Our Inner Fire Combo Priest deck list guide for The Witchwood expansion features the top list for this archetype. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Inner Fire Combo Priest
Priest’s Divine Spirit + Inner Fire shenanigans are as old as the game itself. Back in the Classic, it wasn’t a viable strategy – it was considered a cheesy way to win some games, but that’s all. However, as more and more Priest cards were printed, the combo finally became viable. During Year of the Mammooth, it was built around the Dragon package. Right now, after cards like Netherspite Historian or Drakonid Operative have rotated out, the Dragon version of Combo Priest is no longer the strongest one. Instead, the deck goes back to its roots, dropping the Dragon package and focusing on the early game and the combo itself.
Luckily, some of the most vital Combo Priest cards, such as Radiant Elemental or Shadow Visions are still there, so the deck can be played even without the Dragon package. At the same time, you need to remember that it’s no longer as powerful as it was before, right now it’s mostly an off-meta deck you can have some fun time with, but don’t expect it to work as well as high tier decks.
Inner Fire Combo Priest Mulligan Strategy & Guide
VS Fast Decks
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Northshire Cleric – Against Aggro, Cleric is mostly valued for its 1/3 body. Not only that, but your opponent might skip a 1-drop completely, because you might draw a card off of it, making it a great tempo play.
- Radiant Elemental – This is a high priority card. Not only it’s a solid 2/3 for 2, but it also lets you perform all your combos for cheaper. You can immediately combo it with Power Word: Shield, which is great against Aggro.
- Tar Creeper – Even if you don’t have any cards to buff its health, Tar Creeper is still a great option vs Aggro decks.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Power Word: Shield – Keep with Wild Pyro, Radiant Elemental or Northshire Cleric. DO NOT keep with no minions in your hand, or it will stay dead for a while (it’s hard to stick a minion vs Aggro).
- Shadow Ascendant – Keep with a 1-drop.
- Wild Pyromancer – The deck runs LOTS of cheap spells, and Wild Pyromancer is your only source of AoE, which is very important against fast decks. However, keep it only when you’re on the Coin, without Coin it’s very clunky in the early game.
VS Slow Decks
Important: Do not keep your combo pieces unless you have a perfect hand (e.g. Radiant + PW:S + Divine Spirit + Inner Fire)! Early game minions are more important.
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Northshire Cleric – Your main draw engine. Unlike vs Aggro, you don’t always want to drop it on Turn 1, but it’s very useful to have.
- Radiant Elemental – The best minion you can keep. With so many spells in your deck, the spell discount is amazing.
- Shadow Ascendant – Aggro decks will usually kill it right away, but if a slower deck didn’t get an early removal, it can snowball the game quite nicely. It can also put your other minions out of removal range.
- Acolyte of Pain – Card draw is very important in slow matchups, so keep it
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Power Word: Shield – Keep with an early game minion.
- Shadow Visions – A solid card that allows you to fish for combo pieces and close out the game against your opponent. Keep with Radiant Elemental.
- Injured Blademaster – With Circle of Healing. 3 mana 4/7 is really good, especially if you can find Divine Spirit too.
Inner Fire Combo Priest Play Strategy
Your game plan against Aggro is actually quite difficult. On the one hand, your most important job is to survive – clear their board, try to keep some board presence by healing your minions etc. But at the same time, you can’t really “outlast” an Aggro deck, not with this build at least. You have no big bombs, no huge Taunts and such – you basically need your combos to win.
Early game will be mostly about clearing the opponent’s board and trying to stick a minion on the board so you can play the combo pieces on him. One important thing to remember is that against Aggro decks, you DO NOT need to go all-in on the combo. Given how many of the aggressive builds run Silence, I’d say that it’s even better to NOT go all-in on the combo unless you can kill your opponent right away.
Just a simple example – turning your Northshire Cleric into a 6/6 with Divine Spirit + Inner Fire is often well worth it, because it’s a very high tempo play. Not only you can trade into anything, but you also draw cards while keeping the minion alive with Hero Power. Sometimes just a single piece can be worth it. For example, putting Divine Spirit on your Tar Creeper makes it a 3/10 Taunt on your opponent’s turn – it’s not that easy to get through without a Silence.
Unpowered Steambot has an amazing synergy with Inner Fire. Since it’s the highest health 4-drop in the game, you don’t even need the Divine Spirit to make it work – Inner Fire alone turns it into a 9/9 Taunt, which is a massive wall against Aggro. The downside is that it’s incredibly vulnerable to Silence – it loses both the Attack and the Taunt.
In the mid game, Wild Pyromancer can do a lot of work in those matchups. Since your deck runs multiple cheap spells, it should be easy to activate. Proccing it once can be good on certain boards, but you should be able to get 2 or even 3 procs quite easily in the mid game. It’s a solid AoE clear, and if something on your side of the board survives, you might even have a way to combo your opponent down next turn.
The deck runs multiple Silence cards, so don’t be afraid to use one even if it’s not absolutely necessary. Removing a buff, Divine Shield or even Taunt to get through and make the important trade is fine.
