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Control Priest deck list guide - Rise of Shadows - Hearthstone (April 2019)

Our guide to playing the latest version of Control Priest in Rise of Shadows

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About John Bedford

John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.

Our Control Priest deck list guide features the best Rise of Shadows deck list for Season 61 of Hearthstone (April 2019). 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. 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 - RISE OF SHADOWS LAUNCH

It's unclear at the moment whether or not Control Priest will simply come to be known as the Resurrect Priest we've covered elsewhere, but in case you find yourself on this page we wanted to highlight a deck list that's been created for the launch of Rise of Shadows:

This version of Control Priest was created by jimmyraynor:

Control Priest - Rise of Shadows Launch

PriestNeutral
2 x Forbidden Words2 x Proud Defender
2 x Northshire Cleric1 x Zilliax
2 x Power Word: Shield2 x Damaged Stegotron
2 x Divine Hymn2 x Tunnel Blaster
2 x Shadow Word: Pain1 x Archivist Elysiana
2 x Omega Medic
2 x Convincing Infiltrator
1 x Holy Nova
2 x Mass Hysteria
2 x Holy Fire
1 x Catrina Muerte
2 x Mass Resurrection

Select and copy the long ID string below, then create a deck in Hearthstone to export this deck into your game.

Deck Import ID: AAECAa0GBMkGoIADhp0Dk5sDDZibA/IM5QS98wLXCuP3AsKZA4KUA5eHA/v+AtUKgaADmZsDAA==

More great Priest guides:

Everything below this point refers to a pre-release version of Control Priest. It will be comprehensively updated once the meta has started to settle!

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 Rastakhan meta:

PriestNeutral
2 x Northshire Cleric2 x Firetree Witchdoctor
2 x Power Word: Shield2 x Tar Creeper
2 x Mind Blast1 x Scaleworm
2 x Shadow Visions2 x Twilight Drake
1 x Omega Medic1 x Crowd Roaster
2 x Twilight Acolyte2 x Primordial Drake
2 x Duskbreaker1 x Alexstrasza
2 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: AAECAa0GBsUE1QqQ0wKJ8QLj9wLolAMMkAKhBOUEjQjyDNHBAsrDAsnHAujQAsvmAvzqAuiJAwA=

General strategy

Your goal with Control Priest is pretty simple: answer all of your opponents threats, starve them of resources and finish them off in the late game.

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, Firetree Witchdoctor and Power Word: Shield.

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 earlier, while Twilight Drake can be used for mid-game board control.

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 and Mind Blast to help finish them off. You also have Shadow Visions which you can use to generate more sources of spell damage.

Aggro Opponents

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, and try to bait out as much of the opponent's board presence as you can.
  • 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.

Control opponents

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.

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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. Firetree Witchdoctor: Something to contest the early board with, while also generating extra value for future turns.
  • 2. Northshire Cleric: An excellent card draw engine in the early game.
  • 3. Duskbreaker: Will help you catch up against aggro, and if your opponent goes wide on the board during the early game.
  • 4. Tar Creeper: Great in every match-up, but particularly annoying for aggro opponents to deal with.
  • 5. 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- You should always aim to play Omega Medic with 10 Mana if at all possible. It's not the worst statted vanilla minion for its cost, but you'd rather have that extra healing in the late-game.

- 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. An 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.

