Combo Priest Deck List Guide – Witchwood – July 2018

Our 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 Combo Priest

Priest’s Divine SpiritInner Fire shenanigans are as old as the game itself. Back in the Classic, it wasn’t a viable strategy – it was seen as a cheesy way to win some games, nothing more than that. 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, thanks to all the powerful synergies. In Year of the Raven, there is no universally accepted build, since some of the strongest Dragon and Dragon-related cards (such as Netherspite Historian or Drakonid Operative) have rotated out.

Luckily, some of the most vital Combo Priest cards, such as Radiant Elemental or Shadow Visions are still there, which means that the deck’s core is still there. Early in The Witchwood, non-Dragon builds turned out to be more popular. However, after the nerf patch, Zalae has popularized the Dragon version of Combo Priest once again, and multiple pro players have followed, getting it to high Legend ranks. It’s still mostly an off-meta deck, although if you learn how to play it, it can be pretty successful.

Check out our List of the Best Standard Decks for Hearthstone Ladder

Deck List

Deck Import

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.
  • Loot Hoarder – 2/1 body isn’t impressive vs Aggro, but it’s better to have it than to skip Turn 2.
  • 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.
  • Acolyte of Pain – Acolyte works surprisingly well vs Aggro, especially Paladin. Not only you might trade into some smaller minions, but you will draw a bunch of cards in return. It’s also likely that your opponent will ignore it if he has no good trade, leaving you an opportunity to buff it.
  • Duskbreaker – Aggro decks will often get ahead in the early game, and a Turn 4 Duskbreaker can really get you back into the game. 3 damage AoE is often enough to clear everything, not to mention the 3/3 body you’re getting on top of that.

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).
  • Twilight Drake – Keep with Duskbreaker. Since the deck does not run that many Dragons, it’s possible to not draw any activator by Turn 4. Alternatively, it’s a good 4-drop if you won’t need to drop Duskbreaker.

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, especially those that cycle through your deck, 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.
  • Loot Hoarder – It’s not impressive, but it’s still a solid 2-drop. You put a body and cycle through your deck.
  • Radiant Elemental – Great minion to keep, it’s the earliest way you can do some combos, and with so many spells in the deck, the discount really adds up.
  • Acolyte of Pain – Card draw is very important in slow matchups, so keep it.
  • Twilight Drake – Big body for 4 mana, activates Dragon synergies, and if it sticks, you can actually buff it really easily, as it usually has a lot of starting health (while it depends on the rest of your hand, 6-7 is pretty common).

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Power Word: Shield – Keep with an early game minion.
  • Twilight Acolyte – Keep against Warlock. It’s very likely that you will face either Even or Cube Warlock, and you want an answer for that early Mountain Giant (or other big minion they might drop).

Combo Priest Play Strategy

Vs Aggro

Your game plan vs Aggro is nothing special – you’re a slower deck and Aggro tries to rush you down, so you want to defend yourself, survive and then turn the game around. You have a superior late game, and you can sometimes pull a combo out of nowhere, so you have an upperhand in the late game – you just need to survive that long.

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 SpiritInner 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 Power Word: ShieldDivine Spirit on your Radiant Elemental makes it a 2/10 minion – it’s not that easy to clear it without a Silence, so you get a nice body you can trade with + spell discounts. Sometimes even just using Inner Fire on your 1/3 minions is good enough, if it means that you can get a good trade.

In the mid game, Duskbreaker can do a lot of work in those matchups. If you have a way to activate it, 3 AoE damage is massive, it clears most of the minions Aggro deck usually has. Don’t be too greedy with your Duskbreakers – sometimes waiting too long means taking unnecessary damage or your opponent buffing minions out of range. Be especially careful before Turn 5, because that’s when Fungalmancer can be dropped. A good Fungalmancer can turn an easy clear into a quick game loss, because your opponent still has two big minions after you play your Duskbreaker.

If the game gets even later, Primordial Drake is another amazing anti-Aggro card. Between the AoE damage and a big body, it might sometimes seal the entire game on the spot. If it sticks a turn, you can also give it Divine Spirit (and possibly Inner Fire) to make it massive.

Mass Dispel can prove useful against some boards. For example, against Odd Paladin, you can use it to get rid of the Level Up! buff, it can also work nicely against some Odd Rogue boards, especially against Cold BloodTar CreeperFungalmancer and of course Edwin VanCleef if they run it. However, since it’s a rather low tempo card, so try to not fall behind when using it. Sometimes you might prefer, for example, trading off your minions and developing a new board instead of silencing something for 4 mana.

