The Verdict and Analysis of TGT Impact on Priest

Analysis of Druid, Hunter and Mage Analysis of Priest (you’re here) In this series I want to talk about how TGT cards have impacted each of the classes. Analyze the new cards, see whether they are seeing play or not and judge whether the class was improved with the TGT or not, as well as […]

Introduction

In this series I want to talk about how TGT cards have impacted each of the classes. Analyze the new cards, see whether they are seeing play or not and judge whether the class was improved with the TGT or not, as well as the latest sample deck lists of these classes. I’ll give one of the three final verdicts:

  • Positive – The class has significantly improved with TGT – either the new, very strong archetypes were created or the old ones has became better.
  • Neutral – The class received positive changes, but they are rather small – no new archetypes created or they aren’t very strong and the old ones were only slightly boosted or got cards that are similar in strength to the current ones and can be used as a tech/alternate choices.
  • Negative – The class got close to no good cards, no new viable archetypes were created and the old ones also didn’t get a lot of alternative card choices.

It’s time for the 5th analysis, which is Priest. If you’re not an Anduin fun and you’re waiting for Valeera, don’t worry, she’ll come out soon!

Summary

Oh, the good, old Priest. Before TGT, he was in a really similar spot to Paladin. The class wasn’t really BAD, it could be played on a decent level, but it faded when compared to the top tier ones. Along Paladin and Shaman, it was considered one of the three worst classes in the game. And just like with Paladin, things have changed drastically with the new expansion. A not-so-new archetype has became viable – Dragon Priest. It was first tested after BRM, which introduced Twilight Whelps, but didn’t quite work. Dragon tribe was generally a huge letdown in BRM, but that’s topic for another discussion. With two new neutral Dragons and some Priest class cards, the archetype has became viable and jumped straight onto the top. Many tier lists classify Dragon Priest as tier 1 right now, so just like with Paladin, that’s a huge jump from top 3 worst class. The classic Control Priest didn’t get that much tools into his arsenal, but was slightly improved. Zetalot has taken the Control Priest with a few TGT additions to #1 Legend this season, so it’s definitely viable choice. Let’s go through the individual cards.

TGT Priest Spells

  • Flash Heal – It was pretty curious that Priest didn’t have straight healing spell. Like Paladin’s Holy Light or Druid’s Healing Touch. Well, now he has. And when it comes to the spell itself, Holy Light is a good comparison. It heals for only 1 less (5 vs 6) and it costs 1 less mana. It’s a crazy difference, it makes Holy Light so bad in comparison. Not to mention it has much better synergy with Priest. Is it good enough, though? It depends. The problem is that it’s pretty hard to fit into the current Priest decks. Light of the Naaru has similar purpose, but also summons you a 1-drop (usually). There are a lot of situations when Flash Heal is better, but generally I think Light of the Naaru is stronger. What’s worth mentioning is that Flash Heal might be used as a combo with Auchenai Soulpriest. 1 mana 5 damage spell is really, really broken. Besides that, it’s another way to heal up your Injured Blademaster. It costs 1 instead of 0, but it does the same job as Circle of Healing, just one turn later (obviously it’s worse, but can serve as a substitute in case you don’t draw CoH). Overall it’s an average card, nothing great, but not really weak.
