Welcome back for the sixth episode of Weekly Top Legend Decks! This is the series where I’ll provide you the top decklists that are Legend-worthy from both community and pro players.
Last episode came out just as the new season was starting, so I didn’t cover any January decks yet. This time we’ll get onto some of the more interesting ones, as well as the ones that scored high last season. Since I didn’t have time to hit Legend yet, the decks were tested between ranks 8-3 on the EU ladder. I had positive winrate with all of them, so if you’re looking for decks that are viable for climbing the ladder – I guess you just found them!
Lyme’s OTK Priest
I just LOVE the Combo Priest decks. They are really cool to play and I honestly don’t even mind playing against them (unlike most of the other combo decks). Today’s build was created by Lyme, a Legend player from NA.
The basics of the deck are simple and don’t really differ from deck to deck – you want to control the board, draw tons of cards, drop Emperor Thaurissan once you have your combo pieces, kill the enemy. However, the ways you do each of the steps vary from deck to deck.
The first and biggest difference is which “finishers” you run. Most of the decks run 2 out of 3 – Alexstrasza, Prophet Velen or Malygos. Running all 3 of them is a little too much and redundant. This version runs Alex and Velen, which is probably the best pair.
Northshire Cleric and Acolyte of Pain are the main sources of card draw. We all know how Northshire works, but we don’t see Acolytes in Priest that often. Which is kinda weird considering how strong they might be. First of all, they have insane synergy with Wild Pyromancer. You AoE everything for 1, including your own Acolytes, drawing the cards. Second synergy is the one with Velen’s Chosen. When you buff the Acolyte it has so much potential to draw you 3+ cards – enemy won’t likely take it down in one hit. When you Lightbomb with Acolyte on the board, it also deals only 1 damage, thus drawing you a card. And to top all of that you have Power Word: Shields (which also cycle through the deck) and the Hero Power to heal it up once it gets damaged. In best case scenario one Acolyte can draw 5+ cards in this deck. And that’s A LOT. Another card that sometimes draws is Harrison Jones. Awesome in the current meta, with decks like Aggro Shaman or Secret Paladin running weapons with a lot of charges. It also somewhat helps in the Control Warrior matchup, which is probably the worst one. Oh, and when it comes to card draw, there is also a Bloodmage Thalnos, but he’s often kept for the Spell Damage.
Then we have board control tools – Wild Pyromancer, Deathlord, Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing, Holy Nova, Lightbombs. All of those cards allow you to establish the board control and stall out the game. You won’t be doing too much minion damage, but that’s not a big deal – your main goal is to survive, not to rush enemy down.
The play style is actually similar to the Freeze Mage. Board control is your #1 priority, once you get enough burst you play Emperor and discount your combo pieces, then you Alex enemy down to 15, then you burst him down. In that case the standard amount of burst you can pull off is between 20 and 28 – Prophet Velen + 2x Mind Blast + between 0 and 2 Holy Smites. I say between 0 and 2, because even though they’re your combo pieces, you often have to use them earlier for the board control. The deck also has emergency burst from Auchenai Soulpriest + Hero Power/Flash Heal/Light of the Naaru, but those might also have different purposes – healing your Deathlord, drawing cards with Northshire or clearing minions with Auchenai. On the other hand, you might have more than 28 damage if you also have a Spell Damage minion on the board already or you play one on the same turn. Spell Damage is calculated before 2x bonus from Velen (remember that he’s your bro), so if you get discounts on Prophet Velen, 2x Mind Blast, 2x Holy Smite and Bloodmage Thalnos (at least 5 out of 6 pieces), there is possibility to play them all on a single turn for 36 damage. Well, that’s some burst. It’s not likely to happen, but you might actually aim to get enemy from 30 to 0 in certain matchups, like against a Reno deck.
- Cycling through your deck is most important thing. You usually don’t want to throw away your Northshire to die after drawing a single card. Or Acolyte of Pain to just die to let’s say a 3/3 minion for nothing. You run a lot of cards that do nothing outside of the combo turns, so you need to cycle for your actually useful cards.
- Don’t use your burst prematurely. One of the biggest advantages of your deck is surprise factor. If you throw the Mind Blast just because you have nothing else to do enemy is gonna play safe, heal up, stop Life Tapping etc. Don’t show your cards until your final push.
