Thanks to Emb for allowing us to re-host this guide!
I want to thank Kolento and Zetalot for their sacrifice and the faith they have had in Anduin.
I will start with the mandatory proof : http://i.imgur.com/yAcNT73.png
Priest player since early beta, I almost quit the game after standard was release. Priest was in a decent spot pre Old Gods (I sneaked my first legend push farming Secret Paladins with a standard Priest Control deck back in the days). Eventhough I am a long time player I started playing ranked seriously less than a year ago.
Priest has been trash for almost a year now, while Tempo/Aggro/Midrange ruled the ladder. Time to pay. When ONiK cards were unveiled, it was fair to say that it was looking really grim for Priest. Priest of the Feast and Onyx Bishop looked decent, and I won’t resurrect our anger towards purify. However Reynad stated that Onyx Bishop was really underrated in his review and that gave me hope, while I was slowly losing ranks during August.
Straight to the point, Priest is now brutal. Not Shaman brutal, not Warrior brutal, but in its own way. Brutal with Anduin’s new strength: from the dead. Resurrect was okay-ish, before Onyx Bishop. Getting a cheap Injured Blademaster, Auchenai Soulpriest was cool. But with our new RNJesus, Barnes, tides have turned and by a lot. Sure, getting a 1/1 Ragnaros the Firelord, Ysera, or even a Blademaster is sweet on turn 4. But getting it resurrected consistently (and to a potential of 4 time in a row) is incredibly powerful in this minion-based meta. Sure, sometimes, it will resurrect Barnes the Lord himself (3/4 for 2mana, how can it ever be bad?) but if you play it turn 4 and get a Cairne, or Sylvanas, you have 50% chance of locking the board on this very turn and crush your opponent turn 5.
Is it fair ? Well, I don’t think so. Winning with a Chillmaw or Cairne Bloodhoof turn 5 is really cheap. Before, Resurrect was ok, a bit lackluster because of the lack of consistency. But now, since you have at least 4 rolls per game, it feels unstoppable. But I am not here to discuss about the power of a 3/4 summoning on average a 4/7 for 5 mana.
I won’t speak about Kolento’s decks I used to grind the ladder before legend, you can watch his stream as he loves playing priest.
Core Package: N’Zoth & Friends
- N'Zoth, The Corruptor as a wincon.
- Sylvanas Windrunner: Great tempo play, Ressurect/Barnes target and one of Anduin’s BFF. You can keep her vs control deck to make value with the good old Sylvanas/SW:D value. Good to slow down game against Midrange.
- Cairne Bloodhoof: Cairnes is sweet. If summoned by turn a turn 4 Barnes, you have mostly secure the board, have one of the best Resurrection target of the deck, and most of all making a shit ton value out of Barnes.
- 2x Shifting Shade: I don’t like this minion. I prefer Thoughtsteal, it “draws” faster. However it’s a great Barnes target as well and get insane value out a desperate N’Zoth.
- Chillmaw: This dood is just too fun. You might think it’s borderline stupid to include it with only Ysera to trigger the Deathrattle. But this deck needed a fat taunt. Good thing you can summon him 4 or 5 times in the same game before even drawing the card. In this jpg, I luckily summoned with Barnes and then started the rez train. Dealt with the second PotW really smoothly, and, fun fact, since I top deck the card, the hunter did not expected the Deathrattle to trigger since it did not on previous iterations. You might say it won’t go this way everytime (and you are right), but overall Chillmaw is just a solid turn 7. And most of the time, you don’t really need the Deathrattle. But your opponent has to play around it still.
Brace Yourself, Anduin is coming (resurrection synergy)
- Resurrect x2, for obvious reasons. Smart play: suiciding a Wild Pyromancer T2 for a T3 Resurrect + Shield. A Shaman even coined Hex to mess me up on this.
- Onyx Bishop x2: This card is just below the 477 tier. Disgusting. The weakest minion of the deck is a Wild Pyro. That means if you play minions on curve, at worst you are getting a 3/4 and a 3/2 for 5 mana. In the worst case scenario. Second worst case scenario that makes me cry a little is resurrecting Barnes, or a Onyx Bishop. 3/4 + 3/4 for 5 Mana is decent but not game winning. All others scenario are almost game winning. You can already imagine all the best cases scenario. The only drawback is that you have to be smart enough to suicide the minion you want to rez.
- Injured Blademaster x2, for obvious reasons. Opponent has two choices: killing him, and expecting an army of Murder, or ignoring him and letting him trade all your deck. No news on this front, it’s just time to bleed.
- Wild Pyromancer x2: Some might argue that it pollutes the resurrect package. That’s right versus control but who cares. Control games are not only rare, but single highhandedly won by Entomb. So you might as well burn the aggro down.
