Hi! I’m Asmodeus, Hearthstone coach and author of The Complete Guide for Hearthstone Player. Welcome to the third matchup oriented guide for Reno Paladin deck. In this edition you’re going to learn how to deal with Control Priest. In particular – the entomb version of the deck that’s very popular at the moment.
Priest can be a very frustrating class to play against because their cards are incredibly powerful, however they’re also incredibly situational so the matches might look one-sided one way or the other. After reading this guide, you should understand the matchup much better so that you can identify where to improve and where to just let go if you simply got unlucky, and of course what to do, to crush your opponent in a dominating fashion.
We’re using the same decklist as previously, so let me go over some of the more important cards in this matchup.
justicar-trueheart is the real key to victory. The sooner you play it, the sooner you will start winning. Your upgraded hero ability is much better than the Priest upgraded hero power and Priest really struggles with clearing the board in the late game. This is your biggest advantage in this matchup.
equality and keeper-of-uldaman will help you if the enemy board grows out of control, but you should save those cards as long as you can since outside of them it can be very difficult to reclaim the board if Priest develops it too much.
tirion-fordring should almost never be played and he will be a dead card most of the time. I will go over it in detail in the Late game strategy chapter.
big-game-hunter can most of the time be saved for one of your 7 attack minions which Priest is likely to entomb
This matchup works similarly to other control matchups. All you care about is keeping up with the tempo during the midgame because once you get to the late stages of the match you will outvalue virtually any deck with the sheer power of your hero ability.
Play enough minions so that the Priest has to respond to the threat of their damage but not enough to give him a great AoE. Control Priest runs a very large number of board wipes: holy-nova, lightbomb, wild-pyromancer, auchenai-soulpriest+circle-of-healing, so the game should take a long time because you won’t be able to kill the Priest as a board centric deck. However, the game being long is actually a very good thing for Reno Paladin. In fact the more you can stall, the better chances at winning you will have. At some point the priest will run out of answers and your minions will stick on the board and together with silver-hand-recruits they will overwhelm your enemy.
The only way to die in this matchup is to make big mistakes or heavily lose the board control in the mid game to the point that Priest minions can kill you in 2-3 turns. As long as you don’t get very unlucky you will be a big favorite against a Control Priest.
Mulligan against Priest is fairly simple. You will aim for an opening with a couple of minions to play early, a weapon and you will try to get justicar-trueheart as well.
- Cards to keep: zombie-chow, shielded-minibot, ironbeak-owl, flame-juggler, haunted-creeper, knife-juggler, muster-for-battle, deathlord, piloted-shredder, truesilver-champion, keeper-of-uldaman, justicar-trueheart, equality
- If you already have a 2-drop or a 3-drop with the-coin then keep: coghammer
- If you already have equality then keep: consecration
- If you already have at least 2 cards for turns 1-4 then you can keep: acolyte-of-pain, mind-control-tech, spellbreaker, aldor-peacekeeper
Early game strategy
Early game is all about stopping priest from drawing cards with the northshire-cleric. Try to setup your board in a way that you can deal with northshire-cleric and preferably with a power-word-shield on top of it. Do not use your hero power on turn 2 if your enemy has his cleric on the board but try to get your minions out as soon as you can. Weapons and any kind of damage from your hand can be very helpful here.
Build your board using your cards rather than hero power in the early game, you need to be ready for the mid game and high health minions. Ideally you want to kill priest minions in one turn to prevent his hero power and spells from healing them back up.
Mid game strategy
During the mid game you will keep fighting for board control and the longer the game goes the bigger advantage you should have. Priests don’t run too many minions and you should be slowly climbing ahead. Use things like equality if you’re having trouble with board control but if you’re even or ahead you need to pace yourself. As soon as you can get away with it you should start spamming reinforce like a mad man. Press that button as if it gave you money every time you did it. Clearing a regular minion that you could play and clearing a silver-hand-recruit is usually equally difficult for Priest players. Once you get your hands on justicar-trueheart it becomes even more important and effective.
Keep pressuring the priest to use his AoE and once he runs out you just keep grinding him down with your medium sized minions and silver-hand-recruits.
Late game strategy
The first point I want to touch on that ties to the late game is tirion-fordring. There are only three scenarios possible where you would want to play it.
- Priest already used both of his entomb cards.
- Priest has an empty hand and many cards left in his deck, leaving him with a very low chance to topdeck entomb and you have nothing good to play besides tirion-fordring
- You’re going to die next turn if you don’t play a taunt.
Otherwise just keep him in your hand. If priests removes it with the entomb it’s as if he removed a 6/6, destroyed a big weapon, gained a 6/6, gained 15 damage that will likely deal with 3 of your biggest minions. The swing is just unbelievable so simply never give the priest an opportunity to steal that card. You don’t need it, you can win the game with priest drawing all of his cards and you still having 5+ of them in your deck comfortably. Your hero power and card quality will provide you with enough value.
If you didn’t lose the mid game or didn’t let priest draw 10+ cards then he has no real way of killing you and taking it to the late game, especially with justicar-trueheart ensures a safe and easy victory.
- Just don’t play that tirion-fordring. He WILL have an entomb in his hand and you don’t need all of your cards to win.
- If you have equality+consecration in your hand, you can fake weakness and get priest to overextend, leading to an epic board wipe which will seal the game in your favor. Even if he doesn’t overextend you still can afford to take damage and you extend the game 1 turn, which is good for Reno Paladin. You can do the same with baron-geddon
- Keep justicar-trueheart in your starting hand, it can be the difference between winning or losing if Priest manages to draw a lot of cards because it will be much easier to keep up with twice as good hero power.
- reinforce, reinforce, reinforce, reinforce, reinforce…
Good luck in your games and see you next time!
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