I reached 500 wins with my Hearthstone Priest on October 2nd, 2015, and the last 350 or so wins used decks built around the same basic strategy. Here’s the anatomy of a champion-level Priest deck.
Priest Deck Strengths
Priests excel at healing and stacking health. Any minion can be amped up to pwn opponents and become one-hit wonders. With the right build, a Hearthstone Priest can turn average minions into 30/30+ end-game monsters with awesome supplemental powers.
On top of healing, Priests can deal a fair amount of damage as well, and with a strong Shadowform deck can even rival a Mage or Warlock as a caster. An even mix of spells and minions is the key to a strong Priest deck. Below I’ll mostly focus on a Light Priest deck, though I’ll try to highlight what changes to make for a Shadow Priest build.
Priests can also mimic other powers, stealing cards, minions, or spells. If you’re uncomfortable stealing, Silence can accomplish the same thing.
The Priest deck has a variety of great spells and minions for healing. It’s important to focus on what’s necessary for your specific build. These are the healing cards I use most:
1-Light of the Naaru – Restore 3 Health. If the target is still damaged, summon a Lightwarden. This Rare card is great for quickly filling the table with powerful minions. I’ve turned games around, where my opponent had me at 20 health, facing two damaged minions.
By playing two-Light of the Naaru’s and Holy Nova, I turned the tables, suddenly holding two 5+ damage Lightwardens. Light of the Naaru can be crafted for 100 Arcane Dust or obtained in a Goblins vs Gnomes pack.
2-Lightwell – A 0/5 minion, Lightwells restore +3 health to a random damaged friendly character. With its health doubled twice, Lightwells have 20 health, and with Valen’s Chosen and Power Word: Shield cast before doubling, you can easily create a 30 health minion that’s only one Inner Fire away from ending the game.
Lightwell can be crafted for 100 Arcane Dust or obtained from a Classic pack.
5-Holy Nova – Holy Nova is an AOE attack that does 2 damage to all enemies and heals all minions. Mages, Warlocks, Hunters, and Shaman will constantly stack minions, so this spell comes in handy for quickly turning the tables of a match. Spell Damage increases this spell’s damage.
0-Circle of Healing – I find Circle of Healing to be much more useful for a Shadow Priest deck build, as I’m not a fan of healing my opponent unless it’s to draw a card or triggering a minion Inspire power. In Shadowform, this spell can clear a board. Circle of Healing can be crafted for 40 Arcane Dust obtained from a Classic pack.
5-Holy Fire – Holy Fire deals 5 Damage and restores 5 Health to the Priest. I typically choose either this card or Lightbomb, but rarely both, as the deck becomes too spell-heavy. Stacking expensive spells make it easy to exploit the Priest. Holy Fire can be crafted for 100 Arcane Dust or obtained from a Classic pack.
Minion Health Stacking
1-Power Word: Shield – Both stacking health and drawing a card, Power Word: Shield is an indispensable tool in any Hearthstone Priest’s deck. It draws Silence and aggro toward a minion, but when you gain an extra card, it doesn’t much matter.
2-Divine Spirit – If you’re going to use Divine Spirit, be sure the minions in your deck have more health than damage. This, along with any other Health stacking powers are great for protecting your side of the table from your own Lightbomb.
3-Velen’s Chosen – Giving any minion +2/+4 and +1 Spell Damage makes any minion potentially deadly. I love casting this on a polymorphed frog and sheep to turn a 0/1 or 1/1 minion into a 2/5 or 3/5 Spell Damage booster.
Then double with Divine Spirit and change the attack to match the health, and you have a 10/10 minion using 3 cards/6 mana. Velen’s Chosen can be crafted for 40 Arcane Dust or obtained from a Goblins vs Gnomes pack.
Minion Damage Stacking
1-Inner Fire – Change any minion’s Attack to match its Health.
This card can accomplish a few things – you can either amp up a minion on your side (such as turning a 0/5 Lightwell into 5/5), deflate an opposing minion on your opponent’s side (turning 5/1 Magma Raver into 1/1), or pull a 4-damage opposing minion into range to use a Shadow Word on it.
3-Velen’s Chosen – See above.
1-Power Word: Shield – See above.
