Welcome again to the Messiah's series of weekly articles that takes a look at some of the most popular, powerful, or just plain interesting deck builds that are out there for the Hearthstone Constructed Deck format.
PRIEST – NAXX TEMPO PRIEST DECK
This week I look at a Priest deck that has become common since all of the Naxxramas cards have had a chance to settle into the meta. The deck, like most popular decks currently, is a temp deck that aims to keep pressure on your opponent throughout the game right from the start.
Even more than many tempo decks this deck needs to have a solid start to win the match, that makes it critical to get the right cards through your mulligan option at the start of the match.
- 2x Circle of Healing
- 2x Northshire Cleric
- 2x Power Word: Shield
- 2x Dark Cultist
- 1x Shadow Word: Death
- 2x Thoughtsteal
- 2x Auchenai Soulpriest
- 1x Holy Nova
- 2x Cabal Shadow Priest
- 2x Undertaker
- 2x Zombie Chow
- 2x Loot Hoarder
- 2x Injured Blademaster
- 1x Baron Rivendare
- 1x Defender of Argus
- 2x Sludge Belcher
- 1x Cairne Bloodhoof
- 1x Sylvanas Windrunner
Many of the cards in this deck are already good by themselves as the deck is meant to be a tempo deck and therefore each card needs to hold its own weight. However there are some of the cards that are more important that others in the deck.
Undertaker – A really strong minion since it starts as a 1/2 minion for one mana and then gets better as you summon minions with Deathrattle, which this deck has many of.
Sludge Belcher – A great defensive minion that is becoming a standard card in almost all decks. Team it with Baron Rivendare and it becomes even better.
Cabal Shadow Priest – This minion was always a pretty good minion for a Priest deck, however with all of the Naxxramas cards that have deathrattle (especially Nerubian Egg), it has become even better.
Cairne Bloodhoof and Sylvanas Windrunner – Two late game cards to provide some serious end game power, especially when matched up with Baron Rivendare.
Baron Rivendare – In a deck full of minions with Deathrattle and ways to deal enemy minions, this card adds a lot of strength to your deck.
IDEAL OPENING HAND CARDS
This deck really needs to start strongly to win consistently. This means using cards that will help you deal damage or trade well against enemy minions from turn one.
The best cards to create the strong start that you need are: Northshire Cleric, Undertaker or Zombie Chow for turn one and then Loot Hoarder and Dark Cultist for your next turns (two and three respectively).
Making sure you have at least 2 of the cards that you can play turn one is a great way to start a game, it allows you to keep early momentum.
Assuming that you can manage to get the cards outlined above in the ideal opening hand cards, the your game plan should play out smoothly. That plan is to start off aggressively dealing damage you’re your opponent or trading minions to keep board advantage.
If you can get a sequence of Undertaker on turn one, then a Zombie Chow and Northshire Cleric on turn two, followed by a Dark Cultist on turn three you are going to be in really good shape for the mid game.
Keep going with additional minions of progressively higher power, moving into Auchenai Soulpriests, Injured Blademasters, and Sludge Belchers. These will allow you to keep pressure on, making sure that if you can kill an enemy minion while keeping a minion alive, do so, then heal that minion to keep it around even longer.
Later in the game is when you start using your even more powerful minions like Cairne Bloodhoof and Sylvanas Windrunner. These are great teamed up with your Defender of Argus and Baron Rivendare.
Throughout the game a critical part of your strategy should be considering the combos in the deck. This deck has multiple combos that make it very interesting to play around with. Some of the combos come to you out of the blue, and many are based around the fact that you can get Baron Rivendare out for 4 mana and double up on deathrattle abilities.
Some of the more obvious combos are things like:
- Auchenai Soulpriest and Zombie Chow traded against an enemy minion to deal 5 damage instead of healing 5 health.
- Undertaker and Zombie Chow on turn 1 with the coin to deal 4 damage on turn 2.
- Then there are some of the old standards like Injured Blademaster and Circle of Healing.
One you factor in the ability to have Baron Rivendare in play and double up on deathrattles it allows you to do things like:
- Dark Cultist granting 6 health (3 and 3) to your minions
- Sylvanas Windrunner stealing two minions instead of one on death.
- Cairne Bloodhoof and Sludge Belcher providing two minions on death instead of one.
- Auchenai Soulpriest and 2x Zombie Chow and Circle of Healing to deal 20 damage for just 6 mana (10 if you need to summon the Baron on the same turn)!
There are several different cards that you can use to change this deck, either to fit in more to your style of play, or to fill in for cards that you do not have. Just a few of the solid options are:
Loatheb – This minion is quickly becoming a staple in almost any deck out there. He is a solid minion at 5/5 for 5 mana, but his ability to delay your opponents spells by a turn can be a game changer and makes him well worth including.
Holy Fire – This is a great card for almost any Priest deck, and in this deck it helps remove enemy threats and to restore some of your health as you will likely not be able to heal yourself much due to the Auchenai Soulpriests being in play.
Spellbreaker – This is a good card for many different decks, especially now that Naxxramas has introduced so many cards with deathrattle.
Black Knight – If you are missing any of the legendary cards and have the Black Knight, he can be a good option, especially if you are seeing a lot of Druids in the section of the ladder that you are in.
Argent Commander – If you are missing any of the legendary cards and do not have a Black Knight, then adding an Argent Commander into the deck is a fair idea. This card allows you to place it, charge to clear off an enemy, and still have it around for the following turn.
HOW TO PLAY AGAINST IT
Playing against this deck is all about managing the threats. While some minions are not direct threats they do allow indirect threats later in the game. You really need to pick apart the deck piece by piece to play against it.
For example, the Dark Cultist is an extremely good minion, since it grants health to another minion when it dies. Therefore, even if the other minion in play is not as much of a threat, it is better to kill it first, then kill the cultist. Otherwise that non-threatening minion gains more health and is harder to deal with later.
Silence cards and non-removal removal cards (like hex and polymorph) are a great asset against this deck due to the large number of minions with effects on them.
If you are happening to play as a Druid or Warrior, then you will likely find that you have a fairly easy time against this deck. It typically struggles to deal with both of these decks due to the large number of large health taunt minions that they can put into play.
If you are playing a rush or zoo deck, then you really need to focus on dealing damage to the Priest player directly. Sure they can heal their health, but they will likely be trading their minions against you for the late game, hoping you will run out of steam. Your best chance is to hit them hard early and keep them on the defensive the whole game.
This is a very interesting deck to play with since there are so many different combinations in it that make it fun to play. Some decks need to play one set way, and the cards only allow it to play that way. This deck however can put cards together in multiple different ways. For example in one match while the Baron was out, I actually summoned a Loot Hoarder and hit it with a heal (damage) with the soulpriest out instead of killing an enemy just to get more cards into my hand.
Make sure you look at this deck seriously and give it a shot. After you do, met me know what you think of it in the comment section below.