Our Un’Goro Silence Priest deck list guide will teach you how to pilot this popular Season 38 deck! Our guide features mulligan, play, and card replacement strategies!
Silence Priest, sometimes called “Unicorn Priest” by the community since Purify was released, used to be a pretty weak, maybe even a “joke” deck until the Journey to Un’Goro. With the help of some new cards, most importantly the Humongous Razorleaf, Silence Priest has became a really viable choice to ladder with.
Silence Priest is very hard to classify. It’s a sort of a combo deck that relies on three basic win conditions. First one is putting early pressure with a big “Can’t attack” minion that’s Silenced – a 2 mana 4/5 or 3 mana 4/8 – that can be buffed even further. Second is killing the opponent with the Divine Spirit + Inner Fire combo. And third is Lyra the Sunshard shenanigans with Radiant Elementals and tons of cheap spells.
The deck list used in this guide was created by uPZuka – he hit #2 Legend on EU with Silence Priest last season and he’s already in Legend this season after playing this list.
Silence Priest Mulligan Strategy & Guide
I’ll divide the mulligan section into two – against fast decks and against slow decks. Fast decks are generally the Aggro decks (e.g. Pirate Warrior) or high tempo Midrange decks (e.g. Midrange Hunter). Slow decks are slower Midrange and Control decks.
Vs Fast Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Northshire Cleric – Your only 1-drop and a great buff target in Aggro matchups. If they can’t answer it on turn 1, sometimes you can keep it alive with PW:S, Divine Spirit, Talonpriest etc. and then Inner Fire it. Plus you need to draw cards.
- Potion of Madness – Fast decks run a lot of of 1-2 attack minions, so Potion of Madness is really useful.
- Power Word: Shield – Cheap buff + cycle, works best with either Cleric or Radiant Elemental, but buffing something after Silencing it is also good.
- Ancient Watcher or Humongous Razorleaf – Silence and/or Faceless Shambler targets, they don’t do anything right away unless you draw Silence, but they’re great to have on the board. If you start with both, keep Razorleaf, it’s slightly better.
- Radiant Elemental – The deck runs 12 one and two mana spells, which means that this guy gets value in nearly every game.
- Tar Creeper – It’s an anti-Aggro tech, so you want to keep it against Aggro.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Silence or Purify – Keep with a Silence target. Silence is generally better in fast matchups, because it’s higher tempo – you prefer 2 mana over a card most of the time.
- Kabal Talonpriest – With some early minions that you DON’T want to Silence. E.g. with Cleric or Radiant Elemental. I used to keep it more often, but then I’ve played it as a vanilla 3/4 too often, which is not good enough in this deck.
- Faceless Shambler – With Humongous Razorleaf AND some early game like Potion of Madness, Cleric or Radiant Elemental. The combo is great vs Aggro, especially if you draw a Divine Spirit on top of that, but you can’t afford to do nothing until turn 4.
Vs Slow Decks
Higher Priority (keep every time):
- Northshire Cleric – Card draw is key in slow matchups, so you want to keep Cleric. With all the buffs, if it’s not killed immediately, it might stay on the board long enough to draw a handful of cards.
- Power Word: Shield – Health buff and cycle, what more do you want?
- Ancient Watcher or Humongous Razorleaf – You generally don’t want to keep both, because you might not draw enough ways to “activate them”. Razorleaf is better one of the two.
- Radiant Elemental – Can be killed pretty easily in the early game, but with the right hand it can be deadly. Buffing it to 10/10 on turn 3 is very easy and happens quite often – it might be solid win condition in slower matchups.
Lower Priority (keep only if certain conditions are met):
- Silence or Purify – With a Silence target already in your hand. Keeping one with not Silence target can be bad idea, because if you draw another Silence instead of Watcher/Razorleaf, you have a dead hand. Purify is better in slow matchups, because the card draw is more valuable than the early tempo most of the time (because you’re usually looking for a combo win condition).
- Potion of Madness – If you play against a deck that runs some early, small Deathrattles (e.g. Loot Hoarder) or Acolytes of Pain. For example, it’s a good keep against Mage.
- Kabal Talonpriest – With early minions already in your hand. The thing is that buffing the Silence targets before you Silence them is usually a bad idea, so you want to hit Talonpriest on Cleric or Radiant Elemental.
Silence Priest Win Rates
Silence Priest Play Strategy
Silence Priest is a really interesting deck. You usually associate combo decks with some kind of slow, late game deck, but that’s not always true. This Priest build is definitely a combo deck, but sometimes you start performing your combos as soon as turn 3-4. Of course, some games indeed are longer, but I don’t remember ever getting to 10 mana with this deck.
The basic idea behind the deck is to put a lot of early pressure on the opponent, way before most of the decks can react. While it’s certainly possible, most of the time it’s pretty hard to kill let’s say a 16/16 minion on turn 4, and this deck can make it happen quite easily. If the game goes long enough, it also has the 20+ damage potential if any minion sticks to the board. A lot of the games can be won out of nowhere with just a 1/3 on the board.