1-Northshire Cleric – Whenever any minion on either side is healed, you draw a card. This minion is great to keep on the table and continue pulling extra cards. Be careful using it against Rogues and Druids, as they often build decks meant to overstack your hand.
2-Resurrect – A Rare card, Resurrect doesn’t necessarily draw a card. Instead, it brings a random dead minion back to life. This card is a great indicator of whether or not the computer’s programming wants you to win, as the strength of a rez’ed minion can vary greatly.
While great for restoring a Legendary minion (especially Kel’Thuzad), you may also get a polymorphed frog or sheep, so take the good with the bad. Resurrect is obtained by defeating Emperor Thaurissan in Blackrock Mountain and is soulbound.
4-Enhance-o-Mechano – Taunt can be great, but I’ve found more success simply stealing my opponent’s Taunt minions than using my own. The reason I don’t use many in my deck is because I’m usually trying to keep aggro on my Priest. Enhance-o-Mechano can be crafted for 400 or obtained from a Goblins vs Gnomes pack.
With at least one minion on the table, Enhance-o-Mechano randomly casts Taunt, Windfury, or Divine Shield on each minion. Against especially crafty opponents who won’t allow you to keep a minion on the table, cast Inner Fire twice to pull up two Lightwardens, then play E-o-M to create three minions for 6 mana.
4-Mogu’shan Warden – The 1/7 Mogu’shan Warden is in my Priest deck to enable Inner Fire, which is the basis of this particular Priest strategy. At 1/7, Mogu’shan Warden can withstand Lightbomb, as well as keep other minions (or the Priest himself against certain Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior builds) safe. Doubling his health creates 1/14, and again creates 1/28, so it only takes 6 mana to make this minion a one-hitter.
2-Shadowboxer – Not only is Shadowboxer a 2/3 mech, but it also deals 1 Damage to a random enemy every time any character is healed. With two (or more) Shadowboxers on the table, every heal suddenly becomes a deadly affair. Paired with Holy Nova can do some major DPS (and take a looong time to finish the animations).
3-Silver Hand Regent – A 3/3 minion with Inspire that summons a 1/1 Silver Hand Recruit every time you cast your hero power, Silver Hand Regent is an easy way to keep your side of the table full and force your opponent to stay reactive instead of proactive.
4-Lightspawn – Lightspawn has built-in Inner Fire, starting at 5/5. Lightspawn draws heavy aggro, but can become deadly if not killed or polymorphed. Valen’s Chosen adds 4/4 to the Lightspawn, making it a great pair, though it can be best to wait for the Lightspawn to be silenced before beefing it up.
5-Gurubashi Berzerker – Starting at 2/7, the Gurubashi Berzerker gains +3 Attack, and, unlike minions with Rage, it keeps the boost. With stacked Health or even an early Inner Fire cast, Gurubashi Berzerker can handle any Legendary minion.
6-Maexxna – This 2/8 spider poisons and kills any minion it damages. The low-attack/high-health ratio makes Maexxna an ideal Legendary minion for a Light Priest deck build. A player without Silence (or the ability to steal/return/destroy a minion) will easily be overwhelmed once you start stacking Health on Maexxna.
8-Chromaggus – Chromaggus is a 6/8 minion that puts an extra copy of every card drawn into your hand. This Legendary dragon is a great way to refill an end-game hand, can survive most spells, and even silenced, is a powerful minion to have on the board.
2-Shadow Word: Pain – Kill any minion with 3 or less attack.
3-Shadow Word: Death – Kill any minion with 5 or more attack.
3-Thoughtsteal – Steal two cards from your opponent’s deck.
5-Faceless Manipulator – Choose a minion and become a copy of it. Useful to counter powerful opponent minions or double up on powerful friendly minions.
Beating This Priest Build
Destroy every minion. Every turn that ends with a minion on the Priest side of the table will lead to it being buffed. Silence is essential, and once all minions are cleared, focus on damaging the Priest. As an alternative, if you have a fast early-game deck build (such as a Murloc or Hunter deck), attack early and keep a nonstop barrage going.
(Update 10/2/2015) Finally hit 500 wins. All it did was animate the Priest background. Here’s the deck I used on my 500th win. The only card cut out of the picture is Maexxna.
(Update 10/3/15) Took the Priest on a victory lap of the solo adventures.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, The Street, Fast Company, Hardcore Droid, and High Times.