Midrange Deathrattle Priest Overview & Strategy
Few basic things first before I start talking about the deck. The most common question would definitely be – “Why not add Awaken the Makers Quest?” And the answer is simple – because it’s bad in a deck like that. You don’t add the Quest just because you can, the Quest’s reward needs to be useful to you in the first place. This is more of a Midrange deck, it’s definitely not Control, starting with one less card in your hand is really bad. Then, you would need to add more early game Deathrattle cards to finish it in time – the longer it takes to finish the Quest, the better would +1 card in the starting hand be. Another question I anticipate is – “Why Loot Hoarder over Dead Ringer?” While I believe that Dead Ringer is a better card overall, you generally want to use him if you REALLY want to draw your Deathrattle cards, or a specific one. In this case, you don’t exactly want to do that. Not only you have a limited amount of Deathrattles, so if you’d start reviving it, activating it with Umbra etc. then you would run out of cards to draw. Not to mention that you want to leave some Deathrattle cards in your deck for the sake of Zerek’s Cloning Gallery. That’s why Loot Hoarders just work better in this build, I believe.
Since we’re talking about Priest, the deck’s early game is obviously rather weak, and it will probably be the biggest problem. While you can do some crazy tempo plays in the mid game, in the early game you will try to play your small minions and possibly draw some cards from Northshire Cleric. The mid game is when you start doing your plays, but the card I want to talk about first is a Priest’s Legendary spell – Zerek's Cloning Gallery. While 9 mana is expensive, putting 7 minions on the board is a quite powerful effect. Even though they’re only 1/1 copies, it’s basically impossible to get only vanilla minions. Out of the 23 minions in this build, 17 have some kind of positive effect. Well, 15 if you don’t count Northshire Cleric, as you can’t heal anything immediately anyway (but it can potentially be good the turn after). Devilsaur Egg, Mechanical Whelp and Coffin Crasher (usually) summon something on death, which means that clearing this board won’t be that easy. You should also get some extra value (Loot Hoarder or Bone Drake), and possibly a 1/1 Obsidian Statue on the board. Plus, if you pull out Spiritsinger Umbra, every card on the right of her should trigger its Deathrattle immediately. Which makes it incredibly powerful with some effects – you can get instant Statue trigger, extra cards from Hoarder/Drake, and possibly a 5/5 or 7/7 instead of one of the 1/1’s.
Another way to abuse your powerful Deathrattle minion is Twilight's Call. Basically, as soon as 2 Deathrattle minions die, the card is good – no matter which ones. 2x 1/1 Loot Hoarder is the worst case scenario and it’s not bad at all. But later in the game, you should be able to get 1/1 Eggs, Whelps, Drakes or Statues. However, there’s also a cute little combo with Spiritsinger Umbra. It costs only 7 mana, which is not really outlandish, and triggering the Deathrattles of the 1/1’s you summon immediately can be very powerful. For example, if you had a Devilsaur Egg dying already, you will get an instant 5/5, on top of another one you will get once the 1/1 Egg dies. And the best thing about both Zerek’s Cloning Gallery and Twilight’s Call is that you can Disover extra copies with Shadow Visions. With only 4 different spells in your deck, you have a 100% chance to hit either one of those. Generally, Zerek’s should be better in slow matchups, while Twilight’s Call is better in fast matchups.
The deck also runs the basic Dragon package – cards like Twilight Acolyte or Duskbreaker are just too good to not run in this kind of deck, and Bone Drake (Dragon activator) fits this build quite well too. While it’s not the best build for Twilight Drake, you need some Turn 4 play and a Dragon activator, not to mention that sometimes you will end up reviving lots of Loot Hoarders/Bone Drakes, increasing your hand size. And finally, Cobalt Scalebane is a solid 5-drop Dragon, and this deck needs both 5-drops and Dragons. Both Duskbreaker and Cobalt Scalebane are good Egg activators – Duskbreaker will pop it immediately, while Scalebane can give it +3 Attack and make it able to attack.
The main issue I have with the deck is Duskbreaker being the only AoE, but on the other hand, it’s hard to add anything else. Wild Pyromancer is not a good fit, there aren’t enough spells. Holy Nova is not a great card. Spirit Lash can be okay, but only against decks like Odd Paladin. Psychic Scream is amazing, but it doesn’t really fit the deck and it’s still too slow vs Aggro. But in case of fast meta, some of those might be necessary, otherwise the deck will rely on drawing Duskbreaker simply too much.
Deathrattle Priest Mulligan Guide
Since it’s just a theorycrafting and there are no statistics to back it up, I’ll just post some general guidelines for early playtesting rather than a full mulligan guide.
- Always keep early game minions – Northshire Cleric, Loot Hoarder, Shadow Ascendant. Keep Power Word: Shield only if you have some low cost minion to put it on, don’t keep it by itself.
- Devilsaur Egg is also a good keep, especially if you also have Duskbreaker to pop it on the curve. Talking about Duskbreaker, definitely do keep it vs Aggro, but not really vs slower decks. If let’s say Even Warlock will be popular, then keep Twilight Acolyte in that matchup. You can keep a mid game dragon like Twilight Drake besides those so you won’t run into situations in which you have those cards, but they aren’t active.