Our Control Priest deck list guide for the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire expansion features one of the top lists for this archetype. This Priest guide includes Mulligan Strategy, Gameplay Tips, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
You either love it or you love to hate it: Control Priest has always been the most annoying of the defensive archetypes in Hearthstone, yanking away minions from the board and spells from the hand to subvert and survive on its way to victory. Beyond the relentless removal, it always required a bit of extra oomph to become competitively relevant, be it a strong Dragon shell, tons of resurrection effects or the machine gun of Shadowreaper Anduin. This time, it’s a flood of freshly generated spells from Sethekk Veilweaver and the cost reduction shenanigans from Nazmani Bloodweaver that do the trick, creating an explosive archetype with a plethora of decision points all across the game – most of them just as infuriating to play against as it should be against a Control Priest.
Control Priest Deck List
We’ve featured Gaby’s #1 Legend build here but we’ll go into detail about Vicious Syndicate’s version in the Card Replacements section – it’s cheaper to assemble and arguably more consistent in certain matchups! There are also versions with various other top end solutions which we will also list there for you.
Find more versions of this deck type on our Control Priest archetype page!
Mulligan Guide and Strategy
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Wandmaker – A guaranteed generator for the spell engine which forms the heart of this deck, plus a small early board presence. A must-have in your mulligan.
- Draconic Studies – A way to bank that first mana crystal you’d otherwise waste with the deck.
- Sethekk Veilweaver and Nazmani Bloodweaver – The two parts of the aforementioned engine itself, they form the key parts of your strategy.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Cleric of Scales – Keep with a Dragon activator.
- Wild Pyromancer – Keep in anti-aggro matchups, preferably cheap spells.
- Palm Reading – Works great with slower matchups with a hand full of spells, but you can’t necessarily afford three turns of passing around against aggressive opposition.
- Apotheosis – Keep against aggressive opponents with a two-drop.
General Playstyle and Strategy
Like the Bee Gees song, it’s all about stayin’ alive. Since your endgame scenario in long matches is all about generating resources, it’s a real challenge to wrestle away control from the aggressor. You will have to survive multiple waves of threats and have to pace yourself accordingly, with an eventual massive re-heal to shut the door on the opposition. Luckily, your high-profile minions might as well have Taunt as far as your enemies are concerned, and even an unbuffed Nazmani Bloodweaver has to be dealt with immediately, which means you can use these cards simply to buy time.
Clearing the board is paramount but it won’t secure victory by itself: it’s once you manage to stick an Apotheosis-buffed minion on the board when you truly turned a corner. From then on, your opponent only has a few turns’ worth of an opportunity window to finish you off with burn damage. Play as conservatively as possible from that point onwards as there is no reason to try to race in these matchups. Secure complete board control and restore your health – from there, a concession will surely follow from the other side.
You have two avenues to victory in the slower matchups. Sometimes you can just get a Sethekk Veilweaver or a Nazmani Bloodweaver stick on the board and you can chain enough buffs together to get a game-winning advantage early on. This is the approach you should prioritize against decks with some sort of a combo finisher that can blow you out of the water despite your eventual resource advantage.
Otherwise, you can simply focus on generating cards to your heart’s content. Try to ensure that Raise Dead gets you Sethekk Veilweaver for this reason – indeed, maximizing the odds of getting the right cards back is a key part of these matchups and you should purposefully hold back low-impact minions like Cleric of Scales and Wandmaker if you have the chance to do so.
It may not seem like you have enough top-end to compete in a grindy matchup based on the decklist, but you’d be surprised how much value you can extract from this setup. Two copies of Draconic Studies already gives you a lot of leeway, which, when coupled with Palm Reading and Renew, will drown most of your opponents in value. If you play with Mindrender Illucia, you will also be able to potentially disrupt some of their key plays during the match.
There are many different flavors of Control Priest going the rounds with smaller or greater deviations from this build depending on the kind of opponents they are trying to target. If you want to increase the consistency of your spell shenanigans engine, is worthy of a slot. For a more anti-aggro approach, consider cutting some of the top end in favor of Devout Pupil and Holy Nova.
Ruby’s recent #5 Legend build opts for a copy of Onyx Magescribe and Madame Lazul for further value generation at the expense of using Insight for cheap re-draws. This is similar to the recent Vicious Syndicate build which goes even further in the name of consistency.
Though not often seen on the high Legend ladder, tossing in a simple Galakrond shell with Disciple of Galakrond and the monstrous monster itself can also streamline your gameplan for the mirror matchup and other slow opposition. With a wide-ranging Standard balance patch coming up, perhaps the best approach if you want to play Control Priest is to just cobble together the most competent mixture of a build out of the cards you have instead of jumping on the crafting hype train before seeing how the new meta shakes out – you certainly have quite a lot of options to do so right now.