Our Big Priest deck guide features the best deck list for Season 42, with Mulligan advice, strategy tips, card combos and more.
Big Priest is a new Hearthstone deck to hit the game with the launch of Knights of the Frozen Throne, and it's one that builds on the Resurrect archetype you might recall from years gone by. The end result is a deck that does a tremendous job of controlling the early stages of the game, while having the kind of meaty end-game power that will leave even Jade Druid players quaking in their boots.
In our Big Priest guide we've got a snapshot of one of the best decks that's being used on the ladder right now, as well as a bit of insight on how to actually play it. After that we've got some starting advice for Mulliganing your hand (expect this to be expanded on in greater detail when the meta settles down), and a complete look at every single combo in our tips section.
If there's something else you'd like to see added to our guide, let us know in the comments and we'll work it in for the next update! Until then, I hope you have as much fun as I have messing around with this exciting new deck.
FROZEN THRONE UPDATE:
UPDATE #1 - Since we've first covered this deck, one of our new contributors Stelios Magoutis has provided some extra insight on handling specific match-ups, and we've also included some suggestions for card sbustitituons. We'll continue monitoring this deck in the Frozen Throne meta, and will make further updates as they're required.
Our Frozen Throne: Best Decks and Guides hub contains everything you need to get stuck into the new meta!
Big Priest deck list and strategy
Here's the deck list that was created by rookie and piloted at Legend rank around the start of the Frozen Throne meta:
|2 x Forbidden Shaping||1 x Barnes|
|1 x Silence||1 x The Lich King|
|2 x Pint-Size Potion||1 x Ysera|
|2 x Potion of Madness||1 x Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound|
|2 x Shadow Visions|
|2 x Shadow Word: Pain|
|2 x Shadow Word: Death|
|2 x Eternal Servitude|
|2 x Priest of the Feast|
|2 x Shadow Word: Horror|
|2 x Dragonfire Potion|
|2 x Shadow Essence|
|1 x Free From Amber|
|2 x Obsidian Statue|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAZ/HAgalCYW4ApnIAsLOAqIJqKsCDKKsAui/ArW7AtHBAtcK0wrlzAKStAKhrALqvwK0zgLmzAIA
The very simple, top-level strategy behind playing Big Priest is that you control the very early stages of the game with any number of removal tools until you reach the mid-game. Here you hope to play Barnes onto the board on Turn 4 in order to get another high-cost, high-impact minion onto the board for free. Failing that, Shadow Essence is there to provide help on Turn 6.
This deck is not entirely unlike Resurrect Priest if you've played that one in the past, although a handful of recent cards make the archetype more consistent and so more viable in the current meta. Shadow Word: Horror is excellent for dealing with aggro - and is equally effective against control when combined with Pint-Size Potion - while Potion of Madness will very often allow you to pinch a minion and use it to deal with another.
There are lots of combos to consider really, and it's vital that you prevent every opponent from getting ahead on the board. For that reason, we recommend taking a little bit of time to carefully study the combo tips sections before you hit the ladder with Big Priest. You'll find that towards the bottom of the page.
For now, here's some extra insight on taking down both aggressive and control opponents in the current meta. This is of course subject to change as the meta becomes more refined and all decks are optimised further. Still, the following should provide some basic guidance:
Beating aggro opponents with Big Priest
As always, survival is the name of the game here, but the good news is that Big Priest is stuffed to the brim with tools for dealing with an early onslaught. Try to bait out a little bit more - without endangering the game - before triggering Shadow Word: Horror and/or Pint-Size Potion. You may also find running a deck tracker helps here, as there's a lot of removal at your disposal. Always try to make as efficient use of every spell as you can, as the danger will come relentlessly - be sure there isn't a more cost-effective way of dealing with the problem at hand before committing to your play.
