Wild Big Priest Deck List Guide – Kobolds

Class: Priest - Format: wild - Type: control - Style: meta-deck - Meta Deck: Big Priest
Learn how to play this archetype with our Big Priest Deck List Guide.

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Deck Import

Our Wild Big Priest deck list guide will go through the ins-and-outs of this deck! This guide will teach you how to mulligan, pilot, and card substitutions for this popular list!

Introduction to Wild Big Priest

If there’s ever a deck that needs no introduction, it’s Wild Big Priest. In part, this is due to the frequency at which Barnes introduces high-cost minions into the battlefield far earlier than should be possible. With a plethora of Resurrect spells in Wild, Big Priest is capable of layering threats turn after turns, must to the frustration of opponents. 

While many will dismiss the deck as a high-rolling monstrosity of “draw Barnes and win”, the deck is a bit more nuanced than many give it credit for. The fact of the matter is, you will not draw Barnes on curve every game. Pulling out victories when this is the case is the difference between piloting the deck and chasing nut draws.

Even when Barnes is nowhere to be found, Wild Big Priest can take advantage of Priest’s numerous removal spells to stall out aggression long enough to find Shadow Essence and get the Resurrect train rolling. Managing resources effectively is the key to winning such games

Check out our in-depth Standard deck guide to Big Priest!

Kobolds and Catacombs Expansion

With the release of Kobolds and Catacombs, Wild Big Priest went from occasional nuisance to dominant force in the Wild metagame. This is, in large part, thanks to the introduction of two new potent spells: Lesser Diamond Spellstone and Psychic Scream. Both of these cards contribute to Big Priest’s game plan of efficiently removing enemy minions and bringing big minions back to life. This pair of seven mana spells propelled Big Priest to the top of several Wild Tier Lists.

Wild Big Priest Card Choices

The cards in Wild Big Priest can be sorted into one of four categories: Defensive Tools, Minion Cheating, Big Minions, and Resurrection Spells. The exception, of course, is Shadow Visions which provides you the flexibility to find the spell you need for a given situation.

  • Shadow Visions – Even though it doesn’t fall into one of the four card categories, Shadow Visions fits well in Big Priest thanks to its ability to fetch additional copies of critical spells from your deck.

Defensive Tools

It doesn’t matter how big the minions in your deck are if your opponent is killing you before they come into play. With that in mind, Wild Big Priest runs an assortment Defensive Tools to survive the onslaught of damage common in the Wild format.

  • Silence – With so many high-value Deathrattle minions in the format, Silence is almost a mandatory inclusion in Wild Priest decks.
  • Shadow Word: Pain – Several early game minions have potential to snowball out of control. Shadow Word: Pain helps prevent this from happening.
  • Spirit Lash – Removing a board full of token minions for two mana makes Spirit Lash worth a spot in your deck. The fact that it heals you in the process is just icing on the cake.
  • Shadow Word: Death – Even with the numerous mass removal spells, Big Priest frequently needs to remove individual minions. Shadow Word: Death efficiently deals with big minions on the other side of the board.
  • Greater Healing Potion – After doing very little in the first few turns, you’re likely to drop to a low life total. Healing for 12 with Greater Healing Potion can buy you enough time to start chaining big minions.
  • Mass Dispel – Again, Silence is highly valuable in the current Wild metagame. Mass Dispel can remove the effect of multiple minions while cycling a card.
  • Shadow Word: Horror – Shadow Word: Horror provides a direct answer to many wide boards that present themselves on turn four.
  • Excavated Evil – The second step in the Priest AoE removal, Excavated Evil clears boards and dumps an inconsequential card into your opponent’s deck.
  • Lightbomb – At the moment, Lightbomb is strictly better than Dragonfire Potion at the six mana slot thanks to its ability to manage a board full of Giants.
  • Psychic Scream – Thing final rung on the 4-5-6-7 mana mass removal ladder, Psychic Scream clears an entire board without triggering bothersome Deathrattle effects.

Minion Cheating

An important facet of Big Priest is cheating out minions to add to your res pool several turns before you’d typically be able to naturally play them. Barnes and Shadow Essence both fulfill this purpose quite well.

