Hearthstone: Dragon Priest Decklist and Guide
Priests have traditionally been pretty inflexible in Hearthstone - their best decks have always been control, control, and control, with only minor variations. A lot of this has to do with the cards that Priests have available and with the inflexibility of some of their combos. The Grand Tournament has opened up a pretty cool new deck for Priests that fits into a more tempo/mid-range playstyle and makes use of dragon tribal synergy.
Made popular by Reynad and other big-name streamers, this deck has the potential to take you all the way to Legend if you stick with it. Here's the breakdown of the deck:
- Power Word: Shield x2
- Northshire Cleric x2
- Twilight Whelp x2
- Shrinkmeister x2
- Wyrmrest Agent x2
- Shadow Word: Death x2
- Dark Cultist x2
- Shadow Madness x2
- Dragonkin Sorcerer
- Twilight Guardian x2
- Holy Nova x2
- Azure Drake x2
- Blackwing Corruptor x2
- Cabal Shadowpriest x2
Notice the emphasis on lower cost cards and relatively smooth curve -- this version of the deck is designed to counter aggression and Patron Warrior specifically. Other versions of the Dragon Priest are focused more on the late game.
Playing a Dragon Priest deck is like playing any other tempo deck, except that you have some very powerful tools at your disposal that rely on having dragons in your hand. As long as you are holding onto one of your dragon cards, you can drop minions that are well ahead of the curve, making controlling the board very easy and setting you up for victory. Your Wyrmrest Agents and Twilight Guardians, when played on curve and with the dragon synergy, will allow you to dictate the flow of the game, and when you combine that with Dark Cultist and Power Word: Shield, you're looking at a really strong board early into the game.
The Dragon Priest is one of the best decks out there for dealing with aggro, but it's still a Priest deck, and does more than fine in a control matchup. Holy Nova and Shadow Word: Death will help you keep the board clear, and Shrinkmeister + Cabal Shadow Priest can frustrate your enemies and easily keep you in control of the board state. What makes this deck so powerful is that it keeps enough of the Priest's traditional control tools while adding in some chunky and impressive minions.
There's no fancy combo or anything for a win condition -- you're just going to outcurve and wear down your enemy. Aggressive decks will either try to race you (and lose because of your taunts) or get shut down and fall apart. Control will take longer, but your powerful and sticky minions should be able to secure you victory if you're smart with your own removal.
It's also worth noting that if you're tired of losing to Patron Warriors, this version of the Dragon Priest is fairly strong against their combo. Holy Nova, Chillmaw, and your hefty taunts make this a challenging fight even for a well-played Patron Warrior, so don't hesitate to put this together if you're looking to keep those pesky patrons out.
There are a lot of potential substitutions in this deck, so don't be afraid to experiment. Feel free to tinker with the number of Dark Cultists, Shrinkmeisters, Blackwing Technicians, and Dragonkin Sorcerers to make room for other cards you might want to try. Try not to remove many dragons, or any at all if you can help it -- you need enough to ensure that you have one in your hand when you need it.
Vol'jin can be a good choice to make your late-game stronger, and Velen's Chosen can be a good substitute for Dark Cultists, especially if you also throw in a Smite or two to make use of the spell damage. Lightbomb, a Sludge Belcher, or a tech card like Harrison Jones might be worth considering if you're looking to mix things up.
Low Budget Substitutions
There aren't a whole lot of expensive cards in this version of the deck, but if you don't have the dust for Chillmaw, you can easily replace it with any sticky minion with taunt, like a Sunwalker or a Sludge Belcher. Most of the epics in the deck are essential, though you can probably get away with swapping the Twilight Guardians for Sen'jin Shieldmastas if you don't have the dust for them either.
Mulligans and Matchups
In all of your matchups, you want to absolutely have a dragon in hand and be holding on to a Twilight Whelp or a Wyrmrest Agent (or even better, both). Ideally you want to be able to play perfectly on your curve, so try to anticipate what you're going to be able to play in upcoming turns and you should be golden.
Key cards to keep in your hand against aggro decks are Blackwing Agent, Twilight Whelp, Wyrmrest Agent, and Northshire Cleric. If you feel like your hand is strong enough, feel free to hang on to something for later turns (even better if that happens to be a dragon), but don't take any risks -- you need to stay in control of the board.
In control matchups, your priority is putting minions down that are sticky enough to survive removal like Fiery War Axe, Wrath, and Rock Biter. Hang on to your Blackwing Agents, Wyrmrest Agents, and Twilight Guardians. Twilight Whelps are still strong if you have the dragons to activate them, but they're not essential.