Beating control opponents with Big Priest
The strategy for dealing with control is much the same as it is aggro, although the pressure is somewhat lighter due to the lack of fast early damage. This time around though, you need to be very, very careful not to drop your minions into calamitous AOE damage from your opponent. It pays to study the meta here, and know how much pressure to apply without going completely all-in and potentially losing everything.
Strategies against each class:
Druid: Although Druid is dominating in the current meta, Big Priest is very much favoured to beat it and has a decent chance against the more aggressive Druid decks too. Always keep Barnes in your opening hand, but keep some anti-aggro cards as well - Shadow Word: Horror is one of the best keeps, especially if you are on The Coin. Against Jade Druid, keep resurrecting and summoning minions with Eternal Servitude and Shadow Essence, and you can overwhelm the opponent before he gets to ramp to his late-game. Against aggro or token decks, keep the board clear and keep summoning Obsidian Statue. They cannot deal with multiple copies of it and will eventually lose to it.
Hunter: This hero has two main decks right now: the classic Midrange archetype and the Deathstalker-Rexxar one. The first should be pretty straightforward to deal with, as you just keep any early answers you get, clear the board turn after turn, and eventually reach a point where you summon your late game minions over and over again. If you see Deathstalker Rexxar being played, you must look to close the match out as soon as possible, as his hero power can eventually out-value your deck.
Mage: If you see the quest being played, then look to overwhelm your opponent as quickly as possible. Thoughtsteal and Mind Visions are key cards in this match-up, as they can both grab Ice Block. The Lich King is the minion to resurrect here, as his card Death Grip can break your opponent’s combo, thus giving you the win. If you're in a Tempo Mage match, then be mindful of Mana Bind and Counterspell, as they can mess up your turns pretty badly.
Paladin: Murloc Paladin is the most common deck for this hero right now, with a few exceptions of Control or Aggro Divine Shield decks. For that reason, look solely for early answers to the board, such as Shadow Word: Pain and Horror, as well as Smite and Potion of Madness. If you deal with the early board then your opponent will likely run out of cards. You can then hide behind your big minions turn after turn.
Priest: The most likely scenario here is a mirror match, although there is a Highlander version of Priest which makes use of Raza the Unchained and Kazakus. In both cases you need to get your big minions out first, so aggressively dig for Barnes and Shadow Essence, plus Eternal Servitude if you already have one of them. From here, look to protect your board with removal and try and steal valuable cards using Mind Vision and Thoughsteal.
Rogue: Tempo Rogue has not changed much with the introduction of the new expansion, so the matchup remains about the same. Look for at least one Shadow Word: Death for an early Edwin, but other than that try and cheat out your big minions. Be careful of Vilespine Slayer as you approach the mid-game. Rogues do not tend to include much removal beyond this combo card and Eviscerate, so your board should stick pretty well here.
Shaman: Token Shaman is making very good use of the new Death Knight hero, but the deck remains vulnerable to board clears, especially without an Evolve on hand. Don’t rush for Barnes and Shadow Essence, although you should keep Barnes in your opening hand. Deal with the board until Turn 5, in order to minimize the effects of both Thrall and Evolve. Some deck lists have started running at least one copy of Hex, so keep that in mind as well.
Warlock: Zoolock is back in the meta - to some capacity at least. Most of them do not run any 2-drops so as to activate Prince Keleseth’s effect, but once you get the board from them there is no turning back. Alternatively, Control Warlock makes use of the new Death Knight Hero, Gul’dan, and has a pretty strong late-game, while also packing a ton of removal on the way there. This is a difficult match-up, but if you get your summoning cards early on you can probably overwhelm him before he can stabilize, so look for Barnes and Shadow Essence.
Warrior: Despite efforts in other areas, Pirate Warrior remains the flagship deck for the hero once more. In this match-up early game removal is crucial, so keep anything that deals with the enemy board and don’t be picky with your removal. If you can stay above 15 Health past Turn 7, you will most likely win by hiding behind one of your, many, big taunts.
