and they should be at high health most of time, you often need to bank on killing them with double combo. Force of Nature + 2x Savage Roar is 22 damage from the empty board. It means that usually just one minion (e.g. Shredder) is enough to just OTK enemy and get them down from 30 health. If they play the Justicar Trueheart that might be the only way to win the game, because they will likely be at full health all the time. Their late game is generally superior to yours – they play couple of late game minions like Sylvanas Windrunner, Ysera and Confessor Paletress. The first one is fine if you have Silence, but if you don’t it can get Priest a lot of value and stop you. Ysera is very hard to clear and once it’s dropped it will probably stick into the board, sadly. Confessor Paletress is a very high priority target, you should be able to clear it quite easily, but getting a random Legendary might mean game over too if they get something big enough). Big Game Hunter has almost no value in this matchup, unless they buff a 5+ attack minion with Velen’s Chosen or they get some random 7+ attack Legendary from Paletress, they rarely run any BGH targets. Sometimes they use Dr. Boom, but that’s rare. Matchup really depends on your combo – if you don’t draw it in reasonable time, Priest should get with their big threats on the board and close the game in a few turns. But if you have a nice mid game push and draw into the combo, you fan often finish the game on turn 9.

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