The Priest class in Hearthstone is a class that is one of the more sneaky or subtle ones in the game. While it has direct attacks and minions, it also has subtle tricky elements. It can control enemy minions, copy enemy cards, copy enemy minions, and draw numerous extra cards. For Magic players coming to Hearthstone, the Priest deck is the closest to a Blue control deck that you will find.
While Priests focus heavily on healing and control aspects of the game, and can play extremely defensively, they are also capable of attacking and direct damage. There are many ways they can shift from a holy priest play style over to a shadow priest play style.
As a Priest in Hearthstone you will be represented by Anduin Wrynn of the Alliance, son of the King of Stormwind.
As a Priest your hero power is based on that of a holy Priest in World of Warcraft and is called Lesser Heal. It allows you to heal yourself, or any other target, for 2 health at the cost of 2 mana.
This power allows you to keep yourself or your minions alive far longer than normal. It also makes many minions far more dangerous, which will be discussed in the tip section below.
Priests also have access to two other hero powers as well. Through a card called Shadowform you can replace your Lesser Heal power with the Mind Spike power. This changes your power to 2 damage caused instead of healed. Once you have Mind Spike active, if you play a second Shadowform spell it will be upgraded to Mind Shatter which deals 3 damage instead of 2.
When you first start a Priest deck you will be granted many of the basic cards. In addition as you level up your Priest deck you will gain the remainder of the basic class cards by the time you reach level 10.
|Basic Priest Spells|
|Holy Smite||1||Deal 2 damage.|
|Mind Blast||2||Deal 5 damage to the enemy hero.|
|Shadow Word: Pain||2||Destroy a minion with 3 or less attack.|
|Power Word: Shield||1||Give a minion +2 health. Draw a card.|
|Divine Spirit||2||Double a minion's health. [This card is gained at level 2]|
|Mind Vision||1||Put a copy of a random card in your opponent's hand into your hand. [This card is gained at level 4]|
|Holy Nova||5||Deal 2 damage to all enemies. Restore 2 health to all friendly characters. [This card is gained at level 6]|
|Shadow Word: Death||3||Destroy a minion with an attack of 5 or more. [This card is gained at level 8]|
|Mind Control||10||Take control of an enemy minion. [This card is gained at level 10]|
|Basic Priest Minions|
|Northshire Cleric||1||1||3||Whenever a minion is healed, draw a card.|
There are many additional Priest cards than those listed above in the basic card section. These are the Expert cards and can be gained through the purchase or winning of expert card packs. Many of these cards are key to how the class plays and will be required to do well as a Priest.
|Expert Priest Spells|
|Circle of Healing||Common||0||Restore 4 health to ALL minions.|
|Divine Spirit||Common||2||Double a minion's health.|
|Holy Fire||Rare||6||Deal 5 damage. Restore 5 health to your character.|
|Inner Fire||Common||1||Change a minion's attack to be equal to its health.|
|Mass Dispel||Rare||4||Silence all enemy minions. Draw a card.|
|Mindgames||Epic||4||Put a copy of a random minion from your opponent's deck into the battlefield.|
|Silence||Common||0||Silence a minion.|
Your hero power becomes "Deal 2 damage". If already in Shadowform if becomes "Deal 3 damage".
|Shadow Madness||Rare||4||Gain Control of an enemy minion with 3 or less attack until end of turn.|
|Thoughtsteal||Common||3||Copy 2 cards from your opponent's deck and put them into your hand.|
|Expert Priest Minions|
|Auchenai Soulpriest||Rare||4||3||5||Your cards and powers that restore health now deal damage instead.|
|Cabal Shadow Priest||Epic||6||4||5||Battlecry: Take control of an enemy minion that has 2 or less attack.|
This minion's attack is always equal to its health.
|Lightwell||Rare||2||0||5||At the start of your turn, restore 3 health to a damaged friendly character.|
|Prophet Velen||Legendary||7||7||7||Double the damage and healing of your spells and hero power.|
|Temple Enforcer||Common||6||6||6||Battlecry: Give a friendly minion +3 health.|
Combos are what can win most card games, and for Priests that is even more important than many other classes in the game. Priests have many cards that work in combination far better than they work individually. Here are just a few tips and combos that will help you out with the Priest class cards alone.
- An obvious combo with common cards is a Lightspawn minion and Power Word: Shield or Divine Spirit. Since the Lightspawn gets his attack based on his health, this ups him to a 7 attack minion for a total cost of 5 mana or 10 attack for 6 mana. The trick though is timing, make sure you cast the buff spell the turn after you summon your Lightspawn, just in case he gets silenced. Also once buffed the Lightspawn is an even bigger silence target, so hold off just in case the opponent waits on the silence, that way you at least get one attack with him.
- Northshire Cleric is a hugely important minion for you. Since your opponent will know this as well, try to keep it in your hand until you are ready to use it. A great time is just before using Holy Nova against the enemy while you have a few damage minions out. This can easily grant you 3-4 cards for the cost of 6 mana at the mid-game. This can easily turn the tide of a battle.
- If you want or need cards before the above example then make sure you have a minion with taunt active or a way to boost the Northshire Clerics health before summoning her.
- The copy cards that you have are all situational cards as you are never sure what they will grant you. If you chose to use them, use them early in the game. This is especially true of Mindgames, since the longer you wait, the more chance that the enemy has already drawn their huge legendary minion that would be the best in their deck to have copied.