  • Barnes – This much-despised stage manager has a startling effect on Big Priest’s win rate thanks to his ability to enable early resurrect effects.
  • Shadow Essence – If you whiff on Barnes, Shadow Essence can still bring out big minions at least two turns earlier than summoning them from hand.

Big Minions

Big Priest is nothing without big minions. The assortment of high-cost minions below provides a nice balance between frustrating roadblocks and powerful aggressors.

  • Ragnaros the Firelord – In Wild, the triumphant return of Ragnaros the Firelord makes for a more favorable ratio of aggressive minions than Standard counterparts.
  • The Lich King – The Lich King pulls double duty as an aggressive body that can still stop opposing minions in their tracks with Taunt.
  • Obsidian Statue – Against many aggro decks, an early Statue can completely lock out the game.
  • Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound – What’s better than cheating out one big minion? Cheating out two, of course! An unchecked Y’Shaarj can pull several threats from your deck while clocking an opponent for ten each turn.

Resurrect Spells

Your big minions (or, at the very least copies of your big minions) are going to die frequently. Fear not, young Anduin! For this assortment of Resurrect Spells will bring them back bigger and better than they were before!

  • Resurrect – The grandfather of res spells, this two mana card comes at the cost of occasional inconsistency. If you can guarantee only big minions in your res pool, however, it can create massive swing turns.
  • Eternal Servitude – For two extra mana, you can have your choice of minion to bring back to life! Eternal Servitude lets you Discover a dead minion to return to the battlefield at an obscene discount.
  • Lesser Diamond Spellstone – Most decks have the ability to remove one or two Big Minions at a time, but return three to four to the board at once can be crippling against many opponents.

Wild Big Priest Mulligan Strategy & Guide

For many Big Priest novices, the mulligan phase boils down to “throw away anything that isn’t Barnes.” Sure, Barnes has an absurd impact on the deck’s win rate when held in the opener, but mulligans are a little more nuanced than blindly seeking a single Legendary card.

In Wild, especially, hard-mulliganing for Barnes can simply leave you dead on turn four or five. Depending on the matchup, you may need to dig hard for Defensive Tools that fit the deck you’re facing. As is typically the case, it pays to err on the side of caution and assume your opponent is running aggro if you’re uncertain.

VS Fast Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Barnes – Yes, Barnes is an auto-keep. The effect this card has on your win rate is downright ridiculous.
  • Shadow Visions – Shadow Visions is another great keep in just about any matchup. The card is flexible enough to find removal, Resurrect, or minion cheating spells, depending on the situation.
  • Shadow Word: Pain – Removing key minions on turn two can keep the opponent snowballing an early board.
  • Shadow Word: Horror – The second Shadow Word worth keeping against Aggro, this card can answer many wide boards on turn four at the cost of a single card.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Excavated Evil – For Big Priest, Excavated Evil is almost always a one-sided board clear; exactly what you’ll need against aggressive, board-centric decks.
  • Shadow Essence – If you already have the tools to deal with early boards, you may consider keeping Shadow Essence (especially when on the Coin).
  • Spirit Lash – Spirit Lash seems like it’d be an easy keep against Aggro but, without Spell Power, it simply doesn’t do enough against some decks. Keep this card against token decks that go wide on board.
  • Lightbomb – Boards can get out of hand very quickly. In such cases, Lightbomb can provide an answer. Giants decks are, after all, fairly fast-developing.
  • Mass Dispel – Minion buffing is common in today’s Wild metagame. Mass Dispel cycles a card and provides a soft reset on these difficult boards.

VS Slow Decks

Higher Priority (Keep every time)

  • Barnes – Keep Barnes. Always.
  • Shadow Visions – Shadow Visions is again an easy keep for Big Priest and perhaps more valuable against slower decks.
  • Shadow Essence – Shadow Essence on turn six can either replace or supplement an on-curve Barnes.

