Our Budget Combo Priest deck list guide for the Descent of Dragons expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Combo Priest
Combo Priest is one of the “original” combo decks. I remember builds playing Divine Spirit + Inner Fire combo as far as Classic Hearthstone, and while they didn’t work for very long time, once people got better at deck building and we’ve got more tools from different expansions, the deck became popular. Some kind of Combo Priest was present in nearly every meta and viable for the last 2-3 years. Of course, every expansion and especially every rotation, viable builds look differently, but the general idea remains the same: you stick a minion, buff its health, double it with Divine Spirit (or quadruple with two copies), then play Inner Fire (or Topsy Turvy). Ideally you want to kill the opponent immediately, but even if you don’t, creating a big minion (10/10+) early is often enough to close out the game quickly.
When it comes to Descent of Dragons, Priest class is in a terrible state. Galakrond Priest is by far the worst one, no other archetypes turned out to be viable. Combo Priest, on the other hand, didn’t really get much, while the entire meta around it evolved. It used to be one of the strongest decks in Saviors of Uldum, and right now it’s… still okay. It’s probably the best Priest deck right now. And luckily, budget version is still holding up quite well.
The only new card that Combo Priest runs is Hot Air Balloon. So why it’s not in this build? Because it doesn’t play Bwonsamdi, the Dead. I don’t think that you can put in another 1-drop without running Bwonsamdi – six of them is enough, and I don’t think that Balloon is better than Beaming Sidekick.
Budget Combo Priest Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Northshire Cleric – The best card you can keep in the early game. It has a premium 1-drop body (1/3), a very powerful effect and lots of synergies with your deck.
- Lightwarden – It’s a powerful 1-drop that can snowball quite easily. If you can throw a PW:S on it early, then it can become an unstoppable monster in the mid game.
- Power Word: Shield – Flexible early game buff, amazing in this deck. It can help you keep your early game minions alive AND it cycles itself. It’s also great Pyro activator.
- Injured Tol'vir – The card was just made for Priest. At the base, it’s a 2 mana 2/3 Taunt, which is already okay-ish. But with Priest, you can heal it up above the “normal” health, and since your deck synergizes with healing, it makes Tol’vir even better.
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Extra Arms – Keep with a 1-drop already in your hand. The card is great if you can play it on T2, but with no guaranteed minion to play it on, you’d rather get it later.
- Wild Pyromancer – Keep only vs Aggro and only on Coin. Having Pyro board clears in the mid game can win you the game, but it’s not great vs slower decks and even against Aggro, it might be too slow without Coin.
Budget Combo Priest Play Strategy
If you’re a new player and you aren’t aware of what the “combo” is – let’s start with that! It’s actually very simple. Your goal is to simply have a minion on the board that can attack (ideally a higher health one), then you keep buffing its health, Divine Spirit it (usually putting it at very high health numbers) and then either match Attack to Health with Inner Fire or swap stats with Topsy Turvy. For example, if you have a 7 health minion on the board, you can play Power Word: Shield and Extra Arms to bring it up to 11 health, then Divine Spirit doubles that to 22, and finally you either play last piece and attack for 22. A single Divine Spirit is usually not enough for a full OTK (from 30 to 0), but it’s still often enough to kill the opponent if you got some minion damage in earlier. Two of them, however, are usually enough to kill them in a single hit.
One common mistake inexperienced players make, however, is waiting until OTK. In lots of games, it’s not going to happen. You won’t create a 30/30 and kill them in a single hit. Most of the time, if you can let’s say make a 14/14 on Turn 4, that’s more than good enough. Most of decks don’t have a consistent way to deal with it right now, and you will just win the game with it. Sometimes even making a 5/5 on Turn 2 (T1 Northshire Cleric, T2 Power Word: Shield + Inner Fire) is a solid play. You start punching them for 5 per turn since Turn 2, and you have a minion that you can further buff and also want to heal (because you draw cards by doing that). Unlike other combo decks, which want to cycle through their entire decks to gather a complex combo, this one is different. It does not benefit from longer games, you want to close them out as quickly as possible. The deck has very little value, so if you go to the late game, you might end up in a situation in which your opponent has removals for everything you play and then you’re stuck with a bunch of buffs in your hand that don’t do anything. It applies to the budget version even more, since it can’t high-roll revives with Psychopomp.