Once you get into more advanced play and combos, you can look at some general cards rather than just sticking with Priest only cards. Here are just a few examples of some really good cards to pair up with a Priest deck:
- The first minion that gets much better with the Priest deck is the Injured Blademaster. At 3 mana for a 4/7 minion he would be a bargain, except he starts with 4 damage to himself. However as a Priest with the power to heal, that isn't a huge issue. Summon him once you have a Northshire Cleric on the table and you get a big minion and an extra card or two as you heal him.
- A second great minion that gets better in a Priest deck is the Lightwarden. This unassuming 1 mana minion starts out as a 1/2, but gets an extra +2 attack whenever a character is healed. Since you are likely going to be healing a lot, she can become a huge threat, especially when buffed with extra health from Power Word: Shield or Divine Spirit.
- A third card that I really like with the Priest class is the Imp Master. Since the Imp Master suffers a point of damage each turn in exchange for summoning a 1/1 imp, the ability to heal it back up provides more imps over a longer period of time (indefinitely unless your opponent focuses on it). Team this with a Knife Juggler and you get extra Imps each turn and a point of damage to a random enemy. This becomes a very annoying combo for your opponent to deal with.
- If you chose to use direct damage spells like Holy Fire, Holy Nova, and Smite, then any minion with spell power also becomes extremely useful, just a few examples are Kobold Geomancer, Dalaran Priest, and Ogre Magi. All are decent enough attack and health for the mana, and come with spell power as well.
- As with every other caster style class, the Azure Drake is an amazing minion that should not be passed up. For 5 mana you get a solid 4/4 minion as well as +1 Spell Power and a card. What more could you want.
As a Priest you should attempt to make use of your strengths, which are direct damage and controlling the pace of the game. Here is an example of a deck that does just that.
Combo Priest Deck
This deck looks to keep a card advantage while pushing out many small minions to annoy the enemy until you finally overwhelm them. It has no really big minions, but has several ways to deal with them, or you can just steal them in the late game.
- Minions (18)
- 2x Acidic Swamp Ooze
- 2x Azure Drake
- 2x Defender of Argus
- 2x Injured Blademaster
- 2x Northshire Cleric
- 2x Imp Master
- 2x Knife Juggler
- 2x Lightwarden
- 2x Spellbreaker
- Spells (12)
- 2x Holy Fire
- 2x Holy Nova
- 2x Power Word: Shield
- 2x Shadow Word: Death
- 2x Shadow Word: Pain
- 2x Mind Control
The first thing to realize going into the Arenas and selecting a priest is that you will not be playing aggressive as a Priest. Sure, in constructed you have to option to go shadow or create agro decks, but give up that plan in the Arena. Your best plan as a Priest in the Arena is to aim to go slow and steady and win the long game through late game big minions and card / board advantage.
Part of the way to accomplish the late game win is to make sure you keep a board advantage whenever you can. Make sure you consider the other player and what cards they could have. For example, knowing that a Paladin has Consecration that deals to mana to all creatures and he just attacked a few of your minions to leave them at 1 or 2 health for next turn, you should heal at least one of them back over 2 health with your class power to make sure you keep advantage. Boosting low health minions to keep them active and on the board past an already favorable 2-1 trade is a great way to win games in the Arena.
Just because you will likely have to play a longer more defensive game, does not mean you should not be aggressive at all. You still will have access to some really solid aggressive cards, make use of them. Again though, when choosing between being aggressive and keeping minions alive to make your opponent trade 2-1, always heal and make the opponent trade. Since you are not guaranteed any super big minion, or even a Mind Control card though, you will need to pluck away at your opponents health slowly and steadily.
If you draft a super defensive deck and have no solid end game minions, remember you can still win by decking your opponent. Since you can heal your health, if it comes down to a 20+ turn game, as long as you have played solid defence and are close on health, you should win when it gets down to no cards left and your both drawing damage each turn. As a Priest, I have won many games this way. Sure it's not a glamorous win, but it is still a win.
While the actual game play remains the same between constructed format play and arena play, the actual value and strength of specific cards can change drastically. This is due to the limited pool of cards that each player will have available to them. It is therefore important to understand which cards are of the most value in the Arena when drafting.
When playing in the Arena and drafting your deck, some of the best cards to draft for the Priest class are as outlined below along with some reasoning. They are listed in alphabetical order.
- Auchenai Soulpriest - This is a very interesting and powerful card, especially in the Arena format. It turns your class heal ability into a damage ability. Just be careful, it turns all healing in to damage, so don't Holy Nova with this minion out!
- Holy Nova - A powerful clearing spell in any format, in a limited format like Arenas it becomes even better.
- LightSpawn - Sometimes hard to use, but a 5/5 minion for 4 is nothing to scoff at, even if he only stays that strong for 1 turn.
- Mind Control - A game changer spell. Your opponent finally gets to cast their huge game winning minion, and then you steal it away.
- Northshire Cleric - A good choice for card drawing ability. If used once a taunt minion is out you can get a few turns of card drawing from this great little minion.
- Power Word: Shield - Extra health for a minion and a card, so many uses are open to you with this card.
- Shadow Word: Death and Shadow Word: Pain - Both of these are really good spells to grab, especially the death version. They allow you to remove minions for a very low cost.
- Temple Enforcer - A solid minion for beating down your opponent, and better yet it buffs an already existing minions health, best used with a taunt minion or a Lightspawn.
You can also find a listing of the general non-class specific cards that are the best to draft in the arena format in these two guides:
Comments on Priests in Hearthstone
As with any of the classes in Hearthstone there are many different winning strategies. The ideas and decks above are just the start. If you have alternate ideas on decks or methods to use the basic or expert cards for the Priest class in Hearthstone, please feel free to share them in our comment section below.