  • Power Word: Glory – Well… This card is really similar to Paladin’s Blessing of Wisdom – you often have an incentive to use it on enemy’s minion to block their attacks. But unlike the Blessing of Wisdom, which gives a real advantage, healing for 4 with each attack is not that strong. Against hyper Aggro decks, they can just Silence it off or trade a minion away. Yeah, sometimes you’re gonna get value and get healed for like 8, but it’s not always the case. Against slower decks it’s pretty useless – enemy rarely cares about your health total until he takes the board control anyway. So he’s gonna just trade it off after some time, no problem. The only situation where it’s really good is when you’ve stabilized against Aggro deck and you want to get as much healing as you can. Aggro deck without board can’t really contest your minions, so by putting it on one of them you can heal by 4 every turn (6 with Hero Power), usually putting you outside the burn range. But Priest is already a reactive deck with a lot of situational cards, so he doesn’t really need one more. The card isn’t that bad – it’s just not needed. Oh, and if you decide to use it – rember to not play Auchenai Soulpriest, because instead of healing for 4, it deals 4 damage to you – even if it’s the enemy minion that attacks. I’ve killed one Priest who put two of those on my minion and then played Auchenai.
  • Confuse – I honestly don’t know what to say about that card. I’ve never seen it in Constructed yet, only twice in Arena. In theory, card can allow you some nice plays. Like making better trades, using the Shadow Words much easier (like you need to kill the Sludge Belcher and you have only Shadow Word: Death in your hand) etc. It also seems like a tool to OTK enemy with low attack, high health minions like Deathlord or even Ysera. The problem is that it often does nothing, it’s very, very situational and even if you activate different Shadow Word or make a good trade, you STILL had to use a spell to do that. Why not just run the Crazed Alchemist instead? It’s the same mana cost, but also gives a 2/2 body. Yes, it’s only single target, but realistically, how often would you need to use it on more than one target at the same time? The fact that it’s a single target can actually be positive – for example when you have Northshire Cleric on the board, you might not want to turn it into a 3/1 (much easier to kill). Overall, I don’t think Confuse is going to find any viable use. Maybe in some gimmicky deck, but nothing besides that.
  • Convert – Yeeeah. Another card that is pretty fun, but that’s it. Gimmicky, situational, can’t really be used in real decks. There are a lot of problems with this card. First, you can’t play that if enemy has an empty board. If you put something good instead of that, you could just play it on empty board and it’d be fine. Second, it sucks against Aggro decks – what would you want to copy? A Knife Juggler? Thoughtsteal is already bad against Aggro (most of time), because it pulls things from their decks and they rarely play something you’d want to play against them. Third, you pay 2 mana and the minion’s cost is not reduced. So it’s also a slow play – if you copy something like Ysera, you can’t even play it on the same turn. Fourth – it works only on opponent’s minions. The problem is that opponent might not even play a minion you want for the whole game, then it’s a dead card. I really dislike it. The idea is cool, but the card isn’t that great. If it at least reduced the minion’s mana cost by 2, it would be much more viable.