- Holy Nova x2: I tested first with 1 Nova and 2 Excavated Evil, however the healing is really appreciated versus aggro, and fits better with the Blademasters. One would not be enough in current meta.
- Excavated Evil x1: I believe this card is solely there to deal with Shaman, constantly vomiting totems and annoying healing.
- Shadow Word: Horror x1: I did not expect this card to do so well, I started at first with a Thoughtsteal instead, got crushed by Zoo/Shaman/Dragon Warrior, etc.). In this current meta this card is game winning. It’s great versus: Token Druids, Shaman, Zoo, Mage, Paladin, and Hunter and Dragon Warrior to some extent. It’s just so good. Killing Imp Gang Boss or Acolyte of Pain smoothly. And, since you don’t run any 1-2/X, it has no drawback. It’s a dead card in one match up: Priest. So, once every 40 games maybe.
- Entomb x2: You might take only one if meta is really really REALLY aggro, however it still a good card to take what’s yours, Savannah Highmane, Sylvanas Windrunner, Giants, you can be picky since you have 2.
- Shadow Word: Death: Solid 3 mana card. No need to explain.
- Holy Smite x2: I don’t like Smite but it’s just too good in this aggro meta. Can surprise lethal. In most case it safe to play it turn 1. Or to to keep it for a mini Swipe with Wild Pyro. Always look for it in mulligan.
- Priest of the Feast x2: PotF is disgusting. Not only on the card itself (I hate people chewing loudly) but value wise. Look at the aggro side. On turn 4, you have to get rid of a 6 health minion. That can/will be resurrected for free on turn 5, maybe TWICE. Or you can let the fatty alive. Oh it’s not like Priest has AoE turn 5 right. Right? You got it. It’s not always right to keep the PotF in the starting hand however neither can it be wrong. 4 mana 3/6 anyway. Just a solid body versus Tempo or Control.
- Ysera: It’s the cherry on the top. You can replace it with Nefarian by the way. But Ysera is too solid of a card. You might even summon her Turn-5. This is absurd. It refills the hand, destroy Druids hope, and give spells that synergize well with Pyro or PotF. And the dood is also another win condition. Aaaand it triggers Chillmaw.
- Circle of Healing/Auchenai Soulpriest/Circle of Healing Combo: Too much of a dead card most of the time, and a gamble if you want to rez and are low on HP. Good feeling but not as prevalent as Pyro/Smite/Shield synergy. Circle is useless without Clerics.
- Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound: Too expensive and not fitting with N’Zoth.
- Ragnaros the Firelord: Since the deck already has N’Zoth and Ysera, I feel like adding Ragnaros would curve too heavily. Definitely a good card if meta slows down. I would then add the Firelord instead of Smite.
- Shadow Word: Pain: No room for them, but could be a good substitute to Smite. I will definitely try with 1x Smite + 1x SW:P.
- Northshire Cleric: The little girl has no value in the Barnes/Resurrect meta. Draw is the weak point of this deck, however Cleric would not be the right answer. Purifying Barnes summons might be right.
- Aggro: Look for Pyro and burn. Playing them on turn 2 is fine since you have tools to bring them back later on. I would advise to always play on curve. Running high health minions such as Blademasters and PotF really makes it awkward for Aggro that tries to control the board too much. Key is to play minion on curve. And mulligan for Pyro and rez, not for AoE.
- Midrange: Against Midrange, your opponent won’t have enough answers for all the Blademasters that will lock the board turn 5/6. Your only weakness is the lack of draw so mulligan is crucial. It’s fine to keep Onyx Bishop, having 2 body turn 5 can be game deciding. And let the Warrior kill your naked Blademaster turn 3, don’t overprotect them. You will have plenty of them. Also, like Aggro, it’s better to play on curve than constantly removing minions.
- Combo: You are the aggressor. Better pump the 4/7 out as fast as possible. People don’t expect Priest to get so many minions so fast. Even though some match ups are unwinnable (Worgen Warrior) you can put them on their backfoot early and pressure enough to get a quick win.
- Control: Well, you are the Priest. C'Thun are easy match up nowadays, and can’t keep up with all the minions you can summon. You are your worst enemy in the match up. Since you have no draw, your only way to lose in the long term is to not draw enough, and playing sub-optimally. Versus N’Zoth variants, well you will probably play more N’Zoth than they will. So just take it slowly.
(From most common to least common, high rating = good match up)
Shaman (Midrange: 4/10, Aggro 6/10)
Midrange is definitely harder than Aggro. If Aggro mulligans well you lost just because Shaman. However it can swing quickly. Against Midrange, you have to take it slowly since you can burn your removal really fast and run out of answers against a 3/6 totem guy. Against the new iterations of evolves it’s really easy unless some disgusting RNG. This deck is favored against token heavy decks for one single reason: SW:H. Also, locking the board is made possible turn 5 with Onyx Bishop. Key is to have a turn 3 play. Turn 3 is game deciding: if you can make it awkward for the Shaman even by playing a naked Pyro, it’s fine.
