Are you struggling to rise ranks on ladder? Or are you just looking for some new spice into your deck collection? Worry no longer, since we’re bringing back our Deadly Decks series this autumn! Twice a month, we’re going to post a little info package of our favorite decks to help you enjoy the game to the maximum! This week, Kufdon introduces us to his Control Priest deck:
Control Priest has been one of my favorite decks to play on ladder for a while now. I used the traditional Mind Blast variant during June and July to secure high legend finishes and a spot in the EU Playoffs. However, with the meta shifting with the Boomsday expansion, the deck has no longer been a very viable option for ladder. I’ve been experimenting to try and make the deck work in the new meta and this build has put in some work. It still probably isn’t your best bet for getting a high legend rank, but it certainly is a viable deck and can be a lot of fun to play.
What is the objective to making this deck work?
The deck functions more or less like the traditional Mind Blast variant of Control Priest. Instead of relying on the burst combination to close games out, you either grind with high-value cards like Elise in combination with Shadow Visions. Sometimes you just stick a big minion like Ysera or The Lich King on the board and go for the face plan that way.
Against aggro decks you still have all the same tools as the Mind Blast variant: Duskbreakers and Pyromancer combinations are great at clearing early boards. On top of that, the Giggling Inventors help you stall the game for a couple of turns so you survive until a Psychic Scream can clear the board. Not having the Mind Blasts in the deck means you have fewer dead draws to worry about. Your Shadow Visions are practically guaranteed to find whatever card you’re looking for, as there are only 4 spells in the deck, one of which is the Shadow Visions itself. This can change after you play your Elise, but even against aggro decks, Shadow Visioning an Elise pack is powerful.
Are there any particular weaknesses to the build, a certain class or card combo?
Yes, this version of the deck has one glaring flaw; Quest Rogue. Traditional Mind Blast Priest does not have the greatest matchup vs Quest Rogue to begin with. Cutting the Mind Blasts makes it even harder to win as you can’t burst your opponents down from a high health total.
Some of the Druid decks you face on the ladder can also give you a hard time because of the addition of Dreampetal Florist and Flobbidinous Floop in the last expansion. Replacing the Mind Blasts with several big minions gives you a more reasonable chance to win vs Malygos or Togwaggle Druid, especially if you find your Skulking Geist early on. However, Taunt and Token Druids are both favoured matchups for the Priest if the deck is piloted well, so the deck does alright vs Druids overall.
How does the deck stack up against the main builds?
Other than those matchups, the deck is solid across the board. Giggling Inventors improve the Odd Rogue matchup quite a bit. Even if they run the Blood Knights to counter them, it still buys you some time to cast Psychic Scream before you die. It’s probably not favoured for the Priest, but it is closer than it used to be. However, the list is favoured against all the other aggressive decks in the meta. Control Priest is one of the best counters to Zoo and Odd Paladin, and even has a solid matchup vs Aggro Mage.
A big reason I disliked the traditional Mind Blast variant as of late is the presence of Odd Warriors on the ladder. With a normal list you typically don’t stand a chance vs their armor gain and removals. However, due to the addition of Elise combined with the Skulking Geist, that destroys several of your opponents key cards, it is possible to simply grind out and outvalue the Warriors.
With a lot of decks the mulligans can be the most difficult decisions you make in a game, but with Control Priest they’re typically pretty simple. Against aggro decks you look for ways to handle their early minions. For example, a Wild Pyromancer combined with spells or just a Duskbreaker. Against the slower decks you need to think more about the overall gameplan in the matchup when making your mulligans. If Skulking Geist is a key card in the matchup, you not only want to keep it, but mulligan aggressively to find it as early as possible. Elise can be another crucial card in some matchups.
If you’re on a tight dust budget, which cards can be replaced without hurting the deck mechanics too much?
Here is what I consider the core cards of Control Priest deck that you can’t or shouldn’t replace if you want to play it. You will always want to have 1 of the remaining slots be a dragon. If you don’t own Ysera, just going with the standard Alexstrasza is a fine choice even without Mind Blasts. If you don’t own an Elise, an Arcbishop Benedictus will help in some matchups in a similar way. Although it will often be a worse card to draw in the other matchups. If you don’t have either? Well the old Mind Blast variant isn’t that much worse than this one. There’s a lot of viable cards to experiment with in the remaining slots, I recommend just trying it out and seeing what works for yourself.