Alternative win condition is simply sticking your Lyra the Sunshard. If it survives a single turn, you can pretty much guarantee that it will survive even longer with all of the buffs etc. Aggro decks rarely have a way to remove it if they aren’t ahead on the board – Silence is their best answer most of the time, but if they use it on Lyra, they won’t have it for your combos, so that’s still a win. Lyra can generate a lot of value – I’ve said before that this deck would have a very hard time outlasting an Aggro build, since it doesn’t run any big stuff. Lyra is basically the only way to do that, since she can generate nearly infinite value.
To sum things up, in Aggro matchups, you need to be really flexible with your combos. Try to not go all-in on a single minion because of Silence, don’t be afraid to buff your smaller minions, even if you’re just using a single piece, just try to not fall behind on the board, unless you’re setting up a Wild Pyromancer clear. Lyra is also very helpful if you can stick her, you should be able to run your opponent out of cards quite easily while keeping yourself alive.
Games vs Control decks with this build are actually more straightforward than those against Aggro. You have one and only one win condition – combo. Technically Lyra can give you some more steam, but there’s maybe 1 in 10 chance that she will stick for longer than a turn, so you shouldn’t count on that. While your combo is basically the only win condition, there are two ways to use it.
First way is, just like against Aggro, buffing up a minion. Not to a huge numbers – you won’t get a 32/32 to OTK your opponent. But a 10/10 around Turn 3 is possible – Radiant Elemental + Power Word: Shield + Divine Spirit + Inner Fire. Or maybe 2x Divine Spirit + Inner Fire on your Northshire Cleric to get a 12/12? Yes, a play like that can be sometimes shut up by something like Spellbreaker, or let’s say Polymorph vs Mage, but if it’s so early in the game, you still want to go for that. The chances are that they don’t have any answer and you just win the game. And if they do – the game usually isn’t lost yet. I always compare this kind of play to the Miracle’s Rogue all-in Edwin VanCleef. Yes, sometimes it fails, but getting that 10/10 or 12/12 on Turn 3-4 can result in a very quick win most of the time.
The second way is waiting for the full OTK combo. This one is rarely done on one of your small minions. The most common target for this is obviously Unpowered Steambot, because it starts at 9 health. 2x Divine Spirit + Inner Fire is a massive 36 damage combo. Alternatively, you can play 2x PW:S + Divine Spirit + Inner Fire for 26 damage, which is few points shy from the OTK, but it’s usually enough if you had some minions on the board earlier. This method is much more efficient, since you’re basically killing your opponent right away. But at the same time, it’s also harder to set up and pull off. Not only you need to stick a high health minion to the board (most likely Steambot, but an Injured Blademaster can work too), but then you need to have all the necessary combo pieces + possibly Silence to get through a Taunt if there’s one on the board. If you get your combo pieces early, you find them through the Shadow Visions and such, you should TRY to get the full combo in, because it’s the best way to guarantee a victory.
Which way you should go for really depends on your hand and such. If you already have a full combo in your hand and you just need to set a minion up, I’d try to wait for the OTK. But if you don’t have a full combo, or you don’t have a Steambot or something to set up on the board, and you’re presented with an opportunity to make a 10/10 early, you generally should go for it – there is a significant chance that your opponent has no way to answer it, and he has only 2 or 3 turns to find the answer (and by the time he does, you might have another minion on the board already to buff again).
Silence is also a very important part of this deck, especially against slow builds. Right now, nearly every common deck runs Taunts. Taunts are everywhere. No matter if you face a Cube Warlock (Voidlord can completely block your combos if you can’t Silence it), all kinds of Paladins (a silly Righteous Protector can ruin your day if you can’t Silence it), Control Priest, Taunt Warrior… only a few decks in the meta don’t run any Taunts. And since your combo is based on minion damage, Taunt can stop it. So you always want to have a way to stop the Taunt.
If your combo win condition fails, you need to hope that your Lyra will not fail. Lyra + Radiant + a bunch of cheap spells is probably the best way to utilize her. There is a chance that your opponent has already wasted some of the removals/Silence on your earlier minions, meaning that Lyra can stick. If she sticks – she can carry the game by herself. Not only you generate a lot of value, but at 5 health she’s also a nice buff target. Especially since the random Priest spells have a high chance of being another buff, or even one of your combo pieces – that’s how you will win some games, by rolling the extra necessary combo cards from Lyra.
Inner Fire Combo Priest Card Substitutions
Inner Fire Combo Priest is generally a very cheap deck. The deck runs only a handful of more expensive cards, but they might be very difficult to replace.
- Lyra the Sunshard – I’d say that Lyra CAN be replaced, although you will lose an alternative win condition, which isn’t really something you want. Since there is no other card with similar effect, you might try to replace her with some generic card that fits well into this deck, such as another Acolyte of Pain, Injured Blademaster or maybe a Quartz Elemental.
- Shadow Visions – Two copies of Shadow Visions are absolutely necessary to play this deck. Or rather, you COULD play without them, but the deck’s consistency will be way, way lower. They’re basically a flexible way to find extra combo piece, or the missing combo piece, without Shadow Visions you’re always stuck with maximum of two Divine Spirits and two Inner Fires, which often isn’t enough. For example, thanks to the Shadow Visions, if you discover an extra Divine Spirit, you can use one early and still be able to perform the OTK combo later if your initial plan fails.