Comment on this article

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  • Moongolfer #1 A year ago
    Thanks for this guide. Wasted some dust to create this deck. Feels great to Alexstraza a face and finish the job with three mindblasts.
  • Bedders #2 2 years ago
    @Phoenix4217 No worries! Thanks for your patience, it's been a bit manic lately.
  • Phoenix4217 #3 2 years ago
    @Bedders, thanks for updating this!
  • sassysnackpack #4 2 years ago
    @Phoenix4217 ok, gotcha. Thanks!
  • Phoenix4217 #5 2 years ago
    @sassysnackpack, Yeah! It's not ideal, but since this is actually miracle priest, just run a second shadow word death. Lyra is really your only out if you plan on playing it like control, however. In that case, consider running Medivh, Free from amber, dragonfire potion, and maybe a few other actual control spells (assuming you have the adventure)
  • sassysnackpack #6 2 years ago
    Replacements for Lyra? I know Lyra is a really good card, but is it essential to this deck, any replacements?
  • Phoenix4217 #7 2 years ago
    There's a few reasons it doesn't run Medivh:
    1. The primary reason is... it's not really control priest. It's OTK priest (divine spirit/inner fire combo), you win nearly all your games that way. However, it is possible to value them via smart trades, healing, and Lyra, but it's difficult to say the least. It is consistent, I'd say beyond a meme deck, but... only three removal spells isn't really very control deck-y.
    2. Secondly, even if you argue OTK priest is control priest, the deck receives a lot of variance (in terms of deck build). This version is pretty miracle priest like (as mentioned before), so it runs lots of card draw (8 cards, 2 Acolytes of Pain, 2 Northshire cleric, 2 Circle of Healing, 2 Wild Pyromancer, though Circle and Pyro do other stuff too), the divine spirit inner fire package (4 cards plus assorted health buffs like PW:S and Kabal Talon Priest), big minions to buff up (literally all of the minions either draw cards, buff health, or have a lot of health), control spells (only three, Potion of Madness, SW:P and SW:D, though there's only one of the last one), Shadow Visions for consistency, and Lyra as a bail out/inner fire target. Fills your entire deck- no room for Medivh unless you completely change the outlook- which is perfectly doable and probably effective. But if you were to run Medivh you'd need him, x2 Free from Amber, and then probably some more high cost spells like Dragon Fire potion or maybe a mind control- stuff that there is no room for in the current deck goal. Turns out your most expensive spell costing 3 just doesn't cut it for Medivh...
    3. Finally, Lyra isn't the win condition- really its a tech card as 1(occasionally last minute desperate effort, 2(value matchups, 3(it's just a really good card, and 4(two shadow word death is unnecessary in this type of deck- the opponents usually dead by turn 6 (which makes Medivh too slow anyway), and 5(Lyra's primary purpose in the deck is to get stuff done without using resources- clear the opponents board, buff your minions, etc. all without using your essential divine spirits and inner fires- not exactly a win condition, just something to keep you going.
    Sorry about how long that is- I really love this deck so far- made it fairly recently and can't stop playing it. Best part is, its cheap, which is nice 'cause I can't afford too very many cards. When I played it though, I got a pretty good win-rate (and recognizable misplays when I didn't) but really only doing a divine spirit thing. So I suppose I'll find out how far it takes me.
    TL;DR: This deck is actually miracle OTK Priest, not control- Medivh is far too slow and cannot fit in the deck- besides, Lyra isn't a win condition in this scenario.
  • benrubinstein65 #8 2 years ago
    Interesting that this doesn't run anything like Medivh/Free from Amber. They seem to be a much more reliable win condition than Lyra.
  • Shining #9 3 years ago
    @nimurta I would not cut a Power Word Shield. I would cut one Injured Blademaster and replace it with Elise
  • nimurta #10 3 years ago
    this deck really lacks a finisher( except if you saved your flash heals) , i replaced 1 power word shield with elise and its working wonders
  • heejaesong75 #11 3 years ago
    @Shining
    I replaced 2 Acolytes with 1 shrinkmeister and 1 Cabal Shadow Priest.
  • Shining #12 3 years ago
    Control Priest usually doesn't run Acolyte of Pain and I don't like Flash Heal that much. I would add 1 Shadow Word Pain, 1 Shadow Word Death, 1 Velen's Chosen and Ysera.
    Or are the Acolytes and the Heals so important?
  • Bedders #13 4 years ago
    @King_of_Hyrule I struggled to make meaningful progress with this deck to be honest - I'm not a natural Priest player either which doesn't help. I could understand it enough to write a guide on it, but I just can't make it shine with these clumsy hands!
  • King_of_Hyrule #14 4 years ago
    I've been playing this deck pretty extensively last week, thanks for posting this!

    In my opinion the two best uses for the recombobulator in this deck are:

    1. Use it on your cabal shadow priest, ideally after attacking into a minion and taking some damage, you are almost guaranteed to get a better minion since the average quality of a six drop is way higher than a 4/5

    2. A second powerful play is to recombobulate the minion you took with shadow madness (obviously attack with it first) that way you get to keep the recombobulated minion and give nothing back at the end of the turn, ideally you use this on high mana 3-or-less attack creatures such as a healbot, quartermaster, maexna etc
  • TheRealGhostDragon #15 4 years ago
    How do you access the monthly meta report? Is that a feature for subscribers or something?