- Wild Pyromancer can makes really strong AoE clears possible. If you combo him with a couple of cheap spells, you deal a lot of damage. The great late game combo is Wild Pyromancer + Velen’s Chosen + Holy Nova for 5 AoE damage in total (while also developing a 5/5 minion).
- Be careful to not overdraw. In most of the decks overdrawing one or two cards doesn’t really matter, but here it can be crucial. If you burn your Prophet Velen, that’s often just game over. Even burning one of your Mind Blasts really hurt and makes it almost impossible to win against a deck with a lot of healing (like a Reno deck). Count your cards every turn, especially before you do the Northshire Cleric plays (like Cleric + Circle or Holy Nova), don’t throw Acolyte of Pain on the board when your hand is nearly full and enemy has three 1/1’s etc.
- You want to hit at least 3-4 combo pieces with Emperor Thaurissan, but if that’s your only turn 6 play, go for it anyway (especially if you have no emergency board clears in your hand in case things get ugly). You’re more likely to lose the game by giving up so much tempo than by not discounting the right cards.
- Don’t wait for the biggest weapon with Harrison Jones. Yes, if you face Patron warrior you want to destroy the Death’s Bite, but in a lot of matchups destroying anything is alright. You’re still getting some tempo and a lot of value. Getting rid of Light’s Justice against Paladin or Rogue’s Hero Power (1/2 Wicked Knife) is just fine.
- Shadow Word: Death – A big minion removal. While the deck can easily deal with small minions or with board flooding, it’s really hard to kill the big stuff. Sometimes the game is going to go deep into the late game before you draw your combo pieces. I mean, using Lightbomb on a single big minion is not THAT bad, but you prefer to keep those for really crucial turns. Shadow Word: Death allows you to deal with a big threat AND develop something at the same time in the late game. Entomb might be another possibility, but I don’t actually think it’s that good in this list – it’s a combo deck, so you don’t want to draw the cards from outside of your deck.
- Holy Fire – It’s somewhat similar idea to the Flash Heal and Light of the Naaru, but it doesn’t require Auchenai setup + it both heals and deals damage at the same time. The problem with the card is mana cost – 6 mana is quite a lot, but the card works quite nicely in this kind of deck from my experience. It adds another removal, more survivability and possible burn finisher if the combo didn’t kill enemy.
- Azure Drake – A good alternative to Harrison Jones if there will ever be a low amount of weapons in the meta. Like, if you face Druids and Mages all the time, running Harrison makes no sense. On the other hand, Azure Drake cycles and gives the Spell Damage, which is really good in the deck.
- Malygos – Yeah, you can run Malygos instead of the Velen (or probably Alex too, but I think Velen would be a better thing to sub). What are the pros/cons? Malygos combos better with Holy Smite and Holy Nova, which deal 7 damage each instead of 4 and Light of the Naaru (wich Auchenai) which deals 8 damage instead of 6. Malygos is harder to remove (12 health, outside of the BGH target) so in some desperate situations where you need to drop it on the board and kill enemy next turn, it has higher chance to survive. On the other hand, Velen costs 1 less mana, so it’s easier to combo him. With Malygos, you need to hit ALL the main combo pieces with Emperor (Maly + 2x Mind Blast), with Velen only two of them are enough. In perfect scenario you can also combo Velen with Thalnos, you can’t do the same with Malygos. Velen also increases your healing, so if you’re in desperate need to heal yourself for 4 (or 6/10 with Light of the Naaru/Flash Heal), you can do that with Velen, but you can’t do with Malygos. As you can see, both of them have their pros and cons, but I think that overall Velen is slightly better.
Ryshotex’s Tempo Mech Mage
No, the deck has almost nothing to do with the “Tempo Mage” deck we all know. But the naming isn’t wrong – actually all the Mech decks are Tempo decks. If I had to describe the deck, a “slower Mech Mage” would probably be it. The standard Mech Mage is a really strong deck, but it suffers from one thing – it runs ouf of steam really, really fast. Gorillabot A-3 has helped a little, but it’s still not enough if enemy gets good board clears and you’re left with one draw per turn.