Lower Priority (Keep only if certain conditions are met)

  • Shadow Word: Pain – Even slower decks tend to have high-priority kill targets in the early game. Brann Bronzebeard, Northshire Cleric, and Acolyte of Pain are all good examples.
  • Lightbomb – One of Priest’s strengths is its ability to efficiently answer a board full of Giants. With the coin, Lightbomb does exactly that on turn five (just in time, too).
  • Eternal Servitude – If Barnes is already in hand, an Eternal Servitude can quickly bring back whatever monstrosity you pulled from your deck.
  • Lesser Diamond Spellstone – Big Priest has a tendency to decimate slower developing decks. A large part of that is Spellstone’s ability to layer threats, so much so that it’s worth a keep in some cases.

Wild Big Priest Play Strategy

Introduction to General Strategy goes here. You can break up your play strategy into specific matchups, or keep it to Aggro/Control like is represented below.

VS Aggro Decks

Against aggressive decks, your primary goal is to survive the barrage of incoming damage. Fortunately, Wild Big Priest has numerous tools to support this gameplan. Spend early turns removing high-priority minions and wipe the board when appropriate.

Occasionally, in these matchups, Barnes on turn 4 is (surprisingly) not the play. Frequently, simply dropping this blonde bard leaves you dead in the next turn or two (barring an Obsidian Statue pull, of course). Try to pave a clear path for Barnes with Shadow Word: Horror and enjoy the easy victory.

Without Barnes, things get a little more complicated. Fear not! You still have access to several turns of board clears and significant healing potential with Greater Healing Potion. If you’re able to grind your opponent out of resources by about turn eight, you begin hard-cast minions into play. Even after paying full price for your minions, layered Resurrect effects allow you to bring them back turn after turn until the game over.

VS Control Decks

Against Control Decks, your gameplan changes dramatically. Often, you spend the first few turns doing nothing, so patience is key. If you’re going to float mana on upcoming turns, it makes sense to wait on Shadow Visions to give you a better read on your opponent’s deck and get better odds at finding the spell you require.

Here, you can begin to mulligan much more aggressively for Barnes. It’s these longer matches where he really shines anyway. Bringing him out early makes it possible to bring fully-statted minions back onto the board far earlier than should be possible.

When Barnes goes into hiding, Shadow Essence can pick up some of the slack. You really don’t want to pay full mana for your first minion in these matchups, so dig deep for this card with Shadow Visions.

Finally, Lesser Diamond Spellstone reigns supreme in these matchups. If you can ramp up this spell, returning four minions to the board can be backbreaking for opponents.

Wild Big Priest Card Substitutions

Generally, the core of Wild Big Priest is irreplaceable. Barnes, Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound, and many of the Epic spells are irreplaceable in this deck. That said, some of the Big Minions are a bit more flexible. The list below provides some Big Minion substitutions at each rarity.

Common Cards

  • Sleepy Dragon – A Priest’s worst nightmare, Sleepy Dragon provides a massive Taunt body to block aggro decks from smacking your beautiful face.

Epic Cards

  • Charged Devilsaur – Speaking of smacking faces, there’s nothing preventing Charged Devilsaur from slamming damage when he’s cheated into play or Resurrected.

Legendary Cards

  • Ysera – Another minion with a beneficial end of turn effect, Ysera sees her way into many Standard Big Priest lists.
  • Kel'Thuzad – Why just rely on spells to resurrect your minions when you can have your minions, servants, soldiers of the cold dark obey the call… of Kel’Thuzad?


A card game veteran, Roffle has been infatuated with Hearthstone since closed beta. These days, he spends most of his time tinkering with decks on ladder or earning gold in Arena (f2p btw). In particular, Roffle has a wealth of experience in competitive Wild Hearthstone, including a top 16 finish in the inaugural Wild Open Tournament and numerous high end of season finishes since the format’s inception.

Check out Roffle on Twitter or on their Website!

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Discuss This Deck
  1. Anionisch
    January 2, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Ich bin nicht zufrieden mit dem Deck. Das soll Tier 1 sein und ich habe gerade mal eine 50 % win Chance.

