Our Big Priest deck guide features the best deck list for Season 44, with Mulligan advice, strategy tips, card combos and more.
Big Priest was a new kind of 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 the heaviest control decks 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 starting hand correctly, before we wrap it all up with a comprehensive 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've had messing around with this exciting deck!
Much like Big Druid, Big Priest sits in the middle of the table when it comes to competitive decks right now. We've not seen any radical experiments with the format, and so we've left our recommended deck list unchanged for the second half of the month. If you think we've missed a trick here, do let us know in the comments so we can try your version out for ourselves!
Big Priest deck list and strategy
This is the best Big Priest deck list we're currently aware of, and is fully up to date with the current Hearthstone meta.
|1 x Silence||1 x Barnes|
|1 x Holy Smite||1 x The Lich King|
|2 x Pint-Size Potion||2 x Obsidian Statue|
|2 x Potion of Madness||1 x Ysera|
|2 x Shadow Visions||1 x Y'Shaarj, Rage Unbound|
|2 x Shadow Word: Pain|
|2 x Shadow Word: Death|
|2 x Eternal Servitude|
|1 x Greater Healing Potion|
|1 x Mass Dispel|
|2 x Shadow Word: Horror|
|2 x Dragonfire Potion|
|2 x Shadow Essence|
|1 x Free From Amber|
|1 x Shadowreaper Anduin|
Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.
Deck Import ID: AAECAa0GCpcCogmlCdYKqKsChbgCt7sCmcgCws4CkNMCCtMK1wqhrAK1uwLovwLqvwLRwQLlzALmzAK0zgIA
The very simple, top-level strategy behind playing Big Priest is that you want to control the very early stages of the game using 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, and it's packed with strategic insight.
For now, here's some broad advice for taking down both aggressive and control opponents in the current meta. This is of course subject to change as the shape of the Frozen Throne meta becomes more refined over time and all decks are optimised further. Still, we think the following should provide some solid guidance that will get you going:
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 you trigger 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, and you'll want to know what's spent and what you still have available for the rest of the game.
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 that your opponnt might have at their disposal.
It pays to study the meta carefully here, and know how much pressure to apply without going completely all-in...and potentially losing everything in the process.
Strategies against each class:
Druid: Although Druid is still strong in the post-nerf 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, if you keep resurrecting and summoning minions with Eternal Servitude and Shadow Essence, then 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 - to a lesser degree - 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 quickly as possible, as his hero power will eventually out-value your deck.
Mage: If you see the Quest being played, then look to overwhelm your opponent as fast as you can. 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 these 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 very popular Highlander Priest deck which makes use of Raza the Unchained and Kazakus. In both cases you need to get your big minions out first, so dig aggressively 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 match-up remains about the same. Look for at least one Shadow Word: Death to deal with 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: Evolve Shaman is making very good use of the new Death Knight hero, but the deck remains vulnerable to board clears, especially if the opponent has no Evolve. 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 stabilise, 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. Hearthstone Guide 2017 - Hearthstone Guide 2017
- 6. Best Hearthstone decks - The best Hearthstone decks - October 2017
- 7. Tier List - Hearthstone 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, while a couple of aggro Paladin decks are proving very popular at this stage of the Frozen Throne meta.
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.
- It's a little wasteful, but in a pinch Pint-Size Potion can also be used to make a single target vulnerable to Shadow Word: Pain or Potion of Madness.
- 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.
- 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.
- When played, Shadowreaper Anduin will destroy any friendly or enemy minions that have five or more Attack.
- 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.