Priest spells were pretty awkward in TGT. A class with already a lot of situational, gimmicky spells got even more of them. The only one that is viable is Flash Heal, and it’s probably not even good enough.

TGT Priest Minions

  • Wyrmrest Agent – Oh, it’s THE minion Dragon Priest needed. The problem with Dragon decks is that they usually were too slow. Most of the Dragons are high cost, slow, high value cards. But if you put a lot of those into your deck, your early game suffered a lot. Wyrmrest Agent is a great answer. The base 1/4 for 2 are pretty bad. I mean, Armorsmith has the same stats, but it also gains Armor. On the other hand, 2/4 with Taunt for 2 awesome – that is 3 mana worth of stats/effects. Even though you need to hold the Dragon, with the amount you have in your deck, the chances that one is in your starting hand or you draw it by turn 2 are really, really high. The 2/4 Taunt gets good trades against any other 1-drop and 2-drop, especially since Priest can heal it after trade or buff it up. Early in the game it ruins the Aggro deck’s day. Without Silence, you can’t really go through it easily, and using Owl on turn 2 is also suboptimal – it just dies to the 1/4 that’s left and Priest is up on initiative. Later in the game, even against slower decks, it might stop some damage or be used to protect your high value minions. If you follow Wyrmrest Agent with Velen’s Chosen, you suddenly have a 4/8 Taunt on turn 3. If enemy has no Silence or hard removal to answer, they often can as well concede. Very strong minion.
  • Shadowfiend – This card is in a weird spot. First, being a 3/3 for 3 (where the standard statline today is 3/4), it would need to have really strong effect to be used in Constructed. The effect might be pretty strong, but there is one problem. Unless you combo it with some card draw on the same turn, it has to survive until your next turn. And even then, let’s say if you get one discount on average. If the minion said “The next card you draw costs (1) less.” Would it be playable? I’m not entirely sure. In the classic Priest decks, you value solid drops over cards with effects that might not even do anything. So yeah, while discounting a card might be nice, it also might be useless – if you discount an Auchenai Soulpriest that you were going to play on turn 4 anyway – yeah, you’re still going to play it for 3 mana and you might have nothing to do besides that. You don’t know what card you’re gonna hit, so it’s also not a fit into combo decks. While you might discount part of your combo, you might as well discount a removal or something. Emperor Thaurissan is much better, because you’re 100% sure what cards you’re discounting and you might control it – you play him when you have the right cards in your hand. Shadowfiend is unpredictable. It’s not a bad card, it has nice synergy with Power Word: Shield and even Northshire Cleric in the late game. If it sticks into the board for a few turns, that’s great. But since it’s a 3/3, it probably won’t. I won’t call it bad, but it definitely is not great.
  • Holy Champion – A big sister of Lightwarden. The same effect, bigger mana cost. 3/5 is a solid statline for 4-drop if the card has a good effect. This one has. Holy Champion that stays on the board for a few turns can snowball the game easily. By the time you get an opportunity to attack with it, you can often make it a 5/5. Perfect counter to Sludge Belcher for example. It has great scaling into the late game – it combos with cards like Holy Nova or Circle of Healing. Just like with the Lightwarden, you can combo it with Wild Pyromancer for some crazy OTK scenarios. What’s good against Holy Champion, compared to Lightwarden, is 5 points of health. Since neither of those have Charge, they need to stay on the board for one turn so you can get value. 2 points of health are so easy to take down – any small removal, any AoE can just kill it. 5 health is much more tricky. And once it sticks, the magic can happen. It has a pretty nice scaling into the late game – on later turns you can drop it and instantly heal something to have a 5/5 that can potentially grow even more. Not to mention that it also discourages enemy from healing. Quite a lot of classes have a way to heal up – even the Paladin can’t really swing the Truesilver Champion without buffing it. It’s a great include into a Control Priest.
  • Spawn of Shadows – Another 4-drop, this one is much more gimmicky. It doesn’t fit any current popular Priest archetype. The 5/4 statline is aggressive and not meant for a minion that trades, survives and is healed up. The stats are meant to push damage. And yes, it can do that – with Inspire it deals 4 damage to both you and your enemy. So you’d probably want to play it in some sort of Aggro/Combo deck. I’ve actually played quite a lot of Aggro Priest and honestly, it could seem like a good include. The problem is that it’s slow – you need to Hero Power in order to activate the effect and you usually don’t have time using Hero Power in a deck like that. A big version of Shadowbomber – but if the damage was on Battlecry instead of Inspire, it could actually fit an Aggro Priest deck if one ever becomes popular. In the current state, I’m not sure. Right now it’s not used anywhere.
  • Confessor Paletress – Crazy, crazy minion! This is one of the minions that can either be useless or win you the game – RNG strikes again. But does it really? So, with each Hero Power you summon a random Legendary minion. That usually means you’re going to summon one, on turn 9. The 5/4 stats so late in to the game are very bad and it’s not likely that it’s going to survive. I mean, in case it does – you probably won the game, unless some terrible RNG happens. One of the win conditions in a Control Priest deck, it can summon a wide range of minions. Starting with the bad/useless ones like Lorewalker Cho, Edwin VanCleef or Tinkmaster Overspark, going through the average ones like King Mukla, Justicar Trueheart, The Black Knight, ending up with a super-awesome ones like Ragnaros the Firelord, Sylvanas Windrunner, Ysera etc. The range is really wide, but there is one good point. There aren’t a lot of very weak Legendaries. There is only like 5 outcomes that are terrible and another 5 that are bad. Every other is at least average and there are at least 20 GREAT ones. It means that even though it’s random, you’re much more likely to get something actually good. And like I’ve said, if it sticks to the board, you won the game – no deck can really outvalue you getting a free Legendary every turn. It’s rare that a 4 health minion like that survives, but it happens. A very cool card, even though it’s so RNG-based, I really enjoy it.

Minions are much better than Spells. Priest got two solid drops – Wyrmrest Agent and Holy Champion, that are good in Dragon and Control Priest builds respectively. It also got a very nice Legendary. It’s definitely not staple, but some high Legend Priest players (including Zetalot) were running it with a success. So, let’s end the Priest’s analysis with Neutral Minions.