  2. Kazuto Kiritogaya
    October 26, 2018 at 6:32 pm


    I am currently at rank 19 but i feel like i can do better. I am also looking to buy 180 packs for the stardust, sweet stardust. This deck seems more fun to play than my current turn 10 hemet – mecha’ thun OTK 🙂 do you think that i should spend an hour opening packs, disenchanting and crafting this beast of a deck now or after the next expansion comes out, as there will most likely be a few cards that work in this deck in there? i mainly play for fun so me throwing in kel’ thuzad could be a good idea! Thinking about that, wouldn’t aviana be a great idea for this deck, as who doesn’t want a 1 mana lich king 🙂

    • Brenden
      November 6, 2018 at 9:35 am


    • Brenden
      November 6, 2018 at 9:37 am

      also, this is a priest deck…
      Aviana is a druid card

  3. Slytankz
    August 15, 2018 at 8:51 am

    what do you guys think of alarm o bot? i think it could bring your big guys out early

    • OverDemon
      August 31, 2018 at 10:27 am

      It wouldn’t work very well. First, the Alarm-O-Bot has to survive the enemies turn, which isn’t always a given. Secondly, it could mess up Barnes and Shadow Essense.

  4. OverDemon
    August 2, 2018 at 9:21 am

    With The Boomsday Project just around the corner, would you say that there’s any change to this deck at all? The only option that I can see would be Zerek’s Cloning Gallery, yet it’s a very slow card at 9 mana and at that point you’re probably also playing minions from your hand.

  5. Brb
    June 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    ### Big Priest – Wild Meta S
    # Clase: Sacerdote
    # Formato: Salvaje
    # 1x (0) Silencio
    # 2x (2) Palabra de Sombras: dolor
    # 2x (2) Restallido espiritual
    # 2x (2) Resurrección
    # 2x (2) Sombras
    # 1x (3) Palabra de Sombras: muerte
    # 1x (4) Barnes
    # 2x (4) Palabra de las Sombras: horror
    # 1x (4) Poción de sanación superior
    # 2x (4) Servidumbre eterna
    # 2x (5) Mal desenterrado
    # 2x (6) Esencia sombría
    # 1x (6) Sepultar
    # 2x (7) Alarido psíquico
    # 2x (7) Diamante mágico inferior
    # 1x (8) El Rey Exánime
    # 1x (8) Ragnaros, Señor del Fuego
    # 2x (9) Estatua de obsidiana
    # 1x (10) Y’Shaarj, la Ira Desatada
    # Para usar este mazo, cópialo en el portapapeles y crea un mazo nuevo en Hearthstone.

    Con esta lista llegue a rango 5 en 1 semana, es mi primera temporada como jugador de wild, solo tengo 2 cambiás pero hacen una gran diferencia a la hora de enfrentar mm o volver a la vida contra un aggro / sorry for the spanish

  6. Brb
    June 14, 2018 at 8:36 am

    I have all the cards, the only one missing is rag, some good substitute

    • Killer Lord
      October 24, 2018 at 9:56 am

      I played this deck for quite a while without rag and replaced him with ysera, it’s maybe not as good, but still good enough and a lot of fun

      • Comrade1312
        January 27, 2019 at 2:12 pm

        I used Ysera for a long time and the lack of attack without the abilities of statue plus the fact it can give you a 3/5 minion that messes with your resurrects made me end up not being a fan. I’m more of a fan of Kel’Thuzad because of the combos the ability can do. If your having trouble with wide decks I could see why someone would prefer ysera for the potential board wipe.

  7. Bk-201
    April 21, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Are there any potential witchwood cards that are worth looking out for to improve this deck? I can’t seem to find any synergies with the new cards. Maybe it is true that the new cards are ubderwhelming.

    • Zaman
      May 3, 2018 at 4:16 am

      Vivid nightmare but it isn’t worth running.

  8. Kzoraks
    April 21, 2018 at 11:46 am

    hey are u trying play without barnes, i play with this deck on 10 rank with 53% winrates, but i got barnes from shadow essence too often, and this feels too bad vs tempo mages, cubelocks and kingsbane rogue…

    • Roffle - Author
      April 21, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      It always feels bad to pull Barnes off of Shadow Essences, but the amount of games he wins on turn 4 is worth the occasional low roll.