While it’s pretty difficult to stick a minion in the early / mid game (the only one that can realistically stick is Twilight Drake), after you start dropping bigger bombs, Aggro might run out of ways to clear them, and you can use that to combo them down. Just to give you an example – if you’re at a reasonable health total and you aren’t afraid on dying, dropping Ysera on curve might be a great idea. There is a very low chance that your opponent is actually going to clear it (because most of the time he can’t), so just a single Divine Spirit + Inner fire can kill him assuming he took some damage before. Try to use any opportunity you get and turn the game around with the combo. Sometimes it’s better to play a high health minion that your opponent will likely leave than making a seemingly better play, playing a few smaller minions (if you think that the bigger one will survive + you are safe).

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 (unless you can pretty much kill your opponent) because of Silence, don’t be afraid to buff your smaller minions, even if you’re 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.

Vs Control

Games against Control are actually pretty straightforward, as you have only one real win condition – your combo. Straightforward, however, does not mean easy. While you have to play the combo at some point, which minions you play, how you bait the removals, whether you go for a half-combo that won’t kill your opponent etc.  are all difficult, but important  choices.

First way to win a game is, just like against Aggro, buffing up a small 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 ElementalPower Word: ShieldDivine SpiritInner Fire. Or maybe 2x Divine SpiritInner Fire on your Northshire Cleric to get a 12/12? Yes, a play like that can be sometimes shut down by something like Spellbreaker, or let’s say Polymorph vs Mage, but if it’s so early in the game, you often want to go for that line of play anyway. 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 are obviously your high health Dragons – Twilight DrakePrimordial Drake and Ysera. Starting at 8-12 health, 2x Divine Spirit + Inner Fire is usually enough to OTK your opponent. Alternatively, you can play 2x PW:S + Divine Spirit + Inner Fire, which should also be enough to kill your opponent most of the time. This method is much more effective, 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, 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 high health minion 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 pretty important in the slower matchups. You basically have two ways to use it. First – as a way to answer buffs, Deathrattles etc. – to strip your opponent out of the value. It can be useful against, for example, Even Warlock’s Twilight Drake, or Cube Warlock’s Possessed Lackey. It’s also a good way to get through the Taunts, especially if you managed to put some pressure on your opponent, or you’re doing your combo this turn. Normally, a single Taunt, even small one, can stop a 30+ Attack minion, but if you Mass Dispel on the same turn, you can easily get through. Twilight Acolyte is also pretty important, at least against the decks running bigger minions. This deck has no ways to remove big stuff other than trading, so Twilight Acolyte comes handy. While it does not kill the minion, it makes it much less threatening and easier to trade into. For example, if you have a Twilight Drake and Primordial Drake on the board, while your opponent drops The Lich King. Normally, because it has 8 Attack, trading into it would kill both of your minions (assuming Twilight has less than 9 health), but after you reduce its attack to 2, it will only scratch your minions a bit. On top of that, you’re getting a massive 8/4 minion for 3 mana. As you can see, it’s very easy to have a massive swing against slower decks. The card works best against Even Warlock, which can drop bombs as soon as Turn 3, and can often overwhelm you with a huge board by the mid game.

Alternative win condition is simply winning the game through value or tempo, but those things rarely happen. The most common way to do it is to steal something big with Twilight Acolyte and Cabal Shadow Priest combo while your opponent has no answer. For example, if you steal The Lich King against Druid, and they can’t answer it now, then you play another minion, or maybe throw some buffs, it might be enough to seal the game. Sometimes an unanswered Ysera can also lead to a win, although if Ysera stays alive, you usually have a way to buff her and combo down your opponent, so she’s rarely played as the “value” tool. Sometimes you might also get a good minion curve vs an opponent who misses his early game completely. In that case, your minion pressure + some small buffs, such as Unidentified Elixir, can be enough to win the game. However, those will probably be less than 10% of your wins, most of the time the combo is your main win condition, but there’s nothing wrong with looking for the opportunities elsewhere.

Combo Priest Card Substitutions

Inner Fire Combo Priest is generally a rather cheap deck, although it runs some Epics that are difficult to replace. Overall, a non-Dragon version is much less expensive and can cost you as little as 3.5k Dust, but it also seems to be worse in terms of win rate.

