I took out the Young Priestess because I found out it became incredibly redundant with Power Word: Shield already in the deck and I replaced it with 2 Silences. I reduced the number of Auchenai Soul Priests down to one and brought in a Ragnaros.
This might make the deck slightly more expensive to craft, but it gives it a better finisher. I also took out the Faerie Dragons in favor of a second Defender of Argus and a Holy Nova. These changes made the deck a lot more consistent and tighter, and brought its win rate up significantly, which I’m quite satisfied with.
Hey everyone, DarkArbiter here, and this is my first (hopefully of many) article series on deck brewing in the ladder rankings of Hearthstone.
To give some background, I started Hearthstone during the early part of test season 4, so I am still relatively new to the game. However, as a Magic player, I am not new to the ideas behind deck building and competitive play, and managed to get all the way to rank 2 before the reset, and I look forward to the long haul ahead in getting to that elusive Legendary rank like so many of you.
I enjoy making new and creative decks, and though I am a budget player, I make do with what cards I can get my hands on.
There’s no doubt that there are some decks in Hearthstone that are significantly stronger than others; Control Warrior, Zoolock, and Hunter Aggro stand out above most of the other decks on the ladder at the moment. However, this doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to find creative new decks in the format, and brewing new deck ideas is a huge part of that process. Therefore I would like to share some of my ideas to help get those creative juices flowing.
Before I get into my first deck, I want to explain that while these decks are constructed with the intent of competing on the ladder, most of them are entirely theory-based and have no guarantee of being successful. With that out of the way, lets get into the deck I brewed up for this article: Watcher Priest.
Many of you have probably at least heard of the Watcher Druid deck build. It is a solid deck that gets around the problem of what is basically a Chillwind Yeti that can’t attack for 2 less mana, and utilizing cards that either give Ancient Watcher taunt, forcing your opponent to attack it, or to silence it, cancelling out its power and allowing it to attack.
The idea behind Watcher Priest is basically the same thing, but also allowing us the benefit of some of the unique cards that Priests can control and their incredible ability to heal away the damage. In theory, this should give our Watchers and other minions even more staying power, allowing us to stabilize the board and bring out our finishing cards.
Looking through the deck, we have some standard fare as far as Priest goes; Northshire Cleric, Holy Smite, and Power Word: Shield are almost no-brainers as far as value goes, so two of each are included.
The Ancient Watcher are combo-ed with Defender of Argus or Sunfury Protector to give them taunt, so nothing really out of left field there. Usually, you will want to start out with one of these cards in your opening hand.
The Cairne Bloodhoof and Chillwind Yeti are incredibly solid cards that your opponent will have to make tough trades with to remove from the field.
The Mind Control is there to steal one of you opponents big creatures, but making it count is crucial, as it is a very expensive card and is basically your entire turn in the late game. The best part about Mind Control is that it is permanent, so now your opponent has to find a way to remove the creature off of the field. Using Mind Control on cards like Ragnaros the Firelord or Ysera are preferable plays, as they provide immediate value.
There are a few minions that might seem a bit odd placed in here though and aren’t normally seen, but I believe they provide some very nice value just by getting off their ability once.
The Young Priestess are there to make our minions tougher so that they can survive removal, and if you can get off any form of healing while a Lightwarden (what I consider our own little Bloodsail Raider) is on the field, it will either draw a removal, which for one mana is acceptable, or it will be allowed to attack, giving you instant value.
The Auchenai Soulpriest may also seem like a questionable card in this deck, except when combo-ed with Circle of Healing or turning your hero ability into an offensive weapon rather than a defensive buff.
There are other cards that can be added to fit in with the current meta at your level. If you are running into the standard Rogue, Warrior, or Hunter meta decks frequently, an Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones can be brought in to deal with their large arsenal of weapons.
If you find yourself going up against a large amount of Warlock Aggro or Zoo decks, bringing in another Shadow Word: Pain instead of Shadow Word: Death will give you better odds for surviving the quick tempo of these decks.
If you feel like the deck is going way too slow for you taste but still want to mess around with it, then an Arcane Golem or Defender of Argus may help speed things up.
Finally, if you feel that you are going to be going up against a large amount of Handlock or Control decks, then a Big Game Hunter will help kill off a lot of their late-game creatures.
Some of the not so obvious combos are relatively simple. Bloodmage Thalnos should be used in conjunction with your Holy Fire or Holy Smite. Faerie Dragon plus a Young Priestess will allow it to dodge a great deal of removal spells, while giving it a tougher hide when combating minions. Injured Blademaster and Circle of Healing provides an almost instant value, especially if you have other minions that benefited from the healing ability.