More great Priest guides:
- 1. Highlander Priest - Highlander Priest deck list guide
- 2. Big Priest - Big Priest deck list guide
- 3. Dragon Priest - Dragon Priest deck list guide
- 4. Silence Priest - Silence Priest deck list guide
- 5. Top Standard decks - Top Hearthstone decks
- 6. Best Wild decks - The best Wild Hearthstone decks
- 7. Tier List - Deck Tier List
Big Priest Mulligan guide
The Mulligan process for Big Priest is very simple, but that also means that getting the right cards to start off with is crucial. You should aggressively look for Barnes and Priest of the Feast in every match-up, but don't throw back Potion of Madness or Shadow Word: Pain either as these are key parts of the early game as well.
A quick note on Shadow Word: Horror here. There are two match-ups in particular where it's worth holding on to this spell card: Shaman and Paladin. If the Shaman is allowed to get up to its old Evolve tricks then you're going to be in big trouble, after all, while a couple of aggro Paladin decks are proving very popular in the early stages of the Frozen Throne meta.
Once things have settled down a little more we're going to expand on this section of our Big Priest guide a great deal, and add additional tips for completing the Mulligan phase against specific opponents. We've an idea of the meta right now, but it's better to go deeper once we know exactly what's being packed on the ladder.
Big Priest tips, card combos and synergies
Control of the board is, as we've said, absolutely vital with Big Priest, so you need to know how the various cards in this version can be blended together. This is a new kind of deck for most of us, but the following tips should give you a pretty good head start.
- Do the maths carefully first, but you can very often use Pint-Size Potion to bring a heap of enemy minions into the range of Shadow Word: Horror. Even weighty control opponents can be brought crashing back down to earth with this combo.
- It's a pretty common play in the early game to simply use Potion of Madness to grab one of your opponent's minions, then slam that minion into another target to ensure that both leave the board in pretty short order.
- You have so many amazing targets for Barnes to bring onto the board that you always want him in your opening hand. You don't have a lot of minions to play with, but they're all top-notch: Priest of the Feast, The Lich King, Obsidian Statue, Ysera and Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound will all - to one degree or another - provide a significant advantage for you.
- Try and stay on top of the top ten meta decks, as this insight will help you choose the best spell from casting Shadow Visions. If in doubt though, hard removal of any kind will almost always prove highly beneficial across the remainder of the match.
- Keep track of your friendly minions that have died. Eternal Servitude will bring a random dead minion back to life, but you can shorten the odds of getting your preferential target by playing this card at just the right time.
- Every time you cast a spell while Priest of the Feast is out on the board, three points of Health will be returned to your hero. This minion has both great stats to help control the board in the early-game, while also representing a huge injection of restorative spelllpower in the late-game when you're throwing a lot of spells around.
- Something to keep in mind here is that the damage issued by Dragonfire Potion won't affect any Dragon cards - friendly or otherwise. On your side of the board, that means Ysera.
- Shadow Essence is another card that will struggle to find a bad target in this deck! Remember that it summons a copy, so don't worry if it pulls Barnes and you think you could lose that minion's Battlecry as a result of the summoning.
- At the end of your turn, The Lich King will add a random Death Knight card to your hand. There are eight of these special new cards in total, and we've got a snapshot of each one for you right here:
|2||Death Coil||Deal 5 damage to an enemy, or restore 5 Health to a friendly character.|
|2||Death Grip||Steal a minion from your opponent's deck and add it to your hand.|
|2||Obliterate||Destroy a minion. Your hero takes damage equal to its Health.|
|3||Death and Decay||Deal 3 damage to all enemies.|
|4||Anti-Magic Shell||Give your minions +2 / +2 and “Can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers.”|
|5||Doom Pact||Destroy all minions. Remove the top card from your deck for each minion destroyed.|
|6||Army of the Dead||Remove the top 5 cards of your deck. Summony any minions removed.|
|7||Frostmourne||Deathrattle: Summon every minion killed by this [5 / 3] weapon.|
This article contains additional reporting from Stelios Magoutis.