Control Priest: A Deck-Building Journey

With the nerfs being out for just a few days now the meta is still very unrefined but one deck has shown its strength more than any other, Control Priest.

The deck is largely unchanged from before the nerfs and is as such already at a much higher power level than many of the other decks people are playing around with. Let’s get into it!

Control Priest Core Deck

To start a Control Priest deck, let’s include the cards any priest deck will always use. Northshire Cleric and Power Word: Shield are must-haves in nearly every priest deck to date and will be played in the foreseeable future. The draw and power these cards offer will make them a staple forever. Another card we use to draw into our win-condition is Acolyte of Pain.

Next up the cards that will form our win-condition, the inclusion of Shadowreaper Anduin, Mind Blasts and Alexstrasza are what differentiates this Control Priest from the Control Priest of the past. Playing a much more proactive way to win the game rather than stalling the game out forever and trying to survive.

Since our strength is in the mid-game, we need some tools to give us the time to get there against more aggressive decks such as Mage or Paladin. The early removal tools such as the Wild Pyromancer and Duskbreaker seem like a natural fit in our game plan. Duskbreaker needs a dragon to have its effect activated so we run the best dragons available for Priest in Twilight Drake and Primordial Drake.

Besides those core cards, there is, of course, Shadow Visions. The flexibility of this card is incredible and it can give you just what you need for the situation. Whether you need more Mind Blasts to create more burst, or another Psychic Scream to survive the game a little longer.

If you just want to heal yourself or your minions up with Divine Hymn, Shadow Visions can give you just what you need.  

The last thing needed is a form of weapon removal.

Making Your Own

Start with the weapon removal options, Priest is quite flexible with this. Priest can run all of the removal options in Acidic Swamp Ooze, Gluttonous Ooze or Harrison Jones or a combination of these. The choice of card really depends on which weapons are in meta. During the last few weeks, we saw a large number of paladins running weapons such as Truesilver Champion and Val’Anyr. Both have 4 attack and low durability, so I removed Gluttonous Ooze at the time.

Now that the meta has switched, the class weapons you will likely face are Warrior, Mage, and Warlock. You might want to switch over to Acidic Swamp Ooze for the lower mana cost; or go for Harrison Jones to include some extra card-draw to get to your combo more consistently.

3 Mana

The 3 mana slot is quite open to choice, though there aren’t many options as strong as these. If you do decide to play the Gluttonous Ooze, cut down on some of the other 3 mana cards.

Twilight Acolyte is personally one of my favorites. It is basically a Shadow Word: Death, without hurting your Shadow Vision’s chances and with the upside of being able to target the Spiteful Summoners Tyrantus makes this card incredibly useful. With that said, the card also has a massive downside with its weakness to Silence.

Though Curious Glimmerroot is played much less frequently, with the meta slowing down as much as it is, this card might just be what you want. A solid card to play on turn 3 in Priest Mirrors and against the new popularised Shaman deck.

4 Mana

In the 4 mana slot there aren’t as many options due to playing 2x Duskbreaker and 2x Twilight Drake already but here are the options we do commonly see.

With the other Dragon Synergy we already play, Scaleworm just makes a lot of sense. Its strengths lie in contesting the board early on against decks like Spiteful Druid, Tempo Mage, and Tempo Rogue. While it saw a decrease in play in the last meta due to the overwhelming amount of Warlock, Scaleworm might just see a return to the Priest decks.

Mass Dispel is one of the best silences in the game. Commonly played to target a Warlock matchup but it also has a lot of use in the Priest mirrors and slow Druid matchups. A card certainly worth considering.

Last up for the 4 mana slot is a very recent addition, Life Drinker. It follows the game plan of staying alive while killing your opponent. Similar to Holy Fire which became a staple in Control Priest at the playoffs just mere weekends ago.

5 Mana

Weirdly enough Priest plays very few 5 mana cards. The mana slot is just largely lacking good cards outside of Harrison Jones.

6 Mana

At 6 mana the options open up a little with cards such as Holy Fire. Using it to chip away at your opponent’s life total while in Shadowreaper Anduin form can help you setup lethal scenarios or be a very powerful removal tool in the mid-game.

Let me change your mind…you guessed it, next up is Cabal Shadow Priest. This card has great synergy with Twilight Acolyte. Being able to steal any minion and is overall very strong. A lot of decks in the meta right now have small minions laying around during turn 6-7 and this card can really reduce the pressure your opponent puts out.

Another card worth including is Skulking Geist. Skulking Geist saw a lot of play during the last few weeks due to it improving your Warlock matchups. It takes away their healing in Dark Pact and stops them from killing their Rin and Cubes. This gives you more counterplay against those cards with Mass Dispel and Psychic Scream.

Sample Decklists

1. Senfglas’ Mind Blast Priest Build

I found this list through Meati after he posted this list on twitter. He played to rank 7 legend earlier this month using this list and credited Senfglas for the original.

2. Monsanto’s Mind Blast Priest Build

This list is one of the experiments Monsanto streamed and achieved rank 16 legend with. While this list isn’t as refined as the other lists out there, I really like the idea of including more draw and replacing a Divine Hymn with the Spirit Lashes

3. Kyouma’s Priest

Last but not least Kyouma’s list. A Japanese Hearthstone player who builds Priest just a bit different than other lists out there. Featuring everything from Curious Glimmerroot to Double Mass Dispel as well as two copies of Scaleworm and Skulking Geist.

Control or Mind Blast Priest will be a force to be reckoned with for some time and is worth giving a shot. If you got this far, I want to thank you once again for reading. Which list do you like best? Let me know on Twitter.

Check out my other articles on Even Paladin and Odd Rogue as well!

Until next time,

Arend “Tsukaime”