Testing it Out
So, with all of that in mind, we need some idea of how we’ll approach the more popular deck builds in the current meta, particularly Warrior Control and Hunter Aggro, as these are incredibly difficult builds to deal with.
With Control Warrior, the key is to search for our Injured Blademaster and Ancient Watchers to deal the Warriors early cards, with our endgame being to Mind Control one of his big sticks like Ragnaros the Firelord, Ysera, or preferably Grommash Hellscream.
Keeping your cool is incredibly vital against this deck, and spamming too much removal early will leave you with almost nothing to hold off their more important cards like Alexstraza or Grommash Hellscream in the late game.
Probably your biggest problem in the late game is going to be Ysera; none of our easy removals can take out that four damage, so you will be either making unfavorable trades or using Mind Control to get her off of your opponent’s board.
Against Hunter Aggro, we can start off looking for our early cards like Northshire Cleric or Lightwarden and wait to draw into our late-game cards like Chillwind Yeti or Auchenai Soulpriest.
Against this deck, it is vital to keep your board as cost-efficient as possible; don’t spam too many minions, lest your opponent bring out a timely Unleash the Hounds combo to devastate your board.
Rogues are a tricky match-up for us. You want to look for your early Ancient Watcher into Sunfury Protector combo, but other than that only play what is necessary for you to keep an offensive presence on the board. Against Miracle Rogue, keeping taunts on the board is crucial. With Nightblade Rogue or Combo Rogue decks, you want to play around Blade Flurry and SI:7 Agent.
Probably the weakest match-up we will face will be against Zoolock and Murlock, since their early game presence is incredible. Keeping a Holy Smite in hand will help against some of the early cards, but your best strategy is to make it to late game to where you can get off more of your combos and run the Warlock out of gas. Causing him to make unfavorable trades in the early game can set you up for victory. Against Handlock, holding on to Shadow Word: Death in your starting hand is crucial for dealing with their Mountain Giant, but we don’t have many answers for an Azure Drake due to that frustrating four damage it carries, allowing it to dodge most removal.
Against a Watcher Druid deck, the match could go either way. Both of our strategies center around taunt and silence, so cards like Holy Smite aren’t going to get us very far in the early game. Our late game cards have more of an impact on their board, and you may very well have to spend cards like your Holy Fire to get rid of minions like their Ancient Watcher.
With the decline in Mage decks on the ladder, we don’t have many definitive decks we can judge this deck by, but there are some basic strategies for going against mages. For starters, most of our creature removal won’t be as effective, as Mages tend to be spell and secret heavy. Minions like Young Priestess will tend to shine in these matches, as she will give our minions the extra padding they need to go up against the Mage’s removal spells. Avoid playing your big creatures into cards like Polymorph or Flamestrike, and you should do just fine.
One of our biggest advantages against Paladin is that we have stronger healing capabilities. Nevertheless, most Paladins play creature-heavy decks, so Holy Smite and Holy Nova will help us deal with their early creatures, while having the Auchenia Soulpriest/Circle of Healing combo in hand will help in the late game against most of their buffs. Injured Blademaster also tends to shine in these types of matches.
Recently, Shamans have seen a bit of a climb in popularity, with good reason. Because of the potential for Bloodlust to ruin your day, keeping a Holy Nova in your opening hand is not a bad idea. Other than that, minions like Injured Blademaster and Chillwind Yeti aren’t bad to have in the early part of the game and will get your board state developing smoothly while the Shaman attempts to catch up.
On a Budget
One of the nice things about this deck is that it is, for the most part, able to be made with a relatively middle-of-the-road budget, and the Legendaries are easy enough to replace with other cards. Bloodmage Thalnos can be swapped out for a Kobold Geomancer if you prefer spell power or a Loot Hoarder for card draw, and Cairne Bloodhoof can either be traded for another Chillwind Yeti or a Spellbreaker to get in a little bit of silence. Of course, the deck can also be edited to your liking if something isn’t gelling right with you.
This deck has the potential to do well on the ladder. It’s versatile, can be easily tweaked, and has the lasting power to go toe to toe with the toughest creatures in the game.
Stay tuned for next time when I show how well or badly the deck performed when I tried it out on the ladder, changes I’ve made to it, and then we’ll be brewing up some new concoction for you all to try out. If you have questions or comments about the article or the deck, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, if you have a deck brew and would like to share it, feel free to email me with the list and basic idea of the deck. If I like it, I’ll try it out, and you could see your deck in a future article. Thanks for reading!
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