It’s one of the only decks where your basic strategy against Aggro isn’t to outlast them. Your strategy is actually very similar to that against slow decks – you want to make a huge minion, possibly a Taunt, and kill your opponent with it before he kills you. Depending on the hand, the games against Aggro can be easy or unwinnable. What’s great is that fast decks rarely run a lot of removals, so it’s much easier to stick a minion – they will rarely kill your 4/8 just like that so you can’t buff it, they will most likely ignore them and try to kill you. Which is also a bad thing, because you don’t have too much time to draw cards and get to your combo pieces.
Your early game plan is to stick a minion to the board. Huge part of your deck are buffs – if you don’t have any minion to play them on, they’re dead cards. Northshire Cleric and Radiant Elemental are the best early game cards – the first one is a 1 mana 1/3, so it might survive past the first turn, so you can snowball it after. And the second one can buy you a lot of tempo. Turn 2 Radiant Elemental + Power Word: Shield is a great play. Shield doesn’t cost you anything, so you basically play a 2 mana 2/5 with an extra effect. If it survives, the extra tempo gain can be insane. If you happen to have another health buff, Divine Spirit or even both – you can make it nearly unkillable. Out of the two, in the fast matchups I’d try to keep the Elemental alive (buff it, heal it) over Cleric. Extra tempo is more important than extra cards, unless your hand is really bad.
Alternative strategy is to play a “Can’t attack minion” – Ancient Watcher or Humongous Razorleaf – and Silence it. Great thing about those minions is that your opponent will ignore them most of the time. Aggro deck just can’t afford to start killing them – if they do, it’s like they had a Taunt right away, which is actually also good for you. And one of the most powerful things about those minions is that your opponent doesn’t know what to expect. He doesn’t know if you have a way to Silence them. He doesn’t know if you can buff them. He doesn’t know if you can put a big Taunt thanks to them or not. He’s staying in the dark and his plays might not be most optimal, because he doesn’t know your hand and plan.
If possible, try to play cards that either set up for a strong turn or actually do something. If I can choose between dropping Razorleaf and Acolyte of Pain, I’d drop Razorleaf most of the time, even if I didn’t have a way to activate it in my hand (there are 6, or 8 with Shadow Visions, cards I can draw next turn to do that, that’s a solid enough chance). If you play too slowly, you’ll get rushed down before you can do anything. Similarly, if I can choose between turn 2 Ancient Watcher and Shadow Visions, I’d go for Watcher most of the time. Lyra the Sunshard rarely gets value in fast matchups. If you can stick her to the board, it probably means that you have a complete board control and you’re winning anyway. Sometimes she can give you a clutch heal, but most of the time it’s better to play something else if you can.
Control matchups are generally slower, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put on the pressure. That’s what your deck is about. If you don’t do that, you won’t likely win the game. The longer you wait, the less effective your plays are. This deck runs no removals whatsoever, so you can’t possibly expect to have a board control in the mid/late game. And with no board control, every minion you play will be immediately killed, so you won’t have a way to combo your opponent down. I mean, there is still a way thanks to the Potion of Madness (more about it later), but it can be played around quite easily.
There are two approaches to the early game and it depends on your hand. First is the heavy pressure/combo approach. If you open the game with Razorleaf, Divine Spirit and Inner Fire, that’s most likely the approach you’re going for. If you have some high health minion that will most likely stick and a lot of buffs, your best shot is to try to kill your opponent quickly. The hand I’ve mentioned is just a Silence away from being amazing – you should be able to make a huge, 16/16 minion pretty early. And the thing is that your opponent isn’t too likely to keep hard removal in his opening hand, which means that the minion might also be quite safe. Of course, going for a big minion that doesn’t one-shot your opponent is always a risk. One removal can lose you the game, but it’s just a risk you usually need to take. It works more often than it doesn’t, and you still might have a chance to come back after such a minion dies – you have a second combo in your deck and Shadow Visions can help with getting it + Lyra miracles can happen.
The second approach is a slower one. You usually go for that one if your hand is more draw-heavy. Instead of going for a quick, big minion, you might take it a bit slower and draw some cards. If you draw a bunch of cards early, there is a significant chance that you get a full “OTK” combo, which is way better, because it can’t be countered by removals. I mean, it can, but your opponent has to basically kill every minion you play in order to counter it. If you go for that approach, it might be a good idea to put some buffs onto your Northshire Cleric or Acolyte of Pain. Those minions can give you A LOT of cards, but they die quite easily. While I would rarely go as far as wasting a Divine Spirit on them, PW:S and Talonpriest are great ways to keep them alive. Try to not be too greedy with drawing – it’s usually very slow to do draw a lot and you might end up with a full hand and no minions on the board. Try to balance between the draws and tempo – dropping a Razorleaf or something can be great, because it will either keep your opponent busy (if he wants to kill it) or give you a buff target.
This deck almost can’t win without the board. Without minions, half of your hand is useless. Without a minion that can attack, your “OTK combo” is also bad – there is no point in buffing a minion to 32/32 or something if it will just die to a single removal. But, there is one way to deal a lot of burst damage with no minions on the board whatsoever – Potion of Madness. Even a 3 health minion can be really deadly if you have the right hand. If you steal it + play something like PW:S + Kabal Talonpriest + 2x Divine Spirit + Inner Fire, then you have your OTK. The truth is that good players will usually play around it by a) not playing any 1-2 Attack minions for you to steal or b) putting a Taunts in the way, but it still works more often than you’d expect. It turns out that people rarely think about Priest dealing 30 damage out of the hand with no minions on the board.
