Our Control Priest deck list guide features the best post-nerf deck list for The Witchwood (June 2018). Our Control Priest guide also contains Mulligan advice, card combos and strategy tips.
Control Priest is a Hearthstone deck archetype that looks to lock down the early and mid stages of every match it finds itself in, before pushing forward with a more meaningful board presence in the late-game. The name is no accident, and in the latest Witchwood version of the deck your early-game is almost entirely about weaving spells together to take control of the match.
It's quite a slow deck to play all things considered, but it should suit those who are happy for a leisurely but assured climb up the ladder. A word of warning is appropriate here, however. In order to play this deck effectively, you'll have to juggle a lot of unknown variables that will present themselves throughout the course of each match. Accordingly, a solid understanding of the broader metagame is vital if you're to make the right calls at the right time, and achieve a consistent climb through the ranks as a result.
In our Control Priest guide, we've highlighted the most popular deck list being piloted right now, and provided some basic Mulligan advice for getting your matches off to a good start. After that we've broken down all of the combos available to you if you decide to use our recommended deck list.
We'll add to this guide in time, but please let us know in the comments if you have any questions about playing the deck. We'll do our best to help!
UPDATE - JUNE 2018 #1
Control Priest is seeing quite a bit of play since the latest round of nerfs hit the game, and so we've added in a new deck list and also edited the rest of our guide to take those updates into account. We will continue updating this article over time, so check back soon for another update.
(This article contains additional reporting by James Pickard)
Control Priest deck list and strategy
We believe this is the most potent version of Control Priest that's currently seeing play at this stage of the Witchwood meta:
|2 x Northshire Cleric||2 x Wild Pyromancer|
|2 x Power Word: Shield||2 x Acolyte of Pain|
|2 x Divine Hymn||1 x Gluttonous Ooze|
|2 x Mind Blast||2 x Twilight Drake|
|2 x Shadow Visions||2 x Primordial Drake|
|2 x Twilight Acolyte||1 x Alexstrasza|
|2 x Duskbreaker|
|1 x Mass Dispel|
|1 x Cabal Shadow Priest|
|1 x Holy Fire|
|2 x Psychic Scream|
|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: AAECAa0GBpACxQTVCtYK08UCkNMCDKEE5QT2B40I8gz7DNHBAsnHAujQAsvmAvzqAr3zAgA=
Control Priest finds itself in an interesting spot in The Witchwood meta as it has a lot of potential to counter many of the most played decks in the early days. Your goal is simple: answer all of your opponents threats, starve them of resources and finish them off in the late game.
You’ve got ways to counter fast aggro decks, tempo decks, the current wave of Odd or Even Paladin decks – and also have a good matchup against Cubelock to boot. So, if you’re looking for a Priest list that has a solid chance against most decks in this early meta, then look no further.
Early game: There’s no need to rush anything here – instead focus on taking the time to draw cards and clear enemy minions using Northshire Cleric, Wild Pyromancer and Power Word: Shield. The newly added Divine Hymn can really rev up your card draw even further if you have two or three injured minions sitting on the board.
Mid game: Here’s where you need to start being more proactive in response to your opponent’s actions. Duskbreaker can clear out their minions if you’ve been unable to remove them with Wild Pyromancer earlier, while Twilight Drake can be used for mid-game board control.
As you approach the turns where more impactful weapons come into play – see Truesilver Champion, Eaglehorn Bow and Skull of the Man’ari – you’ll want to disarm your foe using Gluttonous Ooze.
Late game: Even if your opponent has another wave of threats after all that, your removal options are a long way from over. Psychic Scream is the sort of no-nonsense mass removal that’ll force absolutely everything back into the depths of your adversary’s deck. After that you still have Shadowreaper Anduin to destroy any minions of five attack or more.
Now you’ve bled them dry of every resource it’s about time you took some steps to actually win the game. Alexstrasza is a good opening salvo to knock your opponent’s health all the way down to 15, then you have your two damage hero power, Mind Blast and Holy Fire to finish them off. You also have Shadow Visions which you can use to generate more sources of spell damage.
More great Priest guides:
Keep these tricks in mind when up against aggro decks:
- 1. Be willing to take a few hits in the early game as you’ll be able to heal the damage back up throughout the match.
- 2. Wait for the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger on your board clears. If you can combine Wild Pyromancer with Northshire Cleric and either Divine Hymn or Power Word: Shield you can also generate some substantial card draw.
- 3. Board-wide effects such as Psychic Scream can do wonders for slowing down or shutting out aggro decks if an opponent over-commits.
- 4. You can keep your early game minions alive with your hero power to make more efficient trades at the start of the game.
- 5. Primordial Drake is ideal for clearing away any stragglers left on the board and sets up a sturdy taunt minion.
