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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- Sleepy Dragon – A Priest’s worst nightmare, Sleepy Dragon provides a massive Taunt body to block aggro decks from smacking your beautiful face.
- Charged Devilsaur – Speaking of smacking faces, there’s nothing preventing Charged Devilsaur from slamming damage when he’s cheated into play or Resurrected.