Hunter (Midrange: 4/10)
Definitely the hardest match up among the common ones. Wild Pyro is by far the MVP of the matchup with his buddy PoTF. Chillmaw is great turn 7 since Hunters can’t reach 6 damage easily, so its counters PotW, and let you take some time. Smiting turn 2 is good even though you have a Wild Pyro in your hand. Always mulligan for Pyros, PoTF, and to some extent Bishop/Nova if you are confident for the early game.
Warrior (Dragon: 6/10, N’Zoth: 8/10, Charging Giant/Worgen Combo: 3/10)
Once Combo Warriors starts to become refined it might be tricky to play this deck. But against slow versions of Warrior, or Dragon Warrior deck is doing fairly good. You have many ways to get rid of the various win cons. Mulligan for Blademasters, PoTF, Bishop, Barnes, and Entomb if you are confident for the early game.
Druid (Combo Yogg: 7/10, C’Thun Druid: 8/10, Beast Druid: ?/10)
Druid is fairly easy, and depends on 3 main factors: how many 4/7 you can summon, how fast the druid can ramp and cycle, and how Yogg fist you. Yogg is a bitch and should be ban out of the game. On my way to legend I lost 3 time in a row, on the final boss, to Yogg. So yeah, just play Blademasters, and rez them you will be fine eventually. Druids tends to play slowly vs. Priest since they will try to make heavy turns. MVP is Bishop. This guys is too much HP for a single turn. Like most of the Yogg deck, don’t all in or you will get Yogg’d. Mulligan for Blademasters, PoTF, Bishop, and SW:D if you are confident for the early turns
Warlock (Zoolock: 6/10, Renolock: 4/10)
Zoo is fairly easy because of the amount of token that will die to SW:H and Pyro. Also, like Druids, they have almost no answers to T5 Bishop into Blademaster/PoTF. Mulligan aggressively for Pyro/Smite/Shield/Resurrect. Against Renolock, it’s hard to say. You can pressure them with Blademasters and will always steal cool cards with Shifting Shade. But it might not be enough to beat them. You have to gamble a lot and force awkward answers, such as void before N’Zoth. Again, Bishop is the MVP bringing back high HP minions. Always mulligan for zoo, since it will be 90% of the time a Zoolock.
Mage (Tempo: 4/10, Freeze ?)
I only encountered aggressive mage with high level of burn. It’s a tricky match up and often, greedy Mage playing value card are easier than Aggro Mage than burn your face, since you don’t run flash heals. PoTF is the true MVP of the match up, eating funnel cake and Fireballs at the same time. You want to rez as many of this fatty as possible so always keep him. SW:H can also have insane value. Beware of Yogg though. And don’t be conservative with your removals, you are running more creatures than them. Your HP total is key. Get ready in the mid game (turn 9/10) to face multiple Fireballs and Torches, so keep the board as clean as your pants. Also, don’t forget that they don’t run Polymorph, so dropping Ysera on turn 9 can be a winning play. Mulligan for PoTF, Smite, Pryo and Rez.
Easy match up with the 4/7 rez train. Keeping a Shadow Word: Death is fine since one way to lose is a giant Edwin VanCleef early. Mulligan for Blademasters, PoTF, Bishop and Barnes.
Priest (Mirror 7/10)
Well it can go both ways. It’s just impossible to describe, beware of letting the board out of control since no Lightbomb anymore, and you play without Circles. You are heavily favored against non-N’Zoth versions, since Priest has almost no tools to deal with it, and even if they find a way to board clear, your card advantage with Shifting Shades is absurd. And you run too many threats with Cairne, Sylvannas, and Ysera. It’s just a draw game. Mulligan for Blademasters, Bishops, Shifting Shades, Entomb.
Paladin (Aggro: 8/10, N’Zoth, 8/10, Midrange: 7/10)
I only played against 2 or 3, and one concede right after Pyro, Coin,
concede Shield. Versus N’Zoth it’s a free win. You have Entomb, they don’t. Versus Midrange it can be a bit tricky hopefully you are running a decent amount of minions that makes more value than huge toads and such. Be prepared for midrangy/early N’Zoth that are easy to answer (with toads and other small shits). Not a very common match up anyway. Dragon Paladin might be tricky since midrange has always been a problem for priest. Mulligan for pyro, bishop, nova, shifting shades, blademaster, and other high value minion/cards).
Make Anduin Great Again !