This deck, however, is much more heavy on the late game cards. Besides the standard Dr. Boom + Archmage Antonidas combo it also runs the Piloted Sky Golem, Toshley and Sneed’s Old Shredder. It makes the deck SO MUCH stronger in slower matchups. If you add one Arcane Intellect, 2x Gorillabot A-3, you should have enough power to play the value game.
Toshley is really cool, because it combos very well with Archmage Antonidas. That’s 5 spare parts in total you can get in the deck, you have a pretty high chance to get the Stealth one, which is often just an auto-win. Turn 8 Archmage Antonidas + Stealth into 2x Fireball (and possibly another Spare Part) on turn 9 is too much for most of the decks to handle.
The second big threat – Sneed’s Old Shredder – is one of my favorite Legendaries ever, because it’s 2 in 1. You get the pretty mediocre 5/7 body for 8 mana, but you also Deathrattle into a RANDOM LEGENDARY. Yes, Legendaries vary from useless ones like 1/3 Sir Finley Mrrgglton or 2/2 Edwin VanCleef to incredibly strong ones like Ysera, Tirion Fordring or Ragnaros the Firelord. Luckily for Sneed’s user, there are much more those that are average or better than the weak ones. The card has also an obvious upside of being a Mech. Mechwarper allows you to get it out a turn earlier and if it sticks to the board (and it does pretty often) you get the Mech synergies activated.
The bad thing about this deck is that making it slower means it’s much worse in fast matchups. With only a single 1-drop (as opposed to the standard 4-5), the perfect curve is almost impossible to achieve without the Coin. The 1-drops are really good against let’s say Secret Pally, Zoo Warlock or the Aggro Shaman. The deck is still pretty fast with the right start and Mechwarper shenanigans, but it’s not as fast as the standard version.
- Early game is very similar to the standard Mech Mage. You mulligan heavily for the small drops, especially the Mechwarper (and Clockwork Gnome if you go first). You mulligan away your whole late game, basically don’t keep anything above 3 mana. You want to establish the early game board tempo. With slower late game it might be actually hard, but you’re still a Mech deck.
- Board control is the most important thing. Try to keep your minions alive while killing opponent’s. When making trades, try to keep your Mechs as healthy and trade other minions instead. The reason is that the Mech synergies require you to have one on the board – minions like Goblin Blastmage or Gorillabot A-3 get A LOT stronger when you have a Mech on the board.
- Don’t keep your spells for burn, unless you’re really close to lethal. Use them as a removal – Frostbolt is great at dealing with early game stuff and Fireball can kill pretty much anything outside of the real late game threats.
- Preserve your Spare Parts if you can. Obviously, if the Spare Part is going to give you a free trade (+1 Health one) or allows you to tempo out (Freeze one), you can use them. But you want some Spare Parts for the Archmage Antonidas – ESPECIALLy the Stealth one.
- Your late game is quite strong and Mage’s Hero Power is great at keeping the board control, so when you see that you won’t be able to rush enemy down, you can try playing the slow game. Try to Hero Power every turn, be as efficient with your removals and trades, pick big threats out of Gorillabot. It is possible to play value game against most of the Midrange decks and even some Control ones (I won the value game against Control warrior with this deck).
- Cogmaster – If you face a lot of fast decks, you should probably consider running Cogmaster. The reason is that you really want to curve out in fast matchups, and having a 3/2 (if you follow it with a Mech) on the board gets you really good trades against most of the minions (besides Shielded Minibot, but pretty much nothing trades well with that).
- Mana Wyrm – Another option for an early game drop if you don’t like Cogmasters. Mana Wyrm is really cool against Aggro decks, because it gets free trades against the 2/1’s even if it’s not buffed. It also has awesome synergy with Spare Parts, so if you’re holding some of them it might grow really big.
- Clockwork Knight – A budget option if you don’t have the Piloted Sky Golem. And a solid mid game minion overall – 5/5 body is good and with tons of Mechs in the deck the buff is also nearly guaranteed to hit on something. +1/+1 may not seem like a lot, but it’s very useful in some situations. Like, when you have a 2/3 minion against their 2/3, you can buff yours to 3/4 and get a free trade. Or you can put your minions out of ping range against Mage/Druid/Rogue(Hero Powers) or Paladin (Light’s Justice).