Keeping your minions healthy is important – you never know when you will draw your combo pieces. You would also be surprised how much pressure an Injured Blademaster healed to full can put, even without any extra buffs. Luckily, you have a few ways to heal up your minions. First and easiest one is Circle of Healing. T3 Blademaster + Circle is a common play and it’s going to win you lots of games. I wouldn’t use Circle on T2 with Tol’vir, a 2 mana 2/6 is not putting as much pressure as a 3 mana 4/7. Neferset Ritualist is also often MVP of this deck – you can play it in the mid game alongside one of those Injured minions to heal it up immediately, but you can also drop it after making good trade, or after your opponent played AoE and all of your minions are low on health. Given its vanilla stats, you can even drop it on T2 vs faster decks if you need board presence and you don’t have anything else to do.
Wild Pyromancer is also a key part of the deck. It’s basic role is to remove Aggro boards – you can easily throw 2-3 damage AoE in the mid game while keeping it alive. However, Wild Pyro has so many more roles than just AoE removal. You can use it to cycle when Acolyte of Pain is on the board. On a bigger board, you can drop Pyro with Cleric, play a cheap spell to damage entire board and then drop Circle of Healing to draw a card for every minion. You usually end up with a full hand of options for next turn, which is amazing. You can also use the same strategy with Lightwarden already present on board. Instead of drawing cards, you now get +2 damage for every minion. I won lots of games by doing it twice and buffing Lightwarden to 20+ Attack.
Finally, you will also end up winning some games through the good, old beatdown strategy. Extra Arms is an AMAZING card after the buffs, and you can really use it to your advantage. If you stick a few minions, start buffing them, and just attack your opponent in the face – that’s often enough to win. If your opponent puts some board presence or tries to kill your stuff, just heal them back up or refill with other minions. If you get the board rolling, it might be hard to stop you. Sometimes you even want to drop Divine Spirit or Inner Fire without the other part just to get a better board pressure. E.g. drop Inner Fire on that 2/6 Taunt to turn it into a 6/6, now your board will be much more menacing. Or let’s say use Divine Spirit on Hench-Clan Shadequill to have a 4/14 minion on board that will be very hard to clear.
Future Card Replacements for Combo Priest
Budget version of combo Priest is pretty close to the real deal. That said, while you don’t miss MANY cards, the cards you miss are quite important. Both are new Saviors of Uldum additions to the deck and both make the deck’s win rate significantly higher. Luckily, a full meta Combo Priest deck is the best Priest build right now, and one of the better decks on the ladder (mainly thanks to the fact that it doesn’t really have any counter matchups – it’s solid against anything you will commonly meet on the ladder). Here are the replacements:
- 2x Hench-Clan Shadequill -> 2x Psychopomp – While Shadequill is not a terrible minion in the deck (due to its high health), Psychopomp is really amazing. If you high roll one of your Injured minions, you bring them back up with full health. But even reviving a Northshire Cleric or Acolyte of Pain can give you some nice card advantage. If you also run Amet (see below), and revive him, it might sometimes win you the game on spot if opponent can’t remove it.
- 1x Mass Dispel -> 1x High Priest Amet – Let’s start with which card you want to replace. If you face more fast decks, then get rid of Mass Dispel. If you face more slower decks, than get rid of Ripple instead. Amet, however, is a monster in this deck. If you stick it to the board, not only you can put your combos on him because of his high health, but now every minion you drop is hard to remove. Play Amet + Lightwarden on T5, for example, and you have a 1/7 Lightwarden that will get to high attack very quickly (and will be difficult to kill with 7 HP). Acolyte of Pain will draw you a couple more cards, and Psychopomp (if you run it too, see above) will be a 3/7 that revives something also at 7 health (and if THAT 7 health minion dies when Amet is still on board and at full health, it will become 7 health too after Reborn triggers). All in all, Amet is an amazing choice, and if you’re looking to play Priest and upgrade this build, it’s the best card you can put.
- 1x Acolyte of Pain -> 1x Bwonsamdi, the Dead -> Bwonsamdi wasn’t played when the deck was first reintroduced in Saviors of Uldum, but players have quickly realized that it’s just worth it. 7 mana 7/7 is decent, and it usually draws at least 2-3 cards. In a better scenario, you can even draw 4-5. Then, if you also run Amet, you can play Amet and start dropping your 1-drops, creating a wide board full of high health minions – a nightmare to deal with. And if any of those survives, a quick Divine Spirit + Inner Fire might win Priest the game. IF you run Bwonsamdi, you can also consider adding Hot Air Balloon to your deck, because with him you can afford to run more 1-drops.