  • Ysera – The only Legendary card in this deck. It’s not necessary at all. You just run her as a Dragon activator and some late game minion, potentially a way to combo down the opponent. But something as simple as Bone Drake or Nightscale Matriarch can sub her quite well.
  • 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.
  • Twilight Acolyte – If you run a Dragon build, Twilight Acolyte is pretty crucial. You can try a non-Dragon build, or just replace it with Shadow Word: Death, although it’s not as good. Remember that if you sub the Acolyte, you also want to remove the Cabal Shadow Priest.
  • Cabal Shadow Priest – A solid card if you’re running Twilight Acolyte, since the combo is really powerful from Turn 9 onwards. You can use some generic subs, though, such as SilenceWyrmguard, or possibly more Dragons to have easier time activating Dragon synergies (e.g. Bone Drake or Nightscale Matriarch).
  • Primordial Drake – Difficult to replace. Thanks to the AoE & Taunt it’s a nice anti-Aggro tool, and thanks to the high health it’s a solid minion to start combo on in the late game. If you don’t have them, you can still try other Dragons, such as the Bone Drake or Nightscale Matriarch I was already recommending.

Stonekeep

A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over four years of playing and three years of writing about the game, he has achieved infinite Arena and multiple top 100 Legend climbs.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

48 Comments

Discuss This Deck
  1. Aramat
    July 28, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Climbed from 5 to Legend with this deck slightly modified – i switched one inner fire for crazed alchemist and i dont own ysera so i used alexstrasza instead (helps against armor warriors and taunt druids – a simple bone drake would do the job aswell ) It takes alot of practice but after that it is a really strong deck against all current metadecks

    Reply
  2. Flow3r
    June 27, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    honestly i prefer the lyra build vs the dragon build, lyra just recycles and kinda helps out more, but this deck still seems fun

    Reply
  3. waffleman027
    April 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Subbed out one twilight drake for the dragon soul legendary, as it allows you to build tempo by playing some of the many low cost spells if you’re struggling to churn out any real board vs minion based decks

    Reply
  4. Belton
    March 24, 2018 at 2:13 am

    Love this deck, love this site, love hearthstone. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Reply
  5. Emieloss
    March 14, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Swapped in some crazy alchemist to stop the deck from being useless against skulking geist. Took out the potions of madness for them.

    Works realy well, thanks 🙂

    Reply
  6. TheDragonLord
    February 11, 2018 at 7:38 am

    This deck looks fun and great but for beginners who are willing to play this deck have to save up alot so is there a substitute to the acolyte and shadow visions for begginers like me ?

    Reply
    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      February 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      There is a card substitutions section at the bottom of the guide.

      Reply
    • TheMurlocLord
      March 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Honestly those are very obtainable for beginners. The only card that beginners may find problems obtaining in the historian.

      Reply
  7. Hinotoumei
    February 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    thanks for the relatively cheap combo priest deck list 🙂 i am having a hard time with the learning curve however. I need to get golden priest before the next xpac. This should be a great deck to learn some new things. Might not get a good ranking but priest is always enjoyable to play; it’s level of fun is amazing. deck shows promise and for those losing they obviously are not mulliganing or playing too well.

    Reply
    • Cruxkid
      March 19, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Just remember maths. You’d be surprised how often you have OTK sitting in your hand without realising.

      Reply
  8. Springtail
    January 21, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    This list feels outdated, thats not a dig at the site because they do beyond a fantastic job here, so as a suggestion to anyone interested in this archetype; I’ve been keeping track of different versions of this deck whilst updating a list on this account – can have a look here if you want a updated list.

    Overall; Lyra has been found to be too rng dependant whilst relying on no hard removal. Additionally the charge packages ive seen lately have been too inconsistent.

    Finally, this deck archetype has a huge skill cap; a very hard deck to play however very rewarding – one of the strongest decks around due to being favoured in a lot of matchups. Definitely master it if you want to see good results in the current meta.

    Reply
  9. Polar
    January 12, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Replacement for lyra pls

    Reply
    • jarjarbink
      January 20, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      i put ysera in it and its pretty good against control or put a scalbane

      Reply
  10. Thoras
    January 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    I got Dragonsoul as my free weapon for this expansion! I think this is the first deck where it could fit in, what do you think about that?

    Reply
    • hkjhk
      March 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Dragon Soul is super good for this deck. Dust it and you have 400 dust to use for this deck!

      Reply
  11. Lordfolken52
    January 8, 2018 at 7:45 am

    I had games where my dragon activators are missing hence ysera > lyra. the 12 health comes in handy as an alt win condition plus it sticks to the board

    Reply
  12. Dunyan
    January 5, 2018 at 3:53 am

    This deck is so much fun ty <3

    Reply
  13. Amazing
    December 24, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Should i make this deck?