      This deck does have bad matchups against Tempo Mage and Kingsbane Rogue though. Cubelock is about even, but if they run Slyvannas, it probably bumps them ahead.

      • Kzoraks
        May 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm

        one more question is it worth it to add shadowreaper anduin(lich) ?

        • Brenden
          November 6, 2018 at 9:36 am

          nah, you’ll kill your own minions most of the time.

          • Kzoraks
            November 7, 2018 at 10:59 am

            too late, but anduin fit so good, DK give us a lot of damage with our ability

        • Comrade1312
          January 27, 2019 at 2:13 pm

          I ended up taking it out for a lower board wipe. I love the reach the ability allows, and think it can help against combo decks.

  9. Haku
    April 4, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    The deck will become how worse if I play without ragnaros?
    What you can tell about big priste with maligos and velen (otk)?

    • Roffle - Author
      April 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

      Ragnaros definitely helps the deck, but you can manage without him. Ysera, Charged Devilsaur (yes, really), or other big minions can step in.

      As for the Malygos/Velen OTK, I’ve tried it in Standard, but haven’t done much testing with it in Wild.

      • Kzoraks
        April 8, 2018 at 5:45 am

        ty for reply.
        I will wait for your tests OTK variant of this deck (V/M).
        what card is better for wild ladder lich king or ragnaros?
        and what u think about this variant
        modern big priests feels too slow, but this variant (big smork) feels unprotected….
        sorry for english(

        • Weat
          June 8, 2018 at 11:20 am

          Ragnaros is an MVP against slower decks and especially mage, since it puts them on a clock (8 damage per turn can’t be ignored). They’re both very good in the deck. I’d personally go with Ragnaros, however the Lich King is a great value card (and it has taunt, so that’s pretty good).

  10. OverDemon
    March 26, 2018 at 4:25 am

    In my experience with this deck it wins out A LOT and has taken me from rank 25 to rank 8 with few defeats, that was mostly due to bad decisions on my part. I’m really happy with it.
    However, I’ve recently hit an obstacle around rank 6 where it seems there’s a lot of Quest Mages and Kingsblade Rouges. OTK Mages usually win 2/3 times against me, but especially Kingsblade Rouges (or the occasional Mill Rouge) seems an insurmountable challenge. Sap pretty much kills Barnes or Shadow Essence and Vanish destroys Diamond Spellstone. Then there are the overdraws which are pretty punishing since I usually have 7 to 9 cards on hand without anything to resurrect or destroy around 6-8 mana. Finally, there’s the Kingsblade which usually gets up to 8 damage and lifesteal by the time I can get ANY minion on the board.
    Perhaps this is just a weakness of the deck, since no one deck can be expected to overcome all kinds of opponents, but do you got any suggestions how my chances could be improved?

    • Roffle - Author
      March 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Your experience lines up pretty well with what the stats suggest. Kingsbane Rogue, Exodia Mage, and Malygos Druid are three of the Big Priest’s worst matchups.

      Against Kingsbane Rogue, it can help to kill your own minions when you can to avoid the Sap/Vanish issues with your res pol. You may need to aggressively dump your hand as well, even if the cards you play do nothing.

      The Exodia Mage matchup relies heavily on getting an early Ragnaros. Other than that, the stall is difficult to overcome. Ice Block is also problematic when you’re typically dealing a lot of damage at a time.

      Maly Druid is a bit more winnable if you can apply early pressure, but even an on-curve Barnes into a defensive minion like Obsidian Statue might not be enough before the Druid draws their combo.

      Fortunately, the first two decks tend to drop off in popularity as you climb and Malygos Druid, while still popular at higher ranks, feels a bit more winnable.

    • Jaycm1974
      May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      I play odd hunter and I’m stuck at rank 15 , I consider myself ok,I’m thinking of crafting this do you really think I would climb higher?

  11. DeVentero
    March 9, 2018 at 4:53 am

    Exceptional work as expected of Roffle. Perhaps I would craft this deck if I have saved up enough dust. What kept bothering me is there are no Pint-Size Potion or DK Anduin.