Some words of advice for dealing with control decks on ladder:
- Prepare yourself to settle in for the long haul versus a fellow control deck, and a lengthy war of attrition overall.
- Most of the match will come down to executing your big plays at the right time. For example, save Alexstrasza for when they’ve exhausted their healing and armour gain abilities, or the effect will just be negated.
- Much like your opening against aggro you’ll want to prioritise card draw, but the good news is you’ll be under less immediate pressure to respond to their cards or minions at the same time.
- Shadowreaper Anduin is often vital for winning this matchup so you can pile on the damage with your alternate hero power to counter the armour and healing ran by so many control decks.
Control Priest Mulligan guide
Some of these pick recommendations will depend on the matchup, but in general you’ll want to look for these cards in your opening mulligan:
- 1. Northshire Cleric: An excellent card draw engine in the early game.
- 2. Acolyte of Pain: More card draw fuel which can be healed up for multiple taps against aggro opponents.
- 3. Wild Pyromancer: Gives you more opportunities for card draw when combined with Northshire Cleric, and its effect can also be used to clear smaller minions.
- 4. Duskbreaker: Will help you catch up against aggro, and if your opponent goes wide on the board during the early game.
- 5. Power Word: Shield: Hold this along with Northshire Cleric and Wild Pyromancer for considerable card draw potential.
- 6. Twilight Drake: With many of your opening actions likely to be spent drawing cards or passing, it’ll have a huge health boost by the time you play this on Turn 4.
Control Priest tips, combos and synergies
There are some important combos to keep in mind when playing with the latest take on Control Priest. You'll find the most crucial ones in our round-up here:
- If you have Northshire Cleric out in play, then healing another minion - friendly or not - will cause an extra card to be drawn from your deck and placed in your hand.
- Whenever Acolyte of Pain takes damage, you'll draw a card. Don't forget you can heal this character up if you want to generate more value from him.
- Duskbreaker requires you to have a Dragon in your hand if you want that Battlecry damage to go off. Plan your plays carefully as a result - it might be worth holding your last enabling card back for a more valuable turn later on.
- If Wild Pyromancer is on the board, any spells you cast will cause one point of damage to be inflicted against friendly and enemy minions alike. Just remember that the effect of that spell is applied first, and then the Pyromancer does his thing.
- Twilight Drake gains an extra point of Health for each other card you have in your hand at the time you put the Drake onto the board.
- Cabal Shadow Priest can be combined with Twilight Acolyte to neutralize a big threat and then drag it over onto your side of the board. Just remember that you need a Dragon in your hand for the Acolyte's Battlecry effect to trigger.
- Don't forget that Primordial Drake also damages your own minions. If they're going to die as a result, make sure they get some work in first. That might mean bringing a minion into range of that fiery Battlecry, or just giving the enemy hero a good solid whack in the face.
- Gluttonous Ooze not only obliterates your opponent's weapon, you'll also get an injection of Armor that's equal to that weapon's Attack value.
- Once you've transformed in your new hero form by casting Shadowreaper Anduin, you'll gain a new Hero Power which dishes out two points of targeted damage. This ability refreshes each time you play a card, allowing you to potentially use it multiple times in any given turn. Mind Blast has big synergy here.
Control Priest card choices and substitutions
These are some of the most important cards in Control Priest with suggestions for budget options if you need them:
- Acidic Swamp Ooze: With the reliance on weapons in many of the current meta’s most played decks an Ooze can completely disrupt an entire gameplan.
- Mind Blast: A strong finisher offering up to ten direct damage with both base copies included – and potentially more from Discover cards. You don’t need to run Prophet Velen for them to be effective either thanks to Alexstrasza.
- Shadow Visions: Allows you to Discover an additional copy of a spell in your deck. Ideal if you need an extra Shadow Word: Death for removal or Mind Blast for burn damage.
- Twilight Drake: As you’ll likely be spending the opening few turns drawing cards, dropping this on turn four with nine health offers some firm sticking power.
- Harrison Jones: Makes destroying an opponent’s weapons all the more sweeter when you can draw cards as a result of it too. A second Acidic Swamp Ooze is fine if you don’t own the card.
- Psychic Scream: Now that Priest has lost Dragonfire Potion in the latest rotation, this is your most impactful board clear available. At least a one-of is a must-have.
- Primordial Drake: A huge pain for aggro decks – not only will it clear a bunch of their minions but it’ll also set up a huge wall for them to get past.
- Shadowreaper Anduin: A major part of your win condition thanks to the alternative hero power that allows you to do two damage to any target. Not a card that can be replaced.
- Alexstrasza: Valuable for removing a huge chunk of your opponent’s health, it’ll be much harder to finish them off without this card.