- Kel’Thuzad – Kel’Thuzad is a cool minion to play instead of Sneed’s. It’s not Mech, but that’s not the most important thing. Since the deck really wants to fight for the board control, dropping a Kel’Thuzad in the late game and trading off 2-3 minions often means you win. Not only you get a lot of instant value (free trades), but enemy HAS to find an answer for a 6/8 body (and it can’t be targeted by Big Game Hunter) or else you don’t ever lose the board control.
Neph’s Djinni Combo Druid
Druid is one of the most stale classes. The Ramp Druid isn’t played at all, so it’s Midrange Druid most of the time. Or some kind of aggressive build – Aggro Druid or Egg Druid – because Savage Roar is a broken card in this kind of decks.
But, it doesn’t mean that we can’t get a little innovative. I really like this deck, because it utilizes so many cards that weren’t used in Druid before. Yes, it’s still the Midrange/Combo Druid, but it’s at least a little different.
The main difference are buffs – Mark of the Wild, Mark of Nature and Dark Wispers. The main reason for running the buffs is a new LoE card – Djinni of Zephyrs. Basically, whenever you use a buff on something when you have a Djinni in play, the buff gets doubled. And that’s really strong. 4/6 body is pretty good already and when you double all your buffs, stuff can get crazy. Let’s say you play Djinni on Turn 5 and then Piloted Shredder + Mark of the Wild a turn later. Now you have a really threatening board of 6/4 with Taunt and 6/8 with Taunt. Doubling the buffs also means that they’re better against Silence. Right now one Silence can completely get rid of the buff, with Djinni enemy needs two.
The second interesting card and the reason you run buffs is Nerubian Egg. Buffs serve as the activators. You can Taunt it up, you can increase the attack, you can even Savage Roar to kill something with it and pop it. It’s pretty easy to activate the Egg in this deck, and Eggs are good – now only you get the initial value of killing something, but you also get a 4/4 leftover minion.
The last interesting inclusion is Deathlord. Believe it or not, but this minion also has cool synergy with the buffs. It’s a high health, low attack minions, so every additional point of attack makes the difference. With just the Mark of the Wild you can turn it into a 4/10 minion. I’ve won some games because I made a 6/12 Deathlord on turn 4 with double MoTW. Besides that, Deathlord protects your other minions and allows you to set up for your combos. Playing Deathlord + Djinni in the late game increases the chances your Djinni will survive by a lot.
While the standard Midrange Druid might be a better deck, this one is very cool, because of the surprise factor. Enemy doesn’t really know what he plays against, because well, the deck is so unique that it’s hard to tell a lot of time.
- Buffs are important part of the deck, but you don’t want to get them too early. The only situation where I’d keep Mark of the Wild or Mark of Nature early is if I’d also get the Nerubian Egg – they’re good activators.
- Raven Idol is a cool card. You generally want to discover spells – you can get another buff, a Wild Growth (to follow-up if you played it on turn 1), another piece of Combo or something. Discover minions only when your hand is really low on the minions – let’s say the first minion you can play costs 5 mana, then getting a smaller minion is good. In the late game adjust to your needs – if you’re low on minions, get a minion. If you want a removal or a buff or something – go for the spells.
- Deathlord on turn 3 is cool, but not against every deck. If you know that opponent might have an easy way to remove it, keep it. You don’t really have a way to deal with a big minion that might come out. Dropping it on turn 3 against Warrior is a really risky, because Execute might lose you the game. On the other hand, it’s great against fast/Aggro decks. It’s also cool against Secret Paladin – while it’s possible that he will get something big out of it, it stops the early game aggression unless he has the Keeper of Uldaman.
- Don’t keep your Djinni if you don’t have any spells. It’s a 5-drop no matter what. It also has a quasi-Taunt, because once you drop it most of the opponents will want to kill it, being afraid of the buffs follow-up.
- Dark Wispers is played for the buff, but you might actually use it to summon 5 Wisps in the right scenarios. 5 Wisps are great for setting up the lethal with Savage Roar – that’s 17 damage with just one Savage Roar. You can use it against the decks that run no board clears or against enemies that used their AoEs already.