    As a player who mainly plays Paladin and Warlock at the moment, I find that my Dude Paladin conventionally loses to Pint-Size Potion + Shadow Word: Horror combo. While the Cube Warlock stagnant to DK. Therefore, I concluded that those two cards might be mandatory.

    Even so is Big Priest a deck worth crafting? I am missing Y’shaarj, 2x Obsidian Statues, 2x Psychic Screams, 2x Diamond Spellstones. On the other hand, I have all of the substitution cards. Furthermore, I am not a high-skill leveled player, my most advanced deck was Justicar Control Warrior ( Old-School ) and Reno Warlock which I could only push to more or less 60% of the decks’ potential.

    Finally, on a scale from 0-10 how would you rate this deck difficulty? ( perhaps this site could provide a difficulty level to each guides which might be beneficial to Beginners or low-skill capped players such as myself ).

    Thank you and apologies for any mistakes in advance. ( Sheesh I am not very keen on writing in English )

    • Roffle - Author
      March 9, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you!

      With Pint-sized Potion, the deck has a bit more AoE removal than its Standard counterparts. On turn 5, Excavated Evil is often more reliable than the two card combo of Pint-size + Horror. Similarly, DK Anduin is a bit unnecessary in Wild with Lightbomb to clear tall boards and the aggression from Ragnaros.

      Given how many cards you’re missing, I’d wait a bit on crafting the deck right now. With an expansion coming soon, I tend to be more conservative with crafting around this time of year.

      As far as difficulty, the deck is certainly beginner friendly, in part because of the highroll potential of winning games thanks to a good draw. Certain matchups can be a challenge when you don’t draw Barnes on curve and have to ration your resources, but I don’t think anyone would argue it’s at the top end of the difficult spectrum.

    • minti
      July 13, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Well its the best deck priest has and will probably have i don’t see anything good for priest as a class things are very hard to balance for blizzard with that hero power. They keep saying that if priest has normal minions that hero power will make him OP while all of the HS community says thats the worst hero power ever. Before big priest the deck was called ressurect priest and it was dominating the priest ladder from the blackrock expansion. Few revive cards later it baceme the big priest we now know.
      Overal the deck is luck fiesta. I personally have very unlucky draws. There are classes that can make your deck garbage and cards that can counter you to some point like the sheeps/ frogs etc. The new expansions gave us better cards to fight big priest like Gravelsnort Knight, Cornered sentry,hungry etin/if you pick it from stonehill defender is a good pick againts this priest/ kazacus is preeety awesome too if you draw the sheep/ its why reno lock starts getting more popular/ MINDGAMES can give you extra winrates if you happen to run mirror matches.
      Overal lots of things counter you. On top of that your deck can become inconsistent with the barnes issue vs aggro. You can recover from most of the situations exept saps and vanishes but fortunately the agro rogue is ODD so no problems there :D.
      The tip of playing this deck is to not be sore looser. You will never have more that 58% winrates so you will lose quite some, sometimes you will lose consistantly but in 100+ games you will get good results. And its getting ever more popular so expect people to start countering it. Aggro deck are the top tier meta so far and finding a good control matchup againts them is hard. Just join the flock and be odd pally 😀 The only old card you will want is quartermaster it avoids most of the legendaries since all pally legendaries are even costed and double quartermaster is cheeper than crafting one ragnaros on top of it all baku will give you plenty of other aggro decks that you can play in standart. I hear moth priest is getting mroe popular and the game devs promissed us that those decks will get better. That was Brode’s legacy he spoled in advance since he sayed he knows whats coming in the next 3 expansions. Although i am still waiting for the OP hagatha decks and top tier shudderlock that didnt happen 😀

  12. MrMeme
    March 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Why run Lich King and not Ysera there are some really bad cards from Lich KIng and all of Ysera’s cards are preety good.

    • Roffle - Author
      March 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

      The Lich King offers a defense/offense hybrid minion giving you good balance between the two overall. Personally, I’ve rotated Ysera in many times myself (in favor of a copy of Obsidian Statue) and she excels in slower matchups. Dream is really helpful in both mirrors to efficiently manage Obsidian Statues and Voidlords.

      Still, baseline lists tend to prefer double Status and The Lich King to have better game against aggro decks.