Hello! I recently had the fortune of making it Rank 1 Legend with Silence Priest as of 5/8/17 and have been doing my best to hold up the spot since. I didn’t track my winrate on my climb up, but I played the deck solely from Tier 3 (Molten Giant) until the final spot.
Here is the list i’m running. It’s something I came up with after trying other variants of Silence Priest. I think a lot of people severely underestimate the potential and strength of this archetype. Personally, I think the deck is busted. I think it has a pre-nerf Patron level of strength, and am honestly surprised at how rare this deck seems to be on ladder.
The deck has the ability to out-tempo aggro decks, and out-value and combo a majority of others. It has one of, it not the strongest draw engines of any other deck on the ladder. This, combined with the flexibility and cost reduction of radiant elemental makes representing lethal a threat starting very early. The tour de force of the deck stems, unsurprisingly, from Lyra, a card that when paired with radiant elemental on turns 7+ will give you the tools and win condition needed to outlast/outcombo more resilient decks like N’zoth Paladin and Taunt Warrior.
**Circle of Healing**
This may seem an odd inclusion at first glance. The flexibility and card advantage that this card can generate with a cleric pyro combo comes without the tempo loss of having to spend 2 mana on a heal. While Circle has otherwise been clunky in other iterations of priest, the addition of Shadow Visions allows you to have access to potential +2’s or higher on any given damaged board (which you will have given your beefy silenced minions). At its worst, it allows you to cycle with pyro/acolyte, and gives Lyra more fuel for the fodder.
The second piece of the card advantage puzzle that also fends off aggressive decks incredibly effectively. In MU’s where pyromancers would otherwise be dead, you have acolyte and cleric/circle to generate more value.
**Acolyte of Pain**
The way this deck wins is essentially by drawing your deck. With the inclusion of pyro, we’re able to get fairly ridiculous and consistent card advantage by cycling spells on the board via shadow visions and radiant elemental. If acolyte lives on board after turn 3, turn 4 can have a radiant + pyro + visions + PW:S + circle, etc. etc.
**Where are my Faceless Shamblers?**
Simply put, you don’t need them. They don’t advance your game plan of drawing to kill your opponent, and often can stay dead in a hand that otherwise needs to advance its plan of accumulating combo pieces. Given this deck is faster than other variants of silence priest, and that we have better early game tools with dealing with aggressive decks, shambler just does too little at a whopping 4 mana. Against control oriented decks, Shambler either sits dead in hand, or leads to an overextension on your board. At the end of the day, you only need one minion on board to get the kill.
As strange as it sounds, Talonpriest might be the worst card in the deck. The body and effect are great, but two copies often leads to clunky hands with nothing important you want to buff. On top of this we’re usually not buffing minions until we’re ready to combo for a majority of MU’s, so I often found having two Talonpriests would lead to them being vanilla 3/4 bodies with nothing to buff on board. They don’t generate card advantage, and we have better ways of going for the OTK without it. Additonally, at 3 mana, it makes including it in an OTK where we have multiple 1 mana divine spirits and 0 mana inner fires more difficult to pull off.
It should go without saying that this deck is incredibly difficult to play. On any given turn there are often several lines of play that can lead to victory or defeat depending on your MU. That being said, with enough practice, I think this deck has one of the most consistent and highest win-rates of any other deck I’ve piloted. It requires a great deal of practice and patience, in addition to reads to be made on your opponent. Often times going for the combo early if you have a read on the opponents hand (they don’t have removal for instance) is sometimes the only time to win. When these reads are made correctly, it is one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had playing HS since Beta. But you will lose a lot going in blind. Here is some MU advice:
A difficult MU if they get the perfect draw. Early radiant/pyro plays are crucial to be able to clear early threats and start building a board for lethal. You’re on a clock, but you can represent lethal faster than them with the right draws. An important thing to do in this MU is to find the line that ends the game soonest. If they’re smashing Reapers into your face, they are also doing less to prevent you from going off. If the game manages to go late, you have Lyra at your disposal to try and dig for Ungoro Flash heals
We win this MU through card advantage. Your goal is to take up the role of a mid-range deck, representing persistent threats through your 4/5’s and 4/8’s, making sure to never overextend. They do not provide any real threats, so you’re consistently able to pull off a lot of card advantage through pyro/acolyte/cleric/circle shenanigans. A very important part of this MU is demonstrating the strength of the radiant ele/Lyra combo. The way we typically win this MU is one of two ways: 1. Either we potion of madness a 2/6 or 2/7 OR 2. We wait for a turn 9/10 Radiant Elemental x2 Lyra combo. If you’ve applied consistent pressure through your minions through the duration of the game, the amount of random priest BS you’ll be able to throw at him for the duration of the game should help in closing it out (Bonus points for mind visioning Sulfuras randomly). This line of play wins more consistently than I’m sure I’m making it sound.
Like the Pirate Warrior MU, we want to end this game as quickly as possible. Hard mulligan for plant + silences and hope they don’t prep vanish. You’re able to kill them before they complete their quest, especially since they will provide you with little to no resistance on their part. Don’t be afraid to drop your combo early: it’s much better to force them to have an answer then to play scared. If you give them time, you will lose. Bonus points for purifying through the occasionally freeze effect.
It should also be noted that we run 2x Potion of Madness and 2x Silence for their Igneous Elementals. A favourable matchup
We have the tools to not get outvalued by Miracle, but we have to make sure we keep up tempo wise. Thankfully Radiant elemental and 4/8’s have you covered there. Probably one of the more difficult MU’s, but our ability to represent lethal early and silence Edwin’s help us out.
See Taunt Warrior. A more difficult MU due to Paladin’s ability to not give a damn about how large your minions are. This is another MU won by not overextending, and assembling combo pieces. We can oftentimes represent surprise lethal by holding onto silences for Steed/Tirion. In the right hands, I’m fairly certain this MU is even, if not positive. That being said, it is a difficult one.
Worst MU. As a deck, we’re not equipped with dealing with Calm Megasaur. We have a fighting chance with Radiant and Pyro, but oftentimes, the perfect aggro murloc pally deck will give little to no damns. Keep their board clear as best you can, and hope they slip up.
We’re priest with potion of madness and pyro. You’re good.
One of, if not the most favorable MU’s. Like other slower decks, Jades just give us the time we need to assemble combo pieces and large minions, usually simultaneously. Unlike other MU’s, they don’t have the removal, so feel free to slam down this divine spirits early. Some druid variants run Naturalize. I don’t understand this, but hey, two more cards to just do it again.
One of the safer aggro variants for us. While we don’t run Shamblers, we do run Pyros, and two spells is all you need to hold onto after turn 4 to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by Living Mana. Mulligan for radiant/pyro + PW:S and potion. One of my higher winrates comes from Aggro Druid
We draw faster than them, we represent lethal faster than them. Create a big minion early, and pop both their blocks before they have the mana to do anything about it. Also helps that silence goes through freeze. Only thing to watch out for is overextending into a frost/doomsayer. Your card advantage should easily take care of the rest. If things get tough, you have Lyra shenanigans to pull you out of lethal range. This is another MU you have to make sure you don’t throw both of your radiants away for early because of this.
You have 4 attack minions. That being said, try to avoid favorable potion of madness options for your opponent (don’t play acolyte on a board with your watcher unless you can also generate cards from it immediately)
The first person to put a large minion on board wins; neither deck runs SW:D. Hard mulligan for Watcher;purify combo. Watch out for potion of madness targets, so avoid putting <2 attack minions on the board late game.
If you’re still with me, thank for for taking the time to read this long write-up. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below that I’d be happy to answer!
**TL;DR: Mike was right**