- Fjola Lightbane / Eydis Darkbane – I honestly don’t know why you wouldn’t put those in the deck. Deathlord seems kinda out of place if you don’t run into TONS of Aggro decks and Fjola/Eydis have awesome buff synergy. While the deck doesn’t run THAT much buffs, the 5 it has is enough to get a lot of value. And they’re just solid 3-drops with the 3/4 bodies. Sometimes they’re even better than Deathlord against Aggro. Coining out the Fjola and following with Mark of Nature creates a 3/8 Taunt with Divine Shield. Eydis, on the other hand, can push for a lot of damage or get some board clears with the random 3 damage.
- Wild Growth – You can play Growths instead of Aspirants if you want more consistent Ramp. The upside is that the Ramp is guaranteed and they’re better in the late game (because of the cycle part) and the downside is that a 2/3 body is good to make the early trades against fast decks.
- 2nd Ancient of Lore – To keep the late game going, because a single Ancient of Lore is the only card draw in the deck. I really like running 2x Lore in every slower Druid list, because the card is just so good – on the top of the 5/5 body it gives you a card advantage, which is crucial in a lot of matchups.
It’s the Reno deck. And it’s a Priest. That’s probably as much healing as you can get. I really like Kolento’s decks and I had a lot of fun testing this one, even though I got bad matchups almost all the time (*cough* Midrange Druid *cough*).
I really like using Priest as a Reno class, because Priest has TONS of good cards and never enough space to put them all into the decks. People were cutting many cards just because of the lack of space. Even if you can put only one copy of each card, Priest will NEVER lack removals, because the class has so much reactive cards – small removals, big removals, AoE removals… You name it and Priest will most likely have it.
The deck is mainly built to counter the Aggro decks, that’s the main purpose. Early ladder climbing means TONS of fast decks and this one works very well against them. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t win against slower decks. Priest is one class that really doesn’t need a lot of late game to be good even in slower matchups. Thoughtsteal gives you card advantage without even drawing from your deck, Entomb and Sylvanas Windrunner let you steal something from your enemy, Museum Curator lets you discover another big minion and – probably most importantly – the deck uses Elise Starseeker.
While the card is just a 3/5 for 4 in fast matchups (which isn’t the worst thing ever, actuallY) it allows you to get a lot of late game power. The deck runs quite a lot of cards that are weak in the late game or just too situational. Like Circle of Healing is a dead card a lot of time and Power Word: Shield / Northshire Cleric might actually be bad for you if you don’t want to draw in fatigue matchups (e.g. against Control Warrior). Zombie Chow, Wild Pyromancer, Light of the Naaru, Shrinkmeister and more are just too weak in the late game. Yes, they might be useful in SOME situations, but wouldn’t you rather have some random Legendaries instead? Yes, the RNG might screw you and give you 5 Lorewalker Chos, but you’re most likely going to up your hand’s quality by A LOT. Elise is awesome against the decks that would just outvalue you in the end, but can’t stand the pressure of 5+ big legends in the end.
The deck runs A LOT of removals – Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Madness (it can be semi-AoE) and Cabal Shadow Priest are small single target removals, Shadow Word: Death, Big Game Hunter and Entomb are big single target removals, Wild Pyromancer, Holy Nova and Excavated Evil are small AoE removals, Auchenai Soulpriest + Circle of Healing and Lightbomb are big AoE removals… And yeah, there are even more cards that can situationally be used as removals. That’s probably one of the most reactive decks that are good.
And then, we have Reno Jackson. Bane of the Aggro decks. Bane of everything that tries to rush you down. But it also makes the deck much better against combo decks like Freeze Mage or Midrange Druid. Sometimes they just get you low and you can’t do anything, because you only heal for 2/4 per turn. Reno back to full and you can continue your steady healing game.
- The deck plays in a very similar way to the standard Control Priest. It just uses more different kind of removals, which makes it slightly less consistent, but also more unpredictable for your opponent. So you want to mulligan for your early drops and small removals in fast matchups, while you can leave some of your mid game drops or Thoughtsteal in slower matchups.