TGT Neutral Minions

  • Chillmaw and Twilight Guardian – I know I’m probably getting boring on those ones, but those two were included in pretty much every Dragon deck. And while Chillmaw is not in every Dragon Priest (it’s more of a tech choice), Twilight Guardian is a beast. A 3/6 Taunt on turn 4 in a class that can heal and buff is crazy. Not only it can trade well with all the early drops, but it’s also really hard to take down. Not to mention that if Priest played Dark Cultist turn earlier and he trades it, he might actually buff it to 3/9. Good luck going through that without Silence or hard removal. That’s what makes Dragon Priest so good – a lot of things in the early game requires Silence or removal – enemy won’t have enough answers for everything. Chillmaw is like I’ve said, more of a tech choice. Priest already has a pretty easy time clearing the board with things like Holy Nova or Lightbomb. But you can put it instead one of those. While the AoE is not guaranteed (you need Dragon in your hand, it can be Silenced), the 6/6 body is also solid and can be just played on an empty board. Enemy is put in an awkward spot, because he can’t really play minions into it, and 6 health is hard to remove. Those two, alongside Wyrmrest Agent are things that made Dragon Priest viable.
  • Justicar Trueheart – Priest is another class that benefits greatly from the Justicar’s bonus. The healing turns from 2 to 4. It’s great against every Aggro deck and in the late game it’s solid against slower decks – you might make trades and heal your minions again out of range. Killing Piloted Shredder and just healing minion back to full is great. But what’s really strong about this is the combo with Auchenai Soulpriest. Having Hero Power that heals for 4 is strong, but having one that deals 4 damage is even stronger. Your Hero Power actually becomes worth more mana than it costs (compared to Darkbomb for example) – and for 0 cards! That’s really crazy and it’s the main reason why Justicar is great include into any deck running Auchenai.
  • Eydis Darkbane / Fjola Lightbane – Valkyrie Sisters show up once again, but it’s impossible to not put them here. Priest is probably the class with BEST synergy when it comes to those. Priest already runs a lot of cheap, targetable spells – Power Word: Shield, Light of the Naaru, Velen’s Chosen. They’re great by themselves. And having a way to boost them even further is awesome. For example, if you coin out the Fjola, you can turn her into 5/8 minion with Divine Shield. On turn 3. With some buff shenanigans, Eydis can shoot like crazy – 3 or 6 damage is pretty common, I’ve once managed to deal 12 damage with her ability in one turn. While being great fit into Priest, the problem is that Priest is already heavy on good 3 mana cards. It’s hard to fit another one, so you’d need to make cuts to put those in. But it’s definitely something worth considering.
  • Garrison Commander – No, I’m not kidding here. Again, Zetalot (he’s probably the best Priest player in the world, so I’m relying on his judgements a lot) was actually using it in his Priest decks for some time. Obviously, it’s usually not an early game drop, but something to boost your late game by a lot. Once you have played Justicar Trueheart, Garrison Commander allows you to heal for 8 per turn. And you can distribute it among 2 targets. Let’s say you have 2 injured minions – you can play Commander and heal both for 4. A 10 mana combo would be Auchenai Soulpriest + Garrison Commander + 2x Hero Power for 8 damage. It might seem like a lot of commitment to deal 8 damage, but you also develop 3/5 + 2/3 and if those stay on the board, you can deal 8 damage again next turn for just 4 mana. It’s also nice as a surprise burst – enemy rarely expects so much damage from the Priest.

Verdict & Closing

Final verdict: Positive

Priest was another winner of TGT. The class jumped from one of the worst to one of the best. It’s a really big difference. The new Dragon Priest archetype is very strong, people are playing it in every tournament and you can meet a lot of those on the ladder. I don’t think it’s as strong as Secret Paladin, but still great. The oldschool Control Priest has also became stronger – the deck is pretty hard and requires a lot of practice, but once you master it, you can even hit high Legend ranks. A lot of the cards introduced were pretty bad, very situational or gimmicky, but the quality of those good ones is so high that it doesn’t even matter. Priest could as well get only those strong 3 minions and it would still improve by that much. The TGT neutrals were also nice, there are a lot more neutrals that can work in some Priest builds, but honestly I didn’t test them so I can’t talk much about them. I really enjoy the post-TGT Priest and I recommend everyone who haven’t played the class yet to try it out – it’s a really good time to do that.

Example TGT decklists: Dragon Priest, Control Priest

That’s it for the Priest’s analysis. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the section below!