Hello boys and girls, these few days was a very long for me: I played about 100 games of Dragon Priest exclusively, played a lot of different versions, different techs and different takes on the deck and today I am about to bring you all the information regarding everything that all the different Dragon Priest builds have to offer.
Shall we start?
[toc]Techs I Tried and Starting Info[/toc]
Well, there are a lot of Techs that can be tested on a Deck’s version without changing it into another version. For example I can try [card]thoughtsteal[/card] in both the [card]holy-smite[/card] Dragon Priest Deck as well as the [card]shrinkmeister[/card] Dragon Priest Deck without having them stop being the Holy Smite deck or the Shrinkmeister deck, so this first section of the article is going to discuss the small changes in the Deck:
[card]blackwing-technician[/card] is better than [card]dark-cultist[/card] – After a lot of testing, I came up with the conclusion that the Technician is almost always better. Sure it requires a Dragon in hand (you are playing a Dragon deck anyway) but a 3/4 almost always dies even when played on Turn 3, while a 3/5 almost never dies. [card]eydis-darkbane[/card] suffers almost the same problem as the Cultist, but can be buffed by [card]power-word-shield[/card] for extra value on turn 4 which makes it slightly better than Dark Cultist, and its utility rivals the consistency of the Technician, so they’re both equal in value when it comes to actual card worth in a deck.
[card]justicar-trueheart[/card] sucks – For Dragon Priest at least it is a card in which value is being bad most of the times. You’ll always be already winning or losing enough that the 4 Health per turn won’t make a difference. Sure, the card can be amazing versus Hunters and Freeze Mage, but against everything else (including Aggro and Midrange) it just feels like a burden and you would much rather have something else instead. The card is amazing in Control Priest decks thought because of other reasons such as [card]auchenai-soulpriest[/card], but this wasn’t the focus of my playtest.
[card]thoughtsteal[/card] can be good – Well, that is another point here. When playing around techs and everything I noticed how Warrior was capable of having better quality cards than Dragon Priest, that also happens because Warriors can heal past 30 Health and we can’t. Thoughtsteal can kind of even the scales on that match while not being terrible in other games. You can use Thoughtsteal instead of Techs like [card]sylvanas-windrunner[/card] if you feel like it, but I have to say it is not great either.
Double [card]lightbomb[/card] is nearly a must – A lot of Midrange Aggro have been around, that of course includes Secret Paladin and Aggro Druid, and those Aggro are a lot more consistent when it comes to minion presence than let us say Face Hunter. So Dragon Priest kind of needs the consistency of double Lightbomb in order to deal with the pressure that these decks are able to apply. Lightbomb is also very good in dealing with problematic single cards such as [card]dr-boom[/card].
[toc]Versions I played and Their Results[/toc]
Before we start this section, I would just like to remind you that the lists posted here weren’t the only ones I tested, I messed around with every single one of them combining different versions and tech choices, as was discussed in the previous section.
This was obviously the first option I choose to start playtesting, since it was the latest “big” list to show up on the Legendary lists.
So, after playing about 5 games with the list you can easily realize how this list was built to fight against these newly kind of “Midrange-y Aggro” decks such as Secret Paladin and Aggro Druid. It has a few struggles against Decks that it wasn’t supposed to like Face Hunter, because this list doesn’t run ways to heal self past 2-health per turn nor any way of truly pressuring the opponent, but overall the list feels consistent despite the fact it runs out of fuel a lot quicker than the other lists.
Keep in mind that whenever I am playtesting I play a lot of games, so that includes not only the best case scenarios but also the worst too, which makes me see the weaknesses of this list, which in this list’s case is the lack of card draw combined with how quickly you drop your hand.
I played this list with both the Vol’Jin and the Loatheb versions. Neither of these versions would use Holy Smite, so you actually had better options to deal with Midrange Minions given the fact you’ll draw better cards and you won’t be drawing dead later in the game.
This version seems weaker against the decks the Smite list excels against, which are Secret Paladin and Aggro Druid, but at the same time it seems to be much stronger against Midrange Druid and Handlock. This list is actually pretty strong against Handlock and I had a pair of wins with it against zero losses, and since Handlock is known to be Priest’s nightmare, this could as well mean something.
This list also has higher odds of losing against Face Hunter than the Smite list, since it is basically the Smite list without the Smites.
[toc]Inner Fire Dragon Priest[/toc]
And this was the last build I tested. This list seems to be a slightly weaker against Control than the previously posted lists, but it does have a very high win rate against Hunters given the Deathlords. When looking at this list you might seem to think that this will have a lot of inconsistent draws, but so much as Druid Midrange, the Combo pieces can be used to obtain better board presence and not only for OTK purposes.
When playing this I have not faced any Midrange Paladin (played this list for over 20 games), so I can not say much about this matchup which seems to be slightly unfavorable, but overall it seems to be perform decently against Secret Paladins and Aggro Druid because of the double Lightbomb it has.
[toc]More Ladder info and Verdict[/toc]
At this point you might have realized I talked a lot about Aggro Druid, Secret Paladin and Face Hunter matchup. Well, these were over half the decks I faced during these 100-ish games of Dragon Priest I played during my playtest, so it is the big players we have to think about when building our own lists. Because of that, I suggest you trying [card]deathlord[/card]s as the prime 3-drops in the lists you play combined with Lightbomb in case you don’t want to follow my primary advice.
As additional information, because someone might end up coming here to poke me: all of these lists have good chances of winning against Secret Paladin, Aggro Druid and Face Hunter, but whenever I referred to “lower odds of winning” when comparing lists, I mean that one list is less favored than the other.
As for the verdict, it is quite clear how the Inner Fire list seems superior to the previously tested lists, even after the Patron Warrior meta game.
And why is that? Well, firstly it is the only Priest list with the potential to deal insane amounts of damage. Then, it is the list most fit to play Deathlords and Lightbombs because of their interactions with the card choices. And on top of all that, despite being a combo-oriented list, the list runs a lot less situational cards than any other Priest list out there, and being able to constantly play your cards without waiting for your opponent to do something for you to respond is just prime.
If you need tips to play this list, the biggest one I can give you is to only combo when you can generate value out of a card. Everything else revolves around knowing your opponent’s deck and being able to play around their cards, which can vary depending on class and deck.
After a lot of playtest I have come to believe that eventually, if Priest becomes more played, the Inner Fire version of the Dragon Priest shall be the main version, as it happened to the double Combo version of Druid.
And this is it for Dragon Priest. Today a lot of cards have been announced at Blizzcon for the new Expansion set that is coming! It is also going to be an adventure mode but as of now I don’t have much knowledge about the cards and their interactions, I am rushing to read every single one of them and give you guys an awesome review as soon as possible!
I hope you guys liked this article, it was fun playing a lot of Dragon Priest and getting to know everything about it! 😀
Love you all, see ya next article!