Our budget Control Priest deck list & guide for the Darkmoon Faire expansion will teach you how to play this budget list. This guide includes Mulligans, Gameplay Strategy, Card Substitutions, and Combos/Synergies!
Introduction to Budget Control Priest
I’ve decided to do something really difficult, but I think that it’s the only thing that gives Priest a fighting chance – budget Control build. Yes, it rarely happens – most of the time, Control decks simply require too many expensive cards to work well on budget. This one can work mostly because of all the value generation – yes, you can’t play expensive, Legendary finishers, but you can just play cards that will add them to your hand. While the deck still misses some Legendaries (Soul Mirror & Murozond the Infinite in particular), here’s the thing – alternatives are even worse. Tempo Priest is really bad, Highlander builds cost 15k Dust, and in Big build a bunch of Epics & Legendaries are key and you simply can’t play it without them. So we’re left with Control.
When it comes to new Priest tools in Darkmoon Faire, we’ve got some, but frankly they didn’t add much to the Priest’s gameplay. In this particular build, the most important new card is Palm Reading. Since the build is so spell heavy, Palm Reading often offens massive, hand-wide discounts – which later can be utilized with some synergy cards. One of them in Nazmani Bloodweaver, which offers okay-ish body and further discounts, this time ones that can also target minions. And finally, Insight is mostly a filler card, but it’s a good way to grab one of your key minions. Sadly, Priest is in a pretty poor spot in general, even full-fledged meta builds aren’t performing very well, so don’t expect wonders from this budget version.
Budget Control Priest Mulligan Guide
Higher Priority (Keep every time)
- Draconic Studies – What makes Draconic studies good is that you can play it on T1 – a turn that you wouldn’t do anything on anyway (unless you went second and you can Holy Smite something, but that’s not very common), but you do get ot “bank” that 1 mana for further use by discounting the next Dragon you play. It’s also a good way to fix your curve a bit.
- Sethekk Veilweaver – Sethekk is a card you REALLY want to keep, sometimes even heavily mulligan for it. It’s just that important. It’s your main value generator in the mid-late game and having it stuck on the bottom would be a huge loss.
- Wandmaker – While not as good as Sethekk, it’s just a good card to drop on T2. 2/2 body can come handy, it can trade into a small minion or at least soften something up, and the fact that it generates a 1 cost spell means that it “cycles” itself (1 cost spells are great in Priest).
Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)
- Holy Smite / Penance – Solid early game removal, keep vs Aggro.
- Wild Pyromancer – Keep vs Aggro when going second. It’s too slow without a Coin, but with Coin you can do some really good early board clears.
- Breath of the Infinite – Also keep vs Aggro, particularly decks that run a lot of 1-2 health minions, such as Aggro Demon Hunter.
Budget Control Priest Play Strategy
The deck might not SEEM like a Control build at the first sight. After all, most of the deck costs 0-3 mana. In fact, only 3 cards are more expensive, and besides Galakrond they don’t even strike as particularly “control” options. But that’s the beauty of Priest – yes, most of the cards you run are cheap, but lots of them can also generate more value. Your cards also synergize very well with cheap spells, creating some blow-out turns that hopefully carry you through the game.
As you can probably imagine, Sethekk Veilweaver is the core of this deck. In the perfect case scenario, it’s mid-late game, you have a hand full of cheap spells, preferably discounted by Palm Reading. You drop Sethekk and you take off – you play 3-4 cheap, targeted spells and then hopefully generate even more things you can play from them. And if you get some big, expensive spells instead – that’s great, you’ve turned out your weak Holy Smites or Penances into something that can threaten your opponent. If you want to make the combo even more powerful – add Nazmani Bloodweaver to the mix. While it might seem like a waste of mana at first, if you follow it up with a few cheap spells then you might actually get and be able to play even more. It’s a bit RNG, because you can’t control which cards you discount, but it’s a nice play nonetheless.
And that’s your game plan against Control. Since they won’t put much pressure on you, you won’t need to play much card, so you slowly gather value and prepare for your Sethekk turn. Alternatively, there’s always Galakrond, the Unspeakable. The card adds “infinite value” generator to your hand – which is obviously great in those long, drawn-out matches. Sadly, the deck simply loses vs Control Warrior – no matter which build they play, you really can’t do anything. ETC OTK – they kill you. Silas OTK – they kill you. Even a simple build with just Rattlegore and no other win conditions wins, because you have no way to deal with it (normally you could steal it). Other Control matchups will also be difficult without cards like Soul Mirror or Murozond the Infinite to carry you, or maybe Mindrender Illucia to disrupt their combos.
Situation is kinda different against Aggro. While you can still get rushed down, just like any Control deck, you’re well prepared to handle the early/mid game aggression. Between Holy Smite and Penance, you have some nice early game single target removals. Breath of the Infinite & Wild Pyromancer can easily deal 2 AoE damage (even 3-4 in case of Pyro in the right cases). You can also use Sethekk to generate value, but you don’t need to prepare so much – just dropping it alongside 1-2 spells is enough. Similarly, dropping Bloodweaver + a few spells is okay, because the extra discounts = more tempo, and that’s great. Oh, and Apotheosis can always heal you up, which is kind of important. One cool combo is Wild Pyro + Apotheosis. Giving Pyro Lifesteal means that every time he damages something, you will heal for the same amount. It’s insane how much you can heal while clearing a wide Aggro board. For example, it’s not uncommon for a play like Pyro + Apotheosis + Coin / Raise Dead to not only clear Aggro board on Turn 5, but also restore you 10+ health (minus whatever you take from Raise Dead if that’s what you’re using). And let’s be honest – as long as you don’t die against Aggro, you won. In the long run, they will run out of value before you (unless it’s DH that hits perfect refill after refill after refill – yeah, that sucks).
Future Card Replacements for Control Priest
Oh well, there’s a lot to cover here. Full Control Priest requires quite a few more Epics & Legendaries, some of which will REALLY improve your deck list. However, it’s important to note that full deck plays quite differently. This build mostly relies on Sethekk Veilweaver combos – full build puts less focus on it and adds other combos, such as Cabal Acolyte + Wave of Apathy steals. Which is honestly good – it’s always nice to diversify your win conditions / value sources.
The biggest additions are obviously Soul Mirror & Murozond the Infinite. Soul Mirror in particular is an AMAZING board clear – even if it doesn’t clear everything, it also leaves the minions on your side of the board. But frankly, lots of time it’s a full board clear, possibly with you getting some extra value from Deathrattles etc. And Murozond is simply so versatile. Whenever your opponent makes a big play, you can copy it with Murozond. Big card draw turn? Murozond. Putting a lot of board pressure? Murozond + Wave of Apathy.
The particular full build we’re featuring also runs Yogg-Saron, Master of Fate, BUT it’s honestly not nearly as important as the former two. It’s still a nice “oh damn” card that you play when you’re behind and nothing else can save you. Most of the outcomes are good when you’re behind (and let’s be honest – you’re often behind as a Priest), and it can often just win you the game with a massive swing (or some random Pyroblasts).