- The main difficulty of playing the deck is to know when you need to use each removal and how much can you let the enemy overextend. For example, enemy Control Warrior drops the Dr. Boom and you can choose between Shadow Word: Death and Entomb. Most of the time you want to SW:D that, because you keep Entomb for either Sylvanas (which can be very hard to kill because of Deathrattle) or Ysera (which is outside of the SW:D range). That’s just one example, you just really need to think which removals are best to use and which are best to keep. When it comes to the second point – with so much AoE AND the Reno, sometimes you can play the slow game even if enemy has the board lead. Don’t AoE 2-3 small minions, let enemy hit you a bit more, but make him also play more stuff before you use your AoEs. The damage on your face doesn’t matter that much if you already have Reno in your hand, so something like Lightbomb one turn to clear 4-5 minions into Reno next turn can just win you the game.
- In slower matchups, keep Shrinkmeister to combo it with Cabal Shadow Priest. This way you can steal something much better – Piloted Shredder, Sludge Belcher or even Ysera. In faster matchups, you can just drop it on turn 2 to get something on the board – Cabal gets enough value by itself in fast matchups anyway.
- You have so much removal that you can easily afford to drop tempo Big Game Hunter on turn 3 in a lot of matchups. Do this in the matchups where you need the early board tempo, when you don’t have any comeback mechanics (like Auchenai + Circle of Lightbomb) to have an emergency board clear and when enemy runs only 1 or 2 big minions, so your other removals are going to be enough.
- Flash Light – An alternative to Light of the Naaru. 2 more healing instead of situationally getting a Lightwarden – both are about the same and which one is better really depends on the situation. Flash Light is better when you really need healing and don’t care about minions that much (so against stuff like Freeze Mage) or when you want to burst the enemy down with Auchenai Soulpriest. On the other hand, Light of the Naaru is better at the board control game, because the Lightwarden might get a good trade in certain situations.
- Holy Fire – A multi-purpose spell. Single target removal, burn, healing spell. It’s good in pretty much all the matchups, because it can serve different purposes when you need it. The only thing that sucks is the mana cost – 6 mana means it comes pretty late and even at 10 mana you can’t play much else besides that.
- Mind Control – An awesome card if you play a lot of slower matches. It does nothing in Aggro ones (because you won’t get anything meaningful and you can’t even heal on the same turn you play it), but in the slower ones it’s awesome. Using it on a big minion is an awesome value AND tempo swing. For example, if you use it on an 8 mana minion, you remove 8 mana worth of minions from the enemy board and play 8 mana worth of minions on your side in one card. Best targets are the big, slow minions with no immediate board impact, like Sylvanas Windrunner, Ancient of War, Tirion Fordring or Ysera. But even stealing a Sludge Belcher is good enough a lot of time.
- Dark Cultist – A solid 3-drop, not much to say about it. Good in every matchup, a proactive play, has vanilla stats AND a very strong effect. If you play on the curve it’s not that likely to die, and if you follow it with a 4-drop and make a trade, well, that’s a really big 4-drop you now have (e.g. a 3/7 Holy Champion).
- confessor Paletress – Another late game threat. A big win condition in slower matchup. You’re almost guaranteed to get 2 for 1. When you drop it and heal something, enemy now has (most likely) two targets he wants to kill. One is obviously Paletress – he can’t leave it on the board. And the second one is the Legendary you got. There is a really small chance to get something very weak. There are almost no terrible outcomes, A LOT of average ones (but average Lengedary is pretty good to get for free) and some crazy ones. The only problem with the card is that it can SOMETIMES backfire – getting a Majordomo Executus against a high burst deck, getting Lorewalker Cho when your hand is full of spells, getting Nat Pagle or Bloodmage Thalnos when you’re going into fatigue etc. But the card is still good and – most importantly – VERY fun to play with.
If you want to submit your own decklist – send it to me at email@example.com with a proof of Legend, matchups statistics (it’s best to use some sort of tracker for that), your own thoughts and stuff like that. Or if you’ve already described the deck somewhere, you can just send me the link to your Reddit/Hearthpwn/etc. post! I’ll definitely try to put at least one deck submitted by you guys every week.
If you have any other suggestions or comments, leave them in the section below!