    Reply
  14. Zakar
    December 18, 2017 at 6:57 am

    May i use this guide?
    I want to translate it into korean and post korean Hearthstone communiy.

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      December 19, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      That’s fine as long as you don’t use the English version wherever you’re posting it and you link back to this guide!

      Reply
  15. supa
    December 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t have the netherspite historians. Maybe loot hoarder in its place? or faerie dragons?

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      December 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Faerie Dragon would probably work, and Loot hoarder isn’t that bad either.

      Reply
      • Cruxkid
        March 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

        The downside to playing either is that you can’t heal them (outside of buffing hoarder, but why?) and Faerie can’t be targeted for your OTK. Both serve a similar purpose to Historian though, an additional card or a dragon activator.

        Reply
    • Amance
      December 18, 2017 at 7:27 am

      just put in sleepy dragon or something big

      Reply
    • UkuleleLover
      December 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

      I would just get Netherspite historian. She’s a cheap card and can get you a really good dragon…potentially

      Reply
      • Nesta
        February 15, 2018 at 12:44 pm

        Expansion

        Reply
  16. Agooo
    December 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I am playing the “Sirvilgauda” variant of Dragon Priest. It is so much fun to play, and it has a good WR once you get to learn the deck. My problem is not having a good way to get back into the game with Aggro deck. Once they start winning, they keep winning. Priest of the feast is too slow. I am hoping to find a 3 or 4 drop taunt or lifesteal minion to slow down Aggro/get me back into the game. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  17. Spyborg
    November 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Horrible deck. I’m a fairly good player, and this deck will get you hardly any wins to make up for the losses. DONT waste your time and dust.

    Reply
    • Mosab
      November 19, 2017 at 7:22 am

      A lot of people are getting different results to you, especially pro players playing this. are you sure you’re playing this deck correctly? Calling yourself a fairly good player doesn’t give me much to judge .

      Reply
    • WTF
      December 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Wow….
      1. A deck very similar to this achieved legend – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIlE2DaOlfw&t=6329s
      2. If you really were a fairly good player, you wouldn’t call this deck horrible, any fairly good player knows that it takes quite some time to understand and learn to play a deck properly

      Reply
    • PDinny
      December 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

      I am one hundred percent convinced this deck is horrible because you are a fairly good player (not doubting that one bit, no sir!). No need to explain or elaborate further on why, in your opinion, this deck is so horrible. Leave that to those wussy bad players! Puh!

      Thank you, fairly good player, for your great and meaningful advice!

      Reply
      • WildRage
        December 30, 2017 at 3:21 am

        PDinny You’re great. X’D

        Reply
  18. kabal
    July 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    songstealer better

    Reply
  19. wendel
    July 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    bad deck 0 – 8

    Reply
    • chukky1123
      August 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      sorry but here am 12-2 easy mode

      Reply
    • Mania
      November 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Lol? I’m 13-3 obviously you aren’t playing the deck correctly.

      Reply
  20. Israphil
    July 14, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    This deck is awesome !!

    Reply
  21. Abelcain
    July 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I have only faced a single warrior this month so far.

    Other than that match, the only other time I have ever used Harrison Jones was against a mage with Atiesh.

    What would be a good substitution for Harrison Jones besides acidic swamp ooze and other weapon breakers for this meta?

    Reply
    • Chronomancer
      August 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Twilight Drake fits like a glove in this deck

      Reply
  22. a
    July 7, 2017 at 3:51 am

    gjty 🙂

    Reply
  23. Fistouille
    July 6, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Only 4 dragons ? it’s a joke ?

    Reply
    • darkslayer_91
      July 6, 2017 at 5:39 am

      I know right? Plus, no Radiant Elemental, Harrison Jones is kinda useless, considering you’ll be having full hand almost everytime.

      Reply
  24. Ricky
    July 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Any room for twilight drake?

    Reply
  25. Heinkel
    July 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    The win rate vs Quest rog is gonna get higher soon… finally.

    Reply
  26. Karma
    July 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    so there is a matchup for elemental shaman and not token shaman?

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      July 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Sorry about that, I just added Evolve (Token) Shaman into the mix.

      Reply
  27. Archios
    July 5, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Isn’t this Zetalot’s list he used to reach high legend a while ago?

    Reply
    • Evident - Site Admin
      July 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Yes, I just added a mention of that in the guide.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Register to keep track of your comments. You can also build and favorite decks!

Comment Policy: Any comments that are overly derogatory will be removed and could result in an account or site ban.