Lyra the Sunshard is an alternative win condition. The deck runs a lot of cheap spells, so Lyra + Radiant Elemental + a bunch of spells can give you a) more cheap spells you can cycle immediately or b) a solid win condition. I won some games thanks to the Lyra giving me a bunch of Mind Blasts to finish the opponent, or the combo piece I was missing, or even when my opponent simply didn’t have a way to kill it, because he used his removals on my other stuff already. It’s pretty RNG, but it’s only a single card so you can’t expect it to always win you the game. Overall, Lyra has been performing quite well for me.
- Try to keep your minions as healthy as possible. It’s usually worth to heal your minion over healing yourself. 2 health on a minion might translate into much, much more. If you play 2x Divine Spirit, that 2 health suddenly turns into 8 health, or 8 damage with Inner Fire.
- You can abuse the early “combo” hand with the Radiant Elemental. I almost never keep the combo pieces in my opening hand – but having Radiant Elemental + Power Word: Shield might be the only exception. I’d keep a Divine Spirit with such a hand, probably even Divine Spirit + Inner Fire (not Inner Fire alone). If you can make a turn 2 (with Coin) or turn 3 (without) 10/10, it can be really deadly, especially vs fast decks that have no way to deal with it at all. You can just ignore their small minions and hit face 3 times in a row.
- Generally buffing your “Can’t attack” minions before silencing them is a bad idea, but sometimes it’s worth it to do that in the Aggro matchups if you have no Silence in your hand, but you’re holding a Faceless Shambler. E.g. if you have a turn 2 Ancient Watcher and you’re holding a Power Word: Shield, Divine Spirit and Faceless Shambler. You can get your Watcher to 4/14 and then copy those stats next turn with the Shambler. It wouldn’t be possible to do it other way around – if you’ve just dropped a 4/5 Shambler, it would probably die right away. The extra stats will be wasted on the Watcher once you Silence it, but you’ve got +9 health on your Taunt this way.
- Silence can sometimes be used on your opponent’s minion after it’s buffed, or if it has some sort of Deathrattle/ongoing effect. E.g. you can use it on Frothing Berserker to prevent it from snowballing or on Houndmaster target to get rid of buff and Taunt. If you don’t have any “Can’t attack” minions on the board, it’s rarely worth it to keep it – it’s better to use it on your opponent’s board to buy some time.
- If your hand is quite combo-heavy, try to set-up a big combo turn. It’s often good to drop a “Can’t attack” minion – those are the best combo targets if you can Silence them. But don’t do that immediately (unless you have Purify and you won’t have enough mana next turn) – surprise factor is important. Your minion might be ignored and if it does, you Silence it, buff it and kill your opponent.
- Sometimes it’s worth to Purify a minion with an effect or buffs (not heavy buffs, but something like PW:S) to get an immediate card draw. If your hand is really bad and you just need to draw, silencing that Radiant Elemental might not be the worst thing.
- Normally you can’t Purify your opponent’s minions, but you can do that after you Potion of Madness them. While it’s a very rare play, it sometimes might come handy. For example, you can steal Acolyte of Pain, run him into something small to draw a card and then Purify it so your opponent won’t draw anything. Similarly, you can deal with a Doomsayer with the same combo. You can also use it if you absolutely need to cycle a card and you don’t have a minion to play Purify on.
Silence Priest Card Substitutions
The deck is actually very cheap to build – it runs only a few Epics and a single Legendary, which can be replaced. There is also one adventure card which is, sadly, irreplaceable.
- Lyra the Sunshard – Lyra is obviously great with the amount of cheap spells this deck runs, but it’s not necessary. It’s not the vital part of the strategy and it can be replaced without hurting the deck’s win rate that much. Kabal Songstealer is an okay replacement. Alternatively, you can also run one of the crabs – Hungry Crab if you face more Murlocs or Golakka Crawler if you face more Pirates.
- Shadow Visions – The card is very hard to replace. It makes the deck way more consistent, as you can pull out the exact card you need out of your deck much more easily. If you’re missing a Silence – you pick one. If you’re missing a Divine Spirit/Inner Fire for you combo – you pick one. The deck would be less consistent, and thus much worse without Shadow Visions. But if you really want to play it without it, I’d recommend more card draw like Loot Hoarder.
- Faceless Shambler – It’s the best activator for the big “Can’t attack” minions, because the Shambler itself CAN attack. You can replace it with Defender of Argus, which makes some sense, especially against Aggro, but it’s a less aggressive option and it might matter especially in the slower matchups.
- Purify – You can get Purify from the 3rd wing of One Night in Karazhan and you pretty much have to if you want to play this deck. Silence alone is not enough to consistently activate your “Can’t attack” minions in the early game, you just need the Purify.